Monday, November 29, 2010

Batik Fun Walk 2010

Doesn't it spell FUN? That was the draw for me.

Sunday morning saw my friend Grace and I among participants in the Batik Fun Walk 2010 organised by Yayasan Budi Penyayang. It promised to be different walk - non competitive, fun and to top it all, wear Malaysian batik and do it in your own style! Shout out for Malaysian Batik!

We met at Seri Pacific Hotel to be flagged off. When we arrived, the dressing up had begun in earnest. We were each given a complimentary piece of sarong, a breakfast snack box, a bottle of mineral water, our participant number and a lucky draw number which we dropped into a big box.

Dressing up needs more pairs of hands

Participants loosened up their joints with an aerobics instructress. The music got everyone moving and in the mood. After the walk, entertainers kept the tempo up with songs and guitar playing. The lucky draw was eagerly awaited. So many prizes were given away and the grand prize was an LCD TV. Lucky fella!

Wear Batik the fun way and exercise too

Get into the groove, everyone! I had to laugh when one of the emcees said, 'loose your bones' (!!) when he announced the start of the exercise.

Music, exercise, batik, charity, family fun - all part of the Batik Fun Walk

I wanted to be different, batik-style. The volunteers and I of The Sunshine Group had recently done a session of batik painting of our beloved national flower, the Hibiscus on pieces of cotton squares with the residents of Selangor Cheshire Home. I sewed them on a plain tee-shirt and wore a scarf sporting hibiscus motifs on my head. The sarong was worn like a 'samping'. That was my fashion statement. If only my friends had seen how proudly I displayed their art work.

It's my Hibiscus Day, batik style

Have to say batik made heads turn that morning. Wear it short,long, wrap around the waist, on the head - it was batik fashionistas weaving through the streets of KL as we wound our way past the Open University campus and onwards. A bonus as we pounded the roads was to be closer to nature as the greenery hemmed us on both sides during part of the walk and to hear birds twittering, that is if your heart was not pounding louder than those sweet calls!

Grace tackling batik

2 pretty heads are better than 1!

Spice up - sexy legs do get some roving eyes!!

The long and short of batik - which is your style?

Looking smart from top to toe

Grace and I finished the 3.9 km walk in about 33 mins. Gosh, those leg muscles felt the pull as the gradients started. Little ones were pushed along in their prams/buggies by doting parents.The one who got a generous warm round of applause when the prize for the oldest participant was announced went to 81 year old Tan Chiu Chong. This octogenarian calmly walked to the stage to receive her prizes. Dem lazy bones of mine won't do anymore!!

When you live to enjoy another day, you gotta shout for joy! Mouth big enough to swallow a whale!!

The prize was proudly plastered by the largest group participants - 29 to beat!

Buddy for the batik fun

' I love Malaysian Batik' - Grace from Argentina enjoying celebrity moments.

Jenny Lee won on creativity. Batik walked all over her!!!

The event was a wonderful gathering of friends and families who made the effort to promote Malaysian batik in a fun way. So, take batik to the streets and wear it as casually as you like but batik also finds its way into high fashion. Only a week before the walk, I attended a high tea cafe fashion show themed Batik Delight hosted by Galeri Seri Endon which was to promote Malaysian Batik - Crafted for the World. It too was a lovely afternoon.

Crafted for the World -batik worn by models

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty
- John Ruskin

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Artists with Autism

Of late we have bought ourselves 3 paintings. One was at a recent Henry Butcher's Auction, a work by Malaysian artist, Tan Choon Ghee. The other 2 were when my husband and I stepped inside the Have A Heart booth at the preview of the Art Expo Malaysia 2010 at the MATRADE EXHIBITION & CONVENTION CENTRE.

Have A Heart is a parents' support group which provides a space for special needs artists to create artworks such as paintings, sculptures, photography and prints. We were greeted by Pn Wairah Marzuki who gave us a brief insight into the work of autistic children. This was the 4th time the organisation participated in this huge event. It certainly is invaluable exposure to networking with national, regional and international artists.

We bought the Red Rooster and the Green Parrot by Sea Ng Jun Xi who is known as SEAN. My daughter calls it the Spanish Rooster ! I like the cheery, confident stride of the rooster. Now as we have breakfast in the kitchen, no one can be moody !! The rooster will gently remind us to perk up and smile for it is sunny world. 'Look on the birght side! ' he crows!

The volunteer who delivered the paintings after the Expo told me that Sean is 13 and is struggling to talk just like his sister, Tynia who is also an autistic artist. Sean has a passion for all kinds of birds and he enjoys his painting lessons more if he paints birds. Besides drum lessons, he enjoys the therapeutic healing of clay as he indulges in pottery.

Red Rooster by Sea Ng Jun Xi

Green Parrot by Sea Ng Jun Xi

Incidentally, I bought a print titled Ethnic 1 by artist Tan Seng Kit . I feel Seng Kit 's painting has the vibrancy of the 1Malaysia we want for ourselves. Though it is just a print I decided to buy it when I saw his prints at a booth his mum was manning at Klpac a year or so ago. Seng Kit was diagnosed with autism at the age of 6. He is on a home school programme and has a flair as an artist and a bowler. His print now hangs in my ' creative junk room'. This is not to say I do not care for it anymore. In fact it is in this room that I create crafts and whatever ideas for my storytelling sessions. In truth it has a special place in my heart.

Autism as we know is a brain disorder that impedes communication, learning and social behaviour. According to the Ministry of Health, 1 in 600 children is diagnosed as autistic in Malaysia.

But see how these artists with autism communicate with us in their own way. Given the chance for more exposure I'm sure more good tidings will come their way. In the meantime, they work best at what they know best!

Tan Seng Kit -Ethnic 1

Sea Ng Jun Xi - Blue Peacock Acrylic on Canvas 78x 62 cm 2010

Birds are Sea Ng Jun Xi's favourites

Art by Nurul Akmal Ab Rahman

Art by Nurul Akmal Ab Rahman

Art by Nurul Akmal Ab Rahman

Tan Seng Kit - Pretty Blooms Acrylic on Canvas 72 X 103 cm 2010

Malaysia's iconic Twin Towers by Tan Seng Kit

Art by Tan Seng Kit

Art by Tan Seng Kit

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Deepavali cheer

I welcomed Deepavali wearing a red saree. Have to admit am still a novice tying one neatly to enhance. But in the hands of my sis-in -law's Sri Lankan helper I had no worries. I remembered to wear some bangles but forgot the stick -on pottu.

Like on previous occasions, it was the time of the year to embrace almost all things Indian. Am not a purist but having picked up some practices and culture over the years, things do not appear so daunting. Yes, eating with fingers is one of them too! And so is wearing salwar khameez on the odd occasions.

It was great to entertain friends in the comfort of our house and be as great a host as we can be. Friends old and new mingled and we were happy to renew ties with some 'long -lost' friends as our daily routine gets packed with more than mundane affairs. The run-up to the celebration involved quite a bit of legwork to get things done as I liked it to be. 60 odd guests came and it was a comfortable setting as I had seats arranged in different parts of the house.

In the evening we lined the perimeter wall of the house with tea lights in colourful glass containers. As they flickered and danced in the gentle breeze of the evening, we sat down to dinner and recollected a wonderful time had by all, especially us. The laughter we shared is still ringing in our ears and the time we shared briefly still endures .Till another Deepavali, may the lights shine bright on you my friends.

2 oil lamps flank the kolam I made to greet everyone. Someone commented it was a kind of naive art.

My lounge taking on a festive look

I rearranged my lounge for friendly seating.

Vaani who used to dress brides made me feel like a million dollar gal in my red saree:)

I joked that my hubby was 'outstanding' to guests. Well, he was as he was dressed differently and stood out! LOL.

Happy to have my blogger friend, Ee Lynn (in green) and dear friends, May and K. Khee with us - 3 true animal lovers seated together.

It's lunch time chat and friendliness. A delightful crowd.

A sumptious spread - some home -cooked and a few catered. Glad to say the compliments flowed. The white wine complemented the curries well while the fruit punch was a welcome drink in the hot afternoon.

Glad to see an old friend

In the terrace - my sis-in -law and some of my buddies.

My youngest, sweet guest. Her mum received delicious compliments for the carrot and chocolate cakes she made.

I managed to find a waiter to help out as on Deepavali day such service is in great demand.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Colours of Deepavali

The peacock loves to show off!

Ready to do the peacock dance - handsome , stately and majestic

Deepavali is just 2 days away. I'm squeezing a little time to blog . It's a busy time as I'm preparing a big lunch gathering in the house for friends to celebrate the spirit and colours of this festive occasion. To all my Hindu blogger friends, I hope you have a joyous celebration. May the lights of Deepavali shine on you and your loved ones. Happy Deepavali!

By chance I caught more colours of Deepavali at the BSC when I was out shopping. Just by The British India retail lot, 3 kolams were beautifully decorated for the public to enjoy. The peacocks on the kolams flaunted their tails just as they would in real to show off the its beauty. Passers -by stopped to admire the painstaking work. Like the previous years, I wanted a kolam for myself too. With much haste, I bought all the colours of the kolam powder, dyed the broken rice and dried them in the odd spells of of the late mornings and afternoons. My kolam is almost ready and just as colourful!

Further down ahead, a small troupe of dancers from a dance school in Selayang were getting ready to perform. The teacher, Vickneswari was seen putting the final touches to her students' makeup.

Beautifully adorned

Soon the music started and the peacock dance got underway. The rhythmic movements of the dancer and the full spread of the colourful feathers on its tail got our attention. Indeed the peacock, which is the national bird and pride of India is embodied in the god of thunder, rains and war,Indra.

A young boy and girl performed the dance of Krishna . I could see the teacher watching with her keen eyes and appreciation as the young dancers enacted the dance of the gopis (cowherd girls) and Krishna with grace and poise.

Young dancers ages 9 - 12 , ready to dance their hearts out in Dance of Krishna.

Teacher looking on and happy

Next to come on was the bamboo folk dance followed by a dance from Devdas, a Hindi movie. That was whispered to me by the teacher as the dance was in progress. When everything was over, so was the strong, melodic sounds of the globular brass bells on the ankles of the dancers.

The short performance was a colourful introduction to a festive Deepavali ahead. The mood has been set. I'm almost ready to celebrate too!

A lovely backdrop with chiffony drapes, garlands for such an alluring effect.

Dancers in harmony

Love the mix of the resplendent colours

Eye-catching peacock kolam

Symmetry in rainbow colours and more!