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Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Frolics - The Sky Inspiration Test

Oh, it's a gorgeous day outside today here in Kuala Lumpur! Though we still see a hazy KL skyline but clearly the sky is blue and the clouds cottony. Such a reprieve from all that drab rainy weather of weeks past.

Incidentally, today is the first day of the second 9th month in the Lunar Calendar. Baffling? Yeah, this year, we get two (double) 9th lunar months and today is the start of the second one. The reason for this 'oddity' or the 'leap year' I think it's called, is to re-synchronize the solar year with the lunar year - complicating stuff, this one. Suffice to know that there are two 9th months in 2014.

I thought a personality quiz about the sky is rather apt for this beautiful day. So, enjoy and have a lovely, lovely day ahead wherever you are.

By the way, have you entered for the Book Giveaway? Contest ends Sunday midnight. Come join, the more the merrier!

Beauty Inspires You

You are the positive and optimistic type. You can see how almost anything is a blessing.

You are a profoundly creative and downright delightful person. You inspire the world.

You are imaginative and even artistic. You have an eye for design and beauty.

You think there is too much ugliness and drabness in this world. You're trying to make everything a little more gorgeous.

Last Friday's Quiz: The Train Oracle

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happy Deepavali - October 22, 2014

Malaysia is a multicultural nation. More than 10% are Indians, mostly Hindus. Here's a beautiful ad by Petronas to give you some glimpses of this Hindu festival. Deepavali or Diwali is also known as the Festival of Lights. Enjoy!

** Btw, have you put in your entry to be in the running to win yourself a beautiful Batik book?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway - Malaysian Batik: Reinventing a Tradition

Gosh, was I excited when a parcel I expected from Tuttle arrived. It was a pleasant surprise when I saw it was such a big and beautiful book. *Gasp*

Malaysian Batik: Reinventing a Tradition traces the origins of batik history, the materials, methods and motifs of the block-stamped and hand drawn methods, and the ways in which Malaysian batik has been transformed into a craft with international appeal.

Published by Tuttle Publishing, this wonderful book on Batik is written bv Noor Azlina Yunus in collaboration with Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia, a charitable foundation set up by the late Endon Mahmood who was the wife of Malaysia's fifth Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Noor Azlina Yunus has lived and worked in Malaysia for over forty years, where she has been involved in teaching, publishing and writing. She has a deep interest in the decorative arts of the Malay World and is the author of Songket Revolution.

All that you need to know about Malaysian Batik is packed in this wonderful book, Malaysian Batik: Reinventing a Tradition. This gem comes with 176 pages measuring 11.7 x 8.8 inches.

Chapter 1 starts you off on the story of batik where it touches on beginnings of batik in Malaysia, the trade paths, traditional fabrics and traditional wear. You will get to know about the roots of batik and forerunners of Malay batik plus the various types of kain (material) available and used.

If you are in the business of making batik products, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 would interest you where you would learn about the methods and materials used. Chapter 2 covers with much detail Malaysia's metal block batik including types of metal blocks as well as the process of preparing the cloth, waxing, dyeing - an elaborate process that is well-documented by the author. Accompanying pictures provide for better understanding.

In Chapter 3 the reader is exposed to Malaysia's new stylus batik. Again, you can learn about the materials and methods used in this new method of print. This new style brings forth a burst of vibrant colours and prints which pave the way for an exciting new chapter in Malaysian batik.

Malaysian batik has been given a new boost both locally and internationally thanks to the foundation, Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia. This book does justice to the work of this foundation which took pains in organising various activities to promote batik - from local design competitions to various collaborations overseas at art festivals, trade fairs and fashion shows. From this book, you will get an idea of what constitutes formal and informal batik wear and the designers and their specialities. Designs by Melinda Looi, Tom Abang Saufi and Carven Ong are featured, among others.

Malaysian batik has evolved into a multifunctional fabric. Initially restricted to just the woman's sarong, new developments have allowed batik to develop beyond its traditional use as clothing to soft furnishings and decorative items for the home and the hospitality trade.

Nowadays you can find tablecloths, table runners, napkins, pillowcases, bed linens, cushion covers, wall hangings, photo-frames, tissue boxes made with batik fabric/prints. All these and more are covered in the book.

The author hasn't forgotten Batik as Art. If you visit the National Art Museum in Kuala Lumpur you would be able to view these original batik paintings.

Malaysian batik has come a long way and has now gone global.

After going through the book, I would say this is a must-have batik reference book for anyone in the batik industry - entrepreneurs, designers and students of the art - for a better understanding of the business of batik. And a highly-recommended book for everybody's coffee table, but of course.

Why do I refer to Malaysian Batik: Reinventing a Tradition as a reference book? Because besides information about the history of Batik and how-to's and so forth, you can also find an exhaustive directory of Designers, Entrepreneurs, Batik Art Schools - names and contact information provided. That's not all, for ease of reference, the Index is a tremendous help for you to locate the what and the who in the book. A really cool feature this one.

Yes, this too is featured..
This is what we refer to as a 'sarong'. It is a hammock for babies. Because a sarong is normally used, it has been named such. This hammock is still is use today more so in the rural areas.

Thanks to Tuttle, I now have a copy of this truly amazing book.

And now you can have the chance of winning a copy for yourself courtesy of Tuttle Publishing.

Here's how you can win:

1. Leave a comment here on this blog post and tell me your impression of Batik and/or tell me something about a Batik item that you own. That simple.

2. Please make sure you leave a valid email address with your comment (but this will not be published). Your email address will be used to contact you should you win.

3. The closing date for entries is Sunday, 26 October midnight. The winner will be determined through a random draw.

4. Should you win, you will be contacted for your postal address for the prize to be sent to, and the prize will be mailed out directly by the publisher, Tuttle Publishing.

5. Contest is open to all. Hurry, you have only a week to enter.

Kajang and Satay

Looking at the picture below you have to feel sorry for the town-folk in the 'satay' town. Yes, Kajang was hit by a flash flood two days ago.

Why 'satay' you may ask. Kajang, the town about 15 miles south of KL is known for its satay.

Satay (or Sate) is grilled skewered sticks of meat (most common here are chicken and beef) dipped in a peanut sauce. Satay is normally served with cucumber and onions and ketupat (rice cooked in a casing of palm leaves).

If you are visiting Malaysia, don't leave home without trying our satay. They are easily available from roadside foodstalls to hotel restaurants. A picture tells a thousand words.. here's a thousand words (courtesy of Google). Yum!

Christmas ornaments

When you see this type of items in the shops, you know Christmas is coming!

Unfortunately, we don't find many of these Christmas ornaments here in KL. These I found on department 56 villages here

Talking about holidays, we have two public holidays lined up next week.

Hindus will celebrate Deepavali on Thursday, October 23, and Muslims will celebrate Awal Muharram on Saturday, October 25.

If one takes off on Friday then it'd be one long weekend. Sweet!