My Community Project at MPSJ , Subang Jaya

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As part of my community service project, I have now started teaching Folk & Decorative Painting at  Kompleks 3 ( Children's Creativity Centre) at Taman Bandar Sunway, PJS 11/2 on Saturday mornings.  It's the big blue and red building alongside Sunway Pyramid.    Classes start at 9am and finishes at 12 noon. I  started at 9.00am and finished the class in the late late afternoon!

My first class was attended by a mix of the young and old, meaning  school-going students and single parents, homemakers  and a few of the council staff - a real ragtag bunch but a happy one.  Everyone wanted to learn everything at the same time .    Some were true beginners and  were unaware of such art even existing.  Some just came to while their time and some  were so demanding that they expected me to finish the painting for them.  Anyway, I did oblige as much as I could and stayed on  until everyone left  for  home happily   with  their first painted project.   There was much  fun and laughter and also much more retouching to do.  Actually, I practically repainted over their work as  I wanted them to take home their first painted project to show off  proudly to their family/friends.    At the least, it will give them the confidence to continue painting  when they receive compliments on  their handiwork.  

Since this is a community project which I initiated with the Subang Jaya Municipal Council, ( Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya or MPSJ) students/participants are provided with the paints, brushes and other materials needed.  The only item the student/participant needs to bring is their own plaque or boards and hardcover  A4 size practise sheets to practice their strokes.  The first lesson costs only a mere RM$10.00.   

So for  those who are staying around town and are interested in Decorative Painting, this is your best chance to learn the basics.   Opportunity knocks only once so  make hay while the sun shines!

Classes will be conducted according to the response  received , so please call up  MPSJ at 

                            03-56370279 -  Cik Balkis /  Cik Nani  

to arrange for a seat. It's on a first come, first served basis.

See you at 3C Complex next Saturday

A Trinket box with a Shell Motif

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One of my customers gave me this trinket box and requested a motif of sea shell to be painted.  She collects many such boxes of varying sizes, big and small and I have painted several  of them.  I think they make a unique collection.   The hard surface makes it easy to paint and I usually paint a ribbon design at the sides to make it look like a gift box.  

This design was taken from the artist,  Ross Stallcup.

Women Whipping ?

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I simply don't know what to make out of our authorities who conducted the recent  whipping on the 3 women.

Granted that I'm not a muslim  and I've no authority to speak on the religious/syariah  laws of the country, but then again, I can't contain myself when something as humiliating as this is meted out on any woman.  I find the punishment so repulsive and barbaric .  Just how could they have done such a shameful act as  whipping  the women who were already serving a prison sentence ?  That's not  punishment enough  but they  must be caned as well? 

Where is the compassion and justice of Islam, the religion of peace, which I have read about or is this  just the  interpretation of the narrow human mind?  I really am flabbergasted- why is the women always treated so shabbily in Islam?  Can someone please explain to me in simple English? In Sudan, a female journalist was put in prison for wearing pants and she deliberately went to jail to tell the whole world about the unfairness of it all.  I suppose, now with this whipping incident, Malaysia is now on an equal footing  to Sudan, we're now even on the scoreboard - Sudan 1, Malaysia 1

And pray, may I ask, what happened to the male conspirator?  Afterall, it takes 2 to tango, isn't it? Is this the kind of justice that our muslim sisters are being subjected to? I don't have to be a muslim to understand their pain, embarrassment and humiliation. By just being a woman, I feel for them.  Heck, all  women should feel the same.  The mere thought of what had happened, and that too, so secretly, makes me cry in shame .  

The book by SIS, ( Sisters in Islam) "Muslim Women & the Challenges of Islamic Extremism" which is basically  a collection of essays by activists and international intellectuals which was edited by sociologist Prof Norani Othman of the Malaysian and International Studies Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia , must be read by our Muslim sisters. Of course, with such a tittle, the   book was banned in 2008 on grounds that " it was inclined towards confusing the Muslim community, particularly women, and an attempt to interpret statements about Islam causing “prejudicial to public order”.  However on appeal, the  High Court , in January 2010 ,  quashed the order and the book would  probably be available soon for the reading public.  Suffice to say that I don't have to be muslim to read the book. In fact, I have read the book. Also Dina Zaman's "I am Muslim" which  I think all our Muslim sisters should read.   The book is not against Islam  nor is it ' inclined towards confusing the Muslim community, particularly women" as put forward by the religious authorities/ Home Minister,  in question.  Far from it, it explains clearly how the mistakes came about with appropriate quotes/hadiths from the Quran. 

 I read this article in the Malaysian Insider online newsportal  dated 21 February 2010


Malah, bagi Mufti Perak, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria dengan tegas menyatakan mana-mana pihak yang mempunyai tanggapan pelaksanaan sebat sebagai diskriminasi adalah golongan yang tidak mempercayai hukum Allah dan boleh dianggap terkeluar daripada Islam.
“Orang seperti ini tidak faham hukum Islam, mereka menentang dan membenci hukum Islam kerana terpengaruh dengan orientalis Barat yang menentang Islam. Jika hendak diambil kira hukuman enam kali sebatan itu ia begitu ringan, sedangkan asalnya 100 kali sebatan terhadap mereka yang melakukan persetubuhan haram, manakala 80 kali sebatan terhadap yang minum arak,” katanya."

I have just 1 question, does this apply to both partners or only the female?  So far thus, I have not heard any whipping on such cases on the males................

Have we come to this level already? What's next?

Ps:   My article is based on my feelings as a woman, wife and mother in the full sense of the word and my arguments are thus based on these lines.  At no time would I like to offend any religious sensitivities  and hope my readers would understand and do the same.

Trash to Treasure 6

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My Chinese Curry Pot

 I bought this old fashioned Chinese curry pot container at a recycling center with the intention of giving it a makeover and giving the proceeds  to any deserving child.    The cost of the pot - a mere RM$12.00 It had small dents at the bottom and a few scratch marks and caked with grease and grime, same for the cover, ....... urggh!

After removing the spots and sanding it thoroughly to remove the caked build-up, I washed it with a heavy duty cleaner ,  sealed with a double coat of gesso,  dried it thoroughly and then gave it a good layer of basecoat.   Now that I am describing the process, it does seem a bit of a tedious job.  Might as well buy a new one from Tesco, I think.  But then again, it wouldn't be classified under my 'Trash to Treasure' series, would it?  

Anyway,  as you can see, I was very happy with the results of my painting ( a little bit of self praise is okay, I think ) and was happier still  when it was sold.   Now, I have a little extra in my charity kitty. 

Email blues

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Hi  Friends,

Some of you have been trying to send me email through the Shout Box  gizmo but unfortunatelymy  Microsoft Outlook Startup is not functioning ,  so please send me your email through your normal email channel to :


With warmest regards and sincere good wishes to everyone


A Random Act of Kindness

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I  actually got this idea of doing a random act of kindness from Oprah Winfrey , the most talkative of all talk show hosts! and really, I think she does a great job, full of verve and vitality.

One of the ideas I picked up from her ' random act of kindness'  episode  was when  she told her viewers to do something for the benefit of  others without expecting anything in return - which is exactly what kindness is all about anyway.  Some  examples of random act of  kindness she espoused were  paying  for the car behind you while waiting in line at the toll booth,  paying for a meal for someone at the same eaterie you' re in , doing the grocery shopping for your neighbour ( depends on what kind of neighbour you have, I suppose ) etc...etc., you get the idea.  Nothing big or going out of your way to show everyone how kind you are  but simple things that anyone can do anywhere without making a big hulabaloo.....

Although this particular episode was shown a few years ago, it left a deep impression on me and ever since then, I have been practising it wherever and whenever possible.  And frankly, its not that big a sacrifice, its just a little extra effort and thought but it certainly makes me feel   reeeaal  good inside and along the way, I have modified my random act of kindness to suit the situation.

Once, when I paid the toll for the car behind me, the toll booth operator asked me whether the driver behind was my relation or 'saudara'.  I say no and she said ' Oh ? '.  I especially like to show my appreciation when I have to 'cut in' when I have gone to the wrong lane and after paying the toll for the driver who has allowed me the way, I would wave my hand and drive off.  The surprised driver would wave to me with a smile when he/she catches up with me on the road.  Great fun, this one..... do try it   .....

Sadly, I can't seem to do this anymore because I now have ' Touch N Go' card to pay at the automatic booth - couldn't stand the queue la 

Now, the paying for the meal thingy is a bit different.  I certainly don't believe in paying for someone's else meal in a posh restaurant!.  That would be downright stupid and I would have to have my head examined by a shrink.  The way to go about it is when you patronise  the hawker foodstalls or the family owned restaurants/kopitiam which are dotted along the outskirts of  town or even in the town itself. The poor are not limited to the backyards only, you know.  When having a meal at these eateries, I would casually observe the crowd and when I see someone elderly  having a meal or anyone  hanging outside the eaterie  whom I think deserves a meal ,  I would pay for the them when I settle the bill and inform the cashier to not reveal anything, just that an anonymous person paid for him/her out of kindness and not on pity.   Most often,  they will ask why I'm doing this or worse, what big sin/mistake/wrong I had committed and am now making amends for it ?!!!. After my initial shock and stunned stupid look on my face, I realised that this must be a new concept  for them. Sometimes I have a hard time explaining that its just a simple act of human kindness that all of us must do but most often, I leave them with a surprised look on their face! 

Sometimes, when there are no other customers, I'll usually tell the cashier to keep the change , top it up with a $ 10 or so and tell them to give a decent meal for any deserving  Ak Kow  Arasu  or Ahmad who comes along.  (  hey, please give a minimum of $5/ - at least okay) If it is a regular eaterie that I patronise, I'll usually have a 'standing instruction' kind of arrangement thingy  and will settle the payment later.  My son, Arvind, asked me what if the cashier takes the money and doesn.t give the meal?  " Well,  I explained to him, ' thats his sin to bear, ain't mine ' .  Now, my son is the scouter for the elderly when we go 'makan' and we both have a great time.  My daughter, Thangam , 19, is more of a silent observer and is not a voluble person like mother and son, but I'm sure she got the drift.  I don't believe in preaching about kindness to my kids but not showing them how its done.  Wasn't it the great Lao Tsu who said - A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" ?

Well, I have started on my journey with tiny steps and I hope everyone follows Lao Tsu in everything they do .............

A Note to God

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For the past 1  month or so, after updating my blog, I would log on to Youtube without  fail and watch a young teenager sing with all  her heart and soul    " A Note to God " .  And I'll keep replaying and replaying and replaying her debut on Oprah's talkshow . I never get fed up. It's that  unbelievable and awesome, her vocals , her  raw emotions and her performance .  Even Celine Dion, the only artist I think her weight is worth in gold, cannot, in my opinion, do what Charise Pempengco did with her ' A note to God' .  I  get goosepimples on my skin every time I watch  and hear her rendition of it .  She has performed her signature song all over the world and every one of her performance has received a standing ovation the world over.

It's one of  those feel good moments watching Charise, with her  very troubled childhood background,bring to life the essence of the song ' A note to God ' written by Diane Warren and helmed by the legendary David Forster.  And it is at these moments I feel thankful to God, for there's still Hope left in this world....

Although other singers have attempted this song before, no one beats Charise's rendition and if you watch her on the Oprah show,  you'll know what I mean - you just simply have to and I can guarantee you won't regret ever . The link is

Coupled with the beautiful lyrics and Charise's  powerful rendition, it simply takes my breath away and brings an undescribable feeling in my heart .  Consider the lyrics :

                        If  I wrote a Note to God
                        I would speak whats in my soul
                        I'd ask for all the hate to be swept away
                        For love to overflow

                        If I wrote a Note to God
                        I'll pour my heart out on each page
                        I'd ask for war to end
                        for peace to mend this world

                         I'd say, I'd say I'd say
                         Give us the strength to make it thru
                         Help us to find love cause love is overdue
                         N seems like so much is going wrong  on this road we're on

                         If I wrote a Note to God
                         I'd say please help us find our way,
                         End all the bitterness, put some tenderness in our hearts

                         I'd say, I'd say, I'd say
                         And it looks like we haven't got a clue
                         Need some help from you
                         Grant us the faith to carry on
                         Give us hope when it seems all hope is gone
                         Cause it seems like so much is going wrong
                          On this road we're on
                          We can't do this on our own......

Hope you'll feel the same as I did and still do...............

My Walkabout Handbag "

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This is a woven 'mengkuang' handbag that one of
my friends gave me as a gift  quite some time ago.  It came in a set of  3 and  this was the largest one.

While spring cleaning my storeroom, I  spotted it in a corner of my shelf, looking like Plain Jane.

So what better to do than to give it a go?

Ps: It's quite a handy bag to dump in all our personal stuff - from water bottles, cosmetic bag, small gadgets, books , etc,.  It  has however, no compartment or zip except for a large coconut shell button that you can see at the top centre of the bag.

If you want peace, you must work for justice

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I  heard and read with utter disgust and shame of  what happened   at  the 1 Malaysia seminar organised by the Information Ministry at Malacca.  Since it was a multi-racial seminar with Malaysians of all races attending, I find it hard to believe that the Prime Minister's  Special Aide, of all people,   had uttered those terrible words.  It was a seminar meant to foster unity for Malaysians, for Pete's sake! and what business had  that nincompoop  to spew such vile words  which practically destroyed whatever is left of  the Malaysian fabric ? ( Didn't I  opine earlier that most  Malaysian politicians have failed in their History at school.  )

How could he even  speak at a  government sponsored meeting in such a manner?  Telling the Malaysian Indians that they came to Malaysia as beggars and the Malaysian Chinese as people who came to Malaysia to sell their bodies is really the pits in common decency, if he even had one in the first place! And he had been the PM's special Aide for close to 30 years? 

I really don't know what is happening in our country - unexplained deaths in police custody , political scandals in the print media which are so shameful that I don't read the papers in front of my children, lest they ask me to explain ,  unwarranted temple demolitions,  arson in churches and mosques, political back-stabbings, and now, the creme de la creme, the PM's own Special Aide humiliating the Indians and Chinese of Malaysia, no less! .  We can't  go any lower  than that now, can we?  The Guinness Book of  World  Records pales in comparison to what we are achieving now.  Malaysia is now known throughout the world for all the wrong reasons.  From the New York Times  in the West to the Asian Wall Street Journal in the East, we are gaining a reputation in infamy. 

I want to ask the b*****  idiot - what is so wrong about living together in peace in  Malaysia and being a true Malaysian, in  the real sense of the word?  Why must they always keep saying things which are so hurtful and destructive   that it divides  us along race and ethnic at every corner we take  ? .  Does speaking like that make him a better person or gained him anything, except our scorn , anger and disgust?  I would surely have socked him good and proper if I had been there.   It's a real pity that I wasn't attending!

Just this evening, my 15 year old son listened to the 8 o"clock prime news in NTV 7 and asked me to explain what the furore was all about .  What would I say  to an  impressionable 15 year old teenager who attends a national school and all his best friends are Malays?  

You tell me...................

Mrs Henny Penny Egg Holder

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Ha,  I was finally able to paint Mrs Henny Penny with her eggs and chick on a bed of straw.

This is my 6th painting of her.  The other 5 were sold to my customers. Almost all  of my students who come to my home for classes have taken a liking to her and  some have done it for their homes.

Mrs Henny Penny is no scrawny designer chicken.  She's well  endowed and has a contented look.  That's more than I can say for some of us.......... ( please, no malice meant )

My Instant T - shirt Makeover

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I bought this plain white t-shirt at a recent sale at an  MNG  outlet  during the last year end sale - cost me just about  RM $20.00 or so.  In fact, I bought several of these plain tees in the basic colours .

Brought them home, took out my  brushes and just slip slapped  whatever I felt like painting, completely freestyle  I  couldn't be bothered with drawing out the design or pattern - just dipped the brush into the leftover paint in my palette and  straight away painted directly on it - after all it was just for house use anyway, so it didn't have to be perfect.

I felt a lot more ' free' and relaxed  when I painted this way.  Didn't have to  worry about  making mistakes either.

It looked quite okay to me after I had finished  and it took me less than 30 minutes  and I have already worn it to the market. My greengrocer thought it was quite pretty.  Boy! was I happy or what!