The Secret Handshake

Gurdev Singh and his dog Raju

The Secret Handshake.

I saw a beautiful Sikh temple in Tampin town. Decided to photograph it up close and was confronted by one of the toughest strangers to engage with. Mr Gurdev Singh, the 85-year-old temple caretaker was wary and distrustful initially. He was, after all, a retired Special Branch police officer.

His dog Rajoo was menacing and I had to first win his faithful companion’s trust. When the dog started licking my face, Mr Singh said I passed the first test. There was to be another secret handshake. He scribbled on a piece of paper “godisnowhere” and asked me to put in the spaces. I put it is as “god is now here” (instead of “god is nowhere”).

The man finally let his guard down and we chatted like old friends. He told me the history of the temple, about the handful of Sikhs living in Tampin and even invited me to his nearby house for wild boar curry.

Tampin is such a quaint, idyllic and serene town. Stay behind to explore and meet other warm town folk. Find a hotel in or near Tampin here:

Olympus OM-D, ISO 200, f6.3, 1/200 sec.

PS: Updates: reports are coming in, stating Gurdev is hale and hearty.

#sikh #punjabi #sikhtemple #dog #tampin #sepia #malaysia

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