The Muslims Of Myanmar On Eid al-Adha 2017 In Kuala Lumpur – Part 1

Today is Eid al-Adha, an important Islamic Festival, I previously covered the famous street prayers conducted by Bangladeshi migrant workers at the Jalan Silang area. They have stopped congregating at the venue years ago. Being a regular street photographer at the Pasar Borong area in Selayang. I was tipped and invited by friendly residents. Knowing my interest, several well meaning workers invited me to sit in with them, even knowing I am not a Muslim. When I went there at 8am this morning, the road and sidewalk was already paved with mats and blue tarp – Malaysia’s landslide solution.
The community working in the wholesale market ans supporting shops are mostly Rohingya, Bangladeshis and an assortment of ethic Burmese Muslims who are undocumented migrants who had such hard life. Their journey to this country was fraught with dangers. They do not have access to workers rights, medical benefits, free education for their children as what a citizen.will get. They do not even have a mosque except a rented shopfloor above a Toto shop.
.
Yet they are so commuted to their faith and I am touched by their devotion, humilty, faith.and friendly attitude to outsiders, My journey here was fraught with dangers too, With the 5 day long holiday weekend I nearly got the date mixed up and missed it. When I got home, my folder got deleted! To recover, I have the best software and recovering the expired registration key was a battle in itself. A long story for another day as every photographer will need it one day, Due to some fuckery of Windows, a folder went missing when I renamed it.

Here is a file that came back from death.

Panasonic GM-1, ISO 200, f5.6, 1/250 sec

#eid #prayers #religion #islam #sacrifice #selayang #myanmar #migrant

10 Tips For Photographing The Thaipusam Festival

10 Tips For Photographing The Thaipusam Festival.

Every year, thousands of shutterbugs congregate at #BatuCaves during #Thaipusam.

Due to the increased popularity of the hobby, there are now more people carrying camera equipment than devotees bearing the kavadi.

I’ve been shooting the event since the days of Ektachrome. 16mm Bolex and Betacam, so here are a few tips:

1. Don’t over-carry. Use a small messenger bag instead of a bulky backpack. Don’t even need to carry a big bottle of mineral water. You can obtain water for free or buy easily.

2. I always see noobs carrying tripods and long lenses. Unless you are shooting time lapse, a tripod isn’t necessary most of the time for stills.

Remember: Thaipusam is NOT a safari where you hide from far with a long tele lens. Get up close and capture the intimacy and devotion.

3. For video shooters, lry to not use a big stabilizing rig or a cage in a very crowded space. For documentary-style, a little shake adds to the realism.

The reason to travel light is not only to avoid inconveniencing others. You’ll be glad by the end of the day, after walking or standing for at least 4 or 5 hours.

4. Get out of the way, once you get your shot. Be considerate to others behind you.

5. Do not join or create a ‘media scrum’. Most of you are not paid nor are you taking part in a contest. If you miss a shot, so what? There will be other opportunities.

6. Wear comfortable, decent shoes that are also easy to remove. Some places will require you to remove footwear.

7. Don’t wade into the river because you think everyone will regard you as a hero. You’ll an idiot, actually. The washing area around the river is for a sacred ceremony..

8. Most important gear is the battery. Bring enough spares or a power bank (for USB charging cameras such as phones and Sony 7 series cameras).

9. This is 2016; get a mirrorless or stop ‘chimping’. It is really awful to capture shots of camera persons checking their LCD screen after every shot. Have confidence in yourself. Either you got the shot or not.

10. Don’t look at everything through the LCD or viewfinder. Learn to take in the view with your naked eyes AND try to enjoy the event too.

Dongzhi 2016

The soup or syrup turned cloudy when I stirred it. Greenish contamination from the natural pandan (screwpine) colouring, I wanted to add Ribena cordial to it. In the end, I went with my mom’s suggestion of adding Nescafe and evaporated milk.

Happy Winter Solstice 2016 today. Also known as the Dōngzhì Festival or Tang Chuek or Kor Tung in Chinese culture.

Panasonic Lumix GM-1, ISO 200, f6.3, 1/160 sec.

#foodphototography #dongzhi #tangyuan #chinesefestival #chineseculture #wintersolstice #lumix

Punk Rave

At the raffia string barrier to the rave party, one guy asked what ‘house music’ do I like. A question that was to serve as a secret handshake for admission. I told him the DJ is playing techno, not house. (I like techno too, though).

Reminiscing a bit: I spent a year, almost every night, at the decadent and legendary Backroom KL , the clubbing venue that was famous globally, in its relatively short lifetime.

It was finally busted for opening past 9 am daily and for clubbers possessing every known designer and recreational stimulant.

The dance floor was divided into straight and gay people on each side. On the center, dancing on top of a podium, was a shirtless local celebrity chef who is now a grandpa. Haha.

What memories. It was there that local club music transitioned from techno to house and its many sub-genres and beats.

Back to present. That kind of street cred is of little value here with the Burmese youths.

Bouncer: Quick, what kind of house?

Me: Percussion Tech House? (To sample, google/youtube: ‘Percussion Tech House DJ Mix by Dani Tejedor’)

Bouncer: Huh? Never mind, go in.

I like this unique youth subculture with members proclaiming to be punks and gothic rockers (cybergoths actually) and a liking for techno music.

These youths, like many here, have little access to formal education or a chance to break out of a vicious cycle.

Many were born here, grew up in the ghetto and got sucked into poverty, as their parents before them because of their unofficial and semi-official migrant status.

Call it youthful rebellion against the longhi sarongs their parents wear or the betelnut the older folk still chew. The teens are, at heart, polite gangs with tattooed scalp and dyed spiky hair. They are surprisingly tolerant and respectful of my presence as the only outsider here.

I met many punk gangs while in England and Europe during the 90s. The encounters weren’t always as peaceful.

Picture processed with grunge filter.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/60 sec.

Something Big Is Coming Down

Continuing my series on festival day in the ghetto. A little Burmese Muslim girl is dressed in her Hari Raya best.

She’s sitting on a squashed box by the roadside. Those red spots on the pavement are not colour run from her brand new dress. They are betelnut spit spat out by the many chewers here.

The girl has grabbed a front row seat, behind the raffia strings cordoning off the area. People are milling around, looking serious, waiting for something.

I asked her mother standing behind and she jabbed the guy next to her. The young man with a punk hairstyle quickly chimed in to say there’s gonna be a rave.

A rave party on the streets, in a migrant-only neighbourhood? A dance party with DJs, crowd swinging their arms like car windscreen wipers and EDM??? Wonderful!

It is my lucky day but I must first get pass the bouncers to get better pictures. I hope they are not as dour-looking as the waiting crowd.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 160, f4, 1/60 sec.