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Monday, September 30, 2013

Palmiera Cacatoos Home Makeover : Wing Chair

Apart of wallpaper makeover, the other main big makeover that we insist to do is the settee. Though our existing suede-fabric-sofa can be considered in good condition, still, hubby is quite ashamed with what Kiki has done to the sofa's arm. HE SCRATCHED IT LIKE NO ONE BUSINESS! Initially, we thought of just reconditioning it but looking at the price of changing the cover, it is better for us to just get a new sofa.

And so we went for sofa hunting at few places nearby, and finally managed to seal the deal. Ok, I am not going to tell you guys about the sofa yet, for this post is mainly about the most wanted wing chairs that we ever dream of! The reason why we get these chairs is to make them as a couple-reading-chair that will be the center of attraction at the main hall. I told hubby that I am dying to get this pair, and he kept on telling me that I WILL NOT find a cheaper wing chair. Trust him. Trust him? 

I know that Ikea did sell wing chair with the price of RM750 per unit but hubby lost his interest once he saw the fabric. He insisted to get a leather wing chair. Now, WHO WAS the one who told me that I couldn't get a cheap wing chair? Pfft! 

We finally found the most affordable and comfortable wing chair at Simple and Nice, near Pasar Borong Selangor, Seri Kembangan. The salesperson, Dilbar, has been a good salesperson, especially when he heard I pronounced his name right. Hahaha! I won't tell the price of this pair, but I can say that it is reasonable, since it comes in Casa Leather. Hubby chose the color, Clamentine (orange), and in less than 2 weeks, this pair is delivered to Palmiera Cacatoos!

Without lighting

With lighting
P/S: Gonna blog about that squarish side table with lighting soon! It needs lotsa hardwork!

Having a cat with no scratch post in the house (don't ask me why), I quickly took out the old curtains and started to get creative with it. My goal was to make a cover, to wrap them up, regardless any method or any way, I NEED to hide them from Kiki! I lay the curtain over the chair and started sew buttons at both sides. VOILA! Tell me that I'm genius! Tell me! Hahaha!

We then let Kiki explored the wing chair and he seems like he was not interested to scratch it at all. Fiuh! LEGA AIH!


Hubby was looking from a distance and said..."So, how am I going to sit on it, if you are the only one who knows how to unbutton it?" 

"Do I look like I care?" Hahaha!

So what's next? More makeover coming. Stay tune!

Note : All pics are taken using Lenovo Ideaphone S890. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Palmiera Cacatoos Home Makeover : Wallpaper

What do we do when we don't travel???

We finally decided to install wallpaper at Palmiera Cacatoos, basically to cover up the hideous crack, indirectly giving a new look after few years we moved in. Earlier, we went to Korean Wallpaper Gallery at Puchong where they had an irresistible offer. Any signed membership of RM49 will get one free roll! Having an 80s concept in our mind, we wanted to get a brick-look wall with some sort of fire place on it. Without any doubt, hubby and I registered and brought back two rolls of Duplex series wallpaper that usually cost RM160 per roll.

Since the installation charges cost us RM200 per roll, we thought of installing it on our own, for their website has the steps on how to prepare the wall and how to do it yourself. But due to my condition, hubby and I decided to get someone else to do it for us. Hubby then google-d and found a blog, Satria Kelabu, who used to hire one independent installer, Mr. Choi. And so I called and negotiated with his wife (as Mr. Choi's manager) and sealed the deal with RM100 per roll. We just need to tell them the brand of the wallpaper, and they will take care of the rest. Yes, including the adhesive and what not.
Mr. Choi came with his wife and an assistant on one fine Saturday morning at 9.00am and quickly started they work. I love the commitment! Good point there. They didn't waste any time where each and everyone did they own task. Mr. Choi handled one wall, his assistant took another wall, while Mr. Choi's wife rolled on the glue on the wallpaper. Another good point was they did it cleanly.

1) Move all cabinets to give space for the installer. Clean the wall from any unwanted bumps. A scrapper is used with then help of human important sense, touch and feel.

2) Measure the wall and cut the wallpaper accordingly. A measuring device with laser is used to get a correct measurement. Roll off the wallpaper and cut it. Allocate extra 2 inches at the top and bottom portion for final trimming. Note that a vertical repetitive design is easier to match compared to horizontal design.

3) Mix glue powder with water. A roller is used to roll the liquid at the back of the wallpaper. Note that glued wallpaper should be fold in the shape of W to avoid it sticking together.

4) Roll some glue on the wall and start install the wallpaper from the top. Unfold part by part and ensure it is installed according to the laser-ed line. A moist sponge is used to smooth the wallpaper and a scrapper is used to smooth out wrinkles. Note that it should be apply gently! 

5) Trim the excess with sharp knife and smooth the edges. Repeat the steps until you satisfy. CHECK THEIR WORK and point out any obvious wrinkles, tears, or bumps. And voila, it is complete!
P/S: Malas nak re-arrange. Tak sabor nak tukar sofa! To the left you go! Hahaha!

So what's next? More makeover coming. Stay tune!

Note : All pics are taken using Lenovo Ideaphone S890. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A History of The First Galeria, Taiping, Perak

“I really want to visit this one place…you know, that beautiful half-wood half-brick building at Jalan Stesen?” I voiced out my request to hubby.

“Owh…The First Galleria.”

Hubby told me that the place has admission fee and we still have time to visit this place, if we want to. I agreed without any doubt though it is chargeable, for I want to see what they exhibit inside the building. Hubby drove from Kota Ngah Ibrahim and headed straight to the town, where The First Galleria is located. The building is obviously easy to locate, for it is situated right next to King Edward Primary School.

We parked right in front of the entrance and walked around the outer compound. Stood before me, I saw one outstanding steam locomotive in green and yellow color. It stated “Telok Chempedak” with identification number 22125. The original rail was officially opened by Sir Hugh Low on 1885 and it was actually located at King Edward Primary School, before it was re-located at its current location. This old route connected Taiping-Port Weld (now known as Kuala Sepetang) and that is why this building’s address is named Jalan Stesen.
At the front yard, I saw three separate parts of extremely old wooden flyovers, which I believed used to be installed here. I wasn’t sure whether it will be refurbish and restore for viewing purpose, for the condition was quite bad. Stood still opposite the locomotive was the famous red phone booth with Taiping sign on it. This booth is one of two red phone kiosks that can be found in Taiping, which the other one is located in the heart of Taiping (somewhere around old big clock).
We finally walked into The First Galleria compound and entered the Gift Shop. We looked around and found that this shop was quite interesting, for it is decorated in old-fashioned and classic style of tea restaurant. There were old tricycles and classic tea sets too. The shop assistant did play his role very well by explaining almost every corner and section of it. What caught our interest most was the old pictures of Taiping that really flashback our childhood memories.
I asked the shop assistant whether I can take pictures of this shop and he mentioned that we can do so if we decided to enter the gallery. I nodded and asked hubby to purchase the entrance ticket at the ticket counter, outside the gift shop. Accompanied hubby and I were my niece and nephew, where it cost me 2 adults (RM8 each) and 2 school kids (RM3 each) charges.

We were then being told to wait and gather in front of the main wooden door of the building, where a guide will be taking us inside. A welcome greeting was done by one Indian girl who spoke good Bahasa. To our surprise, the tour guide was also an Indian lady, Margaret, who is very informative and well conversed in English and Bahasa. 
Besides us, there was one Chinese family from Ipoh, who joined in the tour. Knowing that I might not be given an access to take any picture (as stated in the Internet), I tried my luck by asking Margaret whether I can take pictures and she allowed me to do so. Great! We fully optimized the opportunity and took out the camera, the actioncam, as well as phonecam, and get ourselves ready to shoot. Haha!

We were led and ushered by Margaret, to the first room in the gallery that is the reading room. We were allowed to sit at the dining and the sofa before we were served with an intro clip of the gallery. It is narrated by the curator of the building, En. Anuar and to my surprise, I was sitting right on the sofa that he was sitting on! Haha!
This building was built in 1891 and used to be a British residential, Pejabat Ukur, a furniture shop, and now, a galleria. It is now under a private care, First Managers Sdn. Bhd. and that is why the entrance fee is chargeable. It helps them upkeep the building, and add more exhibits in the coming future.

Ok, back to the reading room. Margaret told everyone that the book shelf is still in its original condition but they have refurbished few parts of it. Anyhow, the semi-moon window is purely original and hand-crafted, as well as its black steel bar. This style of window can only be found in two buildings in Taiping.

We then moved to another section where they exhibit old pictures of Taiping. Some of the buildings are still stand proud and some of them already demolished. The wet market is still standing until today but the street hawkers already moved to Cashier Market and Bomba. Taiping town was very well planned by Sir Hugh Low back in British era, with two main roads and few connecting roads. All buildings were properly arranged and built close to each other, to ease the British people. That is why you can never get lost in this small peaceful town. 
The were lots of original drafting and blueprints being kept in this special “strong room”, located at the ground floor of this gallery. The room door is designed and made by Chubb with super thick and solid material. Outside the room, we saw two interesting sections that introduce a railway book stall and tailor shop. I was smiling the whole time looking at the ambience, for it really reflects the typical Taiping.
Margaret then led us to another room where lots of pictures of people being framed on the wall. A clip of them being aired over the LCD and I can recognize some of the faces. Among them were Gee Hin and Hai San leaders, Sir Hugh Low, JWW Birch, and Captain Speedy, who I “met” back in Kota Ngah Ibrahim. The rest were British officers, Sri Lanka’s engineers, and one of the Fenner’s, a lady who had connection with KRU’s mom.
Before we were suggested to visit upper floor, Margaret asked us to write something on the guestbook, which my niece, nephew, and I did. An old Chinese uncle also took his chance to write and guess what, we wrote super long! Haha! He took so long to finish it, so Margaret led the rest of us to the upper floor, to enjoy the scenery from corridors. The upper floor is closed to public but whoever wishes to have event here, facility rental is available upon request. 
Walking down the stairs, I saw one picture of Merdeka celebration back in 1957, where one of the Taiping guy was involved in the ceremony. He was the one who held the flag, and stood next to Tunku Abdul Rahman. I think, regardless you were the VIP or even a flag holder, you must be proud of what you did back then…as long as we got the freedom, rite?
We then headed back to the Gift Shop and re-screened the items to buy. I got myself a fridge magnet (RM10 per piece) while hubby got himself a series of book (3 different books with total of RM60) that enlighten everything “first” in Taiping. We also bought a pack of 3in1 Taiping coffee (RM15 per pack). I really keen to buy those road names (RM20 each) but I am still thinking how can I deco it in my house. I can say that their products are quite interesting but a bit expensive...but I think they have their own reason for that. The shop assistant told us that The First Galleria will change its theme every 6 months, and to know what is the latest exhibition, we can get more info from their FB This place is really worth a visit!
Before we walked out from The First Galleria, hubby stopped and said “Want cendol?”

“NAKKKKKK!” My niece, nephew, and I shouted happily.

There are two famous cendol hawkers in Taiping, Bismillah and Ansari, each on its own. Both of them still using the old-skool machine and producing hundreds of bowl everyday. Hubby then drove all of us to Ansari and to my surprise, we are allowed to bring the bowl and eat cendol IN THE CAR! How cool is that, huh? RM1.20 je!
Whoever visit Taiping, you must include The First Galleria in your wishlist. Please allocate one hour plus for the tour, coz the tour guide is really really informative. Ask her questions, ok :) And oh ya, try this delicious desert, cendol ok!

Note : Pics taken by hubby and I using Canon 550D, AEE Magicam SD21 (ActionCam), and Lenovo S890 Smartphone (PhoneCam).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A History of Kota Ngah Ibrahim, Taiping, Perak

I was born and raised in Taiping, and I shouldn’t forgive myself for not visiting this historical place earlier. Bad Taiping-ite!

When I told my sister, Kak Ngah, that hubby and I will be going to Kota Ngah Ibrahim a.k.a Muzium Matang, she was quite surprised that we haven’t been there before. She used to visit this notable house of the richest family in Larut (at that time) and have us visualized more or less what we will see in this fort later.

Hubby and I then drove towards Jalan Taiping-Kuala Sepetang (passing by my late mom’s grave) which eventually met a sharp bend at the end of the road, where the historical complex sits at this corner facing the surrounding villages. This area is called Matang.

The scene was quiet that made us wonder, whether this museum is still operated. It was Sunday afternoon, and we were contented to see the operation hours where it is open daily, and only closed on Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha. 
We parked our car right next to the old main gate, just before the collapsed wall. This collapsed wall has its own story, where one of Japanese’s war planes crashed right in the compound area and ruined almost half portion of this thick and huge front wall. In this compound, there is also a Japanese memorial monument, in remembering the late officer who used to turn this house as one of the Japanese operation center later after World War II.
We decided to walk around the museum before we explored the internal building. At the end of two corners, there were zinc sheds with information board. We had no idea how to reach the area, for there was no pedestrian walk heading to these two places. We later got the information that these two sheds were sheltering two old wells found by the archeologist. We were also being told one of these platforms served as “beheading spot” by Japanese army. Ye, tempat potong kepala ok!
At the other side of this building, we saw one gated old and high-raised grave, with super clean pergola and tiles. I believed it is a place for praying, for there is also a place for ablution. We stopped for a while to recite Al-Fatihah, to the late Ngah Ibrahim, the man behind this noted fort. He passed away on 4 February 1895 and was buried for 110 years at Singapore, before being brought back to Malaysia by his heir, on 9 September 2006.
Entering the huge-white-solid-building, we were welcomed by an uncle, who works as the museum guide. He told us a bit of history of Kota Ngah Ibrahim and explained how this mansion turned from a private resident into a British residential, a Japanese command center, a prison, a court, a school, and so on. 
This fort was built during 1870s by Ngah Ibrahim’s father, Long Jaafar, who happened to be the richest guy in Larut, who owned paddy fields, coffee plantations, and tin mining. 
How he’d become so rich? Ok, let me tell you. Long Jaafar had an elephant as a pet. AN ELEPHANT! See how rich he was? He called this elephant, Larut. One day, Larut went missing for two/three days. He kept on looking for Larut and finally found it few kilometers away from his house. He was happy when he saw Larut, but he was puzzled with sparkling mud that covered Larut’s front legs. He later knew that it was actually Cassiterite or also known as tin. Apa lagi, sukatilah baginda! Kaya! Kaya! Kaya! And so he named the area as Larut (in remembering his elephant), which stays as Larut Tin, nowadays.
Knowing the limitation of Malay people in tin mining, Long Jaafar went to Penang and imported two Chinese groups, known as Gee Hin and Hai San. Gee Hin was led by Chin Ah Yam, while Hai San was led by Chung Keng Kwee. They worked professionally but unfortunately, they envied each other. With this mentality, these gangs had caused not one, not two, but three Perang Larut, with each war came with specific reason. Mostly, one killed another and one in loved with another. Pfft!
We then explored one back room where a Gurkha mannequin stood still in front of the vertical-barred-door and windows. Inside, there were another two Malay guy mannequins.

“Prison.” I read the sign.

“Ayang, you go inside, I take picture of you and the Gurkha guard.” I forced hubby.
The door wasn’t locked. Obviously, visitor can go in right? Hahaha! Anyway, hubby went inside and quickly posed for me.

We then walked up the wooden stairs and saw row of well-painted paintings, each with its description. Pandak Indut, Dato Maharajalela, and Dato Sagor, three Malay heroes who were behind the great astonishing history of the death of J.W.W Birch, a British resident in Perak. Pandak Indut was the mastermind, while Dato Maharajalela and Dato Sagor were partners in crime, who killed Birch by the river. 
“When these guys are praised and noted as our national heroes, where were the rulers at that time, hmm? Sipping English tea with British?” I wondered.

All three of them were judged in this building, where British turned the first floor of this mansion as a court. Though they had plenty of time to get escaped, they remained in the prison till the judging day, AND THAT SHOWED how brave they were. Dato Maharajalela and Dato Sagor were sentenced to death while Pandak Indut was outcast from Perak. Meanwhile, Ngah Ibrahim and other 40 Malays were also outcast to Seychelles Island, for conspired with the killing.
Long Jaafar died early and left Ngah Ibrahim with all his fortunes. The fifth generation of Ngah Ibrahim, Datuk Dr. Wan Mohd. Isa Wan Ahmad, gave permission to Ministry of Tourism, to declare this fort as National Treasure in 2005. From my observation, this building is very well kept and equipped with wall lightings and CCTV. All exhibits are still in good condition and information boards are very informative and nicely framed. It is FAR BETTER than Mahsuri Museum at Langkawi that we visited few months ago, with RM8 entrance fee! But this Kota Ngah Ibrahim’s admission fee? GUYS, IT’S FREE! Honestly, this place is worth to visit. Please, PLEASE COME TO TAIPING AND PLEASE DO YOUR HISTORICAL WALK IN THIS PLACE.
We ended the visit by purchasing fridge magnets as souvenirs. They also sell books, bookmarks, key chains and such. We thanked Uncle Mat (the guide) and siapa sangka, dia kenal la pulak Pak Ein! Huih glamer pak aku tu! Hahaha! Well, Taiping is small and definitely someone will know someone.

We left the building with mix feeling…wondering on what the uncle said to us…

“I am 50 years old…and I’m glad that young people like you have huge interest in history. Very seldom to see your generation spend more time visiting museum…and treasure the information. Sadly, we are getting lesser visitors now…so I hope that you guys will help to attract more people to come…when it is still standing..." kata pakcik tu dalam bahasa mesia.

And I replied, “I’ll do my best to blog about Kota Ngah Ibrahim. I’m pretty sure that I can get you more visitors IF AND ONLY IF, I BROUGHT MY FELLOW FRIENDS (BLOGGERS) TODAY, wahai pakcik. Hehehe!"

Note : Pics taken by hubby and I using Canon 550D and AEE Magicam SD21 (ActionCam).

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