So, I am trying something different. I’ve always wanted to do a video blog. I attempted few times, but I didn’t continue to do because i felt it was dumb, and I didn’t know what to say in front of a camera. Anyways, this video blog is about a trip I went few weeks ago. I love going to the longhouses, there you could find the friendliest people, I believe…you could ever met in your life. I don’t get to travel very often nowadays, so one of those few trips really mean a lot to me. I will be uploading more videos soon in my YouTube Channel. I will share about my life. Enjoy the video and at the mean time, feel free to check my posts in this blog. I know i had not been very active lately, nevertheless, I am looking forward to upload more posts in this blog.
Madam Tiong wore a bedraggled cloth living at a dilapidated house, not far from the town. It was used to be a home. That was more than 10 years ago. People said Madam Tiong was mentally-challenged, others who knew her said she had always been like this. The house, which she lived was abandoned. There was nothing but a mattress, few dirty clothes, few pails, some cooking utensils, a fire place for cooking, if she cooked. She did not live alone; she had a companion. A white dog, without any given name. Cute and tiny female dog. She did very well in protecting her owner though. She barked at strangers, but she knew the bad from good. She belonged inside the house.
There was not much in the house. The door was not locked and it was never locked. The door was made of a rusty zinc roof. The stairs were so steep that it could actually be a ladder than a staircase. The way to the house was to climb up; same thing to go down. Wooden floor could have seen better days. Somebody must had steal those woods because some parts of the floor were missing.
Upon entering the house, on the right what used to be a kitchen and a dining room, now filled with all kinds of junks. Rusty and broken pots, a stove somewhere, plastics, poops. Part of the walls were already gone. Up there was a leaking roof. There was a toilet bowl just in front of the entrance door. Squatting one. Not the kind of the bowl with water and flush in it. This bowl has a hole that looked straight the grass below. It was not front door after all, it was a bathroom. The floor looked like it was about to collapse anytime. There were pictures of her ancestors towards the end of the house. Could hardly believe the empty space was a living room before. Inside her bedroom, there were some instant noodles, can food, biscuits, eggs, rice and many other things. All donated. There on her bedroom wall, just behind the door was her wedding picture.
Oh yes, she was a married woman. Her husband got sick a year ago and died. The house was in fact her husband’s. Her husband used to work odd jobs and was a lazy man. The neighbours knew the couple very well and nobody liked them. They used to steal chicken and vegetables from the neighbours. Now that the husband had died, they looked on her with pity. Every day, they allowed her to help harvest their vegetables; in return, she received free meals. It was a good bargain for her.
Madam Tiong was rather a mysterious woman. Long time ago, she was a wealthy woman, as people said. They said she was married twice and had two children of her own. One she gave up for adoption and one she threw him at the river. The baby drowned. Nobody knew why she did that, and the family rejected her ever since. Nobody knew the authenticity of the story, but people could say anything and believe anything these days.
Madam Tiong lived without water and electricity supply, but she loved to stay there nevertheless. She did not mind taking her bath at the drain and the body smelled as if she needed a bath real bad. No, she did not want to go to homes. She was scared of being bullied. She said she was being bullied before and she did not want that to happen anymore….
It was just life. For Ahmad Baba, that was the thing, and he did not understand it either. Why people out there, walking past him everyday could be so well of, while he, at the age of 75, would have to struggle all his life – making ends meet; only this time, for himself.
A grandfather of 27 worked as a cobbler at a five-foot-way of Market Road every day – one of the busiest streets in town. He chose that small space as his ‘office’ as he would like to call it. At times, he was proud of himself, being able to have a business on his own. It was a boy’s dream – his dream to become his own boss. However, it turned out not to be a luxurious one, but a hard one.
A man of struggle – that is what he is. He had never intended this to happen. In fact, no one intended it to happen like that either. I came across this old man on one rainy morning. His sitting alone at that little space at the five-foot-way caught my attention. I asked a friend who was driving me at that time to drop me there for a while. I took photos of him, and he had no idea that his picture was being taken. Took a few shots, and I guess the heavy ‘tap’ ‘tap’ of the rain and the voices of people passing by drowned my shutter sound or maybe he was too focus on the shoe he was repairing.
Only when I came up close to him and introduced myself to him, he started looking up. He was startled of course, and I apologized for my rudeness. He started talking about his life, and he held nothing back. Listening to his story, I couldn’t help but feeling sorry.
At 5am everyday, he took 20 minutes bus ride to that little space to open his business. And so, business would start at about 5.30am everyday. That was nothing to set up really. A plastic sheet placed on the floor to provide a clean place to sit. A plastic bag contained needles and other shoe repairing materials – all probably worth just over RM100. It was the only capital he had, once gone, everything’s gone. Not that he was afraid of being robbed. Who would want to rob a poor desperate old man like him.
He could not be ashamed of himself. He had a home and a family. He could always stay at home, looking after his grandchildren. He wanted to do that part very much. In a way, it came true, but not all of it. He could not fully do what a grandfather always wanted to do to his grandchildren because his children could not have enough for him.
Ahmad is very prudent in his spending. A skill he learned decades ago, when he only earn RM7.50 a day, and raise nine children on his own. He always bought a fruit with him – Jackfruit. That normally would be his lunch. Sometimes, when his son-in-law saw him on the street, Ahmad would be given lunch money, but that never happen all the time.
He normally worked from 5.30am until 6pm, sometimes if the business was good, he would continue to after 7pm. Sometimes, he had zero earning.
“Sometimes, I do feel like life has no meaning. But, life has to go on,” he told to me once.
I do not admire him for being able to hold on to hardship despite his old age. But, I have a lot of respect for this man. Now, thinking back, I regretted for not doing something I should’ve done. I didn’t have shoes for him to repair, but I could have given him the lunch money for the day. That I didn’t do.
Happy new year everybody! I have not made up my mind on my New Year resolution yet. So, I decided that best days are ahead of me. Year 2012 had been a rollercoaster ride for me. However, it was a great year filled with ups and downs. In addition, it was a year I started this blog. Amazing!! One year!
Anways, what is New Year without the fireworks, huh? I was called to work on Dec 31, 2012 for the 2013 countdown at Sibu Gateway. The first countdown event I covered. This also means the first fireworks display I ever photographed.
It’s new year and everybody’s having fun!
Hope you enjoy these photos. This is a work of an amateur photographer; I took a lot of photos that night, only a few can be used. I’ve pick the best ones. Compared to the fireworks display in other countries, this one might not show any creativity. But, what the people in this small town cared about was the celebration, and the fireworks was part of it. The highlight of the whole event. Hope you like it.
Rejang River is the longest river in Malaysia, and Sibu town is just along this river. Apart from the plane, I never see the town and the river from aerial view anywhere else until one day when I was at the mayor’s office. I’ve been to the mayor’s office many times, but never really step outside the balcony to watch the view because the door was always closed. What standing between the balcony and the mayor’s office is the transparent glass door. But the view is blocked by …what do you call that…high fence?… at the balcony. So, that fateful day, I looked outside, and I thought ‘no wonder people loves skyscrapers’. It is such a beautiful sight.
So…a little tourist time here. Sibu is not a city…okay..but it is a developing town. The town owes much of its growth and prosperity to the mighty Rejang River. It is a business town, soon to be very busy in the next few years, I believe. It is a place where the modern world, nature, tradition and culture mixed up together.
Growing up in this town, all I ever know was this is a boring town. It is…actually, to be honest. We don’t have Disneyland or beaches or national parks. Sometimes, it got me thinking… What is it about the town that the mayor and those in higher authorities so enthusiastic about? Why they say that Sibu has great tourism potential? I got to admit, since few years ago, the number of tourists are increasing, though not as many as in the big city, you could still spot one or two foreigners everywhere you go. To really understand that, I asked myself ‘Do I really need to see Sibu in a tourist perspective?’
At some point, maybe or maybe not. Since I became a reporter, I met a lot of people, whether from the streets, or from businesses, or from the authorities, I learned a lot from them. When I went for the job interview, I remember the chief told me ‘Journalism is about growing, you’ll learn more about yourself in this job’. And I believe its true. And not only I learned more about myself and trying to improve the areas I needed to improve, I learned more about Sibu too. The town where I grew up.
Being an observer to this town and through many meetings with people, I finally able to see Sibu from another perspective. Not in a tourist eyes, but in the eyes who had always been a part of community of Sibu. I realized that the town is full of heritage with interesting history. I think it is a sad thing that the Education Ministry never encourage the students to learn more about their own town. It is such an important subject.
A few months ago, the municipal council launched the Sibu Heritage Trail that features the nine heritage sites. They are Sibu Heritage Centre, Sibu Old Mosque, Warriors Memorial Site, An-Nur Mosque, Oldest Muslim Cemetary, Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum, Hoover Memorial Square, Tua Pek Kong Temple, and Sibu Central Market. It is part of the council’s effort to promote tourism in the town.
I also realized that the community spirit is very strong. Because they love the people of Sibu so much, associations established memorial parks with history of the early Sibu. The town is so rich in culture and heritage, if it went unexplored it would be gone forever. Nobody will know that Sibu is called the ‘little Foochow’ or it was brought up by Christians missionaries. It is also a town of cultures and festivals, and famous for its delicious and affordable local cuisine. From Kampua, Dian Miang Ngu, to Bien Niuk to Kompia…they are the favourite among the locals and tourists. Given the name as the Swan town, Sibu is steeped in the colourful history of the early Foochow immigrants led by Wong Nai Siong who were in search of a better life. Today, Sibu is a fascinating and thriving modern town with vibrant centre.
Most importantly… I asked some of the tourists ‘what were their first impression on Sibu town?’ And they always say the same thing ‘The people are so friendly and loving’. Now that really put the smile on my face.
Wow, almost a month since my last post. Alright I am going to be honest with you, I was procrastinating and I have nothing else to say. Ok, I was pretty busy for the past few weeks (it’s true), but I can’t seem to remember what was I so busy about. Mostly work, so… every time I came home from work, I tend to take a time off for an hour or two before starting writing my blog. Apparently, an hour or two became four hours, five hours, and by the time I wanted to start writing, I was sleepy, so I went straight to bed and decided to do it the next day, but the same thing happened.
But, anyways, I am here…finally. I decided to do another pictorial this time, since I’ve already got the pictures ready. So…to the business…On Aug 25, I was assigned to cover a running event ‘The Borneo Post Run’. The run was organised by the company I worked with, so it was quite a big event for us. As you know, Aug 25 was Saturday, and Saturday is my day off. I was called back to work, and was assigned to this running event. My chief needed someone to take photographs, because the photographer was on leave. He had no choice but to ask me back.
I wasn’t excited about getting to work on my day off, and to think of getting up early, just … not fun. However, it was an honour come to think of it. I am not a professional photographer and yet he entrusted me with this assignment. I started holding my camera and learned taking pictures in 2010 and I have lots of things to learn.
With the faith given to me, I did not want to let him down. And it was my company’s event, there was little bit of pressure there. I did my best, and hopefully I did a good job taking photographs. The Borneo Post Run was my first running event photography. I must say, it was really a challenge, especially when there was no spectator. Which means, my pictures could be a bit dull…I think… I don’t know. 🙂
It was a great experience though, I took from the starting point, then I drove to the first check point (drinks were given to the runners), then came down to the second check point, then to the finish line. Because there was no spectator, I was free to move around, but I had to be at the check point first…or else the police traffic would stop me…and there goes my pictures.
I did not manage to take photographs of runners at the finish line, because I was too busy at the two check points. I spent longer time at the second check point. I decided to leave when most of them started walking already. Anyways, I hope you enjoy some of my favourites. Yeah, they are amateur pictures, but it was a great experience for me. I came home sweaty, but it was worth it.
Tell me what you think…comment below.
Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak was in Sarawak state for his three days visit recently. He spent two days in Sibu, Sarawak, starting on April 26, evening.
He arrived at the airport about 7pm on April 26 and about 2,000 people were there to welcome the premier. It was a very big event, because not often the prime minister visit this small town. Though I still don’t understand why people would rather being pushed and squeezed just to see him.
This picture seems like it was an easy job taking pictures of the premier shaking hands with the supporters. The truth..it wasn’t easy. Imagine 2,000 people at the scene. Bodyguards pushed us backward to protect the Prime Minister, the supporters pushed us forward to take pictures or maybe a chance to have a handshake with him.
Prime Minister waves to his supporters during his walkabout at Sibu Central Market on April 27, morning. Sibu Central Market is the biggest central market in Malaysia. The response of his walkabout from the public was overwhelming. Thousands showed up to see him.