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Wednesday, 30 November 2011


I am a  kacangma addict...

What is Kacangma?
It is a dish normally prepared for women in confinement as the herb is believed to be effective in improving blood circulation and enhancing the immune system, especially in speeding up post-natal recovery. 

Kacangma (the herb) or Chinese motherwort, contains protein, carbohydrates and minerals like calcium, sodium, and potassium, vitamins A, B1, B2 and acid ascorbic, to name a handful.

I had the opportunity to cook kacangma for our pre Christmas lunch and it was a hit! So here is the recipe (there are many other versions on how to cook kacangma but this is my version and I'm loving it):


Kacangma herb

Whole chicken

Old Ginger
(depending on how hot you like your dish to be)

My substitute to ye ol' Langkau is VODKA 


Toast the herbs on low heat until it changes to a darker colour or fragrant

Pound the herbs until fine

Sieve the herbs, discard the rough bits

Pound the ginger

Get the ginger juice (but do not discard the ginger pulp)

Marinate the chicken in the ginger juice

Mix the marinate with the pounded herbs, let it sit aside for 15 minutes
Remember the ginger pulp?

Fry ginger pulp

Now heat 4 tablespoons of cooking oil and a tablespoon of sesame oil, fry the ginger pulp until fragrant.

Put together the chicken mix. Let it simmer with its own juice, once boiling, pour a cup of water. Put on the lid.

Pour the VODKA...

VODKA wants to pose for the recipe...tick tock tick tock

Yup, it's smelling good


Why wait?...try it....


Hey I 'm featured in the wanted to feature me as their blogger as I have put up this are the interview questions:
Upclose&Personal with Veeky Leo

We are privilleged to have an interview with Veeky, the Kumang Iban winner of Borneo Hornbill Festival last July. As usual before we move on to the interview, please introduce yourself.

Hi there, I’m Veeky-Leonora Andria from Kuching, Sarawak. I’m 100% Iban and currently working at Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) as an administrative and diplomatic officer.

You are still new to blogging, what inspired you to create a blog for yourself?

I used to write in my journal and share it among my close friends as one of my hobbies but that has been put off long time ago. Now blogging has revived my passion to write again as it is an easier way to share my thoughts on things that I write to all my readers.

What really drove me to write this blog is because I want to share my knowledge and perspective about Iban culture and hope that the younger generation will be more appreciative towards culture.

Why do you chose Blogger to host your blog?

My friend Susan Leo recommended it to me.

Name us 3 bloggers that promotes cultural heritage as you do in your blog. by Mr. Gregory Nganggau, by Ms. Jacqueline Selaka Mawar, and by Mr. Paren Nyawi. I would also like to include this blog as well,

What do you plan to achieve for your blog in the future?

To disseminate Iban culture to all my readers and my main target audience is the younger generation.

Tell us your experience as the Kumang Gawai top winner in Borneo Hornbill Fest (BHF).

Being crowned as the winner for Kumang Iban category is a great honour to me not because it is simply a beauty pageant but Kumang reflects the image of a perfect woman in the olden days and it is a task to uphold the sanctity of that title too!

I was encouraged by again my friend Susan Leo to enter this competition. Sleepless nights in promoting the online voting was one of the experience that I will never forget. The experience throughout the journey of this competition itself I must say, very enlightening. A lot of things been discovered, more friends came along the way.The more I discover about my Iban culture, the more passionate I get particularly getting the Indu Dara Insin Temaga "look" as closely as possible.

Even getting the costumes itself was an adventure as I did not have all the accessories. Research done through reading, museum visits, antique shops and asking around was worth it, hence Indu Dara Insin Temaga emerged on 23 July 2011 first ever since the Kumang Gawai competition was introduced in 1966.

You mentioned about introducing Indu Dara Insin Temaga, tell us more about it. 

Indu Dara Insin Temaga is the depiction of a Saribas lady (one of the Iban tribe located in Betong area) wearing the Rawai Tinggi (high corset) with all other silver regalia complete with kain kebat (the pua kumbu skirt). A rough description of Indu Dara Insin Temaga:

“Kumang, the great beauty of all Iban goddesses, only wore the kain kebat, rawai tinggi betating pirak , silver lampit belt, the sugu (headdress), a pair of stud ear-rings, silver necklaces and a complete set of tumpak pirak(bangles) for the lower and upper arms. Maybe some feet bangles with tiny bells too. In her right hand a white lace handkerchief, in her left the silver buah pauh - her purse and tucked discreetly in between her sanggul siput, a flower.”

In your opinion, what steps have to be taken to ensure our Bornean cultural heritage doesn't get lost in a modern society.

To tackle the modern society, we must use the modern way which is the internet. Like myself, I spread my knowledge and my views about my culture through my blog. I admit that I do use materials from other internet sources but I put up my views about it.

The Borneo Hornbill Festival is one of the programmes that should be continued as it promotes the culture not only to the locals but to the foreigners as well.

Another interesting way in promoting our culture is via photography. I love “Kauluan Express’ “blog, you don’t need to speak much as the beauty of the culture is spoken through the eyes of the photographer.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you achieve your dreams now?

When my dad asked me at the age of 4 what I want to be when I grow up, I replied “I want to be a judge” date I’m not a judge though I have a degree in Law..but to say that I don’t achieve it is not true at all..

What I know now, there is still so many things to achieve bit by bit. I would not say winning the Kumang Iban title is my dream, but at least I can say that I have gone through it and it was a successful try for me. My dream in life is to be able to live happily by achieving things in life be it big or small happy or sad as experience makes your life worthwhile living.

Tell us something about you that most people don't know yet.

That I am a 2nd Dan Black Belt holder in Taekwondo..haiyakk!

Can you draw for us a portrait of you for the last question?

self portrait

Here it is, sealed with a kiss ;)

That wraps up our interview with Veeky, learn more about Sarawak cultural heritage through her own view at, and don't forget to add her as BC Buddy at her profile page.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban - What Accessories I wore for BHF 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban (Part 6)
Pua Jacket

One of the accessories that made me standout during the BHF 2011 was my pua jacket slung on my shoulder, like so:

The jacket is actually a sleeveless blouse that belongs to my mother. The idea wearing it slung on my shoulder is because of this photo:

The Sea Dyak Bride

This is a photo of The Sea Dayak Bride taken from the book written by Rev Edwin Gomes (you can get the book at a small bookshop [it's a bookshop owned by an Indian Muslim] at Sarawak Plaza, Kuching -  Lowerground level). It pays to be different as this look won the judges' heart and I am happy to be able to show BHF 2011 that the normal ngepan that we always see is not the only Iban ngepan that exist...I hope contestants for BHF 2012 will dare to be different BUT the uniqueness of the ngepan MUST be an original look and not a creation per say. My advise is to research, read and explore...

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban - What Accessories I wore for BHF 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban Part 5
Antin Pirak - Silver earrings / silver studs
In the modern Kumang competition ladies would prefer to deck themselves with dangling earrings. Probably to make them look more "blinging" i suppose.

I believe in less is I wore round studs instead of dangling accessory piece. Another reason is that when I research through the images in books and the internet, the Iban ladies in the olden days would wear studs. And yes ofcourse they're not original accessories.....but I'm glad to have embarked on this idea because I was the only one wearing studs..:)

My simple studs...

Silver studs by a Saribas lady

Another proof that Iban Ladies in the olden days wore studs instead of dangling earrings.        

Ngepan Indu Iban - What Accessories I wore for BHF 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban (Part 4)
Marek Ubu

What is "marek ubu"? Marek ubu is one of many necklaces in the ngepan Indu Iban among others like tali ujan (long strings of silver necklaces). Marek ubu is one of the most difficult accessories to find and I did not manage to wear one. So as the alternative, I wore a faux pearl silver necklace so that it looks like a marek ubu from below:
Pearl necklace

Now that's a marek ubu/ marek igi bemban (the shortest necklace)

So BHF is not about "all original accessories". (unlike competitions in State Level where the authenticity of the accessories determined your win)...therefore I would like to encourage those who are interested in joining the Kumang or Keling BHF 2012 competition to just join and don't be too distressed if you do not have the original complete set.

Good Luck and I look forward to see all of you next year!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban - What Accessories I wore for BHF 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban (Part 3)
Kain Kebat & Tali Buri

Now I am going to introduce to you Kain kebat (skirt) and Tali Buri (belt adorned with frog bells).

The Ibans are known for their talent in weaving the Pua Kumbu and kain kebat is one of the pua kumbu products. I am not quite sure what motif my kain kebat is but what I am sure of is that it was made by my great grandmother. 

Pua kumbu making is not an easy task. Even though the cloth looks simple but the process of making the pua kumbu is like going to a "war path" to the weavers. Each weaver must be skilled from preparing the threads, loom and ofcourse weaving itself.  

Next is, Tali Buri: Basically, tali buri is made by linking threads and beads of myriad colours and also some cowrie shells. The frog bells are made of brass and attached at the ends of the bead strings for sound.


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban - What Accessories I wore for BHF 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban (Part II)

Rawai Tinggi

One of my most loved accessories is my Rawai Tinggi. Rawai Tinggi literally means "high corset". It is made of rattan strips covered with small brass rings. The corset is about 15 to 16 inch high and weighs about 4 kilos. It is believed that the corset is more than 50 years old or even perhaps 100 years?

Rawai Tinggi is a significant accessory worn by women of Saribas tribe geographically located around Betong to Saratok area in Sarawak. Since I am from the Saribas tribe, I wanted to show to people that the usage of Rawai Tinggi is still "in".

I felt that I have the responsibility to revive the Rawai Tinggi look rather than wearing the "official" Iban costume. It is even more sentimental for me as it is the first time wearing it after many years showcasing the "official" Iban costume...Thinking of wearing it again for my wedding.
Wanna bring the sexy back ladies?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Miss Universe 2012...Ngepan Indu Iban as National Costume?

Miss Universe 2012...Ngepan Indu Iban as National Costume?

Why don't we put Borneo elements to next year's Miss Malaysia's National Costume for the Miss Universe 2012? It would be something unique.

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Ngepan Indu Iban - What Accessories I wore for BHF 2011

Ngepan Indu Iban (Part I)

Believe me a complete set of Ngepan Indu Iban (Iban woman costume) is very heavy (mine would approximately weighed 8 kilogrammes). As for my next few posts, I will show you the various accessories that I wore during the Borneo Hornbill Festival 2011..

For start, let me begin with Sugu Pirak.

Can you see the head gear? This headgear of mine is about 11 years old bought by my mum at Sri Aman market, in Iban we called it "sugu pirak".  If we are to translate the word literally, it would be silver comb.

Originally sugu pirak is made of silver therefore the name "silver comb". 

Well, my sugu pirak is definitely not made of pure silver, it is what we call "sugu bugau". Sugu bugau is made of aluminium plated with silver. There are various types of material in which sugu pirak is made of among others are sugu pirak asam (different mixture of silver and other metals) and sugu aluminum (aluminum).

MY WISH LIST TO OWN AN AUTHENTIC SUGU part of my collection.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Batu Caves, 272 steps to Heaven...

11.11.11.....I had the chance to bring some of the ASEAN delegates to Batu Caves, Selangor today. Even though I have been living in Kuala Lumpur since I was six years old, I never had the chance to visit Batu Caves..

Information taken from Wikipedia:
Batu Caves (Tamil: பத்து மலை), is a limestone hill, which has a series of caves and cave temples, located in Gombak district, 13 kilometres (8 mi) north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu or Batu River, which flows past the hill. Batu Caves is also the name of the nearby village.

The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.

The limestone forming Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old. Some of the cave entrances were used as shelters by the indigenous Temuan people (a tribe of Orang Asli).

As early as 1860, Chinese settlers began excavating guano for fertilising their vegetable patches. However, they became famous only after the limestone hills were recorded by colonial authorities including Daly and Syers as well as American Naturalist, William Hornaday in 1878.

Batu Caves was promoted as a place of worship by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader. He was inspired by the 'vel'-shaped entrance of the main cave and was inspired to dedicate a temple to Lord Muruga within the caves.

In 1890, Pillai, who also founded the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur, installed the murti (consecrated statue) of Sri Subramania Swamy in what is today known as the Temple Cave. Since 1892, the Thaipusam festival in the Tamil month of Thai (which falls in late January/early February) has been celebrated there.

Wooden steps up to the Temple Cave were built in 1920 and have since been replaced by 272 concrete steps. Of the various cave temples that comprise the site, the largest and best known is the Temple or Cathedral Cave, so named because it houses several Hindu shrines beneath its 100 m vaulted ceiling.

Rising almost 100 m above the ground, the Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves and a few smaller ones. The biggest, referred to as Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, has a       100 m-high ceiling and features ornate Hindu shrines. To reach it, visitors must climb a steep flight of 272 steps.

At the base of the hill are two more cave temples, Art Gallery Cave and Museum Cave, both of which are full of Hindu statues and paintings. This complex was renovated and opened as the Cave Villa in 2008. Many of the shrines relate the story of Lord Murugan's victory over the demon Soorapadam. An audio tour is available to visitors.

The Ramayana Cave is situated to the extreme left as one faces the sheer wall of the hill. On the way to the Ramayana Cave, there is a 50-foot (15 m) tall statue of Hanuman and a temple dedicated to Hanuman, the noble monkey devotee and aide of Lord Rama. The consecration ceremony of the temple was held in November 2001.

The Ramayana Cave depicts the story of Rama in a chronicle manner along the irregular walls of the cave.

A 42.7-metre (140 ft) high statue of Lord Muruga was unveiled in January 2006, having taken 3 years to construct. It is the tallest Lord Muruga statue in the world.

 Well that's a long information by Wikipedia....

Let the pictures speak....
It's 400 million years old

the delegation

I'm watching you..

I want my bananas now!