Thursday, December 24, 2009

IDSF Grand Slam 2009 Shanghai Part II

As the premier sporting body governing dancesport I would like you to look at these group of adjudicators and Presidium members. These are the people who has made history in IDSF by introducing and testing the new judging system that will be adopted in future Olympic family Games and the Grand Slam events in the future. 
So what is this new judging system all about? Previously the judging of the competitors are based on the skating system. The results are keyed in the Pro Dance program and it will churn out the winner. Now think about it, what does it tell you about the Dancers performance and do you know the adjudicators' basis in selecting a particular dance couple to be better than the others? 
The new IDSF judging system is similar to the system adopted by the ice skating union. They place certain fixed routine and they mark you based on certain criteria. Certainly what is good for ics skating may not necessarily be good for Dancesport. The IDSF in line with turning dancesport into an olympic class sporting event have decided that they must evolve to suite the needs of time. 
A day before the Grand Slam event were to take place the athletes were called for a briefing on how the new judging system works. To sum it in a nut shell, the finalist are judged based on 5  component criteria and they are as follows: 
PB - Posture, Balance, Coordination; QM - Quality of Movement ; MM - Movement to music PA- Partnering and CP - Choreography and Presentation. Under each criteria stated above there are sub-criteria say in PA - the judges will look at Physical Connection, Communication without physical connection; Appropriateness, Effectiveness and consistency. 
A marking scale of 1 to 10 will be given 1 would be Very Poor till 10 Outstanding. The couple with the highest point wins.
The computer system was develop by the Japanese Dancesport Association and the results are given to the Dancers immediately. It is indeed a very transparent system. 
I had a chat with Simone Sigattori at the welcome dinner, he appeared nonchalant for this is a departure from the norm. Benedetto Feruggia saw the importance of moving forward if we want Dancesport to move in the direction of sports. After the Grand Slam Standard Finals, the finalist took the new judging system very positively and it certainly is here to stay. 
Now with the new judging system , it does not means that the skating system will be done away with. IDSF will still use the skating system for the IDSF competitions. The new adjudicating system will be used in the Olympic Family Games like the coming Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010 and also the Grand Slam.
What about the audience what do they think about it? Dancesport after all is a spectator sport and the aim certainly is to entertain the audience to in a sporting way. The audience love it and from the cheers and the rumble in Luwan Stadium I would not be misrepresenting to say that the audience were enthusiastic when the couples were introduced to do the solo dances. Yes, the new system judges the 6 couple individually in all the 5 dances. Now can you imagine having a show dance in all the 5 dances by the top 6 couples in the world. 
I can see that Carlos Frietag and Heinz Spaeker were looking at the time and guaging the audiences response. I can say this, their concern are totally unfounded and the new system is an absolute success. 
You can get the full result from IDSF web site however just in case you do not know the Grand Slam Final Champions for  Standard is Benedetto Ferrugia and Claudia Kholer from Germany and the Latin American Champion is Alexy Silde and Anna Fistova from Russia. 
I have seen Blackpool a couple of times and now I have seen the IDSF Grand Slam Finals in Shanghai. There is no comparison at all. Blackpool is a Dances Festival in a leisure park setting. It has a long history and a good place to do your shopping there. I do not know why they still have it at the Winter Gardens, it is a very old historical building where the ventilation is much left to be desired and there are hardly adequate standing space let alone sitting. 
The IDSF Grand Slam on the other hand is a sporting event and with the new format of judging, my vote will go to the Grand Slam any day.
The opening season of the Grand Slam for 2010 will be in Tokyo, Japan. You have the time and if you love to see Dancesport at its best, the Grand Slam is where you want to be.                                 

Picture are the Adjudicators, Scrutineers, Mr. Carlos Freitag, Mr. Heinz Spaeker and Mr. Shawn Tay.                  

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

IDSF Grand Slam 2009 Shanghai

Shanghai is the biggest city in China with a population of 20 million people. It is one of the biggest metropolis in the world and the city literally is built along the Huang Pu River that cuts across the city. The long and checkered history of how Shanghai became an international enclave is to dwell a bit into the history of China. In my opinion the significant year was 1897 till 1899. That was the year of the incident of the "Cutting of the Chinese Melon"  and the "Open Door" policy of China. Under the Manchu rule, China was at its weakest. 
The countries wanted a piece of action in China were England, France , Germany, Russia and Japan. Later even the Yankees  joined in. Shanghai being an important trading port had their respective government creating their own enclaves. Today if you were to walk along the Bund you can see European Architecture, a testimony of their influences in the early days when they were just nothing but plain invaders. Today it is different, Shanghai is ultra modern. A Taxi Ride from down town Shanghai normally takes 60 minutes to Pudong, will take you just 8 minutes by the Meg Lev high speed train. 

I have to confess, I went to Shanghai to capture a glimpse of old Shanghai and the fabulous Shanghai night (a song by that name too). The old buildings are still there but what a disappointment it was to see the Chinese traditional gabled roof and Chinese arches with Star Bucks Coffee sign board prominently seated below the arches. The iconic Paramount is there but alas taxi dancers in cheongsam have disappeared in time. It is now a karaoke joint operated by a Taiwanese. 

The event on the 12th and 13th of December was at the Luwan Stadium, in a district by the same name in down town Shanghai. The Stadium has a capacity of 8,000 people and it was packed every night. Apparently it also coincides with China National Selection that had started three days earlier. I feel I will be wasting my time telling you how good are the Chinese Latin American and Standard Dancers, but let me give you an insight on how they do things in China. 

To have five dances in China is a must. When you have your five dances you are classified as a Class A dancer. At the National Ranking, they will compete and if they excel or pass a certain point system, then only are they allowed and they can be registered as an IDSF Grade A Dancers. You cannot as of right just because you have five dancers join an IDSF competition. China Dancesport will not register you and with the new IDSF-Licensing and Registration System, the job is so much easier. Your name is either in the system or you are not in. This is being introduced through out the world and controlled by IDSF.

In total there were 1,300 couples participating in the event in all categories, that they can match the Russian National selection. I was with the IDSF Presidium member and Secretary of IDSF. I feel his remarks sums it all, you cannot even see a bad couple on the floor. Technically they are so good in both Latin  American and Standard. Acrobatic stunts like vertical splits, jumps and spins are nothing to the Chinese, almost all the Dancers have their signature moves and you can expect something dramatic. I personally feel that China  Standard couples will make inroads and they have already done so in Blackpool. The Latin American dancers may take some times. I may be bias, in the IDSF Open, you can compare the European and the Chinese side by side, there is still the "X" factor that is lacking. Dancesport is an adopted sport from the West or perhaps it is like comparing Chuck Norris or Jean Claude Van Damm to Jacky Chan or Jet Li. You will still say a "Kwai Loh" doing Kung Fu or perhaps a white lady wearing a cheongsam or qipao, if you know what I mean. It just does not gel up.     

On dance costumes, I have this to say in my talks with the local Chinese competitors. The Grade A dancers wear Brackleys Tails, Ronn Gunn and many Italian sounding names that I have not heard before. For the ladies Chrisanne, Edda Hsu and even one of them wore an Aspen International. For shoes, Dance Naturale, Freed, Supadance and Ray Rose are quite common. So why are they not supporting their local brand? Many of them told me that their local brand are alright for low key club competition but not the Nationals. Many will not buy a dress off the rack, even if it fits them. I accused them of being bias, but they retorted that technical failure of costume is so common and many have gone through patch up work with safety pins. I am sure there is no need for me to mention China made dance shoes for I believe quite a few of you have experienced it in Malaysia. 

All said, many of them still buy their own cloth and choose their tailor to stitch a gown to their design, that is a better option they quipped. So to all of you who intend to go to China to buy your ballroom gown or Latin costume, perhaps select your cloth, have a design in your mind or better still bring a picture of the dress you want and get it tailored there. Tthey can copy and do a good replica within 24 hours. To those who still want to buy off the rack, do not be discourage, you may still get a good discount but "Caveat Emptor". 
The picture is the Oriental Pearl TV Tower taken from the boat on a Huang Pu cruise.                                                         

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tunku Imran on IF

The key note address given by the President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia ( OCM) Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar at the Sports Asia 2009 forum in Kuala Lumpur recently reminded participants the importance of International Federation.
Tunku Imran made it very clear that International Federation governing the sports should play an important role in ensuring the development and growth of the sports under the respective National Sports Association governing the sports. He further went on to emphasise that it is a two way traffic , in that if the National Sports Association (NSA) benefits from the help it received from the International Federation, this in turn will also benefit the International Federation in promoting its sports. 
What was spoken and said by Tunku is certainly interesting, when we see the problems surrounding Taekwando where Tunku was the Chairman of the Pro Temp Committee taking over the duties of the NSA that is Malaysian Taekwando Association. Perhaps with the change of stand Malaysia Taekwando problem will come to an end and they will be admitted into SUKMA. 
Coming back to Dancesport, the International Federation governing the sport is the Asian Dancesport Federation and the International Dancesport Federation (IDSF). The Malaysian Professional Dancesport Council are admitted as members in both the bodies. 
MPDC did apply to join OCM last year, unfortunately their application was rejected because of the presence of MDSB. 
The question that needs to be asked is, will MPDC be able to join OCM, so that it can play its role as the NSA for Dancesport?    

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Asian Dancesport Federation

On the 8th of November 2009, at the Annual General Meeting in Hanoi, the President of Asian Dancesport Federation (ADSF) Mr. Keiji Ukai has moved a motion to admit Malaysian Professional Dancesport Federation as the Provisional member of ADSF. This is indeed pleasant news to hear that we have unanimous support by the other Asian countries.This news is carried at

With the confidence ADSF have in us, we want to reassure them that we will live up to the ADSF and IDSF principles and ideals in Malaysia. 

We would like to take this opportunity to remind all dancesport athletes. IDSF and ADSF are the international Federation governing dancesport that has been accepted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). 

With this responsibility, we also want you to note that MPDC membership is open to all Malaysian Citizens who are keen to participate in Dancesport following the IDSF ideals. Like in all organisation we have Rules and Regulations to follow and if you breach the rules, sanctions will be imposed against you.  We have gone through a lot of nonsense in our early formative days because we are not yet in ADSF. 

In the Asian Indoor Games recently, I would like to inform you that ALL the athletes are MPDC registered members. I would like to further inform you that MPDC has stamped and sealed the entry forms for the athletes and officials to the Hanoi Asian Indoor Games, without that, the athletes will not be allowed on the floor. 

You may be wondering why the strict compliance of the ADSF and IDSF Rules? Recently the international federation governing football,  F.I.F.A. banned Brunei and Iraq when the government and the national olympic committee interfered into the affairs of national sports association. As a result the country cannot send any teams to any international games. At the time of writing, Brunei Football team is out of the Laos SEA Games. Iraq can also forget about the Asian Games if the matter with FIFA is not resolved by then.      

We do not want this to happen in Malaysia and we will protect and stand by the IDSF ways and will not allow any interference by any bodies to dilute our impartiality in promoting Dancesport in Malaysia.     


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Results of 3rd Hanoi Asian Indoor Games

You can get the results of the 3rd Hanoi Asian Indoor Games at the ADSF website at .

The enclosed pictures are supplied by Etienne and Zenny a husband and wife Team.. Etienne used to partner Kathy and they were the top Latin American couple representing Vietnam. They were very active participating in the Asian circuit. The partnership broke up when Etienne married Zenny.

Of the 10 events both in Standard and Latin, Vietnam managed to get into the finals in 9 events. The even mananged to beat traditional power house like China, Japan , Korea and Khazakstan to take Gold in Jive and Rumba. Before you fly off the handle accusing that there may be unfair judging, I want to assure you that the judges selected are all from European countries and there are no Asian judges.

When the Games are held in their country, the home team have the addded advantage of the home support. Further Vietnam Dancesport Association did fly in top coaches to train their Team and they were preparing them even before the official announcement that Vietnam will be hosting the 3rd Asian Indoor Games.

OCM couples did not make it into the finals unfortunately, but whatever Malaysia was represented at the 3rd Asian Indoor Games.

In November 2010 is the Guangzhou Asian Games. This is the first time Dancesport will be featured in the Asian Games and I can assure you that China will be ready to take on Asia. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Asian Indoor Games Vietnam

With the Asian Indoor Games just around the corner, I was informed that Anthony & Anita our Malaysian Top Standard couple has withdrawn from the Olympic Team.I am not quite sure of the reason, but I believe one of the reason is that they were not at all notified by OCM or the Team Mananger that they were selected until the last minute. Last Asian Indoor Games and SEA Games they went under category A meaning OCM pays everything, but now they are not sure if they go under category A,B,C,D or E. Anyway they were selected from the MPDC list and not from the MDSB list of the Melaka competition or the OCM trail list held in August 2009.

So how are the athletes selected for the OCM team? Ah! that is something you must ask OCM, but whatever it is based on fair play. So OCM have their trails. You may ask whether OCM has selected any from the OCM trials? The answer is NO! Now you see how confusing it is.

From this what can you make out of the OCM selection process? Now you have to understand that OCM follows fair play and Olympism and give opportunity for young dancers to represent OCM. Never mind if they are not properly selected, if OCM say they can go, they go. So in Standard event this WDC AL couple represent OCM. So on what basis are they selected? Again no one seems to know.

On the other hand, how did OCM selected the MPDC Latin couple, to go for the Games? I really do not know, but one thing is certain, all the Latin couples that took part in  the OCM trials were not  considered at all.

I can only guess that OCM have no choice but to select 2 MPDC couple to go for the Games because without MPDC endorsement OCM cannot get the WDC AL couple to go for the Games. A little confusing isn't it. Okay the long and short of the matter is, OCM have no choice but to select the MPDC couple as a gateway to go to the AIG because the technical rules of the AIG are govern by IDSF rules . Now do you get it!

People ask me what happen to those who responded to the OCM trails and came out 1st , 2nd and 3rd at the trails, why were they not selected and how come 2 couples from MPDC who never participated at the trails were selected? I suppose all of them are just misled. Were they told why they were not selected? No.

A word of advice to all who intend to go to the Asian Games , SEA Games and Asian Indoor Games. :-

a. It is true that OCM arrange the athletes for the Games;
b. It is true that they issue the accreditation card for the athletes and officials;
c. It is true that the OCM bosses will go and see you chaps perform and they have the right to comment on your performance;
d. It is NOT true that the Games are run by OCM rules;
e. It is NOT true that the technical rules are govern by OCA or OCM;
f. It is TRUE that the technical Rules follow only IDSF rules;
g. In the event there are conflicts between OCA rules and IDSF rules on technical matters, IDSF Rules applies;
h. It is TRUE that only MPDC can legally hold a National ranking competition, this is in the Sports Development Act;
i. It is TRUE that only MPDC have that right because they are recognised by the International Federation; and that is IDSF;
j. You can take part in any competition and dance your heart out but if that competition is not sanctioned by MPDC that competition cannot be considered as a ranking. They can call it by whatever name they want OCM trials , Ranking for Selection for Asian Indoor Games , nothing will happen if that competition is not sanctioned by MPDC;
k. What I write is all TRUE and all you need is check Section 34 of the Sports Development Act , the title says Use of recognised rules and guidelines for competitions says....

"A sports body shall ensure that all sports competitions and events authorised, conducted or participated in by it as well as those held under its auspices, are in accordance with the recognised rules and guidelines of all international governing and regulatory bodies for its sport in all matter . including the standard and qualifications of all participants and officials as well as the health ............." 

So now you understand OCM can say what they like and I can assure you OCM is not a member of IDSF , they are just like another Sports Body like MPDC. The WDC AL athletes are able to participate because if the MPDC athletes do not go, no one can go and OCM cannot do anything. Yes! it is a trade off for the love of the sport. Yes! we were critised by our actions but at least our athletes can participate.
l. True MPDC is part of IDSF,
m.TRUE MPDC follows the Rules and Regulations of IDSF; and if you say it is a political body, that is what you say and you are entitled to your opinion;
j. It is NOT TRUE that MPDC does not allow anyone to join our ranking. You can join but you have to be our member and abide by our rules. Just like if I were to go to your house I also must abide by your rules;

So if there a competition that say that it is a selection for Olympic Family Games, don't be easily fooled, check with us.

Finally don't feel bad if you are played out, you should have checked with us in the first place.   

Friday, September 25, 2009

Olympian Team to Vietnam Asian Indoor Games

Okay there was a slight mistake, apparently the Team going for the Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam is selected by the Olympic Council of Malaysia. They even have a "stylo milo" namer for this Team. Yeah! The Olympian Team or something like that.

Well whatever, at least Malaysia is represented in the 3rd Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam and for the love of Dancesport we wish all of them a Happy and fruitful outing.

I forgot to tell you that MPDC applied to join OCM but our application was rejected, so that is the end of the story and end of the road. You may want to know the reason why it was rejected? It is beacuse MDSB are still members of OCM, and the constitution say there can be only one member representing a sport. Oh ! but IDSF recognises MPDC but that is not important la in Asian Indoor Games.

Although MDSB membership has been revoked by IDSF, I think they are doing something about it. Seriously we wish them well and I hope all will turn out well. Then you may ask what will happen to MPDC? Aiyaa ! simple la see what IDSF say , if they say we move out of IDSF, we move out la. If they say we are suspended, we remain suspended la. If they say hang on, we hang on la.

Now those who want to dance in the Asian Games 2010 , go to OCM and ask them when are they holding the OCM Trials.

However if you are going to participate in IDSF competition come to us, we still have a function to play but must be member first and pay membership fee. Must also sign good boy or girl letter. Not easy for Freedom to Dance dancers where they subscribe to "macam macam dan apa macam pun bolih dance policy."

As for the 3rd Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam, only OCM have the power to let you go. Unfortunately MPDC have nothing to do with this Games or are associated with it. Sigh!

All the same we wish the Olympian Team good luck.

The picture is a flower with 5 red rings. Good luck ring la!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dancers and adjudicators

This topic that I intend to write about is not going to make me win a popularity contest. As a matter of fact some of the people will scorn at me and some may feel that I am breaking their rice bowl. I would like to discuss with you about dance teachers and dance athletes. First and foremost does a dance athlete who say represent the country automatically qualifies as a dance teacher? Are the Dance teachers qualified to teach students to dance the correct way? What then makes a qualified dance teacher? Now take note I am talking about Dance Athletes being dance instructors. Now we know for a fact that there are many teachers who does not have a certificate in dance arre excellent teachers and have produced good results. Such teachers willl have problems appling to be IDSF adjudicators.

Here I need to stray a bit to good Ole' England. English are good at lots of things and one of the most outstanding legacy the British left behind is the British style Civil Service. There are also bloody good at arranging things put them in order. Look even in Ballroom dancing, they managed to systematically lay out the medal test and have names for every moves in a Waltz or a Quick step. Most of you may have heard about the Imperial School of Teachers of Dancing that was founded in 1904 .

The Waltz steps that you dance today like the Basic Weave or Reverse Corte is More than a 100years old. Do you know that steps like the Open Telemark and Closed Telemark is named after a place in Norway. For that matter the term Corta Jaca in Samba have its origin to farmers working in the field using their heel to plant seeds. Try it and you know what I mean.

So what is my point. Okay here is my point , I heard an international adjudicator making a remark that some of the Dancers does not seem to know what are syllabus steps. What is even worst is a dancer who makes some fancy moves in a Beginners Competition dancing outside Syllabus steps are not even warned or disqualified. With this happening he strongly suspect that this state of affairs was allowed to perpetuate when the so call adjudicators themselves do not know what they are judging.

Sad is it not ! Now whose fault is it? You figure it out and don't you think something have to be done?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Guangzhou Asian Games

With the Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam in 2009, and the acceptance of Dancesport into the Asian Games in 2010, there may be a likelihood that Dancesport will eventually be dropped from the Asian Indoor Games series. It is the wish of all Dancesport enthusiast and supporters that Dancesport be in as many Olympic Family Games as possible and finally one day we hope it will make it into the Olympics.

At the Annual General Meeting in Macau 2009, that was the aim of IDSF , to make Dancesport part of the Olympic Games. Compare to Golf or Rugby, Dancesport is relatively new, in the sense that it was only recognised as a sport in 1999. The term Dancesport (one word) is a newly coined term to described what was formerly called Ballroom. Not that the term Ballroom dancing has been dropped, in the social context it is still referred to as Ballroom dancing.

Okay a little trivia about the Asian Indoor Games. The Olympic Council of Malaysia will be sending four (4) couples to represent Malaysia in the 3rd Asian Indoor Games in Hanoi, Vietnam. Two couples for Latin American event and two couples for Standard permitted. The latest we were informed that Michael & Janet our 1st Latin ranked couple cannot go for the Games because Janet who is currently in England cannot make it back home for the Games. It would be good if OCM can consider sending the 3nd ranked couple Chua Czen Fong and Evon to replace them. All the same we wish them all the best and may they have a good time in Vietnam. The Asian Indoor Games is not an easy competition. We would be very proud of our athletes if they can make it into the semi finals.

Okay what I would like to tell you a bit is the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010. There will be a total of 10 gold medals in contention. The Games will be in November 2010. What I want to highlight to you is the arrangement of events in the Asian Games. It is a departure from the Asian Indoor Games in Bangkok 2005 and Macau 2007.

The 10 medal are as follows :-
For Latin , the 5 dance event, Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Paso Doble and Jive. For Standard the 5 dance event, followed by Waltz, Quickstep, Tango and Fox Trot. Notice if you will they have excluded Rumba and Viennese Waltz as a single medal event . However in the 5 dance event you still have Viennese Waltz and Rumba.

We will be discussing about preparation for Guangzhou 2010 and we need to have a plan if we are seriously going to Guangzhou. Malaysia will have to send the best Team and this call for sacrifice from the athletes. Our goal is very modest , just bring back a medal from the Asian Games. This will be a boost to dancesport for Malaysia.

We need to be noticed by the National Sports Council. In 2011 the next SEA Games will be in Bandung, Indonesia. In Indonesia, Team Dancesport Malaysia must bring back some gold medals. There is no if or buts and failure is not an option.
P.S. We understand that the technical committee of Dancesport is under the International Federation governing the sport , that is IDSF/ADSF. We are informed by ADSF that Malaysia have no representative in their organisation. The Olympic Council of Malaysia is sending a Team under their banner, we do hope OCM will pay for all their expenses or at least subsidise for the athletes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In Hybernation

Dear All,

This Blog is not dead or has gone dormant. It has gone into quiet hibernation. Come early Spring, it will Spring back to life.

The picture you see was taken in the morning when it was still very misty. You should see the Dancers they produce there.

Can anyone guess where is this place?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

MPDC now in IDSF

The IDSF has informed MPDC that they have been selected by the Presidium of IDSF to represent Malaysian in Dancesport. The letter was dated the 22nd of April 2009 and we only informed recently. I was requested to remove the letter by our President, too sensitive it seems. Anyway in its place here is a picture of a very handsome couple Cecilia and Billy. The picture expresses passion and expression in a rumba.

The notice shock me and to MPDC. I need not repeat the story of the change in regime. I was subsequently told by the President that the Presidium of IDSF asked him if he would accept the IDSF membership, he accepted because there are no other candidate that are eligible.

I am shocked because we are MPDC the professionals now that we are in IDSF we need to apply to change our name to reflect this situation. It is more work for MPDC and with power , come greater responsibility. I was told that despite my shallow knowledge of the IDSF rules, I was not sacked and they have asked me to be the Sports Director of this new outfit.

Let this be my first duty by breaking the news to you. The next duty if you will permit me to gently and kindly remind you that under the IDSF rules passed on the 15th of June AGM in Moscow, all those who dance in an IDSF run competition will have to be a member of the National Association. Now this National Association is MPDC.

If at all you are registered previously as an MDSB member, I am sorry to have to inform you that your membership is no longer valid. You need to be an MPDC member and now you can just go to our web page at on the left hand corner go to documents and all the information on membership are there. We are still in our infantile stage and if there are hiccups here and there please bear with us a bit.

Memberships to MPDC are open to all not only to DanceSport athletes but to Dance schools also. They can join as Associate members too.

Finally I want to just remind you that MPDC exist for you, not the other way around. We want to serve our members better with the whole aim of promoting dancesport. We are a council and we act according to the Rules of IDSF, I am sorry we cannot bend the IDSF rules for anyone.

All our competitions if it carries that IDSF logo are IDSF run competitions. Our local competitions are all IDSF run competitions using all IDSF international adjudicators and the scrutineering program licensed by IDSF. MPDC is not a free for all club and if you subscribe to the ideals of Freedom to Dance , you are free to do what you want , don't join MPDC and you are not bound by any rules.

We are a sport body and as Sportsmen and Sportswomen, we expect a standard of integrity and discipline from all of you. As Sports Director I was not spared of criticism for not doing my job properly as you can see in my earlier blog, MPDC will act without fear or favour and the rules will be applied evenly to all.

To all Grade A who were nearly disqualified, you are ordered to buy me a plate of Char Kway Teow for taking the scolding on your behalf from the Chairman of adjudicators.

Lets work together!

Dancesport Under Seiged (Really Final Part)

This is George Tan he is the president of the Malaysian Professional Dancesport Council (MPDC). He is also the only qualified Chairman of adjudicator in Malaysia. Let me tell you something about him, don't mess with him as far as Dancesport is concerned. At the Lake Club ranking competition, of the 12 semi finalist I think almost 70 per cent of the Dancesport Athletes should be disqualified.

Now you chaps think that I am joking or smirking over my statement. I think all you Grade A athletes who breached the rules have the Sports Director to thank. You do not know what is happening behind the scene and you know how difficult it is to plead to George Tan when the IDSF law is on his side.

Most of you know about the dress regulations stuff like making sure the 2 bra cups are not more than 5 cm and the under garment cannot be skin colour. How many of you know that if you want to change your costumes in a competition you need to inform and seek the permission of the Chairman of adjudicator? How many of you had sought his permission, according to George Tan, none of you MPDC/IDSF members Grade A did that. No respect for him as Chairman of Adjudicators for the event.

George Tan lectured me that the IDSF regulation was passed many years ago at the 2006 IDSF AGM. At the last IDSF Chairperson Congress in Stuttgart this flouting of the dress regulation has reached such a critical point that Heinz Spaeker the IDSF Sports Director made it clear on the following.

There will no longer be a first warning to change of costume that are in breach of the rules. The chairperson of the competition are NOT obliged to give any warnings. The Chairperson can disqualify a couple immediately in case of a breach of the IDSF Dress Regulations.

If you wish to change your costume, it is now obligatory that couples seek the permission of the Chairperson and that the Chairpersons accepts that the new costumes conform with the dress regulations. It is no fun being lectured by a man who sport an army style hair cut like George Tan, look at his face, you don't mess with a person like him. I had to plead with him and he told me that this is an IDSF run competition , he is not answerable to anyone except his conscience. His conscience is clear. Finally after much pleading he decided to tell me off, that as Sports Director I should know or ought to have known the rules. George Tan referred me to Dancesport Today 3/2007 at page 3.

He warned that he will let me go this time and will take my plea as a requests by all you dancers for permission to change of costumes. Phew! what a relief. Now why is he so strict? George explained that Dancesport is now admitted in the Olympic Family Games but not in the Olympic Games yet. If you athletes keep flouting the rules who suffers, the whole Dancesport community in IDSF suffers.

Now you see why you dancers have to buy me dinner and thank me. Now it is my turn to warn all of you, Dancesport is a Sport. So don't play play okay? You are in MPDC and we follow only IDSF rules, you want to go for the Games respect the rules of IDSF. There is no compromise on this.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dancesport Under Seiged (Final Part)

Mr. Peter Ong,
Organizer 15th April, 2009
Dear Sir,
Re: Competition to be held at Royal Lake Club on 25th April, 2009

We refer to the above, we have been informed that you are the organizer of the above event and have further been informed that MDSB’s logo and name have been used in conjunction with this event.

Please note that MDSB has not allowed you to use the Association logo or name.

Kindly confirm that you will forthwith remove all material which uses the Association logo and name and that you undertake not to use the same further. In the event the information we have received is incorrect please let us know.

In the event we do not have your reply within 48 hours, we shall take all necessary action including and not limited to obtaining an injunction from the court against the event.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Yours sincerely
George PC Lim

Okay some of you have written to me telling me that you wanted to have sight of the letter from MDSB to The Dancespace. The above picture file is the letter and just in case you cannot read the contents I have taken the liberty to copy and paste the contents in red.

Now being put in a situation what can The Dancespace do, but to remove in accordance to the instructions in the letter. It was during that time The 2nd National ranking was in a twilight zone and The Dancespace had no choice but to seek guidance from MPDC. Since this is a Malaysian ranking and by virtue of the fact that MPDC is registered as a Sports Body, MPDC can conduct a National ranking and accordingly endorsed and sanction the event.

This is not the way to treat another sport body and to say the least the conduct of MDSB is very unsporting and highly political. I somehow do not know if that is the correct words to use. The Dancespace Peter Ong is a member of MDSB, as a member he sought their endorsement and sanction to run the competition at the National level. Mr. Peter Ong also did mentioned that if MDSB cannot grant ranking at National level, at least just endorse and sanction the competition. Instead of replying to him, they told him in no uncertain terms to remove anything that is linked to MDSB within 48 hours or else threat of legal action and injunction.

We in MPDC are extremely grateful to Singapore Dancesport Federation ( SGDF) for lending us the SGDF Pro Dance program for scrutineering. We had no choice for MDSB are the owners of their own IDSF Pro Dance program and we do not want The Dancespace to be sued.

Why is MDSB so hostile to its members? Why is MDSB so hostile to MPDC? When they dispute the joint ranking why did MDSB not reply to MPDC President George Tan letter seeking for an explanation? Why?

I do not want to speculate why, but all I care to say is this, MDSB is a member of Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM). They are a member by virtue of their recognition by IDSF as the sole representative of Dancesport in Malaysia. That is a powerful position if you want to go for the Olympic Family Games like the SEA or Asian Games and others.

You see when you have power and you cannot use your power responsibly it can corrupt the soul and mind. There is a saying by a great jurist " Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely". So the scepter to rule Dancesport in Malaysia has suddenly turn into a feather duster. This is when IDSF who are watching the scenario that is being played out in Malaysia and they decide to act. All said you the readers decide whether they deserve what they got.

The story do not end there, there is another body besides MDSB that are working to sabotage the 2nd Malaysian Ranking. This story have the trapping of drama and all elements of a suspense story. That will be another story for another day.

P.S. The letter above dated the 15th April 2009 was sent by email to Mr. Peter Ong, that was the reason why it was not signed, the picture of the letter was enhanced but the contents are verified to be the contents in the letter.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dancesport Under Seiged Part 3

Due to supervening factors that has now come into play, I shall now give you the short answer to the two questions posed in Dancesport Under Seiged Part 2. The short answer is MDSB did not bother to reply to MPDC letter at all and The Dancespace, Peter Ong's request for sanction was met with a demand by MDSB to remove all MDSB logo to suggest that the ranking on the 25th of April 2009 is in anyway linked to MDSB.

Dancespace accordingly complied and since this is an IDSF run competition MPDC have no choice but have to step in and continue with the endorsement and sanctioning of the Dance Competition and the ranking.

MPDC are able to do that because MPDC is a National body registered under the Sports Development Act.

However today 25
th April 2009 we discovered and are able to confirm that MDSB are no longer listed as a member representing Dancesport in Malaysia. You may confirm this by going to the IDSF web site at

The question at the
back of your mind is which Dancesport body will be the filling the vacuum. I cannot at this stage predict but we shall wait and see. There are rumours abound suggesting this body or that body but it is really anybody guess.

Until then
MPDC will continue act as custodian of the IDSF ideals and policies until the new body is selected. MPDC has decided to hold the ranking as promised in 2008 and will do so until such time when the new body representing IDSF in Malaysia is selected.

This is a most unfortunate event and it is pointless to speculate where the fault lies. You know where the fault lies.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dancesport Under Seiged Part 2

Now this is my friend Khun Apache, he was the President of MDSB until December 2008. After 2008 according to Peter Ong he became the Vice President. Now tell me how can you not love this face, certainly does not look like Geronimo. Now perhaps you can understand why MPDC cannot take Peter Ong complain seriously.

The picture was taken at the Vongchalavitkul Hall in Korat where they held the 24th SEA Games for Dancesport in 2007. He was wearing a Thailand accreditation card in helping Thailand organise the athletes. Now you have to understand that Inggeris is not the Thais first language and Thais generally do not speak Inggeris like their "lang chai" Prime Minister Abhisit.

Continuing where I left off, the MPDC council felt that the common courtesy is to write to Khun Apache the President or Vice President of MDSB and confront what Peter Ong seems to have alleged.

All MPDC wanted at that time was an explanation and to clear whatever misunderstanding that we had or they may have taken offense for what MPDC has done or not done. There are problems in this world and really we do not need a war in this small Dancesport community.

Another reason also at that time there was an announcement that MDSB has endorsed an event in Melaka called the 1st Melaka Dancesport Championships 2009. The event is endorsed by MDSB and more important they call it "MDSB 1ST RANKING FOR THE 3rd ASIAN INDOOR GAMES 2009". By logical deduction if the Melaka event is the 1st ranking then the joint ranking is no longer recognised by MDSB.

MPDC of course was worried more for the Dancesport athletes than anything else. They have worked hard and why must they suffer just because of some bungling mistakes done by MDSB. The letter below will lead you through what happened and lay down the MPDC approach in resolving the problems.

I think it is essential for all of you to know that George Tan at that time was the Vice President of MDSB whereas Apache was the President. The mail below, George Tan wrote in his capacity as the President of MPDC and also Vice President of MDSB.

Subject: Malaysia National Ranking Events 2008/2009 & State of Affairs at MDSB
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 00:18:16 +0800
Date: 3rd April 2009
Apache Yong
President BY Email
Malaysian Dancesport Berhad
Kuala Lumpur
Dear Mr. Yong;
Re: The Malaysian Ranking for 2009
I am writing to you in my capacity as Vice President of MDSB and also as the President of MPDC. Of late I have been hearing rumours that you have spoken to our Council member that MDSB is going to declare the joint ranking Championship in Batu Pahat held on the 24th of August 2008 null and void. You have relayed this to Mr. Peter Ong an MDSB member and also our MPDC council member. Mr. Peter Ong had confirmed that this information was relayed to him as an MPDC council member and you said it in your capacity of the President of MDSB and not in jest.
I did not take it seriously of hearsay until recently there was a notice of a Championship called the 1st Melaka Dancesport Championships 09. This Championship is endorsed by MDSB and it also claims to be endorsed by IDSF. Further it was announced that this Championship is MDSB 1st ranking for the 3rd Asian Indoor Games.
This act by MDSB is a hostile act against MPDC and it lacks the spirit, honor, integrity and sportsmanship expected of a sporting body. Let me just remind you of what you and myself has agreed upon.
MDSB has been in hibernation with no significant dancesport activities since December 2007 after the then Sports Director Mr. John Fam resigned.

Agreement to a Joint Ranking by MDSB and MPDC
In 2008 prior to the Batu Pahat 1st Leg Ranking Event, I had, in my capacity as MDSB Vice President & MPDC President called you in your capacity as MDSB President to discuss in details on a joint national ranking to be conducted by MPDC and MDSB. It is because of the inactivity of MDSB, you had agreed with the proposal of joint Ranking and MPDC would undertake to organize the 1st Leg National Ranking at Batu Pahat.

With your agreement, the various documentation on rules & regulations on a 3-Leg National Ranking for the 2008/2009 season was circulated to all concerned and published in the MPDC website for all to see.

Letters were also sent to OCM to inform on the arrangements. You have a record of all our correspondences. You even commented that you are happy that something is done for our dancesport athletes.

We invited you to witness the Championship as President of MDSB but you failed to turn up for reasons known to you.

We have pointed to you in the international scene the relationship of IPDSC and IDSF is one of mutual cooperation and friendship. Likewise we had extended our hands in friendship and did a joint ranking hoping that you would perpetuate the IPDSC/ MDSB spirit in Malaysia. We did not mind at all that you did not contribute anything to the National Ranking. As a matter of fact the OCM challenged Trophy was donated by MPDC for this Joint ranking.

Breach of agreement of Joint ranking by MDSB
MDSB now has openly declared that it does not want to cooperate with MPDC in the ranking matter as it views MPDC as a completely separate entity. By so doing MDSB is going back on their agreement with MPDC. This hostile action by MDSB has brought shame and embarrassment not only to MPDC but also to ADSF and IDSF and IPDSC.

Apart from that, what amazes us is MDSB lack of care and concern for the Dancesport athletes. Is that not the function of the Sporting body like MDSB? The Dancesport athletes have taken part in a ranking competition jointly and now MDSB is doing an about turn denying the athletes the hard work that they have put in with an aim to represent the nation. Whatever points they have accumulated has now gone to the drain.

Does MDSB doubt the integrity of the 1st National Ranking?
Does MDSB doubt the integrity of the Batu Pahat competition on the 24th August or is MDSB playing dirty politics. Let me remind you that the Batu Pahat 1st National ranking was conducted under the watchful eyes of the IDSF Presidium member, who is also the designated Chief Adjudicator of the Competition. The ADSF Sports Director was also present as an adjudicator at the event.

I am now challenging MDSB to fault the conduct and the running of the competition and tell why do you think it should be declared null and void as claimed by MDSB.

The competition ran smoothly up till the Scrutineer whose markings follows the IDSF Pro Dance program and approved by IDSF following the protocol of IDSF.

Silence by MDSB after the 1st National Ranking competition
I have noted that all this while since the 24th of August 2008 after the 1st National ranking, MDSB has not protested or even complained to MPDC, ADSF, IDSF or IPDSC, that the 24th August 2008 competition is an illegal competition conducted by MPDC to be later declared null and void. Why is this so when it was widely publicized in our MPDC website. We would expect you to protest strongly but nothing was forth coming until recently.

Application for 2nd National ranking
After the lapse of 8 months when Mr. Peter Ong of Dancespace who attended a function at the Lake Club in Kuala Lumpur, reported that you as the Vice President of MDSB threaten him that his 2nd National Ranking competition held on the 25th of April 2009 is not recognized by MDSB. It is at this point that it came to our knowledge of the sinister intention of MDSB to sabotage the joint National ranking. What is MDSB motive is something we cannot understand and till to date MDSB has not written to MPDC to explain its intentions.

We only surmise from the circumstances when we saw that MDSB has endorsed an advertised Championship in Melaka as the MDSB 1st Ranking for the 3rd Asian Indoor Games. By that MDSB has openly declared and the
irresistible conclusion that the Joint ranking and the 1st MDSB/MPDC National ranking is not recognized.

President or Vice President of MDSB?
Mr. Peter Ong has described you as the Vice President of MDSB. I had know you at all times that you are the President of MDSB and that I was the Vice President of MDSB. When were you elected as the Vice President is something that I am totally am not aware of. However whether you are the President or Vice President of MDSB, it matters not to me. You are a person in authority and have full knowledge of the intention and design of MDSB.

Poor treatment by MDSB against its own member and refusal to sanction an IDSF run competition.
We also have taken note that Mr. Peter Ong a member of MDSB and also a council member of MPDC has on the 31st of March 2009 written to MDSB with all humility to reconsider their application to sanction his competition as a ranking competition or alternatively if it is untenable to just sanction his competition has met with a wall of silence. This conduct by MDSB is unacceptable for it borders on arrogance by MDSB.

Can you tell me what is MDSB agenda against Mr. Peter Ong in withholding its sanction? We also note the fact that your IDSF International adjudicator Mr. Lee Yoke Seong (YS Lee) has also confirmed the fact that he refused to adjudicate in the 2nd National Ranking on the 25th April 2009 on grounds that it is not a recognized competition. We can assume that Mr. YS Lee must have acted on MDSB instructions.

This is highly insulting and unusual to ADSF and IDSF especially when top IDSF officials are invited to judge the 2nd ranking competition.

MDSB alleged involvement of OCM secretary
You have also alleged that Dato Sieh Kok Chi has endorsed that the first ranking declared by you in Melaka was with the advice from your current MDSB committee and Datuk Sieh who is on board with this. Be that as it may, we find this hard to believe for we understand that the Secretary of OCM role is purely advisory in nature. We will present our report to the Olympic Council of Malaysia and we will be able to ascertain the truth of what you have claimed.

Mr. Apache Yong, MPDC cannot allow this to happen as it has caused confusion and anxiety for the National Dancesport athletes. It has also tarnished the reputation of MPDC. MDSB poor conduct leave us with no choice but to report MDSB unethical conduct to the IDSF and IPDSC legal commission. We will also be presenting a report to the Olympic Council of Malaysia to explain the situation.

We are still perplexed by your hostile stand and we will leave it to IDSF and IPDSC to resolve this matter in Malaysia that we hope will be soon. You have not given me as President of MPDC the courtesy of a reply or an explanation as to what is bothering MDSB. We cannot assist you.

Without any facts before MPDC to consider, we are interpreting your conduct as hostile and highly prejudicial to the interest in the promotion of Dancesport in Malaysia.

As a professional body, it is MPDC duty and considered opinion that MDSB is not a fit and proper body to represent IDSF or promote the interest of IDSF and IPDSC in Malaysia.

Yours faithfully,
George Tan
Olympic Council of Malaysia

Do you know what was MDSB reply to MPDC President? You would like to know what MDSB's reply to Mr. Peter Ong's letter of 31st March 2009 asking for MDSB to sanction and endorsed his event. Ah! wait for Part 3.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dancesport Under Sieged Part 1

Remaining silent in no longer an option. Keeping quite and let time heal the wound will not work. I have received various e-mails and calls from supporters , athletes and friends asking me why is the 25th April 2009 at the Royal Lake Club is endorsed by MPDC only. What happened to the Joint ranking between MDSB/MPDC.

Some even asked me , is it not true that there is a Historic agreement between IDSF and IPDSC to work together in peace and friendship, why then this split in Malaysia. There is such agreement and the IPDSC or IDSF website will confirm this.

Everything that we encounter are all mere perceptions. It is how you perceived things. Yesterday's rebel is embraced as today's freedom fighter. So my view is how I see it as MPDC Sports Director.

The 1st perceived Joint Ranking began on the 24th of August 2008 in Batu Pahat. It went well and the competition adjudicators were all IDSF International adjudicators. We had Shawn Tay as the Chief Adjudicator and various personalities like Belinda Adora the 2005 SEA Games Latin Gold Medallist adjudicating the competition. There were no complaints or protest from anyone especially MDSB.

Fast forward to 22nd March 2009, Mr. Apache Yong met Peter Ong at a function in Lake Club Kuala Lumpur and told him in essence MDSB is not recognising the Batu Pahat Competition as a ranking competition and as such MDSB cannot recognise the 25th of April as a 2nd Ranking.

This got Peter Ong into a flap and when I heard about it, I just dismissed it as Apache may had too much fire water and was just rambling away like he used to. I know him as a cute cherubic man with a mop hair top in the Lat cartoon who have a pleasant sense of humour. Really with a name borrowed from Chief Geronimo tribe, you cannot help but love this man.

Peter Ong was actually quite annoyed with me for not taking it seriously for I told Peter, for whatever it is worth it is mere hearsay and is not admissible in any court of law. Now you have to understand Peter is no ordinary Dance Coach or Opera singer, he not only hold a bachelor law degree but also a Masters degree in Law. I dare say more qualified than me. I told Peter instead of complaining about the darkness go light a candle or put your money where your mouth is. Below is an extract of Peter Ong's email to the Secretary of MPDC copied to the President and myself on the 23rd of March 2009:-

Subject: Re: Fw: Malaysia Grade A National Ranking 2008/2009 Date: Monday, March 23, 2009 2:31 PM From: Peter Ong To: Chester Lim Hian Thoong , Lavinie Thiruchelvam Cc: George Tan , The Dance Space , John Fam Conversation: Malaysia Grade A National Ranking 2008/2009

Dear all, I attended YS Lee's anniversary function at the Lake Club last night as a gesture of support. It was at that function where the following situation was brought up. According to Apache:
1) OCM only recognises MDSB as the official DanceSport body in Malaysia
2) MDSB and MPDC are absolute separate entities
3) OCM will therefore only recognise MDSB's ranking results
4) No agreement was made with regards to the joint-ranking competitions
5) This leaves the Batu Pahat and the coming Lake Club competition ranking results null and void with regards to selecting athletes to be sent to the Games
6) George Lim is now President of MDSB. Apache is VP and Janet Lim is Sports Director
7) MDSB does not wish to cooperate with MPDC in this ranking matter as it views MPDC as a completely separate entity
8) Therefore, only MDSB members will be allowed to participate in the ranking and to proceed to the Games. MPDC membership is not relevant.
9) The first sanctioned ranking will be held in Melaka in June and it is claimed that OCM will only recognise this result under advisement from current MDSB committee and Datuk Seah is onboard with this

10) 12 couples will be sent to the Games based on the Melaka results (6 standard and 6 latin) as there are 10 medals to be contested

11) There are no funds to send the athletes so they will have to bear their own costs
12) They have already informed some of my students of this stand last night and I'm sure will proceed with this method of communication in the near future

This has now created an atmosphere of utter confusion and frustration, as you can imagine. This has to be resolved immediately for the sake of the dancers who would like to go for the Games.
It is in my opinion that a fresh documented confirmation from OCM and Datuk Seah be obtained to clarify the situation with regards to the ranking and that the results obtained previously are still legitimate. If there is any delay, I fear there may be a lot more damage done as now people are not sure where to stand. I have been informed that it is now a situation of "you are either for us or against us" as MDSB has no intention of cooperating with MPDC going forward and this will have an affect on all MPDC members. Sincerely, Peter

Now having received this mail, MPDC naturally have to act on it. I asked Peter whether the above mail was spoken in jest or is it serious. Peter Ong replied that he was dead serious and he will stand by the contents of his email of 23rd March 2009. I will not reproduce the further email but I am more than prepared to show you the letter if you doubt my words.

Do you want to know what action MPDC took, wait for my second part. The picture would tell you how MPDC felt.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How many of you know his name and recognise him? He is Chief Geronimo and he is an Apache. This actually is testing your general knowledge on American history. Chief Geronimo is a brave warrior and an honourable man. He does not speak with fork tongue.

Anyway that is all for Apache, someone send me a clip from you tube, a Hippo sings "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". It is so cute and would love to share this with you. .

One of you ask me what has this got to do with Dancesport? Actually it has everything to do with Dancesport and this Blog is the MPDC Sports Directors Blog. Would love to hear cute and happy songs in times of the crisis in Thailand.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

3rd Hanoi Asian Indoor Games

Our Team Dancesport Malaysia will be competing in Hong Kong today, 1st of March in the IDSF OPEN . There are not many dancesport Championships in Malaysia and to a large extend you have to ask the MDSB why this is so, that is if you can get an answer from them. In 2006/2007 there were 6 Championship ranking, 3 Championship a year. This year there were the ranking in Batu Pahat by the MPDC. MPDC is a professional body in Malaysia. In the international scene, the IPDSC and IDSF are working hand in hand in promoting dancesport. In Malaysia MPDC theoretically have to work hand in hand with MDSB, unfortunately there is no one in MDSB can actually lend any helping hand save for agreeing to a ranking organised by MPDC and MDSB. Complicationg is it not. I am just as confused.

Anyway the second National ranking will be in April, and if I am not mistaken it will be held in Lake Club Kuala Lumpur on the 25 or 26th of April. This Championship is a low key championship just to cater for the selection of Team Dancesport Malaysia 2009. Do not fault the organisers in this. The ranking is not their job, they just sought the assistance of MPDC to carry out this ranking and we want to ensure that the ranking is carried out fairly in the circumstances. The current economic situation does not help either and we may have to use more local judges in this ranking but a bigger spread of judges. The reason for a bigger spread of judges is to ensure that no one judges' marking can influence the final results. Ideally international judges will be good unfortunately we have to deal with the prevailing circumstances and make good of the situation.

We have made it clear to all Category A & Category B adjudicators that, MPDC expects them to judge fairly and to the best of their ability. We want the very best to represent the country and we hope to achieve this. As for our Dancesport athletes, MPDC and their respective coaches holds the views that our Malaysian Dances need more exposure in International Dancesport competition. Travelling overseas is an expensive business and they do so at their own costs and expense. There are competition in Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Singapore and Chinese Taipei this year and we do hope to encourage our Malaysian team to go for such competitions.

The 3rd Hanoi Asian Indoor Games 2009 Dancesport competition will be held at the Quan Ngua Sports Complex. As soon as I am able to get pictures of the interior, I will post it on this blog. The Hotel that will be housing the Dancesport team is the La Thant Hotel, it used to be a French Colonial building. My Vietnamese counterpart told me that it is indeed a charming place and many of the waiters and waitresses can manage halting English but very free with the French language. November is Autumn in Hanoi and the weather is chilly, most certainly you need a jumper, in December and January near the "TET" ( Vietnamese New Year). The average day time temperature is 15 to 18 degree Celsius. One new year year the temperature fell to 10 degrees.

Will keep you informed further.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wiener Opernball 2009

Five Malaysian couples participated in the Wiener Opernball 2009, that is how they described it in Vienna. Looking at the comments made by some television personalities, it can be very exciting or tearfully boring. For our Malaysian couples it was a chance to experience European culture. The whole process of dressing in long white gowns with tiara and the gentlemen in their tails and white bow ties.

It was Winter weather in Vienna and the European winter is always wet with slush. Not a pleasant thing when you get wet cold snow on the legs of your pants or the fringe of your gown. Prior to the grand day the dancers have to attend classes at appointed dance school in Vienna where they teach you the Polonaise and of course the Viennese Waltz. How to march properly, the proper way to curtsy and bow to your partner. These are courtesies of the 17th and 18th Century long forgotten and not practiced anymore but are kept alive by this historical event.

Vienna is of course the right place for great composers like Johan Strauss, Mozart, Schubert and Joseph Haydn were their favorite sons. This year Vienna State Opera celebrate the 140 year Jubilee (1869 - 2009). On the 25th of May 1889 the Opera House then opened with a performance of Mozart's Don Juan. This year there will be an open house to display the past events of the Opera House.

The Vienna Opera House started on a very bad footing. When it was unfolded to the public the criticism was just too much for the architects. It was called the 'Sunken Box" and this led Van Der Null to commit suicide by hanging himself and two months later August Sicard died of a heart attack. Not withstanding the public out cry, the building was destroyed completely during the second War and it was rebuilt strictly following the original plans. I suppose their souls has been vindicated. Sadly a bit too late.

Enough said about the historical opera house. Of course there are participants from other countries and the group in their tour met a participant from the Philippines and probably from other Asian countries too. The majority of course are Austrians. The highlight of the evening are some performances by the Vienna State Ballet and opera singing by a Georgian singer called Tamara Iveri and a Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas. I suppose those into this will know who these singers are.

For the participants, the evening grand event is the marching in and doing the quadrille and polonaise. The music is by the Vienna Opera Ball orchestra and their purpose, according to the program book, was to provide Viennese Dance Music from the 18th Century up till the present times to the world. The symphonic orchestra is under the baton of Professor Wolfgang Jelinek.

When the initial bars of Johann Strauss 'An der schonen blauen Donau op.314" ( On the beautiful Blue Danube Op.314") is played , the participants will dance the Viennese Waltz for about one and half minutes and then, the Dance Master will make an announcement " Alles Walzer" ( Everybody Waltz ). At that point all hell break loose, the rope barrier is brought down and the floor is packed to the brim with a miasma of bodies and perfume of all conceivable fragrances.

Most of our Malaysian participated and enjoyed themselves till the wee hours of the morning and it is not unusual for them to party till 5.00 a.m. when the buses and trains starts their service for the day. Those who are unable to take it left early.

The main river of Austria is the Danube river. It flows lazily and meander pass Vienna and on certain parts they share the river with Hungary. In summer you can see the beautiful Danube swans not in winter though. The first picture above is the Danube taken from Hungary. The second picture are our Malaysian participants and the final picture was taken at rehearsal time in the Opera House.

That concludes the story of our Malaysian couple at the Wiener Opernball 2009