The Pasir Gudang Kite Museum

Local kites, details of how they are made and legends connected to them are displayed.

A number of Indian kites are included in the museum’s collection.

THE Pasir Gudang Kite Museum houses hundreds of kites flown during the annual International Kite Festival at Bukit Layang- Layang.

The museum was built in 2002 to showcase local and foreign kite craftsmanship.

Local kites, such as wau merak, wau bulan and wau kapal, legends connected to them and information on how to make them are exhibited in the three-storey building.

Kite-making tools and the paraphernalia used to fly bigger-sized kites are also displayed. There is a multimedia section which offers a detailed description of the craft.

Visitors can buy kites at the souvenir shop.

The museum opens seven days a week. An entrance fee of RM2 is charged. Children under 12 are charged RM1. For details, call 07-251 3720 or fax 07-251 5260.

OMEGA watches museum..

Monday May 30, 2011

Museum for Omega watches


A VISIT to the Omega Museum is a must if you want a peek into the brand’s rich heritage, which dates back to 1848 when watchmaker Louis Brandt started his business on a bench.

Located across Omega’s headquarters in Biel, Switzerland and opened in 1984, it is the oldest watch museum dedicated to the history of a single brand. Along with some 4,000 watches, the remarkable collection includes movements, clocks, instruments, tools, photos, engravings, posters, signs, awards and certificates.

The first watch, which had the name “Omega” on its dial was produced in 1894 and featured the 19-ligne calibre created by Francois Chevillat. Incidentally, the first special orders came from railroad administrators who wanted to time the trains, and shooting associations, which purchased watches for their members and winners of their competitions.

 Since 1995, any actor who takes on the James Bond role immediately becomes one of Omega’s brand ambassadors. All the watches used by special agent 007 are on display at the museum.

“Our first wristwatch appeared in 1900, which was also the world’s first industrially manufactured wristwatch. Omega’s strength lies in its ability to industrialise watches so that it can be repaired anywhere in the world,” says curator Brandon Thomas.

Over the years, Omega’s Speedmaster watches have been to the moon and back with Apollo astronauts. Edwin Aldrin wore the first watch on the moon in 1969 when he followed Neil Armstrong onto the lunar surface. Since then, Omega watches have accompanied American astronauts on all their space missions.

“We make the watches for NASA and we’re constantly improving the Speedmaster to withstand the extreme range of temperatures on the lunar surface. The numbers can go from –148°C to 260°C ,” explains Thomas.

On display at the museum, along with these “Moon Watches” are models of space shuttles, a lunar rover model, an astronaut’s spacesuit, photographs taken from the moon and sew-on NASA patches.

If you’re a fan of 007, then there’s no better place to view the collection of watches worn by the various actors who starred as James Bond in the movies. Since 1995, any actor who takes on the Bond role immediately becomes one of Omega’s brand ambassadors. Currently, Daniel Craig’s posters and pictures dominate the “Bond” area. The curator proudly points out that Omega also lends its watches to many film companies.

Besides the watches, visitors can view the numerous tools, watchmaker’s lathes, large-scale models of escapements and devices used to test water-resistance.

The entire spectrum of time measurement devices for athletic events is also comprehensively displayed. These include the slender Muybridge threads that were snapped by racehorses as they sprinted to the finish line, automatic triggers, electrical starting pistols, light barriers, time recorders and the photofinish system, which was introduced in 1949.

Part of Omega’s palette is the debut of a 24-ligne watch for the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the United States. There is an impressive display at the museum of how the timepieces work as athletes race to beat the clock.

“We were the first company to time every event in the Olympics using chronographs and stop watches. In 1932, almost every record was broken. To reduce human error, we now have one timepiece at the start and another at the finish line. For example, in swimming, the athlete has to touch the contact pad to stop the clock. This simple new technology reacts only to the touch of the swimmer and is not affected by water splashes,” explains Thomas.

Omega’s most recent development in timing technology was to bring sports timekeeping into the Internet age with live timing of swimming events, which allows anyone with Internet access to view swimming and diving competition results in real time on the Omega Timing Internet site,

Today, Omega watches can be seen on the wrists of kings, queens, presidents, explorers, visionaries and celebrities.

Camping and Tramping: The Museum in Malaya

The National University of Singapore has an exhibition on the making of the museum in Malaya, based on a range of colonial archives. If anyone has a chance to visit (it runs to Jan 2012) please post a comment below. It sounds interesting

Camping and Tramping Through the Colonial Archive: The Museum in Malaya

13 Jan 2011 – 2012

NUS Museum New*

The term Camping and Tramping is inspired by a lesser known 19th century document compiled by a British officer describing the field work and travails of his time with the colonial office in Malaya. This exhibition traces the rise of the Museum in British Malaya not just as an indicator of power over what was gazed upon as the exotic but by acknowledging that the very advent of the Museum resulted in a staging ground for a project of accumulation and the ordering of knowledge. Writings and artefacts have been mobilized from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (NUS), Asian Civilizations Museum, National Museum of Singapore, National Library Board Singapore, Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore National Archives, NUS Museum, and the Ivan Polunin and Mohammad Din Mohammad collections.

New Museums Opening

New museum branch to woo tourists

By Danny Ooi

Sisters Amira Hasual Jamal (left), Ainina (second from left) and Adela (right) take a closer look at a painting in the new branch of the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery at Jalan Macalister, Penang. Looking on is student from Iran, Leila Kakaabdollahshiraz. - NST picture by GS Narinder Singh
Sisters Amira Hasual Jamal (left), Ainina (second from left) and Adela (right)
 take a closer look at a painting in the new branch of the Penang State Museum
and Art Gallery at Jalan Macalister, Penang. Looking on is student from Iran,
Leila Kakaabdollahshiraz. – NST picture by GS Narinder Singh

GEORGE TOWN: Locals and tourists will soon have an extra venue to explore the island’s rich heritage and artifacts.This is made possible with the opening of the state’s museum and art gallery’s new branch in Jalan Macalister here on Saturday.

State museum board chairman Wong Hon Wai said the opening of the new branch marked a new chapter in the history of the state’s museum.

“It is our vision to make use of this new place to further promote the history and arts of our state.

“We hope to have something unique, something vibrant and something extraordinary, to compliment our existing museum in Lebuh Farquhar,

” he said at the signing and handover ceremony of the building between the state museum board and the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP).

The state’s museum was represented by Wong and MPPP by its president Patahiyah Ismail.

Wong said it would take between three and five years to fully equip the new place with collections of the island’s heritage and artifacts.

He said visits to various museums in the world, such as the Pearl Harbour Memorial in Hawaii, the War Museum in Hiroshima, Japan and the Palace

Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, had given him new insights about the countries’ history and livelihood of its people.

The state museum and art galley was established in 1964 at Lebuh Farquhar.

In 1994, the art gallery was moved to Dewan Sri Pinang.

Read more: New museum branch to woo tourists

Penang Heritage

Tuesday November 23, 2010

Heritage site to reopen


New attraction: The Logan Heritage on Beach Street used to be the workplace of a prominent lawyer James Richardson Logan in the

1980s. A 140-YEAR-OLD building on Beach Street, Penang, that was restored at a cost of RM6.8mil will be opened to the public next

month. The Logan’s Building, which is now known as the Logan Heritage, is a two-storey building owned by the OCBC Bank and it has

23 office units with a built-up area of 3,994.8sq metres. Painted in beige, it sits majestically at the junction of Beach Street, Union Street

and Bishop Street. The building used to be the workplace of a prominent lawyer James Richardson Logan in the 1860s. He and his elder

brother, Abraham came from Edinburgh, Scotland, to the Straits Settlement of Penang in the 1840s. They both practised law in Singapore

before migrating to Penang in the 1860s. It is said that Logan was loved by the local residents then as he was devoted to justice and knowledge.

Apparently, he had on some occasions defended the needy on a pro bono basis at no cost to them. Originally, a grand three-storey building

with cast iron balconies, it was later reduced to two storeys. It also has an inner courtyard within the premises. The last occupant on the

ground floor was Barkath Store before the building was closed for restoration early this year. The restoration project was conceived by

OCBC Bank which spent RM5mil while Kuala Lumpur-based TecCentury Sdn Bhd, which is a property management company, spent RM1.8mil.

TecCentury executive director Joe Kan Weng Hoe said the building would be officially opened on Dec 17. It shall boast a variety of food

and beverages outlets, a foreign currency exchange facility, a gadgets’ shop, a convenience store besides smaller commercial interests.

“We also hope to promote tourism with a uniqueness of Penang Heritage through this pre-war building. We also hope to turn the premises

into a food and beverage hub coupled with light entertainment for bankers in the area,” he said during a briefing tour yesterday.

Kan also said that a hall was also set up to be a briefing spot on Penang’s heritage.“We will work closely with the George Town World

Heritage Inc to invite all schools in Penang to Logan Heritage for free briefings. “Our main objective is to embrace Penang’s heritage

and we have different concepts for this building. It is also a good stop for tourists to enjoy its rich heritage value,” he said.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who visited the building yesterday, praised the efforts of the bank and the company in meeting the heritage

guidelines of the Penang Municipal Council.

Branch of the Penang State Museum

Tuesday September 21, 2010

Restored building to house museum

 A HERITAGE building on Macalister Road near Komtar in George Town has been turned into a branch of the Penang state museum.

The 98-year-old building at 57 Macalister Road was in a derelict state for 15 years before the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) started

 renovating it in 2001. The Penang International Print Exhibition 2010 is now being held at 57, Jalan Macalister.

Council president Patahiyah Ismail said due to the building’s heritage category 2 classification, the RM6.5 million renovation work took six

years before it was completed at the end of 2007. “Time was needed to carefully scrape the previous layers of paints and look for the original

tiles,” she said, adding that the building was now sporting its original colour. Penang Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts Committee

chairman Wong Hon Wai, who is also the state museum board’s chairman, said it would take time to promote the building. “It will take us

three to five years to have a good collection of artefacts and collection. However, we will continue our efforts to make this museum an important

 education source for Penangites and tourists,” he said. Museum director Haryany Mohamad said no entry fee would be charged for the moment

but it would be imposed when there is a good collection of exhibits at the double-storey building. She expected the entry fee to be higher

than the RM1 per person charged at the museum on Farquhar Street. The Penang International Print Exhibition 2010 is currently being

held at the Macalister Road building. It will end on Oct 16. Haryany said the Penang state art gallery would also use the building to

showcase artwork and organise activities involving visual arts. The MPPP handed over the building to the state museum board in a

ceremony last Saturday, which was witnessed by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. The building was first used as the King Edward

VII Memorial Hospital from 1915 to 1955 when the hospital moved to its present premises on Jalan Residensi. Lim hoped that the

heritage building could become a tool to promote Penang as a vibrant and cultural heritage city. “I hope that this building will be

a museum that can personify our unique culture and heritage with its artefacts and exhibitions. “We want unorthodox and dynamic

displays that can attract the younger generation,” he said in his speech during the handing over ceremony on Saturday.



Farquhar’s Melaka collection of drawings is published

I was just in Singapore and the National Museum of Singapore has published a fabulous book  entitled “Natural History Drawings, the complete William Farquhar Collection.” For the first time ever, the 477 drawings of the flora and fauna of the Malay Peninsula commissioned by William Farquhar when he was the British Resident and Commandant of Melaka from 1803 to 1818, have been published in one volume.

In 1826, these drawings were donated by Farquhar to the Royal Asiatic Society in London, which then auctioned them for sale in 1993. A Singaporean, Mr Goh Geok Khim, purchased them and then presented the full set of drawings to Singapore’s National Heritage Board in 1996.

Putrajaya’s Secret Garden

In the Putrajaya Botanical Gardens, there is the most remarkable Moroccan Pavillion. I found it by chance when I visited with my parents. It is stuck down in the corner, between the carpark and the lake and it is a total gem of Moroccan Islamic architecture, with several beautiful rooms around a courtyard. The RM3 entrance fee is most definitely worth it, and its almost worth driving all the way to Putrajaya just to see it. I could find out very little about its history, so please email me at if you have any information.

Malacca and Penang history…

Saturday July 24, 2010

Malacca and Penang: History in abundance


THE saying ‘Old is Gold’ certainly holds true for many things.

Among the things that appreciate over time are family relationships, friendships and the value of some tangible things like real estate.

Many so-called “city folks” in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya actually do not hail from the city; their hometowns are in other parts of the country.

Home is where the heart is and many of us have set up homes in places where we work, after settling down with our own family, and have children attending schools or colleges in the city.

The Malacca government has turned the once old and quiet Jonker Street into the now vibrant and ‘happening’ Jonker Walk.

With passing time and wisdom, we learn to appreciate our loved ones better.

And despite the “rat race” of city life, it is important to stay connected with our loved ones and old friends back in the kampung or in other places.

Likewise in the built environment, we can find many undiscovered gems around, which, in spite of their old physical exterior, are actually hidden treasures with strong history and many untold stories within their walls.

The first thing that comes to mind is the many pre-war houses and buildings that can be found in large numbers in the inner cities of Penang and Malacca.

Despite being old and dilapidated, many have the potential to be restored and given a new lease of life.

Some of the ways to reuse these buildings and “monetise” them include turning them into museums, heritage hotels, alfresco dining and restaurants specialising in local fares.

It is interesting to compare Penang and Malacca as they share many similar traits and history.

Both will benefit by learning from each other new ways to improve and manage their built and unbuilt environment.

Since my other half is a Malaccan, I must admit that I tend to compare my hometown, Penang’s George Town, with Malacca whenever I’m back for holidays or family events.

After all, both have been declared Unesco World Heritage Sites and have many interesting buildings and structures that are reminiscent of their rich history and heritage.

Penang and Malacca are both former Straits Settlement states with a long history of early settlers from various parts of the world converging there for trade.

And both are renowned for their Baba/Nyonya culture and heritage.

Being port states, both also have strong foreign connection and influence.

Penang was a bastion of trade for the English and the East India Company after it was founded by Captain Francis Light in 1786, while Malacca was a confluence of Portuguese, Dutch and English influence.

Those influences can still be clearly seen in the architecture of the buildings today.

It is evident that both Penang and Malacca have their own distinctive assets and attractions that have endeared them to many loyal visitors who throng the cities in droves whenever there is a long stretch of holidays.

This could be one of the reasons for the traffic-choked roads during the holiday season and major festivities.

It is common to find many outstation cars among the long lines of cars on the roads during such times.

To give a boost to their intrinsic value as natural tourist attractions, there is a need to improve the public transport system in the two heritage cities to ensure that the different modes of transport are well integrated and connected to each other.

Being on the radar screen of tourists is one thing, but it is equally important to ensure that visitors have convenient access to a good public transport network.

More should also be done to further boost the alluring old world charms of these cities while at the same time, revitalise the inner cities and keep them alive as living heritage.

To achieve this, the old and new attractions and facilities should co-exist and blend seamlessly with one another to make them relevant and refreshing to the people.

Malacca has made some interesting headway in this regard with many old buildings and “once quiet” historical enclaves being given a new lease of life.

One just needs to hop over to the happening and vibrant Jonker Walk, which comes alive every evening, teeming with traders and visitors.

Penangites can certainly take a leaf from their Malaccan counterparts to liven up George Town’s dilapidated inner city.

â–  Deputy news editor Angie Ng is keeping her fingers crossed that the old and new charms of our cities will be the pride of our present and future generations.

New Museum in Kelantan

Kelantan to build wau museum in Bachok


// BACHOK: Kelantan, home of the country’s traditional kites or wau, will finally get its own kite museum next year.State Local Government, Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said it would be housed temporarily in a government quarters until a permanent building was constructed.

“We felt is appropriate that a kite museum be built in the state as the wau is well known locally and internationally. It will be able to attract visitors as there are many kite fans around the world.
“Bachok has been chosen to house the museum as it will be the new permanent site for the annual Kelantan International Kite Festival.

“The wau will also become the district’s icon and used widely to promote Bachok,” he said after the closing of the Kelantan Invitational Kite Festival at Pantai Irama here on Sunday. Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob represented Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat at the ceremony.

Takiyuddin said the museum would showcase the many types of wau from the state, besides kites and accessories from all over the world.
“We have many wau enthusiasts who are keen to hand their collections to the museum.”

On the kite festival at Pantai Irama, Takiyuddin said it was not opened to participants from other countries this year as it was held for the first time there and the organisers were uncertain of the infrastructure and other facilities.

“Even though it was not opened to international participants, we managed to attract nearly 300 people from all over the country.
“However, we hope to organise it on a grander scale next and extend our invitation overseas. Last year, we managed to attract participants from 20 countries,” he said.

Kelantan emerged overall champion in the four day competition which started on July 15.