Hello from your Chieftain!
I hope you are all keeping well and had a good summer break. It’s hard to believe Christmas is just round the corner; where has the year gone?
Welcome to my 3rd Chieftain’s Chatter, my forum for keeping you updated on what’s been happening and what’s coming up for our Society events.
8th KUALA LUMPUR HIGHLAND GAMES 2023
On Saturday 23rd September, 2023 we held our 8th Highland Games at Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort. With an estimated crowd of over 6,000 people in attendance, it was truly an amazing day, and our most successful to date. The Opening Ceremony started with a motorbike cavalcade, courtesy of the Head Hunters Motorcycle Club, carrying newly appointed British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency Ailsa Terry, along with me and Scotland’s finest MC, Craig Hill. After a circuit around the field, waving to the crowds, we were ready to welcome everyone to the Games. The ceremony was rounded off by a fantastic performance of marching bagpipers and drummers from the very impressive Sri Dasmesh Pipe Band. With formalities completed, the Games were officially declared Open.
The Highland Games is no doubt one of the best days out that all the family can have in KL and we take utmost pride in making this day extra special. However, none of this would be possible without the generosity of our sponsors, supporters, volunteers and helpers, and for that we are truly grateful. Their sponsorship and support allows us to run this complex event, which showcases uniquely Scottish athletic events, an internationally accredited Pipes & Drums competition, a range of fun tests of strength and skill for all to take part in, and a massive rugby tournament. It also enables us to raise money every year for a changing selection of deserving local charities and offer a free day out at the Games to over 300 disadvantaged children, who had a great time making full use of all the activities on offer and enjoyed the complimentary food, drinks and transportation.
The Kids’ Village is a huge attraction at the KL Highland Games. This year’s amenities included a large selection of carnival games, a slip n slide, bouncy inflatables, paddling pools, a climbing wall and the ever-so-popular inflatable Zorb balls to roll around inside. Additionally, we introduced an exciting reverse bungee ride that had the kids shooting 45ft into the air, where they bobbed up and down in the stretchy harness above a trampoline, before being brought safely back down. This thrilling ride was very well received, especially among the older and more daring kids. And as if that wasn’t enough to keep the children entertained, we had a team of face-painters on site taking pride in applying beautiful designs to lots of smiling faces.
We welcomed back our favourite strongmen, known as the “Heavies”, fresh from a summer of competing at Highland Games the length and breadth of Scotland, to contest a variety of traditional Scottish events that require enormous strength, explosive power, split-second timing and perfect technique to achieve the best throws. There are five disciplines involved, namely: Shot Put, Weight for Distance, Hammer Throw, Weight for Height, and of course, Tossing the Caber.
It was a close-run competition, but Neil Elliott, “Nelly” to his friends, emerged victorious. Thanks again to Neil, Willie, Anthony, Brian and Ross for putting on a great show and congratulations to those who earned “personal bests”. Great job guys! Thanks also to lovely Liz Elliott, who acted as Heavies Convener and kept their events running as smoothly as always.
Pipes and Drums
This year we had an amazing total of 8 Pipe & Drum bands participating from near and far: 5 from Malaysia, 2 from Hong Kong and 1 from Australia. The talented bands and soloists competed in a range of musical disciplines in front of our Class 1 judging team, while entertaining the crowd. They were an absolute delight to watch and wonderful to hear. Congratulations to the worthy winners and thank you all for coming.
This year’s massively well-attended rugby tournament saw 81 teams from all over Malaysia competing throughout the day, with the relentless action spanning a total of 8 pitches. Spectators cheered on these hard-fought battles, refs furiously blew their whistles, players put in maximum effort and there was a great atmosphere. Thanks again to KL Tigers RFC for once again organising a fabulous tournament.
Mini Highland Games
For the first time ever we introduced the Mini-Highland Games for kids. Using scaled-down throwing equipment, and with expert coaching generously provided by the Heavies, KL’s kids had their first hands-on experience of traditional Scottish athletic events. Thanks are due to MC Craig Hill, for providing the entertaining commentary. We’ll be bringing this event back next year for sure!
Tug of War
With 10 teams of eight likely lads competing, there was plenty of pulling power and a wide variety of tugging techniques on display. The very vocal crowds enjoyed an exciting competition with Alba Gu Bràth taking home the win. Congratulations guys and thanks to all the teams who participated. We were ably assisted in the running and scoring of the event by expert representatives from the Malaysian Tug of War Association, for which we were extremely grateful and we very much hope to collaborate with them again next year.
Welly Boot Toss
By popular demand, we saw the return of the Welly Boot Toss competition. A big yellow welly has to be thrown as far as possible to win. The results ranged from seriously impressive to hilariously underwhelming, as it’s not nearly as straightforward as it might first appear! The lucky Ladies’ and Men’s Champions each earned themselves cash prizes, T-shirts and very lovely ceremonial welly trophies in glass cases.
This year we were delighted to be able to offer the public a chance to use a Golf Simulator, which proved to be popular addition to the day, with lots of people queuing to try their hand at achieving the Longest Drive. Well done to the winners of the golf simulator vouchers and we look forward to welcoming this fun challenge back next year.
Supporters, Vendors, Concessions, Merchandise
From the many fabulous food stalls on site to choose from, our food vendors did an amazing job of ensuring stomachs were amply lined and our 2 big and busy bar tents, the Northern Lights Bar and the Fjord Watering Hole kept everyone fully hydrated.
With 4 concession stores, as well as our very own KLHG merchandise tent, there were some great shopping opportunities. We also had a selection of fabulous raffle prizes, which saw plenty of interest and made their lucky winners extra happy with the day.
As a token of our appreciation for the incredibly generous support we received from our Platinum Sponsors, this year we invited them into the newly introduced VIP Tent. This separate space offered our honoured guests a free bar and some delicious bites to eat, while sitting at dressed tables inside or standing in the fenced outside area from which to see and be seen.
After all competitions were completed, it was time to boogie on down to our favourite local band, Urban Myth, who never have trouble getting the crowds up dancing until closing time.
A special Thank You goes out to the amazing committee for all your hard work, commitment and dedication to making this wonderful day possible. From positive feedback received, we have shown once again this is the best event in town, and it’s all credit to you.
ST. ANDREW’S CELEBRATION
My first formal evening event as Chieftain will be the St. Andrew’s Celebration, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Saturday 25th November, 2023. You will have already received the flyer in your email inbox, and probably also seen it on our social media. Tickets are available now. Come join us for fine cuisine, traditional entertainment provided by the amazing St. John’s Alumni Pipe Band and then dance the night away to Scotland’s finest ceilidh band, Clappy Doo.
BURNS NIGHT 2024
Next year’s Burns Night will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel, on Saturday 3rd February, 2024. Further details to follow.
9th KUALA LUMPUR HIGHLAND GAMES 2024
Next year’s Highland Games will be on Saturday 28th September 2024, at Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort.
As you can see, lots more exciting events are coming up, so be sure to keep yourselves updated by checking out our website and social media. Thank you once again for your continued support for your Society.
131st Chieftain, Selangor St. Andrew’s Society