The cats in the previous picture were looking at me looking up at this tree in the orchard. They must be thinking city people are strange people.
A couple of curious kids came and sat next to me on the grass littered with fallen leaves. Finally, one brave little girl asked: “Why are you looking at the leaves for so long?”
I wanted to explain: “I am looking at the seasons in the sun”. Although trees are evergreen here, they do have their seasons where the leaves change colours and the branches bear fruits.
I didn’t know how to put it in simple words. I could only muster “Cantik” (beautiful) and she giggled. I bet she thought I am strange too.
Many moons ago, the late country singer John Denver was in KL and I was happy to run into him by chance. I saw him looking silently at the fountain in front of the hotel for a long time. Only his wife and manager understood what he was doing, I thought to myself.
The rest of the entourage thought it was rather strange and a few began to snigger after a while. Several busybody taxi drivers laughed and told me “dia gila” (he’s mad).
I smiled but I knew what he was doing. He stopped to smell the roses, as the idiom goes. He took time from his busy schedule to appreciate the beauty of things around him.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f6.3, 1/100 sec.
Hard enough getting two battling cats to sit together for a portrait. Even harder to get a goat to walk across frame on cue.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/320 sec.
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.
Saw this roadside stall at Ulu Slim on a wet evening. It was operated by a makcik trio. One makcik was too shy and declined to be photographed. Below is our conversation translated into English from Malay (for the benefit of international followers).
Me: Is that your house behind, makcik?
They: Yes. And do you know why we are selling food in front of our humble kampung house?
Me: So that you don’t have to use that shiny new car (wrapped up) to transport the food elsewhere?
They: OMG! Hahaha. No! So we don’t have to pay rent like those selling at the Ramadan bazaar in town. True or not?
Before I can answer they burst out laughing themselves. We started chatting like friends, talking about the cost of trading and life in the kampung. Love their great sense of humour and gregarious personality.
Since they were closing up, I bought almost all the remaining kuih for only RM 5. Yes, their overheads are lower and it is reflected in the price.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 125, f4, 1/60 sec.
It is such a cool day and I asked the village goat:
“Know any place nearby where I can get a good sup kambing (mutton soup)?”
All I got was a long, blank stare 🙂 .
*Title inspired by the 2009 movie “The Men Who Stare at Goats” .
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f8, 1/125 sec.