Category Archives: Travel

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


It’s baaaaaaaack!!!

The annual George Town Festival (GTF) returns for its 9th consecutive round with an international and local slew of events from 4 Aug till until 2 Sept this year.

“George Town will be a hub of entertainment and excitement with both free and ticketed shows available to audiences,” a press statement issued today said.

As in previous editions of the annual fest, the Penang Government has appointed Joe Sidek Productions Sdn. Bhd. to oversee the curation and management of GTF.

The appointed contractor today also expressed its thanks to the state authorities, Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang, the Penang Development Corporation, Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang, Penang Global Tourism, and George Town World Heritage Incorporated for their continued support.

A ‘Call for Proposals’ for the fest which was initiated last October, has seen some 200 proposals both from Malaysia and abroad come in.

“We expect more will be forthcoming during this last week,” said festival director, Joe Sidek.

“In addition to online submissions, we have also been conducting ‘Proposal Clinics’ to encourage local creative individuals or groups to meet with us to help fine-tune their artistic ideas and to help them submit a proposal for the festival,” he added.

Celebrating Catholic culture and heritage

The Church of the Assumption in George Town which reopened its doors recently after a restoration exercise, has now a museum on its grounds.

The northern region’s first Roman Catholic Diocese Museum stands tall as yet another historic attraction to those visiting the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A walk through the museum, is a stroll tinged with nostalgia, pride and all things Catholic. It celebrates many stories of how the church was built together by the religious and the laity, the historical artefacts which have been a part of the Eucharistic celebration through the ages, and more.

And please don’t think you have walked into the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus by mistake when you step into the museum.

I sure was proud to see my parish “immortalised” on its walls today!

A glorious icon (almost) restored

Let this place resound with Joy – Edmund Khoo, project architect

The Church of the Assumption along Lebuh Farquhar in George Town, is on the last stretch of its restoration project and set to open her doors officially, come 1 January 2018.

Her ancient bells are ringing again to welcome the birth of Christ and a fresh new year!

Resident pipe organist Leonard Selva Gurunathan shares the spirit of the season with the carol ‘A Thousand Candles.’

The pipe organ which was packed away during the restoration works was unveiled yesterday to continue its good work in giving praise to God.

Congratulations Edmund Khoo for making the Catholics proud and going that extra mile to preserve the heritage integrity of this architectural gem!

(Some Images and video of the bells courtesy of Edmund Khoo and video of Leonard playing courtesy of Michelle Richards)

Ode to the Penang Lang (people) and their love for food

It’s that time of the year when food and presents figure in our personal and corporate space, all in the name of Christmas.

Sculptural jeweller Jonathan Yun has come up with some real novel ideas to gift oneself or loved ones.

Charmingly called the ‘makan2’ series, necklaces, bracelets and stackable rings have been carved out of sterling silver into exquisite items which pay homage to the Peranakan (Straits Chinese) culture.

“The makan2 series is an extension of my miniature series dedicated to all things Peranakan,” Jonathan says.

“As you know the Penang Nyonya take their food very seriously so its an ode to the delicious food as well as a playful take on the beautiful culture of the Peranakans.”

How much more playful can one get by stacking chopsticks with a plate and spoon and carrying them off with class and style?

Prices start from RM209 and go up to RM1,299 for these quirky pieces.

Pop into Jonathan’s shop at 150 Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, 10200 Penang and be blown away by his other pieces while you are there.

(Images courtesy of Jonathan Yun)

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium pops up in George Town

Penang’s first sawmill – The Saw Emporium – is set to morph into a clever multi-concept dining destination from next weekend till the first quarter of 2018, and tagged Swallow @ The Saw Emporium.

The 1950 art-deco heritage building and godowns along Jalan Macallum, are being transformed by lifestyle brand developers The Steamship Merchants into a pop-up multi-concept culinary and lifestyle locale.

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium is located within George Town’s UNESCO heritage core zone, within the 7 Streets Precinct (also known as ‘chit tau lor’) and will open its doors from November 10 at 6pm.

This new destination offering in Malaysia’s foodie haven (read:Penang) is being touted as a space where guest chef takeovers, pop up kitchens with interesting and creative food concepts, musicians, designers, craftsmen and community activities will feature.

The line-up of stars announced include Chef Teppei Yamashita, owner-chef of the 2017 MICHELIN Guide Singapore Bib Gourmand Man Man, who is bringing Teppei Syokudo to Georgetown, while TAPS Beer Bar, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2017 Best Beer Bar, pops their craft beer bottles and taps. These heavyweights are being joined by SOi 55 Modern Thai Food, Embers Asian Grill, Qwenchers Juice Bar and more, within an industrial-themed heritage sawmill.

(All photo credits: Swallow @ The Saw Emporium @TheSawEmporium