Sarawak is the largest state of Malaysian situated in Borneo Island also known as Bumi Kenyalang (Land of the Hornbills). The administrative capital is Kuching and other major cities including Miri, Sibu and Bintulu. Sarawak was governed by several Sultan before surrendered to James Brooke, a British man and the state was placed under British protection. Sarawak is a very unique state where it has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, each with it's own unique language, culture and lifestyle. Among them are Malays, Melanaus, Chinese, Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulu (Kayan, Kenyah, kelabit, Penan and others)
It's been a long time since my last post.. Work keeps me busy lately. But yesterday I made it to go for a walk and window shopping at One Utama. I spotted something quite interesting.. something like Malay traditional exhibition, full with Malay traditional cookies and other stuff. But what attracted me the most was a young lady with her art and Batik!
Wayang is an Indonesian/Malay word for theatre. Kulit means skin, and refers to the leather construction of the puppets that are carefully chiseled with very fine tools and supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods.
The Malay shadow puppet theater consist of four types of Wayang Kulit found throughout Southeast Asia, the most widely perfomed in Malaysia is the Wayang Siam (also known as Wayang Kulit Kelantan) originating from Kelantan. Its musical repertoire numbers 35 pieces, performed by a percussion dominated ensemble of up to a maximum of 10 players. The melody is provided by the serunai with various types of drums providing rhythmic textures of various timbres and various types of gongs marking time.
The Shadow Puppet play in Kelantan is performed primirily as aform of intertaiment in the towns and villages, and for many people it is an evening's diversion from the routine of daily life.
Kite flying is a popular traditional pastime in Malaysia, especially during harvest time. There are various types of kites such as Wau bulan (moon kite), Wau kucing (cat kite) and Wau merak (peacock kite). Wau Bulan got its name from the crescent-like shape of its tail. Given right color, wau bulan does resemble a rising crescent when flown. Normally moon kite is designed based on floral motifs. It's one of the Malaysia's national symbol, along some others being the keris and hibiscus. The logo of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is based on moon kite.
Know as Gasing , a traditional game popular among Malays in the olden days. In rural areas, gasing contests were held during the rice-ripening season. The competitions are an annual feature in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia especially Kelantan and Terengganu. The gasing, if expertly hurled, can spin for as long as 2 hours!
Songket is a fabric that belong to the brocade family of textiles. The origins of the many different colourful and traditional textile are lost in antiquity. The art of songket weaving consist of using traditional heirloom to make intricate songket brocade through painstaking weaving with gold or silver threads. Songket is a rich fabric and a luxury product traditionally worn during ceremonial occasions as sarong, shoulder clothes and head ties and used to be the textiles of royalty. Traditionally, costumes made of songket are worn by the Malays during ceremonial functions such as installations, investitures, religious celebrations, and weddings, as well as ceremonies marking the circumcision of young boys, the ear-piercing of young girls, the observance of shaving the hair of a newborn baby, and the rites performed for a woman who is seven months with child. Once reserved for royalty, the usage and wearing of the kain songket is nowadays most obviously apparent at formal and ceremonial occasions like weddings, convocations and state functions. It is now the headgear of Sultans, Chief Ministers and the State's Cabinet members.
Batik has been both an art and a craft for centuries. It is considered as a national art in Malaysia. Hand drawn batik is an exquisite and delicate art which requires skill, patience, meticulousness, flair and creativity. Batik is intrinsic to the fashion world, be it in cotton or silk or in the making of sarongs, crafts, pareos, shirts, shorts, handbags, purses and even shoes.