Category Archives: Shop

Borneo Beckons …

#rainforestfringefestival2018 #rff #rainforestfringe #sarawak #kuchingmypride

(Video courtesy of Joe Sidek)

Advertisements

Breakfast @PulauTikusMarket

This market is one which is known for its slightly higher prices since it supposedly caters to the affluent community of Pulau Tikus.

The goods available never fail to thrill and amaze, ranging from the usual wet market offerings to even stalls selling organic products. Factory over run (branded) clothing items can be picked up for a song and over festive seasons, one can even find Spode and Royal Doulton (more factory overruns) tableware.

Meenaka had to come all the way from Singapore to introduce me to the soya sauce shop found in the market and I am now a regular shopper.

Here are some on-the-go breakfast options found on a weekday …

9 Years of Arts and Culture Continue …

For the ninth year, the George Town Festival returns and is ready to welcome visitors to the island and continue to give more entertainment, cultural and artsy-fartsy value to Penang residents.

Mark your calendars, book your flight/bus/train tickets, plan your road trips and hotel/home stays, and join us proud Penang Lang in a month (read: August till early September) filled with performing arts shows, from dance to theatre, as well as photography and art exhibitions, workshops, music, creative talks and arts and crafts markets.

On a personal note, a warm welcome back to the anggams-supporters-of-the-fest, Steven, Glen and Meenaka from across the seas and Causeway!

Here are some highlights of the long-awaited list of happenings brought to you and lovingly curated by the tireless festival director Joe Sidek and his equally dedicated and work-around-the-clock team …

• KELANTAN: A Living Heritage (Malaysia)

The show celebrates Kelantan, known as the ‘Cradle of Malay Culture’ and its unique tapestry woven through its traditional and captivating art forms.

• Between Tiny Cities (Cambodia & Australia)

Dancers from Australia and Cambodia use the rituals and movement styles of b-boy dance to reveal the dramatically different worlds that surround them.

• We Cannot Talk About It (Iran)

A dark and gripping performance with intense expressions of suppressed life. From Iranian group The Hole in the Wall from the award-winning creators of Slow Sound of Snow (GTF 2015).

• Yaron Kohlberg feat. Ciaran McAuley & Penang Philharmonic Orchestra

Yaron Kohlberg, the “pianist with the golden hands”, performs a classical music suite with the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra, with esteemed Conductor Ciaran McAuley.

• 2062 (Spain & Germany)

An experimental show about a dystopian world, where the “present” is deemed as the authentic protagonist, highlighting borders, walls, new migrations, current affairs, and economic changes.

• Isle of Dreams (Taiwan)

Making its first premier in Southeast Asia, Isle of Dreams is a mythological musical theatre piece featuring Nanguan and Beiguan music integrating with poetry, puppetry and ritual dance in the performance.

• Second Body (Taiwan)

A dance production generating an out-of-body experience. A dark stage, dancer with abstract light projected on her skin, and the study of movement itself.

• BLIND (Brazil)

A social experiment and an interactive art showcase which has travelled the world, soon will be taking the streets of George Town in Penang for the very first time.

• SeaShorts (Southeast Asian Short Film Festival) (Malaysia)

An annual short film festival with over 200 entries. Attending the festival will be notable film makers such as Rithy Pahn, Mira Lesmana, Liew Seng Tat, Pimpaka Towira and Philip Cheah.

ConneXion – Passion Made Possible (Singapore)
A collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), ConneXion- Passion Made Possible will thrill festival goers as part of the GTF closing weekend.  The best of Singapore will be featured through fashion, music, art, dance, theatre, film, talks and food hosted in various venues in George Town. More details to be announced.

• Te.ma.sya BUDAYA KITA (Malaysia)

A National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN) special showcase of traditional arts and performing arts. More details to be announced.

Most shows hosted at Dewan Sri Pinang and Loft 29 will have its tickets sale via Redtix.

Others are mainly-free-to-attend shows, talks and workshops are available through registration on PopTickets.

This year GTF also focuses on its collaborations with various local creative collectives such as The National Department For Culture And Arts (JKKN), National Academy of Arts Culture and Heritage (ASWARA), SeaShorts, Sisters in Islam, Obscura, Penang House of Music, Penang Philharmonic Orchestra, Penang Foodie and the return of Konsert Kopitiam V.3.

Additionally, there are also alliances through special projects with other countries such as the recently launched “Isle to Isle” project with Taiwan Economic Cultural Office in Malaysia (TECO), “Passion Made Possible” with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) as well as a collaboration with the Arts, Education and Law Group at Griffith University.

GTF also works together in partnership with Penang Global Tourism and hotels such as E&O Hotel, Penaga Hotel along with other hotels, media and venue partners. GTF is currently looking for sponsorship and partnership.

For the newbies, the George Town Festival is an annual, month-long celebration of culture, heritage, art, and community.

Inaugurated in 2010 in honour of George Town’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the festival transforms the city into a global stage, showcasing world-class performances, installations, and collaborations from international and local artists alike.

With over one hundred unique events each year, the festival seeks to create new and vibrant connections between the traditional and the contemporary, the past and the future.

For more information on full list of GTF 2018 programmes and ticketing please visit www.georgetownfestival.com

(images courtesy of Joe Sidek and George Town Festival)

#georgetownfestival #gtf2018 #gtf

Athene the Spice Girl

I met this purveyor of artisan spices two years ago at her “spice laboratory” in Relau on the island.

The warmth and bubbly personality matched her colourful and aromatic spices as did her passion for cooking and sharing food and recipes.

Faten Rafie (or Athene to family and close friends) is the force behind the ‘Athene Spices’ brand of artisan spice blends and rubs, which are designed and created for home cooks to make easy, yet exciting dishes.

They are all natural, free of artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and MSG-free.

Just staring at the colourful contents of her bottled spices is enough to inspire the foodie in all of us and here’s why:

Her recipes are so easy to follow and end up looking like one has slaved for hours in the kitchen!

Befitting its premium tag, Athene Spices products are targeted at those with greater purchasing power and exposed to international cuisines, and also the health conscious, who do not want oil or sodium in the food they prepare and consume.

For this Ramadhan season, Faten has kindly shared some recipes below which include her famous spices which have found their way into Malaysian kitchens and restaurants at home and abroad.

Together with her businessman husband Azizi Hassan, Faten sources her spices like nutmeg pepper locally, and mix them into their distinct products with labels like Hot Chick Spicy Salt, Lemon Lime Pepper Salt, Mandy Spice Mix, Lebanese Za’atar, Moroccan Ras el Hanout and Hyderabad Biryani… to name a few, for retail and wholesale.

Check out her online spice shop at http://www.athenespices.com

If you are in Penang, her spices at stocked at both the Tropical Spice Garden’s gift shop at Teluk Bahang or The Tropical Spice Garden In the City store in George Town.

They make great gifts for Hari Raya open houses or to pop into a festive hamper.

(Images courtesy of Faten Rafie and NST)

Rooms with a view

She used to be a most gracious hostess when showing us around the high-end properties that her former employer built to sell on the island.

Nothing much has changed today, except that the still-gracious Christina is now her own boss at TZ Suites Sdn Bhd, and “sells” a different category of properties.

She is just as busy these days on her feet as she goes about curating enjoyable and comfortable stays away from home for Penang residents and visitors.

The single and double-roomed suites at The Straits Quay Apartments in Tanjung Tokong on the island, are one lot of her offerings to those who want to drop off the hotel circuit for a change.

Standing above the (still picturesque) Straits Quay Retail Marina (where a good number of eateries are located together with a supermarket and convenience store) are several apartments which are being managed by TZ Suites as holiday rentals.

The view alone from the generous balconies of the units overlooking the Andaman Sea are enough to scream “holiday” and “tropical isle.” I don’t think I was alone in just wanting to sink into a chair on the balcony and chill with a good book (or think of this vantage spot to enjoy the fireworks display on New Year’s Eve)!

Swimming pools nestled among frangipani trees, a gym, clubhouse, sauna and barbeque area are among the facilities within the apartment complex, if you think you want to tear yourself away from the seaview!

Clean sheets and fresh towels greet guests who are checking in and while you may need to pack s toothbrush along, shower gels and shampoos have been thoughtfully supplied in the well-appointed bathrooms.

WiFi is available for your convenience (and to perhaps update your social media platforms or send multiple photos to family and friends of the gorgeous view!) and you can do your laundry in your rented unit as well.

The kitchen is equipped with all basic amenities (fridge, hot plate cooker and other utensils) but in Penang and seriously, would you be wanting to cook your own meals?!! Nearby food attractions range from hawker fare, seafood options and Nasi Melayu and its accompanying curries and condiments.

The two bedroom units can accommodate up to 12 people while the one bedroom, up to 6 guests.

(From April 16 to May 31, 2018, TZ Suites is offering a 15% discount for its 2 bedroom unit which is priced at RM580 per night and RM450 a night for its 1 bedroom unit. The discount does not apply to weekends, the eve of public holidays and public holidays)

More details are available by calling:

Christina Lau (+60103682498) or Bee Hong (+60146042498) or simply drop an email to :tzsuites77@gmail.com

(Images courtesy of TZ Suites Sdn Bhd)

On the fringes of the rainforest

Mr Crazy and Creative, Joe Sidek, returns to Borneo for the second edition of the Rainforest Fringe (RFF) in Kuching from 6 to 15 July this year.

“After a successful inaugural festival in 2017, this year’s RFF will showcase a wide range of cultural, contemporary, and traditional events representative of Sarawak’s exciting, complex and many-layered identity,” said Sidek, who has been synonymous with the George Town Festival for close to a decade.

The 10-day festival is set feature both local and international artists,performers, designers, photographers, and speakers.

“Sarawak has so much to offer. Apart from ecotourism, it is also renowned for its diverse cultural identities and traditions. The Rainforest Fringe Festival is all about Sarawak and is for everyone.

“It will be an exciting time for all to come together and be immersed in art, nature, history, tradition, culture and fun,” promises Sidek.

“This year’s RFF will be an all-inclusive and a complete sensorial experience,” he adds, saying that the programme includes:

• SARAWAK: The Indigenous Showcase – Opening the festival, Sarawak’s own creation presents a tapestry of Sarawak’s indigenous groups through dance, songs,

sounds and chants. The performance layers the traditional with the contemporary, featuring New York-based dancer and choreographer Raziman Sarbini.

Also performing will be the celebrated Kuching-born soprano Dewi Liana Seriestha, the first Malaysian to win the Miss World Talent title in 2014, and recently selected as icon and keynote speaker for International Dayak Culture Day in Indonesia.

• A performance of the Paiwan Tribe from Taiwan will add an international element to the evening. The Paiwan Tribe performance, one of Taiwan’s most interesting indigenous showcases, stars Hao-Hsiang Hsu, internationally famous actor (Life of Pi) and theatre director, and Paiwan ancient singer Seredaw Tariyaljan, who performed at the Pre-Grammy Party at the 55thGrammy Awards.

This performance combines cocoon, percussion instruments and aboriginal folk songs to present a pure aboriginal musical performance celebrating the beauty of the aboriginal culture of Taiwan.

• FIRST PEOPLE Party – Introducing the term orang asal, the “first people”; RFF celebrates indigenous Sarawakians with a party hosted at the Black Box, Borneo744. The night is a performance from the electrifying soul band Electric Fields, fresh from WOMADelaide and the Australian Performing Arts Market, alongside Sarawak’s own At Adau and Pete Kallang.

• BAMBOO THAT BINDS & WOOD – This interactive series of programmes, curated by Sarawakian Wendy Teo, aims to encourage innovative use of bamboo and wood:

• The “INSTRUMENT” – A Bamboo Musical Installation. A public interactive installation of bamboo in the shape of the angklung, with musical performances.

Wendy Teo will be working with Indonesian musicians Karinding Attack to create this site-specific music sphere.

• The CREATIVE FORUM welcomes international speakers: Filipino designer to the stars, Kenneth Cobonpue; Malaysian furniture designer Shahril Faisal, whose designs “evoke emotions, provoke thoughts and stimulate the senses”; Taiwanese artist Cheng-Tsung Feng, a designer who explores the contemporary potential in traditional utensils and materials; Indian bamboo textile designer Madhu Jain, a craft revivalist recently honoured by the President of India for her services in design; and Australian architect Jed Long, co-founder of Cave Urban, a collective formed to investigate vernacular lightweight structures and their relevance to contemporary design.

* The WORKSHOP – Redesigning Bornean Crafts. 20 days, six designers/craftsmen, three countries. Bringing together three designers from Thailand, three designers from Taiwan and local craftsmen to showcase what happens when international design embraces local craftsmanship. The design teams will combine their skills to create innovative new items over a three-week workshop in June and July, after which they will display their pieces at the festival.

• The MARKET – Borneo 744 plays host to the best of Sarawakian artisanal products: wood and bamboo designs and crafts, antiques, exotic plants, books, fashion, food, and more. For the first time, Big Bad Wolf comes to East Malaysia with their enormously popular book fair at the Market.

• The RAINFOREST STORIES – A set of screenings of films and documentaries that pay homage to Sarawakian culture. A highlight is the intriguing Lost Films series, films that have been lost into the archives, featuring Cinta Gadis Rhimba (director Datuk L. Krishnan), and introducing the Search for the Long House – a project to locate and screen The Long House (directed by Phani Majumdar).

“Making RFF a true sensorial experience, food will feature in our programme, and we look forward to announcing partnerships with local food establishments and putting indigenous and contemporary Sarawakian cuisine on an international stage,” said Sidek.

The Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) began in 2017 and is an annual 10-day celebration of the spirit and energy of Sarawak. Hosted in the heart of Kuching, the festival honours Sarawak’s eclectic culture and vibrancy of the land and the people through music, art, craft, film, photography, and design.

#rff #rainforestfringe #kuching #2018

(all but one image courtesy of RFF)

Inspiring Enterprise

Fashion with a conscience

The Tamil word for thread is `nul’ நூல் and both Evlyn and Anne have made South Asia (India and Sri Lanka) their initial hunting grounds for all things crafty and artisanal.

Their new enterprise is aptly called `Southern Nools’ (threads from the south) and the long-term plan is to sustain the business by making it a social enterprise which is aimed at empowering women.

For a start, the siblings are offering quirky and fun items like yoga bags, healthy copper mugs, book covers, meditation cushions, cheerful mandala-inspired totes and a host of other colourful and quality merchandise.

Their debut at the Straits Quay weekend market last week served as a good test-bed to gauge consumer trends and interest and they will be back there on Saturday and Sunday (March 24-25, 2018) with more offerings.

The girls share their story below, and the photos weave more colours and tales:

“At Southern Nools we draw our inspirations from the elements of Mother Earth and the four beautiful seasons of the year to bring you and the rest of the world our eclectic array of designs,” they say.

‘Nools’ or ‘Nul’ means thread in most parts of Southern India and Sri Lanka. The thread is the central point in retaining the fabrics outlook, appearance and lifespan although it only represents less than 1% of the entire outfit., they share.

“While the fabric captures the essence of bringing alive its tapestry of colours, the thread remains the spindle that spools it together. “

Handloom weaving is a heritage handed down from generations. Masterpieces are created from the blessed and creative hands of skilled weavers. These hands represent the simple and humble artisans who brings alive the fabric that adorns its wearer. Southern Nools celebrates all designers through the richness and diversity of traditional and classic fabrics.

“We take pride in weaving together the magic of Mystical India and the Wonder of Sri Lanka through the windows of exotic exuberance set in the splendour and grandiose British era.

“Our passage of timeless collections is designed with fine attention to detail. At Southern Nools we believe in quality, uniqueness, comfort and sophistication with a flair. Our clothiers and collections carry the proud trademark of stitcheries and the spontaneous placement of colours and designs inspired by the eccentric brilliance of Mother Earth.

“Our philosophy is rooted in integrity, simplicity and contemporary elegance handcrafted with a conscience.”

The Southern Nools story goes beyond threads and spools.

“At the heart of Southern Nools is the mission to empower and create unlimited potential with life skills, entrepreneurial growth and leadership for the marginalised and the differently abled in society. We hope to not only empower our local community in Malaysia and beyond, but also to enrich their lives with dignified earnings and a life changing future.

“At Southern Nools we strongly support and promote Fair Trade as a path towards a sustainable economic development for these communities and their families.”

At Southern Nools “There Is A Season For Everything” and “There Is Something For Every Season”.

“Southern Nools is about making a difference in people’s lives. Each smile, each little thing, each blessing, each gratitude is an affirmation of our purpose and mission,” is the promise of Evlyn and Anne.

Watch this space …..

#southernools #thereisaseasonforverything #pb2j #blessingsinlife #fairtrade #empowerment #threadsandspools #india #srilanka #socialenterprise