Sunday, July 31, 2011

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan

The Grand Mosque Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco.
Shot in the cold Moroccan winter, February 2008, right before subuh prayer.


I revisited Luang Prabang photos last night and playing around with different tints using Photoshop and the results are quite amazing. It gives different moods. Cropping also help in hiding several details yet focusing more on the subject rather than the surrounding.

An everyday scene, scores of monks (mostly young ones) crossing this bamboo bridge which is located about a stone throw away from the boutique hotel I stayed in.

A lady selling saffron color Buddhist wrist bands for good luck. I approached her to take a picture but she called me and tied 2 strings around my wrists. It is against my religious belief but I let her anyway. I don't think they are any harm to me as I do not believe in it. I wore them for a few weeks as souvenir from Vientiane. Can't remember where they are now.

You can only have this kind of shot if you wake up very early in the morning - like 5.30am. The monks stroll the streets of Laos (just like in Thailand) to collect elms from the locals (and tourists) before sunrise.

I spotted this lady walking in the market. I thought she look very regal. My guess is she is from Laos aristocrats. Very graceful, not only from what she wears, but also from the way she moves.

I bumped into this man several times when I visited the market. I don't think he sells anything. Perhaps he collects garbage for living - you know like recycle bottles and cartons. I find his face is full of definition and character. He asked me for some money after I capture his photo. I didn't entertain him.

Despite whats being portrayed here, this lady is quite vivd and colorful in real life. She is one of the vendors in the market selling some local veggies. Friendly.

Just outside the market, there is a temple and this where this old lady was photographed. She was waiting for someone literally at the door step of the temple. She seemed to be looking far away at times and didn't give any response to my presence. She didn't say a single word. Perhaps she was waiting for someone....

Another typical scene in Luang Prabang. I really like those bamboo bridges. Its so Asian and exotic. When I first I saw the bridge, immediately I know its an interesting subject. Very rare. When I posted on Facebook - the bridge is one of my friends favorites.

This was shot in a monastery, before noon. I think they were preparing to have their last meal for the day. The frame around the monk is not a door. Its a window. I was so delighted to learn that he didn't mind to be photographed.

Frankly, only last night I realized I have this photo. Another shot from the market. I haven't a clue what she sells.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fun Spin to the East Coast

I ended up in Pulau Kapas - last beach holiday before the holy month of Ramadan. At the same time, my nephew was scheduled to get engaged during the same weekend so I guess I could kill 2 birds with one stone.

Unfortunately (or may be fortunately) my car took longer time than usual to be serviced due to unavailability of a spare part. My last resort was to call my friend and exchange my Jeep over the weekend for his Mini Cooper.

I love driving the Cooper. Not as quiet or as comfortable as my sedan, but definitely more fun to drive.

It’s like driving a relatively more comfortable version go cart. It sticks to the road like glue. I like to flirt with the max when negotiating a bend.

The usual ritual, of course, we have to stop by Hai Peng Kopitiam in Chukai, Kemaman for a cuppa, kaya buns adnd half boiled eggs. Yummy!

Cotton Candy Tree House

I have to tell you about the tree house.

Yes, it is real tree house. Really cool. The only set back is there is no toilet. You gotta walk 3 storey down to get to the toilet.

I was supposed to stay in one of the A hut, my usual no. 2 chalet from the beach, steps away from the sand and hammocks. Unfortunately, Kapas Beach Chalet has been getting heavy reservation due to high backpackers season of the year.

Since there were no other rooms available, I was given the tree house belongs to Zack, a friendly and generous guy you run the and own the boat service from Marang to Pulau Kapas.

But seriously, the tree house is like a shrine to Bob Marley. At the beginning it was rather spooky but after a while the ambience becomes quite enjoyable really.

It is really nice to lepak on the verandah of the tree house, facing the ocean. We can just chill without anybody watching - so its kind of cool.

Cotton Candy Island

My friend invented this name. I kinda like it.

Cotton Candy Island - can be a nice catchy name for a resort / restaurant, - befitting the name of the Island - Pulau Kapas or cotton island en angliase.

One of my friends even commented on FB that my frequent visits to Kapas is bordering obsession. I gotta agree with her - but you can’t blame me!

Every month for the past 3 months.

My approach to Kapas is man man in colloquial Chinese, meaning slowly / gradually. It is a small island but a gentle approach gives you more satisfaction and depth.

The good stuffs are in the rewarding details.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

bumped into this at

But King Gyanendra soon took over absolute power by removing the Prime Minister and appointing his own hand-picked ministers. However, this wasn’t to last long, as all political parties including the Maoists joined hands to rise up against him. King Gyanendra was forced to step down and stripped of all his powers. Immediately after democracy was reinstated in April, the Maoists announced a cease-fire. The government, under Girija Prasad Koirala, responded with their announcement of a cease-fire. After about 6 months of peace talks, the head of the government, Girija Prasad Koirala, and the chairperson of Maoist party, Puspa Kamal Dahal, ( Prachanda), signed a peace agreement on 21 October 2006. The Polls for the Constituent Assembly held on April 10, 2008 where Maoists achieved a majority in the elections. A month later parliament abolished the monarchy, declared as a republic nation, ending 240 years of Shah dynasty rule.

Interesting, I thought.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A post from a friend of my FB friend

Paraphrased from Sheryll Christine... My thoughts the day after Bersih 2.0: all of us - demonstrators, detractors, cops, Umno, PKR etc are Malaysians. Let's try to understand each other - none of us are 100% evil or 100% good. At the end, we have only each other to depend on to take on the world & its bigger challenges. We can agree to disagree, but let's do it with grace & compassion.


yellow or red, streets or stadium, march or dialog? - one thing for sure, 1 whole Malaysia is divided into fragments now. Perhaps the objective has been met.

Another one of my take on BERSIH

Malaysians have taken political issues to the streets before.
Two prime examples are Peristiwa Baling in Kedah in the 70s, and in 1997 in the streets of my beloved city Kuala Lumpur. Coincidently, both were initiated and lead by the very SAM
E ambitious individual. These incidents are ugly scars on the face of our beloved nation, besides May the 13th.

I would like to reemphasize my stand here. I am not against what BERSEH’s is fighting for. I am all for fair election and eradication of corruption at all levels, across the board - the Federal Government and each of the State Governments including Pulau Pinang and Selangor - not just for the benefit of foreign investors, but also the locals like you and me.

We have seen around the world people fight for what they call democracy, human rights and freedom of speech - cool sounding buzz words. By uttering them some people think they already contribute to the country. These words are not mere street chants. Its deeper than that and quite locational specific in nature. The sad truth is there are parties who abuse these terms, hiding behind them for their own political gain and survival, and the sadder truth is there are a lot of us out there who are so emotional and gullible.

We have to objectively look at the bigger picture and longer term implications. Like the weather, politics nowadays is no doubt GLOBAL. Don’t be naive, we should make a point to figure out the BIGGER agenda - far beyond the stadium, beyond our political boundary.

My take on BERSIH

congratulates the Thais for peacefully decided their future by voting - not marching the streets of Bangkok!

I am all for fair elections but in this case I smell BAD politics.

I respect each individual’s political inclination - that’s our fundamental rights. However, just because they think its cool to go against the establishment or just because
they are so gullible to some political websites, that doesn’t mean they can justify to march the street of KL.

I have personally experienced how BAD politics divided Terengganu into pieces - until today.

Our (PAS) relatives come for Hari Raya to our (BN) home not eating the meat we serve because it was not slaughtered by PAS people.

Some PAS people just don’t go for Friday prayers because they live near (BN) mosques. Its like the moslems in Terengganu worship 2 different gods.

We have members of our family in both camps and both sides suck!

At the same time even UMNO Terengganu is divided into different camps. So the Malays are broken into tiny groups and FAR from being united until TODAY.

If BERSEH truly apolitical, and truly fights for fair elections and love Malaysia - why want to march the street? Do it with diplomacy. Sometimes it seems that there are so blinded with emotions - want to topple the government lah, this and that but did they even evaluate the repercussion of such actions to the whole big picture of our nation and its long term socioeconomic implications?

I am not deeply in love with the ruling party. Hell yes BN has lot to improve. However, the street is not an alternative.

Our Pembangkang is very weak. Quite a significant numbers of them were in BN too. Education Minister, Finance Minister even DPM. But, what did they do when they were on the “throne”? Education system was in a mess, and still is. We almost kowtow to IMF and gone bankrupt during the economic crisis.

Cakap memang senang! Ini semua kerja hasut menghasut di belakang tabir “Human Rights” and “Democracy”. Kononnya.

Remeber, we gained our independence from the British without spilling a single drop of blood. So, be a responsible citizen. Resolve this PEACEFULLY lah!