Culture and Creativity

Malaysia owns the Record of the ‘Largest Legal Banknote in the World’

Malaysia is the proud owner of the largest banknote globally, measuring a significant 22cm by 37cm. This sizable currency was introduced as one of two special edition banknotes released by Bank Negara Malaysia in December 2017 to commemorate Malaysia’s 60th Merdeka Day.

This notable achievement surpassed the previous record held by the 100,000 pesos banknote from the Philippines, which measured 21.59cm by 35.5cm and was printed in 1998 to mark the Philippines’ independence after over 300 years of Spanish colonial rule.

On one side of the RM600 and RM60 notes, there are depictions of 15 different monarchs and heads of state encircling the royal throne. On the reverse side, there is a portrayal of the nine rulers signing the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement, alongside the silhouette of the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and four iconic landmarks in the country: The National Palace, Perdana Putra, the Parliament building, and the Palace of Justice.

To witness these unique banknotes, individuals can visit the Bank Negara Malaysia’s Museum and Art Gallery, as well as its offices in Penang, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, and Kuala Terengganu, where these exceptional displays are showcased.

The Pillar of Strength Tells the Story of Iban Warrior Rentap

The Pillar of Strength, a groundbreaking animated short film, delves into the captivating cinematic universe of Rentap, the legendary Iban-Dayak warrior from the lush landscapes of Borneo. This masterpiece marks a significant milestone as the first-ever Sarawak-inspired animation to grace screens across the nation, captivating audiences with its rich narrative and mesmerizing visuals.

The collaboration between Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) during the inaugural Malaysia Animation Film Festival (MAFF) 2023 has set the stage for this remarkable achievement.

AieIbrahim, renowned for contributing to several Malaysian animated classics, served as the creative force behind this animated marvel, infusing it with his artistic prowess and storytelling finesse.

The animation explores the fictional origin of Rentap, the Iban-Dayak warrior from Borneo, where it introduces an alternate take on his childhood upbringing. According to him, the Pillar of Strength is a story that touches on the topics of family, environmental conservation, human identity, as well as the patterns and culture of life in the ancient Borneo archipelago. It stands as a compelling narrative that resonates with audiences, offering a profound reflection on the cultural richness and timeless wisdom of the Bornean heritage.

Wau: Preserving a Vanishing Art

The Malaysian kite, known as “Wau,” derives its name from the distinctive crescent moon-like shape of its lower section, an emblem of its graceful flight.

The term “wau” in Malay mirrors the melodic sound the kite produces as it soars gracefully through the skies, powered by the force of the wind.

Crafting a Wau is a meticulous process, involving the weaving and sewing of fine bamboo sticks to form its unique structure. Different styles of Wau take on varying shapes. Once the framework is complete, the kite is adorned with vibrant colored papers, showcasing an array of artistic illustrations and color schemes.

The art of Wau-making can be traced back to a remarkable inventor named Sang Jaya, who first brought it to life between the years 711 and 839 AD.

Wau exists in a multitude of captivating forms, each with its distinct identity, including Wau Bulan, Wau Burung, Wau Merak, Wau Kucing, Wau Jalabudi, and Wau Ikan.

However, this ancient craft faces the threat of extinction, making it more crucial than ever to preserve the artistry and heritage of Wau for future generations to cherish.

Kuching Welcomes the World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Smart Tram

Kuching, Sarawak, is set to make history with the introduction of the world’s first hydrogen-powered smart tram, part of the Sarawak Rapid Transit (ART) Hydrogen Vehicle (H2V) project. This groundbreaking tram is scheduled to commence passenger operations in the fourth quarter of 2025.

An exciting development is on the horizon as the hydrogen-powered smart tram embarks on a two-month engineering trial, commencing on September 4.

This milestone achievement represents a significant leap forward for the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS), setting a new standard for sustainable and intelligent public transportation.

According to Sarawak Metro, its ART H2V can carry up to 300 passengers at a time and has a maximum speed of 70kmh. Aside from the Blue Line, phase 1 of the KUTS project also includes the Red Line which links Kuching Sentral and Pending.

Largest Indoor Merdeka-themed Human Mosaic

The Malaysian Employment Laws Conference 2023 (MELC 2023) has set a new record for assembling the ‘Largest Indoor Merdeka-themed Human Mosaic’ of Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman with a record of 266.328m2 and consisting of 250 HR professionals and practitioners organized by MyFreelys Academy and Q3 Management Solution that happened on 15th August 2023.