Monday, August 08, 2011


I just got back from berbuka puasa at my friend’s place, SR. A businessman with a lovely wife and very talented child. I have photographed the family twice and the results were apparently outstanding.

I had to have lunch with the family to present my work. The smiles in their face were magic. It was a major satisfaction to me.

Anyway, SR is an art collector. Havent been t the house for a while and I notices new pieces that caught my eyes. Syed Ahmad Jamal’s and and italian bust of a lady, sculptured in glass. Solid glass. Beautiful pieces.

I am not really in touched with any art scene but I do appreciate great works of art.

When I returned home we were exchanging gratitudes on the dinner and he also sent me a series of photos of his songket collection. Seriously, he is a serious collector.

He sees the work of Terengganu art. I do to, of course. But it’s very nice to hear such remarks made by someone who is not from Terengganu but passionate about songket.

I myself have always been impressed by the work of art and I do recognize not just the effort but also more importantly the talents of songket designers and weavers.

The work of art in some culture are very fine and of the highest quality from the people and most of them give their best to give to their respective gods - like the ornate carvings on their buildings of worship - mosques, churches, wats etc. Human dedication tho their creators - what ever their belief, irregardless.

Sonket is different in that sense. It has got NOTHING to do with you devotion to God. It is just art expressed beautifully with endless passion. If you understand how long it is to complete, intricacy of its design, color scheme, and various other factors, you woud understand what I mean.

Not unlike the carpet weavers. Traditionally it is an individual expression of his / her work of art, again with deep passion and pride.

I personally know a songket designer, YM Tengku Ismail Tengku Su. A person I admire in term of his deep knowledge in Terengganu culture and its sultanate. Unfortunately Tengku Ismail (fondly known as Ku We) is currently is not well, suffering from a serious heart attack and under life support in London. I am very sad and worried that we might lose him - meaning to say, we would lose a part of Terengganu culture.

My prayers - may he recover and come back to the beautiful Pura Tanjung Sabtu.

It would be very sad to see the disappearance of beautiful skills in our culture which has been with us for centuries - no doubt worth preserving as it is part of our identity we are proud of.

Unfortunately I do not see serious effort being done to ensure the continuity of this skill.

My ambition is to produce a coffee-table book on Terengganu and of course songket will be one of the highlights.


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