The Red Ribbon Gala Dinner is a charity dinner where the Red Ribbon
Media Award winners get their prizes. I was fortunate enough to be part
of this – RRMA is a biannual award and this year, it was
DaimlerChrysler who sponsored the event.
The Red Ribbon Gala Dinner is a very formal event organized by the
Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) and the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC).
It’s a very expensive dinner – thousands of dollars per head, as this
is a charity dinner to raise funds for the Malaysian AIDS Council.
I liaised with my primary contact at MAC – Ely Azyze, who was kind
enough to arrange everything from the air tickets to KL and the stay at
Mandarin Oriental to smooth what was a very short notification of my
winning entry due to my tardiness in checking my email. I didn’t know I
won coz I didn’t even enter the contest.
The evening started off earlier for the award winners – I didn’t
manage to attend the morning rehearsals so I was very quickly briefed
about where to stand on the stage and who to shake hands with. I still
remember my spot – second duct tape marker on stage, and the order with
whom I was supposed to shake hands with…it was Dr. Mahathir first,
followed by Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and the DaimlerChrysler
I got my red ribbon and handed over my invitation and signed in the guestbook…
The pre-public evening started with some rehearsals from the
speakers and I could see the table attendants from Mandarin Oriental
setting up the tables. The motif of every table was different, each has
a set piece on it to be auctioned off at the end of the gala and the
table decorations go with the motif.
Download: Red Ribbon Gala 2004 tables [sixthseal.com]
The gala dinner was held in the Grand Ballroom of Mandarin Oriental,
KL. The place was large and two big screens were also put up so that
people could see the speakers.
There was a special table in the middle for the guests of honor,
which includes the previously mentioned VIPs as well as YAB Dato Seri
Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Download: Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir speach [sixthseal.com]
I was interviewed by an Astro Ria anchor and unfortunately, I didn’t
think I managed to get my message across due to my lack of sobriety
coupled with being slightly uncomfortable with a microphone in front of
me and a camera man standing smack dab beside me pointing the business
end of the video camera at me.
The evening started off with a cocktail reception at 6:30. There was
wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverages as well as hors de ours (sp?).
I had several glasses of red wine and I met Meesh, who won the Special Mention in the Non-Traditional Awards – Blogs category.
L-R: Chris, Huai Bin (me), Meesh
I also met a really nice guy called Chris, who sat at the same table
as me (he won an award as well). I think he got the broadcast media
award. He’s really friendly and was the life of the table. :) I talked
with Meesh at the staircase and we were not quite sober and took photos
of each other:
The dinner started after that. I was at Table 11 – the winners are
divided into two tables, Table 11 and Table 66. My table had Audrey,
the winner from The Star (Print Media), Chris and some other MAC staff.
There is a gift pack from MAC (Malaysian AIDS Council, not the
cosmetics label) on every chair. It seems that they arranged it so that
there are alternate male and female oriented packs so some swapping
This is what it contains. Mine was the right one, since I sat
between two females, so my MAC pack was a male pack, so to speak. The
female version has lipstick, foundation and some other stuff.
Download: Red Ribbon Gala 2004 [sixthseal.com]
Let me introduce you to the people in my table:
This is Audrey and Chris.
This is Shazlina from MAC and me. Ely was also sitting at the same table, as was a journalist from the Malay Mail.
This is another winner of an award from Oriental Daily or Daily
Oriental, she’s an ex-journalist and seemed as inebriated as I was. ;)
The Red Ribbon Media Awards goes after the Red Ribbon Gala Dinner,
so I was admittedly not quite sober by the end of the night, due to the
free flow wine, which I took advantage of. Every dish was paired with a
wine and the dishes are specially prepared by “Asian Master Chefs”. It
sure was different and interesting.
There were several varieties of bread and liberal amounts of butter
to soak up the liquor, er…I mean to start things off. It was alright.
This is the starter, which I absolutely loved. The martini glass
contains chicken bits hidden in shaved ice. It was like nothing I ever
had experienced. Divine. This appetizer was paired with Jacob’s Creek
Chardonnay Pinot Noir.
Here’s a photo taken with flash version of the dish so that
everything can be seen. The Red Ribbon Gala dinner literature describes
it as A Symphony of Gourmet Appetizers, by Jereme Leung from
Shanghai. It’s Poached Chicken with Chilled Soba Noodle Salad with Five
Spiced Shaved Ice, Chinese Tea Smoked Egg White, Apricot Smoked Salmon
topped with Sevruga Caviar Foie Gras Terrine with Garlic ‘mantou’,
Apple and Citrus Compote. The description made my head spin.
Shazlina from MAC who was sitting beside me, is a vegetarian, so she
got different dishes from us. Me and Chris tried to decipher just what
exactly her dish was but the results were inconclusive…All I know is
there’s asparagus in there.
This is the second course, by Sam Leong from Singapore. It’s Puree
of Yellow Pumpkin infused with Superior Chicken Consomme and Crabmeat.
The pairing wine is Jacob’s Creek Reserve Riesling 2003.
This is what the vegetarian version is…it tasted like tapai, but richer and sweet instead of sour.
The third course is from Jimmy Chok of Salt Restaurant in Singapore.
It’s Baked Miso Chilean Seabass crusted with preserved Chinese Cabbage
(Mui Choy), sauteed Japanese Mushroom, Fava Beans and Sweet Soy Glaze.
The wine is Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2002.
The vegetarian version for this course is equally puzzling but it contains beetroot.
The next course is from Cheong Liew from The Grange of Adelaide,
Australia and is Medallion of Kampong Chicken, Lobster and Sweetbread
with Shitaki, Abalone Mushroom, Liver, Roast Garlic, Chicken Jus paired
with Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz 2001. This was very, very good.
The dessert was prepared by Bong Jun Choi of Lai Poh Heen Restaurant
of KL and it’s Chilled Snow Skin Lychee Ice Cream Delight, Warm Jasmin
Marinated Plum and Morello Cherry Praline Mousse. The presentation was
great, but the mousse was not.
We went up for the RRMA award ceremony after that – I won the Main Award for Non-Traditional Media, and got…
A specially engraved huge pewter bowl (which we affectionately dub the
salad mixing bowl, but of course we’ll do nothing of that sort) from
A Certificate of Excellence from Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir which has my winning blog entry Guide to HIV testing in Malaysia [sixthseal.com] as well as her signature on it.
A check for RM 2,500 for being the main winner.
The Special Mention winners get the same thing as the Main Award
Winners, except their pewter is a plate and the check is RM 500. I
wished I got someone to take a photo of me standing up there, but the
MAC staff and all the winners were on stage so no one could.
The charity auction for the table displays happened after that and
most of the winners left, and I made my leave soon after that. I’m
still kicking myself for not staying till the end and getting a photo
with Dr. Mahathir and Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.
I’ll like to thank Ely Azyze and all the MAC and MAF staff for this
honor and recognition. It was a great experience. My sincere thanks to
everyone who made this happen. Cheers!