Folk Dance in Bunad

Bunad is the traditional costume in Norway. You won’t miss it if you happen to visit the country on May 17 (Kiat’sEyeView:SyttendeMai) when it is popularly worn for the national day celebration. Needless to say, bunad is naturally the costume of choice in traditional cultural event such as folk dancing. Shown here are my picture and video documentations of the midsummer day (23 June) performance in front of the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) in 2007.

Norwegian Folk Dance 1

Norwegian Folk Dance 2

Related links:

Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2010

I made a point of visiting the international hot air balloon fiesta in Putrajaya after missing out on the first ever such fiesta last year. The second hot air balloon fiesta was held from 18-21 Mar this year. Visitors were entertained by balloon fun fly, tethered balloon rides and other events throughout the days. Hot air balloons were transformed into gigantic lanterns after dark during the "Night Glow" event on 20 Mar. The whole day of festivities was then concluded with a short but spectacular fireworks display.

Putrajaya Balloon Fiesta 2010
"Night Glow" at the 2nd Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (20/03/2010)

Related link:
  • Official website: Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2010
  • The Star: Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon rides draw the crowd
  • Flickr: Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Hanoi Traffic Madness

Motorbikes rule the streets in Vietnam and this is especially true in big cities such as Hanoi and Saigon. Busy streets are filled with relentless flow of honking motorbikes and cars. Street crossing can be daunting at places where zebra crossings and traffic lights are scarce. It is almost impossible to wait till a halt in traffic before crossing. The common advice is to start crossing when there is a reasonable gap in the traffic and walk predictably across the streets so that the vehicles can avoid you. It works!

Hanoi Traffic
Traffic in the Old Quarter of Hanoi (11/2009)


Related link:

The Batak People and Culture

Horas! Welcome to the Batak heartland that centres on Samosir Island and covers the surrounding areas of Lake Toba. Sites of cultural and historical significance to the Batak people can be found on the island at places such as Tomok, Ambarita and Simanindo (see Lake Toba Album). Batak houses, with distinctive saddle-shaped, twin-peaked roofs, are eye-catching and unmissable. They can be found all over Samasir Island in all shapes and sizes, from elaborately decorated traditional houses preserved in museums to practical zinc-roofed village houses or resort cottages by the shoreline.

The following excerpt from gives some ideas on the Batak architecture and symbolism built into the design:
"The roofs of the house are designed so the back of the roof in higher than the front. The father of the house always sleeps at the front of the house and the children in the back. The higher roof in the back signifies that the father wants his children to reach higher in life than himself. The steps leading up to the small entrance are always atleast 4, 5 or 6 to signify how many children the family wants to have. The small entrance into a Batak house are designed so you have to bow down to enter the house paying respect to the people inside the house."

Batak House 1
Batak House 2 Batak House 3

Batak culture is also known to be rich in customs and rituals. This 53-sec video clip, taken at the Museum Huta Bolon Simanindo, aims to give a sample of traditional Batak dance. The performance (Mon-Sat 10.30-11.10, 11.45-12.30; Sun 11.45-12.30) is not to be missed by culturally inclined visitors to Samosir, Lake Toba.


Related links:

Lions in the Campus

This is another blog entry related to the Chinese New Year, with snapshots and video clip on the visit of the lions to UNMC (University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus). This has been an annual event and well-received by the campus community of diverse backgrounds.

Lion Dance 1

Lion Dance 2

Lion Dance 3

Video clip (QuickTime Player)

Video clip (YouTube)

Glasgow West End Festival

West End Festival is back in Glasgow from Fri 13 to Sun 29 June this year, bringing a variety of cultural events to the city. The opening parade (Sun 15 June) was a colourful occasion with a strong Latin American carnival atmosphere.

Glasgow West End Festival

Syttende Mai

The Norwegians celebrate their national day on Syttende Mai or May 17,

Norwegian National Day 1

an occasion that features children's parades all over the country,

Norwegian National Day 2

with many turning out in the traditional costume bunad.

Norwegian National Day 3

Check out the album and videos for more coverage of the event in 2008:

Picture 1(click!)

Chinese New Year in Cosmopolitan London

(xinniankuaile, wanshiruyi = Happy New Year and Everything Goes Well as Wished!)

Chinese new year London 2008
Clockwise from top left: Street decorations near Oxford Circus tube station, Chinatown (day), Chinatown (night), Cultural performances at Trafalgar Square (02/2008)

Video clip: Firecrackers at Leicester Square (10/02/2008)

All Set for Christmas!

Once again, George Square in Glasgow is fully transformed for Christmas celebration, illuminated with stunning Christmas lights and the Christmas tree, ice skating, funfair etc are back! Click here for more winter programmes in Glasgow.

Christmas tree at Glasgow George Square 2007
Reindeer snow sledge at Glasgow George Square 2007
Christmas decoration at George Square, Glasgow (20/12/2007)

Video clips (24/11/2007):
Picture 7 Picture 8

Two More Animal Facts Learnt

A brown bear can climb a tree and a grey squirrel can climb a wall!!!

Bears in Skansen
Brown bears in the Skansen zoo, Stockholm (04/2006)

Video: Grey squirrel outside the SIBS building, Glasgow (10/2006)

A Wee Dose of Historical Combat

Brutal combats from the past brought to live at Linlithgow in AD 2007!

Combat reenactment
The Battle of Stirling Bridge, reenacted at Linlithgow Palace, Scotland (07/2007)

Video: Jousting event at Linlithgow Palace (07/2007)