Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ask Malaysia

Merdeka ladyA week before the national day celebrations, we had hit the centre of KL to do a small project called Ask Malaysia. The idea was to get people to write messages on what they felt on the country and our 50th independence. However that day we got so engrossed taking photos of the parade rehearsals that we ditched the idea. However we then decided to continue the project on Merdeka day itself as we had planned to catch the National day parade.

6 am is a horrible time to get up especially on a non working day. I practically had to drag myself out of bed. We made our way to Brickfields to park our cars and get on a bus towards CM (Central Market). Right before that I had to stop at a 7-eleven to get some battries when the kid behind the counter goes.

Are u going to the parade?

Yep ;)

Me too – I’m shooting off as soon as I finish here ;)

We reached our meeting restaurant to find a few friends already there but unfortunately the milo ice addict me had to settle for a hot cuppa as they had no ice! How can you not have ice??? Bah

When we returned there that evening (yeah in the evening), the first thing I asked was do you have ice?? Thankfully they did.

Have you ever walked up to a stranger and asked them to write down a message and take a photograph? Its not an easy thing to do but from my experience in shooting street photos, often people will humour you and pose for you. Walking up to perfect strangers did prove exactly that.

Ask Malaysia #2As I settled into my seat, more friends and new members started streaming in and that’s when he walked in. I was totally besotted coz if you hadn’t known I have a thing for men in uniform. And when a navy guy walks in, the last thing I would be doing is sitting in my seat. Well actually that was the first time I walked up to a navy and spoke to them. Actually I’m a bit the shy but photography has thought me to seek the unknown, the unusual and the out of ordinary.

He was the first one I asked and he set the theme for the day. That’s why most of the photos are of the Malaysian armed forces. When I walked up to him, he was a bit apprehensive, but then he gamely wrote down his messge for me. He wrote the longest message and despite having his food waiting to be eaten he gamely posed for us.

Ask Malaysia # 5

Next up were 2 police officers who were keeping an eye on the crowd. They were pretty amused with my request but he finally agreed to write a message so was the army officer who was standing next to his awesome tank. The last time I saw a tank this close was when I went for the military day at the airforce camp and airport in Sungai besi when I was about 10 years old.
Ask Malaysia # 4

One of the interesting part about asking them for the messages was normally theyd be taken aback by the request and then they’ll smile sheepishly and write down their message. If I had more time, and they were not busy doing their duties we could have probably gotten more stories.

Ask Malaysia # 10

One of my favs was this beautiful lady that was wearing our national flag the jalur gemilang as her costume and she looked so regal and sweet. She gamely posed for us before I posed my question to her and with her sweet smile she agreed and went on jotting down her note. What a smile eh?

Ask Malaysia # 6
And so I got the fireman,

Ask Malaysia #3
the official guard of honour in their smart baju melayu (traditional malay attire) uniform.

Ask Malaysia # 8
an officer and his family

Ask Malaysia # 7
NS trainees (Teenagers taking part in the national service program for a 3 month duration).

Ask Malaysia # 11
A doctor who was also an ex student of the royal military college since 1957.

Ask Malaysia # 9
I ended up stalking this teenager dressed in a olden day Baju Melayu with his headgear and dagger (keris). He just looked so regal that even after getting him to write down his message I was still taking photos of him and this is one of my favourite shots of him.
50 years

Ask Malaysia # pre shot
These people were dressed in the old port swethenham (now known as port klang – the port of penisular Malaysia) uniforms. Shorts never looked these good ;p
Ask Malaysia project#1

Of course I did encounter a few rejections, funnily it all came from the traffic cops. I’m not sure why. You must be wondering why most of the photos were of the men well I did approach one lady traffic cop and that turned out to be rudest women around. Just like I had approached the others, I walked up to her and said a chirpy smiley hi (yes I’m very chirpy).she just looked at me, glared and gave me a dirty look and walked away. I tried again thinking she hadn’t heard me but she did the same thing again. I was really taken aback given I had been getting so many wonderful messages from the armed forces.

That did bring down my mood and I think I spent the next 10 minutes with this grey cloud hanging over me as I complained to the rest of the gang. That’s when this traffic cop pulls over right in front of me and I decided to try my luck again. He just made my day and I probably developed a tiny crush on him ;p

Ask Malaysia : - sweetest cop ever

I told him about our little project and he tells us in this amazing baritone voice that was accompanied by his gorgeous smile that though he’d love to write down a message for me, he was on duty and about to escort the vips out of the parade. He was just so nice that I told him you have just made my day. And guess what he told me?

“you just made my day as well” :PPPPPPP

(*visi faints and goes awwwwwwwwwww)

Hehhe oh yeah he boosted back my spirits alright and the rude lady was forgotten.

Ask Malaysia # 12

One of the last messages I got before I burned out from the sun was this lovely lady who was with her family. It wasnt in the theme, but I had been watching her for awhile. It had been a cold morning and by afternoon the weather had turned unbelievably hot (explains the wonderful blue skies). The only way to get to the parade area was by public transport, either by taking the bus or by train and iyou’d have had to get up really early to get there. So my heart and admiration goes out to the family who took the time and effort to bring the lovely young lady to the parade. When I approached them I told them I wanted the message from the young lady and she smiled graciously and wrote down her message. This photo says love, oneness, determination, family and patriotism in many ways.

I had a great time doing this project, it just further proved that Malaysians are a wonderful lot even with the few bad apples. Happy 50th Merdeka.


Anonymous said...

hai vis,,this is adi..

this is an interesting & excellent entry..
i lurve the way how u wrote the experience..job well done..

i truely lurve the bj kurung jalur gemilang..too bad i wasnt with u,otherwise ill sure ask her the tailor..she look really good in it..

yup..those short pant r the most comfortable costume in the parade &sexy..hahha..i managed to capture with 6 of man in those pant..

keep up the GREAT writing!!!!

u just made my day darling..

from malacca w lurve
--adi & ida

asam jawa said...

Heya! Was juz browsing around, and stumbled upon ur blog. Its an interesting entry, i must say. The pictures really depict Malaysians in uniform, and that was sumthin different, something refreshing. :) Would have liked tosee more muhibbah-ness, though! Anyway, great job! More entries like this to come, yea! Cheers.

anjali said...

Kudos babe! This is seriously my favourite post from you thus far!

praveen said...

Wow nice pic....

Pixelated Mo said...

superb pictures of the MErdeka Celebrations dress rehearsals..

visithra said...

Adi : lol ops ive been discovered ;p keep it a secretla darling ;p

Hhehe she was a darlingla sweet lady – yeah the shorts men were awesome


Asam jawa: welcome here

Thanks ;) Would have been nice but I was targeting the men in uniform n the non malay uniformed personnel’s either said no or were too far away to approach

Anj : thanks dear ;)

Praveen : thanks ;)

Mo : it was the actual day n thanks ;)