Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The 'McCurry Moment', and Changes in KL

It was last Friday, and the moment I saw the image appear on my handphone screen I knew I had somehow broken new ground. It was like a 'McCurry moment'; Cartier-Bresson developed the idea of the 'decisive moment'—in which split-second gestures are anticipated and captured by the photographer—while Steve McCurry went on to interpret this in context of juxtapositions.

McCurry's images frequently depict the 'shared' decisive moment, the point when the individual decisive moments of two or more individuals meet.

For me, it began with the (apparently) homeless/jobless man. And then the woman came along. Because of the phone camera's ridiculous shutter lag, I really had no idea which part of her walking would be captured. When the final image was recorded, it turned out to be that moment when she picks up her skirt (and pace) and prepares to descend the stairs—her motion and momentum juxtaposed against his stillness.

(Note to self: I need a faster lens, both to counter hand-shake and reduce motion blur when taking pictures like this.)

* * *

There have been some observable changes in town, particularly at and around the Central Market area.

View of KL Tower from the Dayabumi-Central Market bridge, 5 November 2009.

Same view, 1 September 2011.

Note the new HSBC building, otherwise known as Quill 6.

Man descends steps at the Dayabumi-Central Market bridge, 5 November 2009.

Same view, 1 September 2011.

A roof has been built over the bridge. While this makes walking in rain somewhat more tenable, it obscures the view and the feeling of 'openness' which so characterises that area. Kinda like the effect of the roofs/canopies of Petaling Street and Jalan Masjid India.

* * *

According to the KTM website, the Kuala Lumpur station (Old Railway Station, as distinguished from the KL Sentral station) has been reinstated as a stop on the intercity route as of 1 October 2011.

I think it's only been about a year since they pulled the plug on the station (for the intercity routes), but I guess you can't keep a good station down. Elton John had this song called 'This Train Don't Stop There Anymore'. Well I suppose it won't be said of the intercity trains!

This applies to west coast trains on the North Line only, as the KL station is north of Sentral; South and East Line trains terminate at Sentral. An exception is the venerable Ekspres Rakyat, which plies almost the entire west coast, from Singapore to Butterworth.

Departure/arrival times from KL, to:

JB Sentral; 1400/2000
Butterworth; 0850/1615, 1510/2120, 2300/0630 (next day)
Padang Besar; 2120/0835

To KL, from:

JB Sentral; 0912/1500
Butterworth; 0800/1400, 1400/2100, 2300/0630 (next day)
Padang Besar; 1830/0525 (next day)

(All information correct as of 29 November 2011.)

The Mogul-inspired façade of the Old Railway Station at dusk, designed by architect A.B. Hubback. The station started operations in 1911. It is officially 100 years old this year, and I didn't know that—there doesn't seem to have been news on it at all!

More information here.

Titus, Joy, Yen and Jia Hui on Platform 1, waiting for the 6.30 a.m. ETS train to Ipoh, September 2010.

View from intercity train rattling through Platform 1 en route to KL Sentral.

Driveway, front of station.

Photographed 30 October 2011, while mistakenly waiting for Juin at the wrong place.

* * *

A promo display for the KTM Komuter 'transformation plan' has been put up at the main entrance foyer in KL Sentral. Looks like quite a complete overhaul of the existing system—about time too!

(That cartoon-like character next to the boy in green T-shirt is a person in the KOMI suit. KOMI is one of the KTM Komuter mascots, the other being MIKO.)

Meals Station has taken over from Warong Kita.

It is open 24 hours—one of the few outlets in Sentral to do so. Can't remember if Warong Kita used to be 24 hours also, but I think not; it just opened very early in the morning.

* * *

The other night—I think it was Saturday night—I dreamt, among other things, of Kaun, Yen, Jia Hui and Adelene.

Before that, in the dream, I was making some sort of Milo concoction for Mich. She said an average cup the way I did it would be RM20, and I said that it was impossible. I was being very generous with the Milo powder, the extra chocolate powder and the milk, but it couldn't have come up to RM20.

How did such an exchange find its way into my dream? I think it comes from what I do with my cocktails: Mich and Joan have observed that, if I made cocktails commercially as I make them at home, I would quickly go bankrupt!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

KL Observed: Random

Some scenes around town, this month.

Face lift, front façade, Pudu Plaza.

Pudu Plaza, front façade.

The Sphere, Bangsar South.

I concur with Yen; one of the foodie gems in the area, still relatively undiscovered. Among other things, Strongbow draught pint RM15 at S'Mores on Wednesdays, and Guinness draught pint RM12 from Thursday to Saturday (albeit till 10pm only)—yet to try!

Entrance to Lift Lobby from parking, Menara SSM, KL Sentral.

Talk about gender correctness!

Replacing road signs, at and around Jalan Abdullah, Bangsar.

1NasiLemak, Hang Tuah LRT station.

Seriously, the government should consider a campaign to promote nasi lemak as a 'unity symbol'. Then again, Namewee got there first.

Filing into the Monorail, Hang Tuah Monorail station.

View of the Asian Heritage Row, from Faber Imperial Court.

I wonder what aspect of 'heritage' this street embodies... unless it's the Asian drinking heritage you're talking about. But then again, there's not much in the way of Asian drinks here!

Chatime, Cheras Leisure Mall.

Seems like no matter where Chatime springs up, a queue is guaranteed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Alexis with Kishan and Jean

Jazz nights are really the bomb. And it's hard to beat Alexis Ampang for an overall great evening out with friends.

Kishan was back again over the weekend, and I met up with him and his friend Jean. In a world choked by the "iPad culture", it was great hanging out with real people, listening to real music. Nadia Aqilah, an up-and-rising R&B/soul singer was performing; the band included Emmanuel on drums!

We admitted we'd probably never understand what people find so enjoyable about clubbing. We paid less for a lovely bottle of wine than what people pay at clubs for alcohol they can barely truly enjoy; we had a meaningful conversation while people in clubs probably can't get a word across; we sat down to great food and great music, while club music is so loud it's barely audible.

Fire oven pizza—one of the highlights at Alexis. We mixed the Quattro Formaggi (four cheeses) and Al Funghi (mushroom) toppings.

We also shared a bottle of Salisbury Chardonnay, a plate of honey-roasted root vegetables (pumpkin, carrot, onion, garlic), a meringue-strawberry pavlova, and a pot of passionfruit tea.

And then, when they cleared everything up, we took some concept photos with the upturned/stacked chairs.

Kishan says I can compensate for any deficiencies/problems in photographic situations. That is evidently an overstatement, but I would indeed like to think that that's principally how I approach photography—as an attempt to overcome challenges in conveying how I feel about something or someone or someplace.

Kishan, Ben and Jean.

Metal barstool and shadow, with stacked wooden chairs.

Remains of supper.

On another note, I mentioned how Lewis Pragasam hasn't been playing the Alexis for a while now. And then, lo and behold, turns out Pragasam and band will be anchoring year-end celebrations at the Alexis!

Friday 30 Dec, 10 p.m.
Saturday 31 Dec, 9 p.m.

Free admission. Come one, come all!