Your Ad Here

Saturday, February 23, 2008

How Often Do You Wash Your Hair?

NYT's Thursday Style Section has a rather erm, weird article called, Of Course I Washed My Hair Last Year (I'm Almost Certain). It basically describes a beauty phenomenon in which people don't wash their hair anymore, or at least more infrequently. The article has interview quotes from various people and the reason for not washing their hair include things like, it's more convenient and fun to get it washed and styled professionally once a week (obviously a girl,) or that oily hair has more shine and texture, and finally, shampoo is evil and is a part of the evil consumption plan. The writer also explains that 'textured locks and full hair' are now in vogue again (compared to straigtened hair,) and that dry shampoo sales are up.

The main reason why I called the article weird is because it is very one-sided. The whole article had two short paragraphs about scientists being sceptical about this. (I'm not a good writer myself, but I'm clearly a product of an education system that has brain-washed me into writing pros and cons for everything.) Anyways I want to say, first of all, the people who get their hair washed once a week must not have super oily hair because I know girls who wash their hair in the morning, and by night it already looks oily. By the next day, said girls would look like they've got 80's-era type of hairgel combed in. Secondly, isn't part of the reason we shampoo is to get rid of the dead skin cells that are already littered around in our hair, ie. dandruff? Unless you have white hair, dandruff is probably visible to anyone who is near you. And doesn't dandruff fall onto your black coats?

And there are other things that I don't get. For example, in the middle of the article, there is an interviewee who washes her hair every seven days. In between the days, she uses dry shampoo, blots and combs. And to her advantage, she can now get ready in 30 minutes instead of 2 hours of shampooing, drying and styling. Talk about extreme. I'm sorry but if you really thought taking 2 hours to get yourself ready is too long, couldn't you just shorten it?

Clearly, that interviewee has been out of universtiy life for too long. On the days that I do wash my hair, it takes me 30-40 mins to get ready (-This includes brushing my teeth, taking a shower (includes hairwash and facewash), applying body cream, throwing on jeans and tee, applying skincare products, styling my hair and putting on makeup.) And even I don't think I'm fast enough. Now don't get me wrong, I try not to wash my hair everyday because I really do think it prevents my hair from going dull. I have always been an every-other-day type of gal, (although I do sometimes wash the front/fringe bit everyday.) And on the days I don't leave home, I can go through a couple of days with dirty hair. Usually by the 3rd day, my mum tells me my hair smells and I should wash it, of which I ignore her until I have to actually go out. So hey, most people who know me well think I'm lazy about my hair-washing too, but even I think completely abadoning shampoo is not the way to go. I'm all for people washing their hair as frequently or infrequently as long as they don't smell.

Questions for you are, how often do YOU wash your hair? And what did you think about the whole not-washing-your-hair 'trend'? Opinions wanted!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bai Yu Lan - Magnolia

The Tiong Family loves the Bai Yu Lan. My grandfather had a plant in his garden and loved every bloom that came out. My father planted one in front of our Brooke Drive house and for years we enjoyed the lovely fragrance of the flowers.

My maternal grandmother loved to put two flowers in her hair (bun) and that would be her natural perfume.

According to a botanist friend,the sweet strong fragrance of flowers resembles juicyfruit gum. The fragrance is released in the early morning hours and lasts all day long, especially strong at night. Its name honors Florentine botanist Pietro Antonio Micheli.

If you have a very strong sense of smell, this flower is actually used to make the world's most expensive perfume'Joy'. People did not invent JOY perfume, Nature made this creation leading to the development of JOY, the most expensive perfume fragrance in the world.

The white Michelia flower is also the city flower of Shanghai, China. But vendors can be found selling them for a few yuan in the streets of Chengdu in summer. Many people are growing this flower all over Sarawak now.

Planting a Michelia tree either indoors as bonsai or in your backyard really makes your home a sweet home. Also you could take the flower, home made natural perfume, into car, office, rest room, and anywhere you want fragrant atmosphere. One oriental custom is to use the white flowers as sweet scented decoration, such as hair-pin-flower for girls, and chest-pin-flower for ladies. The tree has flowers and green leaves all year round, beautifying its surroundings. Besides, the clearly veined leaf can be made into a special bookmark.

During my childhood, I collected many of these buds and preserved them in bottles of water. They lasted a long time.

Hemorrhoid Cream for Dark Circles?

No matter how long I sleep, I seem to have permanent eye bags and puffiness. So a while ago, my mom suddenly very excitedly called me and told me that I should go buy myself some hemorrhoid cream for my eye bags. And I was like, WHAT? She swore that she saw it on a beauty TV show, hosted by quite a reputable dermatologist, and that everyone used it. Disbelieving, I told her if it truly worked so well, they'd have made that into a proper eye cream by now. Then the other day, I was re-watching Miss Congeniality (one of my favourite movies!) and I've never noticed before, but in the scene where she was preparing for the swimsuit competition, Victor (her pageant consultant) hands her a tube of hemorrhoid cream, and she says,

"Hemorrhoid cream? Do you really think they'll be looking that closely?"

And he replies, "Its for your eyes bags."

This made me think, maybe hemorrhoid cream for the eye bags is not such an obscure, random and completely ridiculous concept after all! Intrigued, I googled it up.

Turns out that I am quite behind in the game, and indeed hemorrhoid cream has been a model industry (not so secret anymore) secret for quite some time! More scientifically, it contains shark oil and live yeast cell derivatives, which are believed to be the ingredients that shrinks the eye bags. However, these ingredients are said to have been removed from the American version of Preparation H (the most common brand containing these ingredients), but can still be found in the Canadian and European versions.

From online reviews, there seems to be a lot of conflict regarding this issue. Some swear by it, while others claim that it stings. Personally, I am still hesitant to try anything that wasn't specifically designed for the eyes. Has anyone used this method to treat their dark circles and puffy eyes before? What has been the results?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Vector Portrait: Leeloo

Illustrator CS3 - Vector

For Leila Chan

Mika rocked it at the Brit Awards for Leila Chan and the rest of his adoring fans. Hot hooping hips!

Milan Fashion Week F/W08 Wrapup II

As always when we're in the midst of Fashion Weeks, all the clothes shown just look like a bunch of clothes with no direction to me. (It's why magazines like Vogue and Elle exist, and why they publish runway guides at the beginning of every season.)
THE show of Milan. I'm always half in awe and half in annoyance that Miuccia Prada shows collections with completely different themes every season. Half in annoyance because it hurts to spend the money to update our wardrobe so much, (although it's not like I buy any Prada clothes anyway,); Half in awe because Prada's shows are always so... thought-provoking. I've read many online reviews on the Prada shows and the key words seem to be: perverse, erotic/ seudctive/ fetish, Switzerland and lace. The interesting thing is that while most reviewers seemed to love the creative aspect of the collection, (no one dared to not like the collection,) everyone managed to come up with their own interpretation of the clothes. The clothes were impractical as always, but I think we're all so used to seeing artsy, unwearable clothes from Prada shows now that it's not mentioning.
The show started off with nun-looking dresses, then the clothes moved onto lacy, see-through skirts.
Lots of lacy dresses. It's very hard to decide whether the dresses are prim or erotic isn't it?
Collars and turtlenecks were there throughout the show. The collars seem reminiscence of Miu Miu S/S08.
Out of the collection, I think the LBD in the middle is my favourite. Hey, at least it's a bit more wearable than the lacy trouser (on the left).
And since we're looking at Prada, we must take a look at the shoes. The shoes sort of remind me of Miu Miu, and something Japanese anime girls would wear after they transform into their ever-impractical outfits to fight against evil.
Miuccia explained that females wear lace in all ages, from babies to marriage to widowed. Maybe it's the I grew up in a non-lacy period of time, but I really don't see lace featuring as a big part of a young, contemporary wardrobe. (I may just be brainwashed by the pictures from ShopBop, Barneys and Neiman Marcus.)
Jil Sander
While Jil Sander has always been all about minimalism and simply cut clothes, it's always bordered on being boring. But I can honestly say I like this collection.
I LOVE the coats. The coat Vlada is wearing -I can't stop staring at it! I love those artistic folds and the fabric wrapped around her shoulders. SO stylish and modern.
And the jackets look way cool too. Though as mentioned, the suits looked a bit crinkly.
And the simple, work-women-type of looking dresses in all shades of grey.
Image credits:

Games we played when we were young

When we were young we played different games using the very limited resources we had at that time. We had no Lego,no jigsaw puzzles and no play dough. We did not have Barbie Dolls.

We used rubber seeds, jumping ropes made from rubber bands,river stones and sticks.

One of the most versatile games that we played was called five stones. We actually used lovely stones we picked up from the road side or river bank. The smoother ones were favoured. My mother was good at playing this game and we actually learned from her. For those just beginning to play the game it was complicated because one had to throw one of the stones in the air and, using the same hand, grab the other stones and catch the falling stone. We had to pick up the stones in order. The first play, we picked up one stone, the next one we picked up two stones at the same time and so on. If we managed to do all that, our turn would end when we managed to pick all the stones at one go. This meant we had won one round. And the game moved on to the next person. When a person dropped the stone, he lost his round. We had other variations in playing this game though. It was fun and we could spend the whole afternoon just playing this game "underneath a wooden house" or along the five foot way.

Hopscotch or jumping the aeroplane was a nice game. It gave us the opportunity to jump and learn a lot about balancing. And we get noticed if we did very well. Kids liked that. We played along the five foot way as it was protected from the sun and the rain. But sometimes we played along other side walks. We had no playgrounds at that time in Sibu. An older kid would draw the grid, in the shape of an aeroplane. It was actually two straight boxes, and then two boxes across and then one more box on top,and then two more boxes and finally one more actually forming an aeroplane. So we called it Jumping the Aeroplane.

We would say Ho Peng,and the person showing the winning hand (the odd one out) would be the first one to play. To play the game we needed a stone or a piece of wood and our strong leg to jump. The first player would throw the stone inside square one. After that, he had to hop into each square, starting with square 1 and ending in square eight.

If there were two squares together, he would jump landing with one foot in each square; but if there was only one square,he had to hop on one foot.

When he reached squares 7 and 8, he had to turn back jumping again until square 1. Then he continued playing the next level.

This time he began by throwing the stone into square number 2. In the next level, he threw it into square number 3. He ontinued until level 8.

The first player who could do all the levels was the winner. The most important thing was that the player had to skip the square where the stone was.

Special Rules of the Game
The game had some rules. If an of the following things happened, the player had to stop and another player took a turn.

The player can't put his/her foot or feet on the lines of the square.
The player can't jump with two feet in squares 1, 2, 3, and 6.
The player can't fall down.

Marbles - we collected wonderful marbles, glass ones, ceramic ones and just simple clay ones which were rough and "clay" in colour.

There are many different ways of playing marbles. We had a small rectangle drawn, with a line in the middle. Then there was a line about 10 feet away, or nearer if we were playing with small kids. We would arrange the marbles at the four points of the rectangle and one in the middle. The first player would try to throw his marble in such a way he would touch one of the marbles. Then he got to keep that marble for himself. He would take his turn again. And if he could touch another marble with his marble he would keep that marble again. If he did not touch any marble his marble, he would then lose his turn. We had a few king marble players who won almost all our marbles. It was like a fortune to us then.

Another way of playing marbles was the shooting type.

One set of marbles was placed at the center of an approximately 10- by 15 square foot ground or floor arena, in the form of a triangle or square.

The number of marbles might vary from 2 to 8 or even more, depending on the number of players and agreement among them. Each game would last from 20 to 30 minutes.

Each player had his or her own shooter marble to shoot the set. Shooting was done by placing the shooter marble between the index finger and the thumb and moving the thumb outward to shove the shooter marble in order to hit the marbles in the set.

Player number one started the game by shooting at the set and went on playing until he/she missed hitting any of the marbles from the set. Then, it was the other player's turn to shoot the set.

Each player temporarily kept any marbles that he/she could hit and moved out of the triangle or square.

The final session the game was very significant. All the players took turns beating each other. If a player's shooter marble got hit, he/she lost and must give his/her temporary wins to the one who hit him/her. At the end of the game, the winner took all.

Foot Shuttlecock: This is "an Asian sport with a reputed two thousand year history, is the oldest of the shuttlecock games. Starting life as a sport for men it has evolved over the centuries, into the predominantly children's game that it is today". In fact this is part of the primary school Physical Education syllabus today in Malaysia.

The purpose of the game is to kick a specially constructed, usually home made, shuttlecock into the air and keep it there for as long as possible solely by the use of the feet. This is normally accomplished by administering repeated kicks with the instep of either foot.

The game can be played by any number of players as follows:

If a solitary player, the object is to keep count of the number of times the shuttlecock is kicked into the air and to try and better one's previous highest score. When the shuttlecock falls to the ground the game is over.

If more than one participant, players form a circle and kick the shuttlecock to each other. A player who misses and lets it fall to the ground has to drop out of the game. This process of elimination is repeated, until the player who remains at the end is declared the winner.

One of my favourite game when I was young was blowing soap bubbles. Whenever my mother was washing her clothes, my siblings and I would crowd around and asked for extra "omo" to make a small bottle of bubbles and we would put our straws into the bottles and started to blow the soap bubbles from the first floor. It was actually very thrilling to do so. We love seeing big bubbles floating in the sun.

Eagle Catching the Chicks.
Children playing the game pretended they were an eagle, a hen, and some chicks. All the chicks stood behind the hen in a row, and the hen tried her best to protect her babies. When the game started, the eagle tried to catch the chicks. If a chick was caught by the eagle, then the eagle won the game, and the chick who was caught was the eagle in the next game.

We played a lot of games together. But as we grew older, and some children moved away, our young gang disbanded. And when the games stopped altogether, I knew my child hood was gone.

It was a sad moment when I looked at the empty hop scotch marks on the cement drive way, and the permanent rectangle for our marbles games under the house opposite our house in Brooke Drive seemed to beckon me but I had no more marbles left.

A magnolia leaf dropped onto the drive way as if to tell me that that special part of my life is forever gone.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Milan F/W 08 Fashion Week Wrap Up I

Alberta Ferretti
Usually I just skim pass Alerta Ferretti, because the styles are always so similar. Very delicate, feminine and girly.
But this time, when I glanced at the first shots, I was surprised to find them to be Jill Sander-esque minimalistic! Albeit in a more styled and flattering way. The jeweled tones of blue and green were also refreshing to see on a FW runway.
On the other extreme, they also have printed dresses fashioned in a more flowing and draping material, reminiscent of the past seasons.
Example of the two extremes. The flowy, girly, delicate design and the more structured prim look. I want them both!
The cocktail dresses were a pleasant mixture of the more structured elements and the more feminine styles i.e. flowing pleated skirts.
I thought there was more variety in the evening wear as well. For example, this one on the left looks like they hired Laure Bennet from Project Runway to do it. I'm not much for feathers, but this is not too bad. The one on the right on the other hand is more structured and somehow reminds me a little of the pieces Zac Posen did a few seasons back. Still, very gorgeous and elegant.

Burberry Prorsum
This season, Bailey definitely went for a different direction. This collection is more fun, wearable and relaxed- and I LOVE it.
Don't you just love these chilled, wearable yet incredibly stylish looks?
The big overcoat is genius. And those huge chunky jeweled necklaces are TO DIE FOR. I bet they are going to be sold out, HUGE hits next season.
A little reminiscent of the cute shift dresses from last season. These are adorable.
The subtly vibrant hues are gorgeous. Though I'm not too sure what to make of what I THINK is the scarf detail....
LOVE LOVE LOVE gold dress here. I'm positive we will be seeing a LOT of celebs wearing this soon enough! And as for the feathered confection on the right....she looks like a bird. No matter how they put it, feather is simply NOT my thing!

Image Source: Elle

Akira Kurosuwa and film making

Some how in the early 60's most of the cinemas expecially the Rex, in Sibu, showed a lot of Japanese movies. One horror movie series was about a little man who was a serial killer and I used to hide behind the chair whenever he appeared. The music was terrifying. And then there was the Flying Space Man, who was so handsome and strong that many young girls fell in love with him. A little like Superman,he fired the imagination of many children to do good and to save people.And many young female students went to see his movies just to swoon when he appeared in his white flying man's tight fitting suit. But the adults would watch some of the more mature films and also9 Akira Kurosawa's movies even though they were few and far apart.

You see in the 1960's even though many had hated the evil treatment of the Japanese army, some of the remnant elders would still remember a little of the Japanese they learned in school during the war. But what was important was the fact that the Japanese movies were very good entertainment and very well made for the discerning audience. The Toho company was far ahead of Shaw Brothers.

I saw Kurosuwa's Rashomon twice in Sibu. The first time I did not understand as it appeared to be a lot of talking and talking from a child's view point.

But later I saw the film once again when I was about to go to university. And at that time I felt that the film was very appealing as we had already studied about critical thinking and film review in sixth form. What I cannot understand to this day was that after the early 70's the Sibu cinemas did not show any Japanese movies until lately. I therefore feel sorry that a whole generation had missed out the philosophy, art and cinematographic art of Akira Kurosuwa and other Japanese film makers. If I ask any of my young friends today, they would only say that the Japanese make very good horror movies and the Koreans on the other hand make romantic tv dramas and movies.

But on the other, as far as I know,the West took Akira Kurosuwa and others like him very seriously and many famous Western directors claimed Akira Kurusowa as their mentor. In fact many of the famous films like the Magnificient Seven, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and others were based on Akira Kurosuwa's philosophy and art of film making. The Look East Policy in cinematography was already on its way in the 1960's.

"Rashomon" in film history is as important and entertaining as a film as Citizen Kane.

It's beginning scene is a huge Japanese Gate under which four different people spoke and discussed the case of rape and murder in the woods.

Akira Kurusowa's great success in the making of Rashomon " is that the recollections given to the courts by the woman, the bandit, the as well as the four in discussion, is that their emotions reveal their humanity, even if their details reveal nothing, or everything."

Actually the actors are speaking to the audience and as we listen we begin to form our own opinion. The characters also develop . And then as the film proceeds, the fears, the pride, the shame, and the search for judgment and/or truth in the situation are revealed to us.

This was the first time I came across the fear- inflcting and terrifying bandit Toshiro Mifume or San Sung Ming Long (Foochow Pin Yin) who was a fantastic actor in this movie. After Rashomon,I went on to see every film he was in. Literally I spent a lot of my pocket money going to the movies. Mifune later went to Hollywood and made many films alongside famous Hollywood stars.

Akira Kurosuwa ,as a semi autography of his revealed ,had a very deep insight on man's nature. Personally I feel that he made films which get stuck in our mind and even help us shape our character. He was himself an intense artistic man who believed in his art. And he believed strongly that what he did had an impact on others. And in later years, when western directors and producers recognised his art and skills, I was really amazed by their tributes and how much an Eastern man could influence and impact westerners.

In fact fifteen years and eleven films later, after he made Rashomon, Kurosuwa was both a critical and commercial god, a title which could make any film maker proud.

Besides Rashomon, Seven Samurai was another international hit. And to this day, it is still recognised as a great classic.

He also made Red Beard (1965) with Toshiro Mifune,Dersu Uzala (1974) with Soviet Union and with Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, longtime Kurosawa fans, the film Kagemusha (1980) An unusual film, Ran was made with French support. It was
" his ultimate statement as an artist, the dauntingly grave transposition of Shakespeare’s King Lear to medieval Japan. This film stands in Kurosawa’s work as Otello stands in Verdi’s – a final, magnificent statement of his philosophy and one of the most stirringly grand films in recent memory".

Kurosawa earned his Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1989.

In his old age he made Dreams, Rhapsody in August (1991), and Madadayo (1993) – the last having never been released theatrically in the U.S. – were personal, meditative films, artistically free but controlled, somehow chastened.

There were other films by film and they are worth seeing. And if one could, one should collect all the DVDs of Akira Kurosuwa's movies. Few directors today or even in the future would be as great as AK.

Kurosuwa's own life could read like a novel. And Sibu movie lovers have perhaps benefitted from his craft. And to me this is quite remarkable .

For Those About To Rock (We Sal-hoot You)

A BME Owl-tline. Nice pants, yo.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Day in the Life of Rev. Hoover

The Reverend James Hoover spent more 20 years in Sibu,Sarawak. He was introduced to Sibu by Wong Nai Siong who firmly believed that this American Missionary could succeed in doing what he projected to occur in Sibu in 1901.

Rev Hoover was a man who had a purpose in life and he was very "methodological by training".

I have a great deal of admiration for Rev Hoover who taught my father and his brothers in the Anglo Chinese School in Sibu, alongside Mr. JB Chong. And as a missionary and Principal as well as a father and husband, he was indeed a very busy man, running Sibu as a "Capitan" more or less. It is indeed significant that the Foochows of Sibu are building a significant monument in his honour, even though I am sure he himself would not really accept this kind of honour if he were alive today.

And I have taken a leaf from his diary, to share with you in my blog. This is taken from the Methodist Church of Malaysia Archive...on that day, Saturday, March 14, 1925, he had entertained 30 callers before 4 pm.

Can any one today be more busy than this wonderful man? 83 years ago, he was already leading a fantastically socially active life. Read on -----

· One of my preachers, to report that man who had run a gambling joint had stopped, and had given $50 to build a bridge in his neighbourhood. The preacher guaranteed his conduct for the future. I was to stop any prosecution that might be brought.
· To ask about help for a boy going to school in China. People in America had promised but had failed.
· Wanted help to get passport to send his brother who is a leper back to China.
· Feared he had a goitre, and wanted a letter to the doctor for examination. He also had business concerning the preacher-teacher at Lobok Geng.
· Desired to leave his quit rent for me to pay, as he had no time to attend to it.
· His father had died. Wanted to report this, and transfer his father's land grant to himself.
· Wanted to make a garden at Kanowit, and wished me to see the head of the land office.
· Orphan boy from Bukit Lan came to say he had lost his job as a rubber tapper, and wanted to know what to do about it.
· The preacher from Bukit Lan dropped in to say that all the roads needed remaking, and that his salary for the year was not provided for. He also wanted a bit of ground to extend his garden.
· Wanted to get permission from the land office to fell jungle back of his garden. Being unable to talk English or Malay, he wished me to accompany him. Paid ten dollars borrowed two years ago.
· Brought his son to exhibit his anatomy to me, to show marks made by one of our teachers.
· A Malay - to ask correct price of American ten-dollar gold pieces.
· Brought a chicken. Will return later to make his wants known!
· Wanted to buy a combination safe like mine.
· Two men who propose engaging in ferry business. Would I get a catalogue and order a motor launch?
· Two fellows with a wedding invitation.

In the meantime, I had my breakfast and tiffin, went to the Fort twice, the land office once, the bazaar once, wrote two letters, registered four marriages and filled out the forms for the Government. It was then 3.30.' - MM April 1925, page 50.

Midnight Express - The Tunku in Sibu

This piece is written just because we people in Sibu were very excited about the arrival of the K.D. Hang Tuah. Perhaps it was because we had never seen Tunku Abdual Rahman in person. But in fact very few people saw him at that time. As students then we did try to have a look at the wharf from our bicycles. But nothing was seen.

Nevertheless, a remarkable piece of Malaysian history occurred in Sibu in July 1966.

The Tunku and his entourage travelled on the flagship of the Royal Malaysian navy, K.D. Hang Tuah. His entourage comprised Khaw Kai Boh , Senu Abdul Rahman , Tan Sri V.T. Sambanthan , and Sarawak's Abdul Rahman Yakub . One note with interest that at that time, even those who were in the Federal Cabinet were not titled except Tan Sri S.

The Hang Tuah anchored at Sibu on July 1 1966.

According to the papers,the relationship between the East malaysian states and Federal government was very fragile at that time. And perhaps this group from KL thought that their presence and a ship as big as Hang Tuah could convince the locals of their might and stature.

The entourage left by motor launch for Kapit where a regatta and mass rally were to be held to demonstrate support for the new Sarawak State Government.

Thomas Kana, a parliamentarian then, was the chief spokesman in the four hour long journey to Kapit.

This was the time when Kalong Ningkan the first Chief Minister of Sarawak became very unpopular with the Federal Government. His personality, his issues, his attitudes were deemed unwelcomed by the West Malaysians and hence a campaign was staged for his ouster. It was very swiftly done.

High drama unfolded in the next few weeks and eventually saw the appointment of a new Chief Minister who was timid, not highly educated, and rather simplistic in his approach to politics. Nevertheless Syed Kechik drafted daily statements o Tawi Sli's behalf for release to the press and together with the state Director of Information composed speeches to be read by tawi Sli on the evening radio broadcasts-all dealing with the explanation of actions taken to dismiss Ningkan, the policy of the federal govt to make Malay the national language, the land issue and larger matters of development. The public and the opposition were surprised by the strength and resolve inherent in Tawi Sli's tough statements and speeches, as was Tawi Sli himself.

Sarawak would never be the same agin after this.

Government Rest Houses

This picture shows the Kuala Lipis Rest House. The Sibu Government Rest House was a little smaller but the architectural design was more or less the same. Unfortunately I never took a photo of the Sibu Government Rest House. In those long ago days I thought that government buildings would last forever being significant as they were, like the Sarawak Museum in Kuching.

If you should visit Kuala Lipis one day, I would suggest you stay in the Rest House and enjoy some very nostalgic times and a bit of historical touch. And you would also get a feel of what it is to stay in a Government Rest House. We had one for perhaps more than 100 years but because of Sibu's development, and as it was very much in the way it was demolished.

Since the time of Frank Swettenham, the British Colonial government had built Government Rest Houses in very select and prime lands in almost every major towns in Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore to provide accomodation for government officers on their travelling duties. This was to ensure that the British government officers could be given the best of home cooked meals and the cleanest accomodation possible in those five star hotel-less days.

Every Government Rest House would be equipped with two to three well appointed rooms, all with attached bathrooms, ceiling fans and wide windows for the best comfort afforded in an equitorial climate. These rest houses being built in the early 20th centuries would have the usual white bathroom ceramic tiles and good wooden French windows. Adjacent to the rest house would be the servants' quarters in which would live the house boy, the cook and their families. In the main house a clerk would attend to the visitor and a very old style black telephone would be placed on top of the huge receptionist's desk. Next to it would be the dining room and a nice comfortable sitting room with well cushioned rattan chairs. A huge grandfather clock would be the main adornment in the room.

Food would be very well prepared at the correct time. Breakfast would be fresh eggs fried or boiled served with bacon, ham and toasts. The cutleries would be very very British, and napkins , freshly ironed, white and starched, often placed in a nice silver napkin ring. Sometimes the dining table would even have fresh flowers cut from the garden. For many years, the Sibu Rest House had the services of the Kuek family. The friendly Mr. Kuek spoke excellent English and Malay. His wife must have cooked all the nice food for the itinerant visitors. I am sure the family would have a treasure chest of stories to tell.

Thus for many years government officers enjoyed this kind of outstation accomodation and after 1957, the government rest houses continue to serve the local counterparts.

The Sibu government rest house, situated just opposite the Rajang Port Authority, and its land is now part of the Sanyan Complex, continued to be a good place of accomodation. Education officers travelling from Kapit, Kanowit and even Sarikei used to stay there will their families. Service continued to be good but unfortunately the entire concept of government rest houses some how deteriorated to nothing when the last of the rest houses in Sarawak and Sabah were bull dozed.

A few post colonial officers had expressed opinions that when the final brick was broken up,the unique image of an efficient,well focussed,intelligent and honest British government servant on His/Her Majesty's Service also disappeared with it.

Book Cover: The Grateful Statues


Grammy Fashion 2008

I realize that this review may come as a bit late, since the Grammy was last week and I almost skipped it this year, because honestly, the Grammy's fashion simply do not compare to the fashion of the other awards. But then, I thought: this was something we do every year (almost like a tradition!) and since we've had a bit of an awards drought this year..... I should really do it anyway. Better late then never is not a cliche for no reason. Anyway, here goes:
The clear winner for me at first glance was Alicia Keys in this GORGEOUS gown by Armani Prive. I just LOVE the vibrant rich royal blue color and the elegant design. This look is Oscar Worthy- except for the pink egg shaped clutch she's holding. Or is that a clutch? Maybe its a sidekick? In any case, a nice beaded satin even bag would've completed the look.
Sharp electric blue is clearly THE color on the red carpet this year. Witness Rihanna in this adorable creation by Zac Posen. Though obviously color is not the only factor to a winning look. Corinne Bailey Rae's Luella dress is just a whee bit too show girl-esque for my taste.

Another winning blue that night was Nelly Furtado in an Arthur Mendonca draping dress. It is simple and goddess-like. Natasha Bedingfield's purple drape dress by Reem Arca is also very pretty. She even shows off the intricate three fold design here in this pose! I'm on the edge with Beyonce's dress from Elie Saab. Its very.... fantasy, Cinderella-like with an edgy twist, what with the darking bodice piece. I can't decide if its a daring success or a beauty pageant dress gone wrong. The pale blue color doesn't help. And Carrie Underwood's floral dress from Murad is...nice. Its not a bad dress, but not fabulous either. The floral pattern just doesn't seem to go well with the red carpet.
Maybe the guys would appreciate this more, but for me, Fergie near bursting from her Calvin Klein dress is not attractive to me. Furthermore while the yellow dress is simply designed and elegantly tailored, its just.....boring. And as for Miley Cyrus, from what I can see of the white Celine dress, it looks very cute and suits her. Unfortunately her hair and shoes drags the whole look down.

Image Source: Yahoo News

lin dai - the movie star Foochow women adored

My grandmother saw Chiang Shan Mei Ren (Kingdom and the Beauty) 63 times. Each time she went to see the movie she would make a mark in one notebook. But any way, she remembered by telling people each time she went and she just added the number.

But then there was one article which had this story :"When we made 'Eternal Love', I had, in Taiwan, people who came to see the picture 100 times. So I gave instructions to the manager, 'Over 100 times! Let him come in and see. Don't take money from him!"
- Sir Run Run Shaw, Signature, March 1990.

But my grandmother did not live to read this story as she passed away in 1986.

A few Shaw actresses had the star power to become legends in their own time but to us in Sibu, none was as great as Lin Dai (1953-1967)who won numerous awards including Best Actress for Li Han Hsiang's 'Kingdom and the Beauty'(1958), Doe Chings Les Belles(1960) and Love Without End (1961) in the Asian Film Festivals. Her critically acclaimed roles also included her lead in 'The Lotus Lamp (1963) and 'Last Woman of Shang'. Her career, which started in 1953, spanned an incredible 50 films ranging from costume epics to comedies to love stories and musicals.

But on 17 July 1964, due to personal distress, Lin Dai committed suicide at home with an overdose of sleeping pills. She died just five months before her 30th birthday. Her tragic death left Chinese communities around the world shocked with grief. In 1966, Lin Dai's unfinished last film, 'The Blue and the Black', was voted Best Picture of the Year at the 13th Asian Film Festival and she was given a posthumous lifetime achievement award.

How did we love her?

First of all, every movie magazine that carried her story would be snapped up in Sibu. Even though there were few magazines available, the movie fans were able to read enough about her.

Secondly, most of her movies were played to full house in Sibu cinemas. That really showed how popular she was.

Thirdly at the end of the year, all shops would give out their free shop calendars with movie stars printed on the hard cardboard. And all of us would rush to snap them up. In one year, my grandmother hanged more than 10 movie star calendars in her living room. A few of them were Lin Dai. She would tear out each day from the calendar faithfully to mark the passing of each day. such was her enthusiasm for the passing of each day and for awaiting the arrival of the Lunar New Year.

Fourthly, every now and then the local newspapers would carry great news about the movie stars and the local village shop would be the centre point for discussion of what each would know about the stars. And sometimes hot argument could break out because they disagreed about the news their bore. But the conversation was always good for anything and for everybody I reckon.

And finally, whenever we sat in a Chinese motor launch we would always greet each other with, "Are you going to the cinema?" We would just get so excited with anticipation.

Life seemed so much better when we could escape into the celluloid world in those days.

Today I miss queuing up to get tickets at the cinema for my grandmother, like any filial granddaughter would do.

Well, Lin Dai after all these years still seem to be so beautiful with her big bright eyes and bright smile. I may just go and watch The Kingdom and the Beauty one more time and sing along the Huang Mei Tiau, "Acting like an Emperor"

The First Movie Made in Sibu and Kapit by Shaw Brothers

My Uncle Tiong Siew King owned the Eastern Cinema in Bintangor in the 50's but I never had a chance of watching a movie there or with the family. But many years later when I visited Bintangor with a group of school friends I was given a treat to watch Gidget. The cinema was the same one, but the ownership had changed hands. By then my uncle and his family had moved to Sibu.

Nevetheless cinemas and movies played a big role in my life. Cinemas were important to the social life of the people in Sarawak, in Sibu in particular, in the 50's and 60's. And several cinemas were actually owned by the Shaw Brothers, namely Rex, Kuching, Sarawak; Lido, Sibu, Sarawak; Miri Theatre, Miri, Sarawak; Lutong Theatre, Lutong, Sarawak.

At that time, it must have been very challenging to bring movies from Singapore to Kuching and the other towns of Sarawak as so much had to be carried by boat. The most popular ship plying between Singapore and Sarawak was the 'Rajah Brooke'. Later, with flight services, they could be airlifted from Singapore.

It was also recognised that those men who came with the movies were very posh people and they were not able to be like one of the locals. They were the managers of the cinemas and representatives of Shaw Brothers and they were a cut above the locals. They also wore neckties to differentiate themselves from the movie goers and the bystanders. They were mainly Cantonese speaking.

I remember how the motor launches were decorated by huge movie banners. The Lido cinema manager had asked the Chinese motor launches to help adverstise the movies especially before the Chinese New Year so that the villagers would know when to come up river to watch the movies. And as a result Lido and Rex would play to full house. The movie banners were painted on huge canvas sheets. And today I wonder how much they had paid the ever helpful motor launch owners for their advertisements. Probably nothing.

Perhaps many people cannot believe this. The first movie (yes full length movie) to be made locally was in 1957. It was called "The Long House". Movie cameras,and other film making machinery, men wearing foreign clothes, and sun glasses, were all put on long boats and motor launches in Sibu. They had to make their way up to Kapit. There was a great deal of talk actually but I understand no Foochows were recruited for the making of the movie. Perhaps one or two Sibu families who were suppliers of outboard engines and long boats were also part of the project team.

However, the greatest excitement must have been in Kapit where the film was made. A Kapit Iban girl, Luli, was a natural actress and she got the role to play opposite the English actor.

That was quite a stunning acting role for a Kapit young lady and she was the toast of the town. She appeared in Singapore for the premiere of the movie and the stage was decorated with a model longhouse. Luli and her father toured the Shaw cinemas in West Malaysia. The newspapers everywhere carried news about her because she was stunningly beautiful as well as a good actress. Furthermore she was a very good singer.

What happened to Luli later in life,no one would really know. I went away from Sibu for such a long time that certain stories were really "unfinished businesses". The threads just disappeared.

Hoot Down

Melanie Landry

For Sigsy

There is this simple little rule in life and if you stick to it, backing it with all your positive love and power then it will work for you 100% of the time for all things great and small. This way of the universe is often referred to as the law of attraction, I tend to think of it simply as thoughts becoming things.

A sweet and simple example of thoughts becoming things...
Sigsy wrote in response to my post about Josh McKible's Nani Bird art:
"I love the nani birds, I saw them on Innocent girls pages.
What I'd really like is a set of greetings cards I can send around the world..."

And so I present you with the funkiest set of greeting cards you ever did see featuring the Nani Birds, skeletal friends and a burning bonsai here and there.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...