Friday, June 29, 2012

As Night falls over the water

As the color fade the evening falls  and the only sound you hear is the rumbbling of the traffic on the the nearby Jelutung Highway It is also being punctuated by the hammering of the guys got the house together piece by piece of timber.
In the distant horizon what you see is not a small hill but a man made hill of garbage piled thus high over the last few years. Not too lonf ago all you are looking at was part of the sea. The coastal line of the island is being reshaped and today an aerial map would show the island of Penang to be a square compared to  a few years ago when the bird's eye viewof the island had the shape of a turtle.
On  looking deeper into the matter with the perspective of a Health and Safety issue, this practice of creating a dump site along the coastal area is a no-no! But...people are people, that's what they are and being people they make people mistake and until such time that 'shit hits the fence', a slap in the face in the form of a water born decease or your skin start  to itch , then perhaps then the same people will attempt to take action.

Capturing what is relfected in the water is the motive of these next few series of pictures.  The beauty of a camera shot is the fact that it can capture images that the eyes would normally overlook. Taking good pictures depends on so many elements aethetically and it is also trusting your instinct on what you see or hope to see.
The fading colors makes for a good study of pastel values as well as tonal  shades for colors.Whenever possible pictures should tell a tale or at least leaves a trail of possibilities for the one who looks at them to let his mind wonder.
I read they are going to have a conference on the problem of the Haze that has been a plague to the West coastal areas of Malaysia including this Island of Penang. It will be held in of all places, Bali! Another picnic area to discuss the fate of thousands affected by the haze problem. Two months ago it was a climate talk in Rio, Brazil?  Wow! Well what can you say but hey more power to you guys and hope you learn something and come up with a viable solution. If my opinion be asked I would suggest Georgetown Penang would have been a better choice as it is and ideal place to enjoy the haze or get ideas firsthand.
Life on this waterfront is relatively new just as this construction in progress  suggests. It is also however symbolic of a life being threatened by change and so called progress. The haze you se in the background is not a natural phenomena but a man made disaster in progress. It is what the burning of forests in neighboring Indonesia is doing to this island.
Who is to blame for the haze? It is hazardous to the human respiratory system, I feel the sore throat and shortness of breath. I am sure the population as a whole must be going through such similar symptoms of heavy duty pollution. as that is what the Haze is.
As the sun sets behind the highrise buildings of the low cost housing the boys kept their footing on top of the makeshift roof nailing into the approaching darkness.Crows flying back to their roost while the traffic along the highway hums away less obtrusively.
Who can you blame for the Haze as there is no one person to blame as it is a collective error made by people who has their personal income  to cater to - and it is never enough unfortunately... so burn down more forest and clear more land for the future is in The Oil Palm Industry or the coco plantation, it is the mega agricultural projects that the money is to be made. So who is actually  the responsible party for the cause of the Haze?

Building a New Clubhouse

Building from scraps of recycled materials the  Boys got to work every evening to erect a new  Pondok  where it is away from the rest of the group of pondoks. Man's basic instinct to find his own space away from the rest of humanity or the society he has grown to abhor.
Notice how the long roof beams are nailed together pieces of timber. Will it all hold together/? Insha' Allah they will all agree, if not well we can all take a swim or as the fishermen in Alaska would say 'Its deep six'. They all know that this is all temporary as sooner or later the land hungry developers will arrive at the door step to tear the thing down and relcaim the land to build more low cost housin or even a condominium for those foreigners looking for second homes.

The ad hoc carpenter who owns a cafe close by stand with confident up on a make shift ladder. You are looking a another group of die hards, men who have been through life, done this and that in their lifetime and they are the types who do not take any nonsense lightly although theymay seem simple and laughs easily.

Tok Wan! Grew up along the water front in Weld Quay and most of his life spent near the sea.

He holds his dream in that bag, his own invention that he is still working on getting sold to the right man.
They all have their own stories to tell but every evening  they get together to work on the construction of this home on the water- a five star hanging out space.

The zinc roofing was donated by friends and needed allot of patchings.
The Portuguese Mac Guyver who is a Jack of all trades and a wizz with engines.  Yester day he brought me a book which he cautioned me as a book of 'Power'. The book is called 'The Power of Genuine Ancient Magick", by Carl Nagel. Somehow he believed it is up my alley.

Sketchings- Chinese Ink Wash

Ineeded to find something to do that does not take mush space of the need of a studio and  decided to work with small sketches using Chinese Ink  with brush. It started off a little shaky as iit has been quite sometime that I have done this.

The subject matter i decided upon  just having  the local faces old and new that one commonly find in and around Georgetown,Penang.

I have been working with smaller sketches lately and have almost one hundred pieces done of various sizes and most done on recycled boards from the frame shop. These boards are the trimmings from boards used for making boarders in framing pictures.

The subjects of black and white were mostly taken from old B&W pics.  of the old Georgetown scenes. Some were taken from Dr. Ooi's Book called Little India while others were from original pictures  that were given to me by friends.

Worker trimming cabbages in at a produce market
The original Milk seller, 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A New Earth -Eckhart Tolle

I have been under the influence of my darker nature, my 'pain body' addiction as Eckhart Tolle would have put it. It seems no matter how hard I try to detach myself from being held in its grip it gets stronger and I find mysel seeking that which causes more ill mannered ill tempered negative and unproductive state of being.I am feeling like I am slipping into darkness a road not unfamiliar to my past experiences. It is a blessing that I spotted this book, "Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" by Eckhart Tolle among some books sitting on my friend Hasnul J. Saidon's desk and I immediately asked to borrow it. Having red half of the book I came to the realization of my predicament; my ego is getting the better of me.
What triggers these emotional negativity to my perception are the few failiures that I am experiencingin my daily life. I am broke for one thing and that has always been a trigger and on top of that my Art exhibition failed to make any impact on my financial state as well as my reputation as an artist in my own home state. As a matter of fact I began to feel like I was being black balled by the very people I came to trust and whose friendship I had cultivated and this was apparent at my opening of the Solo Show at the Alpha Utara Gallery. It was a disappointment but I refused to acknowledge as such and this has caused a fermentation in my emotional state which my pain body started to feed on and led to where I am at.
Digressing a little further back in time I can now see that the negative ground that set off my negativity happened further back when I had to vacate my temporary studio at the MGT due to works of renovation in the building and then again due to other legitimate excuses. My ego needless to say was accepting these in its usual negative way although I refused to acnowledge it back then and I worked hard by focussing myself on creating a diversion in the form of a new series of work that does not require any space for a studio; I was denying myself of my true feelings of anger and disappointment. This self denial, this refusal to face my true feelings has now culminated into a form of depression that I carry in my mind and even as I am writing is manifesting itself into an illness. The chest pains and the shallow breathing, the twitchings in my right cheek and the numbness in my extremities they all point to a stroke in the making any doctor would tell me and deep in me I yearn for it to end my misery. I have carried with me this pain- body for most of my adult lifeand had I not been making it my study through all the reading and involvement with Yoga and Zen schools I would have ended in the mental home or probably in jail.
 The prospect of insanity has been like a shadow throughout my life and sometimes there are moments that I am physically reminded of the possibility when the first person I behold looking out my window is the mentally unstable man from the neighborhood; it is spooky as it occurs almost like a clockwork. First thing i do upon waking up is to look out my window below at where the restaurant is and lo and behold there he is my boogey man.Standing with a cigarette in one hand and a silly grin on his face waiting for a handout and I made the stupid mistake of being taken in by his sad state and over the years he has become a part of me.  But I tell myself that this too is the mind's way reminding me of what can be or might have been if I do not wake up from my unconsciousness, if I do not free my self from the grips of this negative state that the ego craves for;pain. The Buddha is said to have said that Suffering Is, None who Suffers and I understood it the first time I read this from one of Alan Watts writings on Buddhism while I was student at the University of Wisconsin.I had a realization that I was creating my own source of pain and suffering.
I was drifting into darkness and there were many such similar circumstances in my life, times that I am ashame to even remember the things that I destroyed and the relationships that I had abused or gone sour for one deluded reason or another that my egoic mind had conjured in order that I can feel a sense of being or belonging or simply to stay sane. Unlike the mentally  ill man I see out of my window or on the street corner, I am able to disguise my insanity in the form of creating an acceptable image of who I am or  yearn to be through practice and awareness of what is really going on within my self, each moment and every episode of my life replays itself as I sat to meditate at the end of the evening or as soon as I wake up every morning. This ongoing habit has been my saving grace and so has my continuing simple exercises which I have developed over the years to loosen up my muscles as well as help my blood circulation; every bit of positive act helps to align the mind and body and the sense of awareness of being in the present, the Here and Now.

"The beginning of freedom from the pain-body lies first of all in the realization that you have a pain- body. Then more important, in your ability to stay present enough, alert enough, to notice the pain-body in yourself as a heavy influx of negative emotion when it becomes active. When it is recognized, it can no longer pretend to be you and live and   renew itself through you."
                                                                          Eckhart Tolle..."A NEW EARTH"

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Guys when not Fishing.

Each picture tells a tale, a story, about people whose life I have touched or  touched mine and how our path crossed every now and then at odd places. I uswed to work at the Jerejak Resort and Spa along with my friend here and that was a few years ago. We met here again one day out of the blue.
Fishinng night all set for the night run  and now just relaxing killing time. 
I think this picture tells more than just the importance of time.

Caught in inactive-action a little siesta time is in order, what with the cool gentle breeze blowing on this hazy afternoon.

What have we not talked about? Politics? Religions? History or culture perhaps, the tide is quite high today.

This is perhaps not the 'Aleutian Stare' but it is still a stare out to the sea soaking in the openness and the expanse of the  skies blanketed in haze. How man can afford to kill his neighbor for a few dollars more and the Indonesians are up in arms again about Malaysia stealing their National Cultures and making it as part of its Heritage. 
One of the deaf mute twins always smiling and jumping at each other in loving tease just like twins living their lives in surviving day to day.  I too am a part of a twin but my being a twin brother to another has not such sweet tales to be brag about. My twin brother is a complete reverse of who I am a mirror image in looks but as individuals we are like Tom and Jerry.
Their mode of transportation bearing the meagre belongings that they haul here and there while looking for odd jobs when not actually out fishing.
Mamat is mentally slow and si being looked after his two elder brothers. I taught him how to massage the soles of his feet reflexology style whenever he sits around and  keep his back straight through breathing properly. He tends to forget  however and needed to be jump-started every now and then.
I stop looking at others with any sense of attachment albeit in the form of caring or judgement, I stop feeling the need to feel sorry although I acknowledge their pains and suffering in life. I do not envy or feel the need to be jealous of what others have, their achievements or their success in financial gains it is theirs I am contented to live my days out a breath at a time doing what i can to make their lives more beautiful and blessed or at least less of a pain.

From the Bird's Eye View

Although man is capable of making the most obnoxious of noises  in his daily life he is also is capable of enjoying the song of birds that he is will to take the trouble of pay the high price of acquiring the best singing bird for his listening pleasure.
The 'Merbah Jambul is one specie of singing bird that is much sought after  by  those who keep singing birds in and around their houses. Real bird enthusiast were known to have spent a good amount of their time, money and even close relationships in the quest for a good song bird. Every now and then a broken marriage is known to have taken place due to this hobby.

When your own inner dialogue cease  you can almost listen to and on going conversation between cages like two neighbors or more carrying out a gossip about something  or you might even feel like you are the topic of conversation. Remove yourself from this or take a step away and all you hear is a series of bird songs that fills the air.

Some men are proud of their wives while others are more into their song birds and that is a fact  if you ask.

Sometimes when you sit quietly you are likely to be entertained by these shrill singing voices filling the air with conversations that sounds like music.

The budjeegriger ? The fellows are the most conversant of birds when they are in a group.  You can almost read into their conversation like when it is a question and when an answer or when it is just a comment .
As you stop to smell the roses along your way do not forget to listen to our fine feathered friends for they too have a song to tell.