Art & Places: Towards Peace, KL

When I visited Tugu Negara more than a week ago, I also got the chance to explore the ASEAN Garden located at the area. There are many sculptures in the garden and one that I like to highlight first is ‘Towards Peace’, a set of 6 sculptures that were created to present  ASEAN countries, namely Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Phillippines and Malaysia. The sculptures symbolise  the progress of growth, unity, peace and harmony of ASEAN.

It was officially created in 1987 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of ASEAN (the Association of South-East Asian Nations) by Ms. Han Sai Por, a sculptor from Singapore.

Towards Peace by Han Sai Por

Han’s main sculptural expression depicts a sense of contrast between the hard surface of stone and the softness of organic shapes.

Have you visited ASEAN Garden?

 

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Art & Places: Tugu Negara, KL

Went to Tugu Negara as per suggestion of UnsungHero (UH). Thank you so much for the idea, if not for you, UH, I will be taking my own sweet time to go. Frankly, I have never visit the National Monument simply because it’s here at home.

I spent the morning to walk around the area with my son, Yassin, before sitting down to sketch the monument.

Tugu Negara
Yassin was actually lying on his stomach to be in his comfortable position to draw. Haha.

tugunegara
Tugu Negara (National Monument) sketch. I made one round before finding a good angle to draw. Save me the time to draw all 7 statues! Pencil and colorpencil on Moleskine Plain Notebook. 

The sculpture depicts a group of soldiers, with two slumped at the base and one holding the Malaysian national flag aloft. Each of the bronze figures symbolizes leadership, suffering, unity, vigilance, strength, courage and sacrifice. The granite base of the sculpture bears the old coat of arms of Malaysia, flanked on either side by inscriptions in English in Latin script and Malay in Jawi script: ‘Dedicated to the heroic fighters in the cause of peace and freedom, May the blessing of Allah be upon them.’

The monument was designed by sculptor, Felix De Weldon who was also responsible for the Marine Corps War Memorial in Virginia, United States. Completed early 1966, the sculpture stands at 15 meters (49.21 feet) tall and is the world’s tallest bronze free-standing sculpture grouping.

Yassin at Tugu Negara Malaysia, KL

And here’s Yassin’s drawing:

yassin's-drawing-of-tugu
Yassin said the monument is too hard to draw (left) so he later a soldier with gun (right).

Reference: Wikipedia – National Monument (Malaysia)

 

 

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Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur Grand Opening

A new chapter in the history of The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is being written yesterday (8 December 2012), signalling not just a rebirth but heralding a second renaissance. Clad in deep history since 1932, the colonial heritage building has been meticulously restored as YTL Classic Hotel.


Image credit: The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

Regarded as one of the great hotels of Asia in its heyday, Hotel Majestic was once a prestigious landmark in Kuala Lumpur akin to the likes of London’s Dorchester, Hong Kong’s Peninsular, Singapore’s Raffles, New York’s Waldorf Astoria and Paris’ George V. The hotel was an icon of Malaya’s boom years leading to World War II and came to be the place for glamorous social events, government receptions and the residence for prominent international visitors.

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur includes the original Hotel Majestic which is documented as a national heritage site under the Malaysian Antiquities Act. time. The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is positioned to share the glamour, heritage and success of its predecessor as a YTL Classic Hotel.

The fine luxury hotel at Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin now features 300 plush rooms. The Majestic Wing consists of the original building with 47 classical suites, while the Tower Wing which complements it, features 253 luxurious rooms and suites.


Poolside, Tower Wing, The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

In his opening speech yesterday, Dato’ Mark Yeoh, Executive Director of YTL Hotels said that YTL is confident that the rebirth of the hotel will see it flourish once again, reclaiming its place as one of Asia’s finest properties. Speaking right after his brother, Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr) Francis Yeoh hopes that the hotel will help to reaffirm Kuala Lumpur’s status as one truly great international city.


Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr) Francis Yeoh.

The glorious opening of The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur was celebrated by a performance of American jazz singer and pianist, Freddy Cole (and his Quartet). Freddy showed his dexterity in rendering remarkable songs like “I’m not my Brother, I’m Me”, “Pretend” and “I Love You”.


Freddy Cole Quartet.

 Here is moi with blogger BFF buddy, LadyJava.

 

 

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KL Forest Eco Park, Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve

My son was not around during the second week of last school holiday as he went for a trip to an island with his dad and brother (boys trip), but still, I have the itch to go somewhere. Having my sister’s kids with me, I told them to put on something sporty and follow me for a hill walk at Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve (re-branded as KL Forest Eco Park (Taman Eko Rimba KL), by the Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia (FDPM) in November 2009.)

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 we can see the rich variety of flora that flourishes within the forest includes rare herbs, creepers, ferns, climbers and giant bamboo grasses.

For a city dweller who lives in KL/Selangor for 30 years, it was a shame that I have not made the effort to visit the forest earlier. If I made the effort in the 80s to visit the place, I would’ve the chance to take the cable car ride, to see the forest from bird’s eye view.

Anyway, we took the Raja Chulan entrance, not knowing that there are actually another 3 entrances to the park; one at Jalan Ampang (after the junction to Sultan Ismail and Kg Baru; at Wariseni Gallery), one at KL Tower and another one at Jalan Bukit Nanas.

Starting off at Jalan Raja Chulan main entrance, we took the Sindora Track where it leads to forest trails, camping site, KL Tower and Wariseni Gallery. There’s a tiled steps as well as old steps. If you wear hiking boots, you can take the old steps but for safety reason, we took the tiled one. Right before we climbed up the steps, we visited the Herb Garden and Wild Orchid House; there was not much to see  here. The Wild Orchid House was locked and we could not enter to see the orchids.


Sindora Track.

Along the walk, we got ourself educated with tree names. There’s Kelat, Meraga, Petaling and many more. I assume that Petaling Jaya or Petaling Street were both named after Petaling tree. Petaling tree is considered commercial as the the timber is used house posts and other heavy construction purposes such as bridge bearers for logging roads and railways, foundation piles, fence posts, flooring and tool handles. Other than that it can be utilised for pallets, boxes, and crates. The bark is used medicinally and the seeds are edible.


Trees at KL Forest Eco Park.

Petaling fruit.

After about 20 minutes-walk up the steps, we saw the entrance from KL Tower. We took a few minutes rest to catch out breath. Well, it was more me catching my breath. The two kids were quite fit.


KL Tower entrance to the park.

After that we walked along one of the forest trails; Penarahan Trail that leads to Hopea Track. The Penarahan Trail measures at 150m and took us about 15 to 20 minutes. Along the trail we got to see more trees that we haven’t seen before. Here are some photos I took along the walk at Penarahan Trail and Hopea Track.

We walked about another 150m along Hopea Track before reaching Bamboo Walk and a secret garden!

My nephew, Danial, posing at giant bamboo trees at Bamboo Walk.

The secret garden!

Well, the secret garden is actually a camping site called Dataran Hijau. It is a garden decorated with gazebos, garden tables and seats, flowers, not to mention more trees! I think this is a good place where you can bring your family for a picnic. Not sure whether picnicking is allow here; a question that I will ask the Forestry Department later.

Later we walked along the Shorea Track to discover a Par Course. A good place where you can stretch your muscles after a long walk.

The Shorea Track took us about 30 minutes (about 300m walk) before reaching the end of the park that leads to Wariseni Gallery (MTC Timber Gallery) at Jalan Ampang.

Canopy of trees. I did not forget to look up.

It was a tiring but overall, a good walk. I think we walked about 2 to 3 hours. We skipped a lot of trails; namely Arboretum Trail, Jelutong Trail and Merbau Trail. Below is my walking map that I drew myself based on the map near the Information Center.:

Click to see larger image.

Here are some information about the park:

Visiting hours: 7.00am to 6.00pm daily including weekends and public holidays.
Entrance Fee: Free
Contact: Forestry Department, KL Lot 240, Bukit Nanas, Jalan Raja Chulan 50250 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : 03-20706342

Bibliography:
http://www.mtc.com.my/info/images/stories/pdf/tm-vol-16-4.pdf
http://www.nre.gov.my/English/Ecotourism/Pages/BukitNenasForestReserve.aspx
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/sea/Products/AFDbases/af/asp/SpeciesInfo.asp?SpID=18160

 

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National Textile Museum, KL

Since I was in the vicinity of Independence Square last school holiday (I visited KL Children’s Library and KL City Gallery), I took the chance to bring my son and nephew to visit the National Textile Museum. Well, it think it was more of me taking the chance. I love looking at textile and thought I go and educate myself on the history of textiles.

The National Textile Museum is located in a building  formerly the Federated Malay States Railway Station built in 1905. It was conserved and refurbished as museum on 2007.

The museum explores the rich diversity of the peoples of Malaysia and traces the development and trend of textiles that have characterised and shaped the lifestyle of Malaysians as early as the pre-historic era right up to the modern time. Upon entering the museum on the ground floor we visited two galleries: Gallery Pelangi and Gallery Pohon Budi. Gallery Pelangi traces the Malaysia’s textile evolution and exhibits selected heritage collection of batiks (block prints, tie-dye and hand drawn), Baba & Nyonya textile, Sarawak textile and India textile.


Textile on display.


1. Wooden block with floral motif. | 2. Relak nuts – a traditional material used in washing the cloth to be calendered so that the cloth will smell fragrant.

Gallery Pohon Budi showcases the origins of textiles from the pre-historic time as well as its growth through trade. Also exhibited are tools, materials and techniques of textile-making processes of weaving, embroidery, batik-printing and many more. There are also videos showing the process and I actually felt pretty proud because my husband was one of the person involved in the making of the videos.

Before we could climb the stairs to see exhibits in other galleries, Yassin and Danial were already tired. So we skipped the upper part of the museum and promised to come back and continue. It was really tiring as we were out as early as  9.30am up until 1pm. We took a bus to KL as my car was in a workshop due to a minor accident. We had heavy breakfast at 10am at Secret Recipe’s, Central Market.

Overall, we had a great time reading the print exhibits and learning the history of textiles and how textiles were made. One of the things we learned that the checkered Pelikat sarong was brought from Port of Pulicat, India during Melaka’s heyday as prominent trading center in the 15th century. I always love the feeling of getting ‘richer’ with information when visiting museums. Do you feel that way?

For those who like to visit the National Textile Museum, opening time is from 9.00am to 6pm daily. It will on be closed on first day of Eid’ul Fitri and Eid’ul Adha. Admission is free. Free guided tours are available upon request. You need to call for reservation for groups and schools.

Address:
National Textile Museum
26, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin
50050 KL.
Tel: +603-26943457/3461

 

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Kuala Lumpur City Gallery

After taking Yassin and his cousin to KL Children’s Library, we visited Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. It is a great learning experience for them and for me as well. We learned some great history; what influenced the architecture, why some roads are higher than the shophouses, old road names and many more. Did you know that Jalan Sultan Ismail was previously known as Treacher Road? And did you know Jalan Masjid India was formerly known as Dickson Street? I bet you didn’t! A reason for you to visit the gallery as well.

Kuala Lumpur City Gallery is located in a 114 years old building formerly known as The Government Printing Office. The admission is free. Upon entering, there is a big map of Kuala Lumpur and illustrations of buildings as well as information about the type of buildings.

When we entered the Memories of Kuala Lumpur exhibit area, we were blown away by the miniature replica models. My son, Yassin, loves to look at building models since he was little and I just let him enjoy the models.

Other than models, there are exhibits of old photographs, maps and newspaper spread of Straits Times (published in 1971).

There are also timeline panels of historical events that took place in KL as well as notable historical buildings around KL. I think I will cover these buildings individually on my next posts. After reading and admiring the exhibits, we went into a dark room of diorama models of Merdeka Square and Chinatown.

And later, on the way out we passed by a room full of handmade crafts capturing the heritage, arts and culture of KL as well as the country. These gifts were made by ARCH – the official souvenir of Kuala Lumpur, endorsed by City Hall.

We bought some small gifts as well as postcards. And last but not least, we took pictures at the  I-LOVE-KL structure as well as big die-cut print illustration of KL buildings.


We love the learning experience and all the handmade building models made by ARCH. Do visit the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery and learn about the history of Kuala Lumpur.

Here’s some information about the gallery:
– Website: klcitygallery.com
– Address:  No. 27, Jalan Raja, Dataran Merdeka, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
– Telephone:  +6 03 2698 3333
– Operating time: 8am – 6pm daily

How to get there:
– Kuala Lumpur City Gallery is accessible by bus, taxi or LRT.
– A seven-minute walk to Kuala Lumpur City Gallery from the Masjid Jamek Station (LRT).
– A five-minute walk from Central Market.
– It is also within the route of the KL Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour.

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KL Children’s Library

Yassin has been a member of KL Children’s Library since last year and the last time we went was February 2012. Since it is now school holiday, I took him and his cousin to the library to read books. They have been in front of the computer too long.


While he was reading, I drew the inside on the library. I wanted to show what it is like in the library but cannot do so as taking picture is not allowed in the library.

6

KL Children’s Library has quite an impressive collection of good picture and fiction books not to mention references. Other than books, this library also offers activities such as storytelling, board games and multimedia experience especially for members who are at the age between 4 to 12 years old. Do enquire the schedule of activities from the counter as activities vary from time to time.

Below is some details about the library:

How to become a member—Bring your kids MyKids or Birth Certificiate (passport for expatriate) and pay RM6. You’ll get the membership card in about an hour.

Location—No. 1, Jalan Raja, Kuala Lumpur (near the Merdeka Square, just opposite Royal Selangor Club)

Admission—free.

Contact—Telephone: 03-26123514 | e-mail: pkl@dbkl.gov.my

Operating time
Monday : 2.00pm – 6.45pm
Tuesday to Friday: 10.00am – 6.45pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Public Holiday /First weekend: Close

I totally recommend this library. Unlike the children section at National Library, this library is more quieter and more organised. Bear in mind that the librarians are quite strict here but I think this is a good effort to discipline our kids as library is meant to be a reading place and not a place to run or make noise.

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Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Few weeks back my son told me that he would love to visit the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) as Mualim Fadzli (his Agama school teacher) told him about the Quran exhibition at the museum. And yesterday, the first day of 2nd term school holiday, my husband and I took him to IAMM. Frankly, me myself have been wanting to go for quite sometimes already to see the magnificent Islamic arts collection from around the world.  I seriously do not why it took me so long to visit IAMM but I totally blame the there-is always-tomorrow attitude that I have in me. KL and Selangor has been my home for the past 33 years and it is shameful of me to visit less than 50% of the attractions. And for that matter, I am going to explore KL/Selangor this school holiday. Expect more jalan-jalan entries from me.



Admission to the museum is RM6 for student and RM12 for adult.

Established in 1998, IAMM has become one of the world’s leading museum dedicated to Islamic Arts. It houses more than 7000 artefacts from around the world, mostly from Persia and the Middle East as well as Southeast Asia; namely China, India and Malaysia. There all altogether 12 galleries here but below are some of my favourite galleries.

The Architecture Gallery. This permanent gallery showcases scale models of selected mosques in the effort to convey the splendour of Islamic architecture. These range from the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina to the Daxuexi Mosque in Xian, China.  To give a more intimate impression of these sacred spaces, IAMM made the effort to re-create a mosque interior in this gallery. The exhibition is divided into 6 sections representing the major typological divisions of architecture erected within the Islamic lands. Al Haram Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque (Nabawi) are two that represents the sacred topographies. This followed by Religious and Funerary Architecture, Fortress and City, Palace, Garden and Pavilion& Tents.


The Prophet’s Mosque (Nabawi), Medina, saudi Arabia 7th Century AD. This mosque was constructed shortly after the Prophet (PBUH) migrated from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. 

Daxuexi Mosque, Xi’an, China, 684AD. This mosque was built during the Tang Dynasty. The mosque very much illustrates the Chinese architecture.

The Quran & Manuscript Gallery. I found that the Quran collection is amazing. Love the original exhibits of Quran and the stories of the use of media and the art behind it. Some of the Qurans here originated from Turkey, Iran, Java, Uzbezkistan, China, India and even Malaysia.


Al-Quran from Terengganu, Malaysia. 18th CenturyAD.


Quran leaf on vellum. Early kufic script, North Africa or Middle East, 750-800 AD. Contains Surah al-Araf, verses 157-161.

Textile Gallery. Collection here are mostly from the eastern end of Islam. The Safavids and Mughals were responsible for some of the greatest advances in the field. Elaborate woven silks and brilliant colour-fast dyes for cottons were hugely popular. Above all, the intricate plant motifs developed in Kashmir made their mark on the world, most notably as the shawls that were later copied by the workshops of Paisley in Scotland.

Textiles were used for decorative as well as sartorial purposes. With the nomadic origins of so many of Islam’s ruling dynasties, it was inevitable that they would continue to value the portability of textiles. For the rest of society, nostalgia played a smaller part than practicality. With a general scarcity of wood, woven products were the obvious choice for wall and floor coverings.

Here are some of my favourites:

I am really happy to visit IAMM. When asked which galleries he likes the most, Yassin told me that he likes The Quran Gallery and the Arms & Armour Gallery.  Other galleries here include Jewellery, Arms & Armour, Living with Wood, Coins & Seals, Metalwork and Ceramic & Glassware. While facilities include Children’s Library, Museum Shop, Museum Restaurant, Fountain Garden and many more. For convenience of visitors, IAMM provides postal services. Admission for student is RM6 and adult RM12. Free for children below 6. IAMM open from Monday to Sunday as well as public holidays from 10am to 6pm.

Go check Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow. Or the day after that. But please don’t take 14 years to visit like me.

 

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