Useful links

Here’s are some of the useful link related to design + research + practice.

Design Conference
Torino World Design
New Views
Participatory Design
Research Into Practice Conference
Love+Object=Engaging Material Culture

Asian Studies Conference
SHOT – Society of the History of Technology
ASAA – Asian Studies Association of Australia

Agda online journals
International Journal of Design

Design Website
Design Observer
Design Archive
Design Writing Research
Thinking with type

Arts, Design and Communication Schools
Arts, Research and the state of play
University of Gothenburg
Linkoping University
School of Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Does identity matters? (+,-)

I know that Ive been discussion quite often about identity, culturally and nationally. At some point, more and more now, I dont think identity really matters anymore. Why? For one of the reason, I think we belong to certain images of identity without our agreement. Were born in it. We belong to our ancestors identity even if we disagree with the contents. We then continue living with the identity that been perceived but without us realizing it, we seldom try to make changes, adjusting and fitting it in our way of life. We then alter it and perhaps in future it might become another identity. I dont think anyone can preserve an identity. It’s all up to us!


This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

Malay Apple!

Courtesy image:

‘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.



Its been quite sometimes I didnt visit this blog. After the short break, Ive started my new chapter this year with teaching, learning and researching. Pretty much of that stuff. Ive started my beginners 2 French class this week. I also continued teaching my Typography class in one of the college in Melbourne CBD.

I didnt have much experienced in teaching, apart from part-time tutoring I did few years back in Malaysia. My parent, they taught, both of them are teacher, mom was in primary school and dad was in polytechnique (skill-based). As far as I know I never thought that I would teach. One of the reasons is, I still see myself in the learning process therefore, I dont think I have enough to offer to anyone. I could share my knowledge, if I have some, but to teach is far away from me.

But I did, some how and to be honest, my reason is experience and some cash. I needed some pocket money to buy books and other ˜not so important things for me. Apart from that I need to save up, for future. It looks like I really need the money in this paragraph Im writing. I think the real reason why I looked up for some teaching job is because I want to get some experience teaching. Most of my post-grad friends teach. I heard some interesting issues and scenario that I find interesting. I helped them in their classes. And several problems, I even thought I could offer some assistance. I found myself enjoying the moment in class. These students are not that bad at all. Therere just like me, looking, searching, confused and sometimes found something that could generate the energy and motivation to move on.

Now, Im happy to say that I enjoyed teaching very much. I find teaching motivated me to continue learning and its rewarding. Im teaching Typography. Yes, its been a while I didnt look at my typography book. Sometimes I even thought Im losing my typo skills. So teaching these classes updated myself in Typography. I started to browse through these names such as Ellen Lipton, Emil Ruder, Adrian Frutiger, Michael Bierut and many more. Its like going back to time, fixing and filling the gap. I started to remember the questions in the very first Typography class I went while my teacher show me some images with type and some scenario with type.

Who choose these words? Why did they choose these particular words? Are these words still relevant today? What is this typeface? How would these words appear in lower and upper case? Can it be readable? What effect could this little words make? Would it change something? I’ve found it fascinating and it motivates me to continue…

Courtesy Image by Nurul Rahman. Collage of logos and typefaces from Malaysian printed material 60’s to present.