Bitter Taste of Botched Durian Festival

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Thousands of durian lovers who flocked to Dataran Kemerdekaan for the ‘Kendurian Makan Sampai Pengsan’ today were let down when the event had to be abruptly cancelled.

Shazreen Zamzuri/NST

Durian fans started arriving as early as 9.30am but fewer than 100 participated in the all-you-can-eat durian festival as most of the fruits, weighing 15 tonnes in total, were not ripe. This riled durian enthusiasts who were furious with the event organiser.

“My friend and I left home at 10.30am to come here. But when we got here, the organiser told us that the durians were not ready as they received unripe ones from their supplier,” Mohd Azrimal Sharifudin, 32, from Sungai Besi told the New Straits Times.

“It was frustrating because I am a ‘hantu durian’ (durian lover). I had also brought a big bottle of water and a knife just for this event,” said the manufacturing sector worker.

“I received an invitation to this festival via WhatsApp. It said ‘kendurian sampai pengsan’ (eat durian until you pass out), so we were so excited and came here today,” building manager Armi Farid, 41, said.

“But when we arrived about 10.15am, the organiser said they had to cancel the event today. The organiser claimed that they were cheated by their supplier and that they lost over RM200,000.

“What can we do? Now, we are going home. But I really pity the people who came here in droves,” Armi said.

Factory worker Mohd Ridzuan Abas, 40, who came from Banting with his wife and their four children, echoed a similar sentiment.

“I asked the organiser what happened and they said that the durians were not yet ripe. I took a day off from work today just to bring my wife and kids to eat durian, as they love the fruit so much.”

Grace Yong, 46, who travelled with her sister and friend all the way from Sibu, Sarawak, said they decided to come to the Klang Valley for a holiday after learning about the festival.

“I really wanted to see what a durian festival is like as there is nothing like this in Sarawak. So, we bought flight tickets to come here for a holiday so that we can join the all-you-can-eat durian event.

“We arrived here from our hotel in Kuala Lumpur about 9.30am and queued for two hours before the organiser announced that there is a problem with their durian supply.

“Disappointed is really an understatement,” Grace said.

Meanwhile, the event organiser said that they apologise to those who came as the durians they received were what they ordered from their supplier.

Event manager Firdaus Abdullah apologised to those who came and told the New Straits Times that they have to stop the festival for the time being at as it would not be fair to customers to be served with unripe fruits

“If we let the festival go on, it is akin to cheating the customers. It would only create a much bigger problem.

“We really apologise. The durians we received this morning were not what had been promised by our supplier. Now, we are sorting things out, and we plan to get a new batch hopefully by today before reopening,” Firdaus said.

Shazreen Zamzuri/NST

He added that out of the 15 tonnes of durian they received, only 200kg were ripe.

The festival, which was widely promoted on social media since last week, offers customers the opportunity to eat as many durians as they want at an entry fee of RM19 for adults and RM15 for children.