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
As the stranded and unwanted Rohingyas come under the international spotlight, I realise many fellow Malaysians are unaware that there are thousands already on our soil, most with valid UNHCR refugee status.
I have photographed the community in the past and decided to visit them again today. On any working day they blend discreetly with other migrant workers such as non-Muslim Burmese, Bangladeshis and Nepalis.
Sunday is when you see them out to pray, play and to socialise among themselves. Photographing them was challenging as many were understandably suspicious of an outsider. They have endured much harassment from every side.
It took much engagement to win their trust before they agree to be photographed or to talk. I usually jot down notes on my phone or on a “Buku 555” paper booklet. Had to go by memory to put them at ease. I think I spoke to more than a hundred people and remembering everything was the challenge.
Picture is of a shop house surau and community centre used by all Muslims from Myanmar, and not just the Rohingyas.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 400, f4, 1/200 sec.
I call him Chief. His official title is quite a mouthful: The Most Venerable Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana, Chief High Priest of Malaysia.
Always feel happy to see the man, albeit only once a year now. Before his ordination to highest office, I used to follow him on his many charity missions.
He is also the founder and driver of the Ti-Ratana Welfare Society that operates homes for children (orphanages), the elderly, the infirmed and also halfway houses for abused women.
Outside the community centres, the society provides Mobile Medical Clinics and Meals-On-Wheels for the underprivileged.
Incredibly, in spite his busy schedule and solemness required in official duties, he still retains his zany sense of humour and power of recalling little details.
Whenever he sees me, he’ll bring up a funny, forgotten, random episode from the past for us to reminisce about. We’ll both end up giggling or laughing to the bemusement and puzzlement of the people kneeling in line to get his blessings.
In the brief chat yesterday, we spoke about the time we were at a multi-faith prayer session for Dr M’s second heart operation. Then we ended up talking about his surprise visit to a Orang Asli home in the middle of a jungle.
The cramped office space at the Buddhist Maha Vihara temple required the use of the Samyang 14 mm FE ultrawide angle lens. Samyang just launched their Instagram at @samyanglensglobal. One of my previous pics is featured in their showcase there.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 2500, T4, 1/160 sec.
At the Buddhist Maha Vihara Termple in Brickfields is a tent where hundreds of oil lamps are kept lit. It is a photographer’s paradise.
Some newbie photographers think ‘bokeh’ is as simple as an out-of-focus background. It is more than that. It is how the lens render the out-of-focus point(s) of light in relation to the part that is in focus. There is an aesthetic and subjective quality that depend on the lens, aperture and distance.
Here, I manually set the focus of the Sony FE 70-200mm G OSS lens onto the middle row of glass lamps. The blue blobs are daylight from outside and the orange is a monk in saffron robe.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 160, f4, 1/250 sec.
Silhouette of a volunteer topping up the oil lamps. Love how the camera handled the colour balance of warm colors from the flames and cooler bluish daylight seeping through.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/125 sec.