Cambodia Outreach 2015

Kids in Cambodia

I have volunteered myself to join a charity event recently. The purpose of the charity event is to help out the needed in Cambodia. Donations of food, clothes, toys and other necessity has been collected, and what we need to do next is basically transporting and distributing the donation items to the needy. All together there were around 30 volunteers who joined this event. We get the donations packed and there we go flying to Cambodia. Upon arrival at our guesthouse, we sorted out the goods into smaller packaging to ease the distribution process. For the next two days, we have visited a few locations such as slum village, schools and orphanage. We handed out rice, bread, clothes and toys to the needy, and also spent some time teaching and interacting with kids in the school and orphanage.

Kids in Cambodia

To most of us who have been living in a good and comfortable environment since the day we were born will never be able to imagine how our life can be if we were to be in their position. Houses were constructed beside the slum with muddy water and awful smell, and the houses were made of woods and zinc plates. There wasn’t any proper road to access to those villages, and one may wonder how they can live in such a condition. Those who are lucky enough will get a chance to study in school. Those who are less fortunate may ended up in the orphanage, as their parents simply can’t afford to raise them. It’s really sad, but this is reality. Similar things are happening all around the world, especially in developing countries.

Nevertheless, I managed to squeeze some time out to take some shots of the kids here in Cambodia. I was drawn by them. When you look into their eyes, it gives you a feeling of… pureness. When they smile, they are really smiling from their heart. A word of “Thank you” from them warms my heart. Although they are living in such a condition, I’m glad that the kids are still living their childhood happily. Perhaps that’s more important than anything else.

It’s really a great experience and eye opener to visit Cambodia. I’m glad that I have joined this voluntary work, and hopefully I’ll be able to join more of these events in the future. Till then.

Penang – A Heritage Walk

Penang, an island state in Malaysia. I’ve been to this place for twice before this (if I remembered correctly). Once when I was still very young, barely remember anything about it; once when I was around teens, attending my cousin’s wedding. Some how, I never had any find memories about this place. In fact, during my last visit, the locals I met, the places I went, pissed me off until I started to hate this place. Fast forward to December 2014, I decided to take a leap of faith (sounds too serious, right?) and travel to this place again. This time is to attend the wedding of my university’s course mate. But other than that, I also took the opportunity to walk around and explore more of this island, hoping that I can have a better experience this time.
The first day, together with some of my old mates from university, we went to the Asia Camera Museum. It’s a small and cozy museum that host a collection of camera history and related items. Other than getting to know about the history of camera and photography, you also get a chance to put your hands on some of the vintage cameras. After the visit, we moved on to enjoy some local streets delight and exploring the Penang’s mural before heading back to hotel and call it a day.
The next day, I head out to the streets again with my secondary school mate who is working here. After having a quick breakfast, we head on to explore the “Occupy Beach Street” event. Streets are temporary closed on this Sunday morning to allow people to carry out social activities, setup stalls for small business and son on. There’re a lot of things going on every corner.  Clown performance, street performance, food stalls and family activities to name a few. It’s a very lively Sunday morning indeed.
Next, we head to some old heritage site to explore some of the cultural, traditional and historical side of Penang. We visited some old buildings, temples and etc. and get to know a little bit about the past history of this small island.
To wrap up the day, we head to view the dragon boat racing competition. Other than local teams, there were teams from Singapore as well joining the competition.
So, after so many years, do I started to like this island a little more? Well, perhaps… I would say I hate it less than I was before this. There are still things that annoys me here and there during my stay, but all in all, I do get a much better experience traveling to Penang this time round. Will I head back to this island again? Well, maybe. And hopefully as time goes by, I will get to appreciate this island more.

Hong Kong & Macau – A journey of Modern & Heritage

Was in Hong Kong & Macau for 9 days in the month of November. The main purpose of the trip is partly holiday and partly to accompany my grandmother to visit my sister who’s working in Hong Kong. It’s nice to spend time with family, and it’s nice that I finally get to travel oversea after almost 2 years of work life.
We were greeted with nice and comfy weather during our stay. Rainy season was over and entering to the fall season. Perfect for walking around and exploring without getting tired of the heat and sweat. And we were blessed for able to stay in my sister’s cozy home for free. That’s why we can splurge a little more on the air ticket and travel with Cathay Pacific Airline instead of budget airline.
Hong Kong, although a small city, hosts a blend of modern cityscape and tradition heritage. You get to see a lot of high rise buildings, at the same time a lot of old buildings, temples, monuments and so on. Macau on the other hand has more heritage, modern architecture are mainly the hotels and casinos. I’m not a fan of casino anyway, so I spent a day in Macau venturing some of its heritage hot spots, while the remaining days in Hong Kong experiencing the blend of past and future.
There’re a lot of historical and cultural spots waiting for you to explore. Basically I spent my days in places like Lantau, Tai O, Central, Mongkok and etc. while heading to Macau for a day trip. Other than the usual tourist attractions, I have walked through some old villages, streets and the cities. For some, Hong Kong is just another city. But if you are willing to take your tome to dive into it, you will be able to explore the beauty of the hidden gems within.
Will I be heading back to Hong Kong again? Most likely. I would like to uncover more hidden gems that I have missed or yet to venture in this trip. Hopefully I’ll be able to head back to this city soon and to continue my exploration journey.

#Umbrella Movement

Was in Hong Kong for my last trip, and was able to get a glimpse of the Umbrella Movement, the protest that’s going on in Hong Kong not long ago. How it started, evolved and ended, well, you can always refer to the news for more reliable information. I’ll just share some opinion and feeling that I have after witnessing the protest site itself.
I’ve been to the Mongkok and Central area protest site to snap some pictures, and to sort of understanding the whole movement from a third party point of view. Mongkok is quite happening with a lot of actions and conflicts going on and off. I heard that Admiralty is the most active site, but I only managed to pass by without much involvement.
Throughout my stay in Hong Kong, this issue seems to be the topic that people talk about. And after chatting with some locals, I get to see some insight of the whole story. What you see from the newspaper is just the surface story, there are many issues brewing all along that contribute to this outbreak. And sadly, the similar problem will hit all the developing countries like Singapore and Malaysia sooner or later. In fact you can already see some sign of people protesting now and then in Singapore and Malaysia, which is kinda worrying.
So what went wrong? Many things… The price hike of property, increase of living expenses, inflation and etc., but at the same time, the younger generation has more demand, want to take more while give in less, expecting changes and improvements to happen overnight and so on. So who’s fault were to blame? I don’t really get an answer for this. If I’m to comment, everyone needs to take in part of the responsibility for things to turn out this way.
Throughout the few days that I’m shooting on scene, I’m glad that nothing much had happened to me, other than there’s a quarrel going on for a moment when those who are photographing at the scene were asked to back off a little. The protestor ask for equality, claimed that they have the right to camp on the street, a public area, but yet seems to me that they are not treating others equally as well. Sad and ironic.
Should this movement really happened? Well, there are people who support it, and there are people who against it. There’s always pros and cons in everything. The next question is no longer whether this should have happened and who should take responsible, but rather, how to make things better so that in future things like this will not happened again. May peace be restored to Hong Kong, and hopefully the same thing will not happened to any other places as well.