Thursday, 21 September 2006

Unknotting knots, Nang Nak and a week of literature and high fashion

It was just as well that I had prepared myself physically and mentally for the past few gruelling days or else I’d be a total wreck by now. A long overdue promise to pamper myself saw me suitable berkembaned in a batik sarung in a sauna for half an hour. That was followed by some initially gentle kneading on my much abused back and shoulders that I nearly fell asleep. The Thai masseuse sure knew how to use every part of her limbs to untangle my ‘knots’. It was all thumbs, fingers, knuckles and even elbows and knees.

My first Thai massage experience was last year in Bangsar and unlike the one I had last week in London, the masseuse in Bangsar was all action and no talk, while this one talked to me about all sorts of things from techniques of unknotting knots to Nang Nak – the origin of. I had seen Nang Nak several times and had even presented a paper in Paris two years ago about it, but too much talk of Nang Nak in a dimly lit room and glimpses of the masseuse’s long tumbling hair covering her face as she bent down to knead me, was a bit unsettling. Anyway, I left the spa feeling like a new woman, hoping that my other half felt as much too.

Like I said, this was a fortnight that saw me running around like a headless chicken. You’d think that as a veteran headless chicken, I’d know the ropes by now, but NO!

‘tis the week that a lot of people turned up to do events. It was a happening week, so to speak: two kenduri tahlils in between fashion shows and a weekend conference in Oxford. ‘tis the week when the euphoria of material pleasures were put in check by reminders that this world is just a temporary stopover.

Anyway, this being the London Fashion Week, I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from Malaysian designer Tom Abang Saufi about her debut in London. She was invited by Asia House to showcase her collection to the British public.



And I trotted off to that hoping to get a few more of Tom’s fabulous Pua sarongs to add to my collection of no less than 10 in the cupboard. In the end I didn’t buy any because I have most of the designs and as for her batik ‘buttonless and zipless’ collection, that can wait after winter. Afterall, Tom is opening her very own shop opposite Jimmy Choo Couture in Connaught Street.

It was also at Tom’s do at Asia House that I met the most incredible woman – Tunku Azizah, the Tuanku Ampuan Pahang and patron the Fertility Foundation, who tirelessly works for the benefit of childless couples. Her own struggle to have children after six miscarriages in nine years, is enough to make you thankful for the lot that you have at home.





Then, I had a weekend conference in Oxford and what a wonderful weekend it turned out to be, listening to experts discussing seventeenth and eigteenth century manuscripts during the day and enjoying a bit of Balinese dance and haunting tunes of Sundanese music in the evening in the auspicious surroundings that is Oxford University. We listened in awe to descriptions of some lewd syairs in what must have been the only known porn literature in old Malay manuscript, and we were transfixed by jottings of the only known Malay POW who worked on the Death Railway in Burma. This guy, whom I will write about in a proper entry, was a real survivor. His jottings, which he later compiled in neat Jawi, tell of how he survived being tied up a tree for a week, eating frogs and other insects in the jungle, burying his buku 555 in the ground away from the searching eyes of the Japanese soldiers, falling in and out of love with local damselles who helped him along his escape routes and many, many more. Watch this space.

Then all too soon, it was back to the big white tent at the Natural History Museum, that showcases the top names in British designs. This year, I had recruited Sayang Mama number three to be my official photographer as Her Blurness couldn’t take good pictures anymore. Studying my understudy is not the easiest thing to do. I get anxious too easily as soon as she puts away her camera or misses an opportunity to photograph a celebrity.

Day one, Ben De Lisi’s show was fashionably late by 45 minutes. In the meantime, D list celebs and model wannabees sashayed arround the waiting area, trying to catch the eyes of photographers. This event turned out to be an assembly of famous children of celebrities; daughter of Bob Geldolf tirelessly giving interviews and posing, daughter of Dato JC smiling shyly into the camera and children of the Rolling Stones. Daughter of Kak Teh did her bit and took pictures of these famous children.

Day two – a quite relaxed event at Bernard Chandran’s. A bevy of Malaysian socialites turned up filling the front row. Bernard’s Spring and Summer Collection is certainly something of a jaw dropping event – beautiful and only for the daring with the right curves at the right places.

Tomorrow, it is Singapore’s talent abroad – Ashley Isham whose celebration of punk and romance for his autumn winter collection, was a great hit. I am pretty sure, it will be a repeat performance or even a better one this time.

And yes, after that, I’ll be off to the Dorchester as someone will be arriving from New York. I can already feel the knots forming on my back and methinks its time for another backrub.

34 comments:

Ordinary Superhero said...

Oh can't wait for the Malay POW survivor's story. Jangan tunggu lama sangat Kak Teh no...

ubisetela said...

err.. kakTeh, you meant to write Tom's Pua motives right? not Pau? :D *teringin nak makan pau*

Kak Teh said...

OSH, insyaallah - akan diusahakan.
Ubi, well spotted- written while tummy growling.

Mama Rock said...

ooohhh.you've been busy! and leaspa ni boleh gi massage lagi, maybe not by another nang nak ya :)

Nazrah said...

kakteh memang! kalau salah spelling pun boleh jadi kelakar.

protege ada potential tu eh? sayang mama tak lama lagi kena ikut mama la ke mana-mana.

anedra said...

WAHHHHH! How i wish I could be that girl of 20 when I was in London with you. For sure, I'd be by yr side, tailing you to all these events (ke, jadi tukang angkat yr bags ke, kan?! Sounds like SO MUCH FUN!! As for Tunku Azizah..yup, she's quite a lady! AND she's an STFian!! hehe!

Manal said...

Eh kak teh,

I thought a masseur is a male massager while a masseuse is a feminine term for that.

Those lewd syairs probably originated from the hindu kama sutra.

Gosh, u seemed so lucky to almost always get the chance to be at LFW shows. Yeah, i remembered those big white tents next to the 2nd exit of south ken subway.

How I MISSED my old surroundings and those walks from Cromwell Road to Brompton Road, of if i head south, towards kings road and sloane st. A westender I was.

pu1pu3 said...

Aha...adakah this guest a THAI?At Dorchester plak tu. Looking forward to the insiders gossip when we meet soon, itu pun if you can slot me in...hehhe....bz as a bee aje KT ni...

AuntyN said...

Kak Teh. I think I need an urut too. Lenguh seluruh badan rasanya ni. Tapi takut pulak lepas kena urut tu terus demam urat pulak nanti isyy, macam2 lah kalau dah umur bertambah ni no? :-(

Judy Leese said...

Wow, such an exciting and interesting week and you still get time to blog. I had to catch my breath as I kept on reading your movements. You get to meet all these celebrities and VIPs? Are you also one of them seeing that you are always in their company? How do you get to hear of all these events? Ooops, sorry about the questions. :)

Kak Teh said...

mama rock, i do need another one but it will have to wait after ramadan kut!

nazeah, memang dah dok ikut ke mana-mana. My understudy! Asalkan jangan dok ikut salah spelling etc.

anedra, ya - u are right there. U'd be the one carrying the tripods etc. kuli paksa gitu - free , kan?

Kak Teh said...

eh, manal, how right u are! Inilah berblogging tengah-tengah malam buta...semua salah. Thanks. Ya, u must certainly remember the big white tents and people in fancy clothes milling around there. so very near yr uni.

Putri - nanti datang sini kak teh confirm.

N - kita ni yang perlu ialah MOT - di sini kereta yang lebih dr tiga tahun perlu MOT - kalau tidak tak roadworthy!

Judy, hmmmm, its almost like the number 7 bus. U wait and none comes. So these events and invites are like that. And when it happens - everything happens at the same time.

Atok said...

ayoyo... last time kata, next time lah nak bawa i sekali to the fashion show. terlepas lagilah nampaknya :((

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blossom said...

wow kak teh, tersangatnya busy awak. Jangan terlupa start puasa pulak nanti! =D

Ramadan Mubarak to you and family!

~ahni~ said...

Seronoknya dapat berurut satu badan... lepas tu pergi tengok fashion show pulak. Ada tak rasa your 'new body' tu nak try baju2 yg diperagakan.

Pak Tuo said...

hmm...very active lady Kak Teh ni,

I Arwah Uncle Majid is still alive ,he would be able to tell the tales of our pre-independence sailors who took the ocean liner and settle at Liverpool, Soton and London.

Is the Malayan Workers Club still active Kak Teh?Arwah Uncle Majid is such a trivial Malay Esquire.He wanted to jodohkan I dengan ananknya dulu.His wife is English.Simple home, I think its somewhere near Waltomstore.I cant really remember.There lot of otai in Waltomstore then.Those who arrive way back in the 40's.Ther is one Mak Cik I was introduce to by the name of 'Rokiah' and the otais called her 'Kiah Rock'.It was a pleasent meeting with them then.I when to their meeting asking for a Guru yang boleh mengajar mengaji thus I recommended a dear friend of mine Hj.Jeffri from Singapore,a fellow student too.He gave the elementary classes to all the Pak Chik and Mak Chik then.I was still bluesing then but that meeting really open mind mind to the reality of life.I think now is is much more properly organised i supposed

Is Dr.Jamal and Sabri Yunus (WWF) still teaching in Oxford U,Kak Teh?

Anyway,Happy Ramadan Al Mubarak to you and family,Kak Teh.

Wassalam

ailin...in aalborg said...

hai kak teh. when i go there for hari raya, make sure you bring me for that massage, okay?

Anonymous said...

hectic nyer schedule kak teh..tu agaknya sakit urat. emmm, is it a sign signalling u to slow down a bit. but, i guess slowing down is not in ur dictionary..

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan Al-Mubarak to Kak teh n family.. :)

Esah GRO said...

I saw Nang Nak, too. Scary, kan?

Those models have the right curves in the right places, eh? But just like them, maybe 20 years from now, I'll maybe accidentally put my bra on backwards and find that it fits better! Ha! Ha!

ays_as said...

selamat menyambut Ramadhan!!...
selamat beribadat!!

tee said...

kak teh, it's me la -- de anon yang kat atas tu....

Queen Of The House said...

Kak Teh ... selamat menyambut bulan Ramadhan al Mubaraq .....

alinlai said...

selamat berposa kak teh & family :) seronoknya berurut...sambil lelap mata dan terus zzZZzzz...

anggerik merah said...

Ramadan Al Mubarak to Kak Teh & family

KC said...

Kak Teh,
Ramadhan Al Mubarak to you and family. Beraya disana kita?
warm regards

rubyahmad said...

Hi Kak Teh,

You've been circuiting eh! How lovely. Aah...the dreaded backache...ha ha ha! Well, you got it right...massages are divine indeed.

Wow! Really...Tom opening a boutique there? Gee, I'm not in the loop! I have popped into Bernard's though. Hmm...just a top is the cost of...nevermind the cost..ha ha ha. To window shop there was already fun. It does look like more and more Malaysians masih BOLEH! Sybas indeed.

Anyway wishing you 'Ramadhan Mubarak'. Take care.

rockybru said...

hi ah,

selamat berpuasa. my regards to wan and the kids [and visitors to your blog, too]. i remember trying to fast in london back then. i wasn't very successful.

raya tak balik malaysia?

Azer Mantessa said...

kak teh, selamat berpuasa.

Kak Teh said...

atok, so so so sorry. dapat pass dah lambat dan mula-mula memang tak minat nak pergi. Tak apa - ada lagi nanti kak teh bagi tau.

surfingmama - yes?

blossom, memang - kak teh penat sangat. tapi nak buat macam mana. kadang2 tu tak lah sesibuk ini.

ahni - kak teh rasa dah macam ketagih nak pergi urut lagi. Tapi mahallah di sini.

Kak Teh said...

Pak Tuo - yes, the Malay club is still active. I hope to visit them.

I met up with Kak Rokiah twice recently and again- promised to phone dia, tapi belum phone.
Is Pak Cik Majid's wife Jean?

ailin, of course we will go.

anon, i think so - u are very right - i do need to slow down.

Kak Teh said...

esah - hahaha - thatis funny - u put it wrong way round and it still seems fine??? ya , methinks its already happening to me. What is worse, you put itwrong way round or not at all, and no one noticed!

ays_as - selamat berpuasa to u too.

ala tee anon, now you tell me!
QOTH -s elamatberpuasa to u too!

Kak Teh said...

alinlai - selamatberpuasa to u too. ya - memang sedap urut tu.

AM - have a good ramadan to you too.

KC - yes, nampaknya gitu lah - nak raya di sini. Kalau ada rezki memang nak baliklah.
Ruby, at the rate i am circuiting, I will be a dervish dancer!

Rocky, u mean you tried to fast?
hehe!

azer manteesa, thanks for dropping and selamatberpuasa to u too.

Anonymous said...

oh blimey kak teh...you are the reporter that my parents dok cerita and i saw your photos with them...my dad is Hj. Daruis lah kak teh....he was so excited about the whole thingy in oxford.