Holiday at the Thistle, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan

Posted by Lakshmi

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

I have just returned from a three day holiday at the Thistle Resort located in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.  Formerly known as the the Guoman Resort, it has been refurbished and renamed.  It's a beautiful holiday resort for families and its not too far from Kuala Lumpur.  It's spacious, well planned, covers a reasonably vast area with 2 to 3 kiddies pools and  infinity pools, jacuzzi, spa, clubs games area and beaches.  I had a fantastic view of the pool and beach from my 6th floor room.

Watching the sunset sitting on the deck chair, facing the beach,  with the rhythmic  sound of  lapping  waves lulling  my ears  is one of my most cherished and beautiful experiences.  Imagine, no cooking, no cleaning, no screaming with the kids to do their chores, no running around the house cleaning up here and there,  no washing and  ironing, no preparing this and that ....... aiyo...... never ending story of our lives la..!

It was three whole beautiful  days of sleeping, walking on the beach, lazing around , playing games and eating  out.    Bliss......zzzzzzzzz

Well, it's back to the bandwagon now and just in time as  the  new year is just 2 days away .  There have been quite a few invitations from my girlfriends to attend  the New Year Eve party celebrations  and although I am tempted to go and have a smashing good time with them , on second thought, I would feel terribly guilty betul  leaving my husband and kids to themselves -  even though I  know in all probability, from experience  over the years, the kids will be sleeping and my husband will be  watching ESPN reruns............................. 

So, in all probability, as over the years I've come to experience it too, I'll do what is right instead of what I like.  Stay at home and share a glass of wine  with my husband to usher in the New Year .  That's a motto that I have learnt to accept, to do what is right than what I like.   It makes us grow  more graceful and dignified. And in my book that's a lot of difference indeed .

On the painting front, below are some of the painted artwork by  my good friend, Tengku Norashikin.  Also uploaded is my student, Ms Amanda, who came to learn how to paint bears.................................

The lace frocks for the bears have yet to be painted............

Shikin's cutlery box with lace and lillies of the valleys

with roses........................

a deep kuali or cooking wok 

A  painted trash box too good to use.............

Happy reading and painting


It's Christmas Today

Posted by Lakshmi
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Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas started on a right footing with a beautiful weather - no raining !  The day started off with " Ho.. Ho.. Ho.. Merry Christmas " greetings to my family and  opening presents around the Christmas tree.  Since we had attended the late night  Mass yesterday  on Christmas Eve, we did not have to go to Church today and so had a leisurely breakfast  of Croissants and  sausages  with my children and husband .  I don't take sausages, so I had coffee and  toast.  ( saving calories in exchange for the gargantuan Christmas lunch, actually ! )

Lunch was a big family affair in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur  with all my 6 sisters  in-law, their husbands and children, making a grand total of 17.   I had  baked a perfect tasting bread pudding with orange sauce, recipe courtesy of my good friend Norita,  as my  dessert contribution to the Christmas lunch table .

This year, the lunch was more of an Asian flavour - the  long table groaning with Mutton Masala, Thai Prawn Curry, Nyonya Deep Fried Fish with Assam Sauce, Roasted Eggplant, Tofu with Angled Loofah Chinese Style, Bittergourd Prawns,  Naan Bread and Briyani Rice.  The traditional Christmas lunch of   Roast Chicken with Chestnut  stuffing with  Black Pepper Sauce  ( a welcome change instead of turkey )  Cold Cuts of Ham with Pineapple Rings , Mushroom & Onion Quiche Coleslaw, and Jacket Potatoes with Sour Cream were also laid on the table.  So now you understand when I said the table was 'groaning' ?   The customary wine  toasting was with a delightful and fruity Australian Riesling . Dessert was Turkish Delight , Belgium Dark Chocolates  and black coffee.  That was lunch !

To shake off all the gross calories, we had a Punjabi Bangra dancing session  and continued it with  Shakira's ' Hips don't lie '  the African Waka Waka  ,  Gloria Gaynor's ' I'll Survive ' , etc... etc...... you get the picture....................................................

For afternoon tea, we had the traditional Christmas Fruit Cake and the Bread Pudding with Orange Sauce.  It was late evening when we reached home.

Gosh! that was a real heavy meal and as I am writing this, I don't want to think about food for the next two days...........................!  Am starting off by skipping dinner today.

The pics below show Norita with her painted apron and scenery

You must try out Norita's Bread Pudding  - the best I've eaten  and so easy to make but as I'm kinda   sleepy right now ,  you have to wait for my next update la .........................................................

Happy reading and painting  and  since Christmas mood is still in the air, Merry Christmas to all


Interview with MIDI Magazine, Tole Painting & Kokhloma

Posted by Lakshmi
1 Comment

Wednesday day,  22 December 2010

It was indeed a very pleasant start to the day when Ms Mariam, the journalist and Mr Ejam, the photographer  from Karangkraf Publishers  came to my home to interview me for their January 2011 issue of the MIDI magazine.  This will be my first debut in a magazine and I really hope that it turns out well.   I do so really want to reach out to everyone, especially the ladies to take up a skill , any skill really, to keep themselves occupied gainfully  and if it so happens that they take up decorative painting, all the better ! 

That's Ms Mariam and Ejam from MIDI magazine at my home during  the interview . We all have big beautiful smiles, don't we ? That's because we had coffee with freshly baked banana cake.  And since my house is full of cakes and cookies all the time,  I was very glad to give them some to take home .

As for my painting, I did tole painting last week, something different for a change from the florals and it was really like a breath of fresh air. My reference was from the book ' Tole You So' by Margaret Wehking

Tole painting on a biscuit tin - front.  The base colour for the tin was Wrought Iron (Folk Art Colours)

Tole painting on the biscuit tin -back.  The base colour for the side panels  were in Linen ( Jo Sonja Basecoat ).  The top and bottom rims were smudged with Metallic Gold ( Americana )

Finally, my Kokhloma painting -   jewellery box.  Very tedious and meticulous work but really beautiful when completed. 

There's really so much more to explore and learn in Folk Art painting, so don't just stop at roses, ya ..............................................................

Happy reading and painting


FA Classes

Posted by Lakshmi
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Friday 17 December 2010

There have been several enquiries through my email  telephone   with regards to my classes and address.  Just to let know that there will be class tomorrow , Saturday, 18 December 2010  at my home at 3.00pm.  My house location is -

         47 Jln Puyuh 6/1d
          Section 6, Shah Alam ( adjacent to the Section 6 Market)

Beginners/students would need to bring the following:

acrylic paints
basecoat paint ( for beginners)
brushes - angle 1/2", filbert No.6
transfer paper
tracing paper
A4 size hard coloured papers for practice

plaques or mdf board for painting
water container

It would be very helpful if students could kindly inform me at 012-6709459 to confirm your attendance to avoid any mis-communication  or email me at -

Regular class are held on the following days and times :

                    Day                                             Time 

                  Wednesday                                 - 9.30 am 

                  Saturdays (morning class )        - 9.30 am     

                  Saturdays ( afternoon class)     - 3.00 pm

Please also note that I'll be away on holiday from Christmas, 25 December 2010  onwards till the New Year.


Happy painting and reading


Season for Gifts

Posted by Lakshmi
1 Comment

Saturday 11 December 2011

Tis the season for gifts and so my first gift was to a student whom I had taught  English language quite some years ago.  The wedding card arrived quite late and I had no time to do something more elaborate. So, of course I did what I can do the fastest - paint roses of course!

My second gift was to my sister who wanted a ' welcome ' signage for her patio.    Thus, my second gift, which took an hour or so to finish.  The varnish was done 2 days later!

Then, getting carried away with the roses, since it was the easiest to paint and also to  finish all the roses theme quickly, I did this, also as a gift  for Datin Suriaty as she had recently moved her business address.

As her business card had turquoise and blue violet colours,  I painted the roses  in a mix of Fawn and  Country Blue for the base,  then Smoked Pearl ,  Saphire and a touch of Blue Violet when stroking in the petals. Highlights were glazed  in Titatnium White and shaded with Diox Purple. Finally, I used Aqua to slip slap all round the roses and ribbons to tone with the business card colour scheme and to soften the overall effect. 

Ps: I haven't found the time to give it to her yet !

This biscuit tin was the one that I showcased as one of my recycling projects in my TV debut on  RTM 1 and since I am updating the roses, I thought I might as well update this too .

I'm pretty sure most of you readers are up to your eyeballs seeing roses and   I'm hoping  therefore that I don't have to paint them again, at least until the end of this year  !!! 

Happy reading and painting


The Case Against Child Marriage

Posted by Lakshmi

Thursday, 9 December 2010

I'm sure most readers would have read the bewildering case of the marriage of a 14 year old school girl to a 23 year old man who  (even worse still )  happened to be her teacher ! ! It was a shocking development to take place in Malaysia in this day and age .  Since it is mired in religious verbose ,  I really would not like to comment further on it  although it is on the tip of my tongue to say my piece ..........................................  .

 ( Sigh, I simply  can't help it now lah , I just have to say my piece........... because,  once I've started and I already have now,  my mind just goes on its own and my hands can't keep still..........( so please erhmmmmm..... disregard my last line of the first paragraph !! )

Readers who are familiar with my blog will know that I have not the slightest intention to meddle in any matters pertaining to religion.  As far as I am concerned I take the view from the angle of a  woman, wife and mother -  And so does this opinion on the unfortunate  child marriage which took place.

A 14 year old girl ( kid ?) is hardly even a remote  candidate for the trials and tribulations of marriage, isn't it? .  When even grown  ( and educated ) adults who enter into matrimony ( with eyes and ears wide open )  cannot seem to cope with the pressure of responsibility, both physical and emotional strength needed,  how on earth can this mere wisp of a child of 14 cope ?  What was the guy thinking? And he was her teacher ?  Her teacher ?  What do you think he was teaching ?  Tell me honestly,  would you trust your daughter of 14 to be his pupil ?  It doesn't matter if he says he's going to make an honest woman out of her. That's just plain excuse.   His job is to teach and only teach, for goodness sake!   It's not his place to encourage his student,   with whatever words,   to marry him.    

I have a few questions

 for the school 

 were the school authorities aware of what was going on right under their very noses, for it sure didn't  happen overnight .  Did they advise him on how  his action  would reflect on the teaching profession et al ?  Wouldn't parents now begin to mistrust the once noble profession of teaching ?  Is it possible to trust their kids with them now ?  What is the response from the National Union of Teaching Profession ?  Are they condoning this because I don't seem to have heard any plausible response from them as yet.

for the parents 

 were the parents aware of what was going on between their daughter and teacher? Did they advise or rightly insisted that she at least finishes her basic school education?  What would her future be like without even a basic PMR or SPM  qualification .  Would she be able to support herself later if the need arises ?  I shudder to even think or ask about childbirth............

for the teacher

Did he fully  realise  the repercussions of his actions down the line? Is he, in all sincerity committed to this  marriage - something like " till death do us apart , in sickness or in health "  when he himself  is just 23 or 24? As a teacher, shouldn't he have rightly advised and waited for the child to finish her  education and then talk about marriage?  Didn't he know that this is ' craddle snatching "?  Or was it for the RM1000.00 given as a gift............ It does make one wonder, doesn't it ?

(I remember sometime ago,  a male teacher, who was awarded " The Teacher of the Year " award, when asked by the reporter,  what was his secret for his success, he told the whole world    "I have *** with my  wife everyday ".  And now here is this teacher marrying  his underaged student.......... I'm  really at a loss for words ..................................

for the Government authorities 

The child is underaged and well below the legal age of marriage.  How did they allow this to happen at a mass wedding ?  Why didn't the Ministry of Women or whatever, step in and prevent this from happening ? .  Did they think a mass wedding was the perfect facade  to hide behind ? If they  claim they were unaware of this ' cradle snatching'  were they sleeping on their job?  Isn't is their job to prevent things like this from happening?

To put it in a nutshell,  everyone involved simply abdicated their duties and let it pass on from one person/authority to another.

Please do read this article from  the - Malaysia Chronicle ' Hypocrisy over child abuse ' by Mariam Mokhtar .   Mariam has done a better job explaining the situation than I.

I rest my case


Hypocrisy features in Malaysian lives. We ban Beyonce, but permit child marriages. We whip girls for drinking beer, but have shares in breweries. Women accused of illicit sex are whipped, whilst the men get off because they have a right to satisfy their sexual needs. Sex with a minor is statutory rape for non-Muslims, but not for Muslims.
By Mariam Mokhtar (Malaysia Chronicle)

Malaysia’s hypocrisy over child abuse

Cherry-picking from Syariah law for excuses that suit them
Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysia Chronicle

EDITOR'S PICK Malaysians have long acknowledged that they are subject to selective justice; poor vs. rich, muslims vs non-muslims, women vs men and now it seems children vs adults.

The marriage of a 14-year old girl on 7 December sparked public outrage. To get around this, Muslim ministers cherry-pick from syariah law. It is this false adherence to Islamic principles and the “holier than thou” attitude that exposes their blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

Nazri Abdul Aziz, minister in the Prime minister’s department who is in charge of legal affairs, finally revealed that the government had no intention of reviewing laws allowing for underage marriages because the practice is permitted under Islam.

He said, “If the religion allows it, then we can't legislate against it. Islam allows it as long as the girl is considered to have reached her pubescent stage, once she has her menstruation".

The Islamic Development Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) director-general, Wan Mohammad Sheikh Abdul Aziz condoned the practice of underage marriages as “a reasonable move”.

Minister for Islamic Affairs, Jamil Khir Baharom, was guest-of-honour at the mass wedding ceremony involving the 14-year-old. He sanctioned the underage marriage as being legal under syariah law. Couples who took part were alleged to have received RM1000 each.

Curiously, Jamil appears to have done a U-turn. Last March, when there was a furore over the marriage of two children (a 10 and 11-year-old) to men in their forties, Jamil reportedly said, “it was more to satisfy lust”.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Sharizat Abdul Jalil firmly said, “the government is not for child marriages.”

Would the Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak like to clarify this confusion arising from the conflicting views of his ministers?

Child marriages are common in sub-Saharan Africa, the middle-east and tribal Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Yemen, over a quarter of girls are married before the age of 15.

When a 13-year old Yemeni child bride, Elham Assis, reportedly bled to death after being tied down and forced to have sex with her 23-year-old husband, her death sparked outrage. Yemenis are now pushing for a child marriage ban.

In Malaysia, our politicians dare not face-up to the ulama. They also fear alienating the rural muslim vote.

Syariah laws pertaining to divorce, marriage, conversion and child custody are usually passed without proper debate and discussion, without consulting women and taking their views into consideration.

Child brides often have no legal right to receive inheritance, alimony or child support if the husband dies prematurely or abandons his underage bride.

Girls who marry young are at higher risk of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Many contract sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, as sex is likely to be unprotected within marriage.

The exploited girl suffers tremendous emotional and physical trauma. She is denied an education and her right to personal freedom and growth are curtailed. She is excluded from interacting with her friends, or participating in school/community activities.

When pregnant, her health is at further risk from premature pregnancy or pregnancy related mortality. Illness, injury, or death because of pregnancy is much higher than for women over 18.

Children need education, not marriage for a good start in life. Around the world, women enjoy advancements in education, living standards and economic and financial freedom.

Hypocrisy features in Malaysian lives. We ban Beyonce, but permit child marriages. We whip girls for drinking beer, but have shares in breweries. Women accused of illicit sex are whipped, whilst the men get off because they have a right to satisfy their sexual needs. Sex with a minor is statutory rape for non-Muslims, but not for Muslims.

When it suits, the life of the prophet is called into comparison, for justification. In modern times, marrying children in no longer acceptable and no excuse should be used to justify this. The rights of children are ignored and the muslim majority remains silent when it comes to the sexual exploitation of children.

The acid test: Would any of our ministers allow their own 14-year-old daughters to be married off?

December Updates

Posted by Lakshmi
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Wednesday 8 December 2010

Recently I had the pleasure of teaching Ms Fadhlina, who came all the way from Dungun, Terengganu for  painting lessons.  She attended classes for 2 consecutive  days  and discovered for herself the joy of painting.  With no experience at painting at all and propelled just by her desire to learn the art, she patiently practised the strokes and voila! she was sooo over the moon when she finished her daisies......

With diligent practice, Fadhlina finished her lilacs and  hydrangeas which was quite remarkable for a student with no previous experience.

 Of course, Fadhlina wanted to learn roses too....................... .  Now, that was a big milestone for a beginner  and I did explain to her that it would not be an easy task to accomplish.   However , not wanting to disappoint my ardent student who had come all the way from Terengganu , I showed her  step by step on how to paint it and allowed her to practice too.  Seeing her 'beginners' floundering  ( I told you so !! )  I then gently advised her to start with rosebuds and leaves.  She managed that quite well and I was really happy to see her smile back !  I then drew a free hand pattern of rosebuds and leaves on her plaque and she was very happy to be able to paint those.

Then there was Amanda.  This talented and beautiful lady from Meru , Klang ,  came to learn how to paint roses.  Amanda had painted and learnt decorative painting a year or two ago and this thoroughly inspired lady  had painted almost most of her gardening tools on her own with the ideas and knowledge she had acquired along the way.  Full of initiative and verve........................ it's always a pleasure to teach such interested and dedicated students.

Really glad to have helped Amanda and Fadhlina.................................

Happy reading and painting


I Finally Finished My Frame

Posted by Lakshmi

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I had started on this painting  sometime early this year but somehow didn't quite manage to finish it, sort of abandoned it, really.   I finally decided that I shouldn't take it to the next year and coaxed myself to finish it .

In between finishing my painting, I had the pleasure of teaching Zie ( pictured below) who came all the way from Puchong with her handsome son riding pillion on her motorbike!  I almost couldn't believe my eyes when she arrived at my doorstep on a motorbike with her  cute tyke in tow. And boy, was he well-behaved or what!  While mom was busy learning how to paint, Aiman was busy drawing with a pencil and paper that I had given him .  So well behaved was he that did not even disturb his mom even once. And he's  8 years old and her only son ! ! Can you believe it ?  No throwing tantrums, no crying,  no bugging his mom, no ranting, no walkabout all over the house ..............................Aiman sat obediently and quietly besides him mom until she had finished her lessons.    I think he's  every mother's dream ..... nay, I  think every mother  should have a son  like him ( he obliged me by smiling for my camera too!)

Zie, you are so blessed

By the way, this was Zie's first lesson and she  was very happy to finish  her daisy project all by herself.

This is Ida Azrina from Kapar, Klang.   Ida came
to learn how to paint roses.  Petite and with
a youthful demeanor , I found it hard to believe
that she was a mother to 5 kids.

Ida had previously done decouppage  and has
now embarked on doing the real thing!

That's all for now

Happy reading and painting


Ps: My previous update, which was originally tittled  - My Computer has Down's Syndrome has been changed to ' My computer went for a check-up ' .  A reader, Susan from Ohio, US had commented that I should not have used the term in such a manner.  As I had explained in my reply,  it was meant as a euphemism for my computer breakdown  and I had not the slightest intention to offend anyone .  I have thus removed the caption and re-worded it.

My Computer Went for a Check-Up

Posted by Lakshmi

Sunday, 28 November 2010

It's that time of year again and my computer is up to its tricks......  it developed its own version of  disability to communicate with me and gave me a blank screen  .  I have just got it back and now find that my  Kodak Share program is kaput......... so I can't update pictures................................................. as yet.

On the other hand, its the beginning of the season to be merry.  Yup!, Christmas is on the horizon and I am already in the Christmas mood.   'Jingle bells ' and ' I'm dreaming of a White Christmas ' is already on the air and in pay tv channels.  It's great to celebrate two festivals and back to back too. Deepavali in November and Christmas in December.  That's the ultimate freedom, I'd say. Didn't I write in my earlier blogpost that I sort of celebrated  Hari Raya too, complete with a new baju kurung and stall bought lemang and rendang ?   Not to forget, I've a nephew who married a Chinese and another who married a Malay.  So am I complete 1 Malaysian or what ?  And politicians and senior government officials still cast us as ' pendatangs' ( immigrants')  Aren't we all ?  Well, morons will still be morons, no matter what................. that's all I can say.

On another matter, while shopping for baking ingredients at my neighbourhood bakery, I saw  a road sweeeper with a wheelbarrow trudging along the lanes in the high noon heat.  I felt sorry for the worker sweeping in the sweltering heat and felt guilty sitting in my air-conditioned car.  So I followed him , trying to catch his attention but the poor guy walked  further still.  Finally, I overtook him , wound down my windscreen , yelled a loud 'hello ' and gave him some money and told him to use it  for his lunch. Would you believe what he said ?  " Madam,  this is the first time I've received money since I arrived in Malaysia to work and because Ladyluck has given me this, I want to use it buy a lottery ticket ! I was too stunned and shocked  and momentarily lost my speech.  Then common sense got the better of me and  of course lah, I gave him a stern lecture on the ills of gambling and told him to use the money for his lunch, which was my original intention for him  anyway.  While driving back, I  pondered on his reply and realised that his situation must have been  quite desperate for him to make a remark like that.   All I could do was to offer a silent prayer to God to help him.............

Compare this to  a guard's response  in one of the gated -community  centres.  Normally, when I enter these housing communities,  I would usually buy some ' roti canai' and 'teh-tarik'  and give it to them.  Think about it...............  these workers , come to a foreign country to eke out a living and save every penny to send it back home......... to settle debts, to pay back the agents,..... could be  a myriad of  reasons which forces them to travel the seas....... ( I'm not talking about the expatriates, you know !) How much do you think these factory workers and guards, both foreign and locals, earn?  And, with our living expenses increasing by the day, how much can they save?   Bearing this in mind I would make it a point to buy some food or if  unable, I'd give them  $5.00 or enough to buy lunch.  On one of these encounters, the guard was so taken aback when I gave him the money that all he could blurt out was "Why ?"

You know,  it doesn't take much to make another human happy - and especially foreigners and locals who are in the low level service industry - guards, dishwashers, road sweepers, tray handlers, etc,  -- a foreign service worker who removed trays from lunch tables in the Gardens Food Court gave me smile  of  grateful thanks when I handed him $2.00 when he cleared  my tray.  I imagined myself in his situation  and it made me feel  so grateful to God for my present place . I can't go table to table offering money like I'm the Goddess of Wealth, although my name means exactly that (!) but I can empathise   with their  predicament and if a few ringgit can fill their stomach or make them smile , that would be a great deal for them and for me too.

 A little act of kindness does go a long long way................................................

On a lighter note, I would like to share a joke that I read  recently, the originator of which  was Winston Churchill himself.

A man was drinking too much in a pub.  A lady noticing  this, walked up to him and said " If I were your wife, I'd put poison in your drink ".  The man looked at the woman and coolly  replied " Lady, if you were my wife, I'd gladly drink it "  !

Happy reading


My Post TV experience

Posted by Lakshmi

Sunday 21 November 2010

I've been quite busy replying to  enquiries and conducting demos in  women's organisations,  post my tv appearance.  I've had enquiries from Johore, down South  to Sabah in the East, and it is indeed gratifying to know that my short snippet on national tv has made known this art to a wider audience.    I've had many calls from retired citizens from the outskirts of the city centre  who want to occupy their time meaningfuly and after seeing the Selamat Pagi Malaysia programme and my emphasis on recycling , they are very keen to learn /do something similar.  Only problem is they have no idea where to  get the supplies and have no knowledge of acrylics.  All they could say was that they did something with water colour in school during their schooling years !  Sounds familiar, isn't it?   We put so much emphasis and importance on getting 'A's in our school subjects that we neglect the simple and finer things in life like learning a skill.  And when the years catch up with us in our twilight , we have nothing to fall back on to keep us sane,  occupied when the kids leave the nest.....................................................

I have now embarked on an experiment of using cheaper China made acrylics with a more simple and earthy style of painting to reach the lower income target groups, retired citizens and others .   This is also in response to queries and  difficulties  in getting acrylic paint supplies and brushes.  As I had mentioned in my earlier blog posts, it is indeed quite difficult to get the required art supplies as only selected outlets sell these.  I am of the view that this is one of the  main reasons, ( other than the cost of paints/brushes ) why painting is not a common hobby in Malaysia . The painting style I'm experimenting on is more freestyle with less  emphasis on perfect strokes and definitely no layering involved.   I'll upload when I've finished my experiment.......   till then, the pictures below are some of the works done by Datin Masinah, Datin Vivienne and Siti Zulaikha

Morning glory trellis on a  lattice background, by Siti  Zulaina

Unfinished painting by Siti Zulaina but I thought it might give readers some ideas..........

Siti Zulaina's   "Mum's Kitchen"

A table mat with lattice background and lilies by Datin Vivienne

Datin Mas with a painting of a scenery 

Happy reading and painting


Appearing in RTM I Again !

Posted by Lakshmi
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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

I'm having a double dose of exposure at RTM I  again and I'm certainly not complaining !

Since my Deepavali debut on 5 November 2010,  I have been  approached by RTM Selamat Pagi Malaysia (SPM)  to appear in their Thursday SPM programme  - 18 November 2010 .  My live appearance on their show has been scheduled to be around 9.00 - 9.30am .

  In this respect, I should like to thank the very sweet  and amiable Puan Zakinah bt Ngah  , who interviewed me for  the recording and whose simplicity and friendliness helped me tremendously in the Deepavali recording session.   Puan Zakinah  had commented upon my paintings scattered all over the house and was gracious enough to suggest that she would have a word with the Selamat Pagi Malaysia team to highlight my interest in decorative art.  I was, of course, over the moon la ! Imagine me appearing in  national TV  and  painting live  !   Huh !  that would be the day , probably in 3 years time......  Or so I thought.  Nevertheless, I thanked Puan Zakinah for her kindness and  thought no more about it.

  It was quite a pleasant surprise therefore, when I  received  a call from Ms Sharizah of Selamat Pagi Malaysia .  " Would Puan Lakshmi be interested to showcase decorative art on their Wanita section of the Selamat Pagi Malaysia programme  on  18 November 2010 ?"  Duh ?    After the initial  dumbstruck  silence and  euphoria  ( that was last Thursday )  , I'm now feeling a little apprehensive, jittery  and am having butterflies in my tummy .......................... what if I make a mistake and blunder  during the show ......... urgh ! how awful  and blinky  it would be !

So, friends, please  tune in  on Thursday, 18 November 2010 at RTM I if  free and have nothing else to do in the morning.  I do so need your good wishes and blessings.

 ( The SPM programme starts at 8.00am, I think, but my slot is at about 9.00 or 9.15am )

Happy reading and painting and thank you very much Puan Zakinah


Down Memory Lane with Tengku Nor Ashikin

Posted by Lakshmi

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sometime ago ,  I had paid a visit to Tengku Nor Ashikin's home in Kajang.  It was for her photo shoot for the MIDI magazine and she had kindly invited me to reflect our '1 Malaysia' stand.  Shikin is from  the old school upbringing,  like me ,  where  '  1 Malaysia ' was not just a slogan to be bandied about. It was actually practised without us being told to  and was  part and parcel of our growing up years.    There was no such  division  or labels of Muslims and Non-Muslims  then .  We were all referred to as Malaysians collectively.  I still feel the same and Shikin is no different from me in that sense.  

How do I describe Shikin ? Let me see........ mmmmm  like a  chocolate..... a rich and  creamy praline  filled chocolate , to be precise !  Looks firm on the outside but so soft  and delightful inside -  yup ! that's Shikin !   If you don't know her, you might feel intimidated by her   imposing presence, her no-nonsense demeanor ;   her stern countenance, by her ever enquiring eyes  and by her sharp wit and full confidence in herself. Oh,  she doesn't suffer fools gladly  either ..................... From Shikin's point of view, a spade is a spade and there's no two ways about it; no wishy washy statements, no beating about the bush and going round in  circles..... .  It's a case of WYSIWYG program - " what you see is what you get ". In fact, during my first few initial classes with her, I was somewhat scared to skip her classes , lest  I would be admonished in front of the other students ( that was part of my 'old school' upbringing where you were told by your  parents to make the teacher happy and not the other way around as is now .........)   I was a newbie then and totally in awe of her skills.  My painting skills were zilch at that time -  (  erhmmmm !  it's hard to believe that now, isn't it ?  )  and just so that the others won't make fun of my painting, I'd go home  and practise late into the night , most often until 2 or 3am and get all worked up when I couldn't paint like her !!!   That was the groundwork laid then, practise, practise and more practise ...........................................

  Now, don't let me scare you, because that's only her appearance , for despite the stern facade,  she's just an old fashioned  softie inside.  Shikin is the type who will go all out to help you when you  really need help.  She's the type who will stand by you  in trying times, , takes charge of  situation when the need arises, has  perfected the art of organisational skills  and gives well thought out ideas and advice when required.  She has a generous nature and her laughter is full and  infectious  and  fills  the space around her.   It would be really difficult to be solemn and sombre when she's around  and coupled with her  great sense of humour , you can imagine the fun I have whenever I meet up with her .

Shikin was my first teacher. She was  the one who introduced me to Folk & Decorative Art and I've never looked back since. She's one of the few good teachers that I would recommend and if  you live around her area, do give her a call.   

 I visited her recently and although most of my contemporaries have left, except for  the die-hard student, Datin Masinah, I had a wonderful time with her.  I also did a Khokhloma piece in her class. 

 The pictures below are some of the paintings done by Shikin.   For those would be students/ painting enthusiasts around Kajang, and its surrounding areas,  please contact  Shikin at  019 - 3590095    for further details. 

A beautiful Khokhloma piece done on melamine table ware.  It really is a work of art, Shikin, bravo !

Latticed table mat with morning glory trellis

A beautiful bouquet of tulips done on a table mat cover set 

Ms Norita holding up a winter scene taken  from Ros Stallcup series,  painted by Shikin.  

This is a complete set of 6 table mats  with  hydrangeas on a lattice background. They make ideal gift sets. Wouldn't mind receiving one myself ! 

A beautiful Khokhloma piece  painted onto a  cutlery box.  This was given as a gift to Tuanku Raja Permaisuri  Perlis ( the Sultanah of Perlis ) during a wedding reception.

As  I had mentioned earlier to all decorative painting enthusiasts, please go and learn from  the teacher nearest to  your location or from  anyone well experienced  enough to teach.   Browse through the many blogs which are available online and find a good and sincere decorative artist teacher who knows her craft well.  You won't be disappointed with their  teaching methodology and skills.  In fact, you'd be very happy you made friends with them !  

Over to you , Shikin 

Happy reading and painting


My Work on Canvas

Posted by Lakshmi

Thursday, 11 November 2010

I had started painting on canvas quite sometime ago  and was not sure I should put it up.   It's certainly different painting  on canvas and it goes without saying that you do  have to use a lot more paint.  The bigger surface area and the larger than normal  designs  needs getting used to but on the bright side, its total freedom, freedom, freedom from the constriction of small surface and boards.

The time taken was also longer as I had to wait for the 'mood'  to strike me.  Between my housework, teaching and conducting classes, time was sometimes a premium.  Painting on canvas is certainly different and I would like to thank my good friend and ' art terrorist' , Ms Rashidah,  for her encouragement.

This was painted on canvas measuring 2ft x 3 ft.

Would the 'art terrorist ' like to comment ?

Happy reading and painting


GOLD at Berjaya School of Hospitality & Management

Posted by Lakshmi
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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

These pictures were just emailed to me by Ms Airene of  GOLD ( the acronym for Giving Opportunities for Learning Disables). They were taken at the function I had mentioned in my earlier blog update wherein I had stated that the  students of Berjaya School of Hospitality & Management at Berjaya Times Square, KL, had donated $2000.00 to GOLD through their fund-raising efforts.

The pictures below show what a fun time we all had...........................................

Happy reading and painting


Kamaliah Kassim Came for Class

Posted by Lakshmi
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Sunday 7 November 2010

I just chose the subject title- Kamaliah Kassim Came for Class - because it just came to my mind and it rhymed beautifully !

Kay Kassim  ( that's what everyone calls her ) did come for class and she stays in Kelana Jaya.  ( somehow everything with Kamaliah starts with a K  ) and she works in an organisation which starts with a " k " sound also, seriously, jokes aside ! )

Kay has done decoupage but now wanted to learn roses - who doesn't ?   See her concentration in the pics below

Kay's a lawyer too and she really speaks her mind.  I had a very interesting class with her.  Very professional in her attitude and very articulate with her mind  but with a good sense of humour. That's a  great combination to have, isn't it?    Congrats Kay !

On another note, I painted this as part of my giving to special children's cause. ' Daysping Home & Centre  which is located in Klang    ( more on my next update )

Happy reading and painting


My RTM Debut on Deepavali Day 5 November 2010 @ 8.00am

Posted by Lakshmi

Thursday, 4th  November 2010

In conjunction with the coming Deepavali celebrations on Friday, 5 November 2010, RTM 1 came with their crew to do a  Deepavali shooting as part of their Deepavali   programme  on ' Selamat Pagi Malaysia ' yesterday.  

The request for the shooting by RTM came just by chance.  I had dropped by at my friend, Jackie's house,  to pick up some art stuff and met her sister, Maureen Santiago , for the first time. Some of the  readers will remember her career as a well known singer who used to appear regularly on RTM in the 80's .(  This was before pay-tv channels.  )  It was an unexpected meeting.  Having chatted with Maureen, ( she still looks fabulous and has a flawless complexion  ) who had just finished recording at RTM  for  the ' Hello on 2 ' programme,  she offered to mention about me  to them.  I thought nothing about it and left it at that. Actually, my thoughts were like " Ya, right! as if  RTM will really call !

Well, well !  RTM actually did.! They asked me if they could shoot a Deepavali themed interview.  Duh ?  Of course, I said yes, why should I say no ?  They sent me their script with  questions. I  did some research and memorised  my answers.  The only glitch was it was in Bahasa Malaysia. .  Well, I can speak passable colloquial  BM lingo but on national TV?  Crikey!  it brought jitters to me and  that 's when the drama started.......... when the recording did start, instead of the RTM crew telling ' cut', it was me telling ' CUT, CUT, CUT' all throughout !.  What a nightmare.... ...........I  felt as stiff as a ramrod, stammered, stuttered and went blank every few minutes,  fell over in giggles with the crew, my children laughed like laughing jackasses,  the interviewer kept signalling me to look at her and the camera guy told me to keep smiling all the time throughout the ordeal and I went  BLANK ......again................Now I know what Alzheimers  go through , my memory completely failed me ........ when I most needed it (sigh) and that too on my first TV appearance..... soooo dumb la !

So readers, if you do watch the programme, it would be more of a  combination of comedic situation  than a Deepavali  celebration  do. Anyway, it's too late to withdraw now.  Give it a watch if you want to start the day with a laugh since the programme airs at 8.00am on Friday, 5th November.

As for my kids and I, we  are going to squirm like worms and  giggle uncontrollably while watching ourselves making a fool of  ourselves on national TV and that's how we are going to start our Deepavali celebrations! Couldn't ask for a better start to the day than this, can we ? !!!!!

Happy reading and laughing and wishing all Hindus " A VERY HAPPY DEEPAVALI "


October Outings and a Surprise at the Bottom

Posted by Lakshmi
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Tuesday, 2nd   November 2010

My! time does fly faster than it used to be, at least that's what I've been feeling lately.

Sometime in late October, I was invited by Teluk Panglima Garang Secondary  School (SMK Teluk Panglima Garang) at Banting for a folk and decorative art workshop for the Form 3 school leavers.  Numbering about about 200, they were assembled in the school hall with their fellow teachers when I arrived.  Armed with the paints and brushes and other needed items, which the School had asked me to purchase, I managed to make them paint. some simple stroke flowers.  It was one of the activities conducted by the school for students who had  finished sitting for their PMR exams. It was really hillarious  what they managed to do  with the paints and despite it being a new learning process for them,  they were game enough to create their own 'masterpieces' .

As it usually is, the teachers were all eyes and ears and they managed to practise  more .  Most of them were very surprised that they could actually do simple flowers and were much encouraged and happy with their handiwork.  I managed to do the little 'touch ups'  here and there for them and they were beaming with pride !  Ha ha.... ..the joy of painting does wonders to their self esteem...............  .........................................

I was so busy with the students  and teachers that I  had no time to take pictures, except for this lonely one but I did request the Senior Teacher to email me the pictures that she had taken .  I haven't received them yet..................................

My next outing was at the Berjaya University Institute of Hospitality located at Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur.   It was a fund raising event whereby the students of the Berjaya University Institute organised and put up a fund-raising cum management event as part of their practical paper.   It was organised exclusively for GOLD ( Generating Opportunities for Learning Disables), thanks to Puan Juairiah and Ms Airene .  Students of GOLD brought their handiworks to sell at the event.  At the end of the event, the students of  Berjaya University IH  presented an amount of  RM2000.00 to GOLD's fund.

My third event out was at Datin Zaleha Shamsuddin's JIDDAN boutique in SS21/37, Petaling Jaya.  It was the opening ceremony of her boutique .  A sumptious buffet was served after which I browsed in the boutique and bought a beautiful Cambodian ruby and diamond ring. It just caught my attention and even though the ring size was a wee bit small for my plump fingers( sigh !)  I bought it anyway.  What are friends for when we don't support them in their ventures?  I really really like the ring but  short of squeezing it in my finger and getting stuck,  I'm happy to give it to my daughter, Thangam, as my  Deepavali gift.

 My good friends, ( from left ) Maggi Ehsan, Datin Zaleha Shamsuddin and Puspawathi

Ha, that's me in  the  red  shirt blouse.  I painted the rose bouquet on my blouse, as with everything else...!  The young lady clad in black is Datin Zaleha's only daughter.

Datin Zaleha's oil painting on canvas. Yup... she painted it herself.  Bold, strong and  vibrant  effect yet feminine at the same time........

That's all for now...................    Oh! by the way, do look out for me on RTM 1 's Selamat Pagi Malaysia  programme  on  Deepavali  day itself, 5 November 2010.  Not sure what time they 'll fit me in.  Will update details later

Happy reading and painting


Azeaina n Yuzz

Posted by Lakshmi

Monday. 25th October 2010

These two wonderful ladies came for their second class today.  Azeaina, a practising lawyer who is going to relocate down south to Johore towards the end of October,  wanted to learn roses .................... who doesn't ?    She had in fact, tried to paint roses herself through books ,( which I thought showed immense initiative and interest - a must have attitude for anyone wanting to learn anything ),  but found out , like all of us initial students and enthusiasts alike,   that,  you still need the practical wisdom of a teacher to make it work.

This is Azeaina's second class on roses  and I am happy to say that she has done justice to her rose.  Just goes to show that enthusiasm and commitment to your craft does wonders, as you can see from her beaming smile...............................................!

That's Azeaina on the left and Yuzz on the right, both are equally photogenic and beautiful  with a great smile, I would say................................

Azeaina's finished work.  Not bad at all, I should say.  

This is Yuzz, the scrapbook expert. So passionately into scrapbooking,  her works are art in themselves. Multi-talented and so full of verve and life, she  brings laughter whenever she attends class.  I actually look forward to seeing her!

Saw the smile on her face?   The hydrangea was done in iridescent colours which came out beautifully against the black background.  

Yuzz, the perfectionist, is very happy with her handwork.  So do I........................

Happy reading and painting