Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Beading: A Hobby That Gives You a Feeling of Accomplishment and Satisfaction

Does your eye for fashion extend beyond the selection at your local shopping mall? Do jewelry counters ignite your imagination? If so, beading is the perfect craft for you. It is always better to have a hobby to take your mind off a stressful situation, to have some peace of mind, to relax, to enjoy and to learn. You can do so by choosing a hobby that you find interesting. Some may love painting, some love gardening, and some are passionate about movies. If you are looking to engage yourself in a new hobby, you could try beading which could be both exciting and satisfying as it gives you a sense of accomplishment. This is because creating any kind of objects on your own makes you feel proud of yourselves

The most popular item to make with beads is jewelry. Beginners usually start out with large plastic type beads and make bracelets and necklaces with them. Then, as they proceed with this hobby, they will use smaller beads. It is not difficult to find dozens of books about beading at your local book stores (such as Popular & Kinokuniya if you were staying in Kuala Lumpur) with different designs and patterns that could give you some ideas of how to proceed with your jewelry projects. For beading purposes, I strongly recommend two of my favourite books, namely "Aspiring Artist's Studio: Beaded Jewelry Design" by Tair Parnes and "Beading with Charms" by Katherine Duncan Aimone.

In Tair Parnes' "Aspiring Artist's Studio: Beaded Jewelry Design", the easiest projects are found in the first four sections and include detailed instructions and photographs of key steps. This book takes you on a colourful journey into a world of infinite artistic possibilities. Artist and author Tair Parnes guides you through 23 projects, clearly described with step-by-step instructions and accompanies by vibrant colour photos . Every earring, necklace, brooch, and bracelet is like a little exhibition of contemporary art plucked from her studio.

"Beading with Charms" by Katherine Duncan Aimone.- The gorgeous pieces featured in this book probably have you eager to start playing with your tools and bead stash. Whether you use the designs as launching points for your own creations or want to achieve the exact same results, you will find this book very useful. If you do not wish to spend money on these books, the Internet can provide a vast resource of free information for your beading projects.

Beading is a hobby many people enjoy and there are many different varieties of beads that you can use to make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and even watches. Whether you are making a necklace, bracelet, or a watch, the method is the same
. Once you have threaded all your beads onto the thread, you will need to tie a tight knot at the end. Cut the loose ends of the knot as close as you can. The knot will pull up into one of the beads. Believe me, once you learn the basics of beading, you will find this hobby very interesting and absorbing. I have been dabbling in this hobby for years and have created lots of artificial jewelry items. One of the greatest things about creating your own jewelry is that you can fashion it to suit any style or wardrobe. Another advantage is that the beading process is rhythmic, soothing and relaxing. Below are pictures of some my creations. I hope my readers would enjoy seeing them.

Beads come in a multitude of shapes, styles and colours. They may be plain or fancy, large or small, glass or wood. If you can drill a hole in it, you can make a bead out of it. The possibilities are endless.


 I don't fancy luxurious watches as I am proud of the watches that I made myself. The same goes for necklaces too. I feel happier wearing jewelleries that I make myself as they are cheaper and safer too! After being robbed of my gold chain and pendant, I am left without a choice but to start a new hobby i.e. beading.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Tai Keun Ying: His Contributions to the Malay Language

The Malay language is a member of the Austronesian language family - one of the world’s largest languages in the world with more than 1,200 distinct languages found from Madagascar to Hawaii. The Austronesian family can be further split into two primary groups, namely, the Central-Eastern and Western groups. Malay is a member of this Western branch, along with Indonesian, Javanese and Filipino. Many linguists believe that the Malay language has the most significant political impact throughout the history of all Austronesian languages. It is historically one of the most politically powerful languages of the enormous Austronesian language family and has served as a common language throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo for centuries. In fact, the history Malay language is divided into four historical periods, namely Old Malay, Early Modern Malay, Late Modern Malay, and Contemporary Malay.

Old Malay (682-1500)
Also known as Bahasa Melayu Kuno it was written in the ancient writings of Rencong, Pallava, and Kawi. Even the Jawi script during this period was used extensively with Sanskrit.

Early Modern Malay (1500 - 1850)
The prominence of Malacca which embraced Islamic faith turned Malay into a language used in the spread of the Islamic religion. During this period of history, Malay underwent many radical changes with the:
a. infusion of Arabic, Persian and Hindi Vocabulary
b. introduction of Arabic rhetorical style.
c. changes in grammar based on oral speech.

Late Modern Malay (1850 - 1957)
The 17th century also saw the emergence of the great Hikayats as the Malays recorded their experiences, religious laws and oral literature in Jawi script. Sir Richard O. Winstedt categorized the hikayat as Bahasa Melayu Klasik (Classical Malay Language). The late Modern Malay language also involves the incorporation of loan words from Portuguese, Dutch and English.

Contemporary Malay (1957 - the present)
In 1959, Indonesia and Malaysia signed an agreement to standardize the spelling system of both countries. They named this unified system "Melindo", an acronym for Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia. However, the Melindo spelling was never executed as a consequence Indonesia's confrontation against Malaysia. As the relationship between these two countries stabilized in 1966, further steps towards the standardization of a common spelling system was implemented in 1972. Some of the changes affecting the Malaysian language are as indicated below:
"ch" is spelled as "c"
e.g. cari instead of chari
cerita instead of cherita
pakcik instead of pakchik
pecut instead of pechut

"sh" is spelled as "sy"
e.g. syarikat instead of sharikat
syurga instead of shurga
syariah instead if shariah

The written form of words like "bermain2" has since been written in full "bermain-main" and  is now being remembered as part of the history of the Malay language. To be very frank, I would rather write the duplicated form of bermain-main as bermain2 as it saves time and energy! For the sake of young Malaysians, who have no idea how the old Malay spelling was like, I have uploaded pages from a book written by my father prior to 1972 entitled "How to Read Malay Newspaper" (Volume 1) so that you can see how much Bahasa Malaysia has changed since then. I was clearing my things when I accidentally found this book. 

For a long time, I wanted to write an article about this book in commemoration of my father so that his contributions to the Malay language will not be forgotten but did not find the time to do so until today. In fact, according to my relatives, he has written several books about the Malay language but this is the only one that I could find so far. I do not want this book to disappear into nothingness because it does exist and has had its days of glory. Further, my father had spent a lot of time writing his books and it is only fair to let the world know that his books exist. At the moment, this is the only thing I can do for him. It is hope that with the publication of this article, his contributions to the Malay language will always be remembered. 

My father knows many languages. In fact, I learnt Jawi from him when I was 8 years old. He is not the kind of father who would easily let his children go if they fail their exams. When I failed my Jawi (in standard 2), apart from caning me, he drew a chart with all the Jawi letters on it and made me memorize them. He also taught me to write words and later on sentences in Jawi. 

A photo of my father - Tai Keun Ying

My father and his colleagues at SJK(C) Chung Kwo.

My father was formerly a teacher at SJK(C) Chung Kwo

My father and his students

My father and his best friend - the one who inspired him to write Malay books 

My father and his best friend - the one who inspired him to write Malay books