News and Events from 2014

Nordic Forum and AMBCQ Christmas Party

13th December 2014


We had a great time last night catching up with many friends (those who haven't yet gone on holidays). We held the Christmas function in the office because of the heavy rains and storms the last two weeks. As co-chairs of the Nordic Forum, it was Kiong’s and my honour and pleasure to prepare a simple version of a Nordic Julbord for all our guests - Swedish rye crisp, pepparkakor (Swedish and Finnish gingerbread), smoked salmon, smoked ocean trout, cold ham, lingon sauce, dill mustard, gurka (Swedish pickled gherkins), Swedish mustard, Finnish beet salad, fruit platter, cheese platter with Danish harvati cheese and other cheeses, crisps and other nibbles, fruit punch, wine and beer - and Tomte/Tonttu brought some gifts for the children.


Fortunately they were all well behaved and none of them received a lump of coal from the Joulupukki (yule goat). We held the event at extremely short notice - just over 24 hours - due to uncertainties with the weather. It was wonderful to have several dozen members, friends and supporters at the event including several overseas visitors. Thank you Sarah for coming even though it was your birthday. It was good to be able to acknowledge the tremendous contribution of Tan Han Shen and Dr Rahmat Shazi. As a small gesture of appreciation, we presented them both with cuff links from the Australian Parliament - Senate for Han Shen, and House of Representatives for Rahmat - Thank you to everyone including our corporate supporters Griffith University, AirAsia X, University of Southern Queensland and Logan City Council and to other supporters such as Paradigm Infinitum and also Minuteman Press Brisbane.


Merry Christmas everyone! Glædelig Jul! Hyvaa Joulua! God Jul Ett Gott Nytt År!


Shona Leppänen-Gibson, President AMBCCQ, Chairman, Nordic Forum




Brisbane City Council Corporate Christmas Party 

6th December 2014


Kiong and I attended the Brisbane City Council Corporate Christmas Party with baby Suvi.  It was a nice opportunity to catch up with many friends including Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Cr Kim Marx, Cr Angela Owen-Taylor, Cr Krista Adams and many others from business, industry, public service and the consular corps. 


It was lovely to see Brisbane City Hall draped in the colourful lights that were used recently when the city played host to the G20 Summit.  


Shona Leppänen-Gibson, President AMBCQ


Christmas a’la Malaysia with Master Chef Adam Liaw

20th November 2014



For full set of photos, please visit our gallery


Yesterday evening the AMBCQ had the pleasure of working with the Malaysian Trade Commission to organise the Christmas a'la Malaysia Dinner with Australian TV Celebrity Chef Adam Liaw. It was lovely to have the support of more than 140 people including the following official guests and good friends of ours: 
• Cr Norm Wyndham
• Anthony Shorten MP
• Captain Sir Kasper Kuipers (Honorary Consul for the Netherlands)
• Prof Michael Shuetz (Honorary Consul for Germany)
• David Goodwin (business leader and past president of CCIQ)
• John Kahlert (Kiong's fellow member of one of the Lord Mayor of Brisbane's Roundtables, and past president of the German Australian Business Assoc)
• Serge Voloschenko OAM (Kiong's fellow member of one of the Lord Mayor of Brisbane's Roundtables and Deputy Chair of ECCQ)
• Brian Lorigan (Kiong's fellow member of one of the Lord Mayor of Brisbane's Roundtables and President of the French Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
• John Massey (Australian Council for Europe and co-founder of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Queensland)
• Assistant Commissioner John Watson 
• Judi van Manen representing Bert van Manen MP (Federal Member of Parliament for Forde)
• Adam Liaw (TV celebrity chef and winner of Master Chef Australia)
• Manju Jehu (TV celebrity chef, and former director of a TV station together with Kiong and I)
• Lone Schmidt and Soren Hoimark of the Danish Heimdal

Also present were renowned restaurateur Wolfgang Kaspar and award winning baker and Brisbane's 'King of Cakes' Wolfgang Kelke, and other well-known restaurateurs. It was lovely also to have the Malaysian Trade Commissioner Nor Hayati Abu Noh (based in Melbourne) and Deputy Trade Commissioner Jude Bryan Dass fly to Brisbane and they did a wonderful job promoting bilateral trade. Thank you very much MATRADE.  Thank you also to Lucas Follbring, Maniphon Follbring, Bea Hook, Tan Han Shen, and Nicole Ng for all the help and to all AMBCQ members for supporting the Christmas dinner. Kiong and I are looking forward to hosting more Christmas parties in the coming weeks. Merry Christmas everyone!


Shona Leppänen-Gibson, President AMBCCQ


G20 Reception for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

16th November 2014


A large group of our members and supporters attended the Reception in Honour of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 Summit in Brisbane.  It was a really hot day and the temperature neared 40 degrees Celsius. We were taken out of the long queue when our dear friend Police Commissioner Ian Stewart personally intervened and very kindly insisted on us cutting the line and he insisted that we get in front of him because he said we had a new born baby – his kindness and thoughtfulness saved the then one-month old baby Suvi from a long wait in the stifling heat - what a gentleman the Commissioner is. 

The kids received invitations to the event too, and Ilkka in particular was very excited to be attending an event during G20. On the way into the CBD, we saw the US President’s helicopter Marine One taking off from Brisbane and head towards RAAF Amberley, to send the US President to the awaiting Air Force One (that was the closest we ever got to the President). It was a great opportunity to catch up with many friends including the Lord Mayor of Brisbane; the Queensland Attorney General; the Police Minister; the Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts; numerous Councillors and Mayors; State MPs and Federal MPs; and the consuls and consuls general from various countries and many other friends. After the event, we went out for a cold drink, as it was too hot for dinner.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)




Premier of Queensland’s Reception for the Indian Community

28th October 2014


A large group of our members, supporters and friends attended the Premier's Reception at Queensland Parliament like we do each year. I like to think of it as a part of our annual Deepavali celebrations (which for all intents and purposes, it is). It was lovely to catch up with many old friends and acquaintances such as Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts the Hon. Ian Walker MP, Peter Dowling MP, Ray Stevens MP, Michael Latter MP, Trevor Watts MP, Mark Boothman MP, and Neil Symes MP - all great fellows. Also lovely to catch up with many other friends. Happy Deepavali!


As many of us celebrated Deepavali that evening it was worth remembering the services of our late Mentor Dr Peter Yeoh without whom there would be no such event at Queensland Parliament during Deepavali or indeed Chinese New Year.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)


Canberra Catch Up

30th September 2014


Went to the Malaysian High Commissioner's residence for an official reception and caught up with a few friends such as the British High Commissioner and others such as the Slovak Ambassador, the Polish Ambassador, the Indonesian Ambassador, the Croatian Ambassador, the Iraqi Ambassador, the South Korean Ambassador, the Singaporeans as well as the current head of the Australian Defence Force, the former head of Defence Force Air Marshall Angus Houston (who led the Joint Agency Coordination Centre's search for missing flight MH370), senior army, air force and navy officers from Malaysia and Australia, and many others.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)

AMBCQ Entrepreneurship Panel Discussion at UQ

26th September 2014


At the request of our friends at UQ, AMBCQ ran an Entrepreneurship discussion panel.  The panel was chaired by AMBCQ Committee member Mr Han-Shen Tan.  The panel consisted of the following AMBCQ committee members:


  • President Ms Shona Leppänen-Gibson BA Hons 1 (GU), M e-Com (GU), General Manager, Paradigm Infinitum

  • Mr Shaeed Mohammed, Lutwyche Branch Manager, Bank of Queensland

  • Dr Sushil Pandey BSc, MSc Molecular Medicine, PhD, MBA, Chief Scientist - Tuberculosis, Queensland Mycobacterium Reference Laboratory, Pathology Queensland

  • Ms Isobelle Torralba FIFS, SA.Fin, AdvDip FP, Morgans


A Q&A session was held, and after the session, attendees were able to meet and talk to panellists over drinks and finger food.  Thank you to Leroy Yeow for inviting us, to Tan Han Shen for facilitating the panel and to all attendees.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)

50th Anniversary of Bilateral Relations - Casual Dining Out

26th September 2014


As a bilateral business council, the AMBCQ celebrates Australia Day and Malaysia Day every year. This evening we organised a very casual dinner at Waterford in Logan to celebrate the 51st year of the formation of Malaysia and the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations. The food this evening was a great reflection of Malaysia - sago from the indigenous tribesmen, and all types of dishes with origins or featuring key influences from India, Southern China, Indonesia, Europe as well as our mother country the United Kingdom. 


Members enjoyed fish head  curry, braised pork belly, marmite chicken, kangkung squid, and butter oat prawns, followed by sago pudding, banana fritters and fried ice cream and Carlsberg beer.



2014 Australia Malaysia Ball

5th September 2014 


This year’s Australia Malaysia Ball at the Stamford Plaza Brisbane provided another spectacular evening for members to gather together.  Official guests at the 2014 Ball included, in no particular order:

  • Cr Luke Smith, Logan City Council

  • Cr Nigel Hutton, Livingstone Shire Council

  • Cr Angela Owen-Taylor, Brisbane City Council

  • Cr Norm Wyndham, Brisbane City Council

  • Cr Kim Marx, Brisbane City Council

  • Cr Matt Bourke, Brisbane City Council

  • Cr Krista Adams, Brisbane City Council

  • Cr Vicki Howard, Brisbane City Council

  • Bert Van Manen MP, Federal Member for Forde

  • Anthony Shorten MP, State Member for Algester

  • The Hon John Mickel, former Trade Minister and former Speaker of Queensland Parliament


We are probably one of the very few business councils/guilds left in the world that actively practices formal rites and rituals in addition to traditional universal customs and attire.  Our annual Ball allows members and supporters to celebrate AMBCQ's achievements and participate in our various rituals and rites, including:

  • Our dress code – a minimum of classic black tie, or tropical black tie (white dinner jacket).  Kilt, or original ( aka civilian) mess dress (as an acknowledgement of the Second Earl Spencer), or clergy robes, or academic dress, or service dress, or military mess dress (the mess dress that the military adopted from civilians and schools) and tailcoats are all acceptable.
  • The saying of  both Ante Coenam and Post Coenam grace in Latin and English
  • Our various admission rites, benediction rites, loyalty rites, approbation rites, and dissolution rites and other rituals.  


Guests enjoyed a pre-dinner cocktail in the reception area.  Following the Quarter Call by our Piper, guests were able to finish their drinks and freshen up.  The Marshall then announced that the Dining Hall was open, and members led their guests into the Ballroom.  The official party (MPs, Councillors, Mayors, Senators, Patrons etc) entered the Ballroom last, piped in by our Piper to the to the tune of ‘Cock O’ the North’, and led by the President.  The Marshall  announced the appointment of AMBCQ President Shona Leppänen-Gibson as 'Magister' (the Master) and officially handed her the gavel and sounding block to perform the admission rite and preside over the dinner.  


Following the Royal Anthem of Australia ‘God Save the Queen’ and the national anthems of Australia and Malaysia, the Master asked Senior Vice Mr Wai Kiong Chan to say Ante Coenam grace.  The Master made the welcome address, and guests enjoyed a wonderful Australian and Malaysian buffet, and were able to mingle freely during intermission.  In an unprecedented move, this year’s Member of the Year was awarded not to a business tycoon, corporate leader or senior professional but to a highly deserving final year law student and AMBCQ’s Internship Coordinator Mr Han-Shen Tan.  Young Member of the Year also went to a highly deserving student, a PhD researcher Mr Keith Low. 


At the resumption of proceedings signalled by the Piper, the Master asked the Senior Vice to say Post Coenam grace.  This was followed by the Loyal Toast to Her Majesty the Queen, and other toasts by committee members.  After the completion of the toasts, the Senior Vice proposed three cheers to Her Majesty and members responded with three very sonorous "Hip Hip Hip! Huzzah".  The playing of Auld Lang Syne by our piper and the performance of the dissolution rites by the Senior Vice signalled the end of the official proceedings and the start of informalities.  Formality  was balanced by light heartedness and the evening was capped off by sweets, tea, coffee, live music and a dance floor.  Those who preferred a less physical end to the evening could opt for parlour games, port and malt whisky instead.  The dance floor was opened, and guests were entertained by singer Christina Bollendorff and Rattlesnake Eggs.  Overall it was another remarkable evening.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)


August 2014 - Ongoing


The AMBCQ encourages members to take part in activities outside of work and business.  Pictured are Cr Krista Adams, Cr Matthew Bourke, Ilkka Chang and Kiong Chan enjoying a game of carrom.  Carrom is a game that was popular in many British colonies and territories, and AMBCQ members from Malaya, India, the UK, Kenya, Tanganyika, North Borneo, Sarawak, Rhodesia, Ceylon and Singapore will know that it is still played in those places.   Carrom is not only a great game but it also helps bring people together socially. 


Apart from diplomatic, trade, investment, government and business events, AMBCQ members meet in Brisbane for carrom and other parlour games over a curry tiffin and traditional Malayan and Straits Settlements beverages such as Gin Pahit, Whisky Stengah, Gin and Tonic, Brandy Ginger Ale, sherry, beer and shandy.  Our Carrom group is expected to be very popular amongst members from Australia and abroad, and is an acknowledgement of Australia and Malaysia’s proudly shared British heritage.  


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)


AMBCQ Condolence Book for MH17 Tragedy

August 2014


Thanks to AMBCQ members, Minuteman Press at Darra, the AMBCQ has arranged for a Condolence Book for the MH17 tragedy. A number of Governments have arranged their own Condolence Books, including the Brisbane, Queensland and also Australian Government and the Dutch Government. The Malaysian High Commission has a Condolence Book, but it is in Canberra. As there is no Malaysian Government representation here, some Malaysians, Australians and others may not feel that they have had the opportunity to express their condolences.


The Book is currently being circulated to give community members the opportunity to sign it.  The Book of Condolence will be presented to the Malaysian High Commission in Canberra.



AMBCQ Water Dragon Tug-O-War

August 2014


Recently, the AMBCQ Water Dragons participated in a one-off event at the Manly Pool to support the Brisbane River Dragons, who provide training for our dragon boat team.  The Tug of War was a very different and fun event and our team came a very impressive third place overall, including against some very practised teams.  Photos and video of the event are available in our Facebook group, and a video has been uploaded to our Youtube channel -



New Sponsors & Corporate Members

August 2014


We would like to welcome on board our new sponsors/corporate members the Logan City Council and University of Southern Queensland.  It is wonderful to have the support of these two great institutions and we look forward to collaborating with both. 


University of Southern Queensland's International and Development Programme has helped to propel USQ into the higher education and research limelight and has also helped to create cosmopolitan communities around their campuses.  Logan City Council has a similarly enviable track record in internationalisation, trade and investment.



They join our existing sponsors, Griffith University, Air Asia, and QUT. Our relationship with our sponsors/corporate member has always been one of close partnership and cooperation, and we look forward to a fruitful relationship with both USQ and Logan City.



Shona Leppänen-Gibson, President AMBCCQ


Hosting Australia's Assistant Trade Commissioner 

7th July 2014


This evening in our private dining room at the Stamford Plaza Brisbane, we had the pleasure to host a special visitor from KL, Mr Joel Backwell.  Joel is Australia’s Assistant Trade Commissioner in Malaysia. He is an Arts/Law graduate, majoring in Indonesian language, history and politics.  After graduation, Joel worked for an Australian law firm Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills) as a lawyer, which included stints in Jakarta with Indonesian law firm Soemadipradja & Taher and with Santos, a major Australian oil and gas company.  From 2010 to 2012, Joel was a senior policy adviser in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, and contributed to a number of Victoria’s international engagement policies.  In 2013, Joel was appointed as Australia’s Assistant Trade Commissioner to Malaysia at our High Commission in KL.

AMBCQ President Shona Anikka Leppänen-Gibson delivered a welcome address.  Following this address we invited Joel to give us all a briefing of some of the main happenings in business, bilateral trade and investment.  I had the pleasure of replying to Joel, and of introducing all attendees including CEOs, senior executives and professionals from various industries including major infrastructure, engineering, financial services, real estate, higher education, government, market research and media, consulting, human resource development, medical research, and law.  After a wonderful dinner prepared by Chef and staff who always look after us so well, we had an informal Q&A and a free flowing discussion on trade, investment, business, international relations, sports and recreation, music and the arts and various issues pertaining to bilateral relations.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)


AMBCQ's Early Oktoberfest

20th June 2014


Whether it is in KL or in Brisbane, October heralds a month of Oktoberfest activities with friends getting together for beer, pork knuckles, pretzels and other good things. But why wait for Oktoberfest in October when you can celebrate it in June?

We held an ‘Early Oktoberfest’ in our garden with AMBCQ members, with a blue and white theme to pay homage to the Bavarian flag. We also had the honour of hosting the President, committee and members of the German Business Association. Unfortunately the German Consul is in Europe and could not make it. Still it was loads of fun. The event was held in honour of the AMBCQ Water Dragons, our boaters, who again competed cleanly and as usual they did very well again finishing with silver medals.


It was a fun evening, with plenty of Bavarian beer, hot mugs of gluhwein, crispy roast pork knuckles, veal schnitzels, chicken schnitzels, red cabbage, sauerkraut, weisswurst, knackwurst, cheese kransky, laber kase, liverwurst, pickled gherkins, heavy rye bread, bread rolls, pretzels and ginger bread.

AMBCQ President Shona delivered a great welcome speech, to which Mr Juergen Wohrle delivered an equally great reply. Kiong gave the vote of thanks and proposed the loyal toast to Her Majesty, Australia’s Queen. Everyone present agreed that Australia’s royal family proudly celebrates and acknowledges its part German heritage, and Kiong also paid homage to the German speaking peoples who were the earliest pioneers who helped to create the Australia we know today. We also acknowledged Germany’s contribution to the development of the USA, Canada and other places, and AMBCQ Secretary Mr Garth Wong and Mr Juergen Wohrle discussed the German contribution to PNG.

On behalf of the AMBCQ, Shona thanked our boaters, as well as our good friends from the German and Austrian business community including the President of the German Business Association Mr Juergen Wohrle and Tina, and a special thank you to those who dressed in traditional German and Austrian costumes including Mr Holger Colin and Brigit, and two German food experts - Mr Wolfgang Kaspar of K and K Austrian Restaurant, and Mr Wolfgang Kelke – the King of Cakes. To our relief, both Wolfgangs publicly proclaimed their full approval of the quality and authenticity of the German food and beverages that were served - perhaps not without a little generosity and kindness from our two dear friends! Prost Early Oktoberfest, everyone!


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)


Queensland Day Citizenship Ceremony 

7th June 2014


Every year, Shona Anikka Leppanen-Gibson and I are lucky to be invited to attend the Queensland Day Citizenship Ceremony as guests of our state. This year the event was hosted by our lovely friend, Assistant Minister Robert Cavallucci MP, representing the Premier, and also in attendance was our Lord Mayor of Brisbane - Graham Quirk, the best Lord Mayor our city has ever had. It was also good to catch up with several friends including Freya Ostapovitch MP for Stretton and also Pat and Nick Xynias who is my dear friend and my fellow member of one of the Lord Mayor's Roundtables. It was also lovely to chat with Clifton Hefner of the Australian American Association and his partner Teresa Craig.


What a pleasure to connect with other patriots. As always I renewed my pledge of loyalty to Australia and of course I never fail to include a special pledge to Her Majesty our Queen. God Save the Queen! Happy Queensland Day!


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)


Parkinson Ward Dragon Boat Festival

1st June 2014


AMBCQ’s boating team the Water Dragons have done us proud once again.  We always compete cleanly and approach each training session and race as a fun and happy activity.  We also tend to do rather well, and finished second at the 2014 Brisbane City Council Parkinson Ward Dragon Boat Festival, and we finished third at the Dragon Boat Tug of War at Manly, Brisbane.


Dragon boat is of Southern Chinese origin, and as such it has been practiced both in Malaysia and Australia for a very long time.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



Queensland Youth Symphony’s ‘Illuminations’ Concert

31st May 2014


Just how privileged can we get? This evening Shona  and I attended the Queensland Youth Symphony’s ‘Illuminations’ at the Concert Hall, QPAC, once again as guests of the QYO. We are extremely lucky to be hosted by the QYO for virtually all their major performances. We caught up with the immediate past president, the current president and the managing director. We also caught up with the legendary founder of the QYO, John Curro AM MBE, who conducted tonight’s performance and is now over 80 years old. He has trained many hundreds of the top musicians in Australia. 

Tonight’s performance began with Richard Strauss’s 'Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks', a most appropriate choice given 2014 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Strauss. This was followed by Ottorino Respighi’s 'Il Tramonto (The Sunset)' which featured one of the top opera singers in the world and soprano soloist Lisa Gasteen AO. After the interval, we were very privileged to hear the orchestra play the world premiere of one of Australia’s top composers Carl Vine’s ‘Gravity Road’, followed by Respighi’s 'Vetrate de Chiesa (Church Windows)'. We enjoyed every moment of the concert.

Following the concert, Shona and I attended the after-concert private cocktail reception where we caught up with many of the key people in the QYO including our dear friends John Curro and the past president of the QYO Collin Myers. Every performance is special, not least because we get to see the great master John Curro in action. It was a lovely treat, and we are already looking forward to the next concert.


AMBCQ members interested in supporting the QYO can contact us for details.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)




Dinner with the British High Commissioner

30th May 2014


This evening Shona and I had the great pleasure and privilege of catching up with the British High Commissioner to Australia, His Excellency Paul Madden CMG. We have not caught up with His Excellency for a while, so it was lovely to see him once again. I am grateful to our good friend Andrew Laming MP, Federal Member for Bowman for organising a wonderful evening for the small gathering at The Euro restaurant in Brisbane.


Andrew Laming is a fantastic MP. To say that Australia and the United Kingdom share a common heritage is a complete understatement. Our two countries share an unbreakable bond as the very closest of friends and allies, and we have a shared culture, a shared heritage, a shared past AND a shared future. I asked His Excellency to identify some of the levers that stakeholders can support in terms of furthering our wonderful bilateral ties, and one idea we discussed was having a joint approach to international relations that would assist both our countries. What a wonderful idea. This evening, I honour our bilateral relations by finishing the evening at home with a dram from our old country – an Ardbeg Uigeadail from Islay, UK. God bless the UK and Australia. God Save the Queen.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



Cocktail Function with Cr Angela Owen-Taylor

27th May 2014


The AMBCQ hosted a cocktail function with special guest Cr Angela Owen-Taylor, who is (take a deep breath before you read all these!) Councillor for Parkinson Ward, Deputy to the Lord Mayor on International Relations & Multicultural Affairs, Deputy to the Lord Mayor on City Hall Restoration, Deputy Chairman of Council, and Deputy Chairman of Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee.   She spoke to our guests about international relations and the upcoming G20. We had our AMBCQ interns along for the event as well (thanks for all your help by the way), and she also addressed local issues for international students.  


The event was held at Paradigm Infinitum’s boardroom and lounge at our office in the Brisbane CBD.  It was an informative and relaxed evening, and we greatly appreciate the councillor taking the time out of her busy schedule to meet our members.  


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)


AMBCQ Scientific Diaspora Network (29th April 2014)

29th April 2014


We held a number of meetings of the Scientific Diaspora Network in Brisbane in 2013 and 2014. We founded the group in late 2012 at the request of the Malaysian government and it was launched by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri the Hon Huhyiddin Yassin PM, and also the then Minister for Higher Education (and now Premier of Johore Dato' Sri The Hon Khaled Nordin MP.


At the inaugural 2014 meeting of the AMBCQ's MSDN, we drank a toast to country, a toast to the heads of state, and the loyal toast to Her Majesty the Queen of the British Commonwealth Realm.  AMBCQ Committee Member Dr Rahmat Shazi chaired our first workshop.  Current tasks include developing a database of different scientific skillsets and experts for easy reference.  The research collaboration between Australia and Malaysia is highly significant.  Many Australian scientists regularly travel to Malaysia to conduct joint studies and field studies in many areas.  Similarly each year there are hundreds of Malaysian researchers who carry out their PhD and post-doctoral research in Australia.  Organisations such as CSIRO have numerous Malayan-born and Malaysian-born scientists, and similarly almost every hospital in Australia would be staffed by numerous Malayan-born and Malaysian-born doctors and specialists.


Membership of the group is open to all academics and scientists regardless of country of birth.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)


Lord Mayor of Brisbane’s International Student Friendship Ceremony

7h May 2014


Today Shona and I attended the Lord Mayor of Brisbane’s International Student Friendship Ceremony at City Hall. International education is an essential component of Australia’s economy and is one of the largest export sectors. Brisbane receives 75,000 international fee-paying students each year. Our Lord Mayor has always been highly proactive in promoting Brisbane internationally and welcoming international students, business people, investors and visitors. It was lovely to once again catch up with Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Lady Mayoress Anne Quirk, Cr Angela Owen-Taylor, and Cr Krista Adams, and my fellow member of the Lord Mayor’s Roundtable Serge Voloschenko. We enjoyed a speech by the Lord Mayor, and a ‘sand goanna’ totem animal dance by the Nunukul (Noonucal) Jaggera Aboriginal Dance Group. The dance troupe also performed a fire making ceremony.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



Dinner Forum with Vice President and co-founder of the LNP Gary Spence 

27th March 2014


We hosted a dinner featuring Gary Spence, the Managing Director of Brown Consulting, an engineering consulting firm with 450 staff in several offices in Australia and Asia.  Under Gary’s tenure as Managing Director, Brown Consulting has grown into one of the largest urban development consultancies in Australia.  The firm is also recognised as a leading provider of structural services and is growing its reputation and skill base across roads and traffic, mining and resources, water and environmental services as well as surveying and town planning.

In his role as Managing Director, Gary leads the identification and recruitment of targeted Merger and Acquisition prospects.  He is also a key member of Calibre Group’s Executive Leadership Team.  During his career Gary has held several key leadership roles with the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA, QLD) and the Australian Green Development Forum.  Gary helped to found the Australian Green Development Forum – an industry body set up to facilitate and encourage sustainable development. 

Gary’s speech was extremely well received and informative, and covered several key areas of interest to guests.  The dinner was kept small to allow everyone to interact with Gary and to get to know him. I know that all who were present were extremely impressed with Gary’s openness, candidness, and friendliness.

It rained extremely heavily throughout the night and several locations in Southeast Queensland flooded.  A few dinner guests could not make it because their houses experienced some localised flooding. Fortunately for the dinner, the lawn at our place only flooded (with a couple of inches of water) after the conclusion of the dinner.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



Lord Mayor of Brisbane’s Citizenship Ceremony (21st March 2014)

21st March 2014


Shona and I were once again privileged to attend another of our wonderful Lord Mayor of Brisbane - Graham Quirk's citizenship ceremonies at City Hall, and it remains one of the largest citizenship ceremonies in Australia. We caught up with several good friends including Chairman of Council Cr Margaret de Wit (Councillor for Pullenvale); Assistant Minister Rob Robert Cavallucci MP for Brisbane Central, and Freya Ostapovitch MP for Stretton, and Anthony Shorten MP for Algester. It was also great to catch up with my good friends and fellow members of the Lord Mayor's Roundtable, Nick Xynias AO BEM and Serge Voloschenko OAM.

We attend several of these ceremonies each year but we always find the events to be very uplifting. The evening's performances were provided by the Birralee Blokes Choir, the Australian Army band and a dance troupe from the Jagera people of Brisbane. As is always the case, I took the opportunity to reaffirm my oath of allegiance "to Her Majesty the Queen, and to Australia and its people". God Save the Queen.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



AMBCQ/Paradigm Infinitum Internship Programme

February 2014 - Ongoing


The AMBCQ/Paradigm Infinitum Internship Programme was launched in 2014.  It has been a resounding success, and currently involves a team of 11 persons.  Amongst the interns there is a wide range of disciplines including accounting, law, e-commerce, management, innovation, economics and IT.  The internship team consists of several undergraduate students, as well as graduates and postgraduates including two PhD candidates. 


Projects that the interns have worked on include social media strategy, industry analysis, marketing, events management etc.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



Dinner with new Malaysian Trade Commissioner to Australia

20th February 2014


Last year Shona Anikka Leppanen-Gibson's birthday clashed with a meeting she was chairing - so no birthday dinner in 2013 but there was a surprise cake at the meeting courtesy of our good friend Judy Thomas from Cr Matt Bourke's office.  This year, her birthday coincided with a visit from MATRADE trade commissioners who were in Brisbane for only a few hours before flying off again - it is always a great privilege to receive visitors, so it was a double celebration.  We cut a cake that Shona made, and then rushed off to pick up our visitors from the airport.  We had a lovely AMBCQ dinner at Byblos Bar and Restaurant with the trade commissioner designate Noor Hayati and the deputy trade commissioner Jude Bryan, and the CEO of the Asset Institute Prof Joe Mathew and the manager of MAS Muzakir Shah.  It was a lovely evening.  


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



Hosting the Queensland Trade Commissioner to ASEAN 

February 2014


We had the privilege of hosting Queensland’s newly appointed Trade Commissioner to ASEAN, Mr Marah Hoessein Salim earlier in 2014.  Hoessein flew in from Singapore to Brisbane for a series of meetings before starting his Jakarta Indonesia based-role. We continued with the tradition of hosting Trade Commissioners at our home to create a more personal touch to a new working relationship. Hoessein was previously a Consul for Singapore and a Centre Director for Singapore’s Trade Development Board in various countries around the world. His last several positions were as a senior executive in several government-linked corporations including Jurong Town Corporation, Ascendas and lately Keppel Land International, where he served as Assistant General Manager. Hossein speaks several languages, and was able to put his linguistic skills to good use at the dinner.

We drank a toast to our new and inaugural Trade Commissioner to ASEAN, and to Queensland's Head of State, Her Majesty the Queen.

The role of Queensland Trade Commissioner to ASEAN will mean Queensland organisations will be better represented in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We congratulate the Queensland Government, and Trade and Investment Queensland for creating the role, and for the appointment of Hoessein


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



Premier of Queensland’s Chinese New Year Reception at Parliament

12th February 2014


The AMBCQ has always celebrated Chinese New Year the traditional way, and we avoid the extreme political correctness renaming of Chinese New Year as ‘Lunar’ New Year or other new PC titles.  Full marks to successive Queensland Governments for retaining the correct term ‘Chinese New Year’.  Apart from the numerous private functions, each year we also attend the Premier’s Chinese New Year reception on Speaker’s Green in the Queensland Parliament.  It was a lovely and summery Wednesday night and just the right atmosphere to celebrate the Premier's Chinese New Year Reception 2014, and we were particularly impressed with Mark Stewart MP’s speech, part of which was delivered in Chinese. 


Three Cantonese Hock San lions performed for the 700 strong audience at Speaker’s Green, in the middle of the Parliament. The top lion dance teams in Queensland are overseen by the top lion dance master in the world, Master Siow of Malaysia.  Attendees enjoyed a nice selection of beverages and Chinese finger foods, entertainment, and great company on Speaker’s Green. 

We managed to catch up with Premier Campbell Newman and Mrs Newman, Mark Stewart MP, Anthony Shorten MP, Freya Ostapovitch MP for Stretton, Tarnya Smith MP, Health Minister the Hon Lawrence Springborg MP, Cr Vicki Howard,Cr Steven Huang, Cr Angela Owen-Taylor, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts the Hon Ian Walker MP. It was a great opportunity to catch up with the Premier, Ministers and MPs and Councillors, and most of them have been our good friends for many years and continue to work hard for the Queensland community.

The Premier's CNY Reception was started many years ago at the suggestion of AMBCQ’s late mentor and patron Dr Peter Yeoh. It is always an enjoyable event.  After the event, a few of us went for some Chinese style ice dessert.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



Premier of Queensland's Australia Day Flag Raising Ceremony

26th January 2014


Each year, Shona and I are privileged to attend the Premier of Queensland's Australia Day Flag Raising Ceremony at Southbank. It was nice to see many old friends there including several from Queensland Parliament as well as the Police Commissioner, military officers, consular corps etc. Guests of honour included Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Premier Campbell Newman, and the Governor of Queensland HE Penelope Wensley AC. The host officer was Major General Stuart Smith AM, Commander of the 1st Division.


Soldiers of the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment provided the Honour Guard and performed a Salute to the Lord Mayor, a General Salute to the Premier, and a Royal Salute to the Governor. There was a 21 gun salute by “A” Battery of the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, using four M2A2 105mm Howitzer light field artillery guns and a fly past from an RAAF F/A 18F Super Hornet. After the event we rushed off to the shops to get a few more things for our Australia Day Bush BBQ.



Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)

Lord Mayor of Brisbane's Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony

26th January 2014


Every year, Shona Anikka Leppanen-Gibson and I are fortunate to attend the Lord Mayor of Brisbane's Citizenship Ceremony. It was nice to catch up with friends from the consular corps, international community, uniformed services and government including Cr Norm Wyndham, Cr Ian McKenzie, Cr Angela Owen-Taylor and Robert Cavallucci MP. Each year, I have the privilege of reaffirming my oath of loyalty to Australia at several citizenship ceremonies conducted by the Lord Mayor. I always make it a point to swear my allegiance "to Her Majesty the Queen, and to Australia and its people".


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



Australia Day Bush BBQ at Mt Coot-tha 

26th January 2014


Our final event of Australia Day was to host an Australia Day bush BBQ at Mt Coot-tha. We enjoyed a classic Queensland style Australia Day BBQ feast of damper, pumpkin scones (using Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen's recipe), Black Angus steak, pork and beef sausages, grilled chicken, fish and prawns, and salad, and a nice Pavlova with cream and raspberries, Lamingtons, washed down with billy tea brewed over a wood fire, and also wine, cold beer and Bundaberg Rum.


All the kids had fun playing in the creek whilst the closet fire bug adults enjoyed lighting the wood fire BBQ. It was very nice of our good friend Cr Norm Wyndham and his son Thomas to join us al in celebrating this special dayl.


Kiong (Wai Kiong CHAN)



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