Sunday, January 31, 2016

Artists' Colony @ Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur

Ink and wash of the huts at the eastern end of the colony. You can check out the actual scene below,
together with my outdoor set-up.

This is my first outdoor work of 2016. Had been busy with some work and today, being the eve of the City Day, I decided to visit the Artists Colony in Jalan Conlay. This originally started with a colony of traditional wooden huts for artists to work in but over the years, the number of huts dwindled. A car park came up in the middle instead. You could still artists at work here, on weekdays, 9am to 5pm daily. 
The several huts which captured by attention.

This is the west end of the colony. Lots of greenery but as you can see, the colony is hemmed in by development. This is prime land, and I hope the powers-that-be will reserve it for artists to work at. It's the only artistic attraction left in KL.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Quaint Village in Malacca

The Machap Baru Village is a well known for its many home operated restaurants serving
a variety of Chinese dishes, particularly game meats.
 MACHAP BARU is a traditional village of about 1,000 homes located in the district of Alor Gajah in Malacca. Populated mostly by the Chinese of Hakka descent, Machap Baru is located on high ground overlooking the upper reaches of the famous Durian Tunggal dam which dried up in 1991.

I painted this archway across the Machap Baru-Ayer Pasir state road that passes by the village. This archway marks the entrance to the village and from here you could see part of the Durian Tunggal dam. According to villagers here, no farming or animal husbandry activities are allowed near to the dam for fear of polluting the water.

Machap Baru is well known for its many home-operated restaurants that serve wild game dishes. For this reason, I was told, the Wildlife Department keeps a close eye on these home-run enterprises. Lately, tourists are arriving in droves three days each week, from Fridays to Sundays, to visit Machap Walk, a night market which features a wide range of gastronomic delights. Apart from Machap Walk, there is also a beautiful temple located at the hilltop of Machap Baru, which is said to be very popular during Chinese New Year when devotees come to pay homage to a deity.
This is the start of the Durian Tunggal Dam in Malacca,
the biggest dam in the state.

Opposite the Machap Baru archway is a stall that sells local agricultural produce like young coconuts, pumpkins and pineapples sourced from around the area. If you happen to be here, ask the stall owner for the red dragon fruits which are planted at his small plot of land just behind the stall. These sweet juicy fruits are affordably priced at RM6 a kilo for large ones. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Bridge into Kuala Terengganu's past

The bridge was mentioned in the travel journal of Munsyi Abdullah
Kampung Cina, in Kuala Terengganu, is believed to have been set up by Chinese settlers in the 1700s or even earlier. Some of the traditional houses that lined the main street, Jalan Kampung Cina, are believed to be old as the town itself. This part of town is known as Teng Lang Po in the local Hokkien lingo, which means "Chinatown".

During my recent trip there, I found that the local community is also quite active in preserving a piece of the tow’s history. As a result, several alleys have been turned into "living museums" to display any artefact found or saved from the wave of development.

I chose to sketch this bridge because of its historical significance. From my conversations with the township's elders, this bridge that was built from bricks could be as old as the town itself. About two cars wide, the bridge has parapet walls about 1.5 m high, flanked by square shaped columns. They are adorned with floral motifs. I am not sure if the current colour scheme was the original one, however. 
Grim reminder of selfish motorists -
good thing that this was repaired the day
 I painted the piece.
The bridge spans across Alor Lorong Jamil, a stream that feeds directly into the Terengganu river before part of the river was reclaimed and turned into the present-day Pulau Warisan, a piece of land that now sits on what used to be the middle of the Terengganu river.

According to local history researcher Lorenz Law, 54, the bridge had been mentioned by Munsyi Abdullah in the travel journal recording his voyage from Singapore to Kelantan. In his account of his stopover in Kuala Terengganu in 1838, Munsyi Abdullah wrote that he came across a bridge “one dupa wide and six dupa long (an ancient linear measurement unit equivalent to two yards)” when he visited Kampung China. He also mentioned two rows of brick shophouses on both sides of the main street that were owned by Chinese families who spoke fluent Terengganu-Malay.

The weight of vehicles being illegally parked on the bridge had caused the left parapet wall to crack recently. However, maintenance staff from the local personnel had repaired it on the afternoon that I painted this scene.