It is October 2021. The invitation letter to the awards ceremony came out of a sudden. There’s no indication from anyone. I just got a call from the poslaju delivery man who said he is downstairs. So strange as I do not remember ordering anything recently. When I saw the sender, which is from “Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang”, I was elated with joy but have to hold it back. Back home when I opened the package, the package contained many documents. The letter congratulated me for being awarded Pingat Jasa Masyarakat (Community Service Medal) in conjunction with the 72nd Birthday of Tuan Yang Terutama Yang DiPertuan Negeri Pulau Pinang. This medal was awarded for my service to the community through the Malaysian Red Crescent Society.
In the package as well, there are instructions on the rehearsal and the actual ceremony, what to wear and who I can bring along. I can bring along a partner, which I brought along my wife. She has always questioned why I spend a lot of time in the Red Crescent Society activities, sacrificing time with the family. The least I can do is to ask her to come along for the ceremony. We are “common” people, so getting the right formal attire was out main concern for the event.
We are still in the midst of covid pandemic when the event is supposed to happen and I was thinking they would have the ceremony virtually. I believe since this is the first year of the new Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Dipertuan Negeri Pulau Pinang, they wanted to have a physical session instead.
I have to say, the formality is very tight and a lot of people out there to make sure that the event is ceremonious. We were briefed many times on what we can do and what we cannot, how to walk, how to bow..
It is an experience to treasure, not sure when we will get this chance again.