Finding Warmth On A Cold Floor

Who can resist a cool marble floor on a hot day? A homeless dog seeks shelter under the watchful eyes of the statue of Buddha at an obscure and quaint Thai temple named Wat Meh Liew in little-known Kampung Siam in Kuala Lumpur.

I was sitting on the floor on Wesak Day last year when the dog came to lie in front of me. A wonderful moment for the camera. It also brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart.

The temple’s tolerance and acceptance of stray animals symbolizes the heart of Buddha’s teachings – Compassion.

Happy Vesak Day ahead.

#wesak #vesak #buddhism #buddha #thaitemple #dog #compassion

My Life Story

Two columns, actually; with another under Sharifah Intan as editor, also at The Star. They are two ladies I respect and admire greatly.

Happy to read about June’s childhood bond with National Geographic Magazine in her column today. Unlike her, I depended on tattered and outdated copies found at the local barber shop. Admittedly, the photos and travelogues did influence my style later on in life.

By a fortunate twist of fate and serendipity, I met National Geographic’s American photographer David Alan Harvey when the magazine did a story on Malaysia.

Chatted with him at the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Backfields on Wesak Day. I was a kid then and was greatly impressed as he had a porter and was given thousands of rolls to shoot.

He was humble and friendly for a man of such stature. This is why I always listen patiently when strangers come to me with questions about gear and techniques. when I am out on location.

The tragedy was; without a regular subscription or the intenet then, finding the upcoming article was a a hit and miss. It appeared a year later and I found it by chance in a 3 for RM 10 bundle in Sungai Wang Plaza.

The irony and tragedy was that the image of my childhood hero was destroyed when I joined social media. I hated his personal, non-assignment pics so much I unfollowed him! No doubt I admire his great body of work but am glad I was able to make decisions without being a fanboy.

One thing I learned early was; after I developed my own style, I decided to not follow any photographer. I don’t want it to influence my style. It can be subconscious or unintentional.

l’ll let you in on another secret:

I hope to publish my book soon and generous Johnny Ong is helping me understand In Design for self-layout and to do a mock up, being a published author himself.

Next step will be to find a sponsor, publisher or to crowd fund the book project as kindly Kashminder Singh suggested. Will need all the help from experts or people with experience such as publisher Amir Muhammad.

May also need an editor and someone to write a preface too. Was thinking of the accomplished Cy Leow for the preface. Maybe Ivy Ngeow, Ellen Whyte and others can also offer tips on crowdfunding or insights on the process.

Attached are some recent Buddhist Maha Vihara images I can find. There are more.

Four, Says The Glove

Shadow of the ice-cream man’s bicycle cart and a dropped glove. Plenty of photo opportunities outside, at the street leading to the temple. Hawkers, panhandlers and buskers create a carnival-like atmosphere. And you may be stepping on a photography tip.

What time is best for such street photography? Post-4pm. Lower sun means longer and more interesting shadows. It also enhances the texture of the asphalt and other surfaces.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f5, 1/1600 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.