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"manek-manek" or "manik-manik" means beads in the Malay language.

I live in the Far East - an area that is rich in potpourri of many ethnic cultures, races and religions. From this melting pot of cultures, many influences from both the East and West have created a society of people that have come to love very intricately designed and hand-crafted fashion and accessories.

But how did I come to be so fascinated with these little manek-manek?

Way back in 1995, I came across an old pair of antique beaded shoes that are extremely popular with the Straits Chinese people of the then Malayan Peninsula. I was absolutely fascinated by the intricate details of individual hand beading using tiny size 13 charlottes (potong manek). I set myself the task to find out how this could be done.
The Manek Lady
The birth of my first own hand beaded shoes (kasut manek) as worn by the Straits Chinese lady (bibi) of the day came soon after.

From there, the rest you could say is history. After shoes, there came little amulet bags in peyote weave, then knitted bags, then crocheted bags and accessories and ....

Do explore my dedication to manek-manek. I would love to hear from you and share other manek-manek obsessions with you.

Happy Beading!
Helena Tang-Lim
The Manek Lady

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Last Updated 09 January 2011
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Photography : Eric Lim
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