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Bird cages: The way they used to be May 30, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Culture, Malaysia, People.
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Everybody knows what a bird cage looks like but to cast your eyes on a work of art that’s also a bird cage is a joy forever.

I was a privileged witness to a master craftsman making one of those traditional Malay bird cages at an exposition recently. And you wouldn’t believe the intricacy of the design.

It is indeed a rare opportunity to see one of these people at work. I believe these craftsmen are a dying breed. Who among the young wants to pursue a career that promises little returns and long hours of labour.

The only thing you may get out of the profession is a deep sense of pride and little else. But still, Malaysia needs to encourage its young to try their hands on such an art before it disappears from our land forever.



Tireless hands of a basket weaver May 28, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Culture, People, Places.
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So you think your life is hard. This man has probably been doing this for decades. His hands must be aching every night before he goes to sleep or even while he’s sleeping.

Pulling and tightening strips of rattan to make a basket this size is not a job for wimps or sissies. It takes patience, skill and a certain forbearance that marks that person as a hardy guy.

If  you have a family of five or more and you have to put food on the table, you will climb the highest mountain and swim the deepest ocean to make sure everyone in the family does not go to bed hungry.

It also shows you have character and life has given you a pair of strong hands and a strong spine to keep up with the chores you are saddled with in your present existence.

See the writing (drawings) on the wall…. May 25, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Culture, Malaysia, Miscellaneous, Places.
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For a long time, I thought only overseas one can find graffitti of professional standards. That is, until one day I disembarked from the LRT at the Pasar Seni station.

Walla! Right before my beady eyes are a long stretch of graffitti done by local artists of unheralds standards. they went as far as the eye can see along the bank of the Klang river.

On a return trip, the authorities washed them all off. I thought it was a crying shame. It certainly helped to brighten up the drab scene. We need paintings like those.

 Afterall, those poor blokes who spent up till three hours or more every night doing all that have not money to exhibit their works in the numerous art galleries strewn all over Klang Valley.

Buy more but pay less May 23, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Culture, Malaysia, Miscellaneous, People, Places.
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If you, like me, are a book lover, then those irregular warehouse book sale would interest you. Just imagine the prices of books these days. The thought is enough to make an avid reader starting borrowing from friends or become a member of the public library.

Hence, occasionally, you find in newspapers or magazines about an impending book warehouse sale and your mental antenna goes up. Pay Less is one of those outlets that holds warehouse sale now and then, either in Petaling Jaya or Subang Jaya.

Yes, it’s true, most of their books are American editions but the prices are so affordable that you could literally buy about five books for RM50. Try doing that at a regular bookstore. You may not even get pass a single book.

Malaysians are notorious for being lazy readers. I recall reading somewhere that Malaysians on the average read about two books a year. No wonder we talk funny and write even funnier! A number of people these days no longer speak proper English but SMS language.

   Which means they talk in acronyms. For example, TMTH (Too much to handle), LOL (laughing out loud) and ASAP (as soon as possible). If this trend continues, we will just grunt. That’s about bring us right to the Stone Age. Good luck!

On the cheap side of DIY life May 22, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Craft, Malaysia, Miscellaneous, People, Places.
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Deep in the heart of almost every man lies a builder, a creator, an inventor or just a plain carpentar. In one of the more obscure sidelanes of Chulia Street, Penang is a small lane called Cheapside.

I wouldn’t have paid it any attention if not for the thousands of DIY items I saw lying in rows and rows of shelves. This was clearly a haven for DIY enthusiasts. Since I have always imagined myself to be a small time toolman, all those little nuts and bolts and other items that I cannot identify continue to fascinate me.

I have not come across any small outlets like those in Cheap, Penang. Truly it is a place that all handymen love to spend a complete afternoon browsing around.