May 31, 2006

concrete jungle

Hong Kong was once refered to as 'The Concrete Jungle' of Asia because of all its buildings. I never thought so. Jungle, for me, was always tree-like. That's why in certain areas of KL, it feels like a concrete jungle. The LRT (Light Rail Transportation) lines run above the city's roads and despite being an eyesore, provide shade from the blazing sun or rain for the helpless pedestrian just as a tree would. The pillars also make great advertising space (like pinning a Wanted sign on a tree.)

Are we still on for the June 1st theme?

May 30, 2006

the city

When a client puts you up on the 23rd floor of a 5-star hotel, your camera takes full advantage of the situation. After yesterday's window, it is only natural to show you Kuala Lumpur's skyline.

For the past few months, I have been toying with the idea of taking my photography to another level. With this shot, I realised the limitations of a point-and-shoot camera. In the next week or so, you'll be seeing the results of my new camera, a Nikon D70s. It's about time to send my compact to the service centre anyway. Mould has started to develope under the lens. Until then, enjoy what my P-100 has seen.

Inilah bandar aku.

May 29, 2006

a room with a view

Wouldn't you love to wake up every morning and have this view?

In recent years, there has been global criticism that Malaysia has no consideration for the greenery in it's pursuit of development. Yes, there is illegal logging and buildings growing faster than you can change dirty underwear. However, I would like to show that the green you see from this window isn't a forest reserve, it's in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. All natural. The building in the middle of all this green is Parliament. According to statistics, Malaysia is still 65%-70% green. That's a lot of trees.

Development is exactly that: we all suffer it. So, look to your own government before you point your finger in this direction. And, if you still think we are the 'jungle' between Thailand and Singapore, to a certain extent you're right.

May 28, 2006

pretty packaging

The Grand Malaysia Sale is about to begin (June-July) and City Hall has started cleaning up the city. Across the city you'll find workers washing, painting and replanting withered plants. It's looking good I can tell you. We're more colourful now than we've ever been. The tagline for the season is, "The Whole of Malaysia is on Sale!"

Soon, we'll see flocks and busloads of Taiwanese and Middle-Eastern tourists ruling the streets. And if you have a couple of billion in your pocket, please feel free to buy our country. It is on sale after all. Caveat Emptor.

May 27, 2006


Even a tractor gets thirsty every now and then. I stood for a couple of minutes watching as a pair of these machines made trips up and down the street. Waterworks being done further up. What fascinated me was the sight of water gushing freely from the open hydrant, in an area sometimes hit with water shortage. I stand, watch and wonder how much water flows down the street when the 2 tractors aren't getting their refills. By the time I got my fill, 30 minutes had passed. If only I had my swim shorts.

May 26, 2006

it's a rich man's world

There is never enough money. Is that right? Or are we just craving a life we can only dream of? Some people prey on this desire and thus, the evolution of money-lenders has come to this. Stick a card on a wall for the the dreamer to catch a glimpse of. The bait taken, the trap is set. We'll never know whether these money-lenders are legit and kind but for many people, this option is easier than the paperwork and questions that come with every bank loan.

May 25, 2006

merdeka! merdeka! merdeka!

Remember I said I was rehearsing? We were in the Five Arts Centre studio. Five Arts has a youth theatre arm which is very active in their pursuit of presenting satirical work. One of them is an artist. During their rehearsals, he would paint these pictures. This is the face of Malaysia's first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Still the most revered leader of our nation.

So good to know that part of our youth isn't limp.

May 24, 2006

straight up

I always forget that my compact digital camera also has an add-on wide-angle lens. So, I attached it and vóila!

This is Maybank Tower, the headquarters of the largest bank in the country and has over 22,000 employees spread around the world. Impressive for a country that was once only known, in the 80s, as the 'jungle' between Thailand and Singapore.

I'm just glad that the sky was blue and the clouds were floating in the most perfect place. Again, another tall, phallic building in a land struck dumb with limpness. Oh well...

May 23, 2006


Apart from interesting lighting fixtures, I'm also attracted to lattice work. You won't much of it here in K.L., so I couldn't resist the urge of capturing this shot. I have to admit that I failed in capturing the fineness of the lines and the light but I'm quite happy overall. You'll see this when you drive into the lobby of the Hotel Maya.

May 22, 2006


I have a thing for lighting fixtures: I love them. I love how a clever design of crystal and glass can reflect light into a thousand fractal points. This, for me, is one of those clever designs. Also something very other-worldly about it.

I've been trying to post larger sized pictures but haven't succeeded. seb suggested xnview but it crashed. any suggestions from other mac users?

May 21, 2006

together forever

I'm back and had, as usual, a wonderful time in the Lion City. I also had a few very interesting conversations with Singaporean taxi drivers, topics from the lost meaning of life to how jazz is a difficult genre to promote. For me, it was welcomed. I'm rehearsing for a play that deals with Singaporean issues. To listen to these voices added to the research I needed to do. If you ever get a chance to see pictures of Singaporeans celebrating their National Day, you'll be amazed on how united the nation is as a people. Everyone in the stadium is dressed in the national colours of red and white. The political situation there was also one of my discussed topics with a partner of a jazz lounge. Great music. Great words exchanged.

This picture, taken last week in my car (again), reminds me of the government-churned public service slogans of this fabulous city I recently returned from. I wonder if other Malaysians feel the same way when they see it on the road? Occupational hazard perhaps.

May 18, 2006

all time high

The Equatorial Hotel: one of the oldest hotels in K.L. Behind it is K.L. Tower. I love the fact that a building from the 70s and one of our 'let's-impress-the-world' structures compliment each other so well. I also saturated the picture to give it an early 80s movie feel. K.L Tower was once proud to have the World's Highest McDonalds on its obsevation deck. But after a year or so, the outlet closed. Poor response was the reason produced. Some of our 'impressive' ideas don't always work out.

In about 7 hours, I'll be making my way to Singapore for a few days. I may not be able to post a picture for Friday (I'll try) but I'll be back home on Saturday in time to post before Cinderella has to worry about her pumpkin.

May 17, 2006


May 16, 2006


When two buildings connect to make one building, this is what you see when you tilt your head up while standing in the lobby. Something about this image but I can't place my finger on it. Sci-Fi? Retro? Claustrophobia? Infinity? Possibly all of the above.

May 15, 2006

childhood retrospective

Last night, after performing computer system updates, my design computer crashed on me and refused to restart. All my photos are in its hard drive. To top it off, I had just re-formatted the memory card on my camera. No photos. Fortunately, I had taken this photo with my mobile phone yesterday.

This is a person we call the Cendol Man. Cendol is a green, glutinous stringy flour substance that is served with shaved ice, brown sugar syrup and coconut milk. It makes a very delicious and refreshing dessert on a hot day. As a child, I had one nearly everyday after school because there was a Cendol Man right outside the school gates. Many of us will have this memory of running out of class, dropping our sachels, hands digging in our pockets for loose change and asking for an ice-cold sweet bowl of cendol.

That's what we did yesterday. We saw the cendol stand, memories flooding, and we stopped the car and took a 10 minute break from life to have a bowl of cendol and laugh about the good'ol days.

May 14, 2006

un/conditional love

Happy Mother's Day! (now give your kids a break and chill out)

May 13, 2006

through the looking glass

A cup of coffee. A good friend. The view of the city parades on the other side of the glass pane. I got lucky when the monorail drove into this shot.

I've been in rehearsal for play that deals with the issues of identity, politics, sex, national pride, individuality, etc., of Malaysia and Singapore and the rightful place of its peoples. We're examining the pros and cons of each country. Many Malaysians would agree that our neighbour, Singapore, because of its efficiency and well-thought out plans, is a wonderful country. Ours being the unorganized nation.

But if you look from the other side of the fishbowl, Singaporeans are a stiffled, restricted nation. Rules and regulations MUST be and are followed. They look at our country and envy us for the laidback culture that we have as a people. We have the iconic Twin Towers to represent us globally. They have a government created Merlion, half-lion, half-fish. Trivial argument.

KL does do my head in sometimes. The central government is consumed by ignorance/arrogance. A Third-World mentality thriving in a country aiming for a place in the First-World structure. So, when I need an escape, I drive down to Singapore. I love it there. I get to stock up on CDs and enjoy the public conveniences. However, the restrictions only remind me of how good my country is. It refreshes my jaded perspective and I return home ready to take on another day. Having said that, I'll be in Singapore next week. And I do love the times I'm there. Good friends.

I encourage a jaunt over to Singapore DP and have a look at the Merlion and pictures from one of the most advanced self-developed countries of our World. For a country without any of it's own natural resources and having brought itself such remarkable global standing, Singapore is truly a unique country. Chewing Gum, however, is a banned substance. Go figure.

I don't what it is about this picture but somehow the combination of colours brings a smile to my face and reminds me why I call this place home.

May 12, 2006

leave it here

As a city grows bigger, and the Government decides to lower the taxes on car prices, more car owners are born. With that, the lack of parking spaces. Here you see a clever use of an empty plot of land. This is dead-smack in the center of the business district. Parking lot operators are a very rich bunch of folk. RM5 per car, a minimum of 100 cars per day. You do the math. I'm just glad this lot owner didn't chop the tree down. Maybe it's a business strategy. Keep the tree as shade for the sun over-heated parked cars.

May 11, 2006

tanked up

This is the touch-screen monitor that greets you when you walk into Aquaria. Can you see the retired politician? Being Asian, he's the one with the really sharp teeth. No, not the shark. He's in the cockpit of the vehicle, protected from pelted eggs. Journey to the Deep: How far can you go?

I'm linking to Nicola for offering to submit her German politicians for observation in our Aquaria (strictly scientific, of course.) Danke Schön und viel spaß noch! Lüstig!

May 10, 2006

meeting again

Nevermind the bad planning of the roads around KLCC (Convention Centre) but like I said, it's a nice building. This was taken from the 3rd floor at the corridor of the banquet hall. There are 5 floors with Aquaria (an aquarium tourist attraction) on the basement. Haven't been in there yet. But was told of the variety of aquarium living creatures: fishes, snakes, retired politicians...

May 9, 2006

meeting place

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). Not to be confused with the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC- the official name of the Twin Towers.) The irony is that both are within walking distance of each other. So, if you're in a taxi and tell the cabby you need to get to KLCC, you better make clear which you're heading to. The convention centre is now a year old. When it first opened last year, it did so without the Certificates of Fitness approved. Rushed opened to recover the money spent. I remember doing a show there then. While we were rehearsing, one of the hooks of the 1-ton lighting truss above us cracked. Scary. I did another show there last weekend and all is good now. It's an impressive place but with most Malaysian buildings, the plans weren't carefully thought out. This is a convention centre with parking bays for only 600+ cars and only has one road leading to it's entrance.

May 8, 2006

fußbal fever

And so it is, World Cup 2006 Fever has gripped us all. I was at a local TV station the other day for a morning breakfast show and this stood guard at the door of the studio. Once I walked in, I saw how the entire studio was struck with football fever: banners, posters and mini-footballs on the corridor floors. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures inside though. My money is on Germany taking the Cup.

May 7, 2006

boundary's end

I was in the passenger seat. I'd just like to get that straight. This is the 'gate' that marks the end of the KL boundary as you drive into Petaling Jaya. The PJ Municipal Council is currently asking for City status. Until today, it has been a satellite township of Selangor (one of the 14 States in Malaysia.) KL, which is part of the Federal Territories, sits in the centre of Selangor. PJ and KL aren't separated by distance much and without traffic, is only a 10-15 minute drive between the two. The Time-Machine, however, stopped in the 70s in PJ. You'll find quaint houses, shops and very few high-rise buildings. That, as with all townships seeking City status, is changing.

May 6, 2006


From bicycles to motorcycles, the natural evolution of the two-wheel machine. This is a cute lil'thing but don't let that fool you. I present to you the speed demons and road hogs of Kuala Lumpur. Motorcycles make up more than half the road users and really are a nuisance. Zipping in and out, from left to right with no consideration for the cars that drive behind them. If you get in their way, they'll toot their horns (and the sound is thin, whiny...) until you give them right of passage. Sometimes, at night on certain major roads, hundreds get together and race. If you so happen to be driving that night...Good luck!

May 5, 2006

burn out

No matter how fast the world forces change, some things will resist and stay where they are. But for how much longer before they burn-out and finally fade into a distant memory? This is a bicycle repair shop. The man in blue is the owner and does the repairs. Like I said, it's only time and when that time comes, I'll only have this digital picture to remind me what used to be.

May 4, 2006

last of the colonials pt.4

Here's where lack of space and modernization compromises with all that is vintage. Unless you look up, you won't notice the extension. At least it's gray and not too much of an eyesore. Strangely enough, I find it a very interesting structure.

May 3, 2006

last of the colonials pt.3

If you're wondering why the shop shutters are closed, it's because I took this picture early one morning before it opened. Stunned myself that I managed to get up!

May 2, 2006

last of the colonials pt.2

United Tai Weng has been the resident of this building for as long as I can remember. As a child, I remember looking at the different types of glass and frames that were displayed in the ground floor store. Only recently, I noticed the somewhat new coat of paint. Nice.

May 1, 2006

last of the colonials pt.1

I haven't done a series for awhile. Today begins the Last of the Colonials: buildings that have withstood the test of modernization. This picture is from one of the walls.'18?' I think either stands for the legal age of consent or age for buying nicotine. Hasn't stopped anyone, has it?