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