Malaysia

Sape 

Happy Malaysia 🇲🇾 Day!


We tend to forget our brothers and sisters in Sabah and Sarawak. Their narrative is drowned in Peninsula Malaysia. I grew up not knowing much about Sabah and Sarawak apart from geographical and historical facts for my high school exams. I was fortunate to make Sarawakian friends upon my return, such as Saran and I loved it when she told me about her Lun Bawang heritage.

I was spellbound by Alena Murang’s music and Sape performance. Alena Murang live

So when I heard there was an introduction session for the Sape, I attended it out of curiosity and it was fun.


The Sape is a beautiful wood carved instrument which is a traditional lute.

The music is so soothing and healing.

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Ernest Zacharevic’s Exhibition: Art is Rubbish

These neat neon lights greeted me at the entrance highlighting the exhibition theme of using materials that are available to create art, materials which some might discard as rubbish. What a great idea!

As soon as I heard of Ernest Zacharevic’s graffiti art exhibition, I decided to head up to Penang. I am pleased I did. I feasted my eyes and mind on Ernest’s perspective of creating art from rubbish in Malaysia.

Self-Portrait?

Self-Portrait?

I wonder if this piece is a self-portrait of the artist himself? The usage of old wooden cupboards & a carburettor was used to create this piece. The self-portrait has a disjointed, ethereal & uplifting feel to it. On a personal note, I loved it because it gave the impression that his soul is ethereal although his body is a standard machine like every other sentient being. His feet are arched on tip toes as if reaching for a higher platform or purpose. Next to this portrait, on the right, are his framed paint splattered trousers, akin to expressing that gifting his art to people is his life’s centrepiece. *perhaps I’m reading too much into this. Whatever he means, I like these pieces.

Produce of Indonesia

Produce of Indonesia

The tenderness of this piece portrayed on a jute sack in the way this lady lovingly protects the baby’s head. This art piece makes me think of the hired Indonesian helpers in Malaysian homes who leave their own families to earn wages which are repatriated back to their home countries for their families livelihood. Ernest has acute cultural observations of Malaysia because he has fresh eyes of a traveller. This is a trait I can relate to because the local societal norms are an anomaly for a traveller who is accustomed to a different cultural perspective.

After being away from Malaysia, I’ve had to piece my own puzzle and I am sometimes startled by the pieces that I find amongst us. The next piece of art is an example of how I felt. I love how Ernest painted on wooden blinds.

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KL Streets

KL Streets

Similarly, I took this photo, on my way home from work at about midnight and it struck me how difficult earning a living was for this man. He is impoverished and has to use the effort of his legs to cycle, collect and sell recycled rubbish to make ends meet. When I saw Ernest’s art in the gallery, I remembered that particular evening.

Sculpture piece

Sculpture piece

This piece made me giggle because I was trying to capture an appropriate angle to photograph it to interpret what it meant to me. It is a dark sculpture of a desolate, limbless prisoner cowering under the great light of inquisition. Being Malaysian, it reminds me of the limits of freedom of expression thereby restricting individuals rendering us constantly answerable to the authorities.

On to slightly more cheerful & very cute portraits of playful children:

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There was more art outdoors. I thought it was funny how this kid was scratching his head, trying to figure out what this art contraption was.

What's this?*scratches head

What’s this?*scratches head

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All right! I’ll stop here. His artwork was a pleasure and I highly recommend going for it. The exhibition details can be found here and the Facebook page for this event.

The taxi driver was confused and did not seem to know the directions. I think this the best way to describe it: 59, Jalan Gurdwara, Penang opposite to Grand Continental Hotel and next to SRJK Kampung Jawa, behind Times Square, next to Aik Soon & Company.

This is a photo of the entrance.

Entrance to the Hin Company Bus Depot! Tada!

Entrance to the Hin Company Bus Depot! Tada!

The gates are locked in the photo above because I arrived about 45 minutes too early.

I managed to coax a photo and some conversation out of the really friendly artist, Ernest although he was tired and busy manning the gift shop.

with the artist!

with the artist, Ernest Zacharevic!

I am weatherbeaten by the Penang heat. Please excuse my boho-dishevelled look.

Ernest’s art is a delightful, thought provoking perspective.

Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur

9 am            Good Morning Malaysia! What’s for breakfast?

Teh tarik, tea with a touch of condensed milk & Nasi Lemak which is rice cooked in coconut milk served with a spicy sambal, anchovies, peanuts, cucumber & a boiled egg. Add a fried chicken for some protein goodness! Try not to fall into a post-prandial coma after gorging such a heavy meal. We had nasi lemak at Village Park, address is No 5, Jalan SS 21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Phone:+60 3-7710 7860.

Nasi Lemak

We headed to the Petronas Twin towers for an aerial view of KL.

At the time of writing, Malaysians pay a concession price of RM 35 whilst tourists pay RM 80. Its advisable to book tickets in advance to free up your time. Link here.

The sky bridge is situated at the 41st floor of the Petronas Twin Towers. We were fortunate that it was a clear day. I reckon I saw my home from the sky bridge at the Twin Towers. We were then brought to the 86th floor of the Petronas Twin Towers which had a spectacular aerial view of KL city. I loved this perspective!

I loved how the pockets of green interspersed with the sky scrapers . It was a spectacular view of the city I grew up in.

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Scuba Diving: Pulau Perhentian

I took the bus from Hentian Putra to Kuala Besut.  A single was Rm 40.  The overnight coach was air-conditioned & comfortable. We arrived at about 5 am.  I lived at a really cheap basic chalet by the beach. Bring a mosquito coil & apply repellant. Of course, sunblock is mandatory.

I did the Open Water Diver course which was all right. In retrospect, I think I need more time to learn to dive & acclimatise to the water pressure. Everyone has a different learning ability; so a 3 day course might suit some whereas others might take a slightly longer time to learn. The instructors at the Dive shop were friendly & the course was a reasonable price.

I was quite surprised by the party atmosphere on Pulau Kecil. That was pretty awesome although I didn’t drink because I was diving.

Best to bring cash because I didn’t see an ATM machine at Pulau Kecil. You might be able to pay for your course with credit card but check to see if there are extra charges for using a credit card.

Angel divers at Perhentian Island on Pulau Kecil Phone: +0319- 923 8840/ +6013 – 946 7073

Email: angeldiversperhentian@live.com

Blog: www.angeldivers.blogspot.com

Check out this useful post on Diving at Perhentian.