Sunday, September 23, 2007

Merdeka 2007... visually speaking

If not for Christine's request, I doubt I would've blogged about this so soon, if at all.

Merdeka this year was a mixed affair. I'd wanted to visit Putrajaya to see the fireworks but was too tired that week and decided I needed to rest. (Kelvin recently told me that the fireworks were somewhat disappointing as the bridge wasn't lit when he was there, thus eliminating the possibility of shooting the bridge and fireworks in the same scene.)

Also, Putrajaya was an opportunity to meet up with Sam, who's returning to India tomorrow. But once I found out that the Merdeka parade would be at Dataran Merdeka this year, that idea also flew out the window.

So I missed Sam and the fireworks. But I don't suppose all was lost. I didn't get quite as close to the present King as I did the previous one two years ago (when I stood within metres of his horse carriage), but I did get to experience a major event from the vantage point of a professional photographer.

Being the muka tembok photographer I sometimes am, I lingered as near as I could to the section of the road facing the royal dais, despite being chased away by a security officer earlier in the morning for not having an official press pass.

Thus I ended up being lumped together with the real press at the MC's booth--the perfect spot to view most of the day's events.

* * * * *

Kevin and I arrived on the scene early enough to catch a brilliantly-lit Sultan Abdul Samad building against the deep-blue dawn sky, and the yet-to-be-filled royal dais.

Prince Andrew greets Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah while Rafidah Aziz looks on.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong inspecting the Guard of Honour.

A glorious 'Merdeka'.

An officer enjoying his cigarette break. (I doubt he noticed me despite standing only about three feet away!)

The Masters of Ceremony: Mahadzir Lokman (is there any event he does not emcee?) and his female partner whose name I do not know.

The day kicked off with a musical montage accompanied by those people who lift up pieces of cloth in formation to form words, signs etc... I don't know what they're called! This shot from the last piece says it all: 50 years might be a milestone, but already we're looking way ahead!

War veterans from the Commonwealth nations. I have no idea who the guy in red is, but judging by his uniform, he must've been quite an important figure.

Members of the Home Guard. I wonder if this was merely reenacted, or if they really managed to assemble some of the actual makciks who fought against the communists.

Visions of the future... Angkasawan Negara!

One of my favourite pictures, albeit by accident. ;-)

There were some familiar faces that day...

...and along the way to Central Market, lots of the stuff-that-makes-us-Malaysian!

* * * * *

Again remembering Amirul's words:

Hey guys & gals, Though ive been disappointed by d absence of fireworks display at klcc, and damn, i got d perfect spot.. but thats not what merdeka is about now, is it...

To be 'merdeka' , is to be free from that cycle that you're trapped in, to give up the things you're addicted to the most.

Im sure you all have your own definitions of independence, and so, i'd like to wish you;
Happy Independence Day!
-amirul z.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Reflections on yet another Farewell

It's been six-and-a-half weeks since Ah Ma passed away.

Since then, I daresay we've taken flight as much as she has.

We've done things we'd never done in a long, long time...

...seen faces we'd never thought we'd see. Together.

For out of the wintry ashes of death...

...a new hope for spring is born; fertility in a once barren land.

And with every sunset, a better day may rise with the dawn...

...for after all is said and done, the choice really is ours, isn't it?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Only in the Dark

I won an EP CD (via lucky draw; there were enough 'prizes' such that everyone was 'lucky' that day :-P) at the Phases Online launch last year.

It was called Through the Rain and was produced to raise funds for victims of the Asian Tsunami of December 2004.

There are four songs on the CD, among them Juwito Suwito's 'Only in the Dark'. Little did I know then that it would be a great source of comfort and inspiration in the weeks to come.

It was truly a godsend that saw me through one of the most challenging times of my life.

* * * * *

The raindrops fall incessantly
Each time I think the sky's letting up
There seems to be another cloud
Bringing the dark
Coming right at me

So often I can't see the road ahead
The blinding headlights loom
Then go out again
But suddenly I find that I
Don't need to strive
'Cause I realize I am rising, I'm flying and...

Only in the dark when I can't seem to see
I learn to hear Your whisper
That's been guiding me
Reach out for the Hand
That bears the light
So my step is right
Only in the dark

Now each day's a step that's lighted up
And the questions asked
Won't make me stop
'Cause I know no matter how I feel
That this is real
And I'm slowly getting to a place where it's not...


So let the shadows come
And let me run into Your arms where
I can feel the warmth of Your touch
Leading me on, loving me on
Turning me on
Though now it seems to be that