April 17, 2006

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How to wear a malong

Someone came upon my webpages while looking for ways to wear a malong, one of the traditional Filipino costumes. It's really simple - just a tube of cloth - but incredibly versatile. Although a number of creative ways to use a malong are featured in a traditional dance called (unsurprisingly) the malong-malong, I haven't been able to find a good Web reference that gives step-by-step instructions on how to wear a malong. I may just build a malong site this summer, after sewing that pretty blue/green batik cloth into a spring/summer malong.

Here are a number of ways to wear a malong as a full-length skirt. The easiest way to wear a malong around your waist would be to flatten the tube and wrap it around your waist, tucking it in at the end. My malong is ankle-length when worn like that, which probably goes to show that I'm exactly the typical Filipino's height.

Alternatively, you can step into the tube and fold the malong inwards until it's the height you want. Then:

  • draw it to one side and wrap that one around tightly, tucking in the other end with or without pleating. To pleat, you wrap part of it tightly and then fold the excess back and forth with a little bit of overlap (like making a paper fan, except with less overlap), then tucking this bulky part into the tight inner part.


  • stand in the middle and use your elbows to keep the front side of the malong close to your waist while you tie the excess ends into a knot (or a double knot), or


  • draw it forward and backward, then use your elbows to keep the inside part of the malong close to your body as you fold the excess ends to one side and tie a knot

Or you can make something up. =)

I tend to like pleating over a tight wrap because pleating gives you some freedom of movement. If I knot the malong, I prefer to knot it at the side so that it has more of a shape, although middle-knotted malongs go nicely with certain tops.

I should post pictures sometime - maybe three weeks from now, when things quiet down a bit (end of term cramming)...

I've also figured out how to wear it as a dress that reminds people of India or togas. It's interestingly cultural and gets a lot of comments (although I'm not sure how many of those are being politically sensitive) although it's probably not kosher (safety pins?!). For that one, you step into the tube and pin it under one arm, then take the excess and drape it over the opposite shoulder, pinning it to the front side and adding a large brooch.

I also experimented with using garters to hold up a tube dress (wrap the tube around you, fold it in front, fold a little bit back, tuck the excess under that fold, fold the top part in a bit to secure, then clip on the garters like dress straps). White garters with metal fasteners looked incongruous. Black or beaded garters with black fasteners might do the trick.

And yes, I know, I should just post pictures so that you know what I'm talking about, but I'm technically not supposed to be up this late documenting part of my cultural heritage... =)

Besides, isn't it just _so_ cool that malongs are one of the acceptable skirt-like garments that guys can wear? ;)

More malong tips would be very much appreciated. If my blue/green malong goes well, I'll probably shift more of my wardrobe to malongs. (I can't sew a balintawak or a Maria Clara!) People can chalk it up to my being charmingly quirky/nationalistic/exotic/weird...

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Rails pub night

I had tons of fun at the Toronto Rails pub night. Met some really cool people. =) Pictures to follow. Finally got to listen to Joey de Villa (The Accordion Guy) play, and his stories about the perks of accordion-playing were absolutely hilarious. Also greatly enjoyed chatting with the other Rails geeks there... =) Totally, totally cool.

I love going to events like these because I not only get to meet interesting people, but I also understand more about the social and technological space we work in.

From the experiences of others, I also learn a little bit more about what _I_ want to do. I'm starting to realize that my ideal life isn't one of teaching within the four walls of the classroom or the four/five months of a term. I want to be out there, teaching really diverse groups of people: schoolkids, seniors, entrepreneurs, volunteers. I want to help people discover how to make the most of technology. It isn't just about teaching, either. In the process of helping people discover something, I learn more about their needs and opportunities for technologies to adapt to people (instead of just the other way around!). That's what I love about the stuff I'm doing at IBM. It's not just data crunching and visualization. I'm there because I'm excited about trying new things _and_ bridging the gap for other people. That requires speaking and writing skills, yes, but that also requires deep listening skills, and I hope to learn all of those really well. =)

If I'm going to go down this path, then - training, teaching, mentoring, coaching, what-have-you - I'll need more experience in order to have more things in common with the people I want to teach. For example, I care deeply about encouraging people in developing countries to make their own opportunities, start their own business, build interesting and useful things. If I'm going to help people create opportunities, then I should immerse myself in the culture and experience here so that I can share those things with them.

That sounds like a plan...

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Random Japanese sentence: すると、ねこが一匹もいなくなっていました。 They could not see a single cat! Suru to, neko ga ippiki mo inaku natte imashita.


The dips Bill brought deserve their own entry. He brought taramosalata, a Greek dip of... umm... carp egg caviar. =) But it was really nice, particularly with the chips. He also brought this totally awesome cheese dip with hints of curry, and I have to steal that recipe from him.

And he makes his own sausages. Isn't that just mind-boggling?

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Random Japanese sentence: あなたが不在の間、誰があなたの猫の世話をするのか。 Who will look after your cat while you are away?

Backlog: I’m feeling potlucky!

Sunday was a very culinary day. ;) After doing my chores and my laundry, I decided that a potluck lunch was in order, and I called up Andrew and Mike. They were glad to come even though they had just half an hour's notice. (Heh.) Mike didn't answer his phone the first few times I called, so I couldn't borrow his teriyaki stirfry sauce. Instead, I prepared sesame and ginger chicken stirfry from scratch. I also contributed jasmine rice (no ginger this time). Andrew brought homemade wonton and garlic string beans, and Mike brought a sack of fruits. Much fun was had by all, especially by Andrew, who turned out to be a closet food stylist.

Barbecue for dinner was absolutely fantastic, too. Bill joined us, bringing these totally awesome homemade(!!) jalapeno sausages and other wonderful things. Andrew brought vegetable skewers, Mike brought potatoes and turkey sausages, and I brought fruits (my canteloupe, oranges and apples, plus Mike's mango).

This segued naturally into coffee time and a nice long chat with Bill, Chloe, and Stefan. Chloe's even perkier than I am. She's _so_ cool. And so British, too... =)

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Random Japanese sentence: 彼はネコにトムとジェリーとなづけた。 They named their cats Tom and Jerry.