Monday, August 06, 2007

Wisma Yakin, the hidden Jewel...

Yes, when was the last time you visited the Bazaar at Wisma Yakin. Wisma Yakin is a building tuck away at one end of the Masjid India area, a shopping paradise off Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. The Wisma Yakin Bazaar is indeed a sort of a hidden jewels that wanted to be rediscovered. I have known this place since it was first built in the early seventies and visited it from time to time. Last Saturday together with my spouse I did a visit there, not to buy anything but just to see the palace for myself, after a lapse of times and also because of an email from a student asking for some information about this place call Wisma Yakin. At one of the shop at the Little India I met a close friend who run a Jewelery Store and from him got some information as to whom shall I contact if ever I wanted to do a story about this place call Wisma Yakin. We chat for a while and he gave me the name and the number of the Chairman of the owners association of Wisma Yakin. I thanks him and move on to enjoy the day.

So for today I just wonder around and took as much of images as I could as well as try to get acquaint with some of the owners of the shops. I browse along the narrow corridor where the vendors did there selling. Things of beauty all Malay. If you ever wanted to get textiles and apparel of things Malay then this is the place to be. You could get the best Songket. Hand made Malay 'brocade' is my way of translating this find piece of textile that only the Malay craft best. Songket is a very special Malay traditional textile. Actually it is not really a brocade but a work of art. Each piece is hand woven by fine ladies, mostly from the East Coast states of Terengganu and Kelantan. At this bazaar you can get this Songket, the real one and of good quality at a reasonable price. You should know that nowadays there are Songket that are machine made in other countries and sometime sold as the real thing. Remember the Malay Songket are works of art and not just a piece of textile. No two pieces are alike. Each one is unique. Like all good quality good one had to be careful when choosing. If in doubt ask the local at the hotel,the tourist agency as well as the owner of the store. I am sure you would get to buy the real thing at a good price. There are also other textile like the hand woven Silk Sarong [Kain Sutra],Batik and other textiles that are mostly made in the state of Terengganu or Pahang. This place is also a heaven for Songkok, the black velvet Malay headgear that is popular among the Malay. The attire of Baju Melayu is not complete without the Songkok. Of course it is also a place where you can have custom made attire for both the Gent and the ladies. Exclusive textiles are available there to make such attire. Browse along and I am sure you would find some textile or other items of Malay culture that you could take home as a mementos.

What I like most about this bazaar is that they sell great set of Baju Melayu [Malay Gent traditional dress]. There are sets of these ready made Baju Melayu for all, from those for the kids up to the adult, that you could buy. It is well made and of high quality material. I did my shopping of the Baju Melayu here whenever I need a new set to wear for a Wedding function or for the Hari Raya. The tailoring is of high quality and the fitting is great, as though it is custom made. So if ever you need to buy Baju Melayu, the complete set with the Samping of Songket or Silk Sarong, plus a Malay songkok, then just head to Wisma Yakin and I am sure you would not be disappointed.

If you are a foreigner and want something truly Malay then a set of Baju Melayu for the Gent [set for the Gent are made of Baju Melayu, the Songket and a Songkok] and for the ladies the Songket, the Silk Sarong, the Baju Kurong would be an appropriate gift. That, I am sure would delighted your friends. If you have no intention of buying, just browse along the narrow corridor of the bazaar and I am sure you would enjoy seeing the many ready made clothing in all the color of the rainbow. In fact the corridor is a riot of colors. I love to just walk and window shop when I have the time. It is unfortunate that not many tourist really know this enchanting bazaar of things Malay. There are not many such places in the other part of the city, except at Wisma Yakin and its vicinity. Of course the Little India nearby is a riot of color as well. But to me the bazaar of Wisma Yakin is special, in that it is a place where you could get a set of Baju Melayu of high quality with the add on like the Songket or Silk Samping to go, under one roof and it could be got without much waiting and the price is just right for the quality you get.

So friends if you had missed this place before or thinking of getting something Malay, do head to this bazaar at Wisma Yakin. To me it is indeed a hidden gem in the world of Malay textile and apparel. To get there head for the Masjid India area or just take the LRT and head to the Masjid James station. Wisma Yakin is the tall building and bazaar is on the ground floor. It is just a walking distance of the LRT Station. It is worth a visit even if you do not have any intention of buying anything. For tourists it is a must place to go even if it is just for sight seeing. In my next posting I shall write about the history of the building which is already thirty years old. In the meantime do enjoy the images above and Have a great day.

7 comments:

Hanafi Mohd Noor said...

Pak Idrus; First of all I definitely will go to Wisma Yakin sometimes this week because your post enticed me to do so. Secondly, you make retailers happy with your post as sometimes we have to be reminded that such places are worth a visit.

Your fan, Hanafi.

Hanafi Mohd Noor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pak Idrus said...

hanafi, thanks for the visit and those kind words. Well I am happy that this posting motivate you. Those Malay entrepreneurs need a boost and I think if we all contributes in a small way, in a positive ways, the way we could, it would surely makes a difference to their progress. Have a nice day.

Mr Bojangles said...

Pak Idrus,

Yes, I too share your fondness for the Wisma Yakin area with its own unique atmosphere. On Fridays from mid morning onward till jumaah prayers, the ambience of the area with its cosmopolitan crowd, the whiff of attar perfume in the air and the sound of the Holy Quran recited over the mosques speakers somehow make me feel that I am in some middle eastern country. Not to forget the numerous eating places including that famous 'benggali' eating house serving, in my opinion, the most authentic punjabi cuisine and at rock bottom prices, too.
Just like my memorable trip or rather hike down Frasers Hill, this place too has its moments. After that episode, I began my real working life in the public service and my office was at the Straits Trading building. Occasionally I would walk down in the early morning to WY before work started to have my breakfast. And sometimes my colleague who now happens to be the Perlis MB used to accompany me.He was then a humble PTD officer like myself, but soon left for loftier positions. He must truly have believed what we used to half-jokingly translate the PTD as not what it really stands for but as Pegawai Takada Duit.So he decided to seek his fortune elsewhere! Good for him.
Anyway I regularly make a beeline for WY for Raya shopping. At other times Friday solat there would be followed by a sumptuous repast at one of the many shops there especially at the chapati house.
So you are right. WY is indeed a jewel, but I don't think it is really hidden. And I am truly glad that some of the ridiculous plans that some bureaucrats in DBKL had for the area between WY and the mosque which would have impeded access to and 'hidden' the mosque were scaled down.
Wassalam

Pak Idrus said...

mr bojangles, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts of those beautiful moments in times of Wisma Yakin. Like you I am passionate of this building, for it is the first tall building ever built by a group of Malay with the help of PKNS. The Masjid India area is indeed a fascinated place to be. It is always throng with people busy buying as thought they do not have anything at home. Of course those food freshly cook is a gourmet heaven of a sort.

Like you I am disappointed with the structure the City Hall put up there. It is a eyesore. I hope in their new plan for this area they would come up with a better structure that harmonize with the surrounding building.

I am not a PTD but a professional that had to work with the PTD's. Everyone seem to know the joke about PTD and enjoying it in passing.

BTW your are a prolific writer, why not be a blogger. TT with me, just use the email at my blog. Have a nice day.

Roger said...

Dear friend,

I am a foreigner visiting malaysia. My name is Roger from Holland. Today i was invited to join hari raya on monday. As a non muslim it feld as a great honour to be invited for this day. Again a great excample that all people can be reunited from all over the world.
I was looking for a shop where i could buy an original
baju malayu set. Hopefuly they have big size because my size is xxl. I wish to all of you a happy hari raya
With warm regards,
Sincerely yours,
Roger

Pak Idrus said...

roger thanks for the visit and the kind words about my country Malaysia. Well, Malaysian are like that, enjoying the peace and harmony together. When the time comes to celebrate like Hari Raya, the Chinese New Year, Depawali or Christmas, all Malaysian enjoy it together. That my friend is the Malaysian way of life, our way and hope that you enjoy your stay here.

As for Baju Melayu, Wisma Yakin have all the choice and sizes that you need. Just browse along and I am sure you would get a good buy of Baju Melayu there. Have a nice day.