I was at the Merdeka Awards 2013 a few hours ago. Again, privileged, honored and humbled indeed by YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Seri Arshad Ayub's invitation to be in his guest list. It was graced by the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Dato Sri Mohd Naib Tun Razak and the Regent of Perak His Royal Highness Tuanku Raja Dr Nazrin.
The Merdeka Award aims to promote thought leadership and innovation, foster a culture of excellence, encourage a worldview, thereby enhancing Malaysia's standing as a dynamic, competitive 21st Century Global Player in all key sectors from Science and technology to the arts. The idea of a Merdeka Award was conceived by the major global O&G and energy multinationals namely ExxonMobil, Petronas and Shell.
This year's recipients are: Tan Sri Datuk Seri Arshad Ayub (for outstanding contribution in shaping Malaysi'as education landscape through the development of professional education, education reforms, and innovation that have resulted in education becoming more accessible to Malaysians) and Raja Tan Sri Datuk Seri Muhammad Alias (joint recipient in the Education and Community Category , for outstanding contribution to rural development and rural reform through organizing successful land settlement projects (FELDA) for the many landless, rural population in Malaysia); Dr Lim Boo Liat in the Environment Category for outstanding contribution to the conservation of Malaysia's biological diversity ; Tan Sri Dato' Dr Yahya Awang in the health, Science and Technology Category for outstanding contribution to pioneering the development of clinical research and cardiac surgery in Malaysia and for his instrumental role in the establishment of the National Heart Institute (IJN) and Emeritus Professor Dato' Dr Lam Sai Kit for an Outstanding Scholastic Achievement (scholarly research and development in medical virology and emerging infectious diseases including dengue).
Tan Sri Datuk Seri Arshad's acceptance speech was as always, a constant reminder of his no-nonsense disposition, discipline, commitment and passion for whatever he has chosen to do the past 85 years. A role model and inspiration to his 7 children and 28 grandchildren and to me too.
I think everyone who were at the awards ceremony will never forget, in his acceptance speech, Tan Sri Dato' Dr Yahya Awang said " ... and finally I like to thank my wife for allowing me to mend all the broken hearts in Malaysia" gagagagagaga. hahahaha. i thought that was really cute, cleverly thought out punchline.. humorous indeed. You wouldn't expect anything less from someone who graduated from Monash University would you? hehehe.
Which reminds me..of this tale I used to share at collision repair industry conferences : once upon a time, a mechanic was removing the cylinder heads from the motor of a car when he spotted the famous heart surgeon in his shop, who was standing off to the side, waiting for the service manager to come to take a look at his car. The mechanic shouted across the garage, "Hello Doctor! Please come over here for a minute." The famous surgeon,a bit surprised, walked over to the mechanic. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked argumentatively. "So Doctor, look at this. I also open hearts, take valves out, grind them, put in new parts, and when I finish, this will work as a new one. So how come you get the big money, when you and me is doing basically the same work? The Doctor leaned over and whispered to the mechanic "Eh hello taikor...try to do it when the engine is running leg?"
Hmmm... could that famous heart surgeon be Tan Sri Dato' Dr Yahya Awang? I'll have to ask him when we do meet the next time. hehehe. Good night folks...