Pursuit of beauty – fantastic and seductive video construction

Workshop for Designing Effective PresentationToday we (the academic staffs of the School of the Arts) were asked to attend a workshop to teach us on how to work or design an effective presentation. This class is organised by Mr. Zaid Alsagoff from International of Medical University Malaysia. He shows us the latest tools that I found fascinating.

Here I would like to extend Mr. Zaid talk and sharing session about the useful links if you want your presentation to be much more interesting and as they said, create an awesomeness of your presentation.

Useful links:
VideoScribe – http://bit.ly/YXTWvC

Bitly – to shorten your long links to a shorter version
This site is fantastic as it help to shorten an image links that you got from internet to be less messy and shorten it or simplify it.
Try this one and it makes your life


Poll Everywhere – http://www.polleverywhere.com/
is a superb tools for a fast response, to get the students to response to a certain topic for the open discussion.

Socrative is a fast tools to do quiz, or forum in the class. This is a great tools for the class exercise and to engage the students to the topic that you want to get the student thinking.

Useful links:
VideoScribe – http://bit.ly/YXTWvC

Bitly – to shorten your long links to a shorter version
This site is fantastic as it help to shorten an image links that you got from internet to be less messy and shorten it or simplify it.
Try this one and it makes your life


Poll Everywhere – http://www.polleverywhere.com/
is a superb tools for a fast response,
to get the students to response to a certain topic for the open discussion.

Socrative is a fast tools to do quiz, or forum in the class. This is a great tools for the class exercise and to engage the students to the topic that you want to get the student thinking.

Visual and seduction. Another interesting video to sharpen your understanding of the use of visual construction and how it can influence our way of doing and living in everyday life.

This video is done by the beauty product company by LANEIGE U.S. Besides selling the product, Laneige touch a bit on the idea of seduction and beauty. I also like the way the images and the videos been carefully constructed here. So here it is a video worth to be shared, not for the selling of the product or for the sake of the advertising but for the love of design. Funny, as much as it is a seductive video and I can see that it will be selling well the product, after the understanding the idea of construction and deconstruction, examining it and breaking it layers by layers, the video is now less seductive for me.

Look again and think a head…

Creative Commons License
‘Look again and think a head’ by by Nurul Rahman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia License.

I was looking at some of my advertisement collections and try, again and again to analyzed it. I started with a formal lenses, then change the roles to communication designer’s and then to a researcher. It is an interesting process. I had experienced and I have to admit that I’m enjoying every minutes of this process.

It is shocking and frustrating to imagine that everyday we will have to face and sometimes we might consume, images and ton of information each time we walk on the street. Accompany by billboard and posters, nearly every second we turn our head around, we look and unconsciously we gather this information in our memory bank. At home or sometimes in the cafe or bar, adding to this process we have other media such as television, internet and radio surrounding us. Just imagine that! How do we as a consumer cope with this? Our brain must did an excellent job then, recording and remembering these images and recall it again to view, every time we look at other object and managed to recognized it.

Such scene that I just describe is a normal scenario in most of the main city in the world. What actually influences us in consuming material? Do we need them? Is it important to have them or just because be like them, and want to own them? Even if we are aware of if, we cannot say the we can escape from this scenario.

Who are the people that responsible in this process? Advertising, marketing, company, artist and obviously designers. I would say graphic designers, communication designers and interaction designers are not much less responsible that others. Now, in a global world, this scenario cannot be stop. Information is at our fingertip and amazingly easy. We, as a consumer actually play a significant roles in this as we continue consume the product, and therefore there is a market for the product.

I’m not saying that we should not buy anything, but would be good if we take our step in slow motion and think a head before some rhetoric visual and text in the advertisements influences our thought and desire. Just try and explore this process, please be aware that it can be dangerous (dangerous as you might end up using your credit card or use your saving), you might end up buying something at the end.

I’m very interested in this process, investigating the communication designer’s position in this, and how we contribute in shaping the lifestyles. Are we deliberately use the rhetoric of images to communicate? or we didn’t actually think about the impact we created? Well, clearly we managed to see the product or at least we manage to get the information in the market.

Advertising is the mother of graphic design, as how Steven Heller claims in the ‘Eye’ magazine 1994. Clearly that graphic designer contribute most of their work in advertisements, that because at that time, there was not that much job available for graphic designer. Some might be in the printing company as DTP artist, some might be at the hotel as display artist etc. Is graphic designer’s role is minor in the process of creating the visual?

“The history of advertising is more interested in how Marlboro cigarettes tested a variety of trade characters before stumbling on the Marlboro Man as a symbol of manliness. While graphic design appears negligible in the cultural analysis of this campaign, understanding the relationship of this symbol..to the larger mythology provides insight into how the American myth was perpetuated.”Heller, 1994.

So what do this mean, that graphic designer are part of creating these myth? I will take further investigation in my research….it is significant..

E-volution – thanks to the voices and the voters!

Been away from my computer for quite sometimes, or should I say I been busy digging some news about Malaysia (election) and been spending time reading for my writing. I would like to wish Happy Women day although it have passed few days ago, but still it’s never to late to wish. There’re two things I would like to put on my blog today.

First of all is a story of a strong women who decided to join politic at the age of 89 years old. This might is not shocking for some of you but for the people in Malaysia, this is really something. I don’t know what you guys think but for me this is the awaken of the dragon. The situation must be critical or vulnerable position in Malaysia for a granny to rise and voice up. This in unusual. We (Malaysian) hardly or perhaps never had any women in that age with that courage to challenge and team-up with other younger politician. She called her self ‘Tok’ which is a common call for grandma in the northern side of Malaysia. She’s a candidate for Malaysia 2008 Election and she presenting the free party. Have a look at her poster. Apart from going around promoting her ideas and plan for her areas in future, she also been busy contributing information and converse with her supporter through her blog and you tube. I am inspired! Thanks to the designers who contribute in the making of the project. Good Job guys! Nice poster too ;).


Poster 1 – Maimum Yusuf – vote for free party Poster 2 – Step Down Mr. Prime Minister! “We don’t want to work with you.” – Malaysian Citizens taken from http://angan-angan.blogspot.com/

The second things I wanted to write is about the elections in Malaysia. Another shocking news! Boy..Malaysia have grown! 50 years of independence does mean something to us. It seems very important to many people including myself, to reveal our stand and what we believe in. The voices of the people are rising. I saw many visual artifact through the election campaign. Videos, poster, e-card, banner and advertisement are everywhere. The evolution of design have emerged. These processes must be a challenge for designers to visualize their ideas and thoughts; and how to communicate with others. What ever your objective, remember we designers do play some part in making the changes for our future.

If you interested to see some of the comedy scene from some creative Malaysian (one thumb up for you!) visit this site – www.bolehnation.com

http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com – I’m Malaysian


http://mob1900.blogspot.com/ You could find more interesting posters in this blog.

Malaysian Comic Magazine

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.


Being away from home is not easy. Staying years in overseas far away from Malaysia is very difficult. Adopting in others culture and ways of life somehow makes me more and more close to my own culture and ways of life. First few years its not too bad, Im curious and excited to know more about others. After a while I started to looked back to my childhood times, high schools and valued most of the time I spend back there. Sometimes I feel like Im trap in that space. Between my childhood and high school. It used to be so hard to go through. Lots of gloomy times and less happiness. But it seems that small amount of happiness tend to capture me in that space. I have to admit, I missed it. I know even if I go back and go to the same spot I used to play with my friends; things will not be the same. I really missed the food, the atmosphere, the jokes, the stupidity of some people and how they react to things (that really makes me laugh sometimes), and further more the comic magazine that I used to read, ˜Gila-Gila.

‘Gila-Gila’ February, 2008.

I stopped reading Gila-Gila when I was preparing for my final year exam in high school. My parents disapproved reading it. Apparently, from their point of view its a bad influence for teenagers. Anything that doesnt have the academic appeal seems ˜not very healthy for teenager. Until now, I still disagree with it. ˜Gila-Gila does have some ˜rude language in the content but it will open up a healthy discussion between the parents and the children. This can only happen if the parents enjoy reading it. It also contains some social and cultural issues, national problems, etc. It is not only ˜stupid jokes. Well, there are, but overall its fun and I can say educational in some ways. Furthermore, Gila-Gila communicates to their audience with visuals, images, colors and everyday conversation (informal).

In Gila-Gila, I can see the cartoonists imitate some action from what’s happening in Malaysia. Sometimes, the authors make fun of silly things that happen in the country nationally (e.g. the increasing of the petrol, house price, education, medical, etc.). It is also the author/cartoonist personal point of views and most interestingly its comic. I got here the photos of the Gila-Gila magazine from their latest edition. In this cover the cartoonist illustrate the common situation in Malaysia, what we call in Malaysia ‘sembang-sembang di kedai mamak’ chatting in coffee shop owned by ‘mamak’*. This is a very common atmosphere in Malaysia, mostly in the city. People talk about anything, sometimes it is also the place for people to throw out their anger or sympathy about national issues, worlds problems etc. The scenario held in ‘Kedai Mamak’, ‘Mamak Stall’, perhaps for lunch or snack. Behind there is a menu with noodles but not stir fried, only boil or steam. Recently Malaysia face the problems with increasing the price of the cooking oil. Some rumors said that some people hide the stock of cooking oil to increase the price. Mr. A, dresses in punk fashion with angry tone said ‘Kalaulah aku dapat tukang yang sorok minyak ni memang aku rebus.!‘ ‘If I get hold on the person who hides the oil (cooking oil), I will boil him!’ (Perhaps because he himself has to eat boiled food since the price of cooking oil increased). The other, Mr. B looks like they’re both in the same fashion zone trying to calm down his mate said ‘Telan ajelah’, ‘Just eat it!’ ( I guess he can’t do much more). If you’re interested to know more of Malaysian comic magazine go to this website.

*Mamak is a friendly name to call an Indian Muslim especially the one who works in the Indian stall. It’s a common slang used in the Penang state.

Malay Apple!

Courtesy image: http://en.wikipedia.org/

‘Jambu Merah’ botanically identified as syzygium malaccense, the fruit is also called Malay rose-apple and mountain apple. Recently I’ve read an articles from News Strait Times about Malay apple. I was shocked thinking when did Malaysian manage to produce an apple? We can’t even get the apple tree growing because of the climate. It is an interesting column wrote by K.P Waran with the title: Go Global with the Malay Apple. Apparently not many Malaysian knows what fruit is it, not by this name for sure.

A very beautiful fruit, usually deep red in color, pear shaped, with a waxy skin, about the size of an apple. Flesh is crunchy, often juicy, with a mild sweet flavor. Some varieties have white or pink skin. Surprisingly Malay apple even have its name in French ‘pomme de Malaisie’ and Spanish ‘pomarrosa Malaya’.

Quote (Morton, J. 1987. Malay Apple. p. 378“381.) In: Fruits of warm climates about the origin and distribution of Malay Apple, “‘The Malay apple is presumed to be a native of Malaysia. It is commonly cultivated from Java to the Philippines and Vietnam, also in Bengal and South India. Portuguese voyagers carried it from Malacca to Goa and from there it was introduced into East Africa. It must have spread throughout the Pacific Islands in very early times for it is featured in Fijian mythology and the wood was used by ancient Hawaiians to make idols. Indeed, it has been recorded that, before the arrival of missionaries in Hawaii, there were no fruits except bananas, coconuts and the Malay apple. The flowers are considered sacred to Pele, the fiery volcano goddess. Captain Bligh conveyed small trees of 3 varieties from the islands of Timor and Tahiti to Jamaica in 1793. The tree was growing under glass in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1839, and specimens were fruiting in Bermuda in 1878.

Eggers, who studied the flora of St. Croix, reported seeing naturalized trees in shaded valleys during his stay on the island from 1870 to 1876. The Malay apple was unknown in Puerto Rico in 1903 but must have arrived soon after. Britton and Wilson observed 2 trees 43 ft (13 m) high at Happy Hollow in 1924. Thereafter, the tree was rather frequently planted as an ornamental or wind-break. Perhaps the Portuguese were responsible for its introduction into Brazil, for it is cultivated there, as it is also in Surinam and Panama. Dr. David Fairchild sent seeds from Panama to the United States Department of Agriculture in 1921. In 1929, young trees from the Canal Zone were transported to the Lancetilla Experimental Gardens at Tela, Honduras, where they flourished and fruited. The Malay apple is sometimes seen in other parts of Central America, including Belize, El Salvador and Costa Rica, much more frequently in parks and gardens in Venezuela. The fruits are sold in local markets and along the streets wherever the tree is grown.”

Since the Malay apple has a strong historical link to Malaysia and countless documents exist calling it by the name, it would be appropriate to return to the name and promote it as a Malaysian product. As been suggested by K.P Waran in NST column, and I completely agree with him, I think it’s about time we give back the name ‘Malay Apple’ or in Malay might be ‘ Jambu Melayu’ to ‘Jambu Merah’. It will be an excellent way to promote Malaysia as the fruit country’s of origin and Malaysian product. Perhaps in few years it might increase the plantation of ‘Malay Apple’ in the country.


New research title

I’ve changed again my research title for the third time, or perhaps few times. The previous one sounds confiused. I guess its because I’m confiused, researching about Malaysia, the people, politics, theory and many other things happen around makes me confiused. The new title now is more accurate and more relevant to I want plan to do next. Branding Malaysia? Thinking to understand the evolution of Malaysian Identity between 1957-2007.

My next project is still in the brainstorming process. Although I do have some ideas in mind. It’s a visual mapping project on Malaysian Identity from 1957 (Malaysia get the independence) until now 2007. This mean mapping visual images of Malaysia in 50 period of time. I’m thinking of a way to get some help from others to getthe visual images apart from my trip back to Malaysia soon this year. Plan to go back to Malaysia is to travel around some part of Malaysia and do some research work there like interviews, visual collection, and perhaps plan for exhibition.

Well at this point, I have to prepare things for my next GRC which will be in two weeks time. Then I will start to plan my project….


Calling malaysians home and away – send in your short merdeka wishes and share it with the world – M50

Send in images and share your thought about Malaysia 50 years of Independence.

Differences between “Assam Laksa” and “Curry Laksa”

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.


I saw this ad from The Edge, Melbourne yesterday. I liked the layout, I found it relaxing and very personal. Perhap thats the whole idea of this ad, to get upclose and personal about Malaysia. But there is a small correction on the text. (you can see this on the correction layout I did). Being Malaysian, I know the different between Assam Laksa and Curry Laksa. These is two different dish. Below is the explaination of these two dishes.

Assam Laksa, one of the Malay‘s famous dish, originally came from the northern site of Malaysia, Kedah, Perlis and “Pulau Pinang”Penang. Assam laksa is a sour fish-based soup. Asam (or asam jawa) is the Malay word for tamarind, which is commonly used to give the stock its sour flavor. It is also common to use “asam keping” also known as “asam gelugor”, dried slices of tamarind fruit, for added sourness. Modern Malay spelling is asam, though the spelling assam is still frequently used.

The main ingredients for assam laksa include shredded fish, normally “kembung fish” or mackerel, and finely sliced vegetables including cucumber, onions, red chillis, pineapple, lettuce, common mint, “daun kesom” (Vietnamese mint or laksa mint) and pink bunga kantan (ginger buds). Assam laksa is normally served with either thick rice noodles or thin rice noodles (vermicelli). And topped off with “petis udang” or “hae ko” or “otak udang as the Northen people of Malaysia would said”, is a thick sweet prawn paste. Variants of Assam Laksa is “Penang Laksa” (slightly different from normal Assam Laksa, usually with the garnish of pineapple pieces), and “Laksa Campur” (same Assam Laksa but garnish with “sambal’ cooked chilies prawn and calamari).

Curry Laksa, which in many places referred as ‘laksa’ is a is a coconut-based curry soup with vermicelli or yellow wheat noodle. The main ingredients for most versions of curry laksa include tofu puffs, fish sticks, shrimp and cockles. Laksa is commonly served with a spoonful of sambal chilli paste and is traditionally garnished with Vietnamese coriander, or laksa leaf, which is known in Malay as “daun kesum”. This is usually known as “Curry mee” in Penang rather than curry laksa, due to the different kind of noodles used (yellow mee or bee hoon (vermicelli), as opposed to the thick white laksa noodles). The name “Curry laksa” is more commonly used in Singapore. Variants of curry laksa included Laksa Lemak also known as Nyonya Laksa, Katong Laksa (variants of Laksa Lemak from Singapore) and Laksam (a speciality of the East Coast Malaysian state, Kelantan.

Although this two dishes is a soup base noodle, personally for me, it is still a huge different when it comes to the taste.

View the ad Assam Laksa or
Penang Laksa
Curry Laksa
aadtheedge7april2007a.jpg penang_laksa-copy.jpg 177988880_74d0423263.jpg