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.

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Amcorp Mall Flea Market

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The Amcorp Mall flea market is on weekends 10:30 a.m. till 5:00 p.m.

One of the main options to kill weekend boredom in Kuala Lumpur is to head for a shopping mall. We flock to these multistorey, air-conditioned concrete oases to escape the sweltering tropical heat, and for good reason–larger malls in the Federal Territory are a one-stop shop for movies, arcade, good food, shopping, events, performances and groceries. These malls–with their brand label boutiques and ability to hold thousands of shoppers within gleaming, modern facades on any given weekend–are the prominent faces of the shopping industry here, and there are so many that you won’t exhaust your options.

What you might suffer every now and again, however, is mega-mall fatigue, making you crave a more low-key shopping experience with truly one-of-a-kind finds. That desire is what led me to head over to Amcorp Mall last weekend to check out their flea market, which has been dubbed Malaysia’s “best and largest.” At least, by the mall website’s own admission, it was “once the biggest indoor flea market in the Klang Valley area,” and although shoppers “may not find Amcorp Mall interesting but for those who loved antiques and collectibles, this mall is definitely your choice all the time!”

Alright, then. I definitely enjoyed the two hours I spent browsing all the offerings at the flea market tables on all five levels of the mall, clustered outside regular shops that are close to the escalators. Not all sold antiques, but the ones that did provided an interesting glimpse into a Malaysian lifestyle few of us have much to do with now–stamp collections, old money collections, analog telephones, old pocket watches, coal-powered clothes irons, CDs, vinyl and even an antique pistol, are just some of the finds available at this market. Continue reading

Niagara Falls Inspires Daredevils

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The massive volume of swirling, gushing water at Niagara Falls will immediately captivate any onlooker’s attention.

It sure captured the imagination of Annie Taylor, a 63-year-old American schoolteacher and, of all things, an amateur daredevil stunter who became inspired to secure her notoriety by being the first person to ever go over the Falls. As if that wasn’t enough, she was to do it riding inside a wooden barrel.

Racing towards the cliffs at high speed, water exiting the Niagara River tumbles off the crestline, covering 10 metres in a second and creates a heavy mist towards the end of its’ downward trip into the gorge. Niagara Falls, a series of three waterfalls (Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil) that sit between the border of New York, United States and Ontario, Canada, is approximately 50 meters in height, allowing the water just about five seconds to hit the bottom.

Imagine what it must have been like for Taylor when she went over for a 50 metre drop — inside a barrel padded only with a mattress, and her lucky heart-shaped pillow — in what must have felt like a heart stopping blink of an eye. It was on 24 October 1901, that Taylor survived her barrel ride practically unscathed, and lived another 20 years to tell her tale. Continue reading