Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Model Shooting for 2009

I had my last model shooting for the year of 2009 on Dec 27, inside a studio. It was barely two days past Christmas, and we were still in holiday mood. We had the model – named Yen Yen – dressed in Santa outfit. Here are a few photos…

By the way, we actually had another model…

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Misadventure in Kuala Selangor

In my earlier post, I mentioned that I bought three photography books in December. I decided to put the techniques I learned from the books into practice. On Christmas Day, I set out to Kuala Selangor Nature Park.

Unfortunately, I made a mistake in not having insect repellent at my disposal. As soon as I walked into the park, I was attacked by armies of mosquitoes. I had to keep walking in order to get away from these irritating insects.

After walking for a few hundred meters, I reached a lake at the center of the park. There, vegetation was less dense. To my relief, I had respite from the mozzies. I was able to look around, and take some pictures.

This is the lake…

Kuala Selangor Nature Park is famous for its mangrove forest. I think these are mangrove trees…

A watch tower…

The bad news is: the Mangrove Walkway was closed for maintenance. The good news is, I saved an ounce of blood…

What are the fauna found in the park? I spotted some birds, monkeys, and butterflies. Somehow, I wasn’t able to capture their pictures.

Will I go to the park again? Probably, but not without insect repellent!

Saturday, December 26, 2009



香港回歸中國後,親北京的首長董建華提倡『母語教學』。但是到了2006年,現任特首曾蔭權的政府放寬政策,允許更多的學校采用英文為媒介語 。據南華早報說:許多中學都是在家長的要求下做出改變。其中元朗信義中學五十年來都是以中文教學,但是現在也將加入英文學校的行列。


P/S 大馬中文媒體有無報道這新聞呢?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some Photography Books

I bought three photography books in December alone. (Burning cash again ) All the books were bought in Kinokuniya Bookstore in KLCC. And all three were written by Taiwanese photographers – in Chinese of course.

Why Chinese books? Aren’t there plenty of books written in English?

Price is the major factor. (Now that’s the sad part.) All the three books I bought cost around RM50 each. A similar book written by a Western photographer easily doubles the price. As I strive to cut spending, my options are limited.

Anyway, all three books are well-written. And, as far as portraiture is concerned, I still prefer Asian style to Western one. Western photographers often draw their inspiration from Renaissance paintings. They may, for example, photograph a subject with half her face dark and the other half bright. Such portraiture tends to be very artistic. Another example is photographing a nude model – but only showing her backside. You can’t see her face. This is no pornography, but artistic nude! WTH, I studied science as a high school student. I haven’t learned to appreciate art.

By comparison, Asian style portraiture tends to be more casual, or pretend to be casual. (Don’t get it?) The kawaii poses, pioneered by the Japanese and copied by Taiwanese, are more pleasing than the Mona Lisa pose.

Hey, our London-based blogger and world-trotter Kikey Loo loves kawaii pose too

The three books I bought were:


(Exposure control & framing: Shoot with your own style)

Author: 若揚其


(How to strike a nice pose: Pictorial guide to posing for pretty girls)

Author: 黑麵


(Traveling with one camera and one lens)

Author: Stan Chang

Saturday, December 19, 2009


There is an American term called NIMBY – short for Not in My Backyard.

Take, for example, the proposed plan of California High Speed Rail (HSR). When completed, it would be the first bullet train service in the United States. In 2008, California voters voted in favor of the project. Facing oil price hike, freeway gridlock and global warming, they understood the benefits brought by HSR. However, when the residents of Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto learned that the train would shoot through their cities, they changed their mind. Now they are opposing the plan. Essentially what they are thinking is: I fully support high speed rail, so long as it is not built in my backyard!

Interestingly, Malaysia has its NIMBYists too. Malaysian government has proposed to extend the two LRT (light rail transit) lines in Klang Valley. Given the traffic jam in this region, the extension should come as good news to the commuters. Somehow, residents of Subang Alam and Putra Heights, where the extended LRT lines would cut through, are unhappy. Prem Kaur, the president of Putra Heights Residents Associated, was reported as saying, “When we moved in seven years ago, we were fully aware that there was no public transportation here. We enjoy the low density and the quietness.” (The Star, Dec 15, 2009)

I understand their concern with regard to their properties. But Klang Valley badly needs better public transport. Can we compromise?

Of course, I don’t expect the voice of the residents is strong enough to halt the project. After all, this is Malaysia, not USA. The most they would achieve is re-routing of the rail lines.

I hope NIMBYism won’t derail California HSR too.

California HSR struck by NIMBYism

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Boring Landscape Photos

In the last one year, I joined a number of ‘model photography’ class. I have posted many pictures of the beautiful models to my blog. Some of the female readers must be cursing me already. So I decided to try something else – landscape and cityscape.

I have, for example, photograph KLCC night view and a few deserted towns. I have also taken this picture in an oil palm plantation (the trees had been cut down)…

Somehow, my landscape / cityscape photos are never as exciting as my model photos. They are also no match to those taken by French/Canadian blogger Zhu. I think there are a few reasons which explain why my landscape and cityscape pictures are so dull.

First and foremost, I am inexperienced in this kind of photography. I am pretty busy and hardly travel to scenic places. By comparison, shooting pretty models can be done in half a day over the weekend.

Secondly, there aren’t many interesting places around here. Plus, there are no four seasons in this country, so I can’t photograph autumn foliage or winter snow. In essence, lack of interesting themes also explains why I seldom shoot landscape photos.

And finally, my gears could be a limiting factor. Landscape photos are often best taken with ultra-wide angle lens, which I do not yet own. The picture of oil palm plantation shown above was shot at 17mm. I wish I had shot it at 15mm – that would qualify as ultra-wide. Alas, 2mm makes a lot of difference.

I can’t afford an ultra wide angle lens for at least another year, as I am saving money to replace my 5-year old laptop and to buy a GPS device. For now, I think I will go back to shoot models.

Monday, December 14, 2009







Saturday, December 12, 2009

MOL Global buys Friendster

The purchase of Friendster by Malaysia-based MOL Global is a hot topic in this country.

MOL Global is controlled by Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan. Tan is a shrewd businessman who made headlines many years ago for winning a libel suit. His Berjaya Group conglomerate has interests in property, gaming, leisure and finance industries. However, not all of his ventures were successful. His pay TV business, MiTV, has failed to challenge the incumbent Astro.

As we know, Friendster is the granddaddy of social networking sites. In the last couple of year, however, it has been eclipsed by MySpace and Facebook. Can MOL Global revive Friendster?

Now, if all your friends are on Facebook, do you still bother to join Friendster? (Or, if you joined Friendster ages ago, do you still bother to log in?) Social networking sites are such services that ‘the more people using them, the more useful they become’. If Friendster were to ‘dethrone’ Facebook – to quote a phrase by Tekkaus – it can’t just imitate the latter. It has to be different.

According to report, 90 percent of Friendster’s traffic comes from Asia. One thing the social networking site can do is to offer location-specific services. Perhaps it can organize gatherings for its members. Perhaps it can do match-making.

On the other hand, Facebook’s strength may turn out to be its weakness. It’s too ‘general purpose’. Facebook’s early members were college students. Today even uncles and aunties have jumped on the bandwagon. It has lost its ‘exclusiveness’, and cool factor.

If you login to Facebook, you get all sorts of updates, requests and invitations. You’ll read, for example, that Tom has got a new friend whom you never know; Dick is tagged in a photo; and Jerry is playing an online game. Can we have a social networking site which really helps us to connect with our friends, without all the bells and whistles?

Friendster may be able to capitalize on Facebook’s weaknesses. In any case, it is an uphill struggle. Good luck, Tan Sri.


Tan Sri is a title.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Deserted Towns

In Malaysia, development tends to concentrate on three metropolitan areas – Klang Valley (which includes Kuala Lumpur), Penang and Johor Bahru. Elsewhere, youngsters migrate to these three metropolitans (and Singapore) in search of jobs, education and excitiement. The consequence is that many small towns are losing people and declining.

I recently drove along the national trunk road between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. I visited a number of ‘deserted towns’ which lied along the road. One of them was Trolak.

There were two rows of shops on the both sides of a small road. But most of the shops were closed…

I spotted an MCA branch, but wasn’t sure if it had been abandoned…

Another town I visited was Chenderiang. It wasn’t really deserted. Given its remote location, however, I am not optimistic of its future…

This is the town of Temoh. The shophouses are tenanted, but not opened for business. I saw another MCA branch here…

And finally this is Sungai Raya. The buildings here are the most run down among the towns I visited. The only shop which was still opened was a barber shop (bottom right). The traffic was actually quite busy here. Unfortunately, the vehicles just passed by…

Can these sleepy towns be saved? What do you think?

Monday, December 07, 2009



后来我到美国加州工作。在那儿,我生平中第一次因为自己的马来文差而感到惭愧。我的美国同事,以为马来西亚人必定精通本国的国语,但其实并非如此。当时我是以Malaysian,而非Chinese自居。对美国人而言,Chinese就是中国人。美国华人不是Chinese,而是Chinese American。理论上我可以告诉别人我是Chinese Malaysian,但不想囉哩啰嗦的解释。。。



当然,我们无需全盘使用马来文,但至少不应该把它当成外语来看待。除此以外,英文是大马没有法律地位的de facto lingua franca,也不能忽略它。

Friday, December 04, 2009

Random Shots

Made in by Malaysia???

Can they really assist to ‘provide’ student visa???

What you see…

…is NOT what you get. Subway’s heart-warming soup…

A traditional village house by the paddy field…

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Fad in Malaysia

Among Malaysian youths, I observe a trend – or maybe just a fad – in which they often write a word in mixed upper and lower cases. Here is a snapshot from Facebook:

As you can see, this Facebook member writes ‘reading’ as ‘ReAdInG’, and ‘online’ as ‘OnLiNE’.

Another example:

Whilte it ain’t wrong to write/type in this way, the fad suggests that many Malaysian youths are merely trend followers. I would like to see more young folks who can think for themselves, and be themselves.