All posts by TrailingME

Red, yellow, white & blue (cupcakes)

The bake-off fever continues to rage at Flex Malaysia with a special cupcake wars event to celebrate Malaysia’s 60th birthday.

What better way than to party with the nation and each other, than by baking dainty cupcakes, decorating them meticulously in colours found on the ‘Jalur Gemilang’ and then feeding your colleagues and bosses with these creations?

This is precisely what 36 Flex Johor employees did yesterday at the Senai (medical) facility. The lobby and a portion of the first floor had temporarily morphed into a mini bakery where cupcakes ruled the day! Thank you Alex and Ken for working your magic!

The Flex Merdeka Cupcake Wars was all about colour, creativity, cooperation and consumption (of the cakes!)

Judges Stella, Joe, Rebecca & Ed had the enviable task of eating their way through 18 cupcakes (and fears of going into a sugar coma!) which were lovingly baked and decorated by Flex employees from the Johor sites in Senai, Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Skudai.

Theirs was not an easy task as they had to make a second round among all the baking stations set up to be absolutely certain of their deciding votes for the cupcakes.

Val’s decision to acknowledge a surprise category of bakers with an additional mystery prize, is a reflection of Flex’s care and recognition of employees who go the extra mile.

Following very closely to the chosen theme of ‘Colours of Malaysia”, the teams gave their all in attending to the smallest of details, while staying calm and baking on.

The goodwill and new links forged were so apparent when a team had to turn to the other competitors for some extra eggs when theirs became runny and threatened to affect their cupcakes.

Equally heart-warming was seeing a judge help in assisting a team which was having difficulty using an attachment on their baking appliance, while another judge stepped in to assist with the photography set-up.

And the Pensonic products continue to spark joy among all the participating Flex bakers who now have some new baking goodies to call their own.

Happy Birthday, Malaysia!

BFF

The fun and excitement of the George Town Festival 2017 continue on mainland Penang this weekend, with the Butterworth Fringe Festival (BFF).

The exhaustive programme listed below is a reflection of a well-curated festival, where something is offered to everyone.

For the islanders, this is a good excuse as any to enjoy a leisurely ferry crossing over the Penang Channel to check out the BFF acts.

Thank you Masya for The List below:

Angin dan Air

An outdoor, cross-cultural, collaborative show by Zamzuriah Zahari and Liu Yong Sean of Malay Mak Yong and Chinese martial arts to carry out the story of Butterworth fishermen.


 
Shibori
Shibori is a traditional Japanese fabric technique that involves twisting and folding the fabric to create intricate patterns. Organised by Lokalhouz Butterworth. Registration is free.
 
Art Market – Roots Street Art
The top 20+ vendors of Roots Fest make up an independent market collective selling a variety of indie merchandise. Organised by Lokalhouz Butterworth.
 
Roots Street Art Wall Competition
12 artists compete in a 20-hour wall art competition. Artists are allocated individual 8 x 4 feet plywood walls. Winners will be judged by 3 locally-renowned artists.
 
DIY Kaleidoscope Workshop
A craft workshop for kids age 9 and above. Make a handmade kaleidoscope using three pieces of mirrors, a paper towel tube, colourful marbles, and other materials.
 
Cartoon Workshop
Taugeh, Tembakau, and Along from the widely circulated publication Ujang will give a 3 hour free workshop on cartoon drawing. Organised by Lokalhouz Butterworth.
 
Poko Things
A doll painting workshop for both children and adults. Participants paint designs on wooden dolls, similar to Japanese Kokeshi Dolls.  All handmade by Pokothings.


 

Negara Buku
More than 10 independent publishing houses such as Buku Fixi, Lejen Press, Roman Buku will be selling writings in both English and Bahasa Malaysia in a warehouse for 2 days.


 
Mek Mulung
Mek Mulung is a traditional Malay theatre unique to Kedah. Incorporates elements of Mak Yong, Menora and Hadrah. Has a repertoire of 20 stories, although only a few survive today.

Jikey
Jikey is a traditional Malay dance drama popular in Kedah and Perlis. Known as Yike in Cambodia and Likay in Thailand. Developed into secular theatre in the late 19th century.
 
Houz of Barber
One of the members of Lokalhouz, Houz of Barber was established in 2015. Collaborated with Roots Fest in 2016 to organise The Roots Barber Festival in Butterworth.
 
Silat Dulang
Originating from Melaka, an entertaining and educational martial arts performance chronicling the battle between legendary warriors, Hang Jebat and Hang Tuah.
 
Potehi – Kisah Pulau Pinang
Ombak-Ombak Art STUDIO’s Potehi group presents a tale of love and friendship employing traditional Hokkien Potehi glove puppets. Directed by ethnomusicologist Prof Tan Sooi Beng and young puppeteer Marcus Lim.
 
Penang Dhol Blasters
The Penang Dhol Blasters are known for their high-intensity traditional double-headed punjabi drums called dhols. They have taken part in many cultural events in Penang.
 
Konsert Kopi-Tiam
Konsert Kopi-Tiam will feature the talents of three generations of Penangites performing in English, Malay, Hokkien and Tamil. Each musical set is a mini variety concert of 90 to 120 minutes.
 
The Drum Roll
An ethno/fusion/world music drum performance by Eng Bok, followed by a communal drum circle with public involvement. No prior drumming experience required.
 
Pete Kallang
Singing professionally for four years now, Pete Kallang believes music has the ability to transcend borders and races. Channeling the legendary likes of Marvin Gaye and Frank Sinatra.
 
Dolphin Creative

Diego – The Chaplin Show: Diego is a multi-talented impressionist whose acclaimed portrayal of Charlie Chaplin has charmed audiences worldwide.


 
Great Dave: Great Dave started performing at the tender age of 14 in Covent Garden. His specialty is mixing high-level circus skills with comedy.


 
Jack Flash: The Jack Flash show is a comedy stunt show that focuses on fun and physical comedy. Featuring knife juggling and
handstands.

JP Koala: Medieval axes, cute cuddly toy koalas and comedy chaos come together to produce an entertaining display of skill and improvised performance.


 
A Simple Space
One of Australia’s hottest and most original circus ensembles. In this award-winning show, 7 young acrobats push themselves to their physical limits.


 
360 Allstars
A phenomenal physical performance exploring all forms of rotation, 360 ALLSTARS connects the street with the elite to deliver a radical urban circus.


 
String Fling
String Fling! is a signature marionette performance by Frankie. This brand new production features the latest celebrity marionettes in the wonderful world of string puppetry.
 
Urbanights Film Screening
Described by the New York Times as “worth fighting your way through a crowd to see”, Gary Hustwit’s Urbanized explores the issues and strategies behind designing cities.
 
Urbanights Film Screening
The Human Scale by Andreas Møl Dalsgaard questions our assumptions about modernity, exploring what happens when we put people in the center of equations.
 
Urbanights Film Screening – Purge
A documentary about the dedicated and hardworking labourers who have contributed to the building of a city sewage system for nearly half a century.
 
Star Sanctuary Seberang Perai Photography Exhibition
Exhibition of semi-finalists' photographs submitted to the Star Sanctuary Seberang Perai Photography competition. This showcase reveals the hidden talents of Seberang Perai citizens
 
Temple of Colours Art Sculpture
Organised by BYG Architects, Temple of Colours is an art installation in cube form that reflects Butterworth’s rich arts, culture, and heritage. Easily identifiable by people from all walks of life.
 
Buttercan
Butterworth Also Can or Buttercan is a programme that aims to build creative communities in Butterworth by providing training, organising workshops, and providing opportunities and for Penang’s performing artists.

(Images courtesy of George Town Festival)

Family, Friends, Festivals and notebooks

Notebooks have been used by reporters through the ages to document the lives and journeys of people they meet and events they witness.

Even in this high-tech age where mobile devices ranging from phones, tablets and laptops have sometimes replaced the much revered notebook, that lil (sometimes black) book remains a staple for all journalists.

"If you end up not having electricity or a phone to document a story, the notebook will always be there for you to capture it all," says photo-journalist SC Shekar who has collaborated with New York Times writer Chen May Yee for a photography exhibition called NOTED.

The exhibition is part of this year's edition of the George Town Festival where selected journalists from both home and abroad, along with one of the classic tools of their trade (read: notebooks) are being celebrated.

It was fun hanging out with family and friends in a sea of past and present journos and be reminded that one of the greatest jobs on earth is to be on the fringes of history, report it and know what a difference one has made.

My cousin Leslie, my former colleague Anis, and friends like Nades, Kay Tat and Jahabar are fine examples of journalists who in their own way, have enriched the lives of Malaysians and those abroad by shaking things up not simply for the sake of selling newspapers or expanding the readership of the media platforms they represent.

NOTED runs from 28 July – 3 September from 11am-6pm daily at the Whiteaways Arcade in George Town.

(Black and white images courtesy of SC Shekar and George Town Festival)

GT80

This posting speaks for itself via the beautifully-crafted illustrations of a very talented young lady, Vanessa Ho.

The watercolour illustrator was commissioned by George Town Festival (GTF) director Joe Sidek to produce this darling little travel journal called GT80.

It lists the top 80 favourites of GTF, in terms of places to go, things to do, people to see and dishes to eat in George Town.

If there is one souvenir you should buy (RM30 each), during this edition of the GTF, it's this lil brown book which makes an invaluable guide for anyone pounding the streets of George Town or those overseas who pine for their beloved Penang.

Here's why ….

You get to rediscover childhood favourites, be they people, food or places or discover new ones and grow to love them.


Copies of the GT80 illustrated travel journal are available at the GTF office (86, Lebuh Armenian, George Town) during office hours.

(All images – but one – are courtesy of George Town Festival)

Eight years and growing from strength to strength #gtf2017

The 8th edition of the George Town Festival (GTF ) opened last night at Dewan Sri Pinang with an upbeat convergence of artistes from near and far around the region of Southeast Asia at SVARA ASEAN. This musical showcase was a celebration of the artistic pride in the region, and a tribute to the sounds of Southeast Asia,  featuring six of the region's acclaimed singers and musicians, filled with mesmerising melodies and a wide repertoire of music genres. Local artistes – including Adibah Noor and Sean Ghazi  who were proud flag bearers of the Jalur Gemilang – presented classic hits and collaborated on some medleys with award- winning Phillipine Madrigal Singers, Penang Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) and PPO’s Jazz Band.

Also featured were Indonesian flautist Gus Teja and soulful Anchee from Thailand who paid tribute to her late king in song.


The opening weekend of GTF continues today, with generous ASEAN flavours, arts, designs, tastes and sounds. ASEAN Design Forum to be held on July 29, brings together Southeast Asia’s leading luminaries in design – Eric Bunnag Booth, Rachaporn Choochuey, Kenneth Cobonpue, Priscilla Shunmugam and Sali Sasaki.

This informative and illuminating nexus of ideas is said to delve into the status quo and future of design, space making, and the creative industries in Southeast Asia.

A market of ASEAN assortments at the Penang State Museum awaits everyone today and tomorrow in the grounds of the Penang State Museum.

'Macam- macam ASEAN' , is a craft and creative market, a tattoo studio, barber shop, live musical performances, wayang kulit and more. This free two-day fun event is an all-ages showcase in line with thisyear’s festival’s Southeast Asian focus.

At this craft market, go spoil yourself with ethically-made tea towels, shoes, tote bags, scarves, jewellery, pouches, tattoos, pillows, bowls, notebooks, and postcards featuring colourful, authentic motifs by collectives from Laos, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and our very own charming Kuching (from where Jit and friends have flown over some exquisite kebaya pieces and also fine beadwork).

A standout event at Macam-macam ASEAN is being touted to be Laksa of the Region (LOTR), which is a convergence of culinary delights and will see 24 laksa makers gather under one roof to cook up distinctive aromatic flavours representing countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia’s very own Penang assam laksa, Johor and Sarawak laksa, Nyonya laksa and laksam. 

For the ongoing weeks, other highlights of GTF 2017 include The Manganiyar Classroom by Roysten Abel, CELL, the gravity-defying acrobatic act of A Simple Space, Jérôme Bel’s GALA, The Human Voice, Hakanai –an animated choregraphy by Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne of France and lots more. Month-long exhibitions include Noted, Jimmy Nelson’s Before They Pass Away, Yangon Echoes, Portraits of George Town and the mysterious Secret Gardens “Revisited”.

GTF this year is partnering M-ND Media Distribution SEA and FaveKad Sdn Bhd. M-ND is a technology company that revolutionises the way brands and consumers connect with each other through multi-sensory experiences, FaveKad (a start-up technology company owned by George Lee), which aims to give everyone a reason to connect by sending electronic greeting cards with an Asian flair.

The complete festival guide is available at http://www.georgetownfestival.com or simply follow-the-fest on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

(Some images courtesy of George Town Festival)

Joined by the Crown

"A conversation over where to have lunch was the worm of an idea for this art show.

"An email exchange with a friend threw up meeting places like Penang Road, DhobyGhaut and Cantonment Road until he said Tanjung Pagar– and it dawned on me, that he wasn’t in Penang but in Singapore!"

These are Penang-born journalist Sharon Cheah's quotes on what inspired her to curate the George Town Festival 2017- commissioned 'Joined by the Crown: Parallel Visions in Penang and Singapore. '

She describes her efforts as a group show featuring nine artworks by Singapore and Malaysian artists, and an exhibition which is meant to celebrate the long and deep ties between Penang and her southern isle "sista", Singapore.

"This art show celebrates and investigates those ties – from the past and also in the present," Cheah adds.

The works vary from illustrated sketches to multimedia work like oral interviews and performed narratives.

Cheah and Denise Eng did the legwork to find out the histories of some 15 road names that you can find in both Penang and Singapore, and will illustrate this on a piece of calico from India – a significant reminder that many of the buildings in the two former colonies were built by Indian convict labour.
The participating artists are among those interviewed by Cheah over the course of writing about the arts for the Singapore Business Times since 2000, whose approaches and practices she firmly believes, can cast an artistic light on Penang and Singapore’s symbiotic links.


The artists are said to have responded to this theme that looked at Penang and Singapore's symbiotic relationship from the time they were governed under the Bengal Presidency in British India in 1826 till now.

Joined by the Crown: Parallel Visions in Penang and Singapore
Art exhibition, a George Town Festival commission
Dates: 29 Jul – 3 Sep 2017
Venue: Whiteaways Arcade, Lebuh Beach, Penang
(Images courtesy of Sharon Cheah)

Additional images from opening day …

All glory, laud and honour

"The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul"
(Johann Sebastian Bach)

Southeast Asia's oldest Anglican church – St George's Church in Penang – has received a bicentennial blessing this year in the form of a pipe organ, the most majestic of all instruments.

The 1,050-pipe Mander organ joins the ranks of its "neighbour" – the Church of Assumption along George Town's Lebuh Farquhar, in hosting its very own pipe organ.

With the consecration of the beautiful new instrument at St George's this morning by the Anglican Bishop of West Malaysia and Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Province of South East Asia, the Most Reverand Datuk Ng Moon Hing, Penang island now has the distinction of being home to two glorious pipe organs found in two heritage churches on the same street in the Unesco heritage core zone!

"The character of Anglican worship revolves around congregational singing of hymns," said St George's Church's Bishop Charles Samuel, "and an organ is the basic necessity for nearly all of this music. There is no other instrument that matches its ability to lead the singing of a several hundred-strong congregation."

Bishop Samuel has stressed that the new pipe organ is "dedicated to the glory of God" and will also serve the good of the community through special organ recitals and other associated events which will be open to the public.

An inaugural public recital is scheduled to be held in the church on Aug 19 at 4pm and should lend an acoustically-rich addition to George Town Festival 2017, which will be underway by then.

The new pipe organ at St George's took a year to build in England and has been gifted to the parish by the family of the late Datuk Tan Kim Yeow.

The organ has 17 stops (19 ranks) comprising the 1,050 metal pipes (containing tin and lead) in total. There are no electrical components in the organ other than the fan blower and tremulant.

It also boasts pipe shades which carry carvings of foliage and the distinct 'Pinang' tree in its design.

St. George’s church had a few organs over the centuries, including a two-manual 16-stop (17-rank) pipe organ built in 1899 by Forster & Andrews in memory of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Mander Organs Limited is a pipe organ maker and refurbisher based in London. The company has built and installed numerous celebrated organs such as the 68-stop four manual and pedal organ found in the Church of St Ignatius Loyola, New York. It has also rebuilt the Willis organ at St Paul's Cathedral in London and refurbished the Royal Albert Hall's grand organ.

Present in Penang to ensure that the organ is handed over to the church and left in very in good hands is Dr William McVicker, an organ auditor for the organ maker.

Dr McVicker is also organ curator at London’s Royal Festival Hall, director of music at St Barnabas Church Dulwich and a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music.

An experienced musician with a keen ear for organ tone, he is said to offer advice on matters technical and musical, specialising in acoustics, liturgy and architecture, among others.

And who could be more thrilled to welcome the new organ to Penang, than the neighbouring Church of Assumption's resident organist, Leonard Gurunathan.

Leonard is currently lending a hand in training a group of young musicians at St George's Church to master pipe organ playing and lead the congregation in Sunday worship.

It was so gratifying to be surrounded by a group of enthusiastic youths including the musically-inclined Matthew, Miriam, Audrey and Jason last week. They took turns in pulling out all the stops and putting their best feet forward on the new organ as they learn to produce the best sacred music possible.

Oh, and did you know that there are specially-made shoes which organists (especially those handling pipe organs) should wear?

Dr McVicker brought out his pair of organ shoes which looked like they were crafted from the softest of leather and looked narrower than normal dress shoes.

I would imagine that the leather ensured minimal friction between shoe and pedal and enabled the organist to glide their feet across the shiny pedals and actually feel them through the thin sole.

Thank you Chu Hor, Leonard and Dr McVicker for a lovely afternoon of music in the midst of the organ pipes, which have added a measure of beauty to a sacred space, in the manner which stained-glass windows often do.

Thank you Leonard, for generously sharing these shots