Category Archives: Travelling

Hard Rock Cafe Melaka


20th June 2015: I finally entered the Hard Rock Cafe in Malacca. But first, here’s a sunny shot from the day before.


The interior is huge! If you’ve been to the dark, original Hard Rock Cafe in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll be amazed at how you enter this one in a wide room and its ceiling further expands. The KL one has memories for me though, as the first place I had alcohol – a Long Island Tea that ordered coolly, as if I had drank before.


The grand stage.


There was Devotion, a band from Indonesia, that night.


They played pop covers.


Probably the best of the three vocalists.


They didn’t play old school pub rockers, so I can’t say it was my cup of tea.


Very daring – retuning your double-locking floating bridge guitar on stage in between songs! Anyone who owns a double-locking floating bridge knows how much of a risk this is.


That guitar was labelled to be related to Faith No More. Whether it was used in recording, live or just as an autographed guitar, I can’t tell.

Sony Alpha Super Workshop 2015


25th and 26th April 2015: Sony Alpha Sony Workshop 2015, at Syeun Hotel, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil (Clarke Road), Ipoh, Malaysia. The journey started at 6:40am, from Berjaya Times Square, where a bus picked us up.


First stop: Gua Tempurung, the largest cave in Peninsular Malaysia! Here we were raiding the armory, with an assortment of Sony Alpha A-mount and E-mount lenses. I saw one Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm F1.4 ZA being carried away – lucky photographer!


My first time in a cave, where I noticed the man-made walkway in, and the natural path below.


Another exit, akin to the movies, where you’d find the way out led by sunlight!


The interior was lit up with tungsten light bulbs and green lights.


A bit more to the left, you could see the ramp snake around the large stalagmite in the middle. I don’t know how it floats somewhat suspended with a space underneath, though.


Pass that, and the path snakes through this cavern.


Sony also brought some models for us to have portrait photography sessions with. I did not really bother with it, seeing the crowd of 200 photographers all clamouring for her eye contact.


On to the next one!


Spot #3.


Spot #4.


Nothing for the claustrophobic, as far as we went in, fortunately.


No physical climbing, either.


Some photographers managed to get the first model to climb up near the marble.


From the entrance, right out of a horror movie.


Outside, we had a tea break, and here was a guardian of a gazebo.


We then proceeded to a working quarry…


…walking past a former lorry.


I don’t know what this is and what it does, but as they say – Melentur buluh biarlah daripada rebungnya.


Briefing time with Mohd. Nazri Sulaiman.


Workers modelling for us.


We then walked down a little tunnel. The Sony Alpha 7S at ISO64000 1/80s F2.0 24mm had no problem here.


We reached Tasik Cermin (Mirror Lake), hidden in Gunung Rapat!


A still-water lake. I can’t tell from Google Maps whether this connects to a river outside, and whether this is a lagoon.


Outside, more stone-crushing!


We then headed back to the hotel for check-in.


After which, we got on the bus again, this time to Kinta Riverfront. Here you can see the assault of the i-City-like LED lights!


We shot steel wool with long exposures. Steel wool is lit up and spun around, with sparks flying out.


I didn’t bring a tripod, but lay the camera on the ground instead or on my knees.

The next morning, we were to head to Iskandar Polo Club at 6:30am to photograph horses in action. I overslept, unfortunately! So the next agenda was hotel breakfast.


Then, we got to see the results of Epson photo printers…


…as well as Eizo monitors, used for high-quality, accurate color.


The queue for a free SD card when showing your photos hashtagged with #sonyalphasuperworkshop.


All the talks in the ballroom (including some from yesterday.) Left to right, top to bottom:
– emcee
– Mr. Hatano Satoshi, Managing Director of Sony Malaysia
– Timothy Gan
– William Ooi
– Wong Mun Hoo
– Baron Abas
– Steven See, of MacStudio Solutions Sdn. Bhd.
– Jeffrey Ong of Epson Malaysia
– Fong Mun of Epson Malaysia


Finally, free and easy lunch, where I got my haircut at the New Star Salon, in the heart of Kong Heng Square, Jalan Sultan Yussuf (Belfield Street), by the dashing 75-year old hairdresser, Thiru. He used to be based in Star Air-Conditioned Hair Dressing Salon, which used to occupy an entire shoplot that is now occupied by Buku Tiga Lima, on Jalan Sultan Yussuf. Picture by Angeline Teh!

All pictures taken with the Sony Alpha 7S, with the LA-EA4 adapter to adapt my Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM and Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA, as well as the Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 Dark Knight Pro edition, in native E-mount.

Jalan Yang Diagungkan

So a bunch of roads in Kuala Lumpur got renamed – so there’s at least one road for each Yang di-Pertuan Agong that Malaysia has ever had. I shall shorten the title to Agong and use their common short names where possible.

Although I personally consider it an inconvenience to rename roads, I shall not be seditious.

I shall instead point out the ingeniousness of the roads renamed – to the point that I shall commend DBKL for being consistent in their ingeniousness.

1) Jalan Duta is now Jalan Tunku Abdul Halim, our 5th and 14th Agong. He is our current Agong, and the grand entrance to Istana Negara, is on Jalan Duta. If we find it hard to say the whole name we may abbreviate it to Jalan TAH. I’ll go with Jalan Duo-TAH, because that sounds like Jalan Duta, and Tunku Abdul Halim has been Agong two times. This is consistent with the very ingenious Batu Road becoming Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Jalan TAR). When they say batu, they mean tar. Clever!

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1589031,101.6707767,3a,75y,274.1h,88.66t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sjItqkCmBQ7_ZWjxUxTYOpg!2e0?hl=en

2) Jalan Khidmat Usaha is now Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. This road is off Jalan Duta and leads to Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1741838,101.6707276,3a,75y,227.27h,84.18t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s31uu7hiLbbvNnP2x4_dI8g!2e0?hl=en

3) Jalan Khidmat Setia and Jalan Ibadah to Jalan Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin. Jalan Khidmat Setia wraps around the old Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (Inland Revenue Board i.e. tax department). I remember queueing up here during tax-paying month, before they started e-Filing. e-Filing is one of the few government websites that work surprisingly, relatively well!

Jalan Ibadah is the road that connects to Jalan Dutamas 1 from Jalan Khidmat Setia.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1754996,101.6728753,3a,75y,143.51h,78.67t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sKXShpJ7Wll_CxvVAegYLLw!2e0?hl=en

4) Jalan Ipoh (from Jalan Pahang to Jalan Segambut part) is now Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah. Sultan Azlan Shah, from Perak, was the 9th Agong, and you know how they say Jalan Ipoh leads to Perak? (Well, it doesn’t end in Perak…) So this was kinda ingenious, too. The only problem is that Jalan Ipoh is long enough that they name places along the stretch by what mile they’re on, like Batu 3 Jalan Ipoh. Batu 3 Jalan Ipoh is technically now the end of Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah! So does Batu 5 Jalan Ipoh become Batu 2 Jalan Ipoh?

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.171146,101.6932902,3a,75y,257.03h,90.01t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sxjaN_GDS33TahssIy76BKg!2e0?hl=en

5) Persiaran Duta is now Persiaran Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin. You’d know this road for Hentian Duta, the big bus stop. You can take the bus to Kuala Perlis – and Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin is from Perlis!

https://www.google.com.my/maps/place/Kuala+Lumpur,+Federal+Territory+of+Kuala+Lumpur/@3.1720078,101.6744973,3a,75y,208.59h,68.28t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s0AvTFjgLr7Zt5V1KevTIGw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x31cc47a8de3f55f5:0x3cbc4380ae4fd9ba?hl=en

6) Lebuhraya Mahameru is now Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1481501,101.6812447,3a,75y,320.64h,94.69t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sB6OH9XpSbqTaXLhYc4CB-Q!2e0?hl=en

7) Persiaran Mahameru is now Persiaran Tuanku Ja’afar. This road leads to Carcosa Seri Negara, originally Carcosa, Sir Frank Swettenham’s official residence, and Seri Negara, the Governor’s Residence (official house of the Governor of the Straits Settlement), later becoming King’s House and then Istana Tetamu.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1462637,101.68021,3a,75y,179.71h,77.12t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sVISAEOzfHGJioEZV62a6Mg!2e0

8) Jalan Semarak is now Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra. This road has Jabatan Ukur Dan Pemetaan Malaysia on it, so I guess they should be on the ball with this, since their road is affected.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/place/Jabatan+Ukur+Dan+Pemetaan+Malaysia/@3.171183,101.7173506,3a,52.5y,118.92h,85.14t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sxr69BMuDyvq7fPq5kkBkog!2e0!4m7!1m4!3m3!1s0x31cc37ef54b9520b:0xf9eafb91b103c8d0!2sJalan+Semarak,+Kuala+Lumpur,+Wilayah+Persekutuan+Kuala+Lumpur!3b1!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0x4a80677198e75bfd!6m1!1e1?hl=en

Probably the most ingenious part of this all is the junction where Chow Kit Monorail Station is – it connects Ipoh Road, Pahang Road, Princes Road and Batu Road, but they are now Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Jalan Pahang, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

Here’s a quick Google Maps Engine custom map I made that shows the various roads, covering all Agongs plus some Rajas. You’ll see they connect to each other quite well.

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/edit?mid=zA2bN0OwbSRg.kiU9ZGbWncFk

From Seremban To Subang


On the 18th of August 2014, I took the KTM Komuter to Seremban, crossed the road, walked past Seremban Parade (now known as Seremban Prima), and found myself this old gem…


…an A&W Drive-Thru!


An old sign, and Seremban Prima in the background.


I came here on the tip-off of Nicholas Chin, who remembers an epic playground like the one at the PJ Drive-In in Taman Jaya. Sadly, there wasn’t one anymore. (From this angle, it should match this picture.)


Nothing on this green patch, either.


I don’t know whether to go in or go out.


The drive-thru road. I have to say I really like the design of the roof.


The outdoor area.


The indoor area, next to the counter.


The ice-cream corner. Note the untouched pictures. I like it. It’s not even retro; it’s authentic.


The party room. Unlike McDonald’s, they’ve not killed the party rooms.


Sofas and not-so-aged chairs.


For the record, he is Rooty the Great Root Bear!

I used to take the KTM to Seremban years ago. She’s married with a kid now. I also looked young. People also appreciated infrared portraiture.


Back to the story, 10 days later, 28th August 2014.


It was Leg Day, so I walked from the Subang KTM Komuter station. The roundabout near this was the craziest part of it all!


A&W, Kompleks 3K, Subang.


Classic benches! I will always have a thing for these.


Classic spelling of Root Beer, not the Malaysian-ized RB.


Was this a playground? This was my first time here, so I had no idea.


This would also be my last time, because I came here to say hello… and goodbye. After the false alarm of the closure of the PJ Drive-In, is a real closing down.


From the outside. I like the spine on the roof in front of the counter.


Giant root beer and ice-cream area.


More classic pictures!


The waffle machines.


No way, a stairway!


This was the first A&W I’d been to with an actual stairway that wasn’t part of a playground or a restricted area.


A large party room!


RB bottles for recycling!


Trophies.


Pictures of Rooty.


Oh dear goodness. Rooty!

I did not have an accomplice nor an escape vehicle so Rooty stayed untouched.

I sadly can’t find any pictures of the A&W that used to be in KLCC, despite going there very often in my college days and for a while after that, until it closed down. It’s sad though how A&W outlets would open at choice locations, with large interiors, and the always awesome Bearland (that’s what they call their playgrounds) and yet not sustain business.


So I continued Leg Day (or rather, Leg Night) and walked on to Sunway Pyramid, where I found the largest Johnny Rockets in the world, in Sunway Pyramid! I sure hope they sustain that diner magic that I’m sure A&W cast on us and older generations!

More reading and pictures:
Amburgers & Wootbeer

Election Cam-pain

Some interesting campaigning is going on in my neighborhood of Segambut, P117, where Jayanti Devi Balaguru of GERAKAN, under Barisan Nasional, will contend with Lim Lip Eng of DAP, under Pakatan Rakyat.


Here, in Segambut Dalam, we see Barisan Nasional chairman and incumbent Prime Minister, Najib Razak, on what appears to be a bottle!


Another view from the side, with Jayanti at the neck of the bottle.


View from the other side of the road, Jalan Segambut.

Interestingly, this road used to be full of BN and DAP banners. The DAP banners have since disappeared. One could suspect the BN party workers of removing the DAP banners, but that also means that DAP has less flags to take down after the elections.


Meanwhile, closer to home, is an interesting poster – it used to be just Najib Razak on a poster, with the caption, “LET’S VOTE !” with that horrible space before the exclamation mark. That is just bad, bad English. However, sometime this week, another poster was overlaid in front, this time featuring the incumbent Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin.


At the same junction, you see the same thing – Najib Razak’s original poster, overlaid by another poster featuring his favorite right-hand man.

However, the address on my NRIC is in PJ, so I will be voting there instead. The other benefit of that is that I get to vote for a Parliament and State candidate. If I changed the address to this one in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, I’d only get to vote for a Parliament candidate.

All pictures can be clicked for a larger view.

New Clock, Old Tower


Kuala Lumpur, as defined by the bus conductors, is here, where the Clock Tower in Medan Pasar is. Note the foreign worker in the picture, representative of the current populace of that area.


Here lies a clock tower, immortalized at 4 O’ clock. These pictures were taken on the 22nd of September 2012.


(Edited 1st October 2012, 0054 hours, +0800 GMT) Fast forward to one week later, and surprise! New clocks! Notice the solar panel on top.


(Edited 1st October 2012, 0054 hours, +0800 GMT) Here is one side.


(Edited 1st October 2012, 0054 hours, +0800 GMT) The clocks appear to stick out now.


All four sides look the same. Notice the block above the door, and four screw holes? All four sides have the same block with the same four screw holes. That is because it used to hold a plaque!


Here is an example of a plaque, at the nearby UOB Bank (formerly Lee Wah Bank, whose operations were taken over by UOB Bank in 1994.)

I have not asked for permission for the following pictures, but am using them under terms of fair use.


Old Market Square (circa 1930)
Image credit: Selangor: 300 Early Postcards by Cheah Jin Seng, RM99

Yap Ah Loy was responsible for developing Kuala Lumpur from a settlement into a prosperous mining town, developing much of the land in Kuala Lumpur and owning over a quarter of all the buildings!

Coincidentally, this is the view from what would have back then been Yap Ah Loy’s house. Also notice that there was no clock tower!

Old Market Square is Medan Pasar’s old name, because that’s where Yap Ah Loy’s large market and gambling sheds were. This was until 1882, when Frank Swettenham (the first Resident General of the Federated Malay States) wanted it demolished, citing health reasons, and that the site was state land, so Yap Ah Loy rebuilt the market place. In 1885 when Yap Ah Loy died, the Government took over and moved the market to where Central Market is today.

However, before the market was moved, it was referred to as Macao Street or Hokkien Street by the Chinese.


From the postcard above, you can see in the middle, Hong Kong Bank, opened 1914, unfortunately demolished at the beginning of the 1970s. It is now called HSBC Bank. Photograph taken from HSBC Group Archives, and found from a website describing its architect, Philip Charles Russell.


This picture is labelled to be taken in the 1940s. Notice the plaques!

The Clock Tower was built in 1937. The plaque states that the Clock Tower was built to commemorate the coronation of King George VI (Queen Elizabeth II’s father, the current Queen of the Commonwealth realms.) Well his name was really Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, the Duke Of York – George was his regnal name, a name he took upon becoming king.

So where did the plaques go?

Immediately after Malaysia gained its independence from Britain, the tower’s plaques, which glorified colonialism, were removed.” – A Walking Tour, by Victor Chin and Cheryl Hoffman

I am extremely curious as to what the plaques actually said – I imagine it would be written in classic, bombastic British English. I also feel somewhat sad that the Clock Tower becomes somewhat meaningless with the plaques removed, almost a kind of disrespect to the person it was commemorated for.


This picture is labelled 1950s. I have to say, I really liked how Hong Kong Bank looked.


This picture is also labelled 1950s (with Federation Of Malaya and Selangor flags!) This was because Kuala Lumpur was once part of Selangor, and Petaling Jaya was part of Kuala Lumpur…


Yap Ah Loy’s houses on Market Square, Kuala Lumpur 1884, taken from Arkib Negara Malaysia.


And now, for a picture facing the other direction. The filename indicated that this was taken in the 1900s, but I’d say anytime after 6 May 1913.

From The Straits Times, 6th May 1913, page 9:

The Mercantile Bank. Opening of New Premises at Kuala Lumpur

On Saturday last, the new building, which is to be the local branch of the Mercantile bank of India Ltd., in Kuala Lumpur opened its doors to the public. The new premises, which stand at the corner of Market Street and Roger Street and facing into Old Market Square… the contract was in the hands of Woon Ah Wong, the architects were Messrs Swan and Maclaren, for whom Mr. Phil Russell has been acting locally… The bank was opened at noon when in the presence of an excellent company Mr. P. C. Russell handed over the new premises to the bank officials…


The filename says 1900 but I’ll assume anytime after 1937. Note the Bank Of China and the Clock Tower.

May 1961 – View of Medan Pasar area, showing the clock tower (middle) and the old Mercantile Bank which was still under construction…” – picture from New Straits Times Press. The Lee Wah Bank is also visible on the right, but I can’t tell if it was under construction. Interestingly, the plaque is still visible, but I’ll clarify with Victor…


This was also labelled 1960s, with the plaque. It couldn’t be much earlier unless Lee Wah Bank was taking forever to build…


Notice that Bank Of China had become Bank Of Tokyo, Ltd.! What a beautiful Art Deco facade. It could not have been anywhere before October 1957, when Bank Of Tokyo, Ltd. opened their first representative office in Malaya.


The filename says it was taken in the 1960s, which might be a mislabelled picture, unless it was before May 1961 that both the 1961 Mercantile Bank and Lee Wah Bank were built. Assuming the Federation Of Malaya flag was only flown after 31st August 1957, and that Bank Of Tokyo, Ltd.’s first branch was here, and Bank Of China is still in the picture, that this picture was taken between 31st August 1957 and October 1957.

I’m not sure of the chronology of events either, since the Hongkong And Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) had acquired The Mercantile Bank in 1959!


The label says 1980. Lebuh Pasar Besar is nearby Medan Pasar, and is often referred to by buses as Bangkok Bank due to the Bangkok Bank nearby!


Apparently, the Victorian Fountain found in Dataran Merdeka, used to be in Old Market Square as well! I have not seen any pictures that show it in its old location, though.

The Section 17 Neighborhood Park

I was born in Assunta Hospital, on Jalan 1, the first road ever built in Petaling Jaya. It goes by the name Jalan Templer these days. I lived in my grandparents’ house in Section 17, Petaling Jaya. One fine day I decided to ask my dad what happened to the park that he used to take us to as kids, and where was it?


As it turns out, the playground/recreational park was in Section 17 itself, and it was still around!


I remember very vaguely memories of this parking lot marking the entrance, getting there in my dad’s Datsun 120Y.


The steps to this place.


The road. Notice the MBPJ logo – Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya, or Petaling Jaya City Council, effective 20th June 2006 when Petaling Jaya was granted city status.


An entrance that was now blocked off. I remember back in the early 90’s when you could leave your gate unlocked in Section 17 and crime wasn’t so rampant.


Up on the hill was a signboard with the old MPPJ logo – Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya, or Petaling Jaya Municipal Council.


As you entered, a common area lies, growing moss. Admittedly I have been digging up a bit on Malaysian history where it comes to buildings so this strikes me as something that might have been built when this park was built. I don’t know when that is, but Petaling Jaya was established in 1953, so it could’ve been anywhere from that point onwards.

You can imagine kids just going apeshit running circles around this. Well, maybe 90’s kids.


Behind it, more garbage bags with fallen leaves.


To its right, a basketball court, and a new playground up the hill.


A bit further was a playground that had a bit of fresh paint.


The new playground up on the hill. I remember this type of playground back in Bangsar Sports Complex, in the 90’s. There is also one near my current residence.


I seem to have regretfully forgotten to take a picture of the signboard, in case it would have any clues. Also note the benches. Classic!


From on top of one of the many hills.


Same basketball court.


Some hut on top of a hill.

But you know, I really didn’t care for all that back then. I think I was under the age of 10, and the playground didn’t excite me…


…it was the laterite hills that really did.


The shape was the same, but the color was different. It was now covered in moderate vegetation and leaves, regretfully! I remember going apeshit, seeing the bright red laterite, climbing it with my bare hands!


Some parts of it still show what originally was all orange.


On the right is some good ol’ laterite, a rich crust of rust due to the presence of iron oxides.

When I asked my dad about this park from my childhood with the red rocks, he expertly identified it as laterite. Of course, I learnt that in Geography, many years ago, but quickly forgot. Perhaps it was his qualification as a chemical engineer that hardened it.


I think I remember this rock from my childhood! What a beauty.


This is a peak I don’t remember going to, which overlooked the older playground. I don’t think stone walks were in fashion back then. I remember the craze back in the 90’s, and we’d go to Bandar Utama Park and abandon our slippers for some acupunctural goodness.


This is the view when you’re on top, looking over to the other end of the uh… mountain range.


This is the view from the front. Honestly not as appealing without its trademark rusted red.


This is the view from the other side of the park. For some reason, I never really journeyed here.


Random rocks. Exciting, like discovering kryptonite!


A little rock that strayed.

I don’t remember if there was also earth that was easy to chip, causing rocks to come off.


Halfway up.


More of that rich red goodness.


I’m not sure which angle this is from.


A plainer looking view.


Of course, there were huts in the distance. For some reason I never got excited about the cemented jogging path on the left, that made a circle around the park. In a way, this rock in the foreground, was what I remember to be my invisible bounds – nothing interesting beyond there!

Today it might be a different story, as there were two chicks jogging the circuit. πŸ˜€


There was an electricity control box nearby, and there was an alternate entrance, guarded by… a cat!


I got nice and close with the 1985 Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan. Intentionally, I went there with the oldest Minolta lenses I had – the 1987 Minolta 24-50mm F4 being the other. I left the 1985 Minolta 50mm F1.4 at home, though, thinking I could get by with Super SteadyShot since I wasn’t shooting moving subjects in twilight. To be pure I’d have used Fujifilm Velvia and a Minolta Dynax 7000 but I don’t have a Dynax 7000 and I wasn’t keen on using film so I brought the Sony Alpha 900 instead. It would’ve done good since I was shooting late into the evening where I had to use ISO1600 as both lenses were cutting off at F4.


I then walked out Jalan 17/33 and spotted this dramatic scene, in time for magic hour.


There was a torn-down house to the left.


I went down the stairs to Jalan 17/31.


However, 17/31 proved to be too modern for me so I headed back up the stairs and into nostalgia.


You know, I really don’t remember what this used to look like. This is the darn toll people keep avoiding by cutting through Section 17.

I normally don’t like going to Petaling Jaya, as I attract lots of mosquitoes, and Petaling Jaya is just full of them. Especially Section 17.

There is a reason why I went down nostalgia lane (or nostalgia park?) but I will blog about it soon, hopefully, when I am done collecting information on the subject. Unfortunately, not many pictures of that subject can be found, which is why I went down to Section 17 to document as much as I could about the park I loved as a kid!

Bersih 3.0


On the 28th of April 2012, I went to the heart of KL to photograph the Bersih 3.0 Duduk Bantah demonstration!

The demonstration was done with the request for free and fair elections, and they would sit in Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) from 2pm to 4pm.


I took the bus to KL. However it did not go to KL, and its last stop was Titiwangsa instead (which, ironically, was its old stop.) So, I took the KL Monorail to KL Sentral, which had an interesting development – would they connect the KL Monorail to whatever it was they were building in the former parking lot?

Surprisingly, the monorail was not extra crowded.


Two crows taking shade away from the action. Coincidentally, the Prime Minister and his deputy were not in KL.


Random yellow things in KL Sentral. The person who designed the posters shouldn’t overlay the Bersih logo on the dark windows of the mosque!

I took the LRT to Pasar Seni, also surprisingly not packed with people. There, I met JD.


There, I bumped into A. Samad Said, National Laureate and Bersih co-chairman.


He was sitting there protesting.


Then, we could hear a commotion, and quickly ran across the bridge to find the procession from KL Sentral/Brickfields had reached Pasar Seni!


Pictures and videos simply cannot do this justice – when I saw the swarm of people coming, I was like WHOA. It was like a scene from Lord Of The Rings in IMAX.

If the Election Commission head and his deputy, who were allegedly members of the ruling party, saw this, they would shit in their pants and resign. Which is pretty much what we asked them to do, minus the shit in their pants part.


100% crop of the above picture. People, as far as the eye could see!

I was taking pictures for a good 10 minutes or so, observing the crowd. It never seemed to end! There were just more and more people, continuously coming in!

I knew that I was one of the few people going, and I knew that many people weren’t going because they wouldn’t be bothered to. And yet, to see so many people of all walks of life, was immensely inspiring! To see them get out of their comfort zone and bear the Malaysian heat, and walk for miles when they’d normally circle a parking lot to get a spot as close as possible to a lift, was amazing!

This was just the people who were on time. Some reached Dataran Merdeka the night before!


You can read about how there was a swarm of people and a sea of yellow, but you have no idea how big that is until you see it for yourself, in real life, from an elevated view.


These guys were in the front of the crowd.

There were blind people, people in wheelchairs, and people with crutches. Despite their disability, they decided to come out on this hot day and show the government that they wanted free and fair elections!


When you are down on the street with the people, you don’t get a sense of scale.


The atmosphere was jovial! The bus honked, and we waved back at them. Passengers on the bus gestured with their thumbs up.


Business for small traders was great! Who said that demonstrations was bad for business?


We passed the side road of Central Market, where this Indonesian fast-food chain was still open. Business was roaring!


Surprise, this area was overrun by Malaysians! On any regular weekend, this place would be overrun by foreign workers.


More entrepreneuring spirits.


We went up the pedestrian bridge to cross to Petaling Street.


View on the other side.


This is a screen capture from a video I recorded. Cool jerseys!


The Unit Amal PAS volunteers helped to coordinate traffic, stopping the crowd to let an ambulance pass.


I then went down to the Bar Council area, where the Occupy Dataran movement was, since they were evicted from Dataran Merdeka.


The police obtained a court order, banning anybody from being in Dataran Merdeka.


Bumped into Davina there!


There were a lot of Chinese people in the crowd!


The Chinese have, traditionally, been known to mind their own business when it comes to matters of the country – usually the Malays would be gungho about these things, but not today. Today, all races came down. Malays, Chinese, Indians and even my Portugese-Chinese cousin. He is not in this picture, though.


Traffic light!


This guy was recycling to save the environment. Well done!


He calls himself the Bersih Man. I prefer Bersih Ranger.


Malaysians showed their love for our beloved Prime Minister.


Yellow bikes!


I had no idea we had such cool-looking safety cars.


Across the bridge that crosses the Klang River, which defines this as the very center of Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), a.k.a. the Riot Police, were gathered.


There, we could see their trademark ice-cream bell. There was also a FRU officer recording with a video camera.

My late grandfather was a FRU Battalion Commander, among many things.


We then headed nearer to Jalan Tun Perak, where the action was supposed to be at. On the way there was Reggae Mansion, infamous for not letting Malaysians, Asians and Arabians in.


At the MSC Malaysia Cybercentre, ironically not in Cyberjaya.


The Himpunan Hijau group was here, too, protesting against the Lynas Rare Earth Plant.


Also, a labour day protest!

I was quite confused as to where the crowd was going – they seemed to be going in the opposite direction of Dataran Merdeka! As it turns out, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan had declared the rally a success and told everyone to go home.

Since I turned off data on my phone, I didn’t know she said that, and I thought we were going to continue to head to Dataran Merdeka, getting as close as we legally could, and sit down from 2 to 4pm, as was the original plan.


People were mostly sitting down at this point.


Here you could hear chants. Some were “Bersih Bersih!” but some chanted “Reformasi! Tumbang BN!” Technically, Reformasi is legit, as it wants to reform the government, but Tumbang BN (topple Barisan Nasional, the current government) would be out of topic.

Some people complain that Bersih 3.0 was hijacked by the opposition party, and so they would not go. Personally, I don’t care, as I knew what my purpose of going was, and I knew that anyone who already had decided who they would vote for, would not be easily swayed by hearing a speech!

It was here that I started hearing warnings of tear gas. So we started moving away from the area.


We ran to the hills. I covered my nose with an old shirt, folded so I would breathe through 3 layers.


Up in St. John’s Catedral, we bumped into Aunty Annie, nicknamed the Malaysian Lady Of Liberty, because she went to Bersih 2.0 all by herself and was in a picture showing her after being drenched by water cannons. Wherever she went, people came up to her. She was an Internet celebrity, and more importantly, an inspiration! There were a lot of old people in the crowd, and I’m sure her picture encouraged them to go.

At this point I could only vaguely smell the tear gas. It smelt like some bad factory smoke, and seemed pepper-ish, quite like Lay’s Salt & Vinegar potato chips.

Lay’s Salt & Vinegar are my favorite potato chips, so I had no problem with that. πŸ™‚


Malay Muslims, in the compound of St. John’s Catedral.


A Malay Muslim cooling himself off with tap water from the church.


A group of Malay Muslims sitting in front of Ebenezer Bookland, a Christian bookshop.

This is the real Malaysia – Muslims who are not afraid of other religions, not afraid that sitting in front of a Christian bookshop or being in the compound of a church would sway their beliefs and convert them!

Some politicians claim that there is a secret agenda amongst Christians, who form a 10% minority of Malaysia, to try to convert Muslims (which is illegal in Malaysia.) Various methods include solar-powered Bibles and charity dinners!


We walked down the hill to get back and get some real pictures, having not taken any action. There, I saw two men on a motorbike, preparing to record video.

I could understand why Mohamad Azri Salleh, a cameraman for local channel Al Hijrah, ran to the scene with his helmet on – he probably got off his bike and ran to save the policeman! More on that later.


We ended up near Kotaraya, where a kid was crying on her mother.


The McDonald’s was closed. A man behind me shouted at the workers inside, “buka lah apasal tutup? Siapa kata masa demo takde bisnes? Ini bodoh, hanya budak ajaran sekolah UMNO akan berfikiran begitu!” Translated, “why aren’t you open? Who says there is no business during a demonstration? This is stupid, only students of the UMNO school of thought would think so!

UMNO is of course the leader of a coalition of parties, called Barisan Nasional, the only ruling party Malaysia has ever experienced.


We entered Petaling Street, which was still very much alive.


Everybody was buying cold drinks.


I heard a guy dressed in a ninja suit went around saving protesters. I wonder if it was the same guy.


Amidst the tear gas in the background, it was good business for the restaurants on the outskirts of the action.


Yup.


Well, these guys really wear yellow all the time. It is their uniform.

The significance of yellow in this demonstration, was that yellow was the royal color of the King, and that we want the King to ensure free and fair elections, since he has the power to appoint the Election Commission, on the advice of the Conference of Rulers.


We then headed to Jalan Tun Perak, leading to Dataran Merdeka, where the action was!


I bumped into KJ, who stood on his foldable bike and took this picture for me. The red lorry had two water cannons on each side.

Click here for a larger picture.


And so, the tear gas was fired, and people started running away.


This was taken from a side road which I had escaped to.


I had not really experienced tear gas as what others described – at most, I only felt a leaky nose and an incontrollable, mildly stinging feeling in my eyes that made me cry loads. I just needed to open my eyes for a bit to find a pole to rest on, and within 5 seconds of closing my eyes the effect was over.

I carried salt, which was supposed to be put under the tongue, but I found it to have no effect, probably because I wasn’t really exposed. You can only feel the effects of tear gas if you inhale it.

I also passed the salt around, shouting “Garam! Garam! Garam!” which some people took. Most people who were already sitting and recovering were prepared – they had their own salt.


A photographer seemed to have sprained a leg. I gave him my bottle of water. (Also, I forgot my external flash, hence the shadow from my Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG on my Sony Alpha 77’s pop-up flash.)


Once you learned how to breathe through a thick towel or layers of cloth, you would have no fear of tear gas. After a round of tear gas and water cannons, the protesters would rush back in again and again! It was quite amusing to watch.

It was quite like a Boss Level – you die the first time because he attacks you strongly, then you learn that you need to hide behind a pillar when he’s shooting rockets, and then you attack him while he’s reloading.


Water cannons. People really feared this, running madly. I didn’t experience water cannons, so I don’t know if it was much worse than tear gas. The way they ran, it was like school, when you ran from the police and didn’t want to be caught. There would be no real consequence or harm, but you ran anyway!


I bumped into Reta, who came extra prepared! She had antacids on her face and a mask (though I doubt that would work.)

We ran through a little alley, past the old Chinese market.


It was not until we heard people shouting, “polis tangkap! Tangkap! Lari!” that we really decided to stop trying to get closer to the action.

It was probably the same for the others – tear gas and water cannons are nothing, compared to the inconvenience of a temporary arrest. We knew from Bersih 2.0 that you’d be arrested for no more than a day and treated to a nice buffet (since this was a PR exercise for the police, as well.) Before you get arrested, you’d get the customary police brutality, which would also be painful.


We walked past this road, where some very, very lost tourists were walking towards the riot police.


We walked past another lane, which I was about to turn into… then I saw a laughably small group of riot police. I then realized why this was a very wrong road to walk into – they had tear gas launchers!

As we walked past another road with riot police, a guy to my left shouted at them, calling them dogs. One riot policeman shouted back at him, and this continued for a bit until we could not see the riot police.


Are you going to be asleep, or are you going to protest for your country, to demand free and fair elections?


We walked up a hill, passed Stadium Negara, and opposite it, a school with a very yellow banner.

We ended up passing Hang Tuah station, then having dinner at Times Square.


We took the KL Monorail to KL Sentral, and JD and I parted ways. Here I took a picture of a random bunch, who, like me, had not gotten over the euphoria of the day.


I took the LRT to Masjid Jamek, but the train would not stop at Masjid Jamek! The background you see that is blurry, is in fact the trapped people in Masjid Jamek who were unable to board any trains!


I got off at Dang Wangi and decided to go back to Masjid Jamek, this time using flash. More trapped people who could not go home!


Finally, at 7pm, the doors opened, and we could get out. Here was the place that was home to a lot of chemical water and gas. Police were walking back to Dataran Merdeka after a long day of chasing people and randomly arresting them (nevermind that they may not have actually defied the court order by entering Dataran Merdeka!)

Interestingly, the crowd broke through the razor wire and entered the Dataran Merdeka, with the cops behind, not even bothering to stop them. It was, of course, a trap, that would allow them to violate the law and get arrested.

Let’s ignore the fact that the court order would in fact be illegal since the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011 only allows the Police to ask that the assembly be done somewhere else instead of denying the venue without suggesting an alternative area. Then again, I am not a lawyer, so take what I say with a pinch of salt.


Rubbish was strewn all over. Some say this was against the literal translation of Bersih, which is clean. However in their defense, the protesters had to run because water cannons were being sprayed!


I took the STAR LRT to PWTC. On the way, I took an overhead shot with flash. Quite cool to see all the policemen’s reflective jackets light up! They were still lingering around the Dataran Merdeka area.

Earlier, the police had used Dataran Merdeka as a ‘detention square‘. How ironic!

There was also the police car incident – videos from different angles can be seen here:
Accident involving police car and supporters

What I understand of it was, that a police car was driving nearby Sogo, when it honked and protesters started throwing stones and police cones at it, breaking the windshield and injuring the driver, causing him to swerve the car into the crowd, injuring at least 2 protesters. An angry mob then started attacking the car, jumping on it, and a helmeted cameraman, Mohamad Azri Salleh, ran to the scene, trying to save the policeman and fend off the mob. However, he was pulled aside and attacked. PKR’s Jingga 13 group defended the police car and brought the policeman to an ambulance. Somebody then shouted that there was somebody trapped under the car, so they overturned the car. Strangely though, none of the videos show the person underneath, but they initially tried to push the car back, so the person could be at the front of the car and pulled out. That is not clear. They also cheered, probably because they were relieved that there was nobody under the car! One woman shouted to get away from the car in case it exploded, so the crowd ran away.

If not for the car accident, I would have said that the rally was a success. It does shake me a little to know of the risks of being in a street demonstration are. However, I knew the risks involved, that anything could happen, that I could’ve been unlawfully arrested or injured, and I was mentally prepared for that.

With all the tear gas, water cannons, police violence, lawful and unlawful arrests, it makes you wonder – what kind of government puts patriots against patriots? We have the patriotic Malaysians who want to rally for free and fair elections, and patriotic Malaysians on duty who want to protect the citizens (but in this case, they have been ordered to protect a patch of grass.) All this could have been avoided if the police had allowed them to gather and sit down on the big field of grass known as Dataran Merdeka. There would have been no casualties, civilian or police, and no damage to public property.

Anyway, if you have decided you want to do more for Malaysia, be a Polling/Counting Agent!

Sign up for the training here. It is open to all citizens of Malaysia – you don’t need to be a member of any political party or the Election Commission, to participate in making sure the elections are free and fair! I’ve gone for the course myself, and learned so much about the electoral system.

I took some pictures from the first Bersih Rally, here:
Vote For Cleanliness!

In Sing, Part 2


I went down to Universal Studios Singapore a certain 13th of July 2011.


The moment you walk in, you are greeted with Hollywood. Inside this shop they used a digital SLR instead of being old-school like the outside implied.


Bronze.


Betty Boop!


This reminds me of No One Lives Forever, the video game.


Far Far Away, land of Shrek.


Inside, I queued up for the Shrek 4D Adventure – well worth the wait, I’d say.

Interestingly they used a long queue system, and another waiting chamber, to hold people while waiting to take the actual ride.


Shrek is a movie full of parodies and I’m sure this is no exception. πŸ˜‰


Madagascar. Interesting boat ride that was.


The Lost World had a fountain with dinosaur eggs and a food court. I also rode the Canopy Flyer, a 45 minute wait for a very fast zip around the park. Disappointing and not worth the wait.


Lurking.


This gate will always remind me of the Jurassic Park video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System.


Most wide shots with the NEX-5 and 16mm F2.8, with certain obviously telephoto shots done with the A900 and Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8.


Ancient Egypt.


Sci Fi City had the Battlestar Galactica rides featuring the world’s tallest pair of duelling rollercoasters – Human (red) and Cylon (blue). These were the most uh, challenging rollercoasters in the entire theme park, with the Cylon ride being the most challenging.


And so, I only took on the Human ride.

These rides, being the most intimidating-looking, had a small waiting time of 5-10 minutes but the best return for time waiting in the queue.


As I exited, I could’ve sworn I saw Steven Spielberg! Speaking of which, the Lights! Camera! Action! ride was cool.


New York, New York!


I just wished those stairs were taller and I had a book in hand. Then it would look just like in the movies.


I am not sure how real this is supposed to look.


What is this supposed to be?


Then, to be found – a little backlane.


Me camwhoring with the stairways…


…and barrels. Real sturdy barrels, meant to withstand some heavy camwhoring. At least the sets were well built.


This picture reminds me a lot of one of shots that Su Ann took of Kafka – I found the blog post but the picture is missing so I can’t refer back and see if it did at all look like that picture or not. πŸ™ Su Ann can you work your Wayback Machine?


A yellow cab!


More fake old shops.


The most awesome Garrett’s Popcorn Shop was outside.


Back inside, was Mel’s Diner, with 3 classic cars sitting outside.


Another sexy Chevrolet.


Inside, a jukebox – don’t think it worked though.

Monster Rock supposedly featuring Universal Monsters singing rock and roll, didn’t – they instead sang current pop radio hits. Boo.


Night came, and I put on the Opteka 85mm F1.4 on the A900 for maximum light-gathering potential.


I don’t remember their band name but they covered classic stuff from the time of the Beach Boys. Plus they wore their trademark uniform!


Surf with us!

Interestingly, most acts featured one obviously imported Caucasian with the rest of the cast being Singaporean.

For part 1, click:
In Sing, Part 1

In Sing, Part 1


I was in Singapore July 11th to 14th 2011, and here are shots from around town! This is the great Davis Guitar Music Center in Peninsula Shopping Complex.


This I’d never seen – a double-necked ukulele. I asked the storegirl what the difference was between the necks. I don’t think she understood that it appeared to have the same tuning (which makes it pointless.)


The rare Minolta 1x-3x F2.8 Macro zoom! It actually auto-focuses – the Canon MP-E 65mm 1x-5x F2.8 does not auto-focus.


McDonalds in Singapore serves a Chicken McGrill Salad. Interesting! This is the same meat from the Chicken McGrill Burger, known as the Grilled Chicken Burger in Malaysia.


A spire!


This is the St. Andrew Cathedral. Grand!


Elvis has left the building!


A busker with a twelve-string.


Most shots were with the NEX-5 with 16mm F2.8. Here’s one that is cropped.


Times like these I wish my NEX-5 had built-in GPS. I left the A55 at home.


Scotts Square.


Stayed at Movenpick Heritage Hotel, on Sentosa Island. Modern 5-star hotel. Nice!


It was always sunny, and I had the most fulfilling breakfasts there. Now I have a craving for pork bacon, croissants, cinnamon buns and sausages for breakfast!


Imbiah Station, on Sentosa Island.


The MRT is well connected, snaking under shopping malls, with exits marked alphabetically e.g. Exit E.


The walls of Dhoby Ghaut.


Far East Plaza. Most reminiscent of Malaysia, Sg. Wang Plaza to be exact, from the shops inside. Also the design is very plain and Malaysian whereas Singaporean shopping malls on average tend to have more curvy, strange designs.


Inside. I also saw the most Malays there. It made me wonder – do racists in Singapore tell Malays to go back to Malaysia?


Reserved Seating. I’m sure some creative Malaysian couples would take the bottom-left picture as a license to sit – and the bottom-right picture is that of a merman.


This is, after all, Singapore, where the mascot is a merlion. So a merman and mermaid goes.


Merlion by night.


Man, does Malaysia’s bus system have a long way to go or what?