the Malay word for a hall or a reception area. It is the place where
the host receives his guests. It is pronounced as "ba-lie" and not the
French pronounciation ba-lay which means broom.
The balai can either be a permanent structure when it forms part of a
house or palace, or as a temporary structure when it forms part of the
reception during festivities e.g. during a wedding reception.
My balai was constructed with the sole purpose of entertaining my
guests. This is a semi-permanent structure built of resources obtained
within the vicinity of my home.
It is a typical Malay kampong structure comprising of 9 tiang (or
posts) of a type of hard wood called Malut or Chengal Pasir. The
roofing structure is of Tengar wood or Ceriops tagal . The flooring is
made of sawn timber bought from a local hardware store.
The Architect and the Builder:
his kampong name but if you ask the National Registration Department
for Daim you would probably be directed to Tun Daim Zainuddin (the
former Finance Minister of Malaysia). His registered name is Jaharu bin
Kasa. In Langkawi his is known as an Artist. His talent in the arts
matches no other in Kampong Padang Lalang. The Balai is designed and
constructed by Daim. (More about Daim here)
of construction: Preparing the site and material
out the site
Daim making his measurements
The site marked out
kampong builders do not use any sofisticated machineries to mark out
the site. Only a measuring tape and four stakes in the ground and a
perfect rectangle was finally drawn out.
Yam stripping the tengar wood
Daim splitting rotan ayer
they were rather furious with me for not telling them immediately after
the timber arrived. It would make peeling off the bark easier when it
is still wet. What do you expect from an ignorant doctor.
of construction: Erecting the Tiang Seri
When digging hole one must not do
it during peak of the dry season. It was really a very tiring task.
This 5 in diameter Malut timber is very heavy indeed. To erect a 23
foot pole on a hot day really took out a lot of energy from the three