Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I find it hard to describe how it feels when you realise all the money you've saved over the last couple of years will go up in smoke because of the events of a single night. The business of fixing the teeth is proving to be a lot more complicated than expected. Decisions, choices -- none of which are straightforward, none of which are cheap.

Given my rather dismal number of friends, I'm lucky to have a dentist and a doctor amongst them to turn to for help -- my only regret is that I have little professional expertise to offer in return, and my lifelong gratitude will have to suffice.

I removed the metal wire today, and thought to myself how strange it was that I had already gotten used to its presence after only two weeks. Every day, I discover new kinds of food that require the use of your incisors (noodles, chicken wings, anything on a stick) and I think I must look quite a sight, slurping noodles from the side of my mouth. Well, at least no one can say I lack determination.

I made my first visit to Orchard Rd today, and found the number of new malls to be, quite frankly, ridiculous. Gerry and I were trying to find each other and I felt it hilarious to be saying "Are you near Prada?" while I was feeling lost in front of Dior. Have a very strong urge to reread Debord's essay now, which I have stored in my laptop as a Word Document. Call me traditional, but I think essays like his should never be allowed to exist as Word Documents, but forever be read off brown parchment paper.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It seemed to me that this was the whole point of travelling - to arrive alone, like a spectre, in a strange country at nightfall, not in the brightly lit capital but by the back door, in the wooded countryside, hundreds of miles from the metropolis, where, typically, people didn't see many strangers and were hospitable and did not instantly think of me as money on two legs. Life was harder but simpler here - I could see it in the rough houses and the crummy roads and the hayricks and the boys herding goats. Arriving in the hinterland with only the vaguest plans was a liberating event.

-- Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Ho-hum. In case anyone thinks I'm getting reflective on my birthday, I'm also listening to Flight of the Conchords sing about Robots taking over the world. Shut their motherboard existence down!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Huddled under the shadows in Jaal cafe, I tried my best to position my opened book under the very inadequate lamp they had hanging up on the wall. Literally a hole in the wall, Jaal (meaning spicy in Bangla) is claustrophobic and dark - the latter being deliberately so, as it probably makes the place all the more popular with dating couples seeking respite from the public eye. Even in the daytime, couples can find a little privacy for some under-the-table action, resulting in many sheepish-looking teenagers leaving the cafe with slightly tousled hair and rumpled clothes.

Even though I would have preferred a cheerier, brighter place, Jaal is also less than a hundred meters away from my apartment, making it an ideal stop for dinner when I felt too tired or lazy to cook. I also enjoyed the privacy inherent in the place, but only if I managed to get that seat under that single, solitary lamp.

The waiters there know me very well after a year of semi-regular visits from me, and try their best to give me good service. Still, Dhaka will always be Dhaka, and I was told my favourite dish of grilled chicken wasn't available, only to be told 15 minutes later that, oh, so sorry, we missed it out in the fridge, we have it after all. When the meal was finally served, I had to send it back as the chicken was not entirely cooked. I felt sorry for the waiter - clearly, he wanted to treat me well and was exasperated by the comedy of errors. I believe it is extremely useful to have a sorrowful-looking face if working as a waiter here in Dhaka.

Familiar with the amount of waiting required in Jaal, I had come armed with Paul Theroux's Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, yet another parting gift from the wondrous Linda. The chicken finally arrive (again), and after some careful maneuvering, I had my book stuck open in front of me, pages held open by my plate in a style that I had practiced and honed over many, many years of reading at the dinner table (something that irked my father to no end).

The tables were mostly empty tonight. A boisterous gathering had just left, and for a while it was just me, my book and some English pop music that I didn't recognise. A couple made their way past me to the last booth at the back. I tried to sneak a peek a while later - two coffee mugs and a packet of cigarettes were placed in front of them as they chatted and smoked, the girl holding her cigarette as you would a pencil.

After my meal, I finished up the chapter I reading and asked for the bill which came up to 275 tks (S$5.60) for grilled chicken and rice with a glass of orange juice. A pricier place by local standards, but I suppose I am really paying for the chance to enjoy a slow, leisurely, book-filled dinner. In Dhaka, I always feel like I have a time limit when I eat in small, local restaurants. There isn't the usual hanging-around that I am used to. Food is served very quickly, and your plate is cleared the moment your hands clean up that last bit of rice on your plate. As you beckon for the bill, the waiter is already cleaning down the table and beckoning the next batch of customers to come over to the table.

I left a 20 tks tip - generous by my standards, since I don't usually tip. But alas, for selfish reasons: I think its about time some good karma flowed my way.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

From list of terms and conditions when you book a flight on AirAsia:

  • Guests can no longer carry guns and/or ammunition on flights to or from Indonesia.

Always useful info to have.
According to the ambulance driver - who heard it from the folks who were around the scene of the accident - a bus had suddenly cut into our path and forced us off the road.

Since I remember absolutely nothing from the accident, and I'm not a big fan of third-hand accounts, I'm not sure what to believe. I was actually quite happy not to know, since knowing makes me want to place blame, and I think its difficult to remain POSITIVE and OPTIMISTIC when channeling evil thoughts to a random bus driver.

Truthfully, I really don't quite care to know the details of the accident. Its over and done, and knowing doesn't really accomplish anything.

I've been on a diet of soft-everything: mashed potatoes, congee, minced chicken, boiled vegetables, half-boiled eggs etc. This morning I decided THIS IS NO WAY TO LIVE and chopped up little bits of sausage and had it with scrambled eggs. So there.

Enough ranting - back to work.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It finally happened.

After years of living my life as if I was invincible - indulging in the worst practices, ignoring health, forsaking safety, scoffing at precautions, I used to tell people that it was bound to happen eventually.

Not once in my twenty-seven months in Bangladesh did I ever come close to a close-call. Sure I had that sprained ankle two months into my stay, but it healed up pretty quick within a month (no heels for a year, but that isn't exactly a loss), and the occasional flu and fever, but nothing that could compare with the various maladies and accidents I had seen in my stay here.

Two nights ago (in the wee morning hours on the 11th, to be exact) I was in a road accident which left me unconscious, only to wake up in an ambulance wondering to myself if I was dreaming.

That I had made it out alive is pretty much a miracle. That no car/bus/truck had come along and ran over my body while I lay on the road, that none of my belongings were stolen/lost, that my head is still in one piece, that I have not been blinded or maimed, that I still have all my limbs -- I'm pretty fucking lucky.

I have absolutely no recollection of what happened. Not even the faintest memory of a crash, or an impending crash, or being lifted and carried into the ambulance.

The police and RAB happened to be at that corner in Bijoy Sarani, but it was a passing ambulance that stopped to help bring us Sorawadi Hospital nearby in Shaymoli. We were then sent off to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, where they did an X-ray of my chest and gave me a jab of painkillers, and was sent home in a CNG. I was likely still in shock throughout the entire process, and felt calm and peaceful.

The damage today is as such: severe abrasions to the face, hands, left hip and left knee. Three broken teeth, one missing tooth (it was such a clean extraction that it seemed that someone had pulled it out for me with a plier).

The skin will heal, as the abrasions are 'clean' and not messy. Whatever scarring is left will likely subside over time if I can reel in the urge to pick at the scabs.

Once the facial swelling goes down, I will have to tackle the biggest problem of fixing my teeth. Crowns? Dentures? What? I have no idea. I will do the preliminary checks and X-rays here, and head back to Singapore to get the permanent work done.

I am trying not to think about work -- but needless to say, everything is going to shit on that end because of this. I will manage it the best I can, but I'm not so sure people want to buy photos from a person with a face like this.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tragic Excuse of an Update

I've been listening to Nutsie's automatic lists, such as "Top 100 Songs of XXXX", and -- if you can get over your incredulity at my ability to stream music on my 0.02 Mb/s connection -- I've realised that XXXX always ends up in the range of 198X to 199X. I am a musical dinosaur.

That very precise figure of 0.02 is thanks to Speedtest.net - a website that tells me what my actual connection speed is. The site took 10 minutes to load, and the irony is not lost on me.

Linda -- Finnish capoeira teacher and all-round extraordinaire -- leaves tomorrow for Christmas in Mexico with her boyfriend and then heads for a two-year contract in Tanzania. Sometimes, a little corner of my brain indulges in fantasies about fucking up so badly that I get fired and thus get to leave with no obligations. There I've said it.

Linda also gladly unloaded free junk on me -- a book titled Wayward Girls and Wicked Women, an unused light tube, assorted spices, an espresso thingamajig and a yoga mat. This was after I told her Chinese people loved receiving free shit. I'm not sure if that stereotype even exists (recalling long Hello Kitty queues make me think I may be on the right track), but I needed to blame my shamelessness on something.

I've also managed to succeed in obtaining a wireless router after a year of saying "I'll get it". I didn't actually head down to the store itself since the stores here close before I finish work. Bangladeshi corporate types would typically 'send a peon'. I typically 'freeloaded off a friend in the area'.

The word 'peon' didn't exist for me until I came here. I may have read it in some book before, but I certainly never came across it in everyday language. It really isn't the most glamorous word.

I need to get some things straight in my head, so do pardon the verbal dump:

How do I explain to a client that my predecessor was a fucked-up excuse of a salesman, and while it may seem that I'm raising the rates - I am actually updating prices which haven't been updated in 10 fucking years? How do I explain that my predecessor had no authority to release photos for exclusive usages? How do I explain why a photograph costs more if you want exclusive rights to it? Isn't it obvious? Do I really need to explain this?

I am so tired of paying for someone else's mistakes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sometimes, photographers need to seek out content to 'fit' a story. It could be a simple portrait to illustrate a story about a child, or an aerial shot to go with something about urban sprawl. Black water for pollution, beggars for poverty. The process sometimes works this way - almost as if in reverse. We fix the content, and search for the visual that goes with it.

Clearly - this doesn't help in terms of visual stereotyping. By actively searching out the most obvious frame, we continue to feed the system of quick judgments and loose associations.

The (very exhausted) team had just completed an assignment which required us to work in this content-first-visuals-second manner. The content? Mismanagement of taxpayers' money. The visuals? Oh boy, did we have a list. From schools to roads, traffic to post offices - it seemed like the wish list of images would never end.

I sent the team out to shoot, and worried about the whole idea of visual stereotyping. What if they were to "force" out a visual when there was none? To "imply" an association when it was a weak link? To over-dramatise and exaggerate a situation just to make it seem bleaker, more negative, more depressing?

As I browsed through the raw takes from their three-day shoot, I realised I had forgotten that Dhaka was a city that required no exaggeration.

Not when patients in the main government-run hospital have to resort to sleeping on the dirty, damp floor of corridors and under staircases. Lying next to their IV drips next to them, with tubes coming out of their noses and covered with a flimsy blanket brought from their own home - I couldn't exaggerate the situation even if I tried.

Even more painful to see was the expressions on the faces of family members camping out next to their loved ones. Worry, fatigue, hopelessness - and even a little anger, I think. I don't mean to be insulting to anyone, but I highly doubt that this is a hospital that people with choices would choose to come to.

Is depressing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Random Observations

  • A t-shirt with the words MIT SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM do not look good when stretched across a pair of man boobs and paired with a khaki safari hat.
  • Old men with big egos don't like to be ignored.
  • Young men hate it when their compliments are met by an angry stare.
  • News photogs that shoot in raw ought to be shot.
  • "Working fine now" is code for "Will break down in approximately two weeks"
  • Four young dudes can finish a bottle of vodka in 2 hours.
  • There are only 24 hours in a day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Last Words

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice posts the last statements of death row convicts. (via Slate)


November 10, 2009
Offender: Valle, Yosvanis

"I am sorry, I never wanted to kill your family. I never wanted to kill your family or these people. I am sorry for the way I talk in English. I did it to myself... Thank you brother, don't hate nobody, I feel good. I love my family, I love you Jesus. Be strong mama, I love you sister. I love Jesus. Warden I am ready.



October 27, 2009
Offender: Blanton, Reginald

Last Statement:

Yes I do. I know ya'lls pain, believe me I shed plenty of tears behind Carlos. Carlos was my friend. I didn't murder him. This what is happening right now is an injustice. This doesn't solve anything. This will not bring back Carlos. Ya'll fought real hard here to prove my innocence. This is only the beginning. I love each and everyone dearly. Dre My queen. I love you. Yaws, Junie I love yall. Stay strong, continue to fight. They are fixing to pump my veins with a lethal drug the American Veterinary Association won't even allow to be used on dogs. I say I am worse off than a dog. They want to kill me for this; I am not the man that did this. Fight on. I will see ya'll again. That's all I can say.



There is also a link so that you can see the background information on each and every single person executed. This has to be one of the most harrowing, disturbing and yet meticulously-kept public record.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

STOP PRESS JUST GOT MY HANDS ON REVOLUTIONARY ROAD GOD BLESS YOU COLIN FOR BRINGING IT ALL THE WAY FROM LONDON SINCE NO BOOKSTORE HERE HAS IT AND NOW I LOOK FORWARD TO A NIGHT OF NOT SLEEPING OH HAPPINESS

Friday, November 06, 2009

i write this with the expectation of receiving ridicule, since I was only a photographer in the newsroom for less than a year. My friends are still working there, and those who have left did so with years of experience under their belt.

Even with my dismally short tenure, I have never forgotten the sense of camaraderie in that place. Of course, I realise now that I had been insulated from the myriad of flaws that come with working with a large corporation. As a freelancer, I didn't have to think about staff evaluations, about the promise of promotions, about pay increases, about claiming days off. I was young, desperate to be wanted - I would have worked every day if they asked me to.

I write this now because I just finished an unpleasant argument with someone who accused me of working too hard. It is something that people say a lot about me here, but I suppose that only I am privy to the truth.

I have learnt when to shut off, when to close down that computer, when to say enough is enough. I don't feel like i have to prove anything anymore, and I do not feel guilty when I choose not to reply that email that has been sitting in my inbox for too long.

This is something very difficult to do, as I am surrounded by people whom the title of 'workaholic' does not justice. These folks work from 8 in the morning till past midnight, and still feel like they haven't done enough.

My point is - I am not like that. I did that for the first couple of months, but such a workload left me utterly broken and useless. And so, I stopped it.

I now have to break that little pact I made with myself.

The news agency was meant to be separate - an independent entity that was silently supported by the main organisation. Due to mismanagement and a whole host of other reasons, the news agency was struggling to stay afloat. Radical changes were needed if it were to survive.

My boss - the one who had started everything - had somehow come to believe that my incredibly short work experience as a news photographer meant that I had the expertise to lead a news agency.

And I, echoing Joo's everlasting words of wisdom "Better me than anyone else", readily agreed.

My department was already struggling with the workload we had - with all my time spent on fixing day-to-day matters, I could barely find the time to plan the much needed long-term brand and vision for the department. And still, I couldn't say no.

The small news team moved in five days ago. Three young men that had miraculously continued to stay with the sinking agency even though they were paid miserable salaries to work seven days a week. They had a certain air of desperation that was all too familiar. One of them had howled in protest when I said I was planning to start putting them in shifts. The thought of not being called on for a job, and thus missing out on a shoot, was completely unacceptable to him.

And so, I now lead a team of eight and an agency that distributes stock, editorial and news imagery. Shutting off is fast becoming an impossible option.

But there is now a new vigor in the room. These boys do not leave when the clock strikes 5 in the afternoon. Inappropriate jokes, sarcastic remarks about politicians, callous comments about bomb explosions, the question "Did anyone die?", the familiar rush rush rush to get things done, spell names right, dig up the background facts -- forgive my sentimentality, but I felt I had come home.

I suppose this nostalgia will wear off in a couple of months, after the bullshit had piled up and the realisation that WE ARE NOT MAKING A DIFFERENCE has set in -- but till then, I'll be damned if I don't enjoy every last second of this.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

In about two and a half hours I will find out if I need to go to Nepal on a visa run.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Showdown

So I think I ended up spamning everyone on Facebook today - many apologies for this, but I didn't really have any other platform (Twitter doesn't work from mobile phones here).

Long story short: We planned to have a simple exhibition to raise awareness about Tibet's fight for independence. Folks at Chinese embassy were none too pleased. We refused to cancel the exhibition. Police from the Bangladesh Police Special Branch (akin to the intelligence unit) made repeated visits and threats.

© Shehab Uddin / DrikNEWS

All of this culminated in a showdown of sorts today. The police ended up locking the gates so that no one could enter or leave. Shahidul Alam, the founder and director of Drik, ended up having to climb over the gates again and again just to get in and out.



© Adnan / DrikNEWS


The chief guest arrived - Professor Muzaffar Ahmed, president of Transparency International Bangladesh. He wasn't allowed in either. But he kept smiling, and I couldn't help but giggle whenever I looked at him. I suppose being in charge of fighting corruption in the country makes you quite immune to such things.



© Shehab Uddin / DrikNEWS


So, we ended up launching the exhibitions on the streets since the police refused to budge. We gave out refreshments, just as they would have if it had taken place inside the gallery. The policemen refused their share of cake.




Professor Muzaffar Ahmed (left) launching the exhibition on the streets with Shahidul Alam.
© Adnan / DrikNEWS



© Shehab Uddin / DrikNEWS

An interesting day, if I do say so myself.


Note: The exhibition wasn't our idea, although we did provide the gallery space for it. The organisers were a group of Bangladeshi students who had taken it upon themselves to fight for Tibet's freedom. I'll save that chapter of the story for another time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

So, I've finally realised that the colour setting for Photoshop don't match Mozilla -- something about plugins that I don't quite get -- and I'm too tired to do research online now to fix this. This is just a convoluted way of me explaining why the reds and greens may look washed out.

I may have neglected to mention that both my camera and lens has miraculously been brought back to life after two weeks in the dehumidifier room. This was not a case of Jess freaking out, assuming the worse case scenario, and then demanding sympathy. My camera was, for a brief period of time, a water receptacle -- my doomsday rants were only to be expected.

I know I'm not the most regular photographer these days, but during those two weeks when I believed myself to be camera-less, I felt an unexpected sense of loss. Not in the financial or material sense, but something akin to losing an opportunity or a chance.

On to the photos.


Comilla Rest Stop

A rest stop en route to Chittagong, just before Comilla. They told me around a hundred buses full of hungry passengers stop here a night -- that's a lot of rice and parathas.

Gas Station

Early morning in Bandarban. The dogs there are a lot healthier than the ones in Dhaka.

Lantern Workshop

A makeshift workshop where a group of young boys made paper lanterns for the upcoming Purnima festival.

Didi

I can't remember her name, but we called her Didi -- the local term for "sister". She runs a small shop at the top of the hill in Nilachol, selling snacks and cigarettes to the constant stream of tourists who come to ooh and aah at the scenery. I spent many, many joyfully drunk hours here, with my legs curled under me on the bamboo platform.

Bandarban by Moonlight

Moonlight.

Bandarban


Bandarban

I had to scramble down an impossibly steep, muddy slope to get to where she was. By the time I reached the bottom, she was done with her chores and waiting for me to get out of the way so that she could go up.

Anyone who thinks I may have inherited my mother's fitness gene should see me on my hands and knees, struggling to keep up with this girl floated up the slope while carrying two bottles of water. Gravity and friction. I had too much of the first, and none of the latter.

Something died in here

You know your work week is off to a bad start when you step into office and realise that you're going to have to spend most of your day finding out WHAT died and WHERE it died.

On a happier note, winter is on its way. I know this because I woke up four times last night to scratch at mosquito bites. I'm not too sure why bugs come out during winter, but my house is now home to an assortment of grasshoppers, moths and little green (fuckers) bugs that bite.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I found out last night what smells worse than a dead body. As a person who has been to a 3-day old mass grave to see bodies getting dug out, I don't make this assertion lightly.

Came back from work at 11.30 pm last night, exhausted but very, very hungry. I decided to not skip dinner, as I usually would when I'm tired, and gathered up all the energy I had left to whip up something nice. Cabbage? Chopped! Garlic? Smashed! Noodles? Ready to go! Prawns? Sauteed!

Everything was going great. I don't suck at making fried noodles.

I always leave the eggs to the last, right after adding all sauces and letting it simmer for a bit. I fished around the fridge -- great, two eggs left. I'll have to buy more tomorrow.

Ladies and gents, you should've been there to see my face when I broke open the second egg over my almost-ready noodles. Black goo where yellow should have been, seeping into the noodles and making it impossible to rescue what I had been looking forward to eating.

And oh, that smell.

A stench so overpoweringly nauseating that I had to leave the kitchen immediately. Like a mass graves, topped up with a mountain of feces collected from the diarrhea hospital, distilled into a concentrate.

I'm sure if Guiqing had been there we would have managed to laugh at the tragedy of the situation rather than to wallow in it.

Ah well. Thank god for instant noodles. But I'm not sure I want to have eggs again anytime soon.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sufia

During dinner with Tanzim tonight, I revisited the topic of Sufia - the only "story" that I had successfully completed here in Bangladesh, way back in 2005.

I explained to him that since my return two years ago, I had been avoiding seeing her again. There was a lot of miscommunication after my return to Singapore, and I feared that she no longer thought kindly of me.

Before I left, I had given her 6,000 takas - the most that I could afford at that time. I had somehow given her the impression that more money was headed her way, and I had been told by my friends in Dhaka that she was upset I had not followed up on my promise - a promise I may have made accidentally by nodding to a sentence I did not understand. Throughout my six months there, she never asked for money.

So I have been back for two years, and I never went to see her. I did see both her and Yasmine, from a rickshaw or a CNG as I passed by the same stretch of road, but never had the guts to visit. But it was important for me to see that she was still there.

While I spoke about her, it was clear to me that this was something that I needed to do. On a whim, I dragged Tanzim along with me as a translator.

When she saw me, her eyes did not widen with surprise, as I had expected. Neither did she did fly in a rage, as I had feared. She got up and came towards me, as if I had been there to see her the day before.

"Yasmine is dead," she said. Tanzim had to translate those words for me, and, momentarily confused, I could not believe what she said.

Yasmine was killed two months ago by a hit-and-run at 5am in the morning along the street she called home. She was brought to the Dhaka Medical Hospital, but it was too late. She is now buried in the same Azimpur graveyard as her brother.

Sazzad, the grandson, is now seven years old and attends a free school down the road. He claims to remember me, but I somehow doubt it.

They brought out the photo album I had given to them before I left.

"You print a new photo of Yasmine for me. And frame it."

It would be the least I could do.

I went back and dug out all I had written about Sufia in 2005. Sufia's story was something my instinct told me to continue, but my head needed to justify it first. I am now so judgmental of photographers who do nothing for their subjects, that I simply could not continue with the work until I figured out what the hell it meant.

And then I realised, that there really wasn't more to it. I want to photograph Sufia not because I have some great moral lesson to share with society, not because I want to raise awareness about her plight or to show how the homeless live. I don't know who will see the pictures, or what I will do with them.

I want to photograph Sufia because I don't want her to disappear. In a city where the homeless are not seen, where you could be here one day and gone the next, I want to make sure that she is immortalised.

I re-read the post I wrote about her in 2005, and came across an anonymous comment I do not remember reading:

But, again, just because you're working in a 'third world' country, which by many has been defined as 'poor' or 'lacking access to resources,' does it always mean people there are discontent and unhappy?

I'm sorry to be harsh, but that is a really stupid question.

When the NTU team came last month, one student had asked me a similar series of questions, all of which were egging me to tell him that he had just arrived in a country where the people are "poor but happy".

What is with this obsession to find a silver lining in the lives of the poor? Is it guilt? Do we feel better about ourselves if we could at least believe that they were happy?

I had told Sufia something similar in 2005. Sure you're poor, but I spent so much time with you and there is so much happiness here. Those rich people passing you on the streets? They don't seem to have as much joy as you do.

Sufia cocked her head to one side with a pitying gaze, and asked me a question I will never forget.

"Who wants to be poor?"


Sufia and Grandson

Sazzad is even more adorable now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wrapped up

in work.

Today we had to search for picture request -- haors in Sumanganj, the highest peak of Bangladesh, caves in Bandarban, pretty landscape photos to do with climate change, the six seasons of Bangladesh... the list goes on. Calendar season is clearly here.

I like the work if only because it gives me a chance to explore the archives -- something I would have preferred to do at a leisurely pace, but for an organisation that can put together a 50-photo exhibition in one week, time is not something we're used to.

The news photo agency which had previously existed outside of the organisation structure is now being (suddenly) incorporated into my department. Which means I now effectively run both a photo agency that does news, stock and editorial. In over my head? You don't say. But Joo once said, "Better me than anyone else." -- this applies in this situation because, well, there really isn't anyone else.





I had really enjoyed Brenda Ann Kenneally's photo essay on the Lens Blog, if only because this was one photographer who gave as much as she took. I have grown extremely uncomfortable with photography that does nothing for the subject, other than to put their faces on the walls of galleries and on the covers of pretty brochures and in heavy coffee table books.

Special Branch came today to check up on me for my visa extension application. I had not anticipated how angry it would make me to have to be nice and cordial to a man that was not only rude and arrogant, but corrupt. The sudden visits are thinly-disguised trips to collect bribe money, without which the application process is made very painful (ie having to submit the same letter over and over) till we wise up to the idea that he isn't going away without a little sumthing sumthing in his pocket.

Monday, October 12, 2009

THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO BUCK UP OCTOBER I MEAN IT

Dear October,

I'm afraid I have to be blunt. You have been a spectacular pain-in-the-ass so far, and god help you if you don't change your ways soon. I know shit happens, but the broken air-conditioner today was the last straw. I mean, how much more of this can we take?

I'll play fair. I won't mention the earthquakes and typhoons if you lower the targeted accident-count. So far we've had to put up with crap such as high fever, a bad arm, one twisted ankle, five stitches, a bad tumble down a hill, jaundice, a motorbike crash, and, oh, you just had to play dirty and throw in diarrhea for good measure, didn't you?

But you know what hurts the most? My water-logged, water-filled, water-everything camera. I can only hope you will one day find out how it feels to see water pouring out of your camera - your two-year-old, bought-with-hard-earned-money camera. You fucking bastard.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009





It seems I aimed a little too low in wishing for a pair of steel pants.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Random things

Pardon the radio silence, all 4 of you. It has been difficult getting out of the post-Eid slumber, especially when the streets of Dhaka are still (wonderfully) empty and the half the staff is away on leave.

Random links:
The second has been the source of great joy for me, so imagine my unbridled glee when I found out that the official website has more quotes than the Facebook site!

275

“I’m going to jam this pen in your peehole if this happens again.”
- Editor to male cadet reporter after failing to spell check.


283

“It was very traumatizing, and that’s how it should be.”
- Editor-in-chief talking about punishments for writers

Very apt given my recent battle in the office with the only text editor who thinks that Wikipedia is the bible and that a space before a fullstop is fine as long as you do it consistently.

I tried taking in the new issue of lensculture, and nearly gave myself a heartattack. How do others keep up with all these things? Nevertheless, it was very interesting to compare-and-contrast Photoquai and Noordelicht. I vote for the former.

Sunday, September 27, 2009




A bit in love with this photo by Gohar Dashti.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Post-lunch Meme

Stolen off Noelle's FB post. Because I'm still recovering from post-Eid slumber.

1.What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Coffee.

2.Where was your profile picture taken?
Outside Rifles Square waiting for the something to happen during the BDR mutiny.

3.Can you play Guitar Hero?
God no.

4.Name someone who made you laugh today?
There are 9 more hours to go till this day ends. I'm hopeful.

5.How late did you stay up last night and why?
2 am. Because I'm a dumbass.

6.If you could move somewhere else, would you?
Dude.

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
Not that I remember.

8. Which of your friends lives closest to you?
Too sad a question to answer.

9. Do you believe ex's can be friends?
Evidently.

11. When was the last time you cried really hard?
A river of tears flows through me.

12. Who took your profile picture?
Munir!

13. Who was the last person you took a picture of?
A boy in a coffeeshop.

14. Was yesterday better than today?
HAHAHA.

15. Can you live a day without TV?
Evidently so.

16. Are you upset about anything?
No but I'm really bitter about most things.

17. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it?
This quiz is getting boring.

18. Are you a bad influence?
On myself, yes.

19. Night out or night in?
In - by lack of choice.

20. What items could you not go without during the day?
I think my Mom reads this blog.

21. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
A colleague.

22. What does the last text message in your inbox say?
One of my colleagues telling me she'll only be able to come back to work tomorrow.

23. How do you feel about your life right now?
Not quite real.

24. Do you hate anyone?
I'll never admit it without qualifying it with a whole host of excuses.

25. If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find?
Unanswered emails.

26. Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?
Dude.

27. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
I've been called a perfect moron. Does it count?

28. What song is stuck in your head?
None right now.

29. Someone knocks on your window at 2:00 a.m, who do you want it to be?
God. Maybe she needs a place to crash.

30.Wanna have grandkids by the time you're 50?
Odds are slim my friend.

31. Name something you have to do tomorrow?
Wake up.

32. Do you think too much or too little?
Too much.

33. Do you smile a lot?
I do when I've something to smile about.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

FU 2

Why is rage funny? I don't know. But I do know I spent way too much time giggling over Fuck You, Penguin yesterday.

Damn you Jenatsch for giving me this link! As if I needed another avenue for procrastination.

Behold:



I just want you people to drink in this world-class douchebag known as the Tibetan Fox. Have you ever seen such a holier-than-thou fucking look on a non-dolphin before? I'm not one for slapping foxes, as I generally think they know what they've done, but this one really has that look, like the asshole boyfriend of the girl the main guy wants in an 80s movie. Unsurprisingly, he is extremely rare. That's probably because he thinks if he has too many babies, some of them will turn out to be commoners and he wouldn't be able to show his square face at the country club anymore.

How's your ivory tower, Tibetan Fox? I'm sure it must be terribly stressful to stand in judgment of the rest of us little people, so why don't you just retire to your cabin and play lacrosse? You know what, on second thought, WHY DON'T YOU WANDER THE DESERT LOOKING FOR RODENTS. Some of us have to work for a living, Tibetan Fox. We don't get everything handed to us by a lifetime of hunting and scavenging, you stuck-up snob.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

20 Years of Drik

Also the reason why I've been incommunicado.

20 Years of Drik

Twenty years.

How does one articulate a history spanning two decades in a few lines? The truth is, you can’t. Which is why we are sharing with you some of our proudest moments in the best way we know how - with images.


far-eastern-economic-review_018Far Eastern Economic Review

time2006_035Time Magazine

care_011Care International Annual Report

oxfam-ar_031

OXFAM Annual Report


This exhibition is not about the number of years that have passed, but the milestones achieved and the battles won. It is about the new paths we have forged from the unlikely location of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.

While we try to show cherished snippets of our past, there are others that we have to keep in our memory. The people who have helped us, the mistakes we made, the things we had to believe in with all our heart - these things are more challenging to visualise, but just as important.

Drik was set up to be a platform for voices from the majority world, and on this special occasion, we are proud to introduce the first in the Golam Kasem Daddy Lecture Series.

Twenty years.

For some, it could seem like an eternity. For us, this is just the beginning.




Jeev and I were up too late writing this, and I think we became a bit delirious after having to find synonyms for "celebrate" "proud" "milestone" and "achievements" at 2am in the morning.

Also exciting: Raghu Rai arrives at 4pm!

Not so exciting: The 'W' key fell off my keyboard.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sequence of Unfortunate Events

- Cold -
- Blocked Nose -
- Blowing Nose -
- Occasional Vertigo -
- Blowing Nose With Gusto -
- Blocked Inner Ear Canal -
- Constant Sensation of Either Being Half Deaf or Living Inside an Echo Chamber -
- Deteriorating Sense of Balance -
- Blocked Ear & Blocked Nose -
- Cold -


It is amazing how a blocked inner ear canal can render my brain totally inoperational.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mini Milestone #28394

Latest in the series of Meaningless Milestones: Today I blew my nose too aggressively and achieved vertigo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009




Like!





Used to get irritated at Starbucks when I would order a small and be told "Sorry we don't have small, do you mean tall?" Which would then require me to clarify if, by 'tall', you mean the smallest size you have? Oh it does? I'll have a small then.

Should just make an effort to memorise pretentious Italian and save us all some grief.

Looked out for Ponyo, but doubt I'll find it here anytime soon. Its likely we'll get the Hollywood version, but I don't know if that will offer the original Japanese audio track.

I remember someone buying me the Totoro DVD as a gift (evoking great happiness) but then I played it and it turned out to be the dubbed Hollywood version (evoking great sadness). There is just something very wrong in watching a Miyazaki film in English.






Sunday, August 09, 2009

Happiness Equation

Big Lightbox + Hundreds of Slides + Time

Saturday, August 08, 2009

My uncle himself told me about how he once awoke to a crushing sensation on his chest, and it was only by reciting prayers that he managed to drive the evil spirit away.

I'd heard variations of the same story from different people of different religions, about this evil weight that would sometimes seem almost suffocating, but always terrifying.

Turns out, they'd all been experiencing "a piece of REM sleep."

Freaky Sleep Paralysis: Being Awake in Your Nightmares

By Alexis Madrigal [August 7, 2009]

In sleep paralysis, two of the key REM sleep components are present, but you’re not unconscious.

Narcolepsy, which can be linked with sleep paralysis, has a similar pathology. For narcoleptics, some of the elements of rapid eye movement can “come out of nowhere,” he McCarty said.

Sleep paralysis was first identified within the scientific community by psychologist Weir Mitchell in 1876. He laid down this syntactically old-school, but accurate description of how it works. “The subject awakes to consciousness of his environment but is incapable of moving a muscle; lying to all appearance still asleep. He is really engaged in a struggle for movement fraught with acute mental distress; could he but manage to stir, the spell would vanish instantly.”

But the condition lived in folklore long before anyone tried to subject it to even semi-rigorous study. The various responses have fascinated some researchers and they were cataloged in the 2007 book, Tall Tales About the Mind and Brain. In Japan, the problem was termed kanashibar. In Newfoundland, people called it “the old hag.” In China, “ghost oppression” was the preferred nomenclature.

A study released earlier this year found that more than 90 percent of Mexican adolescents know the phrase “a dead body climbed on top of me” to describe the disorder. More than 25 percent of them had experienced it themselves.



Give it a couple more years, we'll soon figure out the scientific rational for the orang minyak.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Update

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Off 2 war. Brb.

For real.

NEW DELHI, Aug 5 (bdnews24.com/Reuters Life!) - Mahabharata, the ancient epic about princes, demigods and a cataclysmic war is getting a makeover on Twitter -- 140 characters at a time.

Chindu Sreedharan, a U.K.-based lecturer, is retelling the Mahabharata using the micro-blogging service, hoping to lure readers with creative snippets posted in chronological order.


A sample tweet [twitter.com/epicretold]:

I didn’t understand many things. Yudhistira said. I was slow and stupid. But if father was a king, why were we living in a forest lodge?



I want Pride and Prejudice tweeted.
"Darcy looked hawt 2day."

Right back at ya

Continuing from previous post and many thanks to Tym, who sent me this lovely report:

"This study shows that in egalitarian countries there is less social stigma attached to men doing what was traditionally women's work," she said in a statement.

"This leads to men in egalitarian societies taking on more of a domestic role so the likelihood of forming a harmonious household becomes greater, resulting in a higher proportion of couples setting up households in these countries."


Duh.

But while women seemed to prefer a man who would put out the bins and do the washing up, men were not so keen on women seeking a partner who wanted to split the chores, preferring a woman they could rely on to do all the housework and childcare.

"While egalitarian men seem to be viewed as a better bet by women, egalitarian women are seen as a less safe bet by men," she said.

So I look forward to our PM's speech at the next gathering of male leaders, during which he will tell these successful men about how they their success shouldn't come at the "unintended" price of an ageing population.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Unintended Consequences

Found it hilarious that our PM took the opportunity to bring up falling birth rates at an "international women's conference".

Their desire to advance their careers, be leaders in society, enjoy life and see the world can get in the way of their desire to get married and start families, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday.

'By the time they have dealt with all the other pressing priorities...it may be too late and too difficult,' he told more than 600 people attending an international women's meeting.

Wonder how all those women from the Apec Women Leaders Network felt.

I'm not about to debate about the matter itself, but I just think it would really suck if I showed up for a women leaders' meeting only to be told that my success had this huge "BUT" attached to it. Ladies, its really fantastic that you're empowered and successful and all that, but its still not enough.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Gulistan

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The ducks in the bathroom are not mine.

HOW did I not know about this man?

Tanjong Rhu

Tweet from popaghandi/skinnylatte led me to this:





Film by Boo Junfeng, to be screened at upcoming Indignation at the Arts House on August 14.

Really, really want to watch this. =(


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sadness is an Lemak-less Existence







Sigh.




Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Love it


Movie MONSTERS Size Comparison Chart




Monday, July 27, 2009

Update

LinkAt that other place. Click!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Should make a collection of all the doodles I draw while I'm on the phone talking to someone. The more nervous I am on the phone, the more expressive the doodles become.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How funny is it that part of my job is now to tell people to give me MORE MONEY PRETTY PLEASE.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

God help us.


Cats Use Special Purr to Manipulate Humans
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

July 13, 2009 -- Cat owners who think their cats control them now have some scientific confirmation: Animal vocalization experts have just identified a special manipulative purr that felines have evolved, in part, to get what they want from people.

... Cats purr to each other, but the scientists found felines really exaggerate their solicitation purring when communicating with humans, making felines near impossible to ignore.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Something new

Because I frequently see things that I'd like to remember, and because I have a memory that's just as useful as a soggy box of matches, I'm starting a new blog to collect all the pretty pictures I like. Behold:


Pause. Stop. Play.


As if I needed another thing to waste my time on.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Hero for the Day

Delicious.

Came across this lovely post in the comments section of the article about Thio Li-ann at Inside Higher Ed:

An Open Letter to Dr. Thio Li-Ann
Posted by Jim McCurley , Class of 2010 at NYU Law on July 8, 2009 at 2:15pm EDT

I read your recent e-mail interview with Inside Higher Ed with some interest. It seems that you may be a little concerned about what awaits you at NYU this fall. As a gay person and a law student, I wanted to take the opportunity to reassure you and to welcome you to the university. I’m not sure if you’ve been to New York before, but I gather from your CV that you got a quite a fine education in the UK. Because of a few phrases you used in the interview, it occurred to me that you may not be familiar with some peculiarities of American English and I want to point out a few that may come in handy. First, we call chips “french fries” and crisps “chips.” Second, we generally call Members of Parliament “elites” and law students, well, “law students.” We don’t really use the word “diktat” a whole lot.

New York being New York, you may also find a few Yiddish words to be useful. Foremost among these is “chutzpah.” “Chutzpah” is hard to translate directly and its meaning is perhaps best illustrated by example. New Yorkers would say that a former NMP and graduate of Cambridge and Oxford who denounces gays in a rather vulgar manner on the floor of Parliament in a successful bid to enable their imprisonment calling the highlighting of her remarks by a few law students “ugly politicking” based on “their own prejudices, from whatever sources” has a lot of chutzpah.

Now, having grown up in a farming village in Kentucky and spent a number of years in the enlisted ranks of the Army, I share your distaste for both “ugly politicking” and “elite diktat.” As I’ve been called a “faggot” and been beaten up a few times, I don’t care much for “bullying” either, although I’m not sure having one of one’s own Parliamentary speeches circulated really qualifies as such. This may be yet another peculiarity of American English

You are quite correct, however, that in the face of bullying, one must have courage. It also helps to have supportive gay friends. One of the nice things about gay folks is that we tend not to belong to either the “liberal camp” or “communitarian camp” which you described in your speech. We’re just into camp. Likewise, the gays at NYU don’t by any means have a problem with you, your right to your views, or academic freedom. We just don’t think that state power to imprison or discriminate against sexual, racial, or other minorities is a particularly “academic” question. Again, that’s American English for you

Another generally appreciated feature of the gays is our sense of taste, which has been highlighted in television shows like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” You are a bit mistaken if you think that the gays at NYU want to censor you. It’s just that, like mixing polka dots with plaid or having George Wallace teach a course on civil rights in the American South, we tend to think NYU’s hiring you to teach a class called “Human Rights in Asia” demonstrates a lack of taste.

Dr. Thio, if you’ll have me, I’d like to be your supportive gay friend. We can have lunch, dish about men and listen to music together. I know a great tapas place in Greenwich Village and, as an American, I’d like to disabuse you of the notion that I have any interest in “refus[ing] to engage with dissenting views” or directing “intolerant animosity” at you. There are also a few great American songs I’d love to introduce you to. One of my favorites is called “Cry Me a River.” It was written by Arthur Hamilton.

I must make one friendly request before I let you go, however. We American gays are doing fairly well post-Lawrence v. Texas. Unlike our Singaporean brethren, we can’t be arbitrarily thrown into prison and can generally defend ourselves under the law. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for our friends, the straw men. From “human right to sodomy” to “Americans … appropriating the rhetoric of human rights … [to] impose their views on a sovereign state,” you’ve spent a good deal of time knocking them down. Last I checked, they hadn’t done anything to you, so why not go a bit easier on them?

All the best,

Jim McCurley
NYU Law Class of 2010

Straight out of Sunnydale

Would you pledge your soul as loan collateral?

RIGA (Reuters) – Ready to give your soul for a loan in these difficult economic times? In Latvia, where the crisis has raged more than in the rest of the European Union, you can.

Such a deal is being offered by the Kontora loan company, whose public face is Viktor Mirosiichenko, 34.

Clients have to sign a contract, with the words "Agreement" in bold letters at the top. The client agrees to the collateral, "that is, my immortal soul."

Mirosiichenko said his company would not employ debt collectors to get its money back if people refused to repay, and promised no physical violence. Signatories only have to give their first name and do not show any documents.

"If they don't give it back, what can you do? They won't have a soul, that's all," he told Reuters in a basement office, with one desk, a computer and three chairs.

Wearing sunglasses, a black suit and a white shirt with the words "Kontora" (office) emblazoned on it, he reaches into his pocket and lays out a sheaf of notes on the table to show that the business is serious and not a joke.

Latvia has been the EU nation worst hit by economic crisis.

Unemployment is soaring and banks have sharply reduced their lending, meaning that small companies offering easy loans in small amounts have become more popular.

Mirosiichenko said his company was basically trusting people to repay the small amounts they borrowed, which has so far been up to 250 lats ($500) for between 1 and 90 days at a hefty interest rate.

He said about 200 people had taken out loans over the two months the business was in operation.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

"Thank you, logic boy. Did I mention this is a rant? Sense really has no place in it."

- Buffy in Real Me, Season 5, BTVS


It is my ultimate wish that I will find some way to insert the phrase "logic boy" into regular conversation tomorrow.

Fraying at the edges, but its just mainly nerves and the unavoidable stress of new responsibilities and new experiences. Thank god for my friends. I don't have many, and none of them are here with me in this country, but the few I have make up for it in quality. I'm not joking when I say I need them -- I could not possibly hold myself together without them. Even having imaginary conversations with them in my head helps -- a poor substitute for the real thing but it's better than nothing during those moments when you're gripping the seat of your chair trying to convince yourself it would be a very, very bad idea to raise your voice.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Like a Hundred Billion Hotdogs


I lie in an early bed, thinking late thoughts
Waiting for the black to replace my blue
I do not struggle in your web because it was my aim to get caught
But daddy longlegs, I feel that I'm finally growing weary
Of waiting to be consumed by you

Give me the first taste, let it begin heaven cannot wait
Forever
Darling, just start the chase - Ill let you win but you must
Make the endeavor

Oh, your love give me a heart contusion
Adagio breezes fill my skin with sudden red
Your hungry flirt borders intrusion
Im building memories on things we have not said
Full is not heavy as empty, not nearly my love, not nearly my love, not
Nearly

Give me the first taste, let it begin heaven cannot wait
Forever
Darling, just start the chase - Ill let you win, but you must
Make the endeavor

- The First Taste, Tidal, Fiona Apple


Generally don't discuss my taste in music (old blog entries with angst-filled NIN lyrics don't count) because those discussions always end badly and seems to serve no function other than to bolster my sense of un-awesomness.

But this song has been in my head for days, and it makes me feel all kinds of awesome.

And I say that using the original version of the word 'awesome'. I will never be able to use this word again without thinking about Eddie Izzard gasping at the sight of a hotdog.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Listened to a lot of MJ at work in office yesterday which was made me feel rather nostalgic -- thinking of the long family trips to KL and back in my father's old, rundown Datsun 100A, and the time when we were caught in the jam at the Causeway in the pouring rain, trying in vain to stop the rainwater leaking into the car's interior, as the whole family sang along to MJ's Dangerous album. We had one cassette tape, which we played on loop endlessly throughout the journey. This way, even before I was 10 years old, I knew the lyrics to the whole bloody album.

Down and out with the flu, but it could just be general stress and fatigue. The weather's is not helping either, alternating between chilly breezes with light rain and a humid, steamy heat.

On the plus side, I called someone a coward to his face and it felt good.

Monday, June 29, 2009

After weeks of gazing longingly at the sky, willing for the rain to come to end my humid misery, I am unbearably happy that the monsoon seems to have finally started. Two girls on the opposite rooftop are dancing in the rain, one still with her toothbrush in her mouth. Sweet.

It has been slightly unnerving for me the last few weeks, constantly sidestepping office-politics minefields and trying my best not to lose my temper. I have decided that a fake smile is really not worth the effort or energy, and I am not inclined to take it upon myself to create a false sense of harmony just so we can pretend to be the best of friends.

This is obviously a problematic decision as it offends the supposedly Asian thing about "saving face". Oh well. At the very least, I won't be accused of putting up a false front.

I happily blame my father for passing on this gene to me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009



From Dan's blog on The Slog. Click!

Monday, June 15, 2009

There's that clip at the end of every Buffy episode that goes "Grr. Arrgh."

I think its unhealthy how often that sound clip plays in my head -- it comes up every time I get pissed off, frustrated, angry, irritated or upset -- which pretty much covers every single waking moment I have, so... Grrr. Arrgh.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

My guilty pleasure of the week was a five-hour long marathon viewing of Pride and Prejudice -- the BBC series with Colin Firth, not the Hollywood remake.

Do you know what five hours of a Jane Austen movie will do to you? Especially if you have it on DVD -- which mean no one can stop you from rewinding/rewatching/replaying the infamous Mr Darcy pond scene again and again until you finally give in to just how tragic you are and force yourself to switch the damn thing off.

Anyway.

Bandarban

A few more random pictures from Bandarban. There was a village fair, involving live music and a lot of dancing.

Bandarban

I've been trying to find out the correct name for this contest, but Google is being very unhelpful. Young groups of men compete to scale up a bamboo pole, which has been smeared with some kind of greasy goo. It was very, erm, masculine.

Bandarban

Baby goats! Oh hello!

I've retold this story a thousand times -- about how I didn't know that goats were affectionate by nature. I always thought them to be rather aloof, you know, like how chickens are. But I found out I was wrong when the goat tied up in the carpark downstairs nestled up to me and rested its head in the crook of my arm.

It would've been the start of a beautiful friendship, if not for the fact that it was Bloody Eid the next day and I think Kirsty mentioned something about not making friends with other people's lunch.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

"I still rem eating some chocolate biscuits which i fell in love with, at ur place prolly more than a decade back."


It took a fair bit of sleuthing around (ok fine, five minutes on chat with a mutual friend) before I finally figured out who the mystery new friend on FB was. The real name rang a bell, but I'm still not entirely sure if I have the right one.

I attended the CHIJ Punggol, which has since been renamed to a much longer, fancier name. The 'Punggol' aspect of it was always a source of great mirth for my classmates in secondary school, who teased me about pig farms and kampongs. I'd always felt very defensive.

It was a fabulously old school, and I feel a connection with it that I never did for my subsequent educational institutions. There was something so comforting about it, about how small and run-down it all was. I remember lying beneath the heavy curtains on the stage in the hall, swaying the cloth over me and thinking it looked like a huge manta ray coming towards me.

I had forgotten tomorrow was a Friday till about an hour ago, and I think that knowledge gave me a little breathing room before the work week starts again. Its rare for my over-thinking brain to get so caught up in the day-to-day chores that I don't find the to sit and think -- but I guess it's just been a crazy couple of weeks.

Tonight I really just wanted an old friend to talk to, but I think it'll be a little while before I enjoy such a privilege again.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Rawr

Bandarban

BandarbanBandarban

BandarbanBandarban

Bandarban


I guess I've always liked it when children don't let me get away with things, or when they talk to me like I'm dumb, or when they look at me with that look -- you know, that look that surrenders nothing to the camera.


Bandarban

The other life

Sometimes I forget there are people who get to wake up to this every morning.

Bandarban

Bandarban

Bandarban

The first two days, I found myself constantly feeling impatient at the so-called "slower" pace of life. By the third day, I found out that doing nothing was absolutely, utterly enjoyable. Why yes, I'd like nothing more than to sit here and stare at the scenery all day.

Bandarban


Bandarban


Bandarban


Bandarban

Friday, May 29, 2009

Like.



LONDON—A couple in Hyde Park, 1974.
© Richard Kalvar / Magnum Photos



In recognition of Older Americans Month, Magnum honors the elderly.

Produced by Zena Koo