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Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Porcelain Ceramic Photo from Bygone Days

There was once a popular folk art amongst the Chinese and I believe in particular amongst the Fujianese (including the Foochows)known as "burning" photo images onto porcelain. In the west this is known as porcelain ceramic photography. It has remained an important and significant artistic medium amongst western artists. Although the Chinese led in this art during the Ching Dynasty the style somehow has gone out during the Communist rule in China.

According to some oral sources this art of Porcelain Cermaic Photography was perfected by artists in Jiangxi where Chen- te -chen (Jintezhen) is situated. Chen - te- chen is the greatest supplier of ceramic or porcelain in the world. However due to lack of sources I cannot elaborate further on this exquisite art except to describe just one sample that I have. According to a cousin who came to visit during Chinese New Year there are other older families in Sibu who have images of their forefathers in porcelain ceramic.

Apart from family portraits this art also allows many filial sons and daughters to put porcelain memorial photos on the tombstones of their forebears. A check on the Sibu Foochow cemeteries you can find lots of examples. This coming Ching Ming would give you such an opportunity.

Most of my relatives belonging to my great grandfather's generation and my grandfather's generation had their portraits embedded on porcelain. While my great grandfather and grandfather had theirs done in Jiangxi China many of my father's generation did theirs in Sibu through Mr. Tang Ing Kee whose business was at 32 Blacksmith Road. The name of this shop is Shanghai Porcelain Studio.

This is a porcelain photo of my great grandfather Tiong King Kee who was quite a good traditional barefoot doctor.

My great grandfather was a herbalist for common ailments and could tell one's illness from feeling the pulses. His was much admired and at his deathbed three doctors were at his bed side (Dr. Chiu Nai Ding with Dr. Su Chiew and Dr. Yao Siew King) We were often told that he was great friends with these doctors and had written a book even. But it was never published and somehow it must have disappeared . It is such a pity.

My family has kept this porcelain photo of his since my parents got married . The procelain image was made in China when my great grandfather was 78 years old. The photo has never faded and looks just like new today. It has been about 60 years.

His shining crown. Someone once remarked that many of our ancestors had receding hairline because they kept their Manchu style pigtails for a long time. When tying up their long hair they pulled their hair too much and hence they lost much of their hair in the forehead!!

I love his eyes and his special glasses. Look at the beautiful wrinkles and creases. They make his face so gentle and kind.

You can see the strands of facial hair very clearly in the photo above and below. My great grandfather loved his white flowing beard and it was his signature feature. It made him such a grand person.

It is a pity that this art is going out of fashion in Sibu. But I am hoping that with the Internet many can find sources to make their own porcelain ceramic photos if they are interested. The Mexicans love this and still have their portraits done for their loved ones.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Glass Jars in an Old Shop

These glass jars in an old shop in Lachau of Second Division remind me of the Cooperative in Sg. Maaw and the little village shop in my grandmother's house run by Uncle Dien Ching. According to the nice Hokkien towkay these jars (from his father's time) are more than 80 years old and he would not sell them.

The shop keeper then would have been the only one allowed to open these very air tight jars. The shoppers and especially the children were not allowed to open the jars in any way.

As a child I was small and I felt those jars were bigger than I. So I never attempted to open them. I often wondered throughout my teenage life why was it that children of my time were so ever respectful of the village shop owner. But then village shop owners of those days were also kindly people who were not competitive and arrogant. They were indeed the classic tradesmen who served the villagers with tender loving care and the raising of prices was not even thought of in those days. Otherwise they would never have lasted so long.

He would always allow the villagers to "owe" him for the goods they took before their rubber sheets were sold in Sibu. This was an old system of writing into the account book what they took. Each family had a page and Uncle Dien Ching would record with his Chinese Calligraphy brush what was taken. And I am sure now many of the women could not read very well. They managed with a system of trust and their own good memory of how much they had taken. They would have everything settled when they had the cash very amicably. The shop keeper was also a kind of banker as some emergency cash was always available whenever it was needed.

I especially liked going to his shop to get a bottle of kerosene to light up my uncle's special pressure lamp. The responsibility gave me a sense of importance. And I also knew then that the brighter light was a joy to all of us children as we could spend a longer evening with grandma and uncle. We could talk and laugh in the breezy verandah (landoh)while waiting for the pow to rise and then steamed. those were the hours when we absorbed traditional stories from China and jokes from earlier Sibu days.

I would always remember Uncle Dien Ching who used to say humbly that his little shop was just enough to "change for a mouthful of food". (Wang suo chui siah).

50 Cent to start skin care line?

According to rap-artist 50 Cent is finishing up the final touches on his own skin care and grooming line for men...
The story was first reported by the Daily Mirror, so it may be a hoax, but honestly I hope it isn't! I'm a little excited to see what he can pull off. What do you think the line will be called?

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Hot! or Hmm...: Peapod Foundation Benefit Concert

Last night the Black Eyes Peas hosted a Foundation Benefit Concert in LA...
...lots of celebs came through, offering a good amount of fodder for Hot or Hmm. Take a look:
Our fave style subject Rihanna went for rocker chic in a Betsey Johnson Skull Zipper Sweater dress and Louboutin booties...
The skulls add a bit of edge and the boots are sassy. Hot!

Saucy Solange sparkled in gold accessories, a yellow houndstooth skirt and matching houndstooth shoes...
...she stayed true to her funky style, and there's nothing wrong with that! Hot!

Simone Battle also made an appearance on the pea green carpet...
...Don't know who she is, but I know that a shirt without pants gets a Hmm...(but her glasses and boots are hot!)

One of our favorites, Fantasia went for a Beyonce-esque black cat suit with a matching shrug...
...Hmmm...not everyone can pull off a skin tight look... and represented for the men...
...I love how they modernize menswear with piping, leather, and retro specs. Hot!

And lastly, a few blasts from the past made cameos, including Boyz II Men...
...and Warren G...
I'm glad to see those guys are still kickin'. They get a hot for showing up! Ha!
What do you think?

Belt Buckles Punk Fashion

punk fashion

As most music lovers say, music is a lifestyle, regardless of the genre. Whether it may be reggae, rock, metal, goth, punk, hiphop, or pop, people are showing their love for such music genre through their outward appearances and behavior such as the clothes and fashion accessories they wear.

You can see famous celebrities and music personalities wearing the latest punk accessories to complete their whole outfit and to give them more edge. But aside from the colorful and streaky hair, makeup, boots, and studded belts and cuffs, one accessory that seems to put the whole look together is the belt buckle.

Belt buckles are the latest craze in town, and you can see many people wearing different kinds of belt buckles to give their outfit a more unique and yet distinctive feel. Belt buckles ooze with personality, and it says a lot about the wearer. There are many types of Punk fashion belt buckles, and they come in various materials. There are even belt buckles that make use of Swarovski crystals to form the design.

Famous Punk fashion belt buckles include logos and insignias of your favorite band, guitar buckles, drum buckles, and many more. There are even buckles perfect for the emo punk, such as bleeding heart buckles, which can either be colored or pure platinum or silver. These belt buckles will look really good on Punk studded belts, and will really give your whole look a more Punk appeal.

Friday Video: Warren G Regulators

That picture of Warren G gave me flashbacks to 1994...
...Regulators was the ish...actually the whole Above the Rim soundtrack is a classic!
Hopefully this video will take you back to the good old days when hip-hop was still fresh, fun, and new...

I saw raindrops on my window

Each time it rains and I watch the raindrops on my window on the fourth floor I cannot help but hum the song I used to sing with the Sunday School students and the MYF friends.

Sometimes I wonder how many of them remember the song as well as I do. I have passed the song to my childen too. However even as the song brings momentary joy to my heart with lots of good memories a part of my heart feels great pain for those who are suffering from the recent floods and other tragic events caused by the continuous rain in so many parts of Sarawak.

Are raindrops God's tears?

Joy Is Like The Rain
by Miriam Therese Winter

I saw raindrops on my window
Joy is like the rain.

Laughter runs across my pain
Slips away and comes again.
Joy is like the rain.

I saw clouds upon a mountain
Joy is like a cloud;

Sometimes silver, sometimes gray,
Always sun not far away.
Joy is like a cloud.

I saw Christ in wind and thunder,
Joy is tried by storm.

Christ asleep within my boat,
whipped by wind, yet still afloat.
Joy is tried by storm.

I saw raindrops on my window
Joy is like the rain.

Bit by bit the river grows,
Till at once it overflows.
Joy is like the rain.

The rain these days pelt on my window panes and for too many days and nights I fear of floods coming higher and higher in Sibu. Never before had floods come twice a month to Sibu.

While the raindrops look beautiful on the window panes somewhere out there a mother is crying out because her unborn child may arrive any time and she has to deal with the elements . How can she have a good confinement as she is an evacuee staying in a large hall with perhaps a hundred or so other people? How can she have private moments to breast feed her new born baby?

While I watch the raindrops coming down in torrents and I am sitting in a cushioned chair a child has to watch his kettle boil under a tarpaulin while his mother tries to keep everything dry. They would have been staying under this makeshift shelter for the last three weeks living on handouts from the government as their wooden hut has been inundated for that length of time.

Water is every where. Pain is within the hearts of the flood victims. Hurt is felt by those who have suffered from the inconveniences caused by floods.

While those of us may be warm and dry - our prayers are with you....those who are suffering from the brunt of too many floods in the last few weeks.

This song helped me through a lot of big and small tragedies in my life. And it is a great and inspiring song at any time too. Hope it helps.

Mail Bombs: Rihanna's Twenty8Twelve Skirt, Keri's Black Boots, and Toccara's Stop Staring Dress!

It's gorgeous and sunny out in Paris, et il faut en profiter! So Mail Bombs will be quick...
...let's go!
First, Nia was interested in Rihanna's Casual Look...
...she says, "Her whole outfit is hot!"
We found the skirt for you; mimic the rest with the following affordable items:

1. Luxury Tailored Herringbone Dress Shirt, $67.50. 2. Twenty8Twelve Wilma Linen Swing Skirt, $255. 3. Sterling Silver Beaded Cultured Fresh Water Pearl Double-Row Necklace - 17", $80. 4. Nine West Jennica Sandals, $79. 5. Bebe Jillian Snake Platform Sandal, $149.

Next, Alyssa says, "I recently found this pic of Keri Hilson and my eye caught her boots..."
"...I've been looking for some flat riding boots forever and these fit the bill. They are simple yet edgy. Where can I find these?"
Adri says, "Keri's wearing boots that are very, very similar to these Fiorentini + Baker Buckle Boots..."

"...Cop them at Barneys for $525."

Kalifa says, "I saw this look on Taraji Henson and was wondering if you could find the pieces for me..."
Work Taraji's office ready steeze with the following high and low priced selections:

1. Billow 2-in-1 Top, $160. 3. Aldo Sermide Belt, $30. 4. Charlotte Russe Button Front Pencil Skirt, $23. 5. French Connection Jackie Boots, $150.
(Pssst, the billow top is maternity, but you can balance out the extra room with the corset belt!)

And Bethany says, "I absolutely love this dress and I need it in my closet as of yesterday!"
"...Where can I find this exact dress??"
An anonymous commenter revealed that Ms. Jones loves dresses by the line Stop Staring. Get her Heather Plaid dress for only $146... [Take a look at the dress selection--Toccara literally gets all her dresses from this store].

Finally a wardrobe query!
Brittney says, "I need help finding a nice black dress for an upcoming party. Could you possibly help me find some options under $100?"
Adriana found these bangers:

I'll take #2!

That does it for today.
I'm going to enjoy the weekend before flying to NYC for Fashion Week! Oh, I didn't tell you? Yup, Adri & I will be in the house, giving you the scoop on shows, attendees, and celebs.
Also stay tuned next week for a massive Fashion Bomb upgrade! Hint: It has something to do with a recent poll you'll see!

Queen of Hoots

Claudia Sabe.

Fun Black Fashion Fact: Dorothea Towles Church

Did you Know???
Dorothea Towles Church was the first professional African-American model to walk the fashion runways of French couture designers...
...She strutted for Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Pierre Balmain in the '50's, and in 1954 brought her savoir faire to American shores, staging fashion shows and fundraisers for the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
In Barbara Summers' 1998 book Black and Beautiful, Towles said, "I feel that my going all over America with my show had a great influence on American black women dressing differently and feeling good about themselves...I saw them dressing more creatively, more internationally. They could say, ‘If she can do it, I can do it, too.’
Read more about her here.

Hoot or Miss

Another international reader submission, sent in by Mats, which was done by Kurt Fagerland in Stavanger, Norway. I love the mix of old school and action shot!

At The Drop Of A Hoot

Mallory sent in these owls, the first on her and the second on boyfriend David, both done at Idol Time Tattoo in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Splurge of the Day: Bracelets by Jason Davies of Lazerian

Today I wanted to put you on to the amazing sculptural designs of Jason Chart Davies, a jewelery designer for London based furniture and objects shop Lazerian....

Jason's bracelets, hand-crafted in sheet plastic, offer a geometric, material based approach. Ranging in price from £50-£130 ($70-$230 USD), Davies' bracelets are quite a splurge! But with neutral colors and a unique look, the bracelets will fit seamlessly into your wardrobe while turning quite a few heads.
See more at

Thursday, February 5, 2009

BSC #36: Jessi's Baby-sitter

Jessi’s mom goes back to work and so her dad’s older sister, her Aunt Cecilia, comes to live with the Ramseys to help run the household. Jessi and Becca feel that Aunt Cecilia treats them like little kids and they resent this, referring to her secretly as Aunt Dictator (ouch!). The subplot is that there’s a science fair at Stoneybrook Elementary School, and Jessi helps Jackie build a working model of a volcano, but ends up doing the whole project for him. Jessi learns to empathize with her aunt when she sees that she was just as controlling of Jackie as Cecilia was over her and Becca.

  • I love Jessi's dibbly fresh vintage wear on the front cover. And by love I mean hate. And by vintage wear I mean Bill Cosby sweater. With both parents working full-time, they're on their way to becoming the Huxtables in no time.
  • Jessi thinks that the big news is that her mom is expecting a new baby, and she’s super excited. What is with these kids? Kristy wanted her mom to have another baby and they go to pieces every time a client is expecting a baby. And Jessi’s got enough experience to know that having a baby around is kind of obnoxious.
  • Jessi and Becca play pranks on Aunt Cecilia in the hopes that she’ll leave. You know, when Jessi whines about not being treated like an adult by her parents, I find her a lot harder to take seriously considering she short sheets her aunt’s bed, puts shaving cream in her slippers and puts a spider on her pillows. Actually, the hardest part of this to believe is that someone her age knows how to short sheet a bed. I always thought that was one of those lame fifties summer camp things. Then again, the girls have already been to Camp Mohawk.
  • And word to the wise, Jessi, punking your nanny isn’t effective. It’s not even cute unless you look good in lederhosen and enjoy romping around the Alps.

  • And it’s not like you have the excuse of having no mom and a strict dad who doesn’t let anyone have a good time until a free spirited woman enters his life. That’s Mary Anne’s story.
  • Jessi and Mal put ridiculous signs on their doors to keep people out. Jessi’s is:

KEEP OUT (please)
  • Even Mallory thinks the sign is dumb. Always worrying when even Mal thinks you’ve done something stupid. (Mallory’s sign is much more succinct. Hers says “KEEP OUT OR ELSE.” Love the brevity—someone’s been digging out her Strunk and White!)
  • Jackie Rodowsky gets the idea for the volcano from The Brady Bunch. Good to know Ann M. has moved on from I Love Lucy.
  • Jessi describes Kristy as being less mature than the other thirteen year old members of the club because she doesn’t date and pays no attention to clothes or make up. Jessi, you know you just lost all credibility, right?
  • Kristy’s really condescending. David Michael keeps pitching ideas for the science fair and she ends up rejecting most of them (drawing a diagram of the planets, etc.). Dude, he’s seven. She also tells the others that she knows he won’t win. Hey, for a second grader, a mobile of the solar system is pretty good. And speaking of projects, the fact that Charlotte Johannssen is only eight years old and yet knows enough about science to make a control group when she’s doing an experiment about the effect of music on plants raised my eyebrows. (And that’s really hard to do, especially since the incident.)
  • Aunt Cecilia’s not even all that bad as a sitter. Jessi thinks she’s a bitch for not letting them take Squirt out for a walk when it’s cloudy. (I don’t think it’s all that realistic that an eleven year old would want to spend all her time taking care of her siblings, though, which is what Jessi would prefer to having Aunt C. here.) It sucks that she’s so upset about Jessi being ten minutes late. And not letting her go to the BSC meeting as a punishment is overkill, but the fact that Jessi doesn’t even say anything to her parents is just stupid. Oh, she also tells Jessi and Becca that they can’t have a sandwich for a snack, but instead have to eat some weird Dawn-esque health cookies. For really bad living situations, turn on TLC any time of the day or night.
  • Jessi also asks Kristy to phone her during the meeting so that Aunt Cecilia will feel bad for not letting her go to the meeting. The girls call fourteen times. Because that’s not passive aggressive at all.
  • Aunt Cecilia’s also apparently a bitch because she thought it was irresponsible for the Ramseys to go out of town for the weekend and leave Jessi in charge of her siblings. Gotta agree with her there. She’s eleven! Jessi didn’t earn herself any responsibility points when she wanted Aunt Cecilia not to call Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey and tell them Becca was missing because it would ruin their vacation. Aunt Cecilia, you rock.
  • We have to have yet another Jessi-is-black talk here. Aunt Cecilia explains that part of the reason she’s so hard on Jessi and Becca is because black people have to work so much harder to be respected. Okay, true, but some people just are dominating—the story plot works well even if her aunt is just a fairly critical type without dragging in the painfully labored racial awareness angle. Now, Aunt Cecilia, go give Obama a talk about how not wearing a suit and tie is going to hold him back.
  • Besides, lots of white people have horribly controlling relatives who micromanage their lives and sometimes they even manage to get a book deal out of it. Hmmm. Jessi is a dancer already…

I Hate Mallory Alert

Jessi mentions that Mallory isn’t feeling particularly pretty these days because of her braces. And I think that’s the closest they can get to saying Mallory’s ugly. It’s a little worse since Jessi goes on to describe herself as having super long legs and thick eyelashes. Well, when you got it, flaunt it, I suppose.

Continuity Alert

Jessi talks about the Little Miss Stoneybrook pageant, and says “‘We rehearsed the girls for the pageants” and Mal points out that they did, but they didn’t get up and do everything for them. Except Mal and Jessi were the only two who made a point of not getting involved because they thought the pageant was sexist.

Hot! or Hmm...:Keyshia Cole at Chateau Marmont

Last night budding style maven Keyshia Cole hosted a Vanity Fair party at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont...
As the hostess with the mostest, she chose to don a strapless metallic number from Lebanese designer Basil Soda's Spring/Summer 2009 collection...

I'm a sucker for a strapless, and this dress strikes a balance between classic and edgy. In short, she looks hot!
What do you think?
Pssst, here's a pic of the dress straight from the runway:
See more of Basil Soda's designs at

Fun Black Fashion Fact: Pat McGrath

Did you know??
The force behind the well made faces at Dior, Gucci, Miu Miu, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana... none other than British beauty aficionado Pat McGrath!
One of the world's most sought after makeup artists, Pat caught her big break working for stylist and fashion director Edward Enninful, and is now the go to person for prominent fashion photographers (she's a favorite of Steven Meisel) and magazines like Vogue, W, and Harper's Bazaar.

McGrath has designed Armani and Dolce and Gabbana's cosmetic lines and was named creative-design director for Proctor & Gamble in charge of Max Factor and Covergirl cosmetics.
It's pretty safe to say: she works magic with makeup!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Spotlight On: Jewelry Designer Jenny Dayco

If you're ever looking for affordable, fun jewelry, look no further than designer Jenny Dayco!
A favorite of stars like Ciara...
...and more, Jenny creates red carpet worthy pieces for around the way girls. Check out a few of her creations:

Top Row: Antique bronze and silver plastic gem collar necklace, Dark blue teardrop crystal earrings (on Ciara), Gold clear rhinestone brooch necklace (on Faith).
Bottom Row: Gold glass rectangle pendant necklace, Black wooden brass stud bangle, Gold XXL diamond filigree earrings (on Eva).

Jenny D is a friend to the Fashion Bomb, so keep an eye peeled for yours truly wearing her designs during New York Fashion Week!
See more options and where to buy at
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