Batik Printing Workshop At Muzium Negara

Malaysia - National Museum

If a visitor to KL asked me to tell him about the exhibits in Muzium Negara, I wouldn’t have been able to — my last visit there was when I was still in the single-digit ages. So when an email invitation to the museum for a batik printing workshop showed up in my mailbox, it came as a welcome surprise, and a good chance to revisit the museum.

The event was organised by Tripovo, an online travel platform that offers personalised itineraries and holidays, to tie-in with creating awareness of International Museum Day on 18 May. Looking at my email, I thought that the time of the event seemed rather long — were we really going to be working on batik printing for five hours? This was a serious workshop! — but it turned out there was a reason: it was actually a museum tour and batik workshop that we were attending that day.

The only real memory of the museum from my childhood was that the lights in every room seemed so dim. That part hasn’t really changed, creating the perfect setting for a haunted museum scenario. Now there’s an idea for Halloween, or Hungry Ghost Festival…but perhaps the idea of turning a museum into a fun space might be too much for locals right now. During this visit, we were accompanied by a tour guide, the knowledgeable Mr. Yee. Continue reading

A Sanctuary for Art at Galeri Petronas

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It’s unlikely that visitors to Suria KLCC go with the intention of visiting Galeri Petronas, an exhibition space for showcasing the work of up and coming artists — not because the gallery isn’t good, but because people are there to shop rather than look at art; and for that reason, it tends to fly under the radar of things to do in KL.

The first time I went was out of curiosity, since I’d seen it umpteen times before — presumably always empty — and never went in, but came away quite impressed by the gallery contents. Since that first visit, I’ve been back three times because exhibits change within two to three weeks. I’ve seen an exhibit featuring Islamic influences in art, a showcase of the decay or the rise of cities in the world, as documented by various photographers, and most recently, an exhibit of #tanahairku, a street art project in KL sponsored by Petronas themselves. Continue reading

Learning to Craft Pewter in Setapak

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With the world’s largest pewter tankard, as certified by the Guinness Book of Records.

Life is often unpredictable, often throwing curveballs and surprises at us out of thin air, but amidst the uncertainty, there’s one thing that Malaysians can count on: at some point in their lives, someone will present them with a pewter gift.

It may be in the form of a tankard, a photo frame or a tea sets. It might even be a souvenir plate with a retirement message on it, and you’ll proudly put it in your display cabinet as a talking point for when guests come to the house.

The metal alloy primarily made up of tin — known as pewter — means something to Malaysians, thanks to the popularity of Royal Selangor, a global, household Malaysian company renowned for its fine craftsmanship of pewter products.

Sending someone a Royal Selangor gift conveys thoughtfulness, appreciation and that little expense was spared to procure a gift in the pewter category. Often enough, it’s presented to friends from other countries as a showcase of one of the country’s best and most unique products — an affirmation of the “Boleh” spirit, if you will.

The company set up three visitor centres some years back; in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore, to introduce visitors to its history, factory, the process of pewter making and products. Even though their gifts are so beloved and distinctly us (Malaysian,) I suspect most locals, myself included, wouldn’t know how to explain the significance of pewter to outsiders, let alone accurately describe what it is. Continue reading