Monday, October 26, 2009

I was at the SCHOOL of HARD KNOCKS !

Yoon Koon, founder of the Royal Selangor Pewter

1885 ... still growing strong

The late Sultan of Selangor, Almarhum Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah gave the company the royal charter - Royal Selangor Pewter in 1992.

School's in again! Only for 25 minutes but I left school happy as a lark!

Behind the glass doors of the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre, in the School of Hard Knocks, I was really grateful to Mr KC who gave me his undivided attention to try my hand at a pewter smithing workshop. Normally, one has to book and a class has 5 students. I was the only one for that morning. Thanks, KC!

Here I was , hammer in hand, knocking hard ( my grip was so tight!)and then the arm began to ache !! The room filled with the noise of the pounding but it mattered not to KC. Unobtrusively he lent his comments like 'knock harder, keep turning , make it smooth, light taps.' Then I relaxed and patiently hammered away, turning the bowl sitting in the hole of the wooden block round and round to achieve the required shape.

Wouldn't Yoon Koon, the founder of the Royal Selangor Pewter, if he were alive today, impart his words of wisdom - about life and the hard knocks we have to face before we can taste sweet success !

Yoon Koon, a Hakka immigrant from Shantou, Guangdong, China, came to tin -rich land of then, Malaya, at the tender age of 15. He started a business with his pewter making skills and made prayer objects like - josstick holders etc. Soon this caught the attention of the British colonialists and more orders of other items like tankards and ashtrays were made.

The history of Royal Selangor Pewter comes alive daily as visitors stroll through the Visitor Centre, guided by by the inhouse guides. The Centre never sleeps as it is open 365/ 366 days of the year ! Such dedication to tell and show the story of the very humble beginnings of then Malaya Pewter, and how it has grown to be a world name. The 3rd and 4th generations of the this privately -owned business have made Malaysians proud with a truly MALAYSIAN brand.

A new flat disc of pewter - I liken it to a new life we all begin with :)

Letters of the alphabet A - Z to engrave our name - so we make our mark in life.

Spell it out - mine spells K E A T S

Use the basic tools to hammer and shape the pewter - the malleable pewter yields . Never give up even when you get 'knocked' about. Get your life into shape !

Wash with a mild detergent to get rid of grime and other stuff - get rid of negative , impure stuff out of your life - 'coz you're ready to take on the world!

Presto ! The pewter dish is ready - almost all the kinks and rough patches are smoothened by light tapping of the hammer - bright and shiny - you're ready to face the world with help from friends , here and there .

A reward for the hard work - recognition will come - just do!

Mr KC, my teacher for the morning, helped to take some pictures to record the stages of my work - thank you kind KC!

Pewter for everyone - Malaysia for the world to know!

The unmistakeable Selangor Pewter bag - my pewter dish is safe inside.

Photo credit : courtesy of Royal Selangor Pewter

I guess the honourable Yoon Koon will also say the same to ME!!

Royal Selangor Visitor Centre
4 Jalan Usahawan 6, Setapak jaya
53300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: + 60 3 4145 6122


  1. That looks really fun. a good way to let out some frustration as well. Awesome post.

  2. Keats, that is so cool. My dear girl do you ever rest? I have seen you so busy. That is truly a work of art. If they were mine I would display them. Keats I want to thank you for visiting my blog. It is dull compared to yours.

  3. beautiful bowl you made and I loved your words.

  4. Hi
    Rosey Pollen, yah! destress and get it out off your system !!! therapeutic, in a way :)

    Lucy, Thanks so much for voting for me. I need all the help and want to do my best in this competition. So, rest will have to wait:)).
    Sharing your life stories can never be dull - there are the good and not so good moments and it's about living life and coping. So, dear, Lucy, continue your lovely blog. Go, girl!

    sonia, thanks ever so much for following me. appreciate your support.

  5. Good job, Keats! That looks like fun. I love the analogy with the human character. If only our personalities were as malleable as pewter! I am too much of a stubborn old snapping turtle. I need a good bit of polishing. You know what, after seeing this, everyone will want a pewter bowl of their own! I want one that says "Covert Operations" on it now!

  6. Hello Keats, is the FT contest over? This would be perfect post for that. Your posts are excellent and I am just amazed at how you could create such interest in things otherwise are a norm. You could even make them filled with fun and joy!

  7. "If I had a hammer I'd hammer in the morning I'd hammer in the evening All ..." haha sing along ..that was a nice knocking morning for you. Eh you are left hander?

  8. Hi
    ~Covert_Operations'78~, yes, go and get one made. Knock it into shape and learn a lesson or two, if you have to!!! LOL!

    Ocean Girl, no, the contest is NOT over yet! It will only end on 5 jan since it started on 5 oct.Please do continue to come and visit and vote for me :)) Please let your friends know. Thanks a lot.

    CheaHS@n, that's a really nice song. I'm humming it now :)) How observant you are!! yes, a leftie, I am!! Not in all things tho. but most. How funny!

  9. Keats, I visited their former office cum workshop in Setapak. We are really proud of Royal Selangor Pewter. It is something that defines Malaysia to foreigners. We can never disappoint when we give pewter items to foreign friends and they are always appreciated. I'm voting for you, all your posts.

  10. KEATS - well done!

    You have my votes!

  11. I can see that you have published very interesting posts while I was away. Have a wonderful week, my dear :)

  12. I am as proud as Royal Selangor is truly one of the icon that represent the finest thing we can do here...........

    hey Keats, my first time here,i will be back again,,,,,, take care now ya

  13. Hi
    Autumn Belle, thanks so much for your votes:) Will do the same :)) Yes, we can truly be proud of Royal Selangor.

    lupie, thanks for your support !

    wenn, thanks very much.

    ROSIDAH, yes, I've been busy as you can see. This is a competition and every thing takes effort if we want to do well. I hope my readers will excuse me if I'm slow in replying. It's a busy time! I haven't forgotten about all of you.

    eugene, thanks for popping in. There's always Royal Selangor to give away as gifts and I do it often as they make me proud of them:))

  14. Selangor Pewter is indeed famous world over. Many years ago, I had some Japanese friends who came to visit in KL and the one thing they said they must buy before returning home is a Selangor Pewter mug. Apparently it is very popular amongst the Japanese.

  15. This is one successful Malaysian story!

  16. Congratulations! Very informative post. I feel the hammering hammering, can hear the noise of the copper bazar in some Middle East cities where I lived, bang, bang! Beautiful....

  17. Hi
    petite nyonya, very good gifts to take home from malaysia.

    adrienne, the visitor centre has lots more to offer. so do visit when you come to Malaysia. Find out how hard tyou can knock too!! LOL!

    Pete, YES! Absolutely!

  18. Hi '
    Laura in Paris, thanks v much for your appreciation. I'm so proud to tell the world about Royal Selangor :)))

  19. definitely the school of hard knocks, he he

  20. Visiting from Rosidah. You have a beautiful blog and a beautiful and fascinating country.

    Flash 55 - Morbid Norberth

  21. This is so beautiful post !! Loved the words !! Thanks for sharing..Unseen Rajasthan

  22. Hi
    xplorer, thanks for popping in:)

    Nessa, thanks ever so much from hopping in from RoSIDAH's blog. Glad you like the posts . Malaysia welcomes you!

    Unseen Rajasthan, thanks for your encouraging compliments :)

  23. Hi Keats, you had made this post very lively. I wish I have a chance to do the hard Knocks way. You get a vote from me.


Great to have you popping in!