It is not the world’s 5th hottest hot springs that is located here or the many natural attractions, even though they are awesome. It is the people.
Every local person I crossed path with, while driving or walking, young or old; smiled or waved at me. All I have to do is look at them.
They know I am a stranger or outsider, for sure. Unlike other touristy places, the people in this kampung are not dependent on visitors or are peddling anything.
When you speak with them, you will understand the warm reactions are from the goodness of their hearts, instinctive hospitality and colour blindness.
So if you are tired of the endless race-baiting and bickering by politicians, take a drive to the countryside where the real Malaysia is. It is chicken soup for the soul.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f5.6, 1/80 sec.
Two cute siblings whose parents are traders at a Ramadan bazaar in Slim River. When they saw my camera, they happily flashed the V-sign, inviting me to take a snap. How can I say no? Haha.
Cute as it is, few kids know or care about the origin of the peace or victory (V) sign, its original meaning and colourful history.
For Asian kids, this hand gesture became an automatic and spontaneous reaction to a camera.
Its unexpected revival as part of modern-day Asian pop culture is attributed to the Japanese Cuteness Culture known as kawaii.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f2, 1/400 sec.
At the Slim River market, Sabri the grocery shop owner, is doing his accounts. His daughter Mina, 5, is doing her kindergarten homework alongside him.
I wanted to capture a candid of both concentrating on their respective work but the kid does what she does best upon seeing a camera. Automatically pose without prompt. What a sweet smile.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f8, 1/100 sec.
Under the blazing sun and fasting, Norsiah Nordin is trying to eke out a living selling durians harvested from her own trees. I really respect that. Not just for her fortitude and adherence to religious obligations but also for her sunny disposition by the roadside.
Makcik wanted to give me a bunch of durians for taking her pics. When I declined, she wanted to give me cash to go print her pics at the 15-minute ‘instant print’ shop down the road.
Many younger people I photographed are happy to get the url to my website, Facebook or Instagram to look up their pictures later. Senior citizens without surfing skills or internet access do not have the means we take for granted.
I will make a properly-framed picture and surprise her later as I have done with a few others in past trips. Meanwhile, the encounter is another reminder to get a portable printer or a separate instant camera. Young or old, instant gratification brings joy.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f2.8, 1/500 sec.
Was good spending the first day of the fasting month observing life in Slim River. The day culminated at the Ramadan food bazaar in the middle of town.
The traders were friendly, generous and their food tasted good. A mother-daughter team seen here selling stir-fried kuey teow (flat rice noodles).
I like how the daughter sneaked in a smile behind the serious mother 🙂
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 320, f4, 1/250 sec.