Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Shooting our own Pre-Wedding: First Take

Although the DIY photoshoot is far from perfect, we enjoyed doing it and got excited and surprised at the outcome of some. The sense of achievement is not something that is easily obtained from engaging professional photographer or paying someone else to do it.

We have a lot to learn from our first. From the hair, make-up, preparation, style matching, postures, lighting to getting help from friends and family. This was when I felt that my family all came together to make this possible, tolerating my eccentricity and temper.

The favourite spot of mine near grandparents' house, the Permaisuri bridge, is of course in my list of locations. The good thing is, it is just 5 minutes' drive away.

Love the Natural Curls

Breaking the ice was not easy, we had tough time posing with each other.

Permaisuri

Fresh Take

From the Heart

In the end, we were not satisfied with most of the pictures at the bridge, especially couple photos. We drove back feeling a bit fed up but decided we should try more, at the comfort of the house!

The Flower

The Reflection

The end result is kinda surprising, with this photo shot inside the living room of my grandparents' house, with my grandparents, mum and dad watching, while my aunt helped to press the shutter.

Engulfed

Second take of the day with the same dress and same suit, was in the evening of the same day. This time my sis and her boyfriend joined us and contributed to the style and poses. The flowers, freshly plucked from my grandma's little patch of decorative garden, also lift up the whole mood of the photos.

With our homegrown flowers

At the end of the day, I think this might be our favourite photo of DIY first take:

Kampung House

We would continue to shoot, and have more and more choices.

Monday, January 26, 2015

First Taste of Nepal

Dhampur Village

Our most favourite mountain lodge of the trek in Dharmpus village, where we spent our last day of 5 nights trek, relaxing here with a view of Annapurna.

I ventured into the trails of Nepal, cutting ourselves off from the world outside, and I am still loving it and missing it now, although I did the tourist track of Poon Hill. The trails that we passed by were so surreal and peaceful even though they are heavily trekked.

Talk about the touristy Poon Hill. The view from Poon Hill towards the Annarpurna mountain range:

The Annapurna

There was even a night without any electricity and light in Landruk. We stayed inside the homestay's dining lounge, with candles and other foreigner friends. We did not complain, even appreciated a night like this.

Annapurna South

We thought that Pokhara is already amazing, with all the good food before we started the trek. We came during the Deepavali festival week, and our first day in Pokhara was the day of Human. Dogs were decorated, some with a red dot on their forehead, the local Nepali danced everywhere inside the town, with Hindi music blaring in the background as they danced. The whole town had become so alive!

The iconic Lake Phewa of Pokhara, did not disappoint us at all when we toured around the lake with bicycles.

Lake Phewa, boating

Lake Phewa, herding

I will definitely do more write-ups on this Nepal trip, and there will be a second time visiting Nepal for sure!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Revisiting Angkor

Faces of Bayon

This is not my first time traveling to Cambodia. The memory of Angkor Wat from the first visit 4 years ago though, was fading away slowly.

For this time, as with the last trip to Japan, I went there again because I followed YN to the conference, only this time I was not on my own to explore the Angkor but with my 3 other friends.

How could I forget the Bayon temple, with the faces of Avalokitesvara looming all over the towers? Being the center of Angkor Thom, it doesn't disappoint me that it was once the capital city of Khmer empire.

Bayon, before we left

Bayon evening

Mr Vonny and Me

The jungle temples: Preah Khan and Ta Prohm. I would have thought that Ta Prohm would be more impressive because of the fame it gained from Tomb Raider's movie, but Preah Khan, or the Sacred Sword proved that they are equally impressive.

Preah Khan:

Preah Khan

Mr Vonny and a Tourist girl

One of Preah Khan's trees

Ta Prohm:

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

In my previous visit to Angkor Wat, I missed Beng Mealea, and did not even know about its existence. This time, it became my must-go. Together with Me Chrei, both out of the way from the main temple complex but definitely worth visiting.

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea and me

Me Chrei, slightly off the main road not far from Beng Mealea.

Me Chrei

Me Chrei

Inside Me Chrei


I hate crowd. Other than Me Chrei, Tanei temple inside the Angkor archaeological complex that Mr Vonny introduced us to is so quiet and isolated. And I love that.

Tanei

The Silver Tree

I actually made a photobook to document these 5 days short break. Nepal's trip? Next to go!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Children of Mabul

Mabul island has a lot of children. A lot of them. Also, cats. In the village, the children, and grown-ups, roam around the village like time has stopped there since many years ago. The village and its rustic charm.

Right outside our homestay, a Mabul boy swam to us with his prizes from the sea and showed me to ask if we would be interested to buy some. Although we just smiled and told him that we were not buying, he politely thanked us and swam away.

Mabul Kid

Children in the village seems to love patronising this little shop that sell snacks. Even after the sky turned dark and no more snacks available to buy, some children still loitered at this little blue shop.

Choosing treats

Shopping boy

Friends

The children are lovely, they are not really camera-shy, and in fact they are not a bit evasive as me to the camera lens at all.

Little Girl of Mabul

Lovely children

As these three girls are just outside our homestay, I got to see them one more time on the last day before we left.

Sweet local girl

Looking at the scene below, it hits the nostalgic part of me. I miss seeing babies being cradled. I guess they no longer do this nowadays in our town. Cats, people, taking afternoon nap in the hot days.

Cradling in early afternoon

Cats, everywhere on the island

It's like smiles everywhere. Sometimes when you are not exposed to too much, you retain the purity and kindness. Also, feel contented easily.

Toddlers

Grocery Shop Toddler

Portrait of a Mabul Family

Interesting sighting. The children are actually gathering to watch a movie together.

TV gathering

Only in Mabul.

Houses on sea

It's a big world

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Our little Gardening works

A soft, well lit corner. Plants, reading are our hobbies.

Recently, we kind of very into these little gardening thing. Glad that we have this little corner where the lighting is soft during the daytime, to place all the little greeneries and take pictures of them, as well as food.

We started with kit sourced from Taobao, like the moss, stones etc from the comfort on our bed, though I wanted to have as much as DIY spirit into the project as possible. I am still not familiar with plants, and don't know what are the moss and plants growing outside our house are suitable for indoor.

I think there is a very easy trick in setting up the base layers. I hope the plants can survive:

Bottom layer: small stones for water to set in if too much water
Second layer: sphagnum moss or peat moss, wet the moss before setting in, I guess charcoal works the same.
Third layer: soil, still learning what's the different soil will do to the plants


Miniature garden

Hanging garden:
Glass container and hanger sourced from Taobao, mosses and miniature toy figures as well. The unknown pretty little hanging plants are transplanted from a bowl of artistic plants which YN found in Kuching. I hope to find out the name of the plant.

Haworthia plant and an airplant

Wind and Air:
Both Haworthia (Zebra desert plant) and airplant are sourced from Taobao as well.

Lesson learnt, air plants can be procured from Taobao but not zebra plant. The tips start to turn yellow. I hope they do survive. Will go out to the local nursery to source for more plants!


Update (2015):
The Zebra plant actually starts to grow bigger in the office, but stay about the same at home. The airplants still thriving, and there is finally a Terrarium with red nerve plant!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Short getaway to Mabul, Semporna

Back in last April, we had an impromptu trip to Semporna region of Sabah, despite a kidnap that just happened in March. We could not resist the super cheap air fare, and bought it. A girl gave up on the trip, but the rest of us persisted. Applause to XT, Alfred, Pan, Gerry and me!

DSCF3098

We did not try to hide from our boss that we were going on the same trip. Me and my colleagues / teammates:

DSCF3095

Before we reached the town of Semporna, the palm oil plantation from the airport to the town broke my imagination of a Sabah with pristine forest. Deeply saddened to see how Sabah forest has been damaged to this extent. Few years ago, when Marcus drove us all to the Tip of Borneo from Kota Kinabalu, I do not recall seeing any palm oil tree. Two or three hours of journey, and it was all palm oil plantation.

Semporna is a town, that resembles a very typical laid-back Malaysian town. Signs of tourism boom could be seen, with hotels and hostels springing up near the seaside area, and tourists walking in their snorkelling gear or swim suit on the streets. There was nothing much in this town, after dinner we just spent our evening playing San Guo Sha card game that Gerry brought along.

We stayed in Summer Friends homestay, which owned by a Chinese, Mr Yong, and his family of Bajau-Chinese descendants, who helped to arrange for airport transport, boat transfer to Mabul island and the homestay. It's a very homely homestay that is supported by stilts with the Celebes sea just below the floor / wooden planks. The sea just below the homestay was crystal clear too, with a tint of turquoise but I could see that the water was not really clean. How nice if we could let our city mindset that cares too much about cleanliness out of our way and jump into the sea and play like all the children of the Mabul village did.

DSCF3015

Mr Yong's son, Xiao Yang, with his friendly charm, who hung out with us and guided us to the snorkel trips.

DSCF3018

DSCF3193

On the rooftop of Summer Friends Homestay, under the starry sky, we just could not help ourselves to play with all these long exposure photos. On the rooftop with all the stars above us, the air was cool, and we laid down on the wooden planks there and talked to each other. It was one of those quality moments that staying in a luxurious resort doesn't give you.

DSCF3131

The Kapalai resort snorkel was actually the best among all the snorkels I had on the island.

Photo 20-4-14 10 28 49 am

Photo 20-4-14 10 26 52 am

Mr Yong's wife, a local Bajau lady was like a kind mother too. While I fainted there, possibly due to heatstroke, Xiao Yang and aunty applied oil and let me drink the rehydration salt solution.

DSCF3229

Just outside the homestay, it's Mabul village that is interesting to walk about. The island is very very small, which possibly only took less than an hour to circle the island on a casual pace. Walking in the village was like having an experience of time travelling to older time. The village retained so much Kampung feel. The locals were very friendly too, smiling at us as our eyes met.

DSCF3049

DSCF3068

DSCF3219

Now I know Gerry loves cats.

DSCF3191

We wandered into a school, with view like this just beside the school. Do the school children jump into the sea when they feel like it or they risk being scolded by teachers? Feel like I should have brought along a towel so that I can just swim for a little bit here!

DSCF3172

Before the trip, I started brain-washing XT and Pan that cold shower is good for health, I think I failed to have their mind changed.