English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Magic Borneo Beads - my first masterpiece!

I love costume jewellery and accessorising. One of my favourite pursuits when I was in Australia was Diva, a store selling fashion accessories. I would adorn myself with accessories back then, be it a sparkly brooch, earrings made of peacock earrings, or long dangly necklaces.

I wear less accessories today, because there seems to be less occasions to do it in Malaysia, and people here are a lot less dressy. So a lot of my collections are in storage, until a suitable occasion comes along.

But still, I love looking for beads, however there are few that will cater to my taste. So I tend to make some jewellery myself.

One of the most outstanding designs that I ever come across are local, called Magic Borneo Beads. The owner and creator behind the designs are none other than my dear friend Eleanor Goroh, a very artistic and charismatic lady. Whenever I see her collection of beads, I just get speechless with the colours and varieties.

While the name is Magic Borneo Beads, the beads itself are not made in Sabah or Borneo, but the designs are assembled here. Ask her where she gets her beads, and she'll say 'KK!'.

While some of the beads are bought while on travels by herself, or friends.... a great bulk of it comes from KK itself, in the form of ready made necklaces and bracelets.

"I love New York, it is a city built by immigrants and a melting pot of different ethnicities, so similar to us. Did you know that Manhattan was bought with just a handful of beads?", she asks me animatedly during one of our conversations.

I've read about it long ago, actually. And I've forgotten about it until now. But how amazing, when you think about it.

"Imagine that North Borneo was probably the same. We don't make our own beads, but traders come to our shores wanting to buy our wonderful products, and have nothing to offer us in return, save for a few beautiful beads. That is how beads come to Borneo", she continued.

Its stories like this that she shares that have people like me completely mesmerized, lost in a world of sails and ships and beautiful beads. Come to her studio and she'll bring you on an exciting journey in the world of beads.

You might think "Err... its just a bead..??", but she'll tell you otherwise. You'll leave thinking "Wow, I didn't know that beads are so interesting!"

According to Elle, every piece comes with their own personal story to tell. For example, she made a beautiful rosary necklace on the anniversary of the Double Six tragedy.

I had planned on following my friend Jan last night to the studio and just watch her while she made bracelets for her friend, but instead I got myself working on my own little masterpiece.

I guess, Elle would want to know the story of the necklace I made, so here goes....

When I started picking out the beads, I already knew that I wanted to make one that is focused mostly on blues and greens. Blue and green, for me, is the colour of world - the colour of the globe as we see it if we were at a distance in space. Blue and green signifies 2 things I love - the sea and the forest.

I made the necklace symmetrical - each side is matched with the same beads the other, because that is how I like things to be. Balanced.


The centre piece (the big yellow and green bead that kind of like a pendant hanging in the middle) is a striped Indo-Pacific glass bead. The bead caught my eye, because the swirly pattern on one side of the bead makes me think of a yellow rose. A yellow rose symbolises friendship and joy. And of course yellow, makes me think of Bersih.

The beads on the mid-section of the string included aquamarine beads, molded blue glass beads with flowery patterns, and 3 varieties of Lunbawang clay beads (probably the only ones made in Malaysian Borneo). I didn't know I picked three varieties from the same manufacturer, but I just liked the combination. The green pattern on white background, on one of the beads makes me think of people joining hands in unity.

As spacers, I had used some small brown beads that came from Taiwan, sparkly little gold balls, small yellow wooden beads and some little gold beads that Elle said made her think of some type of melon. I don't know, I don't have a name for it yet.

The gold metal flower beads for me signifies peace and femininity. As we do give flowers as a sign of goodwill and peace offering.

Further up on the string, there are purple glass beads, blue glass beads and tiny purple crystal beads that lend a little sparkle to the combination.

I have added some semi-precious stones, including moonstones (a stone known to enhance intuition) and purple amethyst tears (amethyst is for spiritual healing and growth). May be just glass and not amethyst, but I think it is.

Also included are moss green stones, that look very similar to green jasper (a talisman for healing and health), small striped spacer beads that made me think of sweets, clear green stones (which could be green beryl), more aquamarine beads and ended with multi-colour glass beads that made me think of rainbows. And ooh... I forgot to mention the star spacer beads that I've put in - for the star in me ;-)


I would have loved it if I could get a Lapis Lazuli bead that looks like the globe for the necklace, that I've seen before in World of Feng Shui, but it does cost loads. And might be heavy too.



But either way, I just love my necklace, and I am just so proud to wear it! Even more so because I made it!

I think a necklace like this deserves a name, don't you think? Any suggestions?


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Conquering fear - wall-climbing for the first time!

I've had it on my list. Wall-climbing.


One of the more adventurous pursuits that popped into my head while I was making my 2012 resolutions. Actually... it was my only one. 

And today, 11 months and 13 days into 2012... I finally did it! 

As I glanced up to the wall... gulp! My heart just started beating a little faster. 

Am I really gonna get up there today? That's like 2 floors up! Are my arms and legs are strong enough to handle it? Lots of thoughts running through my head. 

First thing we did when we arrived, was to head towards the registration counter, and fill up some papers. The price for a first-time climber: RM21 inclusive of RM5 membership. As with most outdoor activities, there is a clause that participants need to sign which reads..... blah blah blah... you are aware that this is a dangerous activity.... blah blah blah..... will not hold company responsible in case of death of injury.

Not exactly the most confidence-boosting words to read.

We were then asked for our shoe sizes. Climbing shoes are close fitting, and curved in a way to make it easier to stand on small holds / crevices. Equipped with harness, and powder bag, we were led to the wall with ropes. 

And just like that, we were ready to climb. After a very short briefing on how to get back down. Gulp! We looked longingly at the wall next to us, which they said were made for kids, so it looked a bit easier than this wall they were trying to make us climb.

For the first climb, we went about half way up then came back down just to get the feel of it. I definitely did not feel confident, especially with my fear of heights. And here I am, pressed to the wall, relying on nothing more than those little 'rocks' under my feet, holding me up.

Being up there, and trying hard not to look down while searching for a foothold.... was a bit stressful. I think Tina and I spent a lot of time on that first climb making a lot of noise about how scary it was, how to find footing, how arms are hurting, how.... etc etc etc. And well... that does slow things down. But that was the fun of it!

On the second try, we firmly said we were going for the kids' wall, the easiest. So they let us try that one, and it was way easier. Maybe it also helped that we tried the other one first, but being able to reach the top was exhilirating!

By my third climb, I was sort of forgetting that I was up that high, and pressed against the wall with nothing but little footholds to hold me up. It was fun!

My arms are so going to kill me tomorrow ;-) but I look forward to my next climb, and conquering more walls... and my fear of heights. Yeah!!


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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Finathon – Get Swimming to End Finning


Think shark, and we picture in our heads the ruthless, razor-sharp toothed creatures that roam in the deep, searching for their next human victim.

Thriller fiction movies like Jaws have done nothing but to perpetuate such myths, and some unfortunate incidents of shark attacks have done little to dispel such notions.

The truth is.... of the 80 some million water-activity participants each year, only a handful succumb to shark attacks. In the rare instances when sharks do attack humans, usually it is a case of mistaken identity, i.e., they thought you're a yummy turtle.

The truth is.... a shark is much more likely to be finned to be served as a delicacy in a soup bowl, while the remains are tossed into the sea, leaving the shark helpless and unable to survive. 

A 2006 study in the journal Ecology Letters determined humans kill 73 million sharks a year. That is just as a result of the shark-finning trade alone. Researchers calculated that 1.7 tons of shark meat are harvested each year. (http://dsc.discovery.com/sharks/shark-myths-04.html)

So who really is the predator, and who is the victim?  Who is the ruthless killer?

Team members of FINtastic Five, comprising of myself, Jan Chow, Chloe Tiffany Lee, Tina Wong Shak Li and Majoree Muis will be swimming 1 km in masks, snorkels and fins in support of the fight against shark finning this 4th of November (Sunday)!!


We have pledged to raise at least RM600 towards this Project AWARE initiative supported by Dive Downbelow, but we would really love to raise RM1,000! If at least 20 people would be kind enough to sacrifice RM50 for this cause, we are all set! At the moment, I have received RM150 in donations! 

For donations, please contact Sabrina directly at 016-8287675 or sabrinaaripen@gmail.com for further information. Deadline for donations on 3rd November 2012 (yeah, know it's a bit late... but I have been away!!)

The 1km route (500m return) starts in the bay, where we will follow along the reef to Turtle House site and return.

From our contributions, Project AWARE will:-

FIGHT to stop shark finning 
INSIST on full protections for critically endangered sharks 
NEGOTIATE strong policies to ensure a brighter future for all sharks

 Support our team for a better future for sharks!


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