Medicated Masseurs

~medicated masseurs~ image copyright Kris lee 2012

~medicated masseurs~
image copyright Kris lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the long wait, locals has a quaint attachment to traditional Chinese masseurs rather than those physiotherapists found in hospitals whenever they experience discomforts and pains in their joints. From whence thee treatment came about is anybody’s guess but their endeavor in providing comfort and relief to those in agony is a testimony to their immense popularity. Here, a sitting customer patiently anticipates his turn outside the treatment room where the ‘sinseh’ stations himself while a young disciple gets his relief playing games on a handheld gadget. Picture taken at Jln Samak, Off Federal Cinema, Penang.

~feel good wait~ image copyright Kris lee 2012

~feel good wait~
image copyright Kris lee 2012

~kitchenette of oils~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~kitchenette of oils~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~agony and attestations~ image copyright Kris lee 2012

~agony and attestations~
image copyright Kris lee 2012

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Egret Below Fronds

~egret below fronds~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~egret below fronds~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Migratory birds are many and depending on the species and flyway these birds are accustomed to, Penang is one of the habitual pit stops of these winged ones found scattered along the coastal beaches and mudflats of Tanjung Bungah all the way to Northbeach. Perched under the shades of coconut frond, an Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx Intermedia) or locally known as ‘Bangau Kerbau’ is spotted in full upright posture looking out towards the unending sea.

~legs of an egret~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~legs of an egret~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

 

As compared to the Great Egret and the Little Egret, they are chiefly identified by their smooth ‘S’ shape neck without kink, a slightly domed head and a gape that ends below the eye. Their legs are generally dark. Picture taken at the coast of Tanjung Bungah, Penang.

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Victoria’s Clocktower

~Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Memorial Clocktower~ image copyright Kris Lee 2013

~Victoria’s Clocktower~
image copyright Kris Lee 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To commemorate Queen Victoria’s 1897 Diamond Jubilee, a Jubilee Clock Tower was erected at King Edward’s Place, at the junction of Light Street and Beach Street, Georgetown, Penang courtesy of  Cheah Chean Eok, a distinguish local Chinese tycoon in the same year. Built in the Moorish style, the tower stands sixty feet tall, one foot for each year of Victoria’s reign. Unfortunately, Queen Victoria never stepped foot on Penang soil which was once a British settlement neither did she live long enough to see the memorial clocktower dedicated to her completed. By the time it was completed in 1902, the queen had died. Picture taken at King Edwards Place, Light Street/Beach Street junction, Penang.

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quaint looking postbox

~quaint looking postbox~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~quaint looking postbox~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curiosities never fail to garner audiences and this quaint looking postbox dating back to the Victorian era now joins many others in the list of historical objects once found in abundance on the island. Painted in fire engine red and mounted on a base made of concrete, this 200 year old cast iron ’grand old lady’ still serves the residents up in Penang Hill. Picture taken in Penang Hill, Penang.

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Gun Hill Temple

~Gun Hill Temple~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~Gun Hill Temple~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most hindu temples in Penang were built in accordance to the Dravidian discipline, an architectural style found in South India and Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan Temple, better known as the Penang Hill Hindu Temple was no exception. It started off in the 1800′s as a small shrine dedicated to the Hindu deity Murugan by the Indian sepoys and sedan chair carriers and had since grown in size. It is located at the mount within Penang Hill called Gun Hill sharing its site with a Malay mosque. Shown here is one of the ornated cornerpieces found on the roof. Picture taken at Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan Temple, Gun Hill, Penang Hill.

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hungry ghost

~hungry ghost~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~hungry ghost~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

The ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’ happens annually during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar. During this period, traders and residents from the same street or community would collectively raise funds to organize a feast complete with entertainment in the form of traditional puppet or opera shows or the modern version called ‘Ko Tai’ which is a stage performance to appease ‘Tai Su Yeah’ (God of Hades picture above) who is supposedly the deity that protects mortals and these wandering spirits whom were all released from the underworld to roam for one full month.

~other paper effigies~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~other paper effigies~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

There is a marked difference between ancestor worshiping that happens during ‘Cheng Beng’ (All Souls Day) as compared to the Hungry Ghost Festival which is a ritual to appease all ghosts be they young or old but specially to those spirits whom were denied a proper ritual send-off when they die or those whose next of kin and ancestors forgot to pay homage to them in the hope that these lost souls some of whom are out seeking revenge will not disturb them, therefore the term ‘Hungry Ghosts’. Because of this, younger children and adults are taught to observe the strictest of curfews to avoid encountering these roaming spirits.  The food on the altar are for the spirits with ‘Tai Su Yeah’ relishing the offerings first before them, the first few ‘premium’ rows in front of the Ko Tai are reserved for these spirits, and the paper effigies and money are for the spirits.  Superstitious as it is, the Seventh month is also a taboo period for those wanting to tie the knot, move house or kick-start a career as bad luck is said to befall. Exactly midnight on the last day of the festival, the ghosts would return back to their own world as the Gates of Hell closes. The effigy of Tai Su Yeah is then light up in a bonfire alongside the rest of the paper effigies. The leftover food after being consumed by the spirits, would be distributed to the needy. Picture taken at Concordia Road, Pulau Tikus, Penang.

~guardians of hade~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~guardians of hade~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

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fresh catch

~fresh catch~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~fresh catch~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

Traditional livelihood has over the years given way to rapid development and the fishermen at Northbeach, a small promontory behind Ocean Green Seafood Restaurant has also not been spared. For the very few who thrived however, their sampans still brought on fresh catches as fishmongers and restaurateurs await. Picture taken at Northbeach, Jln Sultan Ahmad Shah, Penang.

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drop zone

~drop zone~ image copyright Kris Lee 2013

~drop zone~
image copyright Kris Lee 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I don’t know much about photography except that I did learn  composition  from  art

school. I don’t know much about writing because I didn’t do well  in  English  during

school days. I guess there is this unseen hand that shapes our interest through our

life experiences.”

~Kris lee 2013~

lunchbox meal

~lunchbox meal~ image copyright Kris lee 2012

~lunchbox meal~
image copyright Kris lee 2012

Lunch is an important meal to local folks. To the lesser fortunate, having a simple lunchbox meal is indeed a blessing courtesy of some religious societies which made it their daily affair to donate food. Sitting at the temple courtyard annexed to a shaded shrine, temple devotees were also seen going about performing their customary rites in the hope that their prayers would eventually be answered. Ballets of roof tiles supposedly to be used for the ongoing renovation were seen parked at the forefront. Picture taken at the Goddess of Mercy Temple, Jln Masjid Kapitan Keling, Penang.

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bird’s nest fern

~bird's nest fern~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~bird’s nest fern~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird’s Nest Fern, supposedly of the species ‘Asplenium Nidus’ grow well in the tropics under warm humid conditions in areas partial to full shade. Their fronds are a characteristic light green in color, often crinkled at the edges with a black midrib lined with spores forming in clusters at the underside and they are often found attached on the branches and trunks of trees, the result of bird’s droppings laden with seeds that the birds consume. Each of these fronds (similar to banana leaves) called ‘lamina’ can grow up to 150 cm in length. These two giants are spotted some 15 meters off the ground where the huge tree stood. Picture taken at Persiaran Kuari, Penang.

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Preschool Heroes

~preschool heroes~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~preschool heroes~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

Merdeka Day or Independence Day in Malaysia is celebrated annually on August the 31st. Every year, under the purview of the  Education Ministry, all schools are required to initiate their own programs. Seen here in Penang are preschoolers in a National school singing patriotic songs~ both the new ones as well as the old and waving the National flags lending a unique charm to the occasion. Picture taken at Lorong Maktab, Penang.

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Wile Away Seniors!

~wile away seniors!~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~wile away seniors!~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior citizens have their own ways to wile away their time. While some prefer to tend to the needs of their grandchildren, others would sit around having nostalgic talks with friends at coffee shops or go for evening walks. In the morning, some practices “Tai Chi” to keep fit. But there are those who prefer to stay independent and carry on working till their twilight years nevermind if the returns is insufficient to make a good living because chances are most of them are cared for with pocket money chipped in by their offspring to ensure all is well. Confucianism has its good values and its precepts on filial piety are highly revered throughout the local Chinese community.  This “apek”- old man in local colloquial Hokkien is seen tending to a traditional cake stall by the roadside. Picture taken at Carnarvon Street, Penang.

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Shadow Theatre

~shadow puppet~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~shadow puppet~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

Sbaek Thom (literary meaning large leather) is a traditional art form from Cambodia. This shadow theatre made its way to Penang a year ago, being invited as a participant for our annual Georgetown Festival celebrations. Being awarded by UNESCO as a cultural rarity, it narrates solely the Hindu epic of Ramayana. Here, two puppeteers were seen rehearsing for their one night performance. Picture taken at Khoo Kongsi Square, Armenian Street.

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Cannonball Monkeys

~cannonball monkeys~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~cannonball monkeys~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

Cannonball trees are not native to Penang yet some fully grown ones of the genus (Couroupita guianensis) could be found aligning the entrance at the botanical garden. Basically it is a tree with long tentacle-like stalks sprouting and covering its trunk out of which brownish round fruits the shape of cannonballs hung. These fruits were said to possess medicinal qualities and had been used to treat colds and stomach aches but many wonders about its edibility.

~leg stretching exercise~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~leg stretching exercise~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

In this picture some monkeys (long tailed macaques) appear to be camouflaging (try locating its tail) and feeding on what appears to be the flowers of which blooms its fruits. Picture taken at the Botanical Gardens, Waterfall Rd, Penang.

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Water Shrine

~water shrine~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~water shrine~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About five feet wide, these planks built on bakau stilts takes one to the shrine (dedicated to “mazu”- deity of the fishermen and sailors) and further— as it also serves as a dock for smaller, much smaller feeder ships called ‘sampans’ and ‘tongkangs’ due to the shallowness of its waters which is why Penang, once a thriving port of the Southeast in the late 1700′s lost much of its glitter to Singapore after the latter was founded in 1819. On a curious note, the outpost fronting the shrine is a makeshift toilet- four walls, a roof and a pooping hole on the platform. Picture taken at Tan Jetty, Weld Quay, Penang.

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Overlord

~overlord~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~overlord~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many local Chinese revere to “Datuk Kongs”~ spiritual deities of ‘Malay’ descent whom are believed to be overlords of the terrain in which one resides. Because of their roaming presence, most locals finding themselves in unfamiliar places restrain themselves from answering nature’s call, spit or utter anything rude or offensive in that vicinity for fear of offending or incurring the wrath of these spirits which are known to be fierce~ their punishment for offences, reputedly death! The words “Datuk” and “Kong” means the same. It stood for ‘Grandpa’~ the first, as spoken in colloquial Malay and the second, in Hokkien. These spirits have names and are identified by mediums after having undergone a trance and are to be addressed as such but how these Malay spirits came to be revered and honored by the Chinese instead of the Malay’s themselves I believe is due to the arrival of Islam which forbids pagan belief.

~datuk awang~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~Datuk Awang~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

In this picture, a young man is seen going about his daily praying ritual of appeasing three ‘Datuks’ whose shrines are believed to be their homes. At the forefront is what he simply called “Datuk Kong”, the one behind, is known by Datuk Nenek (a female spirit) and Datuk Awang. One could see two songkoks (a malay headgear) placed at the right side of the joss stick censer. Picture taken at Jln Nanning, Penang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Offering to Spirits

~offering to spirits~ image copyright kris lee 2012

~offering to spirits~
image copyright kris lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In taoist rites, prayers and offering to spirits normally begins with the lighting of incense and joss sticks followed by joss paper burning. Here a traditional chimney shaped joss paper burner stood at the front courtyard of the temple to receive the offerings while some pigeons oblivious to the smoke and heat emitting from the burners were seen pecking scraps from the compound. A temple worker also helps in the upkeep of the temple. Picture taken at the Goddess of Mercy Temple Jln Masjid Kapitan Keling, Georgetown, Penang.

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Kedai Tuak

~Kedai Tuak~ image copyright Kris Lee 2012

~Kedai Tuak~
image copyright Kris Lee 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Kedai Tuak Lorong Pasar’ or ‘Market Lane Toddy Shop’ as the signboard says is one of the only two licensed toddy shops still in existence. Toddy is fermented palm wine- a whitish alcoholic beverage made from the undeveloped flower of the coconut palm. The collecting and marketing of toddy is entirely an Indian affair and is enjoyed mostly by Indian labourers. A toddy sculpture was recently erected on its building facade to mark its uniqueness in our society. Picture taken at Lorong Pasar(Market Lane), Penang.

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great landscape

Some women were made to be flowers, others fruits, roots, stems and leaves.

Although most wanted to be flowers, that  is  not  how  mother  nature  painted

its great landscape. As roots, you became the foundation  whose  grip  on  the

earth makes the tree strong, as stems, you carry the weight of many,  bending

when necessary, as leaves,  you catch the tears from the sky and  renews  life

with its breath, as fruits, you nourish the forgotten, gives strength  to  the  poor,

as flowers, you are made to be adored and admired and your fragrance is felt

in all important occasions..

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rainbowed

we  have  had  many  good  years

and    like    many    strong    trees

we have withstood  many  a  gale

and survived the freezing months

and   that’s    all    I    believed    in

.

I am paced  to  walk  more  years

down  the  path  that  we  cleared

and imagined  it  to  be  our  aisle

then   take   in   all    the    blooms

that    scatters   outside   our   sill

.

and  that’s  how  our   journey  is

never    indifferent    from   others

never    imposing    but     special

because  sunshine   more   than

always   illuminated   our    tears

.

that      nourishes      the      seed

that                                rainbowed

even   the  darkest   of  darkness

that I must admit do  sometimes

blind  the   faith   in  each   of   us

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but      like       conjoined       twins

outside     that     picture      frame

we   have   overcomed    distress

and reaped the fruits  we  sowed

always                               together

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I   remained   always   faithful   to

our           one           commitment

and    I   hope    that    we    could

sustain our breath and  lengthen

what      we       have      cultivated

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till            we            grow          old

if      I       may      be     so      bold

to unravel  the  truth  we  planted

that  we are a  bigger  part  of  us

and  that  we   belonged   to    us

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Love Is The Greatest

Agree to disagree but in the spirit of Christianity, love dispels darkness whatever

darkness that is and somewhere out there are all kinds of people  in  precarious

circumstances who are in need love and therefore, plunging deep into darkness

to share your love with them is very much a  Christian  precept  as  it  is  in  other

religions so, do not be afraid when love knocks on your door  in  darkness  or  in

light, in truth or in falsehood, in the day or at night, in safety or in danger because

ultimately, Love Is The Greatest. Only be cautious of  those  who  loves  God  yet

fear the devil, whose self esteem segregates them  from  the  genuine  spirit  of

Loving and Giving.

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hippy hair, curly hair

Say what you want but half of our sane world  listens  to  two  guys  from  the

Middle East with dividing views rant and believes in them. One is a bearded

hippy hair styled guy called Jesus and the  other,  Mohamed  while  another

quarter went berserk over a cropped  short  curly  haired  prince  from  India

named Siddhartha Gautama who didn’t say nor do anything but sat.

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what women prefer

some woman prefers looks

some woman prefers intellect

some woman prefers companionship

some woman prefers humor

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some woman prefers success

some woman prefers power

some woman prefers money

some woman prefers stability

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some woman prefers character

some woman prefers personality

some woman prefers care

some woman prefers love

.

some woman prefers fun

some woman prefers laughter

some woman prefers adventure

some woman prefers thrill

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some woman prefers sex

some woman prefers danger

some woman prefers suspense

some woman prefers mystery

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some woman prefers honesty

some woman prefers sincerity

some woman prefers loyalty

some woman prefers faithfulness

.

some woman prefer ability

some woman prefer capability

some woman prefer responsibility

some woman prefer maturity

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some woman prefers gentleness

some woman prefers kindness

some woman prefers peace

some woman prefers calm

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some woman prefers surprises

some woman prefers privacy

some woman prefers attention

some woman prefers quietness

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some woman prefers words

some woman prefers action

some woman prefers talkativeness

some woman prefers silence

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some woman prefers one

some woman prefers many

some woman prefers all

some woman prefers none

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some woman prefers woman.

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Old Chum

can we rewind back

our episode

of nondescript felon

can we picture

and tone it

in your colors then

of insipid black

then white

.

can we freeze frame

that televised bomb

being hoisted off the sea

then educate your mama

and your hobby cat

how dangerous

deep slumber with

mosquito coils can be

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green fields all day

fanfare at night

through hazy clouds you lay bare

all the litters of fright

can you dust the soot off

those charming old lamps

so flags, frangipani and bananas

could jolly well band

.

one day like chemist

we both shall blend

the odd bathroom formulas

with that of your kitchen ends

then try to decipher

while the barber chair swivels

why the view outside the openings

is always as green as ever

.

but the cock crows too soon

to doctor jam’s tune

the kites, the bird cages, the ducks

they all revere to you

when thunder brings rain

with it sprigs of  mangroves grow

it clogs and floods the drain

it is you who follow those tows

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I’d remember you by

an old chum who comics

but deep down camera-shy

with cheroot-like status

you humbled, you beatify

the putrid, the puny

the mundane

why oh why?

.

can we snip off those stills

of acrid smog

with balaclava, bicycles

no automated post box

you dance with your hand

with patience and good sense

you caption, then motion

our bridge now has no end

.

I’d remember you by

when I see lembus steering

and swerving on the road

so little to pacify

when I relish the nasi kandar

I will encircle and ponder

what life is like with Rose Chan

beyond that yonder

.

am digesting it all in

with a glass full of water

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raised in USA?

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(This poem is dedicated to Ismail Hashim 1940-2013, finest art photographer and friend).

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