Rain Or Shine

Rain or shine, Malaysians are all smiles when they see durians. Amazing how a roadside stall can bring traffic to a standstill.

Upon sighting the durians, many motorists made emergency stops, left their cars haphazardly by the roadside and ran hurriedly to the source of the scent.

Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, I suppose.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 125, f4, 1/400 sec.

A Magical Garden

One of the many perks of kampung living is having an orchard, farm or garden on your own backyard. In this garden with a magical-like atmosphere, I saw a mysterious lady.

She turned out to be Wawa’s aunt and was plucking the fruit of Belimbing Buluh, a plant known also as the bilimbi or cucumber tree.

The fruit has various culinary and medicinal usage across Asia. Puan Timah told me she is using it to give her fish curry a tangy flavour. It can also replace mango in making achar (pickles dip), the kind lady enlightened me.

Originally from KL, the retiree is staying at her sister’s kampung to attend a ‘kursus umrah’ (Mecca pilgrimage course) in Hulu Bernam.

Photography Tip: Use a simple reverse vignette of white, instead of black, to give the edges a kind of soft-glow, thus enhancing the magical effect.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f2, 1/200 sec.

The Watermelon Brothers

One of the things I like about this trip is the chance to chat with local small traders. They are an important component of a small town’s economy and that role is seldom acknowledged. I asked Yusof the watermelon trader and native of Batang Kali about business at day’s end. He said he was breaking even. Yusof, who is 21, started trading when he was 11. Perhaps it is a family tradition as the younger brother who is helping him is now also 11. Small town people are friendly and are happy to chat with out-of-towners. There is one special quality about them that you will notice right away. I told Yusof he is quite enterprising and successful for his age and he replied by saying he is just doing his small part to help out the family.

Glad to feel the unique Malaysian (and Asian) cultural trait of humility alive and well in the countryside. In the city and in the corporate world, western-influenced training teach people to say “never been better” or “awesome”, even if you didn’t ask. The coaches and practitioners claim it is to reaffirm their success and to spread (or hype) positivity. On the opposite side, their rural counterparts intentionally downplay success through modest words. That I admire and respect. Nearest comfortable hotel to Batang Kali is The Leverage Business Hotel in Rawang. Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f7.1, 1/100 sec.