Buka Puasa At KLCC Park

Since I was at the Petronas Twin Towers, I went for a walk at KLCC park after I finished my business. Wonderful to be able to enjoy the sunset and changing hues of the sky.

On the way back, I stumbled upon a Malay family breaking fast at one corner of the park.

Naturally, I asked permission to photograph them. I explained that it is a rare and blessed moment to have culture, architecture and a dusk sky so beautifully juxtaposed. The Azri Family graciously agreed.

Not only that, they kept insisting I join them by offering me whatever food they brought along. I am truly touched by their generosity, hospitality and friendship towards a stranger (and fellow Malaysian).

Am also glad I was successful in capturing them as they really were: humble, jovial and very warm people.

We chatted and Mrs Azri said they are looking forward to go back to their kampung in Rembau for the holiday. There’ll be prayers in the morning followed by a big feast on the first day of Raya.

Here’s wishing the Azri family and everyone a safe drive home and Selamat Hari Raya.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f5.6, 1/60 sec with Sony HVL-F60M fill flash.

Loving Slim River Already

Near the entrance to Slim River town is a Taiping Lake Gardens-style park. Love the majestic trees and serene lake view. Officially, the park is known as Taman Tasik YDP.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/125 sec.

Wesak Day – The Compassionate Chief

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.

Wherever I Lay My Hat, That’s My Home

We finally reached the peak and before my eyes was a double-storey glass chalet. Megharaj pulled down the attic-like stairs and we did the final climb.

Wow! A room in a rainforest walled-in and roofed by glass. I can sleep and look at the twinkling stars at night, throw stones and walk around naked. I have never slept in a glass house before and I wanted it right away.

Megharaj: Sorry Sir, we don’t do walk-ins.

Me: Walked-in??? I climbed a bloody mountain to get here.

Megharaj: You can only book online.

Me: Wait! (Pulling out my iPad excitedly)

Me: Damn! There’s no bloody 4G, 3G or even 2G access here!

Megharaj: But that’s the whole idea about a jungle retreat.

Oh well. Anyway, the place is called Sekeping Serendah Retreat. I consoled myself thinking a shangri la in the jungle must charge Shangr-la hotel rates. I found out later that they do but I’m sure it will be worth the experience. There’s even a luxurious pool.

Megharaj is both the gardener and manager. Fantastic guy. Much appreciation for the impromptu tour of the place I discovered by accident. More pics of the ‘glamcamp’ coming up.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f8, 1/60 sec.