Friday, September 12, 2008

Kuala Lumpur Thieves' Market

The Thieves' Market are not named out of novelty and the goods may have a tainted past. If you wish to check out the place, go early between 7am to 10am where business is at its peak.

This is one sleazy corner of Kuala Lumpur I would not like to be on the tours' itinerary simply because of the dangers it pose. But again, which nation in the wordly doesn't have it - a Thieves Market, where you are constantly unsure whether the goods are stolen or just scavenged from the rubbish dumps.

Then again, there are people who beg to differ in that here in lies some things that you are not likely to find in established shopping malls or even junk stores.

Things like old VCDs, books, loud speakers, rare amplifiers, coconut scrapers, radios, screws and bolts, rusty saws, one or two rare paintings, and the likes. Or even shirts and shoes that have been used that cost large fractions of their original prices, and whish with a little bit of cleaning, can still be used.

Kuala Lumpur's Thieves Market lies along Jalan Sultan. You can't miss it simply because it is located behind the row of shops that front Petaling Street. The place is a hive of activities from early mornings, sometimes as early as midnight when prying eyes of the authorities take their daily rest.

The best time to visit this place is in the wee hours of the morning and the crowd peaks at about 7am. You can find plenty of second-hand goods here, but don't ask about how the traders got them. Just get the best bargain and if it seems worthwhile, get it. Otherwise move on and come another day.

While browsing here, you might want to take care of your wallet. No, not that you will be fleeced by the traders or be tempted to spend more than you actually need. This place is the haunt of pickpockets and these faceless hoods move in and out of the crowd quite easily. If you are not too careful, your wallet might end up being on of the items being sold here over the next couple of months - after its contents have been relieved, of course.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Mooncake Festival in Kuala Lumpur

The Mooncake Festival, otherwise known as the Mid Autumn Festival in a grander name, is celebrated on the eighth lunar month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

The celebration comes on the heels of the Hungry Ghost Festival, which is the Seventh Month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. While the latter is one month the Chinese considered inauspicious, the Eight Month is considered very auspicious, particularly on the Fifteenth Day.

Garfield immortalised in a lantern!

On that day, it is believed that the moon is at its loveliest and largest, and it is also the day the Chinese give thanks to the Goddess of the Moon for a bountiful harvest.

During this time, the Chinese plan all sorts of auspicious events, especially weddings, and particularly on the Fifteenth Day.

The Mooncake Festival, also known among the Cantonese as the Chung Chow Cheet (Mid Autumn Festival), is actually celebrated from the first day of the eighth month to the fifteenth day. During the final day of celebration, the Chinese will hold feasts outdoors and enjoy mooncakes. Children will also be allowed to sleep late that night to enjoy the full moon and in villages, even today, they go around the neighbourhood parading paper lanterns.

Superman lantern.

The pictures you see here are lanterns of various types, ranging from the candle-lit glass paper lanterns to battery powered types. These range from RM3 (USD1) to RM10 (USD3).

Plastic mouse shaped lantern with music. These are battery powered.

Although traditional lanterns, ie the paper made ones, are not easy to find in cities, rural sundry shops stock them and they are quite a sight to watch during the day. There are lots of designs although traditional ones sport mythical creatures such as the unicorn or dragon. Today, you find comic characters and cartoon superheroes instead.

Accordion lantern carrying a cartoon superhero.

Mooncakes are rice flour cakes with sweet fillings such as red bean paste or lotus paste for the cheaper ones. More expensive ones contain mixed nuts and salted egg yolks and even meat stuffed within.

This one is expensive, just look at the metal box in which the four mooncakes are kept in.

The cheaper ones, only a fraction of the price of the metal box packaged one above.

Mooncakes range from RM5 a pack of four for cheap ones to RM50 per box of four of expensive ones. Of course, it is easy to discern the more expensive by looking at the packaging - more expensive ones have grander, usually metal, packaging boxes.

Plain rice flour mooncake. This one does not contain any filling. It is not eaten either. It is usually used as a prayer item among offerings to the Goddess of the Moon.

Friday, September 05, 2008

September Happenings

Featuring pictures from the past and present that highlights the country’s 51 years of independence.
Venue: Ground Floor, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya
Details: Call 03-7710 8118
Time: Sun - Thu : 10am - 10pm / Fri and Sat : 10am - 10.30pm


A solo exhibition and re-launch of the iconic contemporary Malaysian artist Zulkifli Yusoff. It has been eight years since Zulkifli Yusoff held a solo exhibition of his works in Malaysia and this exhibition promises to deliver some of his most provocative artworks to date. Using a combination of media in a layered format, including a blend of silk-screen, painting, photographic transfers, drawings, embossing and fibreglass, Zulkifli’s new works draw direct reference to historical and current events that have made a mark on Malaysian society. He was particularly inspired by the book written by Frank Swettenham in the 19th century entitled ‘Malay Sketches’, and has expanded on a number of the themes in the book in his new paintings.
Venue: Wei Ling Gallery, No. 8 Jalan Scott, Brickfields
Time: Mon-Fri 12pm-7pm; Sat:10am-5pm (Sun : By Appointment)
Details: Call 03-2260 1106/7

Sale and promotion of stuff related to the festive occasion
Venue: Ground Floor, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya
Details: Call 03-7710 8118
Time: Sun - Thu : 10am - 10pm / Fri and Sat : 10am - 10.30pm

Promotion of mooncakes and things related to the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Time: 10am to 10pm
Venue: Berjaya Times Square, 1 Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur
Details: Call 03-2144 9821

Indonesian artist Wayan Gede Susana features his work.
Venue: Art House Gallery, Desa Sri Hartamas, 20-1, Jalan 24/70A, Kuala Lumpur
Time: 10:30am - 7:00pm (Mon - Sat)/ 1:00pm - 6:00pm (Sunday and Public Holidays)
Details: Call 03-2300 1343

Comedy by local group.
Time: 8.30pm (Tuesdays - Saturdays) / 3pm (Sundays) / NO SHOWS ON MONDAY
Venue: Pentas 1, KLPac, Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan, off Jalan Ipoh
Admission: Tickets at RM60 / RM40 / RM20 (students)
Details: 03-4047 9000/2094 9400

Sales promotion related to the Hari Raya Puasa or Aidil Fitri celebrations.
Venue: Putra Concourse, Putra World Trade Centre, Jalan Putra
Time: 10am to 10pm
Details: Call 019 358 0890/014-638 0090 (Melissa)


Exhibition by artists from Tieling China and Malaysian Artists. This exhibition will display more than a hundred pieces of exquisite artworks by 14 artists from China and 11 artists from Malaysia.
Venue: Ground Floor Exhibition Hall, Wisma Kebudayaan SGM, Bukit Bintang
Time: 11.00am to 6.00pm
Admission : Free
Details: 03-9075 6876 (Ms. Chan Yin Kwan)

This is the third solo by Bangkok artist Natee Utarit in Kuala Lumpur. The artist here conjures the birth of Thai democracy and so modern Thai political history as a means of commenting on actual and pressing political issues.
Time: 12 - 8pm Monday to Friday, and 12 - 6 pm Saturday. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Details: Call 03-2284 2348

After completing his PhD in Hobart, art lecturer and printmaker Mohd Fauzi Sedon, returns for his second solo exhibition.
Venue: NN GALLERY, 53A - 56 Jalan Sulaiman 1, Taman Ampang Hilir,
Time: Mon-Sat (9am-6am); Sun & Public Holiday (Closed)
Details: Call 03-42706588

The exhibition looks further than Orientalist art. Instead of being about how European and American artists depicted the Islamic world, it shows how the Islamic world changed aesthetics in the West. This is most visible in the decorative arts, especially glass and ceramics, but it also applies to architecture and ‘fine’ art.
Venue: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Jalan Lembah Perdana
Time: 10am - 6pm
Details: Call 03-2274 2020