What do sisters do when they find themselves in a big city with time on their hands? The husband of the resident sister, and the brother in law of the visiting sister (both one and the same), who was to have taken them places (new ones), had been called away to another country. With the more obvious of the tourist attractions having been already covered some months back, they do the next best and most obvious thing. They go to all the big malls and roam around. They buy this, they buy that, then they buy this again and they buy that too and then they buy more of this and some more of that till one day it dawns on them that the path they are on is a rather dangerous one guaranteed to ensure gaping empty spaces in their purses and none at all in their cupboards/homes.
So they decide to revise strategy. No more malls, just tourist spots. This would guarantee that the days were spent ‘seeing’ things that were not for sale. I mean one cannot just walk into a museum or planetarium and come away with bags full of stuff, right? Not unless you want the police set on you and haul you off to the nearest cooler. Nor could one walk away with trees from the botanical gardens or butterflies from the Butterfly park or…. Oh well, you get the drift. Sightseeing they felt was a much better and safer option. As first step they searched the net, pored over maps and routes and as a final step, tied their shoelaces, strapped on their backpacks and set off. This time their destination was a stesan called Wangsa Maju from where they took a teksi to Royal Selangor, the world’s largest pewter makers. So here is the story of their visit.
Royal Selangor is a Malaysian pewter manufacturer and retailer, indeed a Malaysian brand icon. So the chirpy cabbie knew exactly where to go. As soon as we got off the cab and stepped into the Royal Selangor building, we were welcomed warmly by this young man who patted us on our shoulder and asked us to wait. How sweet of him. Only thing, it turned out that it was not a pat that we received; he had stuck a sticker that read ‘Royal Selangor’ on our left shoulder.
Oh well, anyways… We had just become official visitors to the place. Soon a smart young girl made her way to us and we began our guided tour.
Didja know pewter is an alloy of tin, copper and antimony of which tin forms almost 89 to 99% (Wiki)? I certainly did not. So yeah, one lives and learns, eh? It seems, initially the tin needed for the pewter used to be collected manually, the old-fashioned way. But later machines (brought by the British) started doing the hard work. This man Mr. Yong Koon here, is the original founder of Royal Selangor (1885). Of course at the time it was called Selangor Pewter. The founder’s clothes and walking stick are still preserved for the visitors to see.
These are pewter shavings from the pewter items that are made. And no they are not waste since they can be heated and reused. They were soft to touch.
Here is a woman at work. We watched another woman make a door handle. The melted liquid sparkled as she scooped it out with a spoon and filled the mould with it. Others were engraving, polishing, et al.
The next stop was their showroom where was displayed many exquisite specimens. I have more pictures of them, but sigh, cannot fit in more here. This jar here costs only RM 1400. Multiply that by 17 and you will get its value in Indian rupees. Not too much, huh? A friend asked me if I hadn’t got any pewter for myself. My response: “What would I do owning such expensive things?” Yeah, I am much better off admiring them from afar.
This is a wall with the hand imprint of the employees of Royal Selangor. Anyone who completes five years in the company gets to have his palm imprint on the wall. I think that’s pretty cool.
This here is a tankard, just outside the building and is the biggest tankard in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. There is also a signboard nearby, with the claim.
Having spent the day without spending anything on shopping, the sisters, pleased with themselves, trooped back into the teksi and travelled to Masjid Jamek for a fish-lunch at Secret Recipes. Next stop, the nearby museums. But then,that is another story for another day, isn’t it?!
Disclaimer: The sisters portrayed here as shopoholics for purposes of entertainment of the readers are in real life two extremely level-headed and head screwed on right sort of persons. They are two very too practical beings when it comes to shopping, albeit slightly boring because of that, and hence rarely indulge in shopping orgies as portrayed here. So there!