From Borneo and Around

This blog is all about Borneo (and sometimes elswere) as I experience it. It's about places, people, fauna, food ... and anything I find pleasantly worth sharing in words and pictures.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


From Basic Iban Design by Augustine Anggat Ganjing

Attending Robert Raymer’s creative workshop was so refreshing; a tonic boost really. It wasn’t all listening of course and we, lucky participants, had to turn an experience into an article. So here is my story which could have gone so many different ways, really, and probably will soon. Thanks to Robert whom I invite you to follow on his blog.

It had been a spur of the moment idea. Dinner had ended and I had volunteered to throw the mussels shells into the sungai (river) which blesses our family by crossing right in the centre of our three acres property, a mere fifty meters from our terrace.

The afternoon had brought some drizzle and I put on a pair of rubber thongs to walk the stone-slab-path which, lately, had become seriously overgrown with grass. I had also remembered to bring a torch light, which was common sense after nine o’clock at night. Holding the torch while trying not to spill the large glass bowl filled to the brink with half emptied shells and still hot with stock, I was walking confidently, one step behind the cropped tail of my devoted Caramel, and I could already hear the water jumping over the man-made dam and rushing its swollen flow past underneath the belian* bridge that leads to the second and unoccupied half of our farm. Intent on watching my feet, a sudden fear grabbed and stopped me in the instant: What if I crossed a snake?

Needless to say, I had just opened a Pandora box of horrors sustained with personal memories of past experiences: the viper I almost stepped on while in Kinabalu Park; the large brown snake that killed Sunset, my brave cocker spaniel, right in the centre of Kuching city; the long grass snake I found casually napping underneath our living room sofa or even the more recent colourful visitor which had elected to relax on the broad arm of my wicker chair on the terrace; not forgetting that chilli and so amazing encounter I had yesterday with a King Cobra that gave me a royal salute from the side of the road, before slowly withdrawing into the safety of tall grasses, head up and high, as I proceeded to drive on and home.

Of course I am scared of snake; and living on a farm in Borneo brings the odds of meeting reptiles to a frightening statistical number; yet it is not fear of that kind of reptiles that bothers me. In fact, and to the risk of appearing bold silly, I am not really afraid of any animals but rather of not knowing what to do with them so that I may survive an encounter such as one with a defensive poisonous snake and still let my attacker go in peace. I must confess that, so far, I have been oh, so lucky never to be alone every time I had to face a serpent, so that I did not have to find out, in an extreme situation, if I had the guts to pin the lethal head to the ground with my long stand-by harpoon. Truly, I often wonder how I will actually react the day I’ll find myself alone with, let’s say... a cobra?

Still holding my step while my dog is staring at me with expecting eyes, the scene we are creating together feels like it has been caught in a time warp: we are suspended in time. My mind is definitely on hard drive and I am asking myself what I am doing here, alone (except for a toy poodle!), in the dark of the night, in a Borneo countryside, with my feet and legs exposed... I read somewhere that it takes about ten seconds of thinking to make a person either a deserter or a hero. My ten seconds are now over and I find myself back to present time and action. I look at Caramel and I command him “Let’s go!” as I slap my rubber soles on the ground to warn-off any creature lurking nearby. Who’s afraid now?

Belian: Borneo iron wood.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Her name is Brindemauve

I made her dress out of a Malaysian batik sarong and had fun playing with the designs.




Located 25km from Kuching, this fully furnished 4 bedrooms single storey country home has a unique design. It sits on a 1.0765 hectares lot crossed by a small mountain water river. Easy access by Kuching-Serian road.

Top of Form

Mile 16 – Kuching-Serian Road

Hobby Farm
4 with bathrooms
M2,500,00 Net

Estate Agent
By owner


Genuine inquiries welcome through email to   Ref: “Ko Ko Wangi”

Bottom of Form

Located only 25km from Kuching, yet the ideal country retreat for nature lovers and bird watchers. Nicely furnished, own unique design, solar heated water system, covered car park for 3 vehicles and large store room attached to car park. Huge deep terrace (120 X 50 feet) with belian wood flooring.
All rooms are over sized: 4 bedrooms each with own bathroom, family room, living room, kitchen dining room, laundry and pub-karaoke room. Most rooms with native timber flooring and fitted with an individual air-conditioning unit.
Landscaped land with 2 fish-breeding ponds and 2 decorative ponds, small mountain river running through. Fruit trees and heliconia plants.
Village style wooden house for working couple accommodation. Easy access by Kuching-Serian Road. 

 Bedrooms: 4                       | Bathrooms: 4 + 1 Visitors’ Toilet
 Land area 1.0765 Hectares
 Built up area 6,000sf

Friday, July 22, 2011


Another mermaid from Borneo;
I think she will be moving to France soon, however, she will fly there.
To see all my hand-made dolls, visit my gallery


I found this amazing  insect (dead) on my kitchen floor; I have never seen one like this before and I have no idea what it is.
I’d love to be able to put a name on it, so I welcome readers’ info with thanks.

Bug! A Rainforest Adventure is
A film about the various insects in Borneo's rainforest.

Thursday, June 16, 2011



Dear Beatrice,
I am pretty sure that it’s been quite a long time since a frog was last in touch with a princess and I can only guess your surprise. I’d quickly recommend though, that if we ever come to meet, you wouldn’t, in any circumstance, attempt to kiss me. It’s not that we French are most certainly prejudiced against English kisses, but rather because there is no hope that I’ll ever transform into a prince for you see, I happen to be a girl frog.
You may, of course, be wondering what a French frog is doing in such an unlikely place as Borneo, and how on earth she may be able to write in the Queen’s language (or almost!)? May I recommend you look for the answers in my blog ( and )
I was not always a frog like I have turned out to be; the incredible transformation only happened when I crossed the borders of my home country and as it is I have retained that innate sense of chic we French are legendary for and that gives me an edge to sometimes comment on other people’s choices of dress or fashion accessories. So let me hop right into the heart of the great world-gossip-press’ tsunami which you recently caused and which reached out the far, far away shores of Borneo: THE Hat!  That’s right, the hat that you wore at your cousin William’s church wedding.                                                                                                                
The truth be said right away that I would have never picked THE Hat myself, but only for one reason and that’s because I am French. You, however, an English princess are probably bound by royal duty to wear one of those unbelievable hats on every grand occasion and I can assure you that the French do actually expect you to do so and that they take it that royal hats are as much a symbol of the English Establishment as the quirky black bowler hats are and so irresistibly anglais!
And if I would have ever dreamed of being allowed to wear your royal shoes, I’d also have worn your unique chapeau at the grand happy event of the century which turned out to be one rare occasion when I actually was able to watch something happy on the Great News Channels.                                     So let’s praise THE Hat and its awesome, amusing bow which I’m sure says a lot about you and how tall you stand on your very young years. Indeed when I look at your picture, I see a pretty jewel of the crown that a twist of fate turned into a sore in the short-sighted eye of the grim news Reaper whom you so royally out-smarted when you dropped THE Hat and performed magnificent magic with it ( and this frog does know about magic) for the benefit of children and pinned down the toad-spitting royal watchers with just one wish: "I hope whoever wins the auction has as much fun with the hat as I have,"

Thank you, Beatrice, for bringing out a moment of beauty and humor.  

The French frog that lives in Borneo 

Monday, June 13, 2011


Stick Insect
The insect world will never cease to amaze me; merely observing those surprising creatures is an adventure in itself that does not even require me to leave my garden and often my house 

(check out Theme Day:                                                Only this morning, as I was getting organised to spend some time on my lap top seating on the terrace, I started moving one of the rattan armchairs to position it under the cooling draft of the ceiling fan.                                                       
I am far from being the only one to enjoy the comfort of the semi-outdoors and I am not just thinking of my family and friends; I often find tree frogs under the cushions (I guess they feel more comfy than a branch) if not one or two of the unavoidable abominable Cicaks* and too, elusive night-birds that enjoy perching on the back of the chairs and leave droppings behind them to let me know.                                                                                For all these un-invited visitors, I like to cover the cushions with sarongs printed with Sarawak tribal designs which stand out white against a beautiful palette of greens.                                                                          Those shades of green keep reminding me of the trees which line our river bank and keep watch over our home from the hills around us. Clearer patches of batik ink also seem to mirror the grasses of our lawn or, as I love to recall, the cheerfulness of the new padi in the near-by fields. In all these associations I am not alone; my Sarawak sarongs seem to have admirers in the family of winged insects that I keep finding, although they are masters of camouflage, amongst the batik designs, so much so that it makes me wonder which came first: the artist’s batik or the insect to copy it? Silly me! Amazing nature!
Year 2010
June 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011


The curse of the red ants

There are days which are like any other ordinary day and there are those that seem to follow an agenda of their own and those have the particularity to signal their difference as soon as the absolutely unaware yet decidedly targeted human gets out of bed. There are those days, for instance, when I seem to hit a corner of every piece of furniture in the house; when door handles are determined to catch my sleeve, or again, when the door of my car turns vicious for no apparent reason and ordinary objects I reach for would rather attempt defying gravity and risk shattering to pieces upon landing on the floor rather than letting me grab them. Go and figure?                                                      Then too, there are days when I seem to be the only driver on the road willing to speed over 60kmh and others yet when all the road loonies pick exactly my time and my route to put their mad skills to the test. Indeed there are days which are simply “theme days” and today I’ve just lived through “Insects Day”.

It all started this morning. As I was walking through our car porch I almost stepped over a huge rhinoceros that had come to end its insect life (what did you imagine?) right in front of my black WV beetle, perhaps struck by despair at the sight of such a dinosauresque beauty straight out of Jurassic Park or even a Transformer, no less. I picked up the little fellow in my hand and placed it on a table top where I knew it would be safe from ants’ attack. 
"I almost stepped over a huge rhinoceros"
Just as I was making my way back towards the door that leads to our laundry room I noticed yet another casualty: a large leaf insect that was lying on the concrete path where a column of red scavenger ants was already forming. I often make a point to save ants, simply by ignoring them until they finish whatever task they came to do in my house and disappear once more, yet I must say that I truly hate their cruelty. I picked up the martyr by its wings which were closed and gathered above its back; it was still alive. There was nothing I could do to change the fate of my unlikely protégé and yet I wanted to make its passing more humane than that of being eaten alive. I thought of throwing it into the river as I had done with a small bat that had broken a wing on a ventilator blade (radar error); the red ants had found it within seconds of its fall, and attacked their terrified pray without mercy. This time however I lacked courage and instead I laid the insect on a large tree leaf well above the ground, a safe enough place it seemed to me for it to surrender its little soul to the great universe.
"I picked up the martyr by its wings"

A few minutes later, back inside the laundry room and as the washing-machine had completed its cycle I walked out again with a bucket load of clean laundry in hand and almost stumbled at the sight of a snake awkwardly rolled up at the bottom of the steps. I ventured to check it out. The reptile appeared bizarrely twisted and inert. It was dead; probably one of the dogs. I’d have to check them for any symptoms of poisoning. I once, at another address, lost a Cocker Spaniel that had prevented a cobra from entering our kitchen. Malaysia does not authorise the use of anti-venom for pets that sacrifice their life for their mistress.                                                                                                           Armed with a long metal clip I turned the 45cm long body around. The scales were a beautiful bluish-black with alternate orange markings along both sides all the way from its tail and up to its eyes. I have no idea whether that snake was venomous or not, however I couldn’t help finding it exquisite and likely to inspire a master jeweler.                                                                                           I decided to dispose of the body by throwing it over the fence and into thick wild bushes. While I passed near the leaf insect, I noticed that at last, it had surrendered its tiny little soul and that it had been able to do so undisturbed. I felt relieved to have been of help.
"The reptile appeared bizarrely twisted and inert."

"I couldn’t help finding it exquisite and likely to inspire a master jeweler"
Once I finished hanging the laundry, I went back inside the house still lost in my thoughts over those serial deaths. As I was crossing the living-room I found yet another victim, its amber color wings spread out on the silky fabric of the white sofa. It was a giant dragonfly as they often happen to be here. I turned to look at Caramel, my toy poodle; I needed advice and he seemed as intrigued as I was.”Want to poke it with your nose?”  He gave me a blank look. As I grabbed the dragonfly by one of its wings it suddenly jumped out of its slumber and darted off and out of the open doors, leaving Caramel and I perplexed yet relieved; end of the curse?
"amber color wings spread out on the silky fabric of the white sofa"

A familiar ring tone finally called me back to the ordinary world and I hurried towards the console by the window and stopped short of picking up the phone when I realised that a few hundreds of those red ants (my nemesis?) had taken over the receptor, the phone book next to it and even a bouquet of artificial roses! What were they after? Was it some kind of curse really? They left me no other choice than use the ultimate weapon on them. With a few well aimed sprayed, I decimated a whole army of those mean carnivorous scavengers, at once avenging the unfortunate bat and the leaf insect. All I had left to do was to clean up before returning the call.

I would have liked to find some clever words to end my account of an unusual morning, even by Borneo standards, yet I have to conclude rather in a hurry if I wish to avoid being hit on the head, or worse in the eye, by an air ported black bomber bent on attacking me; so ciao for now!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Dining out instead of cooking has become the norm with my family, and why not? There is such a choice of “makan places” (eating out places) in Kuching and at such affordable prices too, that it would be almost unreasonable not to go out for a meal! Recently though, I went out solo to a very special dinner. Imagine a rustic tropical terrace on the Sarawak River’s Water Front, where patrons of Khatulistiwa Restaurant can enjoy Malay food and fresh fruit juices and, in my case, the company two very special men indeed: Borneo writers! Robert Raymer and TomMcLaughlin.                    
Robert Raymer
 It was Robert who had prompted what was to be a brain-storming meeting of expat writers: both Robert and Tom are American and both have married Borneo girls, while yours truly French enjoys life with a Borneo Teochew man. If you can read French, you can catch my story “Partie à Bornéo”  on my blog.    

Assuming you are a regular follower of this blog, as I’m sure you are (wink), you must be already familiar with Robert Raymer (check out my post “About Crocs”) who “[...] once held a live crocodile in his arms [...}”. When he does not cuddle crocs, Robert is a very productive and successful writer whose book “Lovers and Strangers Revisited*”, a collection of contemporary stories set in Malaysia, will now be available to French readers as “Trois Autres Malaisies” (Editions Gope).                                                                                                                                Robert is also the author of “Tropical Affairs: Episodes from an expat’s life in Malaysia” another collection of stories amongst which I truly enjoyed the whole series “ON BEING A MOVIE EXTRA” (alongside  no less than Catherine Deneuve (Indochine), Patricia Arquette and Frances McDormand (Beyond Rangoon) and Glen Close, Juliana Margulies and Cate Blanchett (Paradise Road). While recollecting his experiences in front of the camera, Robert simply treats the reader with contagious feel good humour!  
NB: Soon in stores, Robert Raymer’s new book   “Spirit of Malaysia”                                                        
Robert has his own blog: (you can see him with the croc in his arms.)                                                                              
Indeed we had much to celebrate since Tom McLaughlin aka Borneo Tom has recently publish his own story and sketch book “BORNEO TOM: Adventures of an Expat in Borneo” about love, travel and jungle family in tropical Asia. Tom, who is a retired teacher, is passionate about conservation and Orang Utans and chooses to use his pen to “raise hell” about certain subjects close to his heart. “BORNEO TOM” is now available at and Kindle. You can also follow and contact Tom through his website

*Lovers and Strangers Revisited, winner of 2009 Popular-The star Reader’s Choice Award

Monday, February 14, 2011


What is a Cheong Sam? You may ask, and I’ll tell you that it is a sexiest thing the Chinese have ever invented: a dress, fitted to follow the curves of a preferably slender body; it can be long or knee length and nowadays audaciously mini. No matter the length of the skirt though, the slit skirt half way up the thigh is a common requisite.

Every year before Chinese New Year, pageants are organised around the country to elect Miss Chong Sam. As luck would have it on the tenth day of the Chinese calendar, I found myself caught up in the midst of a Little Miss Cheong Sam pageant. 

Regrettably, I only had my mobile phone to capture the irresistible little misses who showed much elegance and confidence on a cat-walk made to measure for those tea cup-sized Chinese princesses. 

Busy little Misses
Do I wear Cheong Sam? You bet I do, well, I did, many moons ago that is. 

"many moons ago"


Here in Kuching and all around Malaysia, Chinese New year is very much about color and noise, lots of it, with trucks going around loaded with martial art troops dedicated to performing the lion dance to bless homes and their kitchens and be literally fired by loud crackers. Yes Chinese New year is always a blast I simply love to be part of.    

We... as in we, small branch of the Teos, do not celebrate at home. Our family is ridiculously too small for us to have fun, instead we visit our friends and traditionally set up camp on Helen’s terrace which operates as a card games and mah-jong den for the whole two weeks the celebrations last. Gambling which is “mostly” illegal in Malaysia is so much part of the Chinese tradition around that time that it is actually aloud in the homes. Because our group is a family and we wouldn’t want to rip each other off, so we play small. Others may not be so cautious though and the new moon is well known for bringing dramatic changes of fortune, make some rich and bring other to ruin who lose hundreds of thousands of ringgits and even their homes. As for me, I must confess that I have just lost again but only MYR50 lah!

"Helen’s terrace which operates as a card games and mah-jong den"

Mah Jong anyone?

Sunday, January 30, 2011


There is a woman on the moon, her name is Chang’e and she keeps a rabbit.

She’s been there since she lost her beloved husband on earth and became eternally lonely, except that is for the little rabbit.  When she was still a mere mortal, she lived a great passion for Hou Yi who had been sent by the King of Heaven to save the earth from being burnt down under the unforgiving rays of no less than ten suns. Armed with a red bow and a collection of white arrows, Hou Yi had shot nine suns and life on our planet had finally become humanly bearable under one sun that is still shining on us today.                                   
When Hou Yi and Chang’e were given an elixir of eternity by the Western Queen Mother, Hou Yi died of a violent death (there are different versions of his death) and Chang’e drank the potion that gave her eternal life and lifted her towards Heaven. When she reached the moon she decided to stay there and watch over her old world where she had lived a great love.
Chang’e became the Chinese moon goddess and her rabbit a powerful healing spirit praised for once riding into Beijing in the shape of a young girl riding a horse (or was it a tiger, or lion?) and saving millions of people from a deadly epidemic that ravaged the imperial city.

While her Chinese name is Chang’e, the Greeks too revered her as Selene and later as Artemis or Hecate and the Romans called her Diana. The moon, however, was not always identified as a woman; indeed it was the sun that was given feminine attributes while the moon, which was then positioned much closer to earth, was believed to possess more male-like qualities. In time and as the moon raised higher in the sky, it seemed to have been affected with a sex change; that’s when most languages started referring to it as “she”: la Luna, la lune, while acknowledging “her” as the recipient of the great unconscious from which life once emerged and the embodiment of the feminine principle in life itself.

I can’t recall when I started feeling charmed by the moon, its beautiful appearance in the night sky and its sobering light and I find it, oh, so uncanny to think that the new year on the Chinese lunar calendar will start precisely on my birthday with the wolf moon (read this Shakira!) and be dedicated to the healing moon rabbit! Because of this I’d like to imagine that 2011 will be a feminine year, with more sensitivity born from wisdom rather than the bullish attitude that was expected for this last year; a time for us to tend to our earth garden and care for the human family.                                                                      
For a long time I have been contemplating starting my own moon garden near our pond; sad that I haven’t yet found the time or enough motivation to do it. Perhaps I have been waiting for a blue moon (when there is a second full moon within one month) that I keep missing or else it is simply not meant to be and perhaps too, what the moon really wants is not a mere private garden where she could shine her soft rays, but a whole collective and global garden instead. Think about it, it is not un-achievable and it certainly makes more sense to me than to answer a “MOON FOR SALE” advertisement with the intention of buying an acre on the moon. Now who’s been moonstruck?
This is a beautiful vision of a moon garden from Tatiana Hardie’s novel The Rose Labyrinth followed by an Iban legend on the genesis of Borneo where I have made my home. 

Lucy’s finger looped along the spiral Diana had created in her fountain. Made of mirrored glass, it picked its shiny path through a pattern of blues and ruby reds all mosaiced from broken china plates so carefully color matched that Lucy realised they’d been purposely broken. The fountain was shallow, edged with shells; and Lucy was reminded of the Lady of Shalott working in reflections to weave her embroidery, as the silver shards reflected the sky and the landscape all around it. She traced the route to Venus in the center, and thought of Alex’s gentle fingers curving along her scar around her breast, circling her heart. The motion itself was sensual, mesmerising, a gesture of mystery.                                                                                                                         The sun doesn’t preside here. Its vitality is essential for the roses; but even at midsummer, when the smell is over-powering, my mother would bring me out long after the shade had deepened to prove that the scent was strongest, most alluring, in the evening. All the flowers are night-scented. Under the moon’s light the white roses are luminous, almost palpably so. The moon-dial makes it midday at midnight. The fountain reflects down the stars: a fragment of heaven on earth. The spirit of this garden is female. My mother created this space to express another view of the world, and subvert the norm. The sun is consort, and a vital partner, but not the sovereign lord. It wasn’t enough for us to understand it cerebrally: she needed us to witness it.” (...) “Maybe because hers was a house of men”.


                - _ -

IBAN LEGEND:                                                          
The Owl and the Moon                                                                            
This is a story from very ancient times, when the moon was still identified as a male.
A long, long time ago, so the Iban people of Sarawak like to tell their children, the moon had married the only living creature on earth, an owl on the island of Borneo. Soon they had a child: a moon color owl.                                                                                                 Sadly, as the moon ascended higher and higher in the sky hence making nights much shorter on earth, the couple finally gave up on an impossible schedule to be together. When they finally decided to end their union, they agreed to split the child; and so they did, into two halves which they scattered separately across the sky and we can still see at night as stars and all over the land of Borneo where they are still cherished as the trees of the great Rain Forest.


Singing off...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Newlywed Nasruddin bin Rambli and Dayang Kahirunnisa binti Awang Khairudin

I remember reading somewhere that children are far more aware of their surroundings than we are; they seem to be gifted with a wide angle vision which we, adults have lost to the benefit of a narrower focus on things; we, as in “most of us”, have lost the ability to see the bigger picture developing around us without making a voluntary conscious effort.

Sunday morning, I dressed up and drove to a Malay Kampung (village) close to the bungalow of the former White Rajahs Brooke and now the official residence of the Governor of Sarawak, the Astana to attend a wedding. 

Finding the street, Lorong Petra Tiga, was quite easy; if you ever visit Malaysia and happen to notice the national and (at least in Sarawak) the State flag rising high at a street junction, I sincerely hope you will remember that there are the Malaysian way to indicate the direction to a wedding reception and that you too are invited. Indeed, Malaysian weddings, especially among the Malay and indigenous communities, with all the music and the DJ announcements, never fail to remind me of a happy funfair where the whole village (and often more than one) and, for that matter, any passer-by turns up to feast, dance, exchange the latest gossips and mostly marvel at the newlyweds. 

In the Malay tradition, the groom is expected to follow his new wife into her family’s home where the ceremony is often performed rather than at the local surau (small mosque). With a few large tents designed for outdoors receptions, the home roof of our friend Awang Khairudin Bin Awang Buang and his wife Salamah Binti Bushrah had been extended enough to accommodate a few hundreds of diners and keep them safe from enormous dark rain clouds which, thankfully, never kept their menace to down-pour upon the party.

The bride's parents Awang Khairudin Bin Awang Buang and Salamah Binti Bushrah

Welcome committee in red Baju Kurong
As far as weddings are concerned, Malays have become masters of organisation with the help of volunteers set up as a committee whose members have their names printed on the invitation card. Among them, the welcome delegates awaits guests at the arrival point and usher them to their seats at the banquet table. They all wear the same uniformed baju kurong (for the ladies) and baju Melayu (for the men) that match the theme colour of the day worn by the parents and family members (red for this occasion), while other “officials” can be recognised by the orchid flower pinned under their collar. In doubt with what you can or cannot do, or whom you would like to find in the crowd, ask one of them.               
A very kind and helpful "official"
Never too far away from the welcome committee is the Kumpulan Hadrah,  a  group of tambourine players, dressed in light blue baju Melayu with a kain songket (fabric woven with gold or silver threads) sarong worn around the waist and over the pants. They role is to follow the bride and groom on their way to their reserved seats set up on a stage decorated with rich drapes and flowers.  

Kumpulan Hadrah
Food is an important part of the celebration; there’s always curry, and rendang, beef and chicken, perhaps lamb and today a lime skin pickle that woke up all my taste buds at once and sent them begging for more; and of course there’s always some fruit and lots of very sweet cakes. The beauty of all this is that one never has to wait for even a minute to be served by one of the soldiers of the catering army.

One rinses one's fingers before eating with the right hand

Yummy lime-skin pickles prepared by the bride's mum

In front of the bridal stage, women and little children take turn to seat on the floor and enjoy the blessing ceremony of Tepung Tawar and now that just about everyone owns a mobile phone, close-up memories can be taken away and shared all over again.

To reach a good spot for me to take pictures of the newlyweds, I had to negotiate my way through a tight row of women whom, once they became aware of my presence and purpose showed much kindness. I prepared myself for the next stage of the ceremony where parents followed by relatives and friends, come to bless the groom and bride with rice, potpourri and oil and walk away with a special gift, a Bunga Telur (translated “egg flower”) which is in fact a hard-boiled egg held in a piece of veil to make it look like a flower; such a delicate way to remind us to cherish life, be grateful for our daily food and be thankful to be blessed with children.  

Bunga Telur
As I readied myself to focus again through the eye of my camera, I suddenly felt in full love with the moment, one of those Eckart Tolle’s “live in the NOW” moments, or more poetically a John Denver’s “you fill up my senses” moment, or was it an Oprah’s “Ah! Moment”? No matter, I had just become aware of the rather odd fact that I could actually feel and appreciate the whole happening of  the wedding party, around me as well as in and out of the room, and I wondered if this was the way I used to experience the world as a child, with a wide angle vision where every shape, colour and even sound spoke to me about what every single person had brought of themselves to this gathering while they remained totally unaware of their synchronising a moment of pure joy.

I love this shot

Dear Dayang Khairunnisa and Nasruddin, may you share love and happiness forever.

More picture.....
Men are reciting prayers inside the house
The newlyweds in prayer

A guest wearing baju Melayu
Prayer time
Teenaged wedding guests in baju Melayu

Honoring the elders

Friends arriving at the reception

Elegant couple with a swift gift to take back home

Dedicated bride's maid

Arrival of the bride and groom followed by the kumpulan hadrah

For such a big pot, I'd have to build an extension to my kitchen!

Resting on the groom's lap, a traditional kris

Mr. D.J

The bridal stage taken over: Life's like that!