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.

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