Sunday, August 20, 2017

The True Meaning of Girl Power | Artsis Studio

This time around, Kembara Kraf Selangor 2017 brought a refreshing flavor, one that I initially thought was a great idea, later spellbounded by the sincerity, intention (niat) and generosity that I definitely knew there’s hope in our community, humanity and country. (Yeah I know! Sounded a little dramatic but in all honesty, this is how I really felt). And this is how my self-reflection journey started…

A family that creates Art together, stays together.

That was how Uncle started his conversation, believing that art keeps his family united. He even jokingly told us that his love for art was not materialize during his younger days hence him imposing it onto his children, of which, it really paid off. Alhamdulillah. I doubt there’s any regret among them, in fact, I think they rather enjoy it (and appreciate it of cause). Fast forward years later, they are now a known artist in their own right; a career woman that combines passion and academic – successful marketers, graphic designer, PR specialist and town planner. And as if what they’ve achieved is not (good) enough, they decided to give back to the community by starting an art class for kids in the neighbor, hopefully expending to adult art class (of which I plan to enroll *wink*).

Having honored by The Malaysia Guinness Books of Records for having the most artist in a family created the curiosity in me, reason being their abah, fondly called by the children; Dato’ Haji Mohd Yusoff Jaafar was the former Commissioner of Police, Sarawak. Police force; a person whom many would presumably felt strict, fierce and boring. And Oh Boy! Was I wrong, he was everything but. He not only instilled the love for art into his kids at young age, he cultivated their talent, nurtured their genre and supported their interest. Unsurprisingly, some of his kids not only have painting as talent, they are also actively involved in music – also a form of art. This can be seen is some of their artwork.

Like a little Cheshire cat, I asked further, the genre of each of the sibling’s artwork, and the same time learning the name of the genre. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone I call it *grin*. I soon learn those painting with human element where in photography is called portraiture is called figurative in painting (correct me if I am wrong here), noticed that some of the sign-off is by Yati; the eldest sister. Then there’s Van Gogh style, one that looks like Starry Starry Night; not quite sure which sister mastered this genre, then there’s also na├»ve art of which I kinda like it. But one that captivated me the most is the sister (forgotten her name, silly me) that dotted on her paintings, claiming that she doesn’t fancy ‘a flat/solid surface’ and I told her that the first thing came to my mine is Australia aborigine art. I bet she’ll be famous if she exhibits her work of art there. You go girl!

My curiosity need to be fed, I enquired on the format of the art classes for kids. Guiding and nurturing kids’ talent is what we ‘all expected, but as usual, the family when over and beyond to teach these kids, they taught them to see beyond the bubble’, as it is not colourless, it came in many sizes and that it glitters. Grasp that and translate it onto the drawing board. Aside from that, the classes also share the background of the artist itself, the genre and history behind it. This way, the understanding and appreciation of art is more robust, more depth and full of soul, not a mere 2Ds; on a piece of paper.

After asking my usual ‘Why, When, Who and What’, I came to realized that I actually ran out of questions (which is kinda rare for me, those whom know me well will vouch for this).

‘Teruja’ and ‘terkesima’ is an understatement when you meet them Art Sis; a true to life Girl Power.

So, step aside Power Puff Girls, bow to them queens! *flip tudung*

Artsis Studio
Email :
FB Page : Artsis Studio
Instagram : @artsisstudi
Mobile : +6018-327 0902
Town : USJ 9, UEP Subang Jaya

Kembara Kraf Selangor 2017 Fam Trip is in collaboration with UPENS (Unit Perancangan Negeri Selangor) and all its sponsors with #GayaTravel as media coordinator.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah | Intricacy of Kelarai

Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah; a mosque similar to Istana Kenangan that I never knew existed until now.

The intricacy of kelarai or woven strip bamboo; a heritage art form of Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah wall has made this mosque famous nation wide. Also known as Masjid Kampung Kuala Dal, it shares similiarity with Istana Kenangan in Bukit Chandan of which it was influenced by.

Located just 4.8km from the Royal Town of Kuala Kangsar, this unique 1936 mosque with arabes motif was financed by Al-Marhum Paduka Seri Sultan Iskandar Shah, the Sultan of Perak and was built by a Chinese craftsmen, helped by the locals. Leafy windows (approximately 20 of them) decorated with "straight punch, no silat" carved with peanuts, Crescent moon and stars are located around the masjid (mosque). It is said that what makes Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah unique is because of the architectural design, aside from its kelarai with arabes motif, it is aslo said to resembled a bird cage.

The story behind it is pretty interesting, according to Jabatan Warisan Negara, the mosque was built after the Sultan had fulfilled the vow to build a mosque when one of his children recovered from an illness and will donate RM 8,000.00 to build a new mosque on a piece of land granted by Juragan Abdul Shukur bin Mohamad Ali. This decision was made upon Sultan Iskandar Shah returning from a picnic at Lata Bubu, seeing his subjects praying in a dilapidated madrasah. Being a pious leader, he believes that a mosque is not just a house of God but an important place for the community. Therefore, he had commissioned the construction of Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah of which named after him.

The architecture of the mosque was inspired by the Sultan himself, where else the construction of the mosque was built by Chinese artisans and assisted by local residents. The ornamentation and wall of the mosque are also carved and woven by locals making it even more special. However, the mosque was not used in 1976 after a new mosque known as Al-Wahidiah Mosque was built just next to it.

In 2008, Jabatan Warisan Negara (Department of National Heritage) has initiated the conservation work on the mosque. Upon the the completion of restoration work on 17 Dec 2009, DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah officially re-opened the mosque on 6 May 2011 and it was accorded heritage status by the Jabatan Warisan Negara.

Above the importance of unique historical buildings and architecture, the National Heritage Department has carried out conservation work in December 2008. Among the problems faced by the project is the preparation of the backdrop due to the absence of skilled craftsmen and the lack of manufacturing materials ie bamboo oils Locally to create a cliff wall. Therefore, the National Heritage Department has obtained a wickerwork and bamboo source from Perlis State according to the original type. This conservation work has been carried out using systematic work arrangements to preserve the originality of original architecture.

- Jabatan Warisan Negara –

Both ‘Jelajah Kesultanan dan Warisan Melayu Perak 2017’ and ‘Perak World of Wonders -- Ramadhan Edition 2017’ Media Fam Trip are organised by Tourism Malaysia with KTMB as main transportation partner and Tourism Malaysia with #GayaTravel as media coordinator respectively.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Tengkolok Folding (Menyolek Tengkolok/Destar)

Popularly known as tengkolok, this traditional Malay male headgear (a.k.a destar, tanjak, and setangan kepala) is nowadays being worn in official events, weddings or investiture ceremony when one is being coffered with knighthood. Historically, it is folded or binded ('solek' in Malay tengkolok term) to neaten the hair when commoners visit their Sultan. As it quickly become a great favourite, it later made into the official attire for the palace as well as for the public.

For Perak royalties, ones rank is closely related to each tengkolok binding style and colour. Each states has its own binding style and it is also said that Perak has the most beautiful tengkolok binding. However, the most famous style is called Dendam Tak Sudah from the state of Negeri Sembilan. It was learnt that the art of creating tengkolok is by folding and shaping it using hand and knee. No machine can create this piece of art.

There is a folklore pertaining how tengkolok came about in the malay sultanate custom. It was told that the first Sultan of Perak; Sultan Muzaffar Shah I ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Shah (1528 – 1549) set sail to Perak to form the Perak Sultanate. Sultan Muzaffar was the second prince born to the last Sultan of Melaka, Sultan Mahmud Shah, who was then exiled to Johor following the fall of Melaka to the Portuguese (this is also the reason why Keris Taming Sari resides in Perak, under the care of the royal palace). The Melaka Sultanate royal regalia, including the Royal Crown of Melaka were brought together in his journey to Perak.

Nearing Perak, Sultan Muzaffar Shah ship entered shallow waters and was stuck hence the crew decided to lighten the load of the ship to get the ship sailing again. Many of the items carried on the ship were thrown into the sea yet the ship still refused to budge, everything was removed from the ship inclusive of the Royal Crown. Immediately the ship was able to move, pleased with the offering of the Royal Crown, and soon after Sultan Muzaffar Shah able to continue his journey.

This act of throwing the royal crown into the sea was identified as a miracle sign, he swore that he and his descendants would never wear a crown as Sultans, nor be crowned during their installation. Subsequently, this has became a practice by other states’s Sultans, thus till today, Tengkolok came as a replacement for the royal crown.

To know how tengkolok became known or existed amongst the malay culture, one has to understand the history behind it. In 7th century during the height of Sriwijaya empire, Langkasuka was conquered, and during this invasion, tengkolok was introduced and worn by the Srivijayan that eventually localized and assimilated with the locals.

There are 8 styles of Perak tengkolok folding or binding that has been recorded, namely Anak Gajah Menyusu, Dendam Tak Sudah, Ayam Patah Kepak, Alang Iskandar, Helang Menyusur Angin, Pucuk Pisang Patah, Balong Ayam and Getam Pekasam. Many might have not known that the tengkolok folding for the Sultan has a higher ‘pucuk rebung’ as compared to commoners. Hence, the art of tengkolok folding in Perak is cared for its heritage and culture are highly valued.

Below are the Perak styles and colours that are associated with ranks :
DYMM Sultan –Balong ayam. White and gold
DYTM Raja Muda –Ayam patah kepak. Yellow and gold
DYAM Raja Di-Hilir –Lang Menyusun Angin. Black and silver

Tengkolok Helang Menyusur Angin worn by Sultan Perak, Sultan Nazrin upon his coronation.

Both ‘Jelajah Kesultanan dan Warisan Melayu Perak 2017’ and ‘Perak World of Wonders -- Ramadhan Edition 2017’ Media Fam Trip are organised by Tourism Malaysia with KTMB as main transportation partner and Tourism Malaysia with #GayaTravel as media coordinator respectively.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kuala Kangsar Delicacy | Teratak Warisan Kampung

When it comes to traditional Kuala Kangsar delicacy, no one knows it better than the husband and wife team Saidi Othman and Zaliah Ibrahim, the lovely owner of Teratak Warisan Kampung; operating for the last 15 years. With their 30 types of dishes serves daily, it is no wonder that repeated guest and those whom came from afar seek for Saidi and Zaliah ‘air tangan’- authentic-‘Kuale’-dishes.

Fascinated with how his grandmother cooks ikan loma (without choking its small niddle like bones), Saidi begins to learn the art of cooking ikan loma or Thynnichthys thynnoides/white carp (upon googling); a fresh water fish that is found aplenty in Perak. The famous ikan loma dish is ‘ikan masak pindang’ or fish in brine style; a clear soupy type of dish using ginger, chili, galangal and etc wrap in seniar leaf and boil for 2 nights.

Because of their passion for food and his love for his heritage, in 1999 marks the birth of Teratak Warisan Kampung . Said manning the restaurant while Zaliah manages the kitchen, a perfect combination and match made in heaven.

Few Kuale dishes that is popular amongst the near and far are Gulai Kemahang, Nasi Lemuni/Legundi, Kebebe, Betik Muda masak air, Ikan Bakar dalam tanah liat and Siput Sedut campur pucuk paku, these are usually paired with ulam (local salad) such as paku rawan, daun asam jawa, pegaga and etc eaten with sambal belacan and kerabu kelapa. Not to forget Ikan pekasam, the legendary Lenggong delicacy.

Located just behind the Kuala Kangsar bus station, this corner lot restaurant is able to fit in minimal 50 patrons in one go, ideal for group (only upon reservation) and family get-together meal.

Saidi’s aim is to introduce and educated the younger generation to authentic local delicacy as much as possible, preserving Kuala Kangsar heritage and signature dish. Hoping that one day, Kuala Kangsar dishes will famous at international level.

Teratak Warisan Kampung
Add: 43, Bandar Baru, 33000 Kuala Kangsar, Perak.
Tel: 016-5584955 (Saidi) / 016-4434955 (Zaliah)

Business hours
Mon – Sat : 7.30am – 4.30pm
Sunday : closed

An event organised by Tourism Malaysia with KTMB as main transportation partner.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lenggong charm | Suka-Suka Lake Retreat

Celebrating Raya in Suka-Suka Lake Retreat.
Came as a surprise to me as well.
You heard me right alright. This place reminds me of Terrapuri in Terengganu and Pasir Belanda in Kelantan. To know one that is so near is definitely exciting.

Located in Kampong Kelantan, Lenggong, Suka-Suka Lake Retreat is the brainchild of En. Aziz, a family-owned resort managed by both husband and wife, together with their son (and of course their domestic workers). A kampong style resort nestled by the morning mist of Tasik Raban, surrounded by the sound of mother nature. Its stream strokes ever so gently on the resort’s shoulders,  migration birds singing as if there’s no tomorrow and the chilly breeze caressing one’s face along with the morning sun. That’s how calm Suka-Suka Lake Retreat is and why guest kept coming back. And also why I fell in love with Suka-Suka at the first sight, and I bet you will too.

Consist of a rumah ibu (or what I would like to call it, if name has yet been given that is) where guest register, meet with the owner, have their meal, read books and mingle (a common room so to speak), with a few other houses catering for 2 – 6pax; each with its own unique view. Reminds me of home away from home.

With such setting, I begin to wonder on activities they have instore for guests. Well well well… Not that it took me off guard but knowing the fact that some valuable thoughts were put into it does deserve some brownies points I would say. Fishing, for one is its biggest attraction, then there’s sunrise boating and cruising excursion (which is just my type of activities) at Tasik Raban, for those history geek (UNESCO hunter), you can always head to Lenggong Archeological Museum and learn about Perak Man. Worry not food lovers, aside from the famous ikan pekasam or fermented sour fish that you can check out and try, you can also venture into their town and sample local delicacy such as Kebebe, Masak Lemak Pekasam Loma, Gulai Umbut Pisang Hutan, Belotak, Kerabu Umbut Tepus Gajah and Rendang Daging Masak Hitam.

Then En. Aziz said something that caught me by surprise, apparently there are families who found home in this quaint secluded place that it has been their yearly event to celebrate Raya (Eid Fitr) here; and the works. From bakar lemang, anyam ketupat, right to main mercun… Suka-Suka Resort happily welcomes and entertains them.

It is hard to not like this beautiful place, serene, captivating and full of warm that hours and days passed by ever so quickly.

Go and experience it yourself *wink*.

Suka-Suka Lake Retreat
PKK 19/27 Kampong Kelantan
33040 Lenggong
Perak, Malaysia
Mobile : +60 16-531 2021

An event organised by Tourism Malaysia with KTMB as main transportation partner.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Keris | The Art of Malay Weapon

A good keris is one that is well-balanced and is able to stand on its own.
Little that we know.

According to En. Abdul Mazin, a highly skilled Empu or keris-maker/master craftsman on keris-making, one can validate how good a keris is by testing its ability to ‘stand’ on its own. A fit that reflects how skillful is the empu himself. It proves that the empu is experience in making sure a balance mix of metal composition, shape, the right hilt size, weight and carved (lekuk), which plays a major role in ensuring the centre of gravity is at the central point.

The Malay asymmetrical dagger (keris or kris) is made and achieved through alternating laminations of irons. A keris is divided into three parts: bilah (blade), hulu (hilt), and warangka (sheath). As a weapon and a piece of Malay Nusantara art, it is often carved and designed in great intricacy with aesthetic value. Precious and rare types of wood, gold or ivory are being used to decorate its sheath and hilt. A distinctive keris known today is the Keris Taming Sari, Laksamana Hang Tuah’s dagger. It is said that the sheath is covered with gold leaf and that the hilt is in green with red studs. There are folklore/legend stating that Keris Taming Sari has mystical powers as the opponents are unable to defeat the owner, making him invulnerable. It is also said to be capable of hovering in the air when pursuing the enemy.

Pak Mazin, hails from Kampung Padang Changkat in Kuala Kangsar is a very experience empu. He started experimenting his interest and skill at the age of 12, back in the 1960s, was entrusted by Istana Negara to produce the ‘keris hukum’, part of the royal regalia for the installation of Tuanku Abdul Halim as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong. His talent comes as no surprise, as he inherited his skill and knowledge from Pandak Lam; his grandfather, who is also the son of Tukang Mamat, who is the royal craftsman of Kuala Kangsar. Started by learning about the metal types such as soft iron, tempered steel and undascened steel, once this is mastered, one can then learn to heat up and forge the metal.

This mixed metal will be heated up and thinned out with seven pieces of metal tied together with a wire, then repeating the process of heating up, merging and thinning out. It is noted that the process of merging the metal must be done in great care as this is to ensure a high quality keris is being produced. We were told that a real bilah (blade) will have 15 layers of metal; seven each in the front and back, while a layer of steel in being alternated in the middle, between soft iron and undascened steel.

Pak Mazin once said that the keris symbolises the power and the valour of the Malay people, upholding our heritage and culture is our utmost priority. And I agree.

An event organised by Tourism Malaysia with KTMB as main transportation partner.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tasik Raban of Lenggong Valley

Remember the Petronas Raya advert, the one with the kids that went out to buy beef and got a cow instead. This is where they shot the scene lah - at Tasik Raban.

It is like a dream came true. A simple word informing us that we will be taking a boat ride in Tasik Raban was welcomed with joyous and enthusiastic ‘Yeay’ (with claps and leap). Kiasu being my middle name, I round up s gang (ada gang hokkay) of 8 to fit into the boat, just so that we can get the first boat. As the first boat has the best view with no other boats blocking us (kiasu me remember?!), and as planned, we were the first boat where by majority are influencers. My plan worked.

For a person who loves rides, let it be train, boat, rickshaw, plane and etc, I truly enjoyed this 1 hour trip around Tasik Raban. Despite the fact that we took the boat at around 10ish (rather hot to be on a boat ride) but since Tasik Raban is located at Lenggong Valley; surrounded by Bukit Sapi, Ulu Malau and Bukit Kempas, it was still rather chilly for 10am. 

Nothing fancy with the boat ride, but I have to admit, the serenity, calmness and beauty will mum and numb you for awhile. Absorbing god greatest gift to mankind, its wondrous nature is a bless.

#TravelTips 1 : You can hop on the boat from Dataran Tasik Raban, there’s a proper jetty situated there.

#TravelTips 2 : Bring you sunglasses, hats/caps, wear your sunblocks and bring a bottle of water as one can easily get dehydrated.

The whole ride took approximately 40 mins or so, or perhaps longer as we requested for the boatman to slow down at some places for photo opp moment. It passed by a few places such as Kg. Cherakoh,  Kg Kelantan, Kg Beng where the famous Petronas Raya advertisemet was shot, Kg. Durau and Suka-Suka Chalet amongst others. Will share more on Suka-Suka Chalet soon.

Don’t be dishearten if you think there’s not many activities for you to discover, in fact, you’ll be impress on the things for you to see and do that you might just crave for more.

Perak Man was discovered within Gua Gunung Runtuh cave. Perak Man is South-East Asia’s oldest most complete human skeleton. It is radiocarbon dated to 10,120 BP and identified as Australomelanesoid, a hominid type occupying the western part of the Indonesia archipelago and continental South-East Asia at the end of the Pleistocene and early Holocene.

Yup. It is in Lenggong, of course you can’t visit the cave itself BUT you can drop by the gallery nearby to learn more on Perak Man.

Around 74,000 thousand years ago a colossal eruption from volcanic Lake Toba in northern Sumatra, Indonesia, plunged the earth into darkness and spread a vast dust cloud throughout the region as far as the Indian Ocean. The Lenggong Valley region was inundated with the ash, later called white sand or rock by the local inhabitants. Areas from sea level to 72 meters above were overwhelmed.

The ash was found in several other locations as far afield as the Perak River, West Pahang, Selangor, and Kedah. In 2007, a mapping survey by University Science Malaysia revealed that the ash had spread over 70km2 to a depth 7-10 meters.

The Bukit Bunuh BBH 2007 site, in addition, bears the geological scars of a meteorite impact which has been dated to 1.83 million years ago by fission-track technique. The site is strewn with impact breccias such as suevite and other impactites.

Aside from this, you can try their famous delicacy - Ikan Pekasam or “fermented sour fish” - It is usually made from freshwater fish, and the main source of carbohydrate for the fermentation process is ground roasted rice. Before fridge was invented, food tends to get rotten real quick thus back in the olden days, the locals has develop a way to preserve their food especially fish and meat (click HERE and HERE to know more).

#TarvelTips 3 : It cost RM10 for 3 fresh water fish, it is sold in a packet.

#TravelTips 4 : A three to four days stay in Tasik Raban, away from hustle and bustle of the city would not only provide one with a sense of rejuvenation (with the help of mother nature) but gain some knowledge of our local history and heritage that we can be proud of.

Below are a few options if you plan to stay within Tasik Raban vicinity, do give them a call as the price might have changed from the date this article was written.

The Lenggong Rest House
Located in Lenggong Town at Jalan Alang Iskandar.
Rates start from RM80-RM200.
Contact: 605-7678 702 / 6019-5793 414

Tasik Raban Resort
Located along the Kulala Kangsar – Grik trunk road on the banks of Tasik Raban about 12 km from Lenggong Town.
Rates start from RM80-RM250.
Contact: 605-7512 799 / 6019-5763 414

Well, my dream is to experience a night at Kampung Beng Homestay in Tasik Raban. Well, next time I guess.

An event organised by Tourism Malaysia with KTMB as main transportation partner.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Never too BIG for #AirAsiaBIG Loyalty

Never too BIG for AirAsia BIG Loyalty when it comes to celebration.

In conjunction with Paradigm Mall 5th Anniversary celebration held recently, I was able to witness the effort the AirAsia BIG Loyalty team poured generously in preparing, executing and giving to the participants and its members. It (almost) felt like Christmas came early this year. As if ‘failing is not an option’ is their mantra, AirAsia’s award-winning Loyalty Programme pulled off yet another thunderous event; giving away a brand-new Nissan X-Trail, 300 FREE AirAsia seats redemption, 9 FREE AirAsia Return Flight Tickets and as usual, many more attractive prizes.

And if you feel this is too small a gift from AirAsia BIG Loyalty and in ensuring everyone stand a chance to win, this ‘The Big Giveaway’ campaign is from 29th April to 7th July, 2017 whereby one lucky winner will get to drive home a Nissan X-Trail or prizes worth 10,000 BIG Points, not only that, we shoppers get to earn 3 BIG Points for every RM1 when we shop or dine at participating outlets in Paradigm Mall. With this exciting campaign, I foresee travellers (including myself) will frequent this mall.

As Paradigm Mall offers plenty retail outlet options, click here - Paradigm Mall site to know more, makes it easy for one to do their monthly shopping chores here and at the same time win some prizes. Or perhaps start shopping on travel luggage in preparation for AirAsia flight tickets win.

During this anniversary event, shoppers can redeem their free AirAsia seats on the spot and travel between 1st May till 30th June, 2017, all they need to do (or did) was be the first 100 shoppers to flash the AirAsia BIG Loyalty mobile app and share a destination from the monthly Final Call Sales. As easy as one, two, three.

Even the easy peasy fun element at the event site stands a chance to win a free seats. Paper Plane might sound kiddish and easy, but doubt not as it is pretty hard to get the paper plane to flight straight and far. In order to be fair to those who ‘flew, blew and threw’ their paper plane in the Paper Plane Tournament, free Air Asia return flights to Macau, Luang Prabang in Laos, and Visakhapatnam in India is theirs for keep. Easy game and easy wins don’t you think so. AirAsia BIG Loyalty believes that fairness are meant for all ages, while the adult busy maneuvering their plane, the kids are being entertained at the Little League corner, enjoying colouring and drawing contest where Yogood Junior goodies bags can be won.

This doesn’t stop here, freebies worth RM120,000 from AirAsia BIG Loyalty partners such as L’oreal, rokKi, Astro, Klook among others were enjoyed by event goers at Paradigm Mall.

So what are you waiting for, head to Paradigm Mall now!

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