Hari Gawai 2015

Hari Gawai 2015

Earlier last month at the end of June, I decided to join a friend back to his home village to celebrate the Harvest Festival. Being a Sino Kadazan, I never been to a longhouse before but my friend assure me that although the longhouse nowadays are made from a much more contemporary material, the culture has pretty much remain the same.

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The town at Limbang is busy with people preparing for the Harvest festival tomorrow.

We took the ferry from Labuan and arrive at the Limbang Jetty in the next few hours. The ride was smooth while the immigration system is pretty efficient as well. Limbang is part of Sarawak therefore its jurisdiction is different compare to those from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.

The town however; although small, is pretty busy with people stocking all the necessary item for a feast. A longhouse usually hold at least 10 family but its not uncommon for some longhouse to have at least 50 family in a single row. My friend brought his family back to the village for the holiday and as usual, we will bring our own share of the celebration by buying liquor and meats.

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A pig head that my friend brought back for the barbeque.

After we were done with the shopping, the next agenda of the day is to visit their ancestor graveyard which is meant to pay their respect and praying for their blessing for the upcoming festival. It is a pretty common practice for most races in Malaysia.

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A Christian Cemetery
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Paying their respect for the elder. My friend grandfather who passed away few years ago.

The journey back to the village took us about 1 hour and half despite our aggressive driving. There is no proper asphalt road that connects the village with the main road but according to my friend, the road is in a much better condition than it was few years ago, plus there is electricity grid throughout the area.

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4WD vehicle is a standard choice for the people around the area. We are stopping by at my friend family orchard before continuing our ride back to the village.

The longhouse is actually really long. Its similar to the British terrace house design with a long corridor or ‘ruai’ connecting the house. The ‘ruai’ is consider as a public area where kids and elders usually hang out. I didn’t spent much time exploring outside the longhouse since the family has been very welcoming ever since I got there. Everyone is pumped up for tomorrow and preparation is hasten towards midnight.

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Part of the ‘Ruai’. Its big enough for the kids to play and surely big enough to hold hundreds of people celebrating the harvest festival.
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The backyard of the longhouse. Store were built to keep farming equipment away from the longhouse.

Iban people are known for being fond with alcoholic drinks and true to their reputation, we were serve with some rice wine and pork barbecue to freshen our day. I couldn’t remember much after that day since I haven’t been sober for the next few days. Drinks were serve like there was no tomorrow but falling asleep was pretty easy.

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Alcohol can do wonder to people.
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A family gathering.

The next morning I woke up with a terrible hangover. My mouth was dry and my stomach was hungry but that is pretty much what we do for the next few days; drink, eat, and sleep. Its holiday and many of the family relatives came back for the week to celebrate the festive occasion where having a great time being their main objective.

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Barbecue pork meat and a few shots of whiskey.
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Serves up!
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Again, Alcohol could do wonder and at a time like this I wish I was not that drunk to hold the camera properly.

Later on that day, I did got the time to explore some part of the village. The village is surround by dense forest with a river passing through in between. Back then, people of the village have to rely on the river as their main transportation method but ever since the road was built, it hasn’t been used much due to safety and convenience.

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Gathering some edible palm from nearby tree for tonight dinner. 
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The scenery around the area. 

My original intention to join my friend back for a visit is actually to have a look at their old wooden longhouse structure, which remain pretty much as it is despite being in ruin for a long time. My friend uncle brought me to the place and being drunk as hell, the three of us make a journey through the forest, barefoot.

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Entrance to the old longhouse.
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The inside of the longhouse with the top space being used as a place to keep harvested rice. Similar to how Kadazan people used to keep their rice.
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Drunk as hell. To be honest, I didnt remember how we walk out from that place.

The highlight of the harvest festival would be during midnight where blessing and prayers are given throughout the longhouse. Again, I don’t really remember how the night goes, my camera however are still by my side and somehow I manage to even change my memory card. Looking through the picture do made me realize that festive event should be fun for everyone while preserving our own culture and identity. The night last until dawn with people tossing their glass and laughing at each other jokes. During the last day of my stay there, they even hired a local band to entertain the people with everyone joining in for the dance.

A truly festive season that I truly enjoy which I wish I was not that drunk during my entire stay.

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Sarawak national flag.
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Before the praying session start. I didn’t ask about the ceremony in detail though.
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The younger people enjoying the drinks and music.
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DANCE, DANCE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A WALK THROUGH PASAR KARAT

A WALK THROUGH PASAR KARAT

“Never go alone if you were shooting around Petaling street!, someone just got murdered over there a few months ago.” those were the word that my old physic teacher told me during my stay at his house in Kuala Lumpur. “You better off by wearing a cap, you look to much like a tourist without it.” he further added. That was the first advice that my teacher actually gave to me when I told him of my interest to explore Kuala Lumpur all by myself.

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Some antique foreign money that is on sale

Kuala Lumpur has always been a fascinating place for me ever since I was young. Its a place that represent Malaysia on international level and I always thought it was the most advance city in the whole Malaysia. I have never consider it as a dangerous place before and that is until I have seen the street life of Kuala Lumpur with my own eyes. Its Crowded, hectic, and heavily congested. The scene changes within a specific period of time where office worker commute their transit via the LRT in the morning to the joyous crowd at the Chinatown in the evening, its truly a sight to behold especially for someone who is used to the calm life in suburban area of Labuan.

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The view of the Maybank tower from my hotel window.

Over the year, there is one particular place that manage to slip through my list and that is the infamous Pasar Karat.

Pasar karat is more of a flea market that open during the weekend. From what I heard, It’s full of interesting character that is looking for a legit source of income, a place that is full of interesting character. I still remember the word from an old Chinese photographer that I met  years ago who used to shoot around the street of KL Chinatown, he did show me some of his picture from that area (which is not that impressive) and how he keep on mentioning that you need massive ‘balls’ to shoot around the area as it was guarded by a triad who have their own member guarding the area within a certain radius. The fact surprised me a bit but it doesn’t deter my curiosity to explore the area.

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A guy showing off the duck that he just prepared at the back of his restaurant, where Pasar Karat is actually located.

Even after the next few years, I couldn’t find this elusive Pasar Karat but eventually, I found it by accident and to my surprised, its just next to the hotel that I used to stay in Petaling Street. It was during the recent IPA KL Street Photography workshop and around that time, the street photography community is buzzing with the work by Che Ahmad from his ‘A Walk of Life’ series and some of the picture from the series was  taken at Pasar Karat. It was Che Ahmad (one of the mentor during the IPA Photography workshop) that pinpoint the location for me but I never really knew that it was that close to the place that I was staying.

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Street dentist service. Slightly unhygienic yet popular with the people due to the cheaper service fee compare to the Licensed and certified Dentist.

On the second day of the workshop, I decide to find the Pasar Karat as it seems to be an interesting place for our photo assignment (and to recreate CheMat iconic picture) and I have to be early as they only open within a certain period of time which is from 7am until 10am.

And guess what, it was really just down the balcony of the hotel that I was staying and soon I find myself immerse within the crowd of people;

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The moment when I realized that the Pasar Karat is just next to the hotel that I was staying.

The Pasar Karat is as mentioned earlier, a flea market that consist many people from all walk of life trying to sale something or simply looking for a bargain. Few minutes later I discover that the Pasar Karat stretch along the back lane of the shop houses near Petaling Street (i have no idea on the street name around Kuala Lumpur), which is truly interesting as it does seems to be full of potential for interesting story and picture ( I was participating a street photography workshop at that time).

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The busy crowd along Pasar Karat.

I was a bit hesitate whether I should pull my camera out and hang it around my shoulder but after I remember the story that the old Chinese photographer told me a few years ago, I decided to walk through the area just to get the idea on how the place actually work.

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I have a nice chat with them and they were joking on something which I couldn’t remember what, but something about animal.

The atmosphere is again, surprisingly familiar, and it feel pretty much the same as the busy hustle of Gaya Street at Kota Kinabalu. After a few minutes of walking, I couldn’t sense any malice from the people as the rumour were saying and every time I smile at them, they smile back. There is probably some slight misunderstanding with the people and soon I started to loosen up.

resize ipa 11One of the most friendliest guy that I met at Pasar Karat, he told me the medical benefits of the Lintah Gunung from Sabah.

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I am basically an introvert and some of the easiest way for me to start a conversation is by pulling out the camera which I personally believe, an all access passport/excuse to almost any situation that I could imagine.

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After a few conversation with the people along Pasar Karat, I finally realized something that people who sale their stuff along Pasar Karat doesn’t have any permit to sale on that particular area from DBKL. A guy that I manage to talk with told me that people over here often got chased away by DBKL (Dewan Bandar Raya Kuala Lumpur) and usually not in a friendly/polite manner. So its quite often that people mistaken someone with a camera as a DBKL officer in disquise, hence the usual warning to not take their picture.

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I did strike a long conversation with him and he was nice enough to reassure me that the place was actually very safe to what most people think off, but a bit of precaution wouldn’t harm anyway.

It is certainly nice to hear the other side of the story and after spending a total of 1 and a half hour around Pasar Karat, I manage to snag a few bargain on some old NGEO Magazine. If  people say that Pasar Karat is a dangerous place to visit in Kuala Lumpur, then they obviously never try to stand in the middle of the LRT track. Regardless of what other people have to say on Pasar Karat, I truly wish that DBKL have a proper way to handle some of the issue.

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I really have no idea on what the guy was trying to say but he did mention that the girl in the picture was her daughter. (this is not from the same guy from the previous picture).

Pasar Karat is really an interesting place to visit and I really recommend people to visit that place although just try not to offend the people with your camera. The next time I visit that place, I will be sure to wake up a bit early. 🙂

Lok Kawi Zoo – Revisit

The last time I visit a Zoo is 2 years ago and at that time I don’t really use my camera that much considering that I am more interested on the animal instead of taking a picture of it. So this time, I will not let go any chances although working with the kit lens is not exactly ideal for Animal Photography but somehow I think a wider point of view would really show the animal living space.

Here are the following picture, there is a picture of tiger, eagle and even some elephant but it doesn’t come out as I expected but nevertheless, this are the selected picture for this series;

A parrot, but the name is not exactly a Parrot and its not even in the same family as the one I use to see on the movie.

The best picture that I could snap which shows the animal is in captivity, took me sometimes to get this one but I am not satisfied with the entire image.

This suppose to be an easy picture but the overall picture quality is not as expected, I should really get myself a new camera.

Its amazing how human like Proboscis monkey. Its tough to get the focus right when the monkey is on the other side of the glass wall.

25 minutes with a Ricoh GRD III

25 minutes with a Ricoh GRD III

Its a fact that there is more people around the city area during school holiday than any other day. Its by far more convenient to travel around especially for those who have family. Its been more than 3 weeks since the day I return back to my home and finally I could visit my hometown area. The sea breeze along the coastline, huge hill across the land, and not to mention those narrow road along the way, I really miss it and its refreshing compare to the peninsular Malaysia. This time its a bit exciting and obviously I am looking forward on attending my cousin wedding but this blog is more about my photography journey therefore I am going to skip this.

One of the thing that I look forward to was visiting one of the Photography Exhibition which is organized by a Photography club called Jebat.net Photography Community at ProArt Gallery. The exhibition theme is “All About Passion” and the selected picture was beautiful and clearly show each of the photographer interest and approach in Photography. My only comment for the exhibition is that the arrangement is a bit sloppy and could be better in some other way but overall its an interesting exhibition worth visiting. The gallery is located at the first floor of 1Borneo and could be easily find by asking people around.

Another reason for me to visit the gallery is to pick up my 5R size print from ProArt printing service; not only they provide space for exhibition but they also provide a professional printing and consulting services mainly for photography reproduction. This is my prints though, and as usual, it look so damn fine. Worth every penny.

This is Su Chung, the Master printer for ProArt. The new gallery seems to have more interesting air conditioning duct system which make it look more industrial than the old gallery.

Luckily, I finally happen to meet a photographer who I wanted to meet since the last time I visited his exhibition last year and he happen to sale his Ricoh GRD III which I notice when he posted it on his facebook wall. Ryan is an excellent photographer and happen to own a camera store called PIXEL at the concourse floor level of 1Borneo supermarket.(RICOH GRDIII is on the right side while the other camera is Olympus mJu II)

Of course, he was kind enough to let me try the GRD III for a while but I couldn’t try it any longer than an hour because I happen to bring my cousin along. My first impression with the GRD III is that it felt really SOLID, the built quality is so good, it makes my Nikon D60 felt cheap. The handling is amazing and the control is really easy but it takes time for me to recognize some of the button setting but nevertheless, my opinion on a camera is not base on a scientific experiment but more to a practical approach of taking the kind of picture that I wanted and here it is, a 25 minute around a shopping complex with a Ricoh GRD III, complete with an external viewfinder.

A self portrait of me while using the camera, looks stealthy enough for me. 😛

She is interested at the promotion discount.

The camera autofocus is fast enough for this kind of shot. The only drawback is probably the 28mm lens which is probably to wide for some people, but 28mm is my favourite POV.

I should take picture inside a Shopping complex more often, its interesting.

They were watching a traditional dance performance up at the stage.

This was taken using the ‘snap’ mode of the Ricoh GRD III, a fast picture taking method that snap a picture at a predetermined focusing distance. The depth of field is stunning though.

Another thing that I notice about the GRD III is the color reproduction and white balance, the color look natural which I believe some would call it dull while the white balance is accurate even under artificial lighting. I can say that it is better than my Nikon D60.

The dynamic range is limited if it is compared to most DSLR but this is by far one of the best file I have which is taken by a compact camera with 1/1.7 size sensor.

All the picture taken here were mostly slightly adjusted in Adobe Camera RAW but mostly to reduce the noise and increasing the sharpness. The camera responded well for my kind of photography and I really enjoy using it. The viewfinder is cool as well but I can’t really give an accurate conclusion on this camera.

For those who are looking for compact camera capable of capturing fast and high quality picture, the Ricoh GRD III might be the ideal camera. I will really going to buy myself this camera, should do well for street photography around Malaysia. 🙂

Kampung Patau-Patau revisit

Kampung Patau-Patau revisit

Its been a busy month for me since New Year and I have been focusing to much on my study as well.

I finally graduated from my study although I do plan to continue my Degree study, in the mean time, it is best to focus on something that I enjoy the most, which is Photography. After 2 days of rest with some catching up to do in the world of internet, I finally manage to take some picture and this time a visit to Kampung Patau-Patau.

I don’t think I have mention this place before in this blog but knowing that the place is a water village, you don’t really need to think more than that. The people were nice and very friendly, as long as you don’t try to look suspicious. In fact, I just found out that there were actually two village with one of it using old wooden bridge to connect with each other while the other larger village is connected through a Reinforced concrete bridge.

Here is a series of it, the first series was taken at the smaller and rather worn out water village of Patau-Patau;

If anyone have been following my work, you guys might recognize this spot.

The wooden bridge is quiet dangerous and yet, the people there have been living through it everyday.

Cat, somehow the cat doesn’t sound so well…

Behind the scene, Fahmi taking aim with his Nikon…

First picture taken after we got to the other Water Village at Patau-patau, the scene is funny though because I wanted to take their picture passing through our side but their deliberately try to avoid our camera line of sight. 😛

One of the local that I manage to speak with, I was asking on what he was looking down the bridge, it seems he was looking on something that he recently fix. – Hipshots.

And I was thirsty so I ask the uncle whether there is some small convenient store around there. Turns out he do sale some stuff and he even sales Coca Cola. Taken after I buy the Cola. 😀

Compare to the previous water village, this one is more lively. Probably due to the better water bridge. 😀

Saw something that could make a picture, but I missed it because I was a bit to far from it. 😛

WOW?, yesh, absolutely. This kid got swag that he ride a freaking Harley Davidson around the town. Actually, I was a bit jealous of this kid. He got a very fantastic childhood. 😀

One of the kids around the area…

The kids were cool with it, its just awesome. 😀

The gang, wish I could print this picture nicely and give it to them. 😀

Cats, they are everywhere. 😛

Hipshot – Never got a really good result from it. 😛

Finally, a bit of Nescafe Ais and Teh Tarik after more than an hour session at the water village. More to come on the next post. 🙂

Comment and Critique are welcome.

Malacca – The Submarine Museum

I have been to Malacca a bit earlier than the rest of my friend, simply because I wanted to record some of the necessary video and picture for the multimedia team before we start measuring the whole Kampung Kling Mosque. Luckily, my lecturer happen to be in town during my visit and along with two of my friend, we decided to check on the latest Submarine Museum which is recently open to the public. The Submarine Museum also happen to be our final year project for our Design Studio which is good considering that we could get our first idea on how the existing site would be.

I have seen the Submarine Museum from the recent newspaper but I didn’t expect the site to be that big or worst; appear as if a Nuclear Bomb have recently explode on that area. The journey took us about 15 minute from the main city and since it was weekend, the traffic condition is pretty bad in my opinion. Here are some of the picture;

The entrance, pretty pathetic in my opinion but despite all that, the number of visitor coming at that time with their family is unexpectedly high.

Some of the visitor reading the description on the Submarine design and History. A very good information for us since we are going to design a Maritime Museum on the exact site for our final project.

The Submarine, Agosta 70, which was use by the Malaysian Navy as a practice submarine. It was unexpectedly BIG, I wonder how big the Russian Typhoon submarine is compare to this one.

A friend of mine with the floating mosque on a background, we decided to stop here since they are going to do their prayers before going back to Bandar Melaka.

My best effort, the light was great but it is to low for me to go handheld. I sure wish I have a tripod at that time but maybe some other time.

Anyway, a friend of mine recently told me that sometimes seeing to much of my work in Black and White is boring so I decided to try Color picture on time to time. Color is picture is usually good looking but its to distracting sometimes especially when I want to show or highlight the real subject.

Terengganu at Night

Architecture student is basically a Nocturnal kind of people. They tend to sleep during the day, and only to remain active at night, completing pending assignment and ongoing project. So when Architecture students conduct a trip to somewhere interesting just for the sake of ‘research’. Night activity will consist of midnight stroll around the near empty town, hanging out at the mamak store, watching movies, or for some, night street photography.

That is the idea, night street photography. But little did I realize that my camera have a very poor noise control quality and any picture taken higher than ISO 400 could turn out to be unusable for me. But I don’t really care about it anyway, and here are some of the picture taken with my Nikon D60;

I kinda like how the light illuminate the big tree, wish I could ramp up the ISO a bit more.

A friend of mine waiting for some us in front of 7Eleven. We didn’t have much of an activity that night other than having a nice dinner at Dataran Shahbandar.

A quirky way of taking picture of someone, there is another frame which is good but it was ruin when my friend block half of the frame with her hand.

Smoking near the ocean is really relaxing for some people, and here is my friend doing exactly that…

Taken during our walk to Pasar Payang, I wanted to wait for a better picture of this but the traffic is really busy. Somehow it look familiar with some Street Racing game that I have been playing…

Strolling at Night around Terengganu is rather safe in my opinion, but like in any other place, you still need to be careful. One of the thing that I notice is the lack of Night Club or Karaoke place, so party goers is really going to be disappointed with Terengganu. There is a lot of people staying up at night around the town area which could be interesting for photographer with a Nikon D3s equipped with 35mm f/1.4 lens… 😀

There is more to my trip at Terengganu, I will try to share it as soon as possible. Somewhere this week, one of my Junior ask me to teach him to take better picture like me (I do not consider myself a good photographer though) but the secret to take better picture is really by just taking a lot of picture. Passion and creativity, thats all matter. 😀