Heat and Dust

by Magan

MV Book Club Meeting                                                                                                             7 November 2012

Since October, when we discussed Please Look After Mum, the book clubbers have been meeting at Dr Cafe, Publika and the general consensus is that this place is more conducive for discussion compared to the MV room.  You will  first need to recover from the traffic jam with a good cup of coffee, though.

MV Book-Clubbers discussing Heat and Dust at Dr Cafe

Today, we discussed “Heat and Dust” by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.  The story is set in India and it parallels the lives of two English women living 50 years apart – one is the married Olivia, living during the time of the British Raj and the other is the narrator, grandchild of Olivia’s husband, living during the flower power era of the hippies.

The discussion was led by Mique who had prepared a list of questions before-hand and she shepherded us back to these when we strayed, which we did very often.  The animated discussion certainly generated a lot of ‘heat’ and emotion, in contrast to the book which uses a very matter-of-fact tone.  There was mixed reaction to the book – from a rating of 2/10 to 8/10.  One thing we did agree on was that none of the main characters were likable, although there was some sympathy for Olivia.  The Nawab’s manipulative character did not endear him to us nor did the narrator’s permissiveness.  Ironically, the book club meeting event has been titled ‘Heat&Lust’ in the Yahoo calendar.  A Freudian slip?

For me personally, it was an interesting read as the book is well written with very good portrayal of people, places and events both of the British Raj and of India after independence.  However, the rather bland tone used did not evoke any emotions and hence this is a story that will not stay with me – a good read but easily forgotten.

We are reading Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s “This Earth of Mankind” for the next meeting scheduled on 5th of December.  See you there!

Sling Bags Launched

En. Wan Jamaluddin showing the contents of the slings bags during the official launch.

Sling Bags for families with young children was launched during the 6th Graduation Ceremony in Feb 2012.  This marked the culmination of two years of effort by Karen Loh and Zahara Shariman to make the museum more interactive, fun and educational for children.

The sling bags contain games and puzzles and families can borrow the bags from the front desk at Muzium Negara.

Young volunteers tried out the slings bags during the launch and gave a thumbs up.

New Volunteer Training 2012 – Flyer

Our next volunteer training intake starts this coming September!  There will be an information morning on Sat 8 Sept at 10am during which you can ask any burning questions you may have.  Please click on the link below to view the flyer on this training.

MVM New Volunteer Training 2012

You can also get further information by clicking on the page ‘2012 Training‘ at the top of this website.

With sorrow, we mark the death of Dato Dr. Adi Taha

First MV Graduation 2007
Dato’ Dr. Adi Taha with the first graduates of the Museum Volunteers Programme April 2007

Dato’ Dr. Adi Taha, former Director General of the Department of Museums Malaysia, died from cancer at his house in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur on 4  February 2012.

Dr. Adi joined the National Museum as a curator of archaeology in 1975 after graduating from the National University Malaysia with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology.  In 1981, Dr. Adi enrolled at the Australian National University, Canberra, for his Masters and later obtained his Doctor of Philosophy from the same university in 2001.
During his tenure with the Department of Museums Malaysia, Dr. Adi had held several positions before culminating in the position of Director General in 2002, a position he held until his mandatory retirement in 2007. Dr. Adi pioneered museum work and research on prehistoric human artifacts, the Bujang Valley civilization and the establishment of new museums in Malaysia and several block buster exhibitions. He was also instrumental in initiating and supporting the establishment of the Museum Volunteers programme at Muzium Negara in 2006, which led to its official launch in April 2007, when some 20 docents graduated from the first training programme.

2007 first graduation
Dato’ Dr. Adi Taha presenting Marie Tseng with her graduation certificate April 2007

During his tenure with the museum department, Dr. Adi attended many general conferences and assemblies of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and presented papers at international seminars and workshops abroad and locally.  Among his social and professional involvements were; Vice President of the Association of Malaysian Archaeologists (1997), President of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (2002-2004) and President of ICOM Malaysia (2002 – 2010)
Although retired, Dr. Adi’s zeal and passion for the museum did not falter. He joined University Malaysia Kelantan as a principal fellow in the Faculty of Creative Technology & Heritage and continued to contribute to the field of museology and culture. His expertise on museums and archaeology was often sought by museum’s curators, academicians and individuals. Dr Adi also wrote several books and articles on the prehistory of Malaysia.
Born on Aug 3, 1951 in Kodiang, Kedah, Dr Adi died age 60 and leaves behind his wife, Wan Aminah Wan Yusof and six children. We will miss our eminent and affable curator Dato’ Dr. Adi Taha.
Adapted from an obituary written by Janet Tee Siew Mooi, Director of the National Textile Museum

French Language Week 2011 in Kuala Lumpur

The Francophonie represents more than 200 million French-speakers on the 5 continents!

Every year, the French Language Week is celebrated worldwide. It will be the 16th edition in Malaysia this year from 20th to 27th March.

The French Language Week is an initiative taken every year in Malaysia by 23 diplomatic missions who are members of the OIF: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Ghana, Guinea, Laos, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritius, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam.

The Alliance Française of Kuala Lumpur and Penang, the Association Museum Volunteers Malaysia hosted by Muzium Negara Kuala Lumpur, the Association des Francophones en Malaisie (Association of French-speakers in Malaysia, AFM) and the AMPF (the Malaysian French Teachers Association) as well as the French school in Kuala Lumpur are also associated to the project in Malaysia to make this event an unforgettable week.

French Language Week in Museum Negara :

Guided tours in French
From 21st to 23rd March
Time: 9.00 am to 12.30 pm
Lieu: Muzium Negara, Jalan Damansara
Only for students and scholarsFree admission – Please registrer flwmalaysia2011@gmail.com / 03 20 53 55 00

Explore treasures of Malaysia at the Muzium Negara thanks to the French-speaking guides from the association Museum Volunteers(MV).

Night guided tour and talk in French
Date: Tuesday 22nd March
Time: 7.00 pm
Lieu: Muzium Negara, Jalan Damansara

Free admission – Please registrer regards.croises@hotmail.fr
A night at the museum, is that fine with you? Mr Po Dharma Quang, expert of history and civilization of Campa, has proposed to share his knowledge (it will be in French of course) to make us discover all the secrets of this civilization. Then, accompanied by the French-speaking guides from the association MVM, the Museum Negara opens its doors to the public after nightfall.

Folk tales to the Cham people at Mid Vietnam
By Po Dharma Quang, French School of Far East (EFEO)

The Cham people, descendants of the ancient kingdom of Champa at Mid Vietnam, speak like the Malays people, a language belonging to the Austronesian family. The close relations with the Malay civilisation involved reciprocal influences.

The Cham people have a great literary treasure even though this domain is relatively unknown in South-East Asia and worldwide. This civilisation likes telling stories and tales are an integral part of the popular literature. Diffused in all social classes, folk tales are recited by the common people during a vigil, a period of relaxation or during a festival.

About the expert
Po dharma Quang is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the Muzium Negara, the University of Malaya and the National University on a program officially established by the EFEO ( French School of Far East) in 1987. The main objectives concern the Malay culture and civilisation and the West Austroasians dialects. The first specific results of this program are the publication of a Malay dictionary from XVII based on 7 Cam manuscripts and the writing of a dictionary integrating 6 Austroasians languages of the Indochinese and Malaysian peninsulas.


Eastern and Oriental Express special tour 17 Jan 2011

The Eastern and Oriental Express has launched a new train ride from Singapore to Bangkok, which stops in Kuala Lumpur. The inaugural trip took place in January and on 17 January, a group of six passengers came for a special trip to the museum. These were all journalists, working for various publications in Europe and the region. Lorien Holland gave them a tour of Galleries B&C and hopefully we will good publicity from the visit — and more train passengers in the future.


Camping and Tramping: The Museum in Malaya

The National University of Singapore has an exhibition on the making of the museum in Malaya, based on a range of colonial archives. If anyone has a chance to visit (it runs to Jan 2012) please post a comment below. It sounds interesting

Camping and Tramping Through the Colonial Archive: The Museum in Malaya

13 Jan 2011 – 2012

NUS Museum New*

The term Camping and Tramping is inspired by a lesser known 19th century document compiled by a British officer describing the field work and travails of his time with the colonial office in Malaya. This exhibition traces the rise of the Museum in British Malaya not just as an indicator of power over what was gazed upon as the exotic but by acknowledging that the very advent of the Museum resulted in a staging ground for a project of accumulation and the ordering of knowledge. Writings and artefacts have been mobilized from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (NUS), Asian Civilizations Museum, National Museum of Singapore, National Library Board Singapore, Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore National Archives, NUS Museum, and the Ivan Polunin and Mohammad Din Mohammad collections.

Muzium Negara pocket guide – English version

The Muzium Negara pocket guide English version is now finished. It should be available soon in the Muzium Negara (once it is printed out). Many thanks to E. Bonnet and E. Michel for writing the original French version, for Marie Tseng and Lorien Holland for translating and editing the English version and for Weronika Rudkiewicz for the fab layout.

Other versions in Bahasa Malaysia, Japanese and other languages are coming.

Museum Negara pocket guide – English version (draft)


Farewell for Dian Banz Derez

More than 20 volunteers came to farwell Dian Banz-Derez at the Chynna Restaurant, Hilton Hotel, on Thursday February 24. Dian has contributed much to the MV in the past three years. As well as being multi-lingual (tours in Flemish, German, English and great French too…)  she has also coordinated the weekend training programme. Dank je wel, jumpa lagi Dian!Dian with dim sum

Diane farewell lunch

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


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