Sunday, 21 March 2010

Album 1 - My Early Years.

My life changed when my elder brother Upi took me with him to Kapit in 1955. His noble intention was to help lighten father's burden in feeding his seven children - an enormous task for him, since mother died. I was about seven years old then.

It was a one-way journey and my life was changed forever. You can read my life's story in my book My Adventure.

Even after retirement I had to settle down in Peninsula Malaysia. I had married a West Malaysian. My two children too, had followed in my footsteps. My heart is pining for the place of my birth but circumstances do not forbid. Even when I'm gone, my body must be buried in a foreign land - to be nearer to my children, who are more of West Malaysian than Sarawakian.

This picture was taken in 2004 when I paid a visit to Lachau.
L to R: My aunties Meri & Luncha, WO2 (Rtd) Tarang,
nephew Jackson, my eldest brother Upi and me. Luncha is the youngest
of 9 children. My father was the eldest. If he had lived, he would have been 90 plus
today. He passed away in 1964, 10 years after mother.

This is our unforgetable bathing place ("pin ai" in Iban) in the Strap River, a tributary of the mighty Batang Lupar. Notice the wooden foot bridge that span across it. At the height of the monsoon season, usually at the end of each year (today it is unpredictable), this foot bridge would be inundated. This is the way Lachauians use to reach their rubber small holdings, the old orchard and their wet paddy fields. There used to be an old banyan tree standing at the far bank from where we would jump into the river. It is gone now. The old buttress tree stump in the river had been there for more than 200 years. It is a belian tree, said to be stronger than steel. It can last even longer when submerged.

St. Martin's School Lachau. The school was established in 1954 by Father A.W Stonton, an Anglican Bishop. Soon after WW2, missionaries from England went all over the interior of Sarawak and established missionary schools and to spread Christianity. They had the vision to see what would happen if they hadn't taken this step.

This was the original school building. It was made of planks and hardboards back then. Now it is made of concrete with glass louvres.
A few more classrooms, including a hostel for students from far-away places.

My younger brother Linggir lighting up a furnace. He is preparing to make a machette (duku). "Ngambuh" is a disappearing art as there is no necessity to make machettes or adzes / axes anymore. They are readily available in shops at reasonable and affordable prices.

This was the 3rd generation Lachau Ili longhouse (it had moved 3 times over the past 50 years)
When I was just a baby, Lachau Ili, under the leadership of my Grandfather Mapan, decided to move away from its twin longhouse located about 50 meters away. Both "Tuai Rumahs" did not see eye to eye. At that time, this long house was still under construction and not fully completed. Today, it has been rebuilt into a more modern structure. Over the decades, many residents of this long house had worked in various sectors in far-away places like Semenanjung, Kuching, Sibu and Miri. After retirement, many decided to stay away from the long house and built their own detached house in the vicinity. Today, you'll find Lachau Ili is made up of two long houses and many detached houses. The same thing happened to the "rival" long house called Lachau Ulu.

My elder brother's house is the white one on the right. Exposed to to town life, he finds it convinient to stay in a detached house. St Martin's School is about 200m to the right of this picture.

My Grand Mother Kemau - the Grand Old Lady of Lachau Ili. See my write up on her.

L to R: Medang Sigi (my brother-in-law), Mujah the story teller, my elder sister Impo and her grand daughter.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Some of my old cameras

My first ever camera was a box camera which I bought towards the end of my schooling days in Tanjong Lobang School (TLS), Miri, Sarawak. Of course, what do you expect of a cheap camera? The quality of pictures were not sharp. Anyway, that was all I had and I was glad because I still keep some photographs of my TLS era I had taken with it.

I still remember vividly the occasion when I asked our school matron Miss Marian McKonkey to pose for a picture with her old bicycle just outside her quarters. She oblighed. I do not know where that photograph is now. Miss Marian McKonkey had passed away in a nursing home in the USA at a ripe old age of 100.

Here are some of my old cameras I still keep. Some are still in good working condition.

A Yashica GSN

A Cosina

A Pentax Espio 738s

The Beginning of My Interest

I had always been fascinated by photography. It is an interestt I had picked up when I was schooling in Tanjong Lobang School, Miri, Sarawak in the 60s. I was a member of the School's Photography Club. I didn't own a camera but I knew how to develop films and pictures in the Dark Room.

When I was undergoing my two years of military cadet training in the Royal Military College, Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur from 1967 to 1969, I bought my first expensive camera for RM300, payable in 12 instalments. Through out the years when I was serving in the Malaysian Rangers, I seemed to have bought one camera after another as they didn't last long due to rust or damage or even lost. Somehow, too, the quality of the pictures were much to be desired. But then, the cost of a good camera was way beyond my means. Seeing people lugging huge cameras with huge lenses were something that I could only dream of.

However, dreams do become a reality sometimes. For me the purchase of a Nikon D90 two weeks ago is a dream come true. My biggest regret, however, was, it should have been bought when I was scouring the Malaysian jungles for Communist Terrorists from 1969 to 1987. Words cannot describe the many scenes that were hidden away from man's eyes. They were fantastic and they were lost forever. That was my biggest regret.

Nikon D 90 with the standard 18 - 105mm les

The 70 - 300mm lens I bought on 5 May 2011

Some samples I took with my D90.