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Fujifilm X-Pro1 : Thaipusam Festival At Kota Kinabalu

Thaipusam is a key Hindu ceremony that is held each year during the full moon in the tenth month of the Hindu calendar – Thai – falling from mid-January to mid-February in the Gregorian calendar. It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community including Malaysia. . It mark as public holiday in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Kedah, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak,  Penang & Selangor.

I’ve been living in Kota Kinabalu for so many years but never heard of this festival being held around here. All this years, I only know this iconic festival attracts over one million devotees and tens of thousands of tourists at Batu Caves. I was looking for some photographic opportunity during Deepavali last year, when I see the note about Thaipusam at Sri Subramaniam Temple (KM22, Penampang-Papar Road in Lok Kawi). My curiosity about it lead me to ask one of the visitor at the temple, I am lucky enough to know that the person I talked to is one of the temple management team. He said it was actually held every year. Yes, every year here in Kota Kinabalu and I have never seen a picture of this festival that was taken from here.

With the information given, I managed to find the location where it being held. It was at Meruntum waterfront near Sabindo Traffic Light. I can’t wait a friend of mine, Rade to arrive when I saw the ceremony is already started. During the ceremony, I’m still curious will be there any piercing like what we used to see at Batu Caves. I decided to stay when the group of devotees carrying a pot of milk walks to Sri Subramaniam Temple. Then I just realise that the piercing ceremony will be held.

Since this was my first time covering Thaipusam Festival, I have no idea how and what to expect. These are some images I took this morning with Fujifilm X-Pro1 + Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4.

Pot of Milk

I can’t stay until the end of ceremony (I wish I could), I have another priority for family & to perform Friday Prayer. I learn a lot about this festival, next year I’ll aim for the eve Thaipusam. It much more interesting in Batu Caves, but I prefer to highlight the festival at Kota Kinabalu.

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Tadau Kaamatan – Portrait Series

“The Kaamatan festival is an annual event in the cultural life of the Kadazandusuns of Sabah since time immemorial. In its deepest sense, Kaamatan festival is a manifestation of Creator and Creation relationship, as well as Inter-Creations relationship. It embodies the principal acts of invocation of divinities, appeasing, purification and restoration, re-union of benevolent spirits, and thanksgiving to the Source of All. It is part of a complex wholesome Momolian religious system centered on the paddy rites of passage and the life cycle of Bambarayon – the in-dwelling spirit of paddy”-wiki

The peak of Tadau Kaamatan is on 30th & 31st May, most of the time, the event took place at KDCA, Penampang. This is the only day where the traditional houses arround the KDCA are fully occupied by its own native with their traditional costume, products, and some even performing traditional dance. I live near to KDCA which is just 3-4 kilometer away but this is my first time to visit KDCA during Tadau Kaamatan after about 4 years live in this area. I just had about 2 hour to walk arround it before i need to leave to do other things. Tadau Kaamatan gives a lot of portrait opportunity which i have set my date to be here next year for 2 days. In the mean time, this is some of the portrait that i managed to shoot during my 2 hour visit.

Dusun Tindal

Dusun Tindal

Dusun Tindal

“Dingkuh” from Tamparuli

Rungu Native with Sigal (Headdress)

Rungus Native performing Sumandai Mongigol

Rungus Native leading Sumandai Mongigol dance/ritual performance

Rungus Beads (Pinakol) & Sopilang

 

Native from Pitas

Feel free to view more images in my flickr set

“A still photograph is something which you can always go back to. You can put it on your wall and look at it again and again. Because it is that frozen moment. I think it tends to burn into your psyche. It becomes ingrained in your mind. A powerful picture becomes iconic of a place or a time or a situation.” – Steve McCurry

History made in Historical Penang

I was on MATTA Fair (Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents) in Penang on 19-21 April 2013. Just few weeks ago, i made silly move by asking Matt Brandon whether we could meet for a cup of coffee somewhere in Penang, and i would be the happiest man on earth if we can go out and shoot. For those new to this name,  i have mentioned about his great inspirational podcasts “The Depth Of Field” in this blog (click here to view). He promoted Penang by conducting photography workshop during Thaipusam, a Hindu festival. His latest workshop was conducted in Rajastan, India. For more info about his on going photography workshop click here. Anyway, i get positive reply from him and we met at this World Heritage Site of Penang. Like buying 1 and get another 1 for free, a gifted photographer & videographer, Nathan Watkins joined us too during that historical meeting.

Me & Matt Brandon at Toh Soon Cafe, Penang

The man behind “The Mamas Of Chowrasta” video

Click here to see the video

We headed to The Goddes of Mercy Temple located on Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling as suggested by Matt Brandon before i showed him the list of question during our coffee session at Toh Soon Cafe.

Goddes Of Mercy Temple, Penang

The Goddes Of Mercy, Penang

The Goddes of Mercy, Penang

I’m so glad to meet both of them. I have learned that to make the very first move and not worried being rejected are the keys to meet these great people.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do”

– Mark Twain

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