Sunday, July 1, 2012


Being an 'old' guy, I am into a lot of 'old' things (not antiques since I can never afford them). When I say 'old', I mean things that were familiar to me when I was growing up. PMLs or 'pinggan mangkuk lama' have long been the craze for quite a number of people (especially women) in Malaysia. Fans of these types of crockery will go to all lengths to complete their collection. They will trade with other collectors, rummage through the back of old shops, visit flea markets, ask from family members (usually their mothers and grandmothers), buy online (where the prices are ridiculously exorbitant most of the time) et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Some of these PMLs were not really that expensive in the first place especially the ones which were made in China. They were used mostly by Malay and Chinese families during their daily meals. My mum told me that back in the 60s - 80s it was common for Malays to lend their PMLs for any 'kenduri' (especially weddings) since nobody had enough crockery for the guests to use. That is why if we look at the bottom of some of these pre-loved PMLs, we can find the names or initials of the owners written. She also mentioned that many Malays from the older generation preferred not to use transparent plates since they could see through the bottom of their plates. Nobody ever thought back then that these PMLs would become 'prized' items like they are now. PMLs which were made in England and Japan were much more expensive and beautiful than the ones made in China. China-made PMLs have been given Malay names such as 'bunga kangkung', 'bunga kekwa', 'bunga ros', 'bunga dahlia', 'bunga peony', 'bunga padi', 'bunga sakura' and 'bunga lalang' based on the designs and colours by PML collectors since there were no specific names for them in the first place. There are many other designs that I'm not familiar with though. I have to admit that these PMLs have their own charm and attraction. I do not own any complete set of any of the PMLs but I do have a few odd pieces here and there. At the moment, most of them are sitting pretty in my cabinet but I do use them once in a while.

These are PMLs (from the 'bunga kangkung' collection).

These are also PMLs (from the Johnson Brothers Old Mill collection).

These are my still not stored PMLs (from the 'bunga kekwa hitam' collection).

This slightly chipped PML is used as a feeding bowl for my cats (they deserve their own PML too).

This PML is without its cover so I use it for my money plant (FYI the flowers are fake and for decorative purpose only).

This is NOT PML. Don't start looking for the whole complete set because you will never be able to find it. This one is a 'gift' when you buy a big box of 'Daia' detergent.