Category Archives: Photographs from the phone

The author, maybe trespassing

Exploring a beautiful space that seems to be under refurbishment somewhere near Yee I-Lann’s future home (which by the way will be designed by Building Bloc).


Christmas spent by the sea

Christmas Day, like any other public holidays in Malaysia, also means that shopping malls will be crowded, and the roads near them will be choked.  So it was pleasing when a friend decided to drive to Port Dickson. Highways seem less claustrophobic. The soundtrack of choice was Jiwang plus Rock Kapak.

The last impromptu trip there was in 2002 or so, with two members of the Four-leaf Clover Society. This time, as the car approached the Port, the air didn’t smell salty. But cats were still everywhere. Here are some shots of kuching perched here and there, their shapes accentuated with clouds of fishnets in a fishing jetty around Teluk Pelanduk.

At a beach in Kemang, we found a secluded area with rock pools and large rocks punctured with barnacles. Emotional landscapes! Just like in that Jóga video. What was there to do but rest and rilek on one of the rocks with a towel for a pillow and join the arthropods. At that moment, I wanted to be a barnacle forever.

I saw red with my eyes closed — sun through the eyelids; as I opened them everything was dark blue and turquoise, a perfectly natural saturation for what was right in front of me: calm sloshes on remarkable wave-carved formations… and the setting sun.

Kuching miang dan comel

Gambar kuching yang berkeliaran di luar kawasan kediamanku.

Tampaknya lucu, berguling-guling di belakangnya. Aku berjaya menyentuhnya untuk menghilangkan rasa ‘stress’ tapi setelah beberapa saat aku merasakan itu gelisah dan punya keinginan untuk menyerang, seperti bagaimana Polat akan melakukan hal yang sama jika saya menatap wajahnya terlalu lama.
Sayang sangat binatang manja!

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PS: R.I.P. CHI CHI. Condolences to my friend Cheryl Leong on his unfortunate time out of his cage. He was a very gentle male and always knew how to control the pressure of his teeth whenever I fed him raisins. A rare trait among Chinchillas ah…

Getting an ECG

As part of the ‘Mantin/Seremban’ series of posts, here is Yap Nue (granny’s name) behind the curtains getting her heart rate measured at the Mantin Government Clinic… The nurse scolded me for speaking to her during the session!

Alternative medicine

Granny consults a tabib cina in Seremban for traditional Chinese medicine. The place did not house any mysterious medical apparatuses  nor yellowing bell jars containing exotic specimens, though it could have been so 30 years ago, given that the space was very fitted for that sort of stylised aesthetic.

The tabib man feels her pulse with his fingers on her wrist for a long while.

As a person interested in examining spaces, I took a self-initiated tour through the colonial shoplot by politely asking for the restroom.

I passed a deep passageway with a few sunlit staircases and dim storage rooms packed tighly with dark glass bottles containing the liquid equivalent of things that were picked, stripped, dug out – or possibly killed in China. I went up an L-shaped staircase with cement stairs and tried to peep into the upper floor… the movement of a shy Indonesian maid stunned me for a moment. She disappeared with a mop, smiling. What was missing was the creaking sounds of my feet on antiquated wood.

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I sat waiting at the entrance looking at one of the men prepare a cocktail for granny. He reminded me of Felix from the back… a meatier version with a balding crown. With so many similar bottles printed with such small characters, it was delightful to see him pick specific ones so easily, as if he knows the exact coordinate of each ingredient – bark, root, herb, seahorse – like the back of his hand. It was a therapeutic movement. That splash of blue was rather cute too.


Granny taught me how to make soya milk from the raw beans. We spent an afternoon getting our fingers pruny by separating the skin off the beans…

It is so lovely to see the off-white tones of “soy foam”, produced during the boiling of ground soy beans and water. The fragrance, scented lightly with pandan leaves, was excellent; the taste of the drink was naturally sweet.

Someone should organise a “soy foam party” one day as it is clearly a healthier alternative to the ones we have now.

Been with granny

I have been in the suburbs of Mantin and the town of Seremban. i am happy my grandmother is putting on a little bit more weight. She has hypertension… I bought a lot of organic stuff for her to eat. She also has high blood sugar so that means no more steamboat buffets… she used to eat 3-4 cups of ice cream from those places. Cheap ice cream sommore. Mixing ‘yam’ with ‘chocolate’… it becomes a grey slush.

The above photograph shows her gossipping with a neighbour in Mantin. I love massaging her feet!