The term “Batik” is an Indonesian-Malay word (Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malay are the official languages of Indonesia and Malaysia and are linguistically similar).  Batik has come to be used as a generic term which refers to the process of dyeing fabric by making use of a resist technique; covering areas of cloth with a dye-resistant substance to prevent them absorbing colors.  The technique is thought to be over a thousand years old and historical evidence demonstrates that cloth decorated with this resist technique was in use in the early centuries AD in Africa, the Middle East and in several places in Asia.  Although there is no sure explanation as to where batik first was “invented”, many observers believe that it was brought to Asia by travelers from the Indian subcontinent.

Despite the fact that batik may have originated elsewhere, most observers believe that batik has reached its highest artistic expression in Indonesia, particularly in Java.  The art of Batik was later spread to the rest of the Indonesian archipelago and to the Malay Peninsula where the popularity of the cloth led to the establishment of many other production centers.  Batik has become a very central means of artistic expression for many of the areas of Asia and a deeply integrated facet of Asian culture.

Much of the popularity of Batik can be tied to the fact that the batik technique offers immense possibilities for artistic freedom as patterns are applied by actual drawing rather than by weaving with thread.  Another factor in its popularity is the fact that it is so durable.  The colors in Batik are much more resistant to wear than those of painted or printed fabrics because the cloth is completely immersed in dye and the areas not protected by resist are allowed to absorb hues to the extent that the colors will not easily fade.

As we noted at the first, batik is now a generic term.  Because of the popularity of batik designs, many batik patterns are used in a wide variety of fabrics.  Many fabrics are called batik although they were not made in the resist method.  Most purists believe that such cloth has a batik like design but is not true batik which is confined to fabrics made through the application of the originally conceived Javanese methods of resist dyeing.  Modern designers in Indonesia, Malaysia and to a lesser extent Thailand, the Philippines and elsewhere often use batik design elements and often the actual batik clothe in their clothing and accessories.  Although most batik fabric is now decorated and tailored by machine, there still remains a considerable market for high-quality, hand-made batik. 


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Regards Croises

JEUDI 24 Février

Le goût de l’aventure
A la conquête de nouveaux territoires


Conference de Brigitte Bernard, Melanie Goudard et Segolene Delorme 

En prenant le chemin de la route des épices, nous découvrirons qui étaient ces compagnies maritimes de commerce qui parcouraient le monde ? Pour quelles raisons avaient-elles été créées ? Par qui ? Pour qui agissaient-elles vraiment ? Leur importance et leur influence sur le monde au XVI et XVII siècle.

Ainsi, la VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie ou littéralement Compagnie unie des Indes Orientales) envoya près d’un million d’Européens à bord de 4785 navires pour aller faire du commerce en Asie et put ainsi, grâce aux efforts de ces hommes, traiter plus de 2,5 millions de tonnes de marchandises en provenance d’Asie.

Horaire : 9h30 pour un cafe offert par le musee debut de la conference a 10h00.

Rendez-vous : Musee Negara (pensez a votre echarpe)

Inscription : Melanie et Brigitte regards.croises@hotmail


Wayang Kulit

Magic of his shadow play

By Satiman Jamin


Wayang kulit master Eyo Hock Seng mixes traditional tales with modern ones to tell the tale of the Mid-Autumn festival at Kampung Cina here. — Pictures by Satiman Jamin

Wayang kulit master Eyo Hock Seng mixes traditional tales with modern ones to tell the tale of the Mid-Autumn festival at Kampung Cina here. — Pictures by Satiman Jamin
(From left) Alex Kenyon, Priya Punatar, Meg Perry and Molly Smith are mesmerised by the wayang kulit performance.

(From left) Alex Kenyon, Priya Punatar, Meg Perry and Molly Smith are mesmerised by the wayang kulit performance.


KUALA TERENGGANU: Wayang kulit or shadow play master Eyo Hock Seng gave the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration in Kampung Cina here a decidedly 1Malaysia

 flavour on Friday night.  Local and foreign visitors who thronged the carnival stopped in their tracks and converged near an abandoned two-storey building that

 had been turned into a wayang kulit stage as the sound of traditional Malay music signalled the start of the show.  Eyo, 55, and his five accompanying musicians were

specially brought in by the carnival committee to tell the story of the Mid-Autumn Festival origin.  His 30 years experience as a wayang kulit master or tok dalang

showed through as he artfully mixed the use of traditional characters like Wak Dogol and Sri Rama with kebaya-clad puppets to give his performance a contemporary

touch.  “This is the first time ever that i performed in a Mid-Autumn festival celebration,” the only Chinese in Malaysia to master the art of being a tok dalang said in thick

Kelantanese dialect.  “I have been dabbling in wayang kulit since I was 9. My parents and the Malay community from whom I learnt the art were very supportive of my

inclination to become a tok dalang,”  It was the first time American citizens Molly Smith, 23, Priya Punatar, 23, and Alex Kenyon, 24, saw a wayang kulit performance.

Smith said she had known about wayang kulit but had never come across a live performance.  “I came to see the Mid-Autumn festival celebration. It is a pleasant surprise

 for us to watch wayang kulit performance here.”  Kenyon, who turned 24 on Friday, regarded the show as one of his best birthday gifts. “The shadow play performance

will always be remembered as the highlight of my 24th birthday.”

Read more: Magic of his shadow play


Regards Croises

Jeudi 21 Avril 2011

« Et si Kuala Lumpur vous était racontée ! » By KL boy and Architect, A. Najib Ariffin
Même si KL est une ville jeune, elle a en son sein une multitude de petites histoires avec ses faits réels mais aussi ses idées reçues. Surprenante KL, car elle n’aurait jamais dû devenir ce qu’elle est aujourd’hui. Maladies tropicales, guerre civile … ont stoppé sa croissance à sa naissance. Mais KL l’incroyable est devenue peu à peu une ville internationale, développée et si agréable à vivre. Il y a tant de choses à découvrir sur l’histoire de Kuala Lumpur…
Et Najib est heureux de venir partager avec nous l’histoire de KL, vue de l’intérieur.

Horaire : 9h30 café offert par le musée puis conférence de 10h a midi.

 Rendez-vous : Musee Negara, Kuala Lumpur,

Participation : 5 rm (prix d’entree du Musee)

Renseignements et inscriptions : Mélanie et Brigitte :

Happy New Year 2011

Welcome to 2011 at the Museum!

We had our first committee meeting of the year today, and there is plenty in store for you all. The newsletter will be out shortly, and coming up we have a pot luck lunch for Chinese New Year, and the graduation of the new training group. Also, there will be a “Night at the Museum” in conjunction with French Week in March, and a series of lectures for all members (both new graduates and old hands)

More immediately, we need more feedback and involvement from all our members for our daily free tours, schools programme and research programme. Look out for a note in your email box on this.

If you are not involved in MV and are thinking of starting our 2011 training programme in September, please click on the tab “2011 training” at the top of the page. We look forward to welcoming you on board.

New Museums Opening

New museum branch to woo tourists

By Danny Ooi

Sisters Amira Hasual Jamal (left), Ainina (second from left) and Adela (right) take a closer look at a painting in the new branch of the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery at Jalan Macalister, Penang. Looking on is student from Iran, Leila Kakaabdollahshiraz. - NST picture by GS Narinder Singh

Sisters Amira Hasual Jamal (left), Ainina (second from left) and Adela (right)
 take a closer look at a painting in the new branch of the Penang State Museum
and Art Gallery at Jalan Macalister, Penang. Looking on is student from Iran,
Leila Kakaabdollahshiraz. – NST picture by GS Narinder Singh

GEORGE TOWN: Locals and tourists will soon have an extra venue to explore the island’s rich heritage and artifacts.This is made possible with the opening of the state’s museum and art gallery’s new branch in Jalan Macalister here on Saturday.

State museum board chairman Wong Hon Wai said the opening of the new branch marked a new chapter in the history of the state’s museum.

“It is our vision to make use of this new place to further promote the history and arts of our state.

“We hope to have something unique, something vibrant and something extraordinary, to compliment our existing museum in Lebuh Farquhar,

” he said at the signing and handover ceremony of the building between the state museum board and the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP).

The state’s museum was represented by Wong and MPPP by its president Patahiyah Ismail.

Wong said it would take between three and five years to fully equip the new place with collections of the island’s heritage and artifacts.

He said visits to various museums in the world, such as the Pearl Harbour Memorial in Hawaii, the War Museum in Hiroshima, Japan and the Palace

Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, had given him new insights about the countries’ history and livelihood of its people.

The state museum and art galley was established in 1964 at Lebuh Farquhar.

In 1994, the art gallery was moved to Dewan Sri Pinang.

Read more: New museum branch to woo tourists

Penang Heritage

Tuesday November 23, 2010

Heritage site to reopen


New attraction: The Logan Heritage on Beach Street used to be the workplace of a prominent lawyer James Richardson Logan in the

1980s. A 140-YEAR-OLD building on Beach Street, Penang, that was restored at a cost of RM6.8mil will be opened to the public next

month. The Logan’s Building, which is now known as the Logan Heritage, is a two-storey building owned by the OCBC Bank and it has

23 office units with a built-up area of 3,994.8sq metres. Painted in beige, it sits majestically at the junction of Beach Street, Union Street

and Bishop Street. The building used to be the workplace of a prominent lawyer James Richardson Logan in the 1860s. He and his elder

brother, Abraham came from Edinburgh, Scotland, to the Straits Settlement of Penang in the 1840s. They both practised law in Singapore

before migrating to Penang in the 1860s. It is said that Logan was loved by the local residents then as he was devoted to justice and knowledge.

Apparently, he had on some occasions defended the needy on a pro bono basis at no cost to them. Originally, a grand three-storey building

with cast iron balconies, it was later reduced to two storeys. It also has an inner courtyard within the premises. The last occupant on the

ground floor was Barkath Store before the building was closed for restoration early this year. The restoration project was conceived by

OCBC Bank which spent RM5mil while Kuala Lumpur-based TecCentury Sdn Bhd, which is a property management company, spent RM1.8mil.

TecCentury executive director Joe Kan Weng Hoe said the building would be officially opened on Dec 17. It shall boast a variety of food

and beverages outlets, a foreign currency exchange facility, a gadgets’ shop, a convenience store besides smaller commercial interests.

“We also hope to promote tourism with a uniqueness of Penang Heritage through this pre-war building. We also hope to turn the premises

into a food and beverage hub coupled with light entertainment for bankers in the area,” he said during a briefing tour yesterday.

Kan also said that a hall was also set up to be a briefing spot on Penang’s heritage.“We will work closely with the George Town World

Heritage Inc to invite all schools in Penang to Logan Heritage for free briefings. “Our main objective is to embrace Penang’s heritage

and we have different concepts for this building. It is also a good stop for tourists to enjoy its rich heritage value,” he said.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who visited the building yesterday, praised the efforts of the bank and the company in meeting the heritage

guidelines of the Penang Municipal Council.

Branch of the Penang State Museum

Tuesday September 21, 2010

Restored building to house museum

A HERITAGE building on Macalister Road near Komtar in George Town has been turned into a branch of the Penang state museum. The 98-year-old building at 57 Macalister Road was in a derelict state for 15 years before the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) started  renovating it in 2001. The Penang International Print Exhibition 2010 is now being held at 57, Jalan Macalister.

Council president Patahiyah Ismail said due to the building’s heritage category 2 classification, the RM6.5 million renovation work took six years before it was completed at the end of 2007. “Time was needed to carefully scrape the previous layers of paints and look for the original tiles,” she said, adding that the building was now sporting its original colour. Penang Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai, who is also the state museum board’s chairman, said it would take time to promote the building. “It will take us three to five years to have a good collection of artefacts and collection. However, we will continue our efforts to make this museum an important education source for Penangites and tourists,” he said. Museum director Haryany Mohamad said no entry fee would be charged for the moment but it would be imposed when there is a good collection of exhibits at the double-storey building. She expected the entry fee to be higher than the RM1 per person charged at the museum on Farquhar Street.

The Penang International Print Exhibition 2010 is currently being held at the Macalister Road building. It will end on Oct 16. Haryany said the Penang state art gallery would also use the building to showcase artwork and organise activities involving visual arts. The MPPP handed over the building to the state museum board in a ceremony last Saturday, which was witnessed by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. The building was first used as the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital from 1915 to 1955 when the hospital moved to its present premises on Jalan Residensi. Lim hoped that the heritage building could become a tool to promote Penang as a vibrant and cultural heritage city. “I hope that this building will be a museum that can personify our unique culture and heritage with its artefacts and exhibitions. “We want unorthodox and dynamic displays that can attract the younger generation,” he said in his speech during the handing over ceremony on Saturday.

Farquhar’s Melaka collection of drawings is published

I was just in Singapore and the National Museum of Singapore has published a fabulous book  entitled “Natural History Drawings, the complete William Farquhar Collection.” For the first time ever, the 477 drawings of the flora and fauna of the Malay Peninsula commissioned by William Farquhar when he was the British Resident and Commandant of Melaka from 1803 to 1818, have been published in one volume.

In 1826, these drawings were donated by Farquhar to the Royal Asiatic Society in London, which then auctioned them for sale in 1993. A Singaporean, Mr Goh Geok Khim, purchased them and then presented the full set of drawings to Singapore’s National Heritage Board in 1996.

Putrajaya’s Secret Garden

In the Putrajaya Botanical Gardens, there is the most remarkable Moroccan Pavillion. I found it by chance when I visited with my parents. It is stuck down in the corner, between the carpark and the lake and it is a total gem of Moroccan Islamic architecture, with several beautiful rooms around a courtyard. The RM3 entrance fee is most definitely worth it, and its almost worth driving all the way to Putrajaya just to see it. I could find out very little about its history, so please email me at if you have any information.

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