We decided to stay overnight in Vistana Kuantan so that we did not have to wake up and get ready so early in the morning. We arrived at Vistana at quarter past seven and had our dinner at Nara Tanjung Lumpur.
At Nara I met Aziz Khalid (aka Aziz Wali), a very close childhood buddy, and his wife Rahmah, my sister's close friend and a successful 'stratified cake' supplier. With them was Halim, another childhood friend. Aziz was very different - he was slim and so smartle dressed that if he was not with his wife, I was sure I would have missed him.
On the 12th February morning we woke up early and were ready for the big occassion. My wife in her turqoise kurung and I in my blue-green baju Melayu arrived at Tok Empat Mengkasar's house at five past eight. Tok empat helped me in getting dressed up the Pahang style.
We arrived at Balairong Seri at 10 past nine and had our seats at 8th row right. I was made to lead the third group of DIMP recipients.
I was strangely cool waiting for my time. A DSAP recipient made a big blunder causing a big roar from the crowd. She, perhaps out of nervousness, walked up straight to the Sultan's chair instead of standing in the first step as we all were supposed to.
I did all right as I received the award. Her Majesty jokingly said that I was still a young man when I told him that I was 55. I was the sole DIMP recipient from Pahang State Government Departments - the others were from the police, army and federal officers.
After lunch recipients flocked to the Balairong Seri again for photo session. The queue was long - why? Some people took their sweet times taking shots after shots, sometimes of their entire family!
After the ceremony we rushed home to meet my parents, still complete in the ceremonial dress, with head gear, kris and medals - just so that my parents share the pride of their son's achievement.
Congratulatory messages poured in from friends and clients alike.
Despite of the joy of partially achieving the topmost layer of Maslow's Theory of needs I was totally exhausted after it all.