Category Archives: Vol 38

Have Yourself a Wedding of Kings

Every wedding tells a story and starts a new chapter. What story will your wedding tell and where will the new chapter begin?  Having a wedding away from your hometown is perfect for couples who like to keep things intimate and want only their closest friends and family to attend.

 If a wedding is in the air for you, consider an exotic wedding in a palace of luxury in India. India offers a choice of exotic palace venues that make it an exhilarating choice process and will turn out to be indeed, a wedding to remember.

Taj lake palace2





Morning Poolside at the Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur, India

Umaid Bhawan PalaceV


Taj Lake Palace Weddings

Famed as the most romantic hotel in the world, this fairytale pleasure of white marble floating on the shimmering waters of Lake Pichola offers the perfect setting for a royal wedding. Elegant suites adorned with ornate glassworks, bohemian crystal lights and intricate miniature paintings testify the royal love that once courted their corridors.

Palace of Jag Mandir

Udaipur is the most romantic city in Rajasthan as acclaimed by many who have been there. Known as the City of Palaces, this majestic palace built in 1600 is the venue of choice for those desiring an Indian palace wedding. Surrounded by the scenic Pichola Lake the island makes a romantic wedding and honeymoon retreat.

Shiv Niwas Palace Weddings

A wedding here is indeed a wedding to behold! Impressively furnished with fountains in the rooms, glass inlay works on walls, period furniture, chandeliers, portraits and original paintings complete with breath taking views of lakes and mountains add to the majestic charm of this “Heritage Award for Excellence” luxury palace hotel.

Oberoi Udai Vilas Palace

Designed to emulate a traditional Rajasthani Palace this magnificent palace will take you back into time when the Mewar rule was at its height of glory. Its breath-taking architecture ad scenic beauty will stamp your wedding as an exotic event. Add to that, the leisurely walks around the area which were the designated hunting grounds of those times amidst the Indian spotted deer and peacocks that are kept there now will be an imprint never to forget.

Of Knights, Flying Robots and Pepper

Somewhere in the world at any given point in time someone is saying “you know, I have a plan…..” and these are some of the results…..high tech gadgets that will blast-off  life onto the next level.

Jibo, The World’s First Family Robot

Robots are the latest trend in family pets!   Jibo, is the new robot from MIT roboticist Cynthia Breazeal.  Jibo can go online to order your usual pizza, be the photographer at your home events, and be your personal smart assistant.

Yes Mother Dear!

Disguised in a doll package embedded and encased into your smartphone app, you can choose your choice of notifications be it for your fitness tracking, stats keeper or security systems.

It Glides and Flies

Exclamation Marky Flying Robot is the future of directional signboards. To cap the representation of futuristic vibes and trends of youth, zest for life, enthusiasm and action, hence the flying robot is in the shape of an exclamation mark. Kudos to designers Ronny Sauer and Form & Drang

MiP – Sway With Me

This bionic balancing-act is a sight to behold. Perched comfortably atop a pair of dual-directional wheels, MiP freely stabilises itself and responds to your motions and gestures.

Pair  this outstanding robot to your smartphone via Bluetooth with the free MiP app and you can drive it around just by tracing a path on your smartphone.

K5  Knightscope – High Tech Lone Ranger

The Knightscope(K5) robot security system features a 360 degree high definition camera that can record everything around it. It features high quality microphones that record sounds of any kind.  Other sensors on these robot security guards include thermal imaging, infrared sensor, ultrasonic distance and speed sensor, license plate scanning, air quality sensors and more.

Pepper – Your Robotic BFF

The latest creation from Aldebaran Robotics for SoftBank Mobile, Pepper is a social robot able to converse with you, recognize and react to your emotions, move and live autonomously. Pepper can translate what state you are in using his knowledge of universal emotions  and his ability to analyze your facial expression, body language and the words you use.

Class Act Wheels!

The top 10 most expensive cars in the world


1. Lamborghini 1. 1. Veneno USD4.5Million RM 16.4Million)

An exclusive limited edition of 4 created and 3 sold this baby is nothing less than a breath-stopper, jaw-dropping moment when you lay eyes on this performer for Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary!

The Lamborghini Veneno with its focus on optimum aerodynamics and cornering stability brings the experience of a racing prototype homologated for the road.  Described as the racing prototype for the road it brings to speed all the driving fun elements of a light weight car. Veneno – Spanish for “poison” – is one Italian thunderclap complete with lightning flashes that will bring 60 in 2.8 seconds which is probably faster than sound can leave your body during a terrified scream.

Lykan HyperSport 2014 Dubai Motorshow

2. W Motors Lykan Hyper sport USD3.4Million (RM 12.4Million)

It’s not just about kebabs and baklavas, but the Lebanese can now lay claim to having presented the first supercar to be produced in the Middle East. Only seven units of the car are planned for production. The pre-production Lykan Hyper Sport by W Motors was launched at the International Dubai Motor Show in November 2013.

The cause of the car’s expensive price tag is due to its included options. It is the first car to have diamonds in its headlights. The front lights are made up of titanium LED blades with 420 diamonds (15cts). The buyer can choose which rubies and diamonds they want embedded in the headlights. In addition, the client can choose between a selection of rubies, diamonds, yellow diamonds, or sapphires to be integrated into the vehicle at purchase.

Mansory Vivere

3. Mansory Vivre: Bugatti Veyron USD3.4Million (RM 12.4Million)

Should your idea of sophisticated glitter, razzmatazz and bling be accompanied by wheels, then the Bugatti Veyron is for you. Bugatti owners now have the option of venturing beyond the Bugatti Blue and Napa Leather interior.  With an exterior of lacquered carbon fiber, other touches include a new inner front grill, shortened hood, larger side scoops, a spoiler package that provides new diffusers, front apron, etc. Headlight and tail light clusters come with new LED versions and of course Mansory made sure the rims were not left out – shiny new ones!


4. Ferrari F60 America USD3.2Million (RM 11.6Million) 

Here’s the good news – an incredibly exclusive supercar based on the already outrageous F12 Berlinetta. Here’s the bad news – Production has been limited to only 10 cars and all 10 have been sold.

The F60 America takes the form of a roadster, with carbon fiber-trimmed flying buttresses that stretch from behind the cabin to the rear of the car. There’s no power soft- or hardtop available – instead, Ferrari says the car can be closed off with a light fabric top that’s usable at speeds of up to about 75 miles per hour.

The F60 is painted in the classic North American Racing Team livery, with a unique 60th anniversary Prancing Horse on the wheel arches and transmission tunnel inside the cabin. That NART tribute explains the car’s seriously limited production run, as well.


5. Koenigsegg One USD2.0Million (RM 7.2Million)

An impressive automotive first has been achieved – a one to one power to weight ratio in a road car which is a tremendous pay-off for having been labelled in the automotive industry as “the crazy uncle off in his corner doing his own thing”.

This machine weighs just 1,340 kilograms and puts out 1,340 horsepower. And that weight includes a full complement of fluids and an average driver. It probably stands as the fastest accelerating car if not plane, that money can buy – as in 0 to 250mph in less than 20 seconds and a claimed probable top speed of 273 mph or more.


6. Pagani Huayra USD1.3Million (RM 4.7Million)

The  Huyara is powered by two V12 turbochargers and the engine capacity is of 6 liters. The name ‘Huyara’ means the ‘God of Winds’ in Incan language and it is indeed capable of speeds event the deities would be envious of. The speed can be as high as 230 mph and the design is very unique in nature.  Comes with an accent on Gull wing doors, extra ordinary leatherwork and the Pagani patented mirrors.


7. Ferrari La Ferrari USD1.3Million (RM 4.7Million)

First there are sports cars. Above that come the exotic sports cars. The La Ferrari is positioned to be the king of all exotic sports cars. Capped as the most extreme performance ever achieved by a Ferrari, this beauty features the most advanced and innovative technical solutions which in future will be filtered down to the rest of the Ferrari range.

8. Envoi ST1 USD1.2 Million (RM 4.3Million)

 Pure power and style designed to have the eyes of the eagle and the prowling prowess of the lion. Entirely the result of a Danish Design, the ST-1 is made entirely by hand with the exception of a high performance, 5 axis CNC routers. The ST-1 comes equipped with keyless entry, satellite navigation, telescopic steering wheel adjustment and electrically adjustable leather racing seats. Zenvo uses a distinctive hexagonal pattern in many of the car’s components, such as the grill and the LED headlight pattern.  Zenvo adds to Denmark now being known for supercars and not just butter and Hamlet.


9. Hennessey Venom GT USD1.1Million (RM 4Million)

This speedster set a Guinness World Book record time of 13.63 seconds from 0 to 300kph or 186mph in January 2013. Its design is based on Lotus Elise roadster and Exige coupe model.

The Venom GT is created from a base Lotus Elise/Exige and utilizes components including but not limited to the roof doors, side glass, windscreen, dashboard, cockpit, floorpan, HVAC system, wiper, and head lamps. It is emphasised that Hennessey Performance and the Venom GT are not associated with Lotus Cars.


10. McLaren P1 USD1.1Million (RM 4Million)

Herein is the car that re-defined the supercar performance bar. Upon review, most headline writers loved the fact that the McLaren F1 was the fastest production car in the world – setting a record of 240.1mph – its greatest legacy was its technical innovation. It was the first road car to be built around a carbon fibre tub, a technology pioneered by McLaren in Formula 1, and one that lies at the heart of all of its current models. The McLaren F1 also used its hand-built V12 engine as a stressed component, had a unique central driving position, and the design team’s quest for lightweight perfection was such that gold foil was used in its engine bay to reflect heat. While it was never designed for competition, the F1 also morphed into an enormously successful race car – winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1995.

The Game Of Kings

Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge 2015

After four fast-paced chukkas, HRH Princess Haya presented the impressive Cartier trophy to the winning team. HRH Princess Haya, accompanied by the Marquess of Blandford, then awarded Amr Zedan of the Guards team with the La Martina Most Valuable Player of the Tournament Award. The La Martina Best Playing Pony Rug was won by Ali Albwardy’s Castora, who was played by Desert Palm’s Diego Cavanagh.

VIPs and guests also had an invitation to view Cartier’s latest collection, Clé de Cartier, in the beautifully styled Villa Layali.


Malaysia’s Pocket Dynamite, Prema Yin, is an entertainer with more passion and punch than a Flaming Lamborghini on New Year’s Eve. Deborah Joy Peter activates her all-access backstage pass for an exclusive tell-all with the spectacularly seasoned singing sensation.

At a time when her peers were either out chasing butterflies, having tea with Barbie or building towering sandcastles by the sea, then four-year-old songbird, Prema Yin, remembers laughing in the face of stage fright while belting out notes from a set of pipes whose origins often eluded many. Over two decades in, the wondering has stopped and the applause continues on in uproarious aplomb.


Then chasing the dream professionally at sixteen, the indie instrumentalist describes her immersion as an avenue for creative expression. Yin shares: “When I pour my emotions into the songs I sing, it feels like a weight is lifted off my shoulder, and more so when the lyrics hit home.” On a less sentimental note, her sense of fulfilment isn’t yet complete since career-wise, she insists the journey is only half-travelled. Still, she’s grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to develop as a musician.


One to keep the show going, as an artiste, she enjoys setting out in search of new landmarks to attain. It’s the very attitude which saw her go from snagging four prestigious nominations at the 17th Anugerah Industri Muzik showcase in 2010 to another at LA’s Hollywood Music in Media Awards under the Best Pop Song category only a year later. Following that, the rock diva was commissioned to perform at the 2013 Guinness Arthur’s Day Festival at the Sepang International Circuit.

Here, she opened for All American Rejects, The Wanted, and Five for Fighting. She’s also shared the stage with R&B icon Taio Cruz and done backup for soul sensation Colbie Caillat at least once. More than that, the effervescent entertainer made her mark taking on international tours across multiple countries including the US, Germany, China, Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore. Just as impressive are her vast airtime exposures on local and Indonesian radio as well as stellar chart successes across a period dating back to 2009.


“Besides luminaries like Sarah McLachlan, Aerosmith, and Janis Joplin, my inspiration comes from those who’ve left a mark on my life—past lovers, family, and friends.” Triumphs aside, Yin is constantly reminded of the debilitating hardships once endured. One such challenge was finance. “I invested my savings into my first EP hoping the investment would prove worthwhile. That pocket-emptying sacrifice coupled with not knowing where to start and what to do back then didn’t help.”

Rubbing salt into the wound, there were many who mocked her efforts and when put-downs were done in bad taste, the bitter pill became extremely hard to swallow. Luckily, with guidance and strength from a nurturing handful, her single Eyo Eyo went on to bag several noteworthy nominations and a feature in Hollywood film, A Novel Romance. Other originals such as Bleed, Superstar, and Prove It To Me, to name a few, still today serve as unforgettable markers of her mastery.


Two years ago, in taking her crooning chronicles further, the star refined her stage identity from rolling rocker to cultural troubadour. The transformation allowed her to regain full autonomy of her creations and incorporate variety into her act by tapping into her Chinese and Indian cultural heritage. “It has helped me be me. I no longer feel the compulsion to fall into step with any particular persona or become someone I’m not, never mind turning into a mirror image of the symbol others want to see.”

The long-time singer-songwriter recently added to her repertoire video-making using stop motion animation and vocal coaching; she sees students weekly and makes house calls. Her first self-made lyric video was released in 2014 for Ring My Bell. More importantly, the 28-year-old visited Santorini in Greece last June—her dream destination. But when she isn’t away travelling, she has the age-old Chinese art of Wing Chun and the classical comfort of the veena to keep her occupied, both of which are her current top interests.

Fully Invested in Art

A successful artist …..”must be passionate about art, have some friends with the same interest, be familiar with the backgrounds of other artists and with the market value of their works.”

INTEREST in artworks as a form of investment is growing throughout the region, thanks to the wealth of indigenous talent, and the burgeoning ranks of eager collectors. But though many see it as having relatively low risk, it still helps to be knowledgeable about the industry.

Masterpiece Auction House Managing Director Dato’ Oon Pheng Khoon believes it is vital that one is passionate about art, have some friends with the same interest, be familiar with the backgrounds of various artists, as well as the market value of their works.

Those eager to start collecting should also regularly attend art exhibitions, previews and auctions – as they provide ample lessons about the buying and selling of art, and which artists or artworks, are in demand or otherwise. And best of all, they are mostly free to attend.

“Prices of art are always fluctuating, so it helps to be familiar with the bidding process, and understand the value behind each piece. Serious collectors track artists’ backgrounds, career progression and standing within the art scene, as it influences the value of their works,” said Oon in a recent interview.

Senior artists tend to be in favour, as are those with positions in art-related fields and institutions, as they often end up painting for life. Some collectors also favour works done in certain mediums, for they last longer and degrade less over time, hence representing a more solid investment.

“Good works may be pricey, but its value appreciates. Artists who are regularly featured in auctions are a good bet, as it shows their works are constantly in demand. If you buy a piece today, and there’s someone else willing to acquire it from you immediately, then you know you’ve got a gem.

“Collecting art is as good a investment compared to traditional options like stocks, properties or commodities. It is mobile, and you can buy or sell it anywhere. Art is also a finite thing, each piece is truly one-of-a-kind, and their availability gets less and less over time.

“You hardly see the best works from prominent names on the market, because they have all been snapped up by collectors once they become available. But besides the monetary value, collecting art also means you have excellent treasures to look at everyday,” he added.

Oon, who was born in Alor Setar, Kedah, fell into art almost by chance. Educated at Keat Hwa Secondary School, he worked in the construction, shipping and transportation industries during the 1980s, followed by real estate in the 1990s.

Around that time, many in Kedah started collecting Chinese ink paintings as a hobby. Oon  followed suit and never looked back. After China opened its doors to the world in 1993, he would regularly venture there to meet renowned artists, and buy their works.

“We would read a lot of art magazines and find out who the good artists were, and then approach them. At that time it was hard for them to sell their works, so they very receptive towards our interest,” he recalled of the time when he developed a passion in buying and selling art.

Also in the 1990s, art auctions started in Singapore, and he would regularly attend to broaden his knowledge. Indonesian artists were all the rage back then, but once art auctions started in Malaysia in the 2000s, local artists soon found a great platform to promote their works and excel.

In 2005, Oon relinquished all his directorial positions at his former companies, to concentrate on the buying and selling of art. He was roped in by Masterpiece Auction House when it established its Kuala Lumpur branch in 2012, with the company holding its first auction a year later.

Five auctions later and the company had sold over 800 pieces of art worth approximately RM15million, with a take-up rate averaging close to 90%. Other auction houses are enjoying similar results, and Oon believes the industry can only get better and better.

“It has grown steadily, and the number of art collectors today has increased four or five-fold, compared to a decade ago. Many lesser known Malaysian artists have now become prominent names, as the buying power and interest amongst collectors increase.

“I feel it is my responsibility to help promote Malaysian artists, and I’m now enjoying my life doing just that,” he sums it up succinctly.


Responsible for spearheading the Victorian chapter of the Australia Malaysia Business Council and leading a landscape poised for change, Joe Perri is the face of the campaign championing bilateral trade and relations with Malaysia. Deborah Joy Peter tells his story.

The story begins over six decades ago. An obscure immigrant couple of Italian descent, whose only real chance at survival at the time, was to pick up what was left of their mangled existence after the second World War, exit their motherland, and start over in a whole new world—the forever home they would soon recognise as Australia. The man goes ahead, slogs to save a few coins, and sends them back for the woman. She then joins him in Sydney where they exchange vows before settling down in Melbourne.


The pair’s labours haven’t fallen on futile ground. The testament of their triumphs and tribulations are captured through a single fruit of their union—a male offspring who’d go on to become a walking legend. That human treasure is who the world today celebrates as Joe Perri, the president of the Australia Malaysia Business Council’s (AMBC) Victorian chapter. A master of ship who directs with heart and depth, his origins mark a set of footprints indelibly printed on the sands of a past bent on making history.

Holding dear beliefs, lessons, and strength of character passed down from parents who dared to dream, his remarkable trail, according to the man himself, is the sum total of a heritage rooted in sheer perseverance. “Their love, care, and guidance have stayed with me always and continue to provide me with a beacon and are the values and morals which sit at the core of my character when relating to my own wife, family, friends, and clients, and so on,” Perri notes.


Although well into his fifties, he continues to look to his exemplary guardians as his ultimate source of inner zest. Smiling on the path already trodden, he’s anxious to plot the voyage that remains. It’s been 10 years since his immersion in international trade relations began. He was propositioned to use his wealth of marketing and communications expertise to assist the newly appointed national president of the AMBC at the time. Eagerly accepting, he then proceeded to join the organisation in his home base as member.

“The activities of the council, friendly nature of its members, their diverse backgrounds, and business interests in Malaysia motivated me to go beyond just being a member and led to my joining the Victorian executive team.”

Here, his skills in marketing, public relations, communications, and more were put to good use. As a result, the appointment followed his election to VP and subsequently president, three years ago. Nine years before his first AMBC commission, the marketer founded his personal venture, Joe Perri & Associates.

Picking up on that last point, his duties are divided into two streams—a commercial side where he helps businesses achieve goals through marketing and PR processes as well as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) side which he commits to in a voluntary capacity as president.


He adds cultural understanding and appreciation are feats to tackle, and that the way forward is to have the Asian and Western ways of conducting business adjust accordingly so the best of both worlds is the ultimate outcome. Facing these hurdles won’t be a cinch, but the implications on leadership and prospect of having to flex his captain of industry is justification enough for a heightened sense of exhilaration on his part. “What an exciting time to be in business. International trade is quite frankly in overdrive,” the AMBC head quips.

It’s become increasingly clear to Perri that no country or economy can operate in isolation; every nation is now part of the global ecosystem. To maintain success and strengthen mutually-beneficial trade and investments between countries, alliances are a necessity—and more so, since Malaysia is Australia’s eighth largest trading partner. “The Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement enforced in 2013 was a significant step forward and will continue to be a platform to build on with more trade between the two nations.”

Needless to say, the unified body’s greatest asset is its members; they comprise business owners with commercial operations in Malaysia and Malaysian-born expatriates in Victoria. For the reasons above, the values of AMBC Victoria, especially those CSR-related, reflect that of Perri’s own, such as service to community and country and giving back to a nation that has aided those seeking to expand their businesses and in so doing, had created jobs for countless Australian and Malaysian families.


On family, Perri’s consists of his wife, Luigina, two children, Danielle and Matthew, a goldfish as well as a “spoilt cat”. The latest to join that lineage is his son’s fiancée, Juliet. Their wedding takes place in October—the festivities for which the entire household is keenly anticipating. For senior, coming home to a loving family is one of the truest blessings in life. He may be a trade specialist, but the people mentioned above aren’t anyone he’d exchange for anything else.

Adding to that list, he is just as proud to have seen the world. Speaking of going places, the wanderlust-lover recently spent a weekend away with loved ones at a small township called Metung in the beautiful Gippsland Lakes area, a four-hour drive from Melbourne. “It was literally divine.  No tourist attractions, McDonalds, theme parks, cable TV or even a decent cell phone signal. Each morning, we woke to the sound of dolphins, seals, and pelicans in the water.” Now, he can’t wait to get back in a month.

From Beads to Engines

Datin Sri Joanna Lim, proudly Penang born, bred, dispatched and came back to stay, strikes one as “le femme petite”, but it doesn’t just stop there. Instead one can’t help but wonder how from dealing with beads, crystals and costume jewellery, she now is in the midst of setting up an automobile business dealing with the selling of cars and car accessories.

She made time for Essenze recently and over coffee shared some of her experiences and life lessons.

Coming from a small family, Joanna reassured her father that the family business of Syarikat Lean would continue and duly set off to enjoy what the world had to offer. Having completed her basic education she went on to Melbourne for business studies. This was a chapter in her life she had been waiting for, to savour the experience of living independently away from home.

“Perhaps it is that children always want they cannot get and in that sense we were never in want for anything” says Joanna. Her parents had set ideas as to the proper etiquette for girls. This by no means curtailed the close knit bond the family had for each other, maintained till the present.

It was during her undergraduate days in Melbourne that she met her husband , “but I only knew him as an acquaintance then and we probably only met like maybe three times while I was in Melbourne” she explains. Later when she was back in Penang they were re-introduced by mutual friends. Romance soon blossomed and they dated for nine years with the occasional “chaperoning” from Mom.

“When the fun was over and the studies completed, it was easy enough to pack and come back home and get to work”, she states. The first task at hand was to hang her father’s original business signboard – “Syarikat Lean” prominently overshadowing her own signboard – “Jo’s Accessories”.

It all started from a little corner in Dad’s shop which had the crystal display”

That little corner has transformed into a whole store known as “Jo’s Accessories” in Beach Street, Penang, Malaysia.  Jo’s Accessories specialises in a huge range of beads, crystals and various costume jewelry accessories, not forgetting the Swarovski collections as well. One can purchase custom-made accessories or just buy the various essentials to put their own ideas of costume jewellery together.

Currently Jo’s Accessories is a successful “clicks and bricks” business, combining the best of the traditional “shop premises with a doorbell”, to a presence on the World Wide Web. Joanna creates her own jewellery label for sale online.

What astonishes even more is what Joanna has in mind as part of her business expansion plans. From beads to engines! This spritely businesswoman is now laying the foundations for starting up her next business venture which takes her into the automobile industry, specifically with the selling of cars and its accessories. In the near future one can expect to see another “Jo” signboard hanging somewhere  soon!

On being a mom…

“A mom must enable her children to develop their own identity. As mothers we should ensure that the environment they grow up in is a good one. Their nutrition is a priority and we must ensure they are given healthy food and I believe that education is important. Beyond this, the character the child develops and grows into is their doing. I don’t feel that parents should take credit for it or for that matter be blamed for it either.”

She emphasises that teaching children compassion is crucial. Her face beams as she tells of how compassionate and giving her elder son is. (Her eldest son is 2 years while the second son is 11 months) “I don’t take credit for the fact at all. He was born with kindness in his genes. He is so generous with his toys and freely gives his toys away to other children he meets”

“Of what use is luxury when one can’t even sit with a peace of mind to enjoy a cup of good coffee?”

“Joanna treasures all the travels that she and her family enjoyed throughout their growing up years. “We would do so much of travelling that at times we would be travelling to three different countries within a month. There were times when I woke up and had to recall which part of the world I was in”

The most valuable lesson that all these travel experiences has taught her? “That home in Malaysia is best”

“When all is said and done, what matters the most is what you do in that moment and not where you are….. choose to be kind and compassionate and this will create a vibrations of a life well lived.”