A day trip to Royal Selangor Visitor Centre

Royal Selangor. I’ve heard the name, seen the pewter, admired the craftsmanship from glass window of its retail outlets namely in Suria KLCC and Central Market, wanted to visit the place but never made an effort to do so, until last Saturday. The main reason was because I didn’t know that I can just walk in and visit.

The visit begins when I take the escalator up to the first floor from the main lobby to reach the museum area.

Back in 1882, in a port town of Shantou, China, a young boy named Yong Koon, age 11, learned how to make pewter. Three years later, at the age of 14, he braved himself to sail to Malaya and join his brothers, who both had already established themselves as tinsmiths in a town of tin mining known as Kuala Lumpur. The Yong brothers had a shop called Ngeok Foh (Jade Peace), hand-crafted pewter objects mainly for ceremonial use.

In 1930, Yong Koon, his wife and sons moved to their own shophouse at Jalan Pudu and named the shop Malayan Pewter Works. The next decade saw how family disputes had Yong Koon’s sons shuffled allegiance and formed 3 other companies namely Tiger Pewter, Selangor Pewter and Lion Pewter. It was that Selangor Pewter that was run by Peng Kai, Yong Koon’s 3rd son that had survived to this date.

Selangor Pewter was renamed Royal Selangor in 1979 when The Sultan of Selangor conferred them the warrant as Royal Pewterer.

Yong KoonLeft: Yong Koon in front of Jade Peace situated at Cross Street (now Jalan Silang), KL. Right: Yong Koon in his old age.

Other than history, the museum features old tin currency, pewter artefacts and Yong Koon’s original pewtersmithing tools and personal effects. The museum also houses the Melon Pot, one of Yong Koon’s original pewter pieces that found its way back to the founder’s family members in an unusual way.

MelonpotThe legendary Melon Pot that bears Jade Peace touchmark. It was found by Ah Ham, a villager in Kajang during WW2. The pot made it’s way to Selangor Pewter in the 70s for polishing and it was quickly recognised as it has Jade Peace touchmark. Selangor Pewter tried to acquire the pot but Ah Ham could not depart from the pot that he thought had saved his life during the war. But years later, before he died, he sold the pot to Selangor Pewter.

mythicaldogOne of Yong Koon’s early works—a teapot that features a mythical dog that is believed to bestow good fortune and success.

touchmarksLeft: Evolution of touchmarks. Right: The legendary first touchmark.

There is also few interesting sections such as The Science of Pewter, Giant Weighing Scale, Chamber of Chimes, where I think that will attract kids. Other than that there’s Wall of Finishes (each wall displays different pewter textures and patterns), Hall of Frames (more than 200 photo frames on display) and Twin Towers Replica (constructed completely out of 7,062 tankards, standing at 9.1 meters).

SciencePewter is made of tin, antimony and copper. You and your kids can learn this and many more at the The Science of Pewter section.

framesHall of Frames!

Then I visited the factory. The factory tour shows visitors the elaborate processes of pewter-making; detailed hand-crafting that goes into each piece include casting, filing, polishing, soldering and hammering. This factory has 250 skilled craftspeople who create beautiful pewter pieces that are sold in over 20 countries. As Royal Selangor maintains its tradition of craftsmanship, every piece made is still hand finished to an astonishing degree.

employeeA skilled worker removing rough edges using steel a blade.

Here how it’s done: the first step is casting, a process where tin, antimony and copper are melted at 250 degrees Celsius to make molten pewter. Skilled artisans pour the molten pewter into moulds. After it solidifies, the mould is dismantled and the casting is removed. To remove the oxidation and rough edges, a steel blade is used to skim over a rotating piece of pewter to give the surface a satin-like finish. Designs in different shapes and sizes and with motifs are polished in a different manner. Rough edges are removed using small hacksaw blades and filing tools. Fine sandpaper is also used to remove the yellow patina. The hammering process is a traditional method of pewter decoration made by a steel hammer. A steady hand, precision and consistent strength is needed to create a neat and even line of dimpled patterns.

And the highlights of the visit are The School of Hard Knocks and The Foundry. I had fun at these two sections.

workshop My pewter dish.

At The School of Hard Knocks, I experienced the rigours of traditional pewter-crafting! I was guided through the process of creating a pewter dish using traditional tools such as the hammer, mallet and wooden mould. At the end of the session, I get to keep my bowl. In addition, I was given a certificate of completion, and that makes me a certified bowl artisan!

Details of workshop:
Cost: RM 60 per person
Time: 30 minutes
Group size: 50 (maximum), 4 (minimum)

EpendantMy E pewter pendant, made by my own hands.

At The Foundry, I get to unleash my artistic talent! I was guided through the process of casting, polishing and decorating a pewter accessory by an experienced instructor. At the end of the session, I get to take home my own pewter accessory.

Details are as follows:
Cost: RM 150 per person
Time: 60 minutes
Group size: 12 (maximum), 4 (minimum)

I had a great time at The Royal Selangor Visitor Centre and will certainly visit again with my family. I showed photos of the visit to my son and he is all envy and wants me to take him there next weekend.

If you like to experience the tour and making your own craft at The Foundry, I have a great promotion offer for you, in collaboration with Royal Selangor: you can purchase two passes at RM150 (you save RM150!).

Here how it works:

  • Purchase workshop passes at the information counter, Royal Selangor Visitor Center (Setapak branch only) or purchase via e-mail: visitorcentre@royalselangor.com.my.
  • Mention the promotion code: FOUNDRY EMILA
  • Book the date slot (anytime from 18 August to 19 October 2014)

Enjoy the promotion and enjoy your visit soon!

Address: Royal Selangor Visitor Centre, 4, Jalan Usahawan 6, Setapak Jaya, 53300 Kuala Lumpur. GPS Coordinate: 3.196, 101.724 Contact: +603 4145 6122 | +603 4022 3000 | visitorcentre@royalselangor.com.my

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Art & Places: The Wave, KL

I was looking for some information about Whale and Dolphins sculpture when Niza told me it might be Abdul Multhalib’s work. I went google-ing his name and came across Arcawam’s blog article about local sculptures in Malaysia where it features Abdul Multhalib. Thanks to the writer/sculptor, Rosli Zakaria, I managed to get information about who sculpted Whale and Dolphins.

So later, I became interested in finding more information about Abdul Multhalib and his works. From his website, I found out that some of his works are displayed here in KL and jotted down the list on my phone. Last weekend I made that effort (it’s not like I have to take cheap flights to get there, it was just a 20 minutes drive) with my son to go and find one of his outdoor sculptures named The Wave, situated at Wisma Selangor Dredging. But of course, this won’t be the only only as I’ll be making the hunt for his other sculptures when time permits.

Abdul Multhalib Musa is known for his ‘fluid metal sculptures’ which seem to have been effortlessly carved out of metal. He has been granted numerous international awards and residencies in recognition of the works that he has done. An architect by training, Abdul Muthalib chose to be a sculptor and artist because he loves art more and according to him, he would be doing art and art related stuff, even if he was working as an architect. Using his knowledge in architecture, he created a one-of-a-kind style in his work. This is to bridge the highly technical aspect in architectural work and abstract representation of form more commonly associated to art.

Now let’s take a look at The Wave.

The Wave by Abdul Multhalib Musa.
The Wave.

Yassin and the wave
My son,Yassin, in front of The Wave.

According to Abdul Multhalib, The Wave reflects the eminent presence of Selangor Dredging Berhad (SDB) over the years, creating a wave in the market that has been sustained since being established in the 1960s. The overall undulating element of the sculpture evokes a strong presence that is responsible in creating this continuous flowing motion. This is the intangible yet prominent force that the SDB exudes to its surrounding environment.

The mound at the base of the sculpture creates an illusion that the sculpture is rising from the earth. This relates thematically to the history of SDB, beginning as a company that is literally, down to earth. The earth and the mound acts as a firm foundation and rising from this is the artwork, a steel sculpture design that reflects a modern and contemporary style of living. This is in line with the current focus of SDB to promote a better quality lifestyle for the Malaysian public. The sculpture conveys a new direction towards strength and innovation as SDB seeks to build lifelong relationships by being caring and respectful towards their stakeholders, the people and the environment.”

The Wave was completed in 2006 and was made from mild steel tube. It stands at 2.2m high with 4.8m length x 5.5m width. This work gave rise to another similar work of his; ‘Swell‘.

If you are interested to see The Wave, do visit Wisma Selangor Dredging, just opposite Angkasa Raya building at Jalan Ampang, very near to KLCC.

Last but not least, I would like to extend my gratitude to Abdul Multhalib for taking the time to reply my e-mail regarding this particular work of his. Please do check out his works here: ((())) and Inchek Multhalib’s FB.

Abdul Multhalib himself (through e-mail conversation)


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Art & Places: Whale and Dolphins Sculpture, KLCC Park

This Whale and Dolphins have always been intriguing to me. My son loves them and I bet other kids love them too!

whale01My son (right) and his cousin Idham admiring Whale and Dolphins.

Whale up-close.


Whale and Dolphins were created by Australian sculptor, John Underwood in 1997. This multi-layered sculpture consists of a 6 meter high whale and two 2.5 metre dolphins. The concept reminds me of three dimensional topography charts.

One might be wondering why whale and dolphins? As a mother to a kid whose fascination with these animals is humongous, I think I know why Underwood built these animals here. Whale and dolphin can only be found in certain part of the world but certainly not in Malaysia. He is bringing these animals to the local kids in the form of art. This is to let kids appreciate both the animal and art. This sculpture will spark questions of where the animals came from, the taxonomy, the ecology, the evolution, anything there is to know about them. It is our duty to educate our kids about these animals and maybe someday we can take our kids to see the real ones around the world.

Bring your kids here to enjoy the shallow swimming pool while admiring great public art. Location: KLCC Park near Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur. View map.


Some reference are from: Arcawam


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7 parks and gardens to visit with kids in KL

Parks and gardens can be magical places for kids. They offer kids the chance to be close to nature, to smell the fresh air, to enjoy the beautiful colors and best of all to just be themselves; run, jump and run some more!   I have some favourite parks and gardens in Kuala Lumpur (KL) that I have visited and below is a list of 7 parks and gardens that I like you to visit with your kids. A trip to the parks and gardens can open up a whole new world of nature appreciation.

Perdana Botanical Gardens.

1Perdana Botanical Gardens | Perdana Botanical Gardens has always been my top favourite spot with family. Sits on a sprawling 101 hectares of land right in the heart of the city, the 133 year-old park gives visitors the ambiance of being in a tropical rainforest. It has been the most popular public recreational park in Kuala Lumpur.

Take your kids here and learn the name of plants, trees and flowers with them. Walk (or ride on bicycle) on the trail with them and get that sweat out. Look up and see different kind of birds. Enjoy the train ride around the gardens with them. Let them be themselves at the playground. Visit the waterfall and get to see fish and insects. The activities and things to see here are endless. Visiting hours: Mondays to Sundays, 7am to 8pm. View map.

KLCC Park.

2KLCC Park | The beautiful park is inspired by the talented Brazilian master of gardens, the late Roberto Burle Marx. Spread over 50-acres, here you can find combination of trees, shrubs, structures of cement, stones and wood as well as various water features not to mention elements of shapes. About 1900 indigenous trees and 66 species of palms have been planted at the park to encourage bio-diversity. Part of the park is also designed as haven for birds and other local faunas.

The main attraction for kids here are the playgrounds and children’s pool area. There are also public amenities such as shelters, benches, rest areas, drinking fountains, public toilets as well as 1.3 km jogging track encircling the park. The children’s playground opens everyday from 7am to 10pm and as for the children’s pool, it opens from 10am – 7.30pm during weekdays and 10am – 9.30pm during weekend and public holiday. It closes for maintenance on Monday. Please take note that only kids below 12 are allowed to use the play structures. Eating, drinking and smoking are also not allowed here else the guards will blow off their whistle. View map.

KL Forest Eco Park.

3KL Forest Eco Park | KL Forest Eco Park is one of the oldest permanent forest reserve in the country.  It covers an area of approximately 11 hectares and is the only remaining tropical rainforest in the heart of the city of Kuala Lumpur. It was gazetted in 1906 and was formerly known as Bucket Weld Forest Reserve. In 1934, it was gazetted as a Wildlife Reserve and Bird Sanctuary. In 1950, a pristine section of about 5 hectares was gazetted as a Virgin Jungle Reserve.

KL Forest Eco Park functions as a Green Lung as well as a recreational area for city dwellers. Here you and your kids can see and learn names of the rich variety of flora that flourishes within the forest includes rare herbs, creepers, ferns, climbers and giant bamboo grasses. Visiting hours: 7.00am to 6.00pm daily including weekends and public holidays.  View map.


4Titiwangsa Park | Titiwangsa Park is a recreational park for family with a large lake as its main attraction. This 95 hectares park offers aquatic activities like boating and canoeing, two playgrounds areas for children, a remote control car track, horseback riding, football field, badminton court, tennis court, squash court, jogging tracks, cycling area, pavilion, food stalls, a stadium and golf-course. Visiting hours: Mondays to Sundays, 7am to 10pm. View map.

Butterfly Park
Butterfly Park.

5Butterfly Park | Butterfly Park is the largest butterfly garden in the world spanning over 80,000 sq ft of landscaped garden with over 5,000 live butterflies, exotic plants, butterfly-host plants and ferns. Contributing to Butterfly Park’s beautiful landscape is a uniquely designed hydro-pond built with a limestone path right in the centre. Other attractions here are Japanese koi fish, fresh water turtles, live insects and an insect museum where you and your kids can learn names of insect and butterfly species. There is also a nursery and breeding area for the butterflies as well as a souvenir shop near the exit selling local handicrafts, fridge magnets, t-shirts, caps, bags, framed butterflies and many more. Visiting hours: Mondays to Sundays, 7am to 10pm. View map.

Permaisuri lake
Permaisuri Lake Garden.

6Permaisuri Lake Garden | Taman Tasik Permaisuri is a recreational park that boasts a synthetic jogging track, reflexology walking path, topiary gardens, floral arch trellises, children’s playground, gazebos,man-made island, a variety of jogging routes, ornamental fountains, a 7-tiered flower terrace, a tropical flowers garden and a herb garden.

Nestled between the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur City Center and the many highways that serve this area, this park has a large catchment of residents staying around Cheras, Ampang, Bukit Jalil and adjacent neighborhoods. Visiting hours: Mondays to Sundays, 7am to 8pm. View map.


7Science Wonderland | Located at National Science Center at Bukit Kiara, Science Wonderland is an educational park that encompasses all aspects of science, technology, innovation and nature. The wonderland consists of Focal Point, Activity Arena, Waterplaza, Interactive Zone, Subterranean Journey, Garden of Nature, Pocket Garden, Herb Garden, Aquatic Life and Pre-Historic Garden. Visiting hours: Mondays to Sundays, 9am to 5pm. View map.

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Art & Places: Dataran Merdeka Fountain, KL

If you are visiting Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square)  in Kuala Lumpur, do take the time to look for the fountain situated near the flag-pole here. And also, please look at the very interesting details of the fountain.

Dataran Merdeka Fountain

Also known as Queen Victoria Fountain, this fountain was imported from England and assembled in 1897. The fountain was originally erected at Market Square, but was moved to Dataran Merdeka (previously known as Parade Ground) upon objection from the police as it obstructed the traffic flow. This fountain was erected as a tribute to the Queen.

Close-up of QV Fountain

The base of the fountain is a basin and from the centre, an octagon-shaped marble stones rise to support five tiers of basins and above them, a pinnacle where the water comes out. The basins are decorated with floral and shell reliefs.

The art nouveau fountain features Heraldic creatures of lions and dragons that I supposed to represent the Victorian empire. Nevertheless, the iconic beasts have been characterized as having the intelligence, loyalty, honesty, and strength necessary to guard what is valued.

The combination colors of green, blue and brown represents the colors of nature; tree, sky and earth.

Location: Jalan Raja, 50150 Kuala Lumpur.


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Art & Places: Barong-Barong, KL

Kuala Lumpur has quite many public arts and I will try to cover as many as I can. This is another interesting looking piece of art that I want to highlight this week.

barong barong

Barong-Barong is located at ASEAN Garden, in the vicinity of Tugu Negara, Perdana Botanical Gardens, KL. Barong-Barong is a modern interpretation of old type architecture existing in the whole of ASEAN region. The artist, Jerusalino V. Araos from Philippines made Barong-Barong  from stainless steel and glass in 1987. According to Jerusalino, the structure is a combination of 1,024 joints. It is like a big Lego set that can be taken apart.

Barong-barong, in general, is a shanty housing constructed from materials that can be salvaged around an area and is built with a degree of speed. Houses being built or rebuilt (after a fire, flood, or other calamities) are also referred to as barong-barongs. In most urban poor areas, particularly those often visited by demolition crews, barong-barongs are the practical housing units; light, recyclable, and easy to build.

barong-barong (close-up)

Jerusalino died of heart attack December last year at the age of 68.

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10 Fun Places for Kids in KL

10 Places for Kids in KL is a list I crafted from my very own experience for family with kids, taking into consideration the learning process that benefits them when visiting these places. It is a combination of discovery about science, animals, planetary systems, books, art and history.


1. Petrosains – A Science Discovery Centre where kids can learn about science and technology of the petroleum industry in a very fun and exciting way. Permanent exhibits and activities here include Dark Ride, Petrojaya Cartoon Village, Exploration, Sparkz, Geotime Diorama, Molecule Nano World, Speed, Music-Art-Science and Ungku Omar theatre. Other than that, there are also special programs and school holiday programs from time to time. Petrosains is located at Level 4 of the Suria KLCC mall. Admission fee is applicable.


2. Aquaria KLCC – This larger-than-life aquarium is a spectacular window to the colourful underwater world and promises a memorable learning experience for your kids. Aquaria KLCC boasts many galleries (with a great variety of real life exhibits) such as The highlands, Touch Pool, The Electric Zone, The Stream, Jewels of the Jungle, Flooded Forest, The Coast, Oceanarium, Weird and Wonderful, and Discovery Zone. Kids can witness divers feed variety of fishes (including shark) in the Aquatheatre. Check out the Fun & learning package where Aquaria KLCC is located at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, just after the Mandarin Hotel and Petronas Twin Towers. Admission fee is applicable.


3. KL Tower – Take your kids up to the Observation Deck to view the KL city at the height of 276 meters above ground level. Other attractions here include 6D Motion Simulated Thrill Ride (for kids above 6 years old only), Pony Ride and Animal Zone. At the Animal Zone, a wide range of rare and exotic animals can be found, ranging from Capuchin monkeys to giant tortoise. Menara Kuala Lumpur is located at the junction of Jalan Punchak off Jalan P.Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur. Admission fee is applicable.


4. KL Bird Park – Reputed to be the largest walk-in free-flight aviary in the world, KL Bird Park is a home to more than 3000 birds. You can bring your kids to see and learn names of birds while enjoying the nature. Don’t miss the Bird shows at The Amphitheatre at 12.30pm and 3.30pm daily. Facilities here include resting shades located at the children’s playground area. Admission fee is applicable.


5. National Science Center – The Science Center is a children’s museum featuring many hands-on exhibits in the different science disciplines of Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science and Astronomy. Galleries here include Aquarium, Wonderspark, Pathway to Science, Eureka, Kidz Discovery Place, Kidz World, Little Explorer, Flight, Thinking Machine and Energy World. National Science Center is located at Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. It is a bit off the city center and you can get here by car or taxi. Admission fee is applicable.


6. National Planetarium – Here is a wonderful and interesting place to take the kids, or big kids for that matter. The National Planetarium is divided into two exhibition theme (i.e. Astronomy & Space Exploration) with interactive and hands on appearance. Facilities in the National Planetarium are Exhibition Gallery, Viewing Gallery with Binoculars, Outdoor Ancient Observatory Park, Picnic Area with Space Theme, Space Theatre, Observatory With Telescope and Accessories. National Planetarium is located at Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur, not far from KL Bird Park. Admission fee is applicable.


7. National Museum – Take your kids and let them learn about the history of Malaysia while admiring permanent artefacts exhibited at the main exhibition building which boasts of Gallery A: Pre-history, Gallery B: Malay Kingdoms, Gallery C: Colonial Era and Gallery D: Malaysia Today. Get to pose near permanent outdoor exhibits like trishaw and vintage Austin Seven. Guided tours are available every day at 10.00am for one hour. Admission fee is applicable.


8. Perdana Botanical Gardens – Bring your kids to enjoy the nature and get their sweat out. Don’t forget to bring their bicycles, roller blades or skateboards. Facilities here include two playground areas, jogging tracks, flower and herb gardens, trees collection, conservatory garden, Cycas Island, fish pond, lakes, a deer park and a train ride. Admission is free for all gardens and deer park, small fee for the train ride.


9. KL Children’s Library –While you can buy books from book stores, taking your child to the library is a good thing to do as they can read as many books at no cost. If you need to take your kids to the library, take them to the KL Children’s Library. It offers a variety of services and activities especially for members who are at the age between 4 to 12 years old. KL Children’s Library is located at Jalan Raja, Kuala Lumpur, near the Merdeka Square. Admission is free.


10. National Visual Arts Gallery – It is good to expose kids to art because art comes alive when they can see it up close. A kid’s world is enriched by looking at a stone sculpture or oil painting and imagining the painstaking hours that artist took to create the art. For that matter, you can take your kids to National Visual Arts Gallery to admire permanent and temporary collections of art by local artists. You cannot take pictures inside the gallery but however you can encourage your kids to bring their sketchbooks and get inspired by the artworks they like. There is also a gallery here that is dedicated to children’s art. Weekend and school holiday art programs are also available but you need to enquire from the information counter about the schedule. National Visual Arts Gallery is located in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free but for art programs, fees are applicable.

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