Vol. III No. 44 - Saturday October 30 - November 5 2004
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TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

A Royal tour on a weekend trip to Malaysia

A Royal tour on a weekend trip to Malaysia

R. Lomax

With the world getting smaller and smaller and the flight prices dropping it is nowadays very affordable to take weekend trips to neighboring countries. And in this case Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. And if you are at least a little bit interested in art and culture there are some ‘musts’ in what to see.

Galadriel from Lord of the Rings, which belongs to a collection with an array of characters from Tolkien’s epic work of fiction.

No trip to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without a trip to the Royal Selangor Pewter factory. Founded in 1885 by a young man from China who arrived in the country with little more than tools and skills in pewter making, Royal Selangor today is the largest pewter making enterprise in the world employing over 500 skilled artisans.

Hands - each print belongs to an employee who has worked for the company for at least five years.

Pewter, an alloy of tin, antimony, and copper, is particularly popular when made into tableware and decorative items. Unlike pewter of old, this pewter does not contain lead and meets international standards of safety. When the company was first founded, it made incense burners and candle holders for the oriental market. Later it made tankards, ashtrays and tea services for the British colonials. Today it has expanded worldwide and makes products to suit tastes from many countries.

Royal Selangor Pewter factory, the largest pewter making enterprise in the world employing over 500 skilled artisans.

An enormous pewter tankard greets guests to the factory. Recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, it was made in 1985 in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary. The tankard is almost two meters tall and has a capacity of 2,796 liters of beer, a sure hit at any cricket match.

Riding a conveyor belt to the second floor of the factory, our tour guide pointed out the walls full of pewter handprints on the ground floor. Each print belongs to an employee who has worked for the company for at least five years. Based on the walls, there are many loyal employees.

At the top of the conveyor, we stepped off to view ingots of pewter, a display of antique pewter, and a very modern replica of the twin towers of Kuala Lumpur – made of pewter, of course. A large pewter crocodile guards the entry to the factory and charmed the children who were touring ahead of us.

The factory is large and modern with state of the art equipment. Everywhere, however, it is obvious that the success of the company depends on the skills of its artisans. Delicate engraving, polishing, and hammering of patterns is obvious. The design department is creative with products that vary from 17th and 18th century replicas from the Victoria and Albert Museum of London to the Lord of the Rings collection with an array of characters from Tolkien’s epic work of fiction.

Two items are especially impressive: the tea caddies and the teapots. The design of the tea caddies makes them airtight. The double lid is simply placed on the top of the caddy and gently closes itself. The teapots are equally interesting. Each spout is designed and crafted to insure that it does not drip.

The tour, of course, ended in the showroom and we joined other eager shoppers in looking over the hundreds of products.



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