Category Archives: Project

Madu Tualang

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beehives on Tualang branches at Pedu Lake forest

Haze has been invading my oxygen supply since early last month and it gets worse every single day now. Never a miss for every single year during the dry season that we Malaysian have to experience the smoky haze from our neighboring country.

I could cynically claim that Malaysia is a 3 season country now: the dry season, monsoon season and the haze season. The season where I got most of my asthmatic attack.

I take honey to help sooth down my phlegm and sore throat.

Wild honey reminds me of Manuka honey

The sweet thick caramel taste of  New Zealand Manuka honey made by bees that roam around the huge open valleys in New Zealand, where Manuka flowers bloom widely between bushes and the bees roam freely collecting delicious nectars.

My honey supply comes from the nearest organic shops around my house imported from New Zealand. I don’t simply just buy local honey from the street as I don’t want to get cheated into sucking in melted caramel sugar that those opportunists claimed as pure honey. We get that a lot in Malaysia.

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beehives on Tualang tree with wooden steps nailed to the branch by honey hunters

It is not easy to get pure local honey

Honey taste differently from one another depending on the type of flower nectar that the bees suck into. While the environment that the bees live in contributing to the quality of the honey.

Definitely not easy for bees to build their nest here in Malaysia with our air pollution level (haze from Indonesia) and our habit of destroying our greens under the name of development. Hmmm … so I am a bit skeptical about purchasing any honey from the street.

I tasted some local honey before like Honey Kelulut (taste a bit sour),  local honey from an unidentified origin ( the seller swear that it is pure honey) and Tualang honey. The most expensive and tasty honey so far for my taste is Tualang honey. The Tualang honey that I bought from Amir of Seri Mahawangsa boathouse in Tasik Pedu is tastier, better in taste comparing to the Manuka honey from New Zealand.

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The Tualang tree from the rainforest of Pedu Lake, Kedah

Why Madu Tualang or Tualang honey?

Being a curious cat, I wonder why does the famously sought after Tualang honey tastes that good? What so special about this seasonal and expensive honey? And they said Tualang honey from Pedu Lake is among the best quality of honey in the world.

This is when I discovered the Tualang honey hunters of Pedu Lake. A very interesting discovery that changes on how I see my jar of honey at home.

Why do the bees choose Tualang trees?

The tallest tree in the rainforest is the Tualang tree. The tree stands prominently among the rest of the tree in the forest.

And, giant Asian bees of Apis Dorsata roams around the forest collecting flower nectars around Tasik Pedu and build their nest high up on the tall branches of a Tualang tree, out of the reach of the predators (both human and animals). The bees collected flower nectars from the estimated 180 types of flowers from different trees surrounding the area of Pedu Lake.

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Brother Nizam with his Tualang tree

I always have the idea that we are stealing from the bees. They work so hard accumulating nectars and turn it into golden honey, while we easily would just steal from their hives. But, we are inter-dependent with our ecology.

Therefore, honey hunters need to adopt a sustainable method on how to harvest wild honey and at the same time ensuring the survival of the bees.

Pemburu Madu Tualang or Tualang hunters of Pedu Lake

Late March this year, I followed a group of a traditional honey hunter of Pedu Lake lead by brother Nizam. You can google him on the internet as they are a well-known honey hunter for this area and he and his team got featured on National Geographic channel.

You see, brother Nizam has the exclusive rights to a few Tualang trees in Pedu Lake. Honey collected from the bees trees in this virgin rainforest is ‘technically’ owned by him and his entourage. The ‘rights’ runs in the family for almost a decade, starting from his great grandfather, grandfather and now to him.

They have been adopting a sustainable way to harvest the wild honey for years.

If you are doing it right, the bees would always build its nest and produce tons of honey on the same tree for years after years. It’s like a yearly ritual journey for the honey hunters once a year on the same month to harvest the precious honey of the same Tualang trees.

Interesting right?

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A honey hunter looking out to the Tualang tree

The flowering season of our rainforest

Bees would start building up their nest after the monsoon season. From January to March bees would be super busy helping the pollinating process around the forest.

I am lucky this year to be able to witness the mass flowering season of the rainforest around Pedu Lake and Sepilok in Sabah.  It was in March and early April. I was told that the phenomena happened every 5 years. Almost every tree in the forest that I visited at that time were flowering.

And, each corner of the forest smells differently. I have a strong sense of smell. Being able to witness and smell the forest during the flowering season is amazingly beautiful.

What an experience!

Once the honey is mature enough the team of seven to eleven hunters starts preparing the preliminary works before the actual harvesting procedure which I would go details in my next posting.

The tools are ready.

The stairs have been properly nailed from the ground to the top of the Tualang branch.

The harvesting could only be done at night when the bees are less hostile, as bees could not see in the dark. I waited anxiously and prayed for a dry night (even though the weather forecast says that it’ll rain for the next 5 days). Me being optimistic.

I already imagine myself licking on the thick high nutritional golden Tualang honey and bang! the sky at 6 pm on the ‘right’ harvesting night turned cloudy while the cold wind started to warn us about the incoming rainstorm.

And at 8 pm. it started to rain … for the next 5 nights too haaaah, well.

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Tualang trees at night

You see, even a drop of rain could ruin the precious honey. So, rain is a no-no during the harvesting process. So I asked … each time when it’s raining what happened to the honey at the hives? It would get contaminated too right?

Nature has its own way to survive… you know when it’s raining that thousands of giant bees would gather around the hive and shield their nest with their tiny-miny wings, like an umbrella. Amazing right?

The weather was unpredictable and I decided not to wait as I have to catch another flight to Sabah for my 3 weeks trip and I missed the harvesting season for this year. I will try again next year and share the story here.

Marking my calendar for the next honey hunting expedition in the year 2020,

In Sha Allah. I’ll see y’all in my next posting. Take care.

Cheers

MM


Getting serious …

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Taking up a new challenge out of my comfort zone

I have been putting this off for almost a year. If I want to improve my photography skill then I need to be serious about my paid job too. So, I started buying my studio equipment slowly since last year, bought my studio lights last few months (coz I couldn’t decide which one suits my pocket and my style).

I want to master studio light and take awesome B&W portraits. And, I kept on justifying all the ringgit out from my pocket for this purpose … to master light and shadow under a controlled environment and I need to have all this equipment. Dang!!

Got my favorite dark grey ash backdrop fixed and I start taking photos of my most best-loved subject … baby!.  Yes. I am all geared up for my next learning experience. Learning by doing. My portfolio website is up and running at matsudamashimaru.myportfolio.com,  my facebook page is done (jom follow), my spirit is highly motivated for this (am having bad flu right now) and let’s do this Matsuda.

Mastering a new skill.

If you are interested to have me capture your intimate beautiful moments with your baby, children or the whole family, please feel free to get in touch me via email at salliza.salleh@gmail.com or Facebook or Instagram.

Cheers

MM


Light Painting with Fire

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Lake Gardens Taiping, Perak at wee hours

I was with my three (3) other travel companions last weekend playing with lights at Taiping, Perak. A short weekend outing to start off our new travel team (we called us the #gengbajetravel). We planned to travel together since God knows … very long time ago …  but it always canceled at the very last minute. Excuses after excuses …

Then, we decided to make it happened, by hook or by crook. The weather forecast said that it’ll be raining the whole weekend … oh boy! there goes our plan for sunset, sunrise and Milkyway. We had our backup plan though … if everything failed then we’ll experimenting steel wool photography instead.

We were at Lake Garden Taiping, Perak, Malaysia as early as 4 a.m, praying for a clear sky to shoot Milkyway …but the sky was too cloudy.  It was not possible so we headed straight to Plan B, light painting with burning steel wool. I was excited to try something new …

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The making of Dorayaki

It was fun, experimenting new technique with good companions while listening to the frogs’ orchestra performing live background music. Always … always … always surrounded with good people, am I blessed or am I blessed, alhamdullilah.

The four of us are super crazy. Well, crazy in a good way lol… crazy seeking for something new to uplift our skill. We are very competitive towards each other but our sense of humanity are still strongly intact. I adore friend like that.

People said that your friends are the reflection of you and if that is the case, well … I want to be my friend :-p  <— perasan kan?

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The Cinderella carriage

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Rain on fire

Steel wool photography is not as hard as I thought it would be. It’s easy to learn. I love the dramatic and artistic effect too and I am officially curious to explore more on this.

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Circle of fire

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My sunrise landscape

I set my camera on manual mode, the speed at 10-15″ and ISO at 250 to 400 accordingly (for those who are curious about the camera setting). Trying to incorporate “ring of fire” onto my landscape in future … just to feed my curiosity on how my landscape image would look like with this additional art.

 

Gotta go! Cheerios …

MM

 

ps – …

It’s better to know how to learn than to know ~ Dr. Seuss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Same Old Same Old

 

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Class 6 of Sri Pintar Subang Jaya for the year of 2016

I always reserved a day of my time in October and a day in November each year for a group of children from Sri Pintar Subang Jaya school’s class photo and their convocation day.

It was a nice feeling of seeing the same group of children growing a year older each year.

The ‘same old same old’ moment with a reality that life moves on regardless of how sweet or bitter the ‘same old same old moment’ was at that particular time.

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Children of SRIP Subang Jaya 

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Children of SRIP Subang Jaya 

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A little angel sitting beside me during the event

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Another little angel trying to steal my attention

The idea of death being interlinked with photography caught my attention too. Most of us viewed photography as a method of freezing or capturing a moment in life but few of us regarded photography as the death of a moment.

The death of a moment captured and instilled into a photograph.

I am now … recuperating from hmmm whatever that bothering my life, here at my mom’s home. Sleeping … eating and enjoying the rain before going back to my nest again soon.

Bye

Cheers

MM

 

 

 


Portraiture around Me

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PokNik, a farmer that rears hundreds of cattle, sheep and goats

August  is always an exciting month of the year as we celebrate Malaysia’s 59th Birthday (Independent Day). Malaysian flags could be seen on the streets and business premises everyday in August. The best time to go out and capture the ‘flag’ moment around the street corners.

Again this year, I have the opportunity to contribute some photograph for the Merdeka day photo exhibition. This time around Yaman Ibrahim’s exhibition photo theme is on Faces of Malaysia.  As I dug out my HD storage for any Malaysian portrait that can qualify me to join the exhibition. I realized that I have none … hu hu hu

I have been traveling and taking photos of faces around the world and … I have nothing in my HD storage that could portray the faces of Malaysian. Shame on me …

So I decided to open up my eyes and my mind towards my surrounding and attempted to capture faces of Malaysia around me in a short period of time. Talking about working under pressure … and wallah! … I managed to capture some beautiful portraits of Malaysian and as always I have my own private story for each photo that I took … lesson learned story that drove me to capture their moment <— dreamers statement 😛

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Pak Musa, a carpenter for 34 years that I met at the farm

I was at a Chinese Opera show in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur hunting for a backstage moment with the actors and the actresses. Then, I spent a few days at a private farm (cattle, sheep and goats) in Kuantan, Pahang to capture some moments with the animals and the shepherd.

And, a few days after that I tagged along with my JanjiFly buddy for his Paramotor MBOR training at Tekah Airfield, Taiping, Perak. Yes … I believe I can fly hu hu hu and I captured  some moments with the Commando Vat 69 team on parachute training that day. Talking about luck … this is what I called durian runtuh hu hu hu

Well … it was tiring but worthy. My moment of learning to find beauty … at every imperfect moment presented to me by the All Mighty.

The good news is … my two(2) images below are currently exhibited at Yaman Ibrahim #OrangMalaysia (people of Malaysia) photo exhibition together with another 59 photographs. 33 photographers and 61 photographs …

Do come and visit the 61 selected photographs of ‘People of Malaysia’ on display now. Details are as follows:

  • Theme: Yaman Ibrahim #OrangMalaysia Photo Exhibition
  • Venue: MaTic Gallery, Malaysian Tourist Center, Kuala Lumpur
  • Date: 15th August to 17th September, 2016

I am moving on to the next project … 🙂 … next please ….

Bye,

Cheers

MM

ps – “Between what is said and not meant. And what is meant and not said. Most love is lost”~ Khalil Gibran

 

 


Photo Exhibition with Yaman Ibrahim

 

A Hamar tribe of Ethiopia, Africa ~ photo credit to hana

Me and my ‘A Hamar tribe of Ethiopia’ photo ~ photo credit to hana_mujahidah

There is always a first time to everything … and, this is my first time joining a photo exhibition.

It is an honor to be selected as one of Yaman Ibrahim & his Mutual Friends #Kolektif 1  photo contributor.  Yaman Ibrahim is a very talented and famous photographer here in Malaysia. A simple, humble and down-to-earth artist that I find easy to work with. 28 photographers (from Malaysia and Brunei) exhibited 78 pieces of travel photograph around the world during the exhibition period. Do come and have a look at our photos on display at MaTIC Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free.

Detail information about the photography exhibition:

  • Event: Yaman Ibrahim & his Mutual Friends #Kolektif 1
  • Location: Matic Art Gallery, MaTIC Malaysia Tourist Center, Kuala Lumpur
  • Date: 3rd September 2015 to 30th September 2015

Honestly, I felt weird seeing my own photos on display and a bit awkward when people start to ask questions. Reason being … when I shoot my photos I was totally in my selfish mode. I love the moment and I wanted to capture and keep the moment to myself. I want to look at my photos and be reminded of the feelings that I had while capturing those moments. And this is totally new to me …well, there is always a first time to anything, right?

But, seeing it being printed and hang-up on the wall triggered an excitement in me. I want to have more and more of my photos printed out on beautiful papers for my personal keeping or maybe once a while I want to share it with public through photo art galleries. I want to be an artistic photographer … a fine-art photographer maybe. Hmm what a dream huh?

And, these are my photos exhibited during the photo exhibition.

I learned a lot from this experience and I need to reassess my photography direction … again and again. So much to learn, so little time.

Ok. I gotta go now. Need to pack my gears (and my crazy COURAGE)  for my next adventure 😛 ,  a cross-country (xc) expedition via paramotor ride from Tok Bali, Kuala Besut, Terengganu to Batu Buruk beach, Kuala Terengganu. It is going to be a long ride … will update the outcome here for sure. Bye now ….

 

Cheers

MM

p/s Credit: The IG photo of me and my ‘A Hamar tribe of Ethiopia’ photo is from hana_mujahidah Instagram account

 


Singing my Heart Out

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My own red coral on cotton strands bracelet

We are moving closer to the end of 2014. The best way to celebrate the end of such an adventurous year is to be with your lovely partners, family and friends … right? And I am blessed with tonnes of love from my family and lovely friends. I will be joining GayaIzzah.com team at @ruangatsubang  SS15 Subang Jaya, organized by @malaysiastreetfest on the 27th December 2014. We will be having our first public appearance there (with the rest of other traders 😛 )… and hopefully it will be the start for more and more public appearance from GayaIzzah.com. Hope to see some of you there too …

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Segregating and checking on my bracelet stocks

Just came back home from my family vacation trip and end of the year is always the busiest as I needed to prepare my children for their 2015 school session. Being a mother is still my top priority job … and because of that little “peter pan” in  me (aka my playful nature) , I always need to be reminded that I have children that will always looking up on me lol.

Someone said that “One has to be an open palm. As soon as it clenches into a fist, the person looses the ability to learn and to enjoy new things. And, that is the onset of old age”. Thanks to my inner little “peter pan”, as at today … I still feel the joy of experiencing and learning new things.

Opps a bit side track here …

So, I promised GayaIzzah.com team for a proper jewelry collection during this year end event … and a promise is a promise (honestly I am so sleepy and tired right now). A good thing about doing something that I am so passionate about is … no matter how tired I am, at any time … when my hand touches my jewelry tools I will get excited again like that energizer bunny.

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Restringing, improvising and redesigning my bracelet stock is in progress. Counting my time … need to finish this before Thursday.

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Reproducing some more of these dreamy butterfly with pearls bracelet. This bracelet is one of my best seller. A bit dreamy kind of bracelet but …. I am a sucker for dreams, fantasy, fairies and elves

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A new bracelet design that I wanted to share with you. Bracelets made from snail shell beads combined with tiny little charms. Yeah … it is from real snail shells 🙂

I really need my power sleep tonight. Being up late for quite a number of nights already … hopefully I could complete both the bracelet stock and the bracelet catalog before Friday. And, I hope to see all of you this Saturday, 27th December 2014 In Sha Allah …

Cheers

MM

p/s my mind is singing Colbie Caillat song … ‘Try’ right now. Beautiful song with good melody and lyrics. Here is her “Try” music video … a soft reminder for myself to reduce buying unnecessary things just to impress others 😉

Get your shopping on,
At the mall,
Max your credit cards
You don’t have to choose,
Buy it all
So they like you. Do they like you?Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thingYou don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thingYou don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try

Whose Treasure Chest Challenge

Part 2 of Whose Treasure Chest Challenge

I had a hectic week and I miss my old house helper (Timah please comeback 😉 ) very much. My life has been in chaos for the pass few months without her and I really need my GATEWAY!! Enough ranting and back to work.

So, I challenged myself to create 10 bracelets out of this treasure box … but … I guess my brain can only produced 9 bracelets and boredom start to burst out from my chest 😉 . And, you can’t force creativity lol and the most important thing is I need to pack my bag for my next trip tomorrow.

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The challenge

Here are the photos of 8 bracelets (photo of the 9th bracelet does not turnout well and I don’t have time to redo the shot) that I created from the box and I still have a lot more beads to work on . There are too many yellow and brown beads in that box … colors that I am struggling to love,  a challenging game indeed. Will update more on my achievement for this box in a few more months …

Cheers,

MM


Whose Treasure Chest is This

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This is not Mine

Part 1: Whose Treasure Chest is This?

This is not my Treasure Chest for sure.  One of my breakfast girlfriend got bored of her crystals (semi-precious stone beads) collection and wanted me to revamp her beads collection into something new and unique just for her. One whole box of all sort of semi-precious stone bracelets in god knows different mix of color and shape. And, it has been sitting there on my working table for the past 2 months.

I need to push myself to start with her collection as soon as possible before I start to get crazy with my camera and my photography trips. Arghh … so many things to do yet I have only 2 hands. This is the time where I wish that I am an octopus … who has 8 hands 😉 . But, I want to be playful with her collection so, I am challenging myself  to at least create 10 new and unique bracelets in 7 days.

Wait for Part 2 of this post as I will upload the photos of the completed bracelets 🙂

Cheers

MM

p/s I wonder how much should I charge you … my girlfriend? *wink*


True Blue …

Sky is the Limit

Sky is the Limit

I have been resting well these few months and I will be traveling on and off again starting this September until the end of the year. Before my mind goes cuckoo while wondering somewhere in Neverland, maybe now is the best time to re-organize and re-check my stock of jewelry findings and beads. At least I would have a clear idea on how and what to get on my next purchase.

Been having too much fun shopping for beads during these few months. Most of the time, my beads selections comes from my subconscious ‘heart’ instead of from my  conscious ‘brain’ . While doing my bead’s “spring cleaning” process, I noted that my beads collections are mainly dominated by BLUE colored beads and … this is not a good sign. Some of the BLUEs need to go. So, as part of my “spring cleaning” effort I am declaring that the color theme for my September  2014 collection will be in the shade of BLUE.

My True Blue jewelry set is now on sale at GayaIzzah.com Facebook page and GayaIzzah.com IG account. It is made of dyed blue agate (natural stone), rhodium plated steel beads, rhodium plated steel pendants, rhodium plated steel toggle/ findings and stringed with wires.

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True Blue necklace

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True Blue bracelet

Set of 7 BLUE bracelets are available for sale too. Please visit GayaIzzah.com Facebook page for detail descriptions of each BLUE bracelets.

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7 BLUE bracelets are on available for sale. The beads are mixtures of natural stones, mini crystals and red corals

 

Cheers,

MM

(I am loving it … )

 

 

 


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