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Saturday, April 5, 2008

American Apparel Reglan Pullover

For some odd reasons, no one seems to understand that my definition of 'effortless' is genuinely effortless and possibly lazy. I've decided that if I was going for the effortless look, I might as well actually put in little time, as opposed to spending lots of time to look effortless.

It's weird because my high school friends, who know me well but don't go to the same universtiy, can't imagine me going to lectures in a boring tee, jeans and sneakers. But to myself and to people who I see at school, (and even my mum who visited me for only five days last term,) I probably look like I live in these two American Apparel shirts. Ever since I bought them last fall, I just can't stop wearing them! All I ever do now is rotate between the two.

OK, so admittedly, I first bought the grey shirt because I was looking for a boring and easy-to-wear shirt for school, and after seeing Mary Kate in them and realising that the shirts were actually affordable, I thought that I simply must get them. This 'look' was exactly what I was looking for, something loose and comfortable, and something that would suit bootcut and straight-leg jeans. The poor friend who I dragged into the store (and she doesn't like American Apparel because the clothes are just boring,) was not amused when I made her sit through my agonising over what colours and sizes to get. And after wearing the grey one for a few times, I was so in love with it that I went to get another one in Cranberry (colour), which looks great with pale skin.

Another thing I love about it is that the sleeves hang a lot below the armpit -kind of like batwing tops, so I can wear it for many times before they need to be washed, (whereas with normal tops, I have to wash them probably after wearing them two times.) A warning though: I don't know if it's because I wear the grey top more or they're just not as good quality, but the grey, tri-blend top has already got little fuzzy bits on it, and it's not like I've washed it often. Oddly enough, the cranberry one is still nice and soft. I know I shouldn't, but I'm so tempted to get another one! Maybe one in a lighter colour, like this mauve one. So tempting...

Who else here only lives in a few shirts? Or do you prefer to really doll up everyday (like Marissa and Summer did in The OC)? I suspect most people are probably somewhere in between right?

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Return to Tokyo

I am back in Tokyo after a gorgeous time in Australia. It went by too quickly but the weather was perfect, I achieved all that I set out to do and I got to spend everyday with my mama relaxing, shopping, eating and just hanging out.

Arriving in Brisbane airport I was whisked away to the Sunshine Coast to hang out with my nan and gran. The perfect opportunity to get a bit of family hooping happening.

I cannot even describe how beautiful the weather was. Returning to Australia makes you realize what an outstanding country it is. The space, the beauty, the smiles are so very missed being away from it.

And then there was Sydney. I have been to Sydney many times in my life for various reasons - shopping, parties, friends, travel. This time blew me away. I can honestly say if I could pack everything into a bag including Masao and move to Sydney next week I would. The planets were superbly aligned on our visit. Mum and I took the quick flight from Brisbane to Sydney and from the moment we stepped off the plane Sydney did it's best to impress!

I had heard people in the past, non Sydney dwellers, refer to the city using all sorts of negative terms. After living in Tokyo for more than four years now I saw Sydney as a city that knows what it wants, provides for diversity and offers spectacular scenery to delight the senses. Of course that is from a visitors point of view, but I am still a bit Sydney starstruck.

While I hooped it up with Bunny Hoop Star and a fantastic group of talented women, Mum hit the streets with camera in hand documenting her kilometers of travel on foot in photos, hundreds of them! Naturally she ended her Sydney adventure with a long reflexology session at one of Sydney's many massage centers.

The Sydney journey was made even sweeter by the accomplishment of three of my big goals for the year. 1. Meet Bunny Hoop Star 2. Become a certified hoop teacher by April 1. and 3. Purchase at least 10 hoops by April 1. I plan to write a whole post about the weekend of teacher training.

Arriving back in Tokyo last night I saw the cherry blossoms from the sky and knew I had to christen my new hoops under the blossoms today. It is good to be back, I have massive plans and some how I have a feeling Australia will feature more heavily in them than I had previously envisioned. Yay for international hoopiness!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Memories of the Old Sibu Airport

From the 50's to the 90's the Sibu Airport was at the end of the Airport Road. And beyond that was Sg. Teku and Sg. Aup. When I was young, the highlight of my social life was going to the airport to send relatives off or to welcome them. At moments like this the whole airport was just filled up with my extended family. Every one was a Tiong. The Tiong Family. It made me so proud of my grandfather who was a real partriarch to all of us. Every breath he had was important to us. All the uncles and aunties were very cultured and educated people in the eyes of all of us little ones.

About ten taxis served the airport and the airport was literally only 60ft by 60 ft, a measure not many people can believe in. The MAS officers actually could be seen working in the non air conditioned office. All luggage was moved manually, and even the trolley was pushed by one man.

Apart from family memories, on particular memory associated with the Old Sibu Airport was Ah Bee, the coffee shop operator of the airport. His coffee was excellent and he sold a few Malay cakes, especially Pulut Pangang. And on each of his coffee tables were a few hardboiled eggs, some bottles of ground pepper, soy sauce and tomato sauce.

Ah Bee was a very cheerful kind of guy. He was a Heng Hua, and superbly friendly. I used to watch him chat with any one, important and unimportant people alike. And generally speaking, there were not many VIPs in those days. He had a great deal of respect for people like my father and I believed that he used to get some counselling from my father who was a good listener and a big brother to most of the Heng Huas in Sungei Merah where he grew up. the two would lower their tones and I knew that I was not supposed to eavesdrop. So I would just wander away from them.

Those were the days when queuing was not mandatory. So a foreigner or a local person who was used to more orderly system elsewhere would have been fazed and frazzled by the disorderliness at the Sibu airport. Quite often I heard that some one did not bother about being on the waiting list. And he got priority treatment because "he knew someone". However, that was just part of the colourful life of Sibu at that time.

And then characteristically I remember, below each of the coffee table was a China made, enamel, floral spittoon. This spittoon was rather useful I suppose at that time - for cigarette butts, spitum, and even for people who suffer from airsickness to empty themselves.

Another interesting feature of the airport then was the presence once in a while of some shapely small waisted ladies who wore sun shades and sporting very bright red lipsticks. Characteristically, they would be having beer at a special coffee table nearest the viewing windows of the airport. Sometimes they did make a racket. And mothers would warn their children not to look at them.

And I remember some of the nightclub managers would hang out waiting for their Taiwan singers to arrive.

Any important person coming? You would know immediately because the local journalist, Ngu Ne Soon and his friends would be there. The airport was so small that you would know the story of the day within minutres from the mouths of the taxi drivers and even Ah Bee. We used to say that the latest news often can be obtained at the Sibu Airport.

As for me, the old airport evokes good feelings of family members going overseas to study, going away for their honey moon, or our uncles and aunties coming come for a visit. Then the whole airport would be filled with just our family members.

Happiness was welcoming a loved one home. Happiness was also bidding farewell to a dear one embarking on a journey of learning.

Best of Ringling: Unkown Woman No. 1

Got into Best of Ringling and got the Junior Award + $100 :]
Media: Oil
Description: 6" x 8" x .25"

I Hoot Huckabees

Christopher Bettley

Puss In Hoots


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Eating Mee Sua Getting Blessing for a Safe Journey

My maternal Grandmother Tiong Lien Tie was a tiny China born Foochow woman with tiny feet (smaller than size 3) as she had her feet bound before she was "sold" to my grand Uncle Lau Kah Tii at the age of five. Her child bride price was 5 silver dollars. When she was brought out to Sibu, she herself decided to have her feet unbound, and surprisingly her feet flattened out but they were terribly small and dainty. That's the first thing anyone would notice whenever they met her for the first time in Sibu. Most women had big feet.

So legend has it that women with small feet had good fate.

My extended family on both sides can be considered as huge. But traditions and values were definitely learned and relearned with umpteen telling and retelling of stories. And for, my siblings, cousins and I are eternally grateful that we have a grandmother who was very intelligent, very vocal and very entertaining. She was in our little eyes an authority on performing arts (movies) and Chinese stories. She could hold our attention for hours in the evenings. I do not think any teacher in any classroom today can beat her tantalising tale telling skills.

Grandma's cooking is the best. And every generation says that. And I say that too.
But what is more important, each meal would come with relevant tales. We were never bored. The meal became more tasty too.

At her table we learned that mee sua was also called "Longevity Noodle". She did not cut the noodles but let them remain as long as possible. And she would show us her chopstick skill of pulling more than three feet of noodles from the bowls. And she was barely five feet tall herself. Perhaps a bit of exaggeration there.

Because the long noodles symbolize longevity, the noodle, even today, is a must-have at every birthday banquet.

Because we lived in a huge house with four families I had experiences of eating Longevity Noodle made by my grandmother when male cousins were born.Eating these noodles would mean that we were wishing new born baby boy a long live. Although this custom is not really followed by affluent Foochows who may favour a grand banquet in a restaurant, without even serving the very old fashioned mee sua, today, some Foochows still do it graciously when relatives come a-visiting to "see" the new baby,be it a boy or a girl.

We in the new generation may have forgotten the old ritual that a piece of noodle has to be swallowed without cutting either by mouth or using a pair of chopsticks. We can actually smile or even laugh out loud when small children cut up their long noodles with their western cutlery. Have you ever tried eating the longevity noodles with fork and spoon? It can be quite hard going.

Amongst the non Christian Foochows, a bowl of longevity noodles might be used to worship the dead spirits , display in tombs, during the tomb sweeping besides the popular steamed chicken and fruits.

For most Foochow families, eating the noodle also represents showing of respect for the elderly. According to a popular story, Emperor Wang became immortal on the day of Winter Solstice in the Han Dynasty. Since then, the noodle, also named "Winter Solstice Noodle," has been consumed every Winter Solstice Day to symbolize respect for the elderly.

But for my family, it started with my grandmother telling each of her children that a good send off and blessing for journey mercy was the eating of a bowl of mee sua, filled with one drumstick and one or two hard boiled eggs, dried mushrooms and a few drops of fragrant and sweet Foochow Red Win. Every one going away from the family for further studies would be blessed with such a bowl of mee sua.

As there were many members in the family, we did not get the drumstick all the time. The elders would be given the drumsticks first. Any one having a birthday would also be given the drumstick. We were trained not to ask for the drumstick or even pick on for ourselves. This was the respect we gave to our elders.

So when we embarked on our journey of learning, our gift from our mother would be that special bowl of mee sua, filled with all the goodness that we had always dreamed of. Perhaps it was our special training to be future oriented from young.

A few hours before one's journey,a bowl of mee sua filled with good chicken (free range) soup, a drumstick, dried mushrooms, and one or two hardboil eggs continue to be a symbol of mother's love and the family's blessing for the traveller.

You cannot forget easily the blessings from your family.

Twin Otters in the Skies of Sarawak

"The Twin Otter is the safest plane in the world," Captain Yap told my children and I as we listened to him with rapt attention. Capt Yap had flown more than twenty years and thousands of hours in the skies of Sarawak. At a young age, he married a great Foochow girl from Sibu. And from Truth Lane* (Chin Li Duo in Foochow) too. How small our world can be.

Why Twin? This Canadian success has a twin engine and was a spin off from a bush plane. The two engines offer increased passenger safety and confidence.

De Havilland (Canadian company) had realized as early as the mid fifties that the Otter needed to be replaced by a twin engine craft for safety reasons and for payload increase, but they were reluctant to part with any of the STOL qualities that made the plane successful with bush operators. They had to wait for suitable engines to be developed, and with the appearance of the 500 shp Pratt and Whitney propeller turbine from United Aircraft of Canada in the late '50s, the idea became more feasible. The new Twin Otter was first test flown in 1965 on May 20th, 1965, by Robert Fowler and A. Saunders. Deliveries began in 1966, and production continued for 22 years and through three production versions.

The Twin Otter can be found around the world in jungles, deserts, mountains, the Arctic, and anywhere where rugged reliability and short-take-off-and-landing capability were required. Twin Otters could be fitted with wheels, skis or floats, and in the Arctic, they're sometimes flown on "tundra tires" -- huge, low-pressure balloon-tires that can operate on and off soft, boggy ground. Its versatility is demonstrated by the fact that the largest fleets assembled were in tropical Indonesia where 19 planes flew for the Merpati Nusantara Airlines, and in frigid Norway where 12 airplanes serviced remote strips on the North Coast. It was well liked both by operators and passengers, the former for the easy maintenance offered by its fixed undercarriage, and the latter with the short, easy and anxiety-free landings.

In a report, it is stated that the timeless Twin Otters continue to be bought and sold today, with resale values twentyfold that of their original price tags. It is not only a Canadian success story but an international one.

Today Sibu can be reached by land, sea and air and it is developing into quite a tourist centre, fifty years after Sarawak gained its independence from the British Rule. In order to fly to small towns, the Rural Air Service of Sarawak provides an important service to the rural people of the state and reduce some of their difficulties. The Twin Otters are their carriers for this significant and heart warming service.

If we fly for example from Sibu to Marudi, which is considered a rural air route, we will be flying alongside the amazing, attractive,smiling and friendly rural indigenous people of Sarawak who might be wearing their head bands with beads. Packed into the Twin Otter, which can deliver 19 people, the passengers can safely land in a small air strip like Ba Kelalan too, another rural air hub and tourist destination.

Furthermore it is good for short journeys. But I don't understand why it is only for the rural air service in Sarawak. I was once in a Twin Otter and I considered it my most romantic and beautiful air ride.The plane simply glided over (just barely inches actually) coconut palms and then all of a sudden the plane landed neatly at the Mukah airport. I saw the beautiful glittering sea and the lovely isolated kampong houses. The sago palms looked just so neat,green and pretty below! Life was full of simple fun at that time because we could just buy a ticket at the old Sibu airport and then fly to Mukah at a moment's notice.

What was really unique was that you have to be weighed too. A special scale was used for people and then your luggage would be weighed by another scale. I have even heard several years ago that a bag of sugar would go first to Bario, an important air strip, before a passenger. If there were no seat available, the passenger had to wait for the next flight. Sugar was an important commodity in those days to the rural people. I am wondering if this is still happening. Perhaps there should be a special cargo plane for Bario now that Datuk Idris Jala is CEO of MAS.

I was always impressed by the patience of the MAS counter attendants who took special care of their rural passengers,and they were indeed humourous about every item of the luggage of the passengers, including a few prized fighting cocks, a small monkey or even a goose. Most Foochows would travel with a bag of goodies pressed into their hands by warm hearted relatives. Inside the plane,w hich might be very hot, the passengers would take out their snacks, drinks and whatever, and might even share them with their fellow passengers!!

I have flown with an old illiterate Hakka woman who insisted that I must eat her dumplings,between hand gestures and the horrible Foochow - Hakka, if there is such a generic dialect, that I spoke. On another occasion I sat next to an old Iban soldier who showed me his tattoo and his new leather boots. In Marudi, in 1974, my friend from Sibu, waited for me right at the door of the plane!! It was such a warm welcome which I would never forget in my life. Taking a flight in a Twin Otter may give you a sense of a time warp. You might feel that you are frozen in a special time period in history. It could be just 1950 or 1960. So deja vu. Always on a Twin Otter.

A few years ago,I was on another rural air flight,when a student/friend waved good bye to me and tapped the window of the plane before the Twin Otter engine started!! I put my hand on the window pane and he humourously placed his hand there too.As our plane taxied away, I caught a glimpse of him cycling away and then giving me the last wave. I had mentored him well in the traits of a good hearted teacher. Very high EQ and SQ. But this kind of life experience can only happen in a small rural town, with people with golden hearts, and perhaps with a Twin Otter!

If all air travel can be as simple and interesting as the Twin Otter it can be really a dream! If I had a fortune, I would travel in the Twin Otter to the ends of the world.

Live simply, so others could simply live.

* Truth Road or Truth Lane used to be a lively road /lane(?) which was opposite the Sibu Post Office and sort of behind the Police Office along Kampong Nyabor Road. I have a feeling that it is all gone due to the development of big shop houses in that area. One of the first piano teachers of Sibu had her piano teaching classes in a wooden house there. The road was called Truth Road because a small Christian Church called the Truth Church was sited there. I often wonder what happened to that church.

The Forts the Brookes Built

the Fort of Limbang

Fort Sylvia, Kapit

Fort Alice (Photo by Fredy)

(In case you are confused, I am using the historical and original "Divisions" to categorise the various forts , I hope I can be pardoned for this considerable misinterpretation of the present day official divisions. I hope I can resolve this personal problem of historical "reckoning" in the future.)

1842 - For quelling a revolt for the Sultan of Brunei and a rent of 500 pounds Sterling, James Brooke was able to establish a white kingdom in Borneo. No "soldier of fortune" in world history was more successful than him. His family ruled Sarawak for three generations. Brooke rule officially ended in 1946. It can be said that Sarawak had the most unique rulers ,for a period of 105 years, in the world.

An interesting legacy left by the Brookes are the small, to a certain degree, white forts which dot the length of Sarawak in every division they established. On record, the Brookes built 15 forts altogether. Today, they are but dimunitive remnants, when compared to the gigantic buildings of the new era, of the Brooke rule. But nevertheless,they are interesting and a sort of heritage which beckon both the local and foreign tourists.

Very much the feudal lord, Brooke's idea of protection was the contruction of forts and the establishment of a small army manned by local people and some Sepoys (Indians).

(Although my b.l.o.g covers only Sibu in general and the Foochow people specifically, this article needs to include all the forts in Sarawak.)

First Division

Fort Margherita, named after Ranee Margaret, the wife of Charles, the second Rajah, was built about a mile downriver from the Istana. The fort started its contruction in 1878 and was completed in 1879, by which time the Brookes had consolidated their rule to the extent that defenses were no longer necessary around Kuching.

In olden days, sentries were stationed at the triple storey watchtowers to keep watch over long stretches of the river and discouraged hostile approaches via the river.

The fort was well constructed with narrow windows and a courtyard surrounded by a high wall inlaid with sharp glass shards.

According to various history books, executions were carried out in the fort courtyard. The Brooke rule then encouraged local executions with keris, inserted through the right shoulder and then driven diagonally towards the heart. But in
1889, six men were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. This number proved too much for the executioner to handle and thus the sentence was carried out for the first time by the Sarawak Rangers firing squad. Hanging became the method of choice after the Japanese Occupation. In the late 60's, the fort was converted into a Police Museum.

Second Division

Betong 's Fort Lily was built in 1858.

Sri Aman's Fort Alice was complted in 1864. After defeating the most famous Iban chieftain, Rentap, in 1861, Rajah Charles Brooke built the fort as a defensive structure controlling the Lupar River. It was built entirely of ‘belian’ (ironwood) timber with thick walls to withstand attacks. All of the original structure remains mostly intact. According to a recent report, it will soon be restored,after which this fort can become an extremely attractive place for foreign and local tourists alike.

Fort Alice has a unique design. It is square, with a small tower at each corner. It has an open centre courtyard, a drawbridge (this is very Anglo-saxon indeed) and a spiked iron perimeter fence.

Built to prevent the Skrang Dayaks going down river to join the Saribas Dayaks in their attacks on the coastal shipping trade,it was also to prevent them undertaking head-hunting expeditions.

Over the years, the Fort served as a police station, community welfare department, prison department, and other government departments.

Until 1964, a cannon was fired every day at 8pm sharp, signalling that the fort was about to close and the day’s business with the Government was over.

A policeman would call out in Iban:

Oh Ha! Oh Ha! Oh Ha!
Jam diatu pukol lapan,
Tangga udah di-tarit,
Orang ari ulu,
Orang ari ili,
Nadai tahu niki kubu agi.

(Oh Ha! Oh Ha! Oh Ha!
The time is now eight o’clock,
The steps have been drawn up,
People from up-river,
People from down-river,
Are not allowed into the fort.)

The fort was gazetted as a Historical Monument in 1971, and is now under the care of the Sarawak Museum.

Engkili's Fort is called Fort Dayang Leonora.

Nanga Skrang also has a Fort Nanga Skrang which was built in 1849. This is situated at the confluence of Batang Lupar and Skrang River.

Fort Lingga was built in 1849

Kalaka Fort was also established.

Fort Charles in Kabong was built in 1878 but was swept away by a flood in 1893.

Third Division (THEN)

Fort Brooke established at Sibu in 1862. A few historical incidents were associated with it. First,it was attacked by Lintong and Kanowits with more than 3000 followers. A troop of Indian Sepoys in the employ of the Brooke family fired the cannons to disperse Lintong and his group within minutes. The Fort was said to have only two doors. And it could have been easily surrounded and defeated by the simple cannons did their job. The Ibans had only their homemade firearms, parangs,bows and arrows and perhaps blowpipes.

It seemed that once Charles Brooke brought his newly wedded bride to the fort and some one sounded the alarm. She hid behind the grand piano in the fort, and the cannon was fired twice. Later it was found that the two canoe looking dark figures were actually two huge logs!!

The next attack was by Penghulu Asun in 1931 By then the Fort had 4 gates, and was slightly bigger. The uprising was quelled by peaceful negotiation in Sibu's government office.

Harriette McDougall, in Sketches of Our Life at Sarawak,pg.92 wrote : "After two days' paddling from the mouth of the Rejang, the boat arrived at Sibu where there is a ...manufacturing (outlet) for nipah salt.


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In the book, "Sibu of Yesterday", Sarawak Chinese Cultural Association,2002, I found this:

In 1862 The Rajah of Sarawak constructed Fort Brooke and established an administrive centre on the island situated at the point where the Igan branches off the mighty Rejang River. Thus began the history of Sibu becoming the most important trading port on the Rejang River.

Sarawak Gazette, 24th January 1871, No 16,

Sibu is the principal place on the banks. It is built on an island where the Igan leaves the Rajang to carry its water to the neighbourhood of Oya...and consist of a strong wooden fort, a Chinese bazaar and a considerable Malay Kampong...

A very old picture of the wooden Brooke Fort can be found on Page 3 of "Sibu of Yesterday" by Sarawak Chinese Cultural Association. From this book, we learn that the fort was demolished in 1936. Why was it demolished?

It is possible that the Brooke Fort was built on the same site as the offices of the Rejang Port Authority. This would be the place where the Rejang parts with the Igan.

Kanowit's Fort Emma was built in 1859. (Note: it was built earlier than Fort Brooke).Built out of timber and bamboo,it was named after Emma Brooke, sister of Rajah Charles Brooke. The fort remains impressive, despite years of neglect. It is currently closed to the public.

Fort Emma was also the site of the last serious challenge to Brooke rule in Sarawak. In 1859, a number of Malay chiefs, led by Sharif Masahor of Mukah and supported by the Sultan of Brunei planned a series of attacks to kill all the Europeans in Sarawak and Dutch Borneo. In June 1859, Brooke government officials Charles Fox and Henry Steele were murdered at Kanowit as the first step of this plan. The Tuan Muda Charles Brooke led a force of Iban from Saribas to revenge the attack and to recover the heads of the unfortunate victims. As a result, Mukah was annexed to Sarawak, Sharif Masahor fled to Johore and the "Malay Plot" was the last time the Malays and the Iban joined forces against the White Rajah.

Kapit's Fort Sylvia was built in 1880

To prevent further Iban migration upriver in the Rajang River basin, which was creating conflicts with theOrang Ulu, Rajah Charles Brooke built Baleh Fort at Nanga Balleh, the confluence of the Rejang and Baleh rivers between Kanowit and Song in late 1874. Rajah Charles Brooke nearly drowned here in 1877 when his boat capsized in the dangerous currents. He abandoned the fort in 1878, and replaced it with a new fort located lower down the river in 1880. The new Kapit Fort was built entirely of ‘belian’ (ironwood) timber with thick walls to withstand attacks.

On November 16 1924, a peacekeeping ceremony between the  Iban, Kayan, Kenyah and Kajang  was held here in the presence of Rajah Charles Brooke. In 1925, Kapit Fort was renamed Fort Sylvia after Rani Sylvia Brooke. During the 1960s, the fort housed the District Office and the District Court House, and later the Resident’s Office when Kapit Division was formed in 1973.

In May 1997, the fort was declared as historical monument, and is now managed by the Tun Jugah Foundation as a museum. It exhibits a collection of ethnic arts and handicrafts and documents relating to the history of Kapit, heirloom jars, brass cannons, brass plaques and photographs of past community leaders.

To prevent further Iban migration upriver in the Rajang River basin, which was creating conflicts with theOrang Ulu, Rajah Charles Brooke built Baleh Fort at Nanga Balleh, the confluence of the Rejang and Baleh rivers between Kanowit and Song in late 1874. Rajah Charles Brooke nearly drowned here in 1877 when his boat capsized in the dangerous currents. He abandoned the fort in 1878, and replaced it with a new fort located lower down the river in 1880. The new Kapit Fort was built entirely of ‘belian’ (ironwood) timber with thick walls to withstand attacks.

On November 16 1924, a peacekeeping ceremony between the  Iban, Kayan, Kenyah and Kajang  was held here in the presence of Rajah Charles Brooke. In 1925, Kapit Fort was renamed Fort Sylvia after Rani Sylvia Brooke. During the 1960s, the fort housed the District Office and the District Court House, and later the Resident’s Office when Kapit Division was formed in 1973.

In May 1997, the fort was declared an historical monument, and is now managed by the Tun Jugah Foundation as a museum. It exhibits a collection of ethnic arts and handicrafts and documents relating to the history of Kapit, heirloom jars, brass cannons, brass plaques and photographs of past community leaders.

Sarikei Fort was built in 1859.

Mukah Fort was puilt in 1861 but was known to have been captured by prisoners, in 1868 in our history.

1862 Fort Keppel built at Bintulu. This fort was formidable and was instrumental in quelling the attacks of the Illanuns in 1869.

13. 1.1884 Belaga Fort completed.

Fourth Division

Fort Hose was built in Marudi in 1883. Kayan Expeditions and Peace Making Ceremonies were initiated at Fort Hose.

Fifth Division

The original old Fort of Limbang built in 1869 was burnt down in 1989. Today after its rebuilding and renovation it is the Limbang Regional Museum since 1994

Sited on a very strategic hill overlooking the Limbang river, the Fort of Limbang is a two-storeyed wooden building which served first served as a fort against native insurgents and later on used for administrative purposes. The posts, shingles, walls and upper floor of the building are made of belian timber while the ground floor is of concrete.

During the Brooke’s days, half of the ground floor was used as jail while the other half was for storage purposes. The upper floor housed the offices of the Resident and the District Officer and their staff. It was occupied later by Majlis Islam before being converted into a museum.

This Museum displays the history and culture of the people in this region such as bamboo band, salt making, beadwork, bark cloth, brassware, basketry and much more.

1887 Fort Florence established at Trusan.

Ruched Flats

Ever since I first saw the ruched up flats over at Tods (above) many many many years ago, I've wanted a pair. Not because I thought it looked especially pretty over other flats, but simply because I thought the ruched up thing is just so cool, even though I know that it is all probably an attention grabbing gimmick, since obviously once you are wearing them no one can see the ruch anyway and they will look like normal flats. But alas, there were so many other items on my "want" list that were even cuter that I never really got around to it.
Recently I finally got a pair of ruched flats. Not exactly the Tods one, but they're ruched and they're even cuter, like the two above from Miu Miu (left) and Botch (right). The other night I happily took it out for a test drive and OUCH they hurt! The two points at the side in the front and at the back. Being a seasoned shoe lover, I've been tortured by pretty but painful shoes enough to have tougher more blister proof feet by now, but after a day, I was walking funny in difference to the pain. They are really good quality shoes too from a brand that I've never had a problem with before! Which brings me to my question, are ruched flats in general a pain to wear or is it just mine ? And if so, WHY do people persist in producing them when really they don't create much aesthetic value unless you are not wearing them?

Mine are patent leather, which I know makes a difference. But physically speaking, the ruch DOES add more pressure points to the feet since the feet has to stretch them out and all to keep their shape.......
And come to think of it, why do brands like Tory Burch (left) and Urban Outfitters (right) produce flats with ruches at the back? They look cuter, but once you wear them and stretch it out, one really can't see it. Do they make the fit of the shoe better or add to the pain by adding another pressure point?

Image Source: Saks, Shopbop and Urban Outfitters

Kokeshi Dolls at Craftclub

A whole family...

Figure Painting Dump

30 mins

Advanced Media: My 1st Monotype

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Champagne Hoot

Boucherie Traditionelle

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Skirt With Origami-Like Folds

For the past two seasons, I've been really liking this kind of look: a dress with a few layers of the skirt bit below, or alternatively, a long top with that kind of skirt. (This dress is by Marc by Marc Jacobs from last season.) This look has moved from high fashion collection to street fashion recently, where most people wear multi-layered skirt/ underdress underneath a long sweater, at least in Asia anyways.
But ever since the Miu Miu S/S07 and Luella S/S08 show, I've been trying to find a mini-skirt with those gorgeous, origami-like folds. I LOVE them! They look so artistic and high-fashion-like, yet still so simple and wearable. For some odd reasons, even though I remember Miu Miu's S/S07 show starting my hunt for this kind of skirts, I can't find a picture of it so here are the Luella ones. I especially love that Batman-inspired look! See how the black miniskirt adds serious style to the outfit? Seriously, those folds are so cute!

Marc Jacobs F/W07 collection also had something similar -a simple, easy-to-wear shift dress with pretty, colourful fold details beneath.

The other day, I was wondering around a Korean shop, which seems to specialise in imitating high fashion clothes, but with a cute, casual twist. Imagine how happy I was when I found this:

Sorry about the poor quality photo -it looked worse with flash, but you get the idea. The upper part is basically dark grey/ almost black, and the folds are two different shades of purple. They had another version in beige and yellow, which I thought was more special but not as easy to wear. I loved it so much I just wore it straight to dinner. Luckily, I was wearing a cute black silk top and red kitten heels for dinner anyways, so they matched perfectly.

Like it or not? Thoughts?

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