Aidilfitri craft promo sets the mood
Writer: Lin Zhen Yuan
Published: Fri, 17 Aug 2012
The timing is perfect and the occasion couldn’t be more appropriate. The Aidilfitri Craft Promotion at the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex saw the participation of three dozen entrepreneurs specialising in fashion apparel for the festive occasion.
Cookies galore for those celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
The theme for this year’s promotion helmed by Kraftangan Malaysia is Pop Art Fashion. The event was held from Aug 1 – 12.
There were also scores of participants who exhibited their best works in craft skills and culinary talents.
On my arrival at the main hall, the strains of traditional Malay music wafted through the air. On the stage facing the side entrance, a woman who was tastefully dressed in black crooned her way into the hearts of her appreciative audience.
The singer was accompanied by eight musicians who were playing instruments like the accordion, guitar, drums and violin.
The melodic traditional asli and keroncong tunes sailed across the wide hall and brought smiles to the faces of visitors and traders alike.
The Raya mood in the month of Ramadan, at least at the KL Craft Complex, was thus elevated to a higher level.
Next to the stage where the male musicians were sitting was a stall selling “Khyber Pass Super Honey”. The paragraph in the advertisement banner that caught my attention was “Berkhasiast Tinggi untuk Lelaki”.
Unfortunately, I didn’t stay long enough to probe deeper into the delights of Khyber Honey. There were little mountains of cookie jars filled with little round snacks of many exotic flavours.
From across the South China Sea where the land is below the wind was the Julitah Kraf stall. It had some of the more fetching handicraft items from Sabah.
Alice and her mother were in Kuala Lumpur to supplement the family’s income and also to “sell” Sabah.
It was past 2pm on a weekday and the visitors were few and far between. Alice was conversant in her own native language but she didn’t seem so confident in Bahasa.
Nevertheless, the tree-bark baskets which were immensely popular among Sabah’s indigenous people looked very sturdy and attractive to me. A discreet enquiry revealed that each was tagged at RM25.
Alice’s mother then came forth and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. At RM20, it would be sinful if I had turned her down. I also grabbed a handful of little Sepak Takraw keychains.
Three metres away was another stall selling big packets of my favourite tit-bits --- tapioca chips, or what most of us call “keropok”. Since the packets were larger than normal the prices were at wholesaler’s level.
One really can’t find fault with RM7 per plastic bag. A plateful of these chips goes very well with a hot cup of tea in the afternoon.
Modern Islamic calligraphic art posters struck a modern theme at a distant corner from the cookies section.
The Anjung Seri House of Selangor displayed its framed copper Islamic calligraphic art pieces in and around its stall.
There were ample selections of gold and silver brooches and other costume accessories to enhance the festive fashion wear. Some of these accessories were superb pieces that could only be created by experts in their own fields.
Some art works depicting Malaysian scenes were exquisite to say the least. For example, coconuts, oil palm fronds and other local flora were magnificently drawn and painted.
Products and services were located under one tent while another housed traditional cookies and the making of popular snacks like kuih bahulu, wajik, putu kacang, kuih kapit and kuih kukus.
This year’s Aidilfitri promotion, besides fashion, also included cooking demonstrations, handicraft exhibitions, a Ramadan bazaar and interior decorations.
This stall has all the jewellery pieces to please any woman.
The event is a scaled-down version of the National Craft Day exhibition which is held in March every year. The Aidilfitri promotion has limited craftsmen in attendance this time around but knife makers from Malacca and Johor showed up with their products.
While the other craftsmen and chefs were deeply engrossed in their own activities, a middle-aged Malay man was sitting alone weaving ketupat. His skill reveals the age-old art of weaving ketupat which is usually taught by mothers to daughters and sometimes even to sons in traditional-styled kampung homes.
Another artform that is also uncommon these days are the traditional leather sandals called “capal” by the locals. There was one stall that displayed many varieties of its leather sandals.
Some of them were quite eye-catching. There was a time when I used to walk around town in a pair of “capal”. I bought the capal from a shop at the corner of Datuk Keramat Road in Penang.
The sight of those capal at this promotion stirred up some long forgotten memories.
It is always a pleasure and certainly an occasion to walk the halls and browse through the tents at the KL Craft Complex during festive occasions.
One never knows what one can find or learn about the various cultural art forms in this truly Asian country.