Friday, May 18, 2007

Penny Meets the Media

The new Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Penny Williams, let me tell you, is everything that my friend Paul Gabriel (the Star), had said in his article about her (Sunday Star, April 29).
Attractive and elegant, Ms Williams, in fact, is a lot like the many Australians I have met here and abroad - warm. open and friendly.
And as Australia's top diplomat, she is informal.
"Oh, don't stand on ceremony..."
I have been lucky to not have met the Ugly Australian, here, there or Downunder.
The 43 year-old Tasmanian-born diplomat was with members of the media at her Jalan U Thant residence on May 16.

I met my former colleagues and compatriots from the NST, Star and the Sun. Also there were members of the National Press Club and representatives the National Alliance of Bloggers or All-Blogs, including (NPC president) Mokhtar Hussain and (NPC advisor) Ahirudin Attan otherwise known as Rocky (who is All-Blogs president).
NST group editor Syed Nadzri Syed Haron, businessman/political blogger Ruhanie "Kuda Kepang" Ahmad and Dino Herrera Pasqual of the Commonwealth Society of Malaysia as well as NST journalists Farrah Naz Karim and Anna Maria Shamsuddin, Jane Ritikos (the Star) and writer/media consultant Anthea De Lima were also there.

Ms Williams mingled and mingled during the entire evening of Australian wine, barbecued lamb, chicken and beef, as well as salads, a little pasta and oh-so-sinful Pavlova (an incredibly sedap Aussie dessert).
I told Ms Williams ("oh, just call me Penny") that I only came for the Pavlova, as I had always, year-in-year-out at the Aussie High Comm media night.
"Hahaa,", she laughed.
We spoke a little about almost everything - about the rain, her children, Malaysian food, the diplomatic service ("only five women diplomats out of 105 here!"), her country, my country, and Arabic which we both agreed is a very difficult language to master.
And yes, she loves it here.
I believe her.
And no, I did not call her Penny. Nor "Your Excellency".

*Ms Wiliams takes over from James Wise. Prior to her appointment here early this month, she was First Assistant Secretary, Corpos Malaysiarate Management Division (2005-2007). Overseas, she served as Counsellor, Santiago (1997-2000) and First Secretary, Damascus (1992-94).
In Canberra, Ms Williams has held a range of positions including First Assistant Secretary, Diplomatic Security Information Management and Services Division (2004-05); Assistant Secretary, Staffing Branch (2003-04) and Director, Staffing Operations Section (2001-02).
Ms Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies (Hons).
She is married to Hamish McCormick, the deputy CEO of the Australian Trade Commission and they have four children, aged four, 10, 14 and 17.
She speaks, Arabic, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesia.

(Picture of Ms Williams flanked by fellow Aussie Nicki and me.)


Peminat Setia said...

Oh Kak Ena. Lawa nyer!


I must congratulate the Aussie hi-com for a lovely bbq party, especially so since the invitation was opened to bloggers as well. I haven't attended an embassy do attended by more bloggers than the Aussie hicom bbq. And the bloggers mixed and mingled well with the journos.
Let's hope more hi commissions and embassies will open their doors - and minds - to bloggers.

btw, peminat setia, siapa yang lawa nyer tu?

adik said...

Bro Rocky,

To be fair, I believe peminat setia was referring to all three in no special order. :)