Game Stalls Fun

Merry Go Round (Flying Horses), A Classic Ride And Attraction In Any Fun Park

The Euro Fun Park comes to town every year around October time frame at the Stadium Shah Alam car parking area. For a month, its colourful brightly lit ferris wheel and searchlight continuously searching the night sky signals its presence and attract visitors. As a traveling fun park, it’s not an extensive set-up; nevertheless, it still features quite a number of interesting fun rides and game stalls; something for everyone, for an evening of amusement and fun. On my way to the games stalls, this guy beckoned me for a frightening nightmare at his abode … sorry, not tonight, bro, I have a weak heart.

Over at the bingo game stall, a tense moment as the winning numbers were announced, ‘Be Happy’, Bingo …

Be Happy, Play Bingo

It’s not just the product, but how you sell it, this guy was certainly doing a great sales job over at the Neptune Darby, pulling in the crowd …

Come One, Come All, Join Me For A Game Of Neptune Darby

And in comparison with this friendly but less sales oriented guy, the difference is apparent …

Skill, luck and patience is a virtue, when you are fishing for the grand prize Doraemon …

Fishing For Doraemon

All  eyes on where the loop is going to land for a Mickey or Minnie …

Loop A Bottle And Win A Mickey Or A Minnie For The Loved One

The sharpshooter … the stance and handling tells it all, guess how many plush toys he walked away with that night 🙂

The Sharpshooter

Love, your giant teddy bear is on iiiiiiiiits way …

I Can Almost Hear The Cans Crashing

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 35mm 1.4 & XF 23mm 1.4


IPA 2017 Honorable Mention

The annual IPA photography contest is something which I look forward to annually to submit some of my work for the year which I personally like, to ascertain if they can hold their own within a field of international entries from other capable and talented photographers around the world. For IPA 2017, I submitted less entries than previous two years as I have been shooting less through the year due to work commitments. It is also the first time I had a go at the ‘series’ category and am happy to receive an honorable mention for it. I am pleased with the outcome and to share it with you here on my ongoing photography journey.

Under the ‘Event/Traditions & Cultures’ category – ‘A Final Prayer To Goddess Durga’

In Hinduism, Goddess Durga is the mother of the universe, the power behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the world. The protector from the evils of the world, Goddess Durga is portrayed as carrying weapons in her many arms and riding a lion. Durga Puja is a celebration of the Mother Goddess victory of good over evil, one of the most important festivals of India. The nine day celebrations include rituals to ward one of impurities, vices and defects, adoring Goddess Durga as the giver of spiritual wealth and the goddess of wisdom. Devotees offer a final prayer in earnest to Goddess Durga on the last day of the celebrations to bestow on them spirituality, wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, strength, knowledge, etc. before she returns back to the heavens. Apart from being a religious festival, it is also an occasion for reunion and rejuvenation among family and friends.

The set was shot in October 2016 on the last day of the Durga Puja in Mumbai. I remember that night well at Juhu Beach, it was packed and bustling with activities as devotees/celebrants went about their prayers, amid a spiritual and divine calmness, and colourful vibrant atmosphere. I have not seen anything like it before and every moment was new and an experience indeed! Some were curious and happy to see me there taking an interest in the proceedings and photographing, some made me feel welcome, we chatted, got acquainted, and I even got to try some of the ceremonial food they offered for good luck. There were requests for some photos, which I was only happy to reciprocate and sent them later. All in, I was there for a good 5-6 hours and took quite a number of photos; out of these, I picked the above five for my entry which I feel captures the essence and emotion of how families, relatives, friends and communities from near and far come together to offer their final prayer to goddess Durga Puja in different settings and scale, all with a common purpose and pure adoration for their mother goddess. Hope you like the photos … they were taken as is, handheld, none were posed.

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 35mm & XF 23mm

This year, The International Photography Awards received 14267 of submissions from over 165 countries.

About the International Photography Awards
The International Photography Awards conducts an annual competition for professional, non-professional, and student photographers on a global scale, creating one of the most ambitious and comprehensive competitions in the photography world today. Each year, the International Photography Awards (IPA) invites passionate photographers, to compete for the title of Photographer of the Year, Discovery of the Year and Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year. A board of esteemed professionals in the field juries the competition: curators, photo editors, gallery owners, art directors, and other luminaries from the international photography community. The awards includes a Lucie Statue and cash prizes totaling over $20,000, exhibition and publication opportunities.

About the Lucie Awards
The Lucie Awards is the annual event honoring the greatest achievements in photography. The photography community from countries around the globe will pay tribute to the most outstanding photography achievements presented at the Gala Awards ceremony. Each year, the Advisory Board nominates deserving individuals across a variety of categories who will be honored during the Lucie Awards ceremony. Once the nominations have been received, the votes are tallied and an honoree in each category is identified. The honorees are pre-announced months before the Lucie Awards. The Lucie Awards are a signature program of Lucie Foundation.





Tok Dalang Nawi, Master Story Teller

In conjunction with World Youth Day 2017, ThinkCity and Kuala Lumpur City Hall, in partnership with Seni Pusaka, Lab DNA and Red Archer, and the support of Citi Foundation organised a Malam Wayang (Night Theatre) on 12th August night at the Urbanscapes House in Kuala Lumpur. This Malam Wayang is rather special as it showcases both a contemporary and traditional wayang kulit (shadow theatre) back-to-back with performances by the young ones from the Tree Theatre Group and the Kumpulan Seni Warisan Pusaka Machang. I made it to the venue at 8.45pm due to prior commitments, missed the Tree Theatre Group performance entirely, unfortunately; but in time for the Kumpulan Seni Warisan Pusaka Machang performance. Heartening to know there is quite a number of of wayang kulit fans of all ages out there in Kuala Lumpur as the hall was well filled that night.

Tok Dalang Nawi, Master Story Teller

The Kumpulan Seni Warisan Pusaka Machang is a famous wayang kulit troupe from Machang, Kelantan led by master story teller Tok Dalang Nawi and master musician Abdul Rahman Dollah, the disciples of the Wayang Kulit Kelantan legend, Pak Dollah Baju Merah. Wayang Kulit Kelantan can be found in Kelantan (of course) and other states along the Peninsular East Coast. Based on tales from the Hikayat Seri Rama (The Ramayana), it is built essentially on four core elements consisting of the tok dalang (master story teller), patung patung (characters), kelir (screen) and muzik (music). The artful and harmonious combination of these elements is the hallmark of an excellent and memorable wayang kulit performance. In former times, an oil lamp is used as the light source; but these days, an electrical light bulb is a typical light source.

Tok Dalang Nawi In Deep Contemplation Prior To Performing

After the emcee’s introduction, lights dimmed out and the performance started with the distinctive and beautiful sound of Kelantanese percussive music from the Kumpulan Seni Warisan Pusaka Machang ensemble filling the hall and the wayang kulit screen taking centre stage. As the musical prelude continued, Tok Dalang Nawi appeared to be in a meditative contemplative state briefly before the tale of ‘Kera Bali Bulu Beremas’ unfolds …

And The Tale Of ‘Kera Bali Bulu Beremas’ Unfolds …

The tale of ‘Kera Bali Bulu Beremas’ begins with Raden Lakjuna’s infatuation for a golden hoofed white horse. The white horse is actually a magical white horse that can metamorphose itself into a beautiful princess. As the story goes, Raden Lakjuna fell in love with the beautiful princess and they eventually got married. Months passed and the princess found she was pregnant with their child. The princess was overjoyed with the news, but Raden Lakjuna felt otherwise. Raden Lakjuna was unhappy with the news and became very angry with the princess.

The Ensemble Musically Paints The Atmosphere And Emotion, Backdrop For Tok Dalang Nawi’s Tale And Characters To Come Alive
L to R   Pak Zin (Serunai), Eddin Khoo (Mong), Abdul Rahman Dollah (Geduk Ibu & Anak /Gedombak), Syazwan Zainal (Canang), Ahmad Faris (Tetawak), Udin Khai (Kesi), Irsyat (Gendang Ibu/Geduk Ibu Dan Anak), Syafiq Abdul Rahman (Gendang Anak)

From L to R   Udin Khai (Kesi) & Syafiq Abdul Rahman (Gendang Anak)

From L to R   Pak Zin (Serunai) & Abdul Rahman Dollah (Geduk Ibu Dan Anak/Gedombak)

Raden Lakjuna divorced the princess and cruelly punished her, whereupon she felt like giving birth to their baby. With the kind help of midwives from the adobe of gods, the princess successfully gave birth to a son who also possess similar magical powers to metamorphose, just like herself. Years passed and the princess tells her son to look for his father, Raden Lakjuna. The son soon transformed into ‘Kera Bali Bulu Beremas’ and set off to look for his father. The tale continues with chronicles of Kera Bali Bulu Beremas facing numerous encounters and struggles on his journey looking for his father …

The Tale Gradually Develops And Grows On The Enthralled Audience

Backstage – Tok Dalang Nawi With His Ensemble And The Numerous Cast Of Characters

The sheer number of episodes within a wayang kulit tale (performance), their storyline, characters, and the respective characters interplay of dialogue, interpretation of emotions and actions therein makes it a complex and demanding craft to master. I believe being gifted with multiple attributes like good memory, voice and both physical and mental dexterity helps immeasurably if one aspires to be an accomplished tok dalang. Physical and mental stamina, strength are also important assets as performances typically take a few hours to conclude.

Kids Were Delighted And Amused By The Simple And Clever Use Of Light And Shadows To Tell A Story, A Magical Moment In Itself

A Thin Fabric And Its Shadows Veils The Master Story Teller And His Ensemble From The Audience

Tok Dalang Nawi, the master story teller, was a picture of intense concentration as he totally immersed himself into his story telling, adroitly working with the characters and telling the tale from behind a thin fabric screen and its shadows. He was completely in his element, effortlessly bringing the tale and characters to life, ‘losing’ himself in the play, delighting and enthralling the audience with his unique brand of wayang kulit story telling honed through years of disciplined and dedicated practice.

Total And Undivided Concentration

Stepping Up The Tempo

As the tale picks up pace and and drama unfolds, master musician Abdul Rahman Dollah and his men stepped up or slowed down their tempo accordingly to Tok Dalang Nawi’s pace, as the duel between good and evil, love and hate plays out in dramatic fashion with quick sweeping movements, creating some tense and gripping visual moments. The master story teller related the slow parts of the tale with equal finesse, his heartfelt delivery and range giving depth and emotion to the story’s characters. It didn’t feel like it but the tale ran its course for a good 3 hours before concluding close to midnight.

The Duel Between Good And Evil Reaches A Crescendo

A Tense And Gripping Moment

And Slowing Things Back Down With A Heart And Soul Narration

I certainly enjoyed watching my first wayang kulit performance that night, and had a lot of fun shooting the event (i think the same goes for the others who were shooting the event too) as I just love low light/night photography. Big thanks to the organiser(s) for their kind understanding and allowing photography to all. Big thanks too to Syafiq, member of the Kumpulan Seni Warisan Pusaka Machang ensemble who plays the Gendang Anak, for his help closing the loop on certain aspects of the ‘Kera Bali Bulu Beremas’ story I had difficulty following as it was performed in the Kelantanese dialect.

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 23mm, XF 35mm & XF 55-200mm