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December 2023

Anniketyni Madian’s United Nations-Recognized Art

Anniketyni Madian hailing from Sarawak has captured the recognition of the United Nations with her Distinctive engraving of ‘Rutit’ Pua Kumbu.

At the age of 34, the artist has carved her niche as a professional wood sculptor since 2008, gaining popularity across Asia. Her prowess earned her two finalist positions in the Sovereign Asian Art Prize (SAAP) in Hong Kong, receiving national recognition and expanding her influence internationally through art exhibitions in various locations, including overseas.

With a blend of Iban and Malay heritage, Anniketyni’s journey into the world of sculpture began during her pursuit of a Master of Fine Arts (Sculpture) from MARA University of Technology. According to Anniketyni, she does not want to bound by ordinary works, hence she applies the element of Pua Kumbu in each of her works. Pua Kumbu, renowned among Iban women, holds cultural significance in the weaving industry of Sarawak’s textile tradition.

Traditionally, this multi-colored patterned cloth is usually used in ceremonies and important events such as childbirth, coming-of-age celebrations, and funerals. To make it more unique, the artist also combines the element of Pua Kumbu with Islamic elements such as calligraphy and Jawi writing.

As an advocate for her Sarawakian heritage, Anniketyni emphasizes the importance of promoting her community’s culture through art. Her sculputres have transcended local acclaim, capturing the attention of United Nations and Google. Some of her sculpture are also exhibited at private art galleries, Four Season Hotel, and many more.

Exploring the Origins and Evolution of Zapin Dance

Zapin, a traditional Malay dance passed down through generations, encompasses various types like Zapin Melayu Johor and Zapin Tengliu, each distinguished by unique movements and styles. Despite its deep connection to Malay culture, the dance’s origin remains unknown to many.

Rooted in Malay culture, Zapin draws inspiration from Arabian-Persian arts seamlessly integrated into the Malay artistic tradition. The term “Zapin” is derived from the Arabic word “al-Zafin,” signifying ‘foot movement’ and highlighting the dance’s intricate focus on footwork.

Historically, the Zapin Dance originated in Siak Palace, where it entertained the royal students following their intensive studies on Islam. Arabian merchants introduced Zapin from Handramaut (Yemen) to Johor-Lingga in the 16th century, incorporating it into social activities with an Islamic context aimed at teaching Islam.

The dance was initially restricted to Malay men, with Malay women advised against participating to maintain social boundaries. But the dance has evolved to include both genders today. It has gained significant popularity in Johor, Pahang, and Selangor.

While Zapin was once a feature of religious ceremonies, it has transformed into a form of traditional entertainment. Traditional percussion instruments like gambus, accordion, rebab, marwas (bongo), traditional drum rebana, and dok accompany the dancers.

Over time, various choreographic evolutions have led to different forms of Zapin dance. One such evolved variant is Zapin Tengliu from Mersing, Johor, believed to have been created by fishermen dancing on their boats during leisure breaks at sea, syncing with the rhythm of the waves.

Distinctively, Zapin Melayu Johor stands out for blending Arab arts with local traditions and Islamic art philosophy. In the past, this Zapin was not confined to stages but graced mosque yards during celebrations, such as the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (Maulidurrasul).

Exploring the Origins of Traditional Malaysian Kuih

Just the mention of kuih will make one mouth water for it conjures nostalgia and unique local flavours. Ranging from sweet indulgences like kuih lapis to savory delights like kuih cara berlauk. But as Malaysians, do we truly know the origin of these traditional tasty local treats?

According to the author of “Kuih: From Apam to Wajik, a Pictorial Guide to Malay Dessert” Hidayah Amin, kuih is a Malay word used to describe bite-sized snacks such as cakes, biscuits, bread, and even porridge. The term is used generically to mean Malay desserts.

The evolution of kuih is deeply intertwined with historical events, particularly the migrations of Chinese, Indians, and other explorers who left their culinary imprints on Malaysia in bygone eras. The first kuih was created by the Peranakan or Nyonya people—pre-colonial Chinese settlers who arrived during the reign of old Malay Sultanates and had completely integrated their customs with local traditions, including language, faith, and cuisines.

The word ‘kuih’ is of Chinese origin from the Hokkien character 粿 (pronounced ‘kway’), but the tastes are distinctively Malay and Indonesian, Smooth, creamy coconut milk blended with rice flour, mung bean starch or tapioca flour.

Tracing the origins of each kuih type proves challenging, as these bite-sized delicacies carry a unique blend of Malay, Indian, and Chinese influences. Despite often being labeled as Nyonya kuih, the reality is that these treats represent a quintessential Malaysian delicacy. They showcase the nation’s rich diversity and cultural fusion, transcending labels and truly embodying the essence of Malaysia’s culinary heritage.

Ridzman Zidaine Shines Bright on Louis Vuitton’s Runway

The name Ridzman Zidaine isn’t new in the model industry, especially for the big fashion houses, having walked the runway for Hermes, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, among other renowned brands. And once again, he has set another achievement for the country, as he became the first Malaysian to open for Louis Vuitton at the young age of 23.

The dazzling event unfolded against the stunning backdrop of Hong Kong’s waterfront Avenue of Stars, where Pharrell William, an American rapper and entrepreneur, became Louis Vuitton’s men’s creative director and was the designer of the Men’s Pre-Fall 2024 collection.

According to Louis Vuitton, the theme of the collection featured a nautical sailor motif to ‘reinvent the seafarers’ wardrobe’. The well-fitted design of the double-breasted suit highlighted his physique, combining traditional sophistication with a modern twist. This created a beautiful representation of Louis Vuitton’s innovative and cutting-edge style. Notably, the runway itself extended over 400 meters, as revealed by Julien Da Costa’s Instagram post.

JBPM’s International Success in Changi’s Firefighter and Paramedic Challenge

The Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia (JBPM) achieved commendable success by securing both the champion and runner-up titles in two major events at the Firefighter and Paramedic Challenge 2023 held in Changi, Singapore.

Senior Superintendent Alimaddia Bukri, emphasized the significance of this victory, considering the intense competition from various countries and the challenges posed by sophisticated equipment and vehicles.

Alimaddia shared with Daily Metro, saying that they are giving their best with the experience they have, coupled with the guidance of their coach.

They have successfully brought the championship to Malaysia, proving that they are just not champions within our borders but also internationally capable.

Having participated in the competition multiple times, Alimaddia credited the team’s success to their continuous efforts and commitments. He also highlighted the thorough selection process for officers and members, focusing on their high physical fitness, technical expertise, and experience.

In the competition, JBPM secured victory in the ‘Rip It Off’ event (group) by triumphing over formidable opponents. Additionally, in the ‘Braveheart’ event, JBPM claimed the second spot.