Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Press Citation: Klang Valley Streets, New Straits Times

Klang Valley Streets: Jewel of a find

Thursday, September 13, 2007

ASHREENA PILLAI recommends a bazaar named after French for ‘jewel’ as an excellent place for bargain hunters on the lookout for all manner of treasures.

BIJOU Bazaar, at the alcove of Jaya Shopping Centre in Section 14, is a treasure trove where you can shop for items such as clothes, glassware, bags, jewellery and home ornaments.

The name Bijou, a French word which means jewel, is somewhat meaningful as some of the trinkets there can be considered great finds. Bijou Bazaar came about when school friends Maryam Samirah Shamsuddin and Elynor Aisha Seth both 29, wanted to open a boutique selling their own designs under their labels, Le Petite Penderie which carries casual wear and Manja for their lace kebayas.

Not sure if their designs were to the taste of potential customers, Maryam and Elynor came up with the idea to set up a bazaar to test the market first. They roped in their friends and other fellow traders to help them, and Bijou Bazaar was set up.

So I made a trip to the bazaar recently, thinking it was highly unlikely that I would find something of interest, but I was wrong. In no time, I was cooing over some playing cards (RM5) and postcards (RM6) designed by British Airways which only set me back by RM11. There were so many other things that I wished I could have bought. One being a beautiful, large antique mirror that reflected a little bit of Middle Eastern feel that was only RM580. It was a real bargain if you ask me, but buying it would require me to part with half of my savings!

Although the bazaar has a list of 30 vendors, there are only about 10 to 15 permanent vendors trading their goods every week, with the others making their appearance on alternate weekends. So regular visits is a must to make sure that you don’t miss out on any goodies. The prices range from as low as RM0.50 to RM1,800.

Ghazali Yahya, 35, or better known as Gaz is one of the vendors at the bazaar. At his booth, you can find a bountiful collection of interesting items like Chinese silk embroidered tops from Shanghai, bags and tablecloths from Iran as well as stainless steel cutlery sets from Germany.

“My former job as a MAS cabin crew required me to travel to so many countries and buying things became a hobby to me. I preferred to sight-see and do some light shopping than stay closeted in the hotel,” said Gaz who used to model in his younger days.

Norlia Shukri, a cousin of renowned designer Tom Abang Saufi, also has a booth at the bazaar. She sells beautiful bead embroidered baju kurung material (RM400) as well as beaded shawls (RM300) and batik halus (RM75). There is also some classy kebaya available for RM150 (they normally cost RM200).

Another ex-MAS cabin crew Hanni Hassan, 37, also has a booth at the bazaar. She sells cushion covers, handicrafts and handmade tablecloths among other things. Hanni also offers bridal packages and dulang hantaran.

“Just like Gaz, I used to collect items when I travelled the world with Malaysian Airlines, though my collection is not as big as his!” she said.

For the Hari Raya crowd, Maryam and Elynor also plan to bring in some new items, namely the batik Indonesia and kain kebaya while Hanni plans to sell ready-made Indonesian baju sulam. Also available are tasty homemade kuih raya like kuih samprit, chocolate chip cookies, jam tarts and fruit cakes.

So what you waiting for? Make some space on your weekend calendar and pen down Bijou Bazaar in bold! You never know what ‘jewels’ you may find!

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