Son Of A Hotel Owner.

Son Of A Hotel Owner.

I had a childhood friend whose family operated a hotel with the grand sounding name of Hotel De Luxe.

When he went to London to study, his reputation as a hotel owner commanded a lot of respect. His uni mates thought it must be a legendary hotel like the ones in Hollywood or Rome, housed in an art deco building. He told them the hotel had a casino.

In reality, it was a ‘rumah tumpangan’ or a budget lodging house above the family’s coffee shop or kopitiam. The casino was the mahjong table in a corner. Lol.

The friend has since migrated to the states. I am sure he will make it big.

I know about rumah tumpangan as I worked for the late Malay movie legend Mustapha Maarof. He owned a production house and was very frugal. We, the film crew, must look for the cheapest hotels when were were outstation. It may sound tough but I now appreciate the experience and challenges of traveling on a shoestring budget.

Those ‘rumah tumpangan’ were the predecessors of today’s slick budget hotels. The walls or partitions don’t touch the ceilings. That means you can hear everything from the next room. There is usually a ceiling fan in the middle, a spittoon and a mosquito coil provided. A thermos flask for hot water and a bar of 999 Chlorophyll Soap were also provided. The anti skin infection soap was a good idea as the blankets were furry from wear.

If you are lucky, you can order food from the coffee shop downstairs. Famous Yong Suan and its nasi ganja in Ipoh is a good example. When the highway opened up, it eliminated travel time and the need to stop overnight. Unfortunately, the owners were not online savvy and made no affiliations with online agents and were unable to compete relying on walk in guests alone.

There was one in every town, big or small, to cater to the traveling salesmen and van drivers or delivery men. It is a legacy institution fast fading,

Picture of Lok Ann Hotel from 1938 boarded up and awaiting demolition to make way for the MRT. The Chinatown hotel is a venerable landmark with a coffee shop on the ground floor. Pic was taken in April 2015. The giant flag bearers were part of the flag vaulting team in a chingay parade. .

#history #rumahtumpngan

Flag Vault

Flag Vault.

The Chingay part of the annual Johor Bahru parade is seldom photographed before sunset. By the time the temple procession and floats move into the city, it is usually way past nightfall. To catch the giant flag bearers in daylight, I went to the starting point in a village. That turned out to be near impossible as every surrounding road was closed for the massive event.

Me and JB resident Sharon navigated through a maze of back roads and shortcuts before finally ending up at the village where the procession assembled. We still needed to walk a long way to the starting point as there were like a million people already there.

Bewildered and unaware of what was going on, we discovered a site where there were 4 different Chinese operas of different dialects and where worshipers congregate to pray. It was human crush just moving along there among the crowds.

Even though I had plenty of experience covering cultural processions, it was to be one of the toughest stints on foot, starting from 3pm to 3am.

Chingay is the street art of balancing and vaulting giant and heavy flags. The Johor Bahru Chingay Parade is said to have a 140-year history. It is happening in JB tonight.

Olympus OM-D, ISO 200, f6.3, 1/1000 sec.

#festival #chingay #parade #culture #johorbahru #johor #jb #malaysia #olympus #tbt #chinesefestival,

Raise The Black Monopod

I was taken aback by the sheer number of monopods fighting with joss sticks for space at this temple procession. The new crowdscape of raised cameras is an inevitable sign of the times, I suppose. For the uninitiated, a monopod is a one-legged telescopic camera stand, as opposed to the three-legged tripod.

Many of the dSLR video shooters were using monopods to get a higher P.O.V. or simply to get above the crowd. The trend will become even more prevalent as more new cameras come with remote control and monitoring via smart phones.

The street parade was part of the annual Taoist Chingay festival at the old Chinese Temple in Jalan Trus, JB. Title inspired by “Raise the Red Lantern” by Zhang Yimou.

Olympus OM-D, ISO 320, f6.7, 1/1000 sec.

#chingay #jb #johor #taoism #procession #streetphotography #jossticks #monopods

Multi Faith And JB

Three years ago I caught the sending off or launch procession for the Chingay Festival from the temple in town to the prayer site off town. The JB Taoist procession passed near the very old Catholic church.

I positioned myself and waited for the juxtaposition of icons from the two different faiths. The annual event took place this morning. There was another religious harmony factor involved which I found out when I visited the church a few days later.

The church was built on land donated by the late Sultan Abu Bakar and was then known as the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. There is also a marble statue of Mother Mary gifted by Sultan Sir Ibrahim Abu Bakar and it is still standing at the church’s front courtyard.

#chingay #jb #johor #taoism #procession #streetphotography #jossticks #church