Monday, August 10, 2009

Bananas and 1Malaysia.

I’m a Malaysian who barely knows her history, her culture or her language. Not more than what has been taught in school, and even that I rarely apply that knowledge in my daily life. What good is it knowing something and not sharing or using that knowledge?

In a time not so distant, I was sitting with my old professor, Prof Hashim Hassan, and he was telling me about all the different types of bananas. Pisang Tanduk, Pisang Raja, Pisang Awak, Rastali, Emas, Susu…… are just the few names I could remember from that short conversation. And the thing is I can’t tell which one is which except pisang emas, or so I think. Just last week I was home in Rawang when my bapak brought home these golden round fat juicy bananas that almost looked like mangoes in a sikat/sisir. It tasted ‘kelat’ (sort of like bitter aftertaste). None of us knew what kind of pisang it was. Montel? That’s a brand.

Then I remembered the Maxis ads, a series showing many different kinds of donuts, ice creams, keychains… saying there is a different kind of plan suitable for everyone. I wondered instead of donuts, they could have showed different kinds of kuih from the different races in Malaysia. Kuih lapis, karipap, marukku, lopes, kuih bulan… to name a few that I know… lots more I don’t. What about toys? getah, ceper, batu seremban…. Birds? Plants? The possibilities are endless.

There is a valuable treasure of indigenous knowledge that is untapped, unrecorded or maybe it has been recorded, just not referred to. Just last week, a group of my students presented an art installation based on the artwork seen on tarot cards. I was asking, why Tarot cards? Do we use them? How relevant is Tarot cards to us? In fortune telling or ‘menilik nasib’ in our beloved Malaysia, the Indians use astrological charts, as the Chinese who also do palmistry and the Malays use instruments like eggs, bowl of water, lime and such. Even reading marks from the body such as moles are used to tell someone’s destiny. But in Islam, fortune telling is forbidden as we are to believe in Qada’ and Qadar or preordained fate.

As for the students, I do not blame them, they just did research on the one medium their whole generation lives upon, the Internet. And the Internet’s contents are mostly developed by the Western world. Therefore if they googled “fortune telling”, the probability of hitting “Tarot Cards” is highly likely than say “bomoh”. The key is in getting the students to type in “tilik nasib” in the first place. There lies 2 challenges. First is that, they would have to have at least a little knowledge about it in order to think of what to type in the Google search bar. Secondly, even if they do type a certain word pertaining to local knowledge like “tilik nasib” they would probably get a lot of trashy material and none of what they are looking for.

Reason? So few of us Malaysians who bother to find out, and bother to write about it, much less publish this wee bit of knowledge. How many kinds of pisang do we have? I found a few website describing a few types but with no pictures of the aforementioned bananas. So? I do an artwork based on apples and peaches instead. So much information I can Wiki on apples and peaches than “pisang” in Malaysian context.

We all use the Wikipedia, but how many actually bother to contribute articles to the Wiki? There are I’m sure. MY POINT IS, IT IS NOT ENOUGH!!! I need more information on this country of mine, and it is so scarce on the web, or someone who actually knows something is not sharing. I’m telling myself this too.

Do not blame the young generation for not referring to local based knowledge, we are offering them so little compared to what other countries are contributing to the World Wide Web. Come on people, we need to tell people about our bananas before a “Hermione” from UK did her research and starts telling us about our bananas? Makes sense?

Another example. Imagine this simple scenario. A teacher in Kuala Lumpur asks a pupil to draw a house. She draws it complete with a smoking chimney. Huh? What’s the big deal? My point, our houses don’t have chimneys! The kids draw base on what they see on TV or the internet or imported books. Although I don’t expect the pupil to draw a rumah Melaka with stone steps…. but chimneys? It’d be different if she was from Cameron Highlands. This is a scenario quite usual in my classes, in university. It is no wonder to me if I ask to draw the student to draw a chicken, he/she would draw a KFC drumstick because they don’t know how a real chicken looks like. The power of capitalism ladies and gentlemen. Or they’d draw a turkey. Because that was what Google image told them how a chicken looks. This happened in my illustration class.

This problem is bigger by the day. I myself cannot relate to P Ramlee movies, I didn’t grow up with them, and watching them now, I don’t find it funny because I can’t understand the nuances of the dialogue. There are friends of mine who can re enact the whole entire movie of Bujang Lapuk and I’d just sit there, awed and bewildered, not understanding the hysterical fit of laughter they’re in. I bet my child would probably say Harry Potter as a children’s story rather than Sang Kancil. Sang Kancil who? Those really poor illustrated animations by Filem Negara? Looking back now, it was way better executed than Yokies. I bet you don’t know Yokies. Haha. You have your TV on Disney Channel 24 hours to keep your child entertained. Even Lat had to be animated by the Philippines. My husband relates more to Transformers and GI Joe. Ask him about bananas. He’d go bananas.

As I myself am a child who is so far detached from the knowledge of things around her, who am I to speak of this? But I’m starting slowly, I found the DBP website to be absolutely helpful, type in a word they actually give you ensiklopedia entries, peribahasa, pantun based on the word. My husband just bought me a book by Adibah Amin, collections of writings of Malaysian life. I’m teaching my students how to use Google to better advantage. And I’m sharing what little I know. My journey to find some semblance of identity in an ever-saturated monogamous world of globalization.

Maybe one day, in my class, one student would actually do a campaign promoting tempoyak’s new packaging, or do a series of ads for a telco company using the different types of bananas found in Malaysia. And in Illustration class, a student would produce an artwork entitled House and in it showed a Sarawak Iban Long House. I’m hopeful.

Meanwhile, I’ll find out more about bananas.
P/s: My birthday wish is for the entire set of Ensiklopedia Malaysia… hint, hint! Or you could just get me books about culture in Malaysia or of Malaysians by Malaysians like Adibah Amin, Lat, Amir Muhammad, Farish Noor, Karim Raslan….

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Things.

Almost 3 weeks after getting married. Wow. I never thought my life would be so different. I'm still adjusting myself in my new phase. No matter how ready I thought I was, it still is overwhelming. Having everything not the way it was before.

Living in a new place with new people I just got to know. There's always something new to discover. No, it's not a bad thing, just different, and new. Changing my routine which before only involved me now involves a lot of other people. The dynamics of how my world used to function is now turned inside out. And this is even though I consider my husband's family and mine to have a lot of similarities.

I miss my family. I miss my friends. Yeah, I know, they live close to me. Yeah its funny how this works. I wasn't expecting this seriously. There's a little girl in me that is homesick partly. Which is weird and unnecessary... they're just here, right? I just saw them last week for goodness sake! Or is it? I find this feeling confusing really, I don't think the changes are that big, I'm used to staying away from family, so I really don't know where this 'sayu' feeling comes from.

I'm not complaining, I love being married, I love sleeping next to him and knowing he'll be there when I wake up. I love doing things together and his family is very welcoming. Its a big transition for me however. I guess I am not a big advocate for sudden major changes.

It's a confusing time. Time to adjust and adapt. Time to evolve. Time to grow up.

I'm extremely happy on one end and yet I panic at the rapid changes I have to go to.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Map to the wedding.

1) click on this picture, it will open up a new window,
then you can either:

2) drag onto ur desktop


3) right click, and save image as....

p/s: don't save this picture below my dears, its just the thumbnail.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wedding invitation

Hi peeps,

I'm sending out my wedding invites, so pls sms me your address or email so i can send you one yeah?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wedding series: Chapter 2 - episode bunga dan warna

Second weekend, 9 more weeks. Labour day weekend was definitely full of labour.

1st May. Went to look for flowers to make the hantaran for tunang at Alam Sentral. Didn't make it to Romantika when Kak Ima called up, "Kata nak beli bunga ngan Kak Ima?". So Yayang drove me to the commuter station to go to Jalan TAR, the ultimate wedding street in Malaysia before he went for Friday prayers. Met k Ima at Sogo, supposed to pick up my alas dulang, but its still nt ready. Alamak, sempat tak ni?? So next we headed to Semua House, objective, flowers and shoes. Hardly 15 minutes there, Kak Ima decided to bail on me, ok fine, but I showed her some samples of flowers that fit my colour concept. Cross my fingers, have to trust her with this one. She is the expert. So help me God. Walked around by myself, no shoes to be found. But I discovered this really wonderful shop on the 1st floor which sold costume jewellery. Ooooh, can look for my 'vintage' dokoh or keronsang. I absolutely love the shop, it has the kind of jewellery I like. I didn't get the keronsang but I found something to put in my hair like the picture in my inspiration board, for rm30, its a steal. I'll definitely come back for my dokoh.

I was gonna head home, when I came across Muaz textile bazaar, they were selling tudungs and selendangs for rm6 so I got myself 2 selendangs, hehe. Me, cheapskate, yes. Head home to look for shoes with Yayang at OU but that didn't work out. Too tired, need sleep. SO HOTTTTTTT laa....

Next day, head home to Rawang. Mak wants Jco donuts. Stop by Giant Kota Damansara. Got donuts, got shoes as well, hehe. I found my purple shoes at this shoe shop called Summit. VERY SEXY SHOES. I WANT THEM ALL!!!! Yayang picked them out for me (and paid, haha), will post the pics later, hehe. The great thing about having one colour theme for 3 occasions. One shoe to fit them all! rm59.90. I love my purple shoes. Gorgeous!! i can even wear it with jeans. peep toe purple satin wedges. Lovely.

donuts, check. shoes, check. Reached home, Abg Iwan called, he was buying paints for his new house. "come pick your colour, I'll paint your room." Hehehehe. Me love!!. I've always wanted my room to be purple, but earlier it turned out more grey than purple, then I got Abg Win's room, which was cream. So i picked out 2 shades. 1 deep purple and a lighter one. Went home, packed my stuff, omg, note to Izham, can we fit all my stuff in the new house? Especially my books? There's more in Baiduri, at the office and some at Izham's house. Damn. That's a lot of books. He has a lot of toys. We got to figure something out. GI Joes, Transformers and clone troopers can be best friends with books. Somehow.

Started painting at 10pm. All nighter with just 1 roller and 2 brushes, masking tapes, newspaper, 2 cans of paint, semangat berkobar2, including a little tsunami named Yasmin, Abg Iwan, kak Ida and I finished at 7am Sunday. Too bad I didnt take a 'before' picture. Damn. I'll put in the 'after' pic later.

My body aches, my hands are numb, I slept at 7.30am, had to wake up at 9am. Have to go buy flowers. So Kak Ima, Abang, Adik, Aqayshea and I walked through a total of 6 flowers shops and 5 textile shops in Rawang and KL. Bringing my inspiration board with us,we chose flowers, berries, ribbons in really really dark colours. I'm leaving it up to kak Ima to make the hantaran, I just help in the choosing. The concept: black forest. hmm. She says she's gonna make it look like bird's nest. Pretty interesting to see how it'll look like. I went to the textile shops to look for deep purple velvet to make the alas dulang since the one at Sogo still isn't ready. Cant' believe how hard it is to look for purple velvet, all the shops ran out. What the hell happened? My only theory is, UiTM probably finished the whole stock in order to use it on their bulletin boards. Seriously. that is a lot of purple velvet. C'monla, what else could it be? In the end, I just settled for dark blue velvet against maroon satin. No purple there. But last night when Irma put it all together, the flowers, the alas, the assessories and what not... it looked perfect. Can't wait to see it completed. Genius.

However, there is one little tiny thing. Irma bought fabric to make baju for the reception. She chose the same fabric as my wedding dress, just in a different pattern. I wish she wouldn't. Say something about my self esteem, but I think she is prettier than me and a little part of me was "slightly" slighted that she might outshine me on my wedding day. Stupid thought, I'm sorry. Shouldn't feel this way.

After devouring KFC and letting the kids play at Ikea playground, both of us went to Tesco. I still need some cookie jars and fitted sheet for the bridal room. I so want those paper lanterns!! So many things to be done. I was bone tired. Please, I haven't slept for 2 days and am perpetually hungry for not having rice for so long. Yes dears, I am banned from rice by the people around me. They're all trying to help me lose weight in 9 weeks. I've been fasting almost every day but seriously, there is no difference. Plus all this walking and shopping considers as exercise, no? Well then how come my arms and calves feel like I've been through kawad kadet polis???? Renee Zelwegger, how the hell do you do this?? I need to unearth the Scarlet Johannsen in me, hahahahaah..... oooh dat reminds me, pedicure, manicure, spa, facial are in order. Directive frm higher powers. OMG I have never gone for any of the above, ever, in my life. So can you imagine how bad my condition is? I might have black heads dating back to adolescent years! eeeuuwww!

Later last night, although I so want to fall asleep, Irma says we need to have a meeting so that evryone knows the programme and who is doing what. Sheeeeshhh. Pardon. We're a family of planners. So we waited for the empress dowager (my Mak) to wake up to have a family meeting. Going through the details of the events and what is needed. Wedding planning is no joke people. I gave each one of them a checklist and guestlist to fill up.

So for Bapak and Mak
1) venue - booking, permits, sound system, traffic, parking
2) food/ catering
3) itinerary - doa, kompang
3) hall decoration/ flowers

1) emcee
2) hantaran
3) bunga pahar
4) doorgifts/ favors
5) food for tunang
6) decoration at home

1) video
2) signage
3) typing out guest list

Kak Ida
1) favors
2) guest placing - house
3) the kids

1) card
2) photographer
3) hantaran
4) usherettes
5) favors
6) bridal room
7) decoration at home

1) help keep me calm and sane and pretty, haha. And keeping my parents happy.
2) usherettes
3) favors
4) house

1) guests
2) family
3) transportation

err... i kno its macam poyo la tulis kat sini, but this helps me clear some things and maybe it might be useful information for other people, who knows? haha. I believe that knowledge should be shared and sharing is caring, weeeheeeheeee....! the meeting was good, i love seeing my family working together, its exactly what i want... sigh... Insya Allah, berkatilah majlis ini.

I thought it was a fruitful weekend, basically running through on whats gonna happen this Sunday. OMG, same time next week, I'll be Yayang's fiance, woohooohoooo!

Kay peeps, I'll be getting the things ready for my engagement this Sunday. a bit nervous. Pray for me please?! Insya Allah, we'll hope for the best.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The wedding series - chapter 1

yay! pass thesis, boleh kawennn!!

Hi peeps, I went for my thesis Viva Voce last Tuesday.... and I passed!!!! I'm graduating my Masters this October!!! Woohoooooo!!!!! And most importantly..... haha... green light from the powers that be (my mom, hehe) to start on my wedding plans... yahoooo!!!!

Well, I can't say I haven't started planning, I always start with a mindmap... haha, yes of course. And beforehand, I bought this little notebook from ikea that fits inside my handbag to jot down every detail, plans, sketches, checklists and BUDGET. Yes children... how i plan my designs as a designer is how i plan my wedding.

Mindmap - What? Why? Who? When? Where? HOW?
The rest is obvious but "HOW?" is my favourite question. And as I always teach my students, answer this question with keywords. Basic ideas and concepts. So for my wedding, my keywords are COST EFFECTIVE, FUSS FREE (EFFICIENT), HAPPY, CHIC, VINTAGE. Why? because I don't want to be extravagant and burden my parents and my future husband. Because marriage is not just about the wedding, what's most important is the Nikah, everything else is secondary or not at all. So that means, decisions will be prompt and primarily based on the budget. Plus, I'm getting married in July. That is just 10 weeks away. TADAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

my mindmap in my notebook

So, based on that framework, I start on the next step, research.

Research - references, examples, visual cues.
Hmm... what a joy it is to get married in the digital age, haha. The internet, my dear, is a human's best friend. After searching through trash, in both languages, i finally found 2 websites that are absolutely delightful to source for wedding ideas.

yes, both are website orang putih. But the local ones like and are just, well, tacky to me. Not to mention, lousy loading time, horrid interface and just plain bad taste. Anyway, being the fruit that comes forth from the loins of Abdul Muis and Maimunah Nazarene, we are all 'perasan orang putih' with suppressed Malay genes. Haha, taraaaaa!!!!

So well of course, when doing research, I do it from top down, so yeah, if money was no option, my wedding planner and wedding dress would be Rizalman, my pelamin would be Nas Great Ideas, my photographer would be Saiful Nang, my venue would be Pulau Redang and the favors would be Godiva chocolates and each guest would bring home a flat screen tv while we're at it.

But I'm a designer and if I had it my way, I'd customize everything. haha. If I had my way. This part, the suppressed Malay genes become unsuppressed and yes people, it is not my wedding, it is MY PARENTS. By that I mean, the decisions will adhere to their wishes and whims of course. I am a good daughter haha, and I love my parents, they rock.

So I start collecting pictures for references and compile it all in what we call an 'inspiration board'. So dears, here's mine...

i like purple, yes i do. texture, feel, style, pattern, typo...

The colour is purple, deep purple, magenta, burgundy, aubergine, violet, mauve... blablabla... basically the colour of berries. with hints of antique gold, silver and a tad bit of cyan. There's an air of mystery, fantasy, dreamy, whimsical ....

And this is my inspiration board for dress and makeup. charming.chic.vintage

But of course, it is an inspiration board, just a reference. there are bound to be changes of course.

And the shopping begins.

The rings for the merisik and meminang are bought earlier with Izham's Mum, Pn Zaiton at her friend's shop in Shah Alam Mall's Dyana Jewels. Connections, connections. We got 2 rings one for merisik and one for tunang at a good price. I'm not that fussy. Although i was eyeing this ring that looked like lace, it wasn't in the budget, so we got a different one instead. Woohoo.... this was pretty exciting for both me and Izham. Giddy giddy.

Last weekend, yes, right after I finish my thesis presentation, I prepared for another presentation at home haha. I printed out checklists, guest list forms, budget proposal, hantaran options blablabla... but remember dears, it is just a proposal, to show that you did do some groundwork meaning you didn't leave it all up to your parents. It is a gesture you must remember. BUT at the same time, do not make it look like you are doing everything by yourself and that you do not need their help at all. Its like this, be prepared, they want to see you are serious about this, and propose the budget is YOURS. Do not ASSUME that they will pay for it, only if they offer to, do not ask for it, you'll start off on the wrong foot if you do. Don't lie though, really have the money ready. I mean really.

My budget

Show options. More than one. Then let my parents decide.

So last Saturday, we went shopping for fabric tunang, nikah and reception. Went to Gulati's Jalan Tunku Abd Rahman. RM160-200 per metre? Too expensive. Kamdar, ahah!! yes, RM29 per metre, lovely. Consider this, fabric, with lining and for Izham's baju melayu, that is 4 pasang baju, 25 metres of fabric. total = RM423. Remember sayang, that is just fabric, consider also, tailoring services.

The next day, on Sunday, we went straight to the tailors and sent everything, this is Bkt Sentosa, Rawang. Roughly 3 pasang baju, RM500.

3 Dresses and 1 baju Melayu total (tunang, nikah, reception) : RM923


For the recption, I'm wearing a dress inspire by my mother's wedding dress that was made by my grandma. besides, empire dresses are more suitable for apple shaped brides, hahah. yes anak2 murid, there is a reason behind every design.

my parents wedding pic, hehe.

Date and itinerary confirmation.

Engagement : 10 May 2009
Lunch time, guests roughly 40 (both sides), close friends and family. Rombongan meminang includes my Dean, my professors and my deputy dean. Haha, yesss, I am getting married to my colleague who also happens to be the son of my professor. Ironic? you tell me. My aunty is cooking lauk kampung. hantaran 5 balas 7. Mostly food and Nikah things, and of course, the Sirih. Theme: burgundy

Nikah : 4 July 2009
Morning or lepas Zohor. Venue: at home. My Bapak will do the solemnisation. Hantaran 7 balas 9. Theme: white purple

Reception Irina: 4 July 2009
Dinner lepas maghrib. Venue: The hall beside my Mom's school. No sanding. Just sit down and eat, heheh. Oh, and my dad's giving a speech! Theme: deep Purple gold

Reception Izham: 5 July 2009 (my birthday!)
Venue: Izham's house in Seksyen 6 Shah Alam. Theme: Dark Blue & Silver.

Our photographers are our very own students. Didn't I tell you being a lecturer rocks? And I'll design my own card of course. And my hantarans as well with the help of family and friends. Everything else, my parents, especially my Bapak is super excited to plan so I'll leave it up to them and try to assist as much as I can. I sincerely hope and pray that everything will happen smoothly and as easily as possible with the goal of getting our families closer and mendapat keberkatan, Insya Allah. Ameeeenn.

bridezilla freaking out

So peeps, save the date! This is a 10 week countdown to THE DAY. This weekend we'll be preparing the hantaran for the engagement. And filling up all the forms and paperwork as well.

I thank God for my very supportive family especially my ever lovely parents, for their prayers, love and attention. My siblings and in laws who are so eager to help out. My friends who are pretty excited but sad at the same time, i love you girls. My colleagues, thanks for setting us up, haha, and my comel sayangs, my students who are very2 notty but lovable, thank you so much.

Izham's family who made me feel welcomed, are really cool and helped me to finish my thesis, haha, Alhamdulillah, I'm happy we'll be family soon.

Yayang, I never imagined when I met you last august that we will be married in less than a year after that. I didn't know that my last birthday and hari raya would be my last as a single woman, haha. I am very happy that you are the one that God has chosen for me. For all that you are, your flaws and your strengths, thank you for loving me for all my flaws and strengths. Thank you for being able to see beauty in all my imperfections, and for that I love you and look forward to spend my life with you dalam senang dan susah. I know life wont be easy, but having you gives me the assurance that we will try our best. Insya Allah. Ameeeeen.

God Almighty. Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, La Ilaha illa Allah, Allahu Akbar.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'd rather

I'd rather look for ideas for my wedding dress than look for citation on who said what.

I'd rather daydream about the nikah and reception than visualize my Q&A session with the panel for my Viva.

I'd rather go shop for barang hantaran than setting margins and spacing between my paragraphs.

I'd rather think of colour combinations for flowers than numbering the figures and charts.

I'd rather plan for how our house will look like than writing my bibliography.

I'd rather research for bridal hairstyles than putting in page numbers.

I'd rather go look for wedding favors than doing my powerpoint presentation.

I'd rather do a colour theme & moodboard collage than preparing my A2 poster for the presentation.

I'd rather look for fabric for the wedding dress than fix my prototype.

I'd rather buy curtains and bedsheets for my new home than print my thesis in hardcover.

I'd rather lepak with my future hubby and watch TV than sit beside him writing out abbreviations on my computer.

I'd rather plan my wedding and life after marriage than facing off the assessors to defend my research.

But I cant start to even think about the wedding until after Viva. So lets get this over and done with.

Sayang, i love you too. waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh..... tsk tsk... sob sob..... yayang tolong buat thesis i boleh? and come in for my Viva and beat the crap out of the panel who dares to interfere, muahahaahahhahaaa!!!!

Mak, nak kawenn... tanak buat thesis dah.... uhuk uhuk..