Thursday, August 28, 2008


I have actually been very busy since joining The Heritage Station Hotel, Kuala Lumpur or what we like to abbreviate as @THSH. In fact, I am really very lucky to be here @THSH. Much of what I have read and experienced @THSH from the general public, newspapers, friends in the hotel industry, guests comments and the team @THSH was initially very disheartening. But I guess that's where I come in with my 'quirky' expertise. I am actually a Hotelier who started his career in what would be considered as the 'creme de la creme' of Hotels, Deluxe Class Luxury , Award Winning 5 Star Resort in Penang, and my former property actually gave me a good foundation in Hotel Product knowledge and I am very thankful to my former Food & Beverage Director, Mr. Andre Scholl and Assistant Food & Beverage Director, En. Wan Aiksan, for all their guidance and opportunities.

After working & travelling a bit within the region, I began to realize that international hotel scene in South East Asia were actually becoming more rigid and systematic in their approach to managing people. This is not a bad thing as it will only give rise to better uniformity to all service personnel in ensuring guests are taken care in a professional manner. However, I personally, felt that this would lead to a more 'robotic service industry' to a certain degree, and since I am a person who requires his own creative freedom, I left the glamorous life of the 5 Star Deluxe Class Hotels to venture into the unknown ... it was a very rebellious and adventurous time for me. So here I was, coming out fresh from the sheltered, protected nutshell industry, lured by the unknown. I have since then opened and closed restaurants, worked in shocking conditions, built custom computers, came back to the backpackers hotel industry, or what you can call, a fall from grace. Do I regret it? No. Absolutely not ... it was a real experience to remember...... just like fine dark chocolate, bittersweet - it matures with time.

Since coming @THSH, the climb took on a vertical challenge in essence. Yes. I am not kidding, it was a ninety degree climb if not more! However, as my personal motto is "nothing is impossible until you, yourself, make it impossible", I gritted my teeth and rolled up my sleeves. Nothing could be worse, I thought remembering, one of my former hotel employers posting me to their newly acquired 3 star hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Furthermore, this is home, it should be easier. While working @THSH, warm thoughts of my experiences from Cambodia and how proud my colleagues were of their language, culture and customs kept nagging at me. Despite Cambodia being an open economy, their monthy pay of about USD50-100 a month, it made me realize how lucky we in Malaysia were. It's so much more expensive in Cambodia then it is here, the Cambodians literally struggle to survive!

As such, I decided to try and learn more about our own Malaysian history and @THSH provided me with the perfect opportunity to do some research into the building. It started as a curiosity and what little information I could gather, started falling into its place, fueling my curiosity. I was really lucky to be able to get in touch with the family of the Hubback's and as they opened up to me, I was bewildered at the amount of stories and contributions they have made to our young nation then. The question at the back of my mind was always, why do we not know enough about The Hubback Brothers despite attributing some recognition to our buildings?

My curiosity by now has become a full blown passion. I had been consistenly meeting students @THSH who were studying architecture and conservation, doing research, which the latter is a new curriculum in Malaysia, and was appalled that not many of them really knew who The Hubback Brothers were. In fact, many of their interviews were laden with information which to me, was not very accurate. After talking to my wife, she gave me the 'thumbs up' without any grouses, of which I am extremely grateful, I decided to close and withdraw my personal bank accounts, and told the Hubback Family that I was going to meet them in the United Kingdom. This was going to be one of my biggest challenges, I told myself ....

After the arrangements were made, I posted on my other blog and project and set my email auto responders to away from 18 - 24 August 2008, I took my first step in meeting the Hubback Family in the United Kingdom.

In all honesty, I actually did a dummy posting on 27 August 2008, but this actual blog entry was written on 8 September 2008. Why? Well, since coming back, I have been busy with my hotel operations, looking for patrons, corporate sponsors and organizing our community project on my other blog, but I will chronicle my journey in trying to realize this project through this humble blog.

I really apprecite my team @THSH and my wife on this project as without them, I may not have been able to now, tell this story. I would also like to thank the Hubback Family in the UK, and it was indeed a privilege and honour to have met you all.

The gun has sounded, I have stepped out of the starting line, there's no turning back now .... please help support us @THSH!


Anonymous said...

hey man, good job! hope to see u thsh and get to know more about this historic story. keep ur excellent job!

The Lab Ratz said...

eh? Whoa! Thanks Firdaus .. never knew someone would drop by and leave a comment!!! Thanks for your support!!!

William Hew said...

I am very interested in some of your articles and would like to cite them in my postgrad research of revitalising Ipoh's heritage town. Apparently, AB Hubback was one the main architects who designed many of Ipoh's landmarks!

For that purpose, I need to know your name. From the plane ticket, I assume you are Mr. HT Yang? Correct me if I am wrong.

By the way, great effort! Hoping to know more people who are concerned with their heritage..

The Lab Ratz said...

Hey there! Sorry, had been neglecting this blog for sometime and I see I have some new comments! Thanks very much, and my name is Lloyd Gan. It's Gan YHT if you are looking for my chinese name. Sorry if this comes late!

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