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Sunday, 22 April 2018

A Chosen Child

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Meet Emily Chew on ESPACE at Grand Merdeka Mall

Exclusive Interview with Emily Chew
Up close & personal with the creator of ESPACE in Grand Merdeka
Mall and why ESPACE will be your kid’s next favourite place to go!

Interview by Stella Matilda | Image by Hannah William Photography

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
Born and raised in Kota Kinabalu. I come from a humble family background, and growing up in a property developer family with strong work ethic and strict discipline. I am an Australian National University (ANU) graduate with Bachelor of Commerce (Major in Accounting & Management), and a certified chartered accountant with MIA and CPA Australia accreditation. I am drawn to music, dance, arts and design at a young age. Started ballet training at the age of 5,and pursued ballet for 15 years. I further honed my entrepreneurship and creativity skills by joining my family property development company. Noticing the need for change of landscape and supporting the economy drive in the northern corridor of Kota Kinabalu, i.e. Menggatal, my family decided to start Grand Merdeka Mall and the subsequent future development on this 19 acre land.

How did the idea for ESPACE come about?
After 10 months of operation of the Grand Merdeka Mall, I had an epiphany to change the course of the mall. Thinking to myself how do we differentiate the mall from the malls in the city and our nearby competitors? We can’t just copy and paste the same format in GM Mall. There is no competitive edge for GM Mall if we just put in similar tenant mix as the malls in the region. So I have decided to put more than 50% of the net lettable area (NLA = 300,000 sq ft in total) as family recreation and entertainment outlets, 20-25% as F&B and the rest are for other tenant mix.

It was by chance that my dad and I met up with Kay Yi who then introduced Issac of Escape. We then pursue and venture into this approximately 7,000 sq ft area in the GM Mall as Entertainment Arena, that house a family karaoke centre (KMIX), ESPACE (family and group recreation space with games ranging from synthetic ice skating, archery battle, bubble soccer, soccer darts and many more, 10 lanes of conventional archery arena, and the ESCAPE that promises their newest and more challenging games in town. ESPACE is also known as “Entertainment Space”.

I love that ESPACE offers the first Ice Skating Rink in Sabah. Do you mind to tell me what give you this brilliant idea and how does it work?
It was a group effort to come out with Sabah first ever synthetic ice skating rink. It is about 3000 sq ft rink at the second floor of the mall. Due to the extremely high cost of CAPEX and maintenance cost to maintain a real ice skating rink, and yet at the same time bringing in a new, fresh and most importantly affordable ice skating arena for family, children and corporate companies to have team building activities. Hence a synthetic version came into mind. Synthetic ice skating rink is not relatively new in other parts of the world, or even west Malaysia. There are a few malls that have also installed synthetic Ice Skating, such as Sunway Velocity Mall. Our skaters will wear the normal ice skating shoes and gears to skate on the rink as per the real ice.

Why should families choose to come all the way to ESPACE in Grand Merdeka Mall?
ESPACE in Grand Merdeka Mall is a place for you and your family to spend quality time together and strengthen bonds amongst family members. The games that we offer will make family members of all ages to enjoy and to bond at an affordable price.

How can school integrate their sports activities with ESPACE?
We have also planned to integrate school extra curriculum activities with ESPACE sports/games such as providing the ice skating rink to be the official skating rink for schools. We will organised workshops for school students and also sponsored a few students from each school or institutions to be trained by qualified trainers. Workshops would also encompassed ice skating and archery sports. With these workshops, we are able to help schools to cultivate, nurture and train potential ice skating and archery athletes.

To learn more about what ESPACE is offering, kindly visit them at Grand Merdeka Mall or call 088 357 977. Special bookings are available for birthday parties, team building and many more.

Monday, 16 April 2018

The Life Changing Story of Charlie

Written by Sylviannie Jreneus 
Parents Avenue Magazine Issue No.11 April to June 2018

Charlie with his parents in the ward on the day of discharge.

Charlie bin Magawa is a 9-year-old boy from Kampung Mantus, Kota Marudu. He is the fifth and the youngest child of Magawa bin Malugot, 55 and Roining binti Kulamau, 49. Charlie has two older brothers and two older sisters. The first two siblings, aged 28 and 25, are currently working with a private agricultural company in Australia. The third sibling, aged 21, is currently unemployed, whilst the fourth sibling is studying in Form One in SMK Tandek, Kota Marudu. As for Charlie, he goes to SK Tanjung Batu, Kota Marudu as a Year 3 student. With a big passion for badminton and art, Charlie leads a normal life just like every other boy at his age. But, little do we know, that Charlie was previously diagnosed with a serious health condition that, had he been left untreated, could have cost him his life.

It all started when Charlie, who was then only 5 years old, was down with fever and later begun to experience breathing difficulties. As every concerned parent would do, his parents brought him to a Kota Marudu Hospital to seek for further help. The doctor on duty did an X-ray on the little boy, which led to the first diagnosis – Charlie had heart issues. The same day that he was diagnosed, Charlie was sent into emergency and was straightaway transferred to Sabah Women and Children Hospital, Likas, Kota Kinabalu.

He received more detailed tests in Sabah Women and Children Hospital. A blood test was performed and the results came in positive that he was suffering from Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). A paediatric cardiologist from Sabah Women and Children Hospital, Likas did an X-ray on Charlie. He had found that one of Charlie’s four heart valves was infected.

After detection, Charlie was given antibiotics to fight off against his valve infection, and that treatment lasted for a year. Unfortunately, the valve was still infected, so Charlie had no other choice than to receive a monthly injection during the second year until proper treatment could be done; which is to undergo a heart surgery.

Charlie’s scar 3 months after the surgery.

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) suffered by Charlie is a condition of permanent damage to one or more heart valves. It is caused by rheumatic fever, which is a complication of an untreated bacterial infection with Streptococcus, or “strep”. Like in Charlie’s case, it is all started when he was down with fever but at the same time, he experienced breathing difficulties. Rheumatic fever, which symptoms are shown by Charlie during the early detection, is an inflammatory disease that follows a strep infection. If it is left untreated, it can affect many tissues, especially the heart, joints, skin, or brain. The infection may cause heart damage, particularly scarring of the heart valves. This forces the heart to work harder than usual to pump blood. In some cases, the damage may resolve on its own. However, there are also cases where the damage is permanent, which eventually causes heart failure. Heart-related complications of rheumatic fever may develop months or even years after the initial strep infection.

The doctor who handled Charlie’s case in Sabah Women and Children Hospital, Likas made an effort to ease out the family’s application to get funds from Sabah Council of Social Service (SCSS) as little Charlie needed to undergo a heart surgery as soon as possible. They waited for less than a year before the application was finally approved by YB Datuk Hajjah Jainab DSP Hj Ahmad Ayid, the Ministry of Community Development and Consumer Affairs. That was the first good news received by the family for Charlie’s case. In the meantime, Charlie still depended on the monthly injection until he turned 8.

At first, Charlie’s parents were informed about their available options on where the surgery can be performed, which was at a hospital in India, or Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital. Due to distance, going to India was not the family’s first option, so they opted for Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital as they were able to perform the heart surgery for Charlie there. That was indeed the second good news for the family.

Dr. Abu checking Charlie’s heart.

Dr. Abu Bakar, Cardiothoracic Surgeon of Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital finally handled Charlie’s case. Before surgery, Charlie’s condition worsened up until the point where he turned terribly weak. His skin turned pale, he lost a lot of weight and he was down with swollen chest. He also experienced abdominal and chest pain which made his condition even worse. He was still facing difficulties in breathing due to the worsening of his heart condition. His parents were very heartbroken to see their youngest child being in that condition and have been praying hard to be able to see Charlie’s health back on track again. The strong parents refused to give up on their son.

So the heart surgery was done and there comes the third good news and the biggest blessings for the family. Charlie’s heart surgery was a success! Thanks to all doctors who did their parts throughout his journey as a Rheumatic Heart Disease patient, from a very weak and thin little boy, Charlie is now an active boy and he gained weight as his appetite increased. His parents’ prayers have been answered. Just like typical adventurous boys of his age, he is always with his outdoor activities, especially cycling and playing badminton. The surgery done by Dr. Abu Bakar from Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital is indeed life changing. Charlie’s case is a living proof of that.

The operation cost is approximately RM60,000 to RM80,000 and was fully funded by Sabah Council of Social Service (SCSS). SCSS, or also known as Majlis Perkhidmatan Masyarakat Sabah (MPMS) is established under the Chairmanship of the Commissioner Labour and Welfare with the main purpose of assisting voluntary welfare work and it includes for health-related cases like Charlie’s. SCSS is later became the constituent partner of The National Council of Social Welfare, Malaysia alongside with the Sarawak Social Welfare Council.

Charlie with his parents at Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital

As parents, Magawa and Roining were over the moon and were very thankful to be able to receive full funding from SCSS to cover Charlie’s heart surgery cost at Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital. It was a blessing for the family who are desperate to see their beloved child to live a normal life again. And Charlie just did!

As a father, Magawa has a message for every family who are facing similar situation like theirs. To him, patience is the key. There must be a cure for all diseases, as long as we follow what the doctor’s advice. Doctors are specialised in their own fields and of course the suggestions made by them are the best. As for Charlie’s mother, Roining, she said that it is important for us to act fast for treatments and don’t be afraid to do the surgery because it does change our life. Like her husband, she also encourages each of us to listen to the doctor’s advice.

Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital, where Charlie’s life-changing heart surgery was performed, is a tertiary level hospital bringing Sabah a Healthcare facility of International standards that shall work towards enhancing care in the state of Sabah. It is assimilated with regionally well-established premium Gleneagles brand inculcating a facility with high quality amenities / comforts, service levels to match, infused with cutting edge technology and have a highly trained team of consultants and staffs.

Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Cardiac Centre is bolstered by prevention program, diagnosis and treatment directly to the patients, both adults and children. The cardiac team consists of Interventional Cardiologist, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Cardiac Anaesthetist, Perfusionist, Peadiatric Cardiologist & Cardiac Technicians. They have a standby cardiac catheterization laboratory that would operate for 24 hours. Thanks to the professionalism of the Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital, many lives were saved, that including Charlie’s.

Monday, 9 April 2018



Winner of COVERSEARCH 2017 
Category D (5 to 12 years)
Images by Hannah William Photography
Venue by Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu
Issue No.10 (Jan-Mar 2018)

Hi Maya! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My full name is Maya Faith Ibraheem David Williams Chong Ai, but friends usually know me by the name Maya Faith Williams. I am 9 years old and I am currently in year 4. I have a younger sister call Tia Starr Williams and my dad is called David Williams and my mom is Nirwana Chong. My Father is from Manchester, United Kingdom and my mommy is born and bred Sabahan. I can speak Malay as well as English, I tried learning Mandarin before but I was not good at it. I love music and dancing and acting. I too have been taking ballet lessons since I was 5 years old and I am in grade three.

What is your favourite food?
I have a lot of favourite food. But mostly I like Nasi Briyani, Soto, Satay, Maggie Noodle (But my mom don’t let me eat it all the time, she said it’s bad for you), and my Popo’s Curry Chicken. I am a typical Malaysian Girl :-)

What are your hobbies?
During my free time, I love spending time and playing with my little sister Tia. I too love dancing, acting and singing. Apart from that, like every other girl my age I love watching cartoon and TV shows, my current favorite is Victorious. It’s about a teenage girl trying to get her way in into Hollywood Arts in America. Apart from that, I enjoy spending time with my cats and sneaking on playing make ups with my sister.

How did you feel when you were announced the winner at the COVERSEARCH 2017 contest?
I was very happy and excited because I did not expect that I would win. After knowing that I have won, I was so excited and I have won amazing prizes such as spending vouchers and I get to stay at Hotel Grandis too. I was also overwhelmed as I did work a little hard on my rapping performance. So I guess hard work pays off <3

Food Tasting at Dragon Palace Sabah

Food testing with members from the media and the press
South African abalone and Free Range Chicken Soup

Western Australian Rock Lobster Noodles

Golden Prawns

Sweet and Sour Fish.

Peking Duck

Western Australia Snow Crab with Salted Egg Yolk

Western Australia Snow Crab

This week the parents avenue team was fortunate enough to sample the delights at Suria Sabah’s newest Chinese Restaurant.

We started our feast with a bowl of double boiled South African abalone and free range chicken soup. The soup was flavourful with plenty of meat and fresh, tasty Abalone.

Following that we were served my favourite dish of the evening, creamy lobster noodles. The noodles had a carbonara like flavour and was paired with perfectly steamed Western Australian Rock Lobster. Absolutely Divine!

Continuing the shell fish theme, we were fortunate enough to sample the freshly flown in Western Australia Snow crab, prepared with salted egg topping. The large limbs of the crab were bursting with flavour and had the nice firm texture you would expect from such fresh seafood.

Next we sampled the large, locally sourced golden prawns. This dish was the dry butter style and was another highlight of the evening.

The last seafood dish offered was sweet and sour fish. Whilst this may be a common dish, it was well executed with wonderful flavours and fresh ingredients.

From the shore we tried the black pepper Australian beef with mixed mushrooms. This combination had a strong Umami taste which mixed well with some of the less savoury dishes we sampled and was very similar to the Golden fried mushroom dish we were also served.

Peking Duck was the next dish. It was presented with egg pancakes and traditional condiments and plum sauce, all combining to make a delicious wrap. Closing up the evening, Foshan Roast Chicken with chilli and vinegar sauce was also served, a hearty combination that would compliment any menu.

Overall the ambiance is very elegant and the service was good, but booking would be advised as the restaurant was full when we went.

About Dragon Palace Seafood: 
Dragon Palace Seafood and Dim Sum Restaurant serves authentic Cantonese style cuisines prepared by our Chefs from GuangZhou, China coupled with the spectacular view of South China Sea. We also stock array of live seafood from local Sabah and Perth, Western Australia.