Tag Archives: street photography

Reciprocal kindness

I hate the word ‘busy’.

Oh … I have been busy, much busier than you (competing which each other on who is busier).

For me, the word ‘busy’ is like an excuse … oh, I could not spend my precious time with you, as my dear you are not worth my time, I would rather spend it with someone else which is more important than you. That is why you are so busy.

Hmmm … me being grumpy at my introductory paragraph. Excuse me … lol.

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A carrier horse in the middle of Peshawar market

Me? I have been busy too and like always I admit that I have been crazy busy catching up with I dunno, maybe work, life or just recuperating from my back-to-back trips. And … despite being busy,  I make times for my loved ones. The 3-ones that I always cherish, my pets too and my mom.

But …always a satisfying feeling despite how tired I am right now … ‘do what you love, love what you do’. I guess that I love myself the most when I am wandering around the stranger’s land more than when I am at home worrying about my unpredictable future.

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Kalash kids in front of their home

I was in Pakistan for the second time last July with my travel mates.

We wanted to visit the Kalash people of Pakistan. Took a domestic flight from Islamabad to Chitral and a jeep ride to the remote area of Kalash Valley, Northern Pakistan. Reside between the mountain of Hindu Kush, this place is geographically harsh but for a person who loves nature, ahhh this place is beautiful.

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I am not sure what is going on with these 2 children from the Kalash valley

In a country dominated by Muslims, this mountain people of Kalash is still holding on to their ancestor’s belief. Estimated around only 3000 Kalash people who are still practising the culture and their ancient pagan religion. Some of the Kalash people converted to Muslim, abandoning their traditions and adopting the Muslim lifestyle but still staying together around the valley.

The Kalash girls and women dressed up in a thick embroidered black robes with matching head gears and heavy bead necklaces every day. While the man adopted the same Kurta shirt as the rest of the Pakistani man. They have a colourful lifestyle and I think it is interesting to explore more about their culture.

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My article in NST on how to photograph other culture

Summer has just started when I touched down in Islamabad.

It was interesting as I always choose to travel to certain places either during the end of winter, spring or autumn and never in summer, as I prefer staying home in my hot and humid 24×7 country more than experiencing the heat of summer of another country.

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Morning chai at a street in Peshawar

In Chitral and Kalash Valley, the summer heat is the same as at home but the air is drier and windy, which made it bearable. But in Peshawar during Summer is … wow! challenging, due to the greenhouse effect temperature during the daytime is very warm (38’C feels like 42’C).  Walking along the small alleys in between markets with the heat is not something that I look forward too but well … I survived Peshawar.

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Busy street of Peshawar’s old city market

I always wanted to visit Peshawar.

My late university professor was from Peshawar (he passed away from dengue a few years ago). He told me that tomatoes in Peshawar are as big as mangoes. It makes me curious. Where got such thing as tomatoes as big as mangoes. I told him that one day I would love to visit his hometown, Peshawar and check out the tomatoes. And he said, ‘Please don’t go to Peshawar, that place is a dangerous place to walk around’.

My curious mind will never listen to NO. Oh … and I checked out the tomatoes, the size is still the same size as our tomatoes back home in Malaysia.

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Busy street of Peshawar old city market

Walking on the street of Peshawar as a woman with a camera is not easy as you need to adhere to the local custom. Proper dressing is required. I wore my favourite black abaya and yes, it helps with the heat. But my gender becomes a hindrance for me to walk alone on the street and yes, I need a male companion to be able me to walk around the market. Thank God my local companion is very helpful and friendly, so my wandering process went smoothly.

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Morning crowd around my hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan

When I am at home now, recuperating, I asked myself … what do I remember the most about Peshawar?

Uhhhh … the food.

I tasted the best lamb stew ever (better than in Xinjiang). The food tastes different from Islamabad, Chitral or Skardu. I was told that food in Peshawar is delicious due to the influence of Afghanistan, as Peshawar is just 57km away from the Afganistan border. And now I wonder … about the food in Kabul. Is it good? Hmmm curious mind.

I overstuffed myself with lamb and chicken every day, 3 times per day in 11 days. Never in my life that I’ve been eaten overload of animals in a day … Masya Allah. A happy Masya Allah actually as I lurvvveee lamb. I need extra energy for the walking (aka wandering) and extra strength for me to carry my heavy camera bag, lol.

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My breakfast … roti

What an experience.

I could see myself exploring Pakistan again and again. Maybe I should start strengthening my knee and my legs so that I could hike up on those beautiful mountains surrounding Skardu and enjoy the smell of the glaciers. I should start tomorrow … lol  In Sha Allah.

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A little lady from the Kalash valley

Time for bed. Catch you again on my next post. Bye for now …

Cheers

MM


Street thrill in Dhaka

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A woman we met at a village outskirts of Dhaka

It was all about capturing moments of human interest when I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh recently. My first time and like always, I have a zero expectation of this place … I was like ok Dhaka surprise me, please.

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Friends shading from the early morning rain on the street of Dhaka

It rained cats and dogs during the first 3 days of my 6 days stay. But being a hardcore wanderer … the rain couldn’t subside my curiosity. I was out wandering along the markets and back lanes of Dhaka … in the rain.

My first impression was that the street smells pleasant.

Surprisingly Dhaka is way cleaner than India, 10 times cleaner than India … I shall think so. At least the street is not treated as the public toilet by the 18.2 million city residents. People everywhere seemed busy and fully occupied here.

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A peak from the train window in Dhaka

My second impression is … the food is good.

It tastes about the same as in India, Pakistan and Nepal.  And my taste buds think that the biryani here is very delicious and I had mutton biryani for almost every day here too. Sharing a clip video ↓ of my obsession with mutton biryani … obsession lol?

We traveled in a big group this time around … 15 of us scattered around the street yet we saw completely different views. How awesome was that? When I saw my friends posted their version of ‘the street of Dhaka’, almost always I would pound my head and asked myself about why oh why I did not see it from their angles.

It is proven then … every each of us is unique in our own way.

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Hard life for an honest living in Dhaka

As I strolled along the streets, villages and some back alleys I saw hard work and hard life here … yet the people of Dhaka is rich in hospitality. Walking and talking with strangers has never felt a burden here … some even invited us to their homes for a cup of cha or tea.

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A boatman trying to make an honest living in Dhaka

To be honest, there are hundreds and probably thousands of Bangladeshi working here in my home country Malaysia. I see them everywhere and every day too. When I posted my whereabouts to a group of friends … they jokingly teased me on why the need to be in Dhaka when I can just hang out at Pasar Borong Selayang (a wholesale market in the heart of KL) or the famous Chowkit road and just be surrounded by them?

It is normal to have that tendency to treat foreign workers at your country home differently ( I guess I am guilty too)  but being in Dhaka … experiencing just a few days living in their home country does change my perspective.

I see them in a different way now … a more human way of looking at fellow humans trying their best to survive in the high-density human populated area on our one and only earth.

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Boats at Buriganga River in the middle of Dhaka

Would I recommend Dhaka for your next trip? Should I repeat for another round of trip exploring Dhaka?

………. absolutely, yes!

Thanks for dropping by here at my space… on the last day of 2017. Resolution time … resolution … resolution. Bye …

Cheers

MM

 

ps: my January article in NST bots on ‘People at Work’ with Dhaka as the background story. NST 01:18

 

 

 

 


Yes … the street of India

IND_9528Re-visiting my India’s photos for my latest NST assignment to celebrate Deepavali or Dewali. All these photos bring back memories of me surviving India and I think its time to repeat India again.

I am yearning to experience another round of emotional burst … in India maybe in 2018.

Sharing a few more photos of the bustling street of Old Delhi, New Delhi.

And my article on India for the NST readers is turning out well too, alhamdullilah. I am sharing it here for my own future reference.

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Bye for now.

 

Cheers

MM

 

ps- buzzing head … need to stay focus!


The first The sweetest

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2017.01.16: My first and the first is always the sweetest

Am working towards moving my lazy ass to create more this year.

This is a snap photo of my first write-up as a writer contributor to a column in Life & Times of our local newspaper NST. And yes … the first time is always the sweetest.

Am putting here as my self-reference, I have the tendency to overcrowd my working table and losing all those paper clips by the end of the year. I need to kill that “I couldn’t be bothered attitude” … grrrr

Hopefully, this will be a good start to my writing experience. I’ll write and publish my own book one day. I dunno yet what type of book that I am gonna have … maybe it’ll be just a fancy coffee book that people would flip through and wonder about life.

Whatever it is … it is just feel good to have a dream, any dream would do … right?  It keeps you moving.

 

Cheerios!

MM

 

ps – QS AR-Rahman 55: 29-30

“Sekalian makhluk yang ada di langit dan di bumi sentiasa berhajat dan memohon kepadaNya. Tiap-tiap masa Ia di dalam urusan (mencipta dan mentadbirkan makhluk-makhlukNya)!

Maka yang mana satu di antara nikmat-nikmat Tuhan kamu, yang kamu hendak dustakan?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ace of Hearts

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Took her photo at Bhaktapur, Nepal while I was on my morning walk along the alleys. This is my second visit to Nepal

2017.01.12 … time flies, it’s the 12th day of 2017 and I am still not over 2016 yet. Another new year ahhhh. Last year I opted a ‘no’ new year resolution for 2016, a year of exploring and wandering with no obligation to achieve anything, just following the flow and enjoying my moment. A care-free 2016 …

I aged another year … yeah! being a woman, aging sucks. I had a minor surgery last month just 2 days before my flight to Nepal. Being a stubborn woman I happily checked out from the hospital, pack my cameras and headed to the airport for my flight to Kathmandu.

Well … what could go wrong right? Except that … I am not young anymore and recovery takes time. Carrying 2 DSLRs on my back and walking around Kathmandu, Pokhara and Ghandruk felt like a chore. Hmm … lesson properly learned. But, I survived …

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A steel bridge connecting villages separated by cliffs

I want to go the opposite direction for this year … and I’ll start with having new RESOLUTIONs for 2017.

But … I want realistic resolutions that would motivate me to be a better me. Not some unachievable resolutions that would at the end makes me felt incompetent with my own beloved self. So … I’ll have 3 new resolutions for 2017 then, just to keep it realistic and 1 old resolution that I always silently yearn for each year.

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A family wefie in front of Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu

I want to adopt a ‘win’ attitude this year. Yeah … that kiasu attitude “this girl gotta win in anything that she decided to do”. I am just curious on how does it feel to be a winner for at least a year ha ha ha.

I want to create more in 2017. More quality writing, more quality photos, more quality videos, more time for quality reading, more time for quality sleep and more time for love.

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No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted ~ Aesop. A new friend at Pashupatinath temple, Kathmandu 

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Observing life along the alleys at Ason Bazaar, Kathmandu

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Enjoying my morning light on the street while observing life here

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Staring eye to eye with strangers on the road

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Playing with afternoon light at one of the alleys at the market

I want more backpack trips either solo or with a small group of friends to most strange land and meet up with all kind of kindness along the way. It is gonna be my way or the highway ha ha ha <—evil laugh. And lastly, my same old silent resolution each year is to have more HIM time. HIM … the Creator of all these beautiful moments that I am immensely in love with. Bliss …

Ahh I am sleepy … maybe it is time for a short nap. Bye for now.

Cheers

MM


Riding the Light

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A lady sitting on the floor of a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

I was in Jogjakarta, Indonesia for a few days in mid-November last month. Hanging out at Kota Gede with my local photographer friend, Romeography of Studio 76. We planned to wander aimlessly around the east part of Jogjakarta with our cameras.

It was already the beginning of monsoon season here in Southeast Asia … and I was pretty sure that the sky would be dull and the light would be challenging in Jogjakarta too, as the raining season is here to stay until at least towards the end of January next year

After a few failed attempts to hunt for sunrises and sunsets, we decided not to waste our time wandering around hunting for gorgeous landscape anymore… we were out on the street focusing on human interest instead.

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Plaosan temple at sunset

We hang around markets mingling with locals selling all sorts of daily items. We snuck around a group of people selling roosters or cocks for the gamecocks or cockfights. Uh … scary sight of bleeding roosters fighting for its life.

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Spontaneous gamecocks

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6-months old  rooster was for sale at rp600,000

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Caged birds were for sale

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Mbah Madio selling palm tree sugar at a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

Wandering around with motorbike hunting for subjects and lights has its pros and cons. Other than the pain in the butt (from sitting on a small seat for too long), it was also the risk of getting wet from the rain.

But … it was the easiest way to move around from point A to point B without having to worry about the condition of our routes plus we can just park the bike anywhere we wish. Talking about convenience right …

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The horses of Malioboro street were having their morning bath here at a river near Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Hunting for light at the nearby bridge in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Farmers along side of the road in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Spent a few hours here at Pak Sugiman’s workplace at Putat Village, Gunung Kidul, Jogjakarta

Well … the rain doesn’t stop me from achieving my primary goal for this trip lol … which was to have a stress free moment chasing the light. I had a great time … getting close and personal with my subjects, good food and good companion all the way … ahhh I couldn’t ask for more, alhamdullilah.

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My closing sunset for this trip. A dramatic sunset due to the unpredictable weather

We are planning for more future trips to explore more of the landscape surrounding Jogjakarta … maybe after the monsoon season is over. Who knows … In Sha Allah

And …. life goes on and on … and I am learning throughout the journey. Learning to be grateful for each moment that Allah presented to me. Learning to see and accept people as who they are. Learning to love every soul that cross path my journey … and letting go the one that decided to venture out of my path. People changed … a heart changed.

“Oh Allah, please ease my path. Guide my iman. Guide my every single actions. Guide me to love for Your sake. Protect what is in my heart. What lies in the future, only You know. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, Most Merciful and Most Gracious.”

Bye for now,

Cheers

MM


Wandering Soul

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Sulaiman: Danau Tarusan Kamang, Agam, Sumatera, Indonesia

New places always excite me.

I could spend hours just wandering and observing my surrounding for something to learn from or just something to look at. Sharing 5 of my favorite portraits that whenever I look at it … I felt like packing my bag and start wandering on the street again.

Pic above: Sulaiman, our local talent posing for me with his fish cages. Danau Tarusan Kamang is a natural pond that seemed to have a mind of its own mind. It dried up and swelled up with water according to God knows whatever rules … I think it has something to do with its underground geographical structure.

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Mr Freedom: Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia

Pic above: Mr Freedom showing off his ‘freedom’ … tattooed hard on his chest. What a coincident since freedom is my all time favorite words lol.

Meeting strangers from all part of life while wandering around is an eye opening. I learned to listen well too. Stories about their day-to-day life which is most of the time would be an opposite story from mine.

Engaging a simple and sincere chat with strangers on the street came naturally to me too… I like it. And, I think that it would be rude for you to just showed up from nowhere and suddenly just click on your camera on somebody’s face.

Have some respect … kot.

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A woman from Karo Tribe: Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Pic above: My lady from Karo tribe of Omo Valley, Ethiopia posed with my colorful shawl. We were curious about each other lol.

I smiled whenever I saw this photo. She probably has never seen a shawl as colorful as mine in her life (Malaysian women wear colorful clothing at every chance that we have and we have a whole bundle of choices to choose from hu hu hu).  And, I envied her beads collection.

So, she wanted my colorful shawl for an exchange with her photos and I ended up having a series of her photos looking satisfied with our deal ;-P .

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Omak/ Mother: Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia

And, I personally think that it would be more satisfying to have some sort of connection with your subject. Especially when I am taking portraiture or faces on the street, I want to have meaning to a face that I would probably keep for a very long time in my external HDD.

Pic above: A loving mother that I met while wandering at one of the morning markets at Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia. We had a loving chat together … talking about her children and how lucky she was to be surrounded by her loved ones.

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Chacha: Northern Pakistan

And lastly, the chacha (uncle) that we met at one of our stops on our way to Skardu, Northern Pakistan. Strangers in this part of the world are rare. I never expected that we would be treated warmly.  it is true then … “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met”. (pls ignore the salt bottle on the table … lol)

I am feeling grateful … for the soul that decided to leave me, the soul that wander together hand-in-hand with me and the newly discovered soul that decided to stay … the best word to express my gratitude is alhamdullilah.

Bye for now.

Cheers,

MM

 

 

 

 


Beyond the Fog of Mt Bromo

Mt Bromo

Morning at Mt Bromo hmmm … dreamy!

I visited Mt Bromo at Probolinggo in East Java, Indonesia for the third time last July 2016. I heard from my friends that Mt Bromo was actively coughing off smokes out of its opened crater for the last few months … and I couldn’t resist the temptation for a quick weekend gateway.

We traveled in a very small group this time around. Just the three of us … leaving behind the rest of our “Sailangers” travel mate. I began to love traveling in a small group. Less drama and less need to socialize among us … which mean more time for observing and mingling around with the locals.

Tengger people of Probolinggo was celebrating their Yadnya Kasada festival that week and we intended to observe the ceremony. The ceremony was for the Tengger Hindus to express their gratitude to their believing Gods for good harvests and fortunes bestowed upon them.

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Dramatic sunset that afternoon … the drizzling rain brought along thick fogs

It rained during the 4 days of our stay at Cemoro Lawang, Probolinggo.  The last 2 days were a bit forgiving as we managed to catch morning sunrise before the fog and the rain started to concur the area.

The drizzling rain brought along thick and unpredictable fog that comfortably snuggled  Mt Bromo alley into a deep dreamy sleep. At first, I thought that I was cursed … but rain, fogs, clouds and smoky landscape are always been my favorite moment. The reason why I still love flying with my paramotor/ PPG buddy is because of this dreamy imagination that one day I might stumble into a beautiful thick clouds formation during our flying stint.

Well …  a sure challenge for a landscape or ‘chasing the light’ photographer when the sky is dark and the rain is dancing in the air. This is what I called … a lesson of letting go. Nature is teaching us to learn to let go … nature is beyond our human control and I need to learn to let go, this is not my moment yet. Full stop!

Once I decided to accept my fate … wallah! the sun start peeking out from the thick fogs … and presented us with a dramatic landscape view of Mt Bromo. Ahhhh … blessing in disguise  alhamdulilah … couldn’t ask for more. And … clicking the camera shutter once again … is an exciting thing to do 😛

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Us … looking for the best angle 😛

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Us … doing what we always do … shooting the target 😉

My DSLR is getting heavy and heavier lately … I blamed it on my ‘aging’ 😉 process . My heart still feels young and energetic but my shoulder started to crank up, my knee started to lose its vigor too … damn!

So … I bought a new tool for this trip … a Ricoh GR2 camera, a boxy old fashion looking dude with hmmm an acceptable image making ability. Pictures shared in this post were all taken from my boxy little Ricoh GR2 camera. Not bad for a small point and shoot camera …

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Smoky dramatic Mt Bromo taken with my boxy little Ricoh Gr2 dude

Life is full of wonder … and having a curious mind could always work wonder. Ahhh … I want more and more of this.

 

Bye for now

 

Cheers

MM

 

ps -“Creativity is intelligent having fun.” ~ Albert Einstein

 


Portraiture around Me

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PokNik, a farmer that rears hundreds of cattle, sheep and goats

August  is always an exciting month of the year as we celebrate Malaysia’s 59th Birthday (Independent Day). Malaysian flags could be seen on the streets and business premises everyday in August. The best time to go out and capture the ‘flag’ moment around the street corners.

Again this year, I have the opportunity to contribute some photograph for the Merdeka day photo exhibition. This time around Yaman Ibrahim’s exhibition photo theme is on Faces of Malaysia.  As I dug out my HD storage for any Malaysian portrait that can qualify me to join the exhibition. I realized that I have none … hu hu hu

I have been traveling and taking photos of faces around the world and … I have nothing in my HD storage that could portray the faces of Malaysian. Shame on me …

So I decided to open up my eyes and my mind towards my surrounding and attempted to capture faces of Malaysia around me in a short period of time. Talking about working under pressure … and wallah! … I managed to capture some beautiful portraits of Malaysian and as always I have my own private story for each photo that I took … lesson learned story that drove me to capture their moment <— dreamers statement 😛

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Pak Musa, a carpenter for 34 years that I met at the farm

I was at a Chinese Opera show in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur hunting for a backstage moment with the actors and the actresses. Then, I spent a few days at a private farm (cattle, sheep and goats) in Kuantan, Pahang to capture some moments with the animals and the shepherd.

And, a few days after that I tagged along with my JanjiFly buddy for his Paramotor MBOR training at Tekah Airfield, Taiping, Perak. Yes … I believe I can fly hu hu hu and I captured  some moments with the Commando Vat 69 team on parachute training that day. Talking about luck … this is what I called durian runtuh hu hu hu

Well … it was tiring but worthy. My moment of learning to find beauty … at every imperfect moment presented to me by the All Mighty.

The good news is … my two(2) images below are currently exhibited at Yaman Ibrahim #OrangMalaysia (people of Malaysia) photo exhibition together with another 59 photographs. 33 photographers and 61 photographs …

Do come and visit the 61 selected photographs of ‘People of Malaysia’ on display now. Details are as follows:

  • Theme: Yaman Ibrahim #OrangMalaysia Photo Exhibition
  • Venue: MaTic Gallery, Malaysian Tourist Center, Kuala Lumpur
  • Date: 15th August to 17th September, 2016

I am moving on to the next project … 🙂 … next please ….

Bye,

Cheers

MM

ps – “Between what is said and not meant. And what is meant and not said. Most love is lost”~ Khalil Gibran

 

 


Street walk in Skardu, Pakistan

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A sundry store located behind the main road of Skardu town. 

Morning start late at most places that we stopped in Northern Pakistan. Business venues and markets started around 10am. The time where morning lights were at the most unforgivably harsh.

Not the best moment for a street photographer who love to chase morning ‘dramatic’ lights. But the opportunity to be here … and to witness the  uniqueness and authenticity of this place overcame all my “chasing the light” needs.

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The shop where restaurants or street stalls get their roti supply from.

Everything looked brown, old and rustic here. It felt as if I was in an old movie set.

It was 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon when we decided to stroll along the street and watch life around this small town. The sky turned brown and dusty as a sand stormed has just passed through the town leaving behind a trail of thick lingering dusty air on the street … a normal occurrence around here I guess.

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Old and rustic looking sundry shops 

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Life goes on as always

Fine dusty sands laid everywhere here. My face was dusty and same goes with the rest of the people on the street. I bet I looked rustic too like my environment … I blend well lol.

But … we still looked ‘obviously’ foreign here. This town seldom sees tourist or foreign traveller walking on the street. In fact we were the second group of foreign visitors that stayed in the hotel (that we stayed in) for this year.

I like to walk like an invisible soul when I am on the street. I always imagine that I am invisible … when I am in public 😉 . But the four (4) of us caught too much attention while we were here … maybe because everybody knows everybody in this small little town.

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A fruit seller at the street side

Honestly, I am used to being stared at while I am on a strange or foreign land. Most of the time people would be curious seeing me maybe because of my head cover or my shawl … but I could overcome their curiosity with a sincere smile and a brief greeting.

But here in Pakistan is different.

In a male dominated society, women does not walk on the street without their men. We don’t see women wandering around restaurant or markets too. I saw one or two short glimpse of women on the street but most were fully covered by their long shawls.

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We attracted attention

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The curious crowd circling us

It does felt weird in the beginning of the trip to experience an intensive stares came from the male crowd but as always I learnt a few tricks to get around as I went along.

Maybe next time I should wear a cotton Kurta when I am on the street.

The morning before we catch our flight out of Skardu to Islamabad… we climbed up on our hotel’s rooftop to catch the full view of this town. Mesmerising view we got up there … this place is surrounded by gigantic mountains.

The thing that I like about travelling is … when I have zero expectation about a place and decided to take a risk … and I ended up falling in love with it. It taught me to be open … to stay receptive regardless of whatever condition that I am in … as the end matters the most.

“The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart.”~ Rumi

I am signing off right now … 🙂 . Bye …

 

Cheers

MM