Monday, August 1, 2011

Salam Ramadhan

In recent years saw an awareness grew inside me as I went through some hardships. I had once lost my job due to 2008 economic crisis. I realize that everything has to be earned. Even my job. I tried to take the easy way out but to my surprise, as easy it seemed to others, I couldn't land any job within the public sector. Why couldn't I? Something must be wrong.

Somehow I managed to get to offer my service to the government but on contractual basis. I wasn't complaining at first as I thought it was a normal practice in public sector before someone is being employed on a permanent basis. As the time passed by, we inquired to the management about our status and after many failed attempts, we finally got the answer - the government can't afford to employ us.

It was really surprising!

Then I started to care for my money having been an abiding tax-payer annually. I started to scrutinize most spendings by the government that had come to my knowledge. My source could be limited or not even correct but the main thing is - I started to care. I voiced out my dissatisfaction. I wrote of my opinion. With that, I am now a different citizen of Malaysia than I used to be.

Then, came the football madness. Also in recent years, I started to become a fanatic fan of my national team. The most recent was the 2014 World Cup qualifying match between Malaysia and Singapore. I shouted out loud, to the top of my lung, profanity at most, most of the time through out the match. Of course to Singapore, be it the team or the fans attending it, or to any Singaporean who might be watching the match from home or just to any Singaporean on earth. I became a hooligan. After the match, we looked out and headed towards the Singaporean fans seating area. We challenged them. We want to fight them.

My patriotism seemed high. Indeed. Was it worth it? For others, it's acceptable or even honorable because that shows how I love Malaysia.

Last night marked the 1st night of the holy month of Ramadhan. I joined most Muslims to the mosque to pray and thank my Lord for allowing me to meet yet again another year in my life. Being less religious, I didn't go to the mosque quite often. Yesterday at the mosque, I saw faces who were calm and full of happiness to welcome the arrival of Ramadhan. These are the faces of the devout. Immediately, I recalled the negative faces I've put on lately for the sake of the country or the national football team. Was it worth it?

Would I be the same for my religion? Would I be the changed person like I did for my country? Would I be able to achieve the serenity of what my religion teaches? This is what I should hold on dear and fight with my life for it. For by belief. For Islam.

Last night, the atmosphere was beautiful. The mosque is on top of a hill with lush greeneries surrounding it. The sound of cricket and insect as if they were chanting 'zikrullah' to the Almighty. The sky seemed calm. At the background, the sound of Quran reciting filled the air. I felt small. I was humbled.

I pray to Allah for longevity because the path I'm charting is nowhere near the right path. I want to change course. No other right time than now in Ramadhan. Welcome, dear holy month.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pulau Pemanggil


Taken when we were just leaving the jetty into the open sea. Spill lights from the town still visible at the sky in the background.

- 30secs, f2.8, ISO 200 -

In the middle of last June, I had the chance to go on a fishing trip with some of my friends at Pulau Pemanggil. The island is located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, about 60km from the fishing town of Mersing. The island is one of the last three islands within the archipelago of Johor's and Pahang's island before it opens to the open water of South China Sea.

The built-up towards the day of the trip generated a lot of excitements since we got to do this with a bunch of long-time friends and we anticipated to have some good times at sea while fishing. Me, being an enthusiast in photography took it as a good opportunity to capture some worthy shots and being that, it has become a habit for me to always check the weather forecast for the place where I'm going. Our local weather forecast service allows us to check on the weather for the upcoming seven days and bearing that in mind, just exactly a week before the trip, I was already browsing through the website of Malaysia's meteorogical department. The forecast was good with sunny days and clear sky at nights, initially. A day prior to the trip, a revisit to the website resulted in a grim forecast - for the three days and two nights that we're going, it was going to be days and nights of heavy rain and occasional thunderstorm. I wonder though to this day, how could it changed from good to worse (or worst as I don't know what possibly could be more worse than a thunderstorm?) in such a short time?

I mentioned this to my friends I'm traveling with from the city but it only resulted a temporary worry because a mere cancellation would just rip us away the opportunity of a probably good and never had before outing for the some of us.

We arrived at Mersing on the evening of Friday the 17th of June after a 5-hour ride from Kuala Lumpur. We took the Ayer Hitam exit from PLUS highway and continue the journey on federal road towards the east through the town of Kluang and few Felda settlements. As we were reaching Mersing, I could see from my driver's seat that the sky over the direction we were heading was dark. To ease the worry, I kept saying to myself that probably it was just a normal shower.

The boat was scheduled to leave Mersing at 10pm the latest, to suit the tide of the river. We arrived early after being reminded constantly few days before by the trip's organizer. We visited a fishing accessories shop and later we decided to look for a place for dinner. However, it was really frustrating not being able to locate a decent seafood stall in this town, a fishing town. What frustrated us more was that we ended up settling down in a city-like bistro next to the main jetty. What a way to get away from the city life.

The other members of the trip came from the south - Johor Bahru. About an hour before the scheduled departure, we already met up, ironically except the reminder himself. In the end, we sailed to the sea an hour late, just in time before the tide receded. Here where the journey began - a ride on a typical fisherman's boat with 10 hopefuls on board to Pulau Pemanggil, hoping to experience the excitement of fishing at the open sea.

However, it wasn't a normal day to go out to the sea.

To be continued...

Monday, May 16, 2011

iMed! iMac!

New Guy
It's a long overdue decision finally made. I really need a new machine for me to continue being productive. I have been at delay for quite some times with works especially on an album for a client who has been patient enough to accept every excuse from me.

My previous workhorse has been a lifeline for me to continue exist in the digital world. As mentioned in my earlier postings, my first desktop is considered an introduction for me to the digital world and the previous one brought me to another level. I am very much thankful, words can't describe how grateful I am for their contribution to my life.

A life span of four years for a computer could be well considered as a living dead, most likely everything is in obsoleteness and suppose to be dead and yet, still my PC has been able to suck some blood, especially in producing wonderful colors for my images. All those images that have grabbed many attentions were produced by that PC.

Parting with it the other day was sentimental. I have personal attachment with my belongings especially when it has performed as it should under great circumstances.

Now, I have acquired a new machine after given up very much thought in deciding to buy it. A PC or a Mac? I have always been a PC user except during my early years of employment when the office I was working at was on Apple's platform. The option was still undecided because with the same amount I could have buy a well equipped PC. It wasn't until I was given a brand new PC at the current office (also at my previous office when I was in the PWD). Anything new is always good at first but for a PC, that enjoyment mostly wouldn't last that long. I always hate it when it starts to become complicated, unknowingly. Soon enough, many pop-ups will appear warning me of whatever possible threat. Based on my years of experience using a PC, probably a constant watch day and night updating the latest anti-virus software will only free me of worries of my PC being infected, if not fatally, in a way it will somehow still affect the speed performance of that PC.

Now please welcome, my new workhorse - the new iMac (at time of published), launched less than two weeks ago. Still a lot of tricks to learn and I am eager to know it. And Johanna, definitely you'll going to get your album soon. I'm sorry.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Race Day!

It's Racing Day!
It all started when I received a phone call 3 days before race day. A friend on the other line offered me a ticket to watch the F1 on race day. It wasn't an immediate yes until he uttered the next golden words - it's a grand stand seating. That prompted an instant yes! yes! yes! as the answer.

I am not that keen to watch an F1 race day at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) (that means I am still open to watch the race day at any other venue, definitely who wouldn't) due to some bad experience I had before. Though I was very much grateful to my nephew when he offered a free ticket during the 2005 season, I lost my wallet and had to endure a 2-hour traffic jam getting out of the venue. The seating, on a hill that forms one of the corner for the track, provides me with only almost a second of F1 experience, out of one minute and the half taken to complete a lap at SIC by an F1 car. The cars came out from our right before quickly disappeared on our left.

But this time, it was a big upgrade. At first I wasn't really care about the price of our ticket until I received a call from a former boss, who was also attending the race and wanting to know where I'm sitting. I mentioned whatever written at the back of the ticket when he mentioned that I have an expensive ticket. A confirmation by the ticket provider that the ticket was worth over one grand. Never in my life, unless, after when I already own a Ferrari, that I would only buy an F1 ticket at such a price.

The whole experience was carnival-like with lots of people already thronged the circuit by noon. Entering the parking was already hell enough, to pay an amount that can fill up 3/4 of my tank with petrol just to park under a palm tree really sum up the leeching we had. The price of the food was marked up out of proportion. No outside food or drinks allowed.

Anyway, what made it's worth to get a grand stand seating, apart from its hefty price tag is to damage your hearing, by purposely had it exposed to the high-revving engine sound during start of the race. My seating was just next to the starting grid. I really love the roaring sound of an F1 car!

Finally, big credit due to Jim for the free ticket. Though I know I will have to endure another 2-hour traffic jam just to get out of there (just as what I had endure for the two races I've attended) if he happens to provide me with another free ticket next season, the prospect of getting a corporate suite wasn't really much a deal, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our New Baby

Our New Baby
Alhamdulillah, my wife has safely delivered a baby boy at 9.15 pm on the 15th of March 2011. Both mother and baby are fine. The baby weighed at 4.2 kg when he was born. I was there the whole time in the operating room watching how doctors worked to welcome the baby into this world.

We are very excited to welcome the new member to our family!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


On one fine night, my daughter browsed through the book shelf looking for something worthy to look into while I found it as an opportunity worthy to shoot.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We Love Our Ride!

We love this car so much. It has brought us to many places especially to the many seasides we have been as if it was part of the entourage. If only it could step along side with us when we were strolling all the beautiful beaches. Somehow, I would always try to get this car as closest as possible to the water, so close that it has once got stuck in the fine sand of Cherating. Latest, the jagged rock!
Our Ride
Neo In Nature
Neo In Color
Neo Goes To The Beach
Neo Goes To The Beach...Again

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Surprise! Surprise!

Surprise! Surprise!
4th of January annually is a meaningful day to me but for most of the years, it wasn't really much celebrated. Since I was little, I wasn't hoping for any present or celebration on that special day.

I remember a photo of me, standing in front of what it seemed as a birthday cake, complete with 3 lit candles and a very familiar table fan at the background, the fan that I've been trying to keep as it was the only tangible thing I can hold on to that reminds me of that sweet moments in the photo, until I lost it somewhere few years back. There's a note at the back of the photo, like an EXIF data stating it was taken when I was celebrating my 3rd birthday. At least, I know long time ago, my birthday was joyfully celebrated.

Years after that, only few times worth remembering on this special date. One was when I repeatedly begging to be bought a toy as my birthday present - a Matchbox-like trailer sold at a stationary shop I passed every day returning from my religious study, which I presume in present value is only about RM10.00, and I really had to beg for it.

The other birthday celebration that I remember was when my only sister brought me to a fast food outlet in KOMTAR at my hometown - because she was asked by my mother when she just got home after an hour ride from work in a public bus - at that KOMTAR, so basically she just had to repeat the same journey just to make it a special day for me. At that time, it was really really a big deal for me (and my family basically) to be able to eat at fast food outlet.

Then came my varsity days, when this date was still special but scary at the same time. I had to endure the unimaginable tortures thrown at me. At worst, I had my back splashed with chill water (real cold water) and later with hot water. Later, I felt my skin was burning and discovered that someone had poured lacquer all over my back. My cloth literally glued to my skin and it was hell painful to detach it. But hey, at least that's the way they celebrated me and I really enjoy it until today.

Nowadays it is celebrated differently unless my wife opted to celebrate like how I had stated above LOL. For this year, like any other before this, there's no cake for me because I am no fan of it. However, as I lay my head on my sleeping mattress when I wanted to go to sleep, I felt there's something boxy beneath my pillow.

Thank you dear for the manly present for my birthday :)

Outdoor Session for Johanna & Shafiee

Platform of Love
This post of them is very much overdue as I had covered the solemnization months ago and yet I'm only posting the casual out door session done recently. They were just lovely throughout the whole session despite being the attention of the public for dressing up to kill.

Location was at the old Kuala Lumpur railway station as it has that nostalgic and classical feel. I've been wanting to at least captured a few shots inside the KL Heritage Hotel but it has now been closed to public. I've done some researches online and discovered that the previous owner/management really embrace the idea of having newlyweds shoot their wedding memorabilia there. Such a big loss to have it closed without any clear indication of what future lies ahead for it.

Anyway, to the couple - you guys rock!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Yesterday was the first day of the year 2011. In a way, I found the time lapsed so fast that I am writing again to mark the coming of a new year after the previous writing to mark the end of the last decade (

The year 2010 wasn't really a great one as I was still uncertain of the path I'm going to chart. At one point, I was almost certain of becoming a civil servant until I was deemed unqualified by a team of two interview panels at the final stage. As I slowly accept the fact, I found out that I am too unqualified to make some stupid decisions as proved by the top officials in making some of the crucial decisions for the country.

That was for the so-called premiere management post. While on the technical side, it was really a contrary for the government to urge more professionals to serve the country when I (and quite a number of my fellows) who were (and are) waiting to be absorbed as a permanent staff in the public service. Having worked on award winning project and in an award winning corporate company does not really guarantee a place in the public service, where to construct a single storey building is still a big challenge for their engineers, let alone the contractors who are busy calculating how to divide the contract sum, within the safe factor amongst the parties involved, that in return will secure them of more future contracts (so they'll continue to be called contractor). What? To build? They just don't care. That's why it's a big challenge to build that single storey building at the first place.

2010 was also the year that matured me in photography. Not that I'm saying my photos are getting better and better (in fact it's stale) as I don't really have the chance to learn more. I am made to believe of a better prospect to be a good photographer but in the end it was all lies. Always, I was left behind whenever there's any opportunity for a photography session that could result me in learning anything new or just improves my skills.

Worse, I am feeling of being cheated financially to take up jobs that are up until today, I am yet to receive the full payment. Worst, one of them is acting as if I never did him any favor by being his photographer for his wedding in the last minute with the fee he repeatedly suggested for me to accept, and yet until today, he still keeps me in the dark over the payment for the work delivered.

Now, I am back at the private practice and hoping that it will bring me to a new level in my career. Photography will remain as my hobby, as what it started as and most likely no more than that. Probably that will make me more happy this year hence the title - 'Happy' New Year.