Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Calling of Pantai Valley

This arrived in the mail over a week ago.

The UM Alumni Association (Persatuan Alumni UM - PAUM) published a coffee-table book on UM recently, entitled The University of Malaya: The Calling of Pantai Valley. It's quite a formidable, though not exhaustive, book detailing the journey of UM from its inception to the present day.

(Please note that I signed the picture above to state that I took it, and not that I designed the cover. If you want a picture of the cover for corporate or publishing purposes, please don't use this; it's not quite straight and there might be a little distortion because it wasn't a properly shot 'cover shot'.)

They organised a photography competition last year in an effort to increase their pool of photos of UM. I participated. However, there were apparently so few entries and many were so amateurish that they decided to scrap the competition.

I only found that out after seeing my pictures in the book and calling them to ask why I wasn't informed of the book's launch or that my photographs were included.

(Thanks Yong Hao for spotting my pictures and thus bringing to my attention the fact that the book was already published!)

Anyway, not only was I not informed, my photos weren't credited either. If you are reading this and you know someone in the Alumni Association, please draw this to their attention. They have sent me a copy of the book and will be compensating with a Canon printer, but that's not really the issue.

The issue is this: I don't want this sort of nonsense to happen in future competitions or calls-for-submission. There's this clause in every such competition that allows the organiser(s) to use the submissions for their purposes. That's fine. But with all due respect, I think organisers of such events, and especially publishers of books, should acknowledge the contributors and give credit where it is due.

If you happen to come across the book (there are many copies of it in Pekan Buku, UM, retailing for RM180), or if you own one, please note that the following pictures are mine:

Courtyard of the Lab Building, Institute of Biological Sciences.

My friends Xiao Lee, Amos, How (and Aqilah and Taufiq cropped off at the top) observing a lamprey (a type of jawless fish) during a Biology Practical session last year.

A scene of 3rd College where I live (centre), and last year's roti canai man at Sahur's Cafe, the well-known 3rd College mamak joint (bottom).

(UM debaters, see if you can spot Edith, Catherine and Raphael somewhere. Happy hunting!)

The heart of Rimba Ilmu, the UM Botanic Garden. Looks like the time Yean Khinn and I spent in Rimba Ilmu last year paid off!

It took nearly half an hour to nail this shot of the wetlands section, and by the time I reached this part of Rimba Ilmu, Yean Khinn had already left to meet his sister. It was raining and I was working solo with an umbrella over my head and tripod-mounted camera, mosquitoes all over my hands and my feet in the mud.

I experimented heavily with composition and orientation (horizontal vs vertical), and each exposure lasted about three or four seconds as the day was dark and I was shooting at ISO 200.

And I'm glad the result will forever be a part of UM's (recorded) history!

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