Thursday, November 14, 2013


My recent reading, alerted me to the needs of under standing the photographs we take. Seriously each one of us as photographers have owned cameras of all types and the seniors among us would know that there would be a large collections of photographs stocked somewhere at home. Not surprising the old cameras may still be around. 

This subject addresses the photographs at hand and seriously how do we value them. It may be interesting to ask in the first place why do we take the photographs. What do we focus upon in the photos taken? Do we take photos of individuals? Do we go for landscape, scenery, buildings, developments, news-worthy or candid photographs? If we had the time to analyzed our photographs we may come up with several classifications: " I took pictures of friends and families". 'My photos relate to scenes of the countryside"." I record new developments as I see them". I am sure if we go through our collections we could separate them into many classifications.

Our journey through live, especially all the stages of development: schooling, higher education, service and career, family etc all in themselves must have a record of sorts and we cannot fail to trace them from photographs that  surely must be around in drawers , boxes, albums etc.

What do you do with the pictures taken? Print and keep them or sent to friends etc. Not likely you would sell them, unless you are a professional photographer. With face book, you may post them for others to see. Now with 'WhatsApp' it opens a new direction. With 'photobooks' you may start a collection.

Old photographs are especially valuable especially to historians and 'photo- archeologists'. I am inclined to history from training and education and therefore my collections of photos plus my directions at focusing the lens would naturally go towards that direction. Inspired by this discovery of the great values of photographs, especially in our ability, skill and training to decipher their intrinsic values and contents our directions  should focus on discovering our old collections especially those of the early 40's and 50's. Our chanced training and posting overseas for those who had that opportunity would help to document from our collections of photographs life and style then. You may never know what the photographs have hidden in the background less you look and become a Sherlock Home yourself.

I know for sure my earlier collections of photographs of Europe in 1950's of Singapore and Brunei of 1960's and others taken during visits would surely be a new discovery of wealth and information . 

This photograph is one example of much that can be discovered but more often than not we only give a glimpse and failed to notice its intrinsic values.  By the way it happened to be a picture of my late mother and her parents. Sadly I never took the opportunity to ask her about the picture when she was alive. One thing I know it must be dated as way back as 1915/16 based on her age. My earlier consideration was the great opportunity I had for possessing the photograph not realizing it can speaks volume of the decade then. 

It does not take a sleuth to realize the the nature of the dresses worn, nor the headgear and 'kris' on the grandfather's body besides the chairs as exhibited. The background itself has a story of its own, if only you wish to decipher. The wooden grills on the window and take for example the hat left to dry on the pole, all left questions to be answered.  It obviously has a story of its own i.e period before the first world war.

Lately I have been scouting for the 'beca' or trishaws. Typical was the one seen in Penang, Kelantan or Malacca. Hoping to purchase one at least. 

The likes of one seen above have never been seen in Kedah but this picture definitely shows that such vehicle was available in Alor Setar before the second world war. 

Only on a recent visit to Bangkok we found the likes of it there. With the tourist guide I posed for the picture.Obviously the vehicle is not on the road, since congestion would not allow such as one to move around. Yet there is continuity, the old vehicle is taken care with love and now positioned for others to admire and a collector's piece .

Old photographs, going back sixty, seventy or even a hundred years go would certainly be of great value. Nevertheless how many among us realize that? If you are one of the senior members of this blog you would agree with me that it is time we look back, fall back and re-evaluate the content and treasures in them. Yes the old and newer photographs seriously have within them wealth of information. Further we must be sure the reasons for our habits of snapping away .... surely with reasons and intentions whether we use the camera,the telephone or other media that record things for posterity.

This black and white photograph was taken since I saw the students competing in cutting the logs. They were Australian National University Canberra students of the Forestry School (1972) Looking at it one may get a story of its own.

Monday, November 4, 2013


 Excepting the Alma Mater (SAHC) which is a centenarian, the general attendees  are at no account youths or persons of agility and steadfastness for many are grouped as octogenarian,  sexagenarian and the seventieth , though there were a sprinkling of football or rugby loving youth at the SAHC or SAHOCA Bangsawan theme gathering held at Dorset Subang Jaya on 1 November 2013. Our table attendees are surely not by accident members of the seventies all having finished schooling in the mid 1950's as the invitation came from one member of the association and a classmate. Tunku Yusoff and wife came down from Kota Bharu and we arrived from Alor Setar to be with colleagues whom we would not have met otherwise. A get together the likes of former school associations, bring about the best of the school with former students meeting associates whom they may have missed for years and no surprise if you could not recognize many of them.

The theme for the night 'Bangsawan' obviously was a reflection of the time when stage shows the likes of 'bangsawan' was in the offer. Dramas, comedies, singing presentation took on temporary stages as theatres for such presentation had not found their existence. The music, singing and presentation that night had all the offerings of the best with multimedia effects at its assisance. The function graced by the presence of Yang DiPertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong and other VVIP surely added lustre and orderliness.  Members who contributed by buying tables and issuing invitations to friends not only assisted the association's coffers but helped to strengthen comraderie.

At the main table is the patron of the association Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah the Sultan of Kedah and the Yang DiPertuan Agong of Malaysia, one of the senior students of the College. Besides Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Hanafiah Hussein were also on the same table, both being students of the College at the time Tuanku Abdul Halim was in school at SAHC.

I had the opportunity to meet Tan Sri Hanafiah earlier on and reminded him that he was one of my teachers in the Special Malay 1 class of 1948. He was then a temporary teacher and laughingly he asked whether I was 87 years old as he was. Moments as this brought us back to reality and days when we were growing up.

Tun Mahathir Mohamad was surrounded by younger admirers as he was leaving the hall.A golden opportunity for the youthful SAHC group to meet and be photographed with the 'negarawan'. 

Five classmates crossed paths again 

With another classmate Dato Khalid Halim

Naturally we came with our spouses and a golden opportunity for them to know each other

 When you come with your camera at the ready, you would likely capture some of the candid moments. Here the line out shows several members of the old collegian. I would not  leave home without my trusted small box.

Here the theme of Bangsawan becomes a record and recognizing that we were there that night at Grand Dorset Subang Jaya with former students of the Alma Mater Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid ( SAHC) Alor Setar Kedah

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I trust many by the nature of things would be guessing what the object is. A saying ' have somebody in the palm of his hands' or ' the goalkeeper just managed to palm the ball over the crossbar' bring us closer to palm trees or that part of our body structure, relating to an important part of our body structure. Yet the picture is far from that constituent. 

Nevertheless it fell off a tree, a palm of a kind and struck me as being quite extraordinary for its texture and formation. It would have been left by the roadside, discarded and disintegrated contributing as part of the debris of nature. I carted it home hoping to review and have a closer look.

Captured on film it left much to the imagination what we could have done with it. Artistic, graphic and designing skills could have made such objects a masterpiece.

It is left to our imagination. Imagine what else we may come across.