29 July, 2009

By Design and Design By

At the Kuching Waterfront a few days ago I stumbled upon two perspectives about design. Firstly a craftsman can put an impression on a material surface . Taking cue from the many handicraft work on show at the Handicraft Exhibition and Sales at the Kuching Waterfront, designs are imprinted on material surfaces ..by design. (Inset is a design imprinted on tree bark ) Many of the products on show exemplified local Sarawak design pattern derived mainly from the rich and varied ethnic diversities in Sarawak. I think blended together these designs can portray a new Sarawak design identity. I will stop there and let the craftsman think how. Secondly I was very intrigued and equally impressed by the works of some of the craftsman who create ( recreate?) Nature's design by accommodating the nuances of natural wood which in the case below is of the 'Belian' wood- the hardest timber species in Sarawak. The pieces I saw on display were mainly from the buttress roots and bases of trunks that reveal a 'given' design. The craftsman merely work with nature or around it. The value creation lies in making nature expressive according to the ideas of the craftsman. The craftsman and Nature co-exist. Thus in this context I call it ..... Design By .

Ethnic design ..chiseled and carved on wood ........By Design

Design By .......... Nature

28 July, 2009

Kuching Waterfront Views ( 26/7 - 27/7/09)

Front Garden Surprises

The front garden at Kuching surprises me today with lovely flowers of the canna , ixora and the 'Drunken Sailor'.
I have now more or less achieved what I wanted for the front garden. The idea of multiple colours that can be enjoyed regularly has been achieved. Today's blossoms are testimony to my concept of the
'Laman Kambatik' or the Kambatik Garden= Malaysian Garden. In our tropical garden a riotous gaiety is I think a most welcome sign to our paradise. This is how it should be . Today you get to enjoy the reds, tomorrow yellows and perhaps a week's time pink and lavender colours.

Plant list : Ixora ( Ixora coccinea) ; Canna ( Canna Hybrid) ; Drunken Sailor ( Quisqualis indica )

The New DUN Building

This is where it all started. Bintulu - on the 8th of September 1867. Well, having checked today's calendar it is almost 149 years come September this year.
I have written a fair bit about the circumstances around the first meeting in another blog here. Of course the old building was a tiny building but was symbolic of the power of the Brooke's especially if you get to fly your flag over it. ( Note: The wooden structure in the picture is not the Bintulu fort . The news cutting says that the monument indicates only the site of the Bintlu old fort where the first meeting was held).
I would imagine the old fort of Bintulu had the barest of essentials but the most important item would no doubt be the canons. Things have changed. Today a new building has emerged at the bend of the river where the Kuching Waterfront is. It's the final resting place of the State Legislative Assembly referred to locally as the Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) . I guess I will not want to see another building overtake it in my life time. I say this because in my lifetime I have seen the Council Negeri building or DUN shift places at least three times.
DUN - 27 July,2009
The new Dewan Undangan Negeri ( DUN) building was built around a 4 years period starting in 2005. However since my travels up and down to Kuching started two years ago, I could only show the later progress of the building construction as indicated below:

DUN - 18 October, 2008

DUN - 4 October, 2007

27 July, 2009

Batik as a Craft

As part of the Special Sarawak Regatta held on 27/7/09, a handicraft demonstration and sales was held at the Kuching Waterfront. By the look of things, the main road that ran along the waterfront was closed and half of it was temporarily turned into rows and rows of tents to accommodate craftsmen and sellers of traditional crafts like pua, wood, batik, beads,basketry and many more. The Handicraft Demonstration and Sale stalls is shown as in the picture to the left ( inset). My focus was the art of batik making. The demonstration covered the proper use of batik materials like cloth ( especially in stretching it) and holding it on all sides by a working frame, different qualities of dyes ( nature-based or chemical dyes), the two hand tools (brush and tjanting) most commonly used in holding the wax ( bees wax) when applying wax over the cloth ( cotton or silk. All in all I thought the Handicraft and Sales was a success.

Examples of the finish hand-painted batik textiles on display at the show.

Drawing from a rich background of Malay and various ethnic groups patterns and designs, preferences for colours and motifs, the Malaysian batik seems to regain much popularity in part due to government insistence of wearing batik clothes to work on every Thursday of the week.

Painted Nettle (Coleus)

Above are three more varieties of the Coleus ( Solenostemon scutellarioides) that I came across yesterday. They were part of the potted flower arrangement at the VIP Grand Stand for the Special Regatta held in conjunction with the official opening of the Sarawak State Assembly Building (DUN) on morning of 27 July,2009 at Kuching and the King of Malaysia's visit to Kuching Waterfront. I have taken some photos of other species in my other blog here.

Handicraft Demonstration and Sales

On show and sales at the Special Regatta were many kinds of handicrafts done by the various ethnic groups of Sarawak. Above are a tiny sampling. The demonstration and sales will continue till 2nd of August.

Scenes at the Special Regatta (27/7/09)

My Sarawak

The RM 300 million DUN Building declared open by the King of Malaysia today (27/7/09)

Today marks an interesting event in Sarawak's history. The King of Malaysia has declared open the new Sarawak State Legislative Building or in the local Malay dialect- Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak ( DUN) in the morning. Around 3.00 pm a special Regatta was held in conjunction with the King's visit and the opening of the DUN. The regatta is held at the Kuching Waterfront which faces the DUN .

Thus , I thought it would be appropriate to launch at the same time a new blog called 'My Sarawak ' to remember this auspicious occasion. Since this is the first post I will make it brief and hope that the video above will lure you all back to this blog to know more about Sarawak in future. Please click to play the video showing a Sarawak 'sapeh' player demonstrating the sounds of the 'sapeh' - a traditional four strings guitar-like instrument well-known throughout Sarawak creating that peculiar magic and aura of the deep jungles and discovery that is Sarawak.
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