Monthly archives: November 2019

Truly Sarawakian Wedding: Dominic & Ernie

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

Saturday is here once again, finally coming to soothe us from the toils of the week, granting us an opportunity to do what we love most, be it spending quality time with our family, to sleep peacefully beyond 9am or for some, to pursue your passion, which can be anything from photography to blogging. I love to combine both as I love to tell stories. This time, my story is about photography job that I have accomplished yesterday night at Miri, which is wedding between a friend of mine, Dominic and Ernie. Before I proceed further, let me tell you a bit of story about Sarawak.

Sarawak – The Land of Hornbill

Sarawak, one of Malaysia’s “state”,  is located at South East Asia, where the tropical climate and its perfect humidity and oxygen concentration blesses with beautiful flora and fauna that one in the Arctic circle can only imagine what it is like in the past, before our world becomes smaller thanks to ever-growing technology. Sarawak was used to be part of Brunei and most of the Dayak peoples (Bidayuh & Iban) and Orang Ulu (an umbrella term for Sarawakian tribes residing in the North-Eastern Sarawak, including Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Lun Bawang, Kelabit, although their Kalimantan counterpart still refer themselves as Dayak) was practicing headhunting. Then came James Brooke in 1838 to Kuching, where he helped Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien II of Brunei to fight and pacify the uprising against Sultan. He also was successful in thwarting the assassination against Pangeran Muda Hashim and restored power to Sultan, thus securing his power and over the land in 1841, and officially declared as Rajah of Sarawak in 18 August 1842.

James Brooke

There was a bit of untold story in our History textbook though, because in his army, there is a lot of Dayak warriors and headhunters because it is said, only Dayak can kill Dayak. Just imagine what would happen if Dayaks are united?

Fast forward to present time, Sarawak is one of the place where you can still find mosque and church side-by-side, both opening up their parking spot to one another during the peak hours of prayer time, like what Mirians did. It is also a place where one can enjoy his or her own food at their own peace, accompanied by a Muslim colleague who is not even bothered by the fact that someone is eating non-halal food beside them. Yes, it is normal, nothing to be made fuss about. In the words of late Tok Nan, “makan sama, tidur sama, cari amoi pun sama-sama” (eat together, sleep together, looking for pretty woman also together), a statement that speaks volume about Sarawakian and their harmony, enviable by many.

Being a Sarawakian, in case someone is asking me what is the secret of racial harmony at Sarawak, I would say, it is our tolerance to one another. We can tolerate different cultures, different religion. You won’t hear Sarawakians complain about “azan” in the morning. It would be weird, because we believe that your religion is your religion, and you do what you need to do about it. That is why when someone wants to plant the seed of hatred in Sarawakians for their personal gain, many Sarawakians would oppose it, to safeguard our racial and religious harmony. It is our treasure.

Other than that, Sarawakians are blessed with a variety of cultures. Having about 54 different ethnic groups, it is no surprise that there is a lot of mixed-marriages within Sarawakians. As a teenager, I am also fascinated by these variety, and that solidifies my resolve to commit into dancing while I am at university, which is something that I never regret joining, from which I also met her – the one.

Moving from there, I would also want to talk about the experience that I had last night, witnessing the holy union between Dominic, an Iban-Chinese, and Ernie, a Lun Bawang lady.

The Holy Union

I am truly pleased to see the variety of peoples coming last night, because it is truly Sarawakian wedding. Why? Well, the couple is Iban-Chinese-Lunbawang, and in the crowd of guests, we have (from what I have spotted) Bidayuh (yours tukang rantek included), Iban, Kenyah, Kayan, Malay, Chinese, and many more. I think there are some from Sabah and Peninsular. From here, it shows the unique blend of people that made the circle of friends for Dominic and Ernie.

The holy union was done by Pastor Robert in accordance to the Christian, specifically BEM (Borneo Evangelical Mission) practices, which is what majority of Lun Bawang practices. Regardless, whatever a man and woman do, blessing has to be sought from the Almighty God.

“And from the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man, He made a woman and brought her to him. And the man said: 

This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man she was taken.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

Genesis 2:22-24

Bon Apetit

Finally, meal time! Mega Hotel did one of a kind performance, where they dance to Señorita song, by Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendez.

Dancing with Mega Hotel’s señorita.

Performances

As usual, it is not complete for the people to come and dance.

After the beautiful dance by the ladies, it is time to hear some talents from the both family side.

Lun Bawang’s Adat Petated

Once the wedding blessing is done, it is continued with the Adat Petated (to send) in accordance to the Lun Bawang cultures. In the olden days, the bride’s family will send her to the groom’s long house because she will live with him. Because Lun Bawang is Christian now, therefore, this is just a symbolic, lest the younger generations did not know the beautiful culture of their ancestors in the past.

Long row of ladies from Ernie’s family
The first group of ladies arriving on stage, while dancing beautifully to the music.
Dominic and Ernie can’t contain the joy in the heart
Here come the boys
Don’t mess around with Lun Bawang warriors.

Each of the items given symbolizes the needs of the bride and groom in their future life together. Based on emcee’s explanation, effective 2018, the guideline of dowry for Lun Bawang is RM8300, from RM3500 before that. It means that potential groom has to be to provide to his bride, a skill that is necessary for their future life together.

Ernie and his new mother.
Mr Clement kisses his beloved grandson.
Welcome to Lun Bawang club Dom.

Yam Seng!

In honour of Dominic’s Chinese side, he was asked to do Yam Seng. But he get the help from his new family, the Boys in Pink.

All is good, says Jackson.
Up and away goes the fizz.
Happy faces.
Yaaaaaammmmm seennggggggg

Mejeng Time

As usual, once the official ceremony is over, the stage is opened for all, where many talented family members show cases their talent as what you can see here.

Ngajat time.
Okkaayyyy kayoooo

The wedding reception was a lively one thanks to the supporting family and friends that came from afar to make it happens, and an evening to be remembered. May God bless both Ernie and Dominic, and their family!

p.s. What I noticed last night is that Lun Bawang and Bidayuh has a some similarities. For example, “uduh” means grass, “betated” & “nganted” means the same thing, which is “to send”. For in law, we also refers to it as “iban”, not to be confused with Iban ethnic. Also, we refer ourselves as the Land Peoples and the male warrior’s jacket are made from wood, not leather. I think there is more, but due to lack of expsure to Lun Bawang’s culture, I can only refer to these examples. However, this is not surprising because both has the same root, if you trace back the origins.

Bonus: The Secret of Everlasting Love

I have been reading a lot of books about relationship and asked a number of peoples, especially the senior ones on how they sustain their relationship until great-grandchildren level.

Regardless of the level of age, there is one thing in common – communication. Good communication is vital. There is no substitute to it. You can’t replace real life person’s presence and warmth with gadgets, because our body itself, housing a real soul emits different frequency and energy compared to any gadget.

Also, it is important to keep the communication level closeness similar or even better than the first time you meet each other.

All this is not to discount the “killer” in a relationship, which is UNREALISTIC EXPECTATION. I purposely capitalise it because it is one of the killer that we have in any relationship. Everyone has a set of expectation from their partners, but going above and beyond physical capability is not realistic, such as expecting your short partner to be as tall as model. That is not realistic.

What can be done is to 1) acknowledge the current situation, and then 2) devise a plan to improve. If you want your wife to look beautiful, encourage her to spend more time to groom herself. You can do your part by buying her beauty products like SK-II and give her some time to go to saloon, once a week.

If you complain that your wife has no time for you, look at her schedule once again. If you think that she spends too much time to wash the dishes or wash the clothes, try to take up some of the physical load.

On mental load, which every woman is automatically engaged into once they became a mother, try to help her by doing a to-do list. That will help her to remember critical stuff. Less stuff on her mind, the less messy she is. Eventually, the younger she will look. During my recent work-related conference, I learned that “STRESS CAN CAUSE CANCER”. That’s a good wake-up call for me. That’s why I always do the things that I love to do, such as writing these blogs.

Some might argue and use fallacy of credibility on me because I am not a father or a husband yet, but I sincerely hope that these tips help you. Even if you don’t use it, I lose nothing.

My time and your time is better used to love more, instead of hating and finding fault of others. I better spend it to find out how to make my life better for me and my family. For me, that is more important. We are living a finite amount of time. Therefore, seize the day! Love more.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Gear used: Leica M10, Summilux35.

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer in Bidayuh Pichin) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

An Evening with Petra Dancers

Tabi basa & greetings family & friends,

How was your day? Today I want to talk about dance in Sarawak. Throughout the history of Sarawak, dance is one of the important aspect of its cultural development, where most of the indigenous peoples has their own dance, derived from nature. For example, Rejang / Langgi for Bidayuh peoples are inspired by the movements of eagle in the sky. Ngajat, a warrior dance for Iban people and most of Orang Ulu’s dance is also derived from the graceful movement of hornbill, signifying the close relationship of these peoples with nature. Long time ago, the life of Sarawakian peoples was built in such way that it is in balance with nature, because it was based on preservation of life. For a start, for newcomers, it is good to see them in action at Sarawak Cultural Village at Santubong to know the brief summary of Sarawak’s rich culture.

Pak Bek (fourth from right) and his dancers

I myself had personally involved with dances when I was still in tertiary education, and had a good down-memory-lane whenever I see traditional dancers performing. Yesterday I had a chance to see Petra dancers in action, led by Mr Awang Harabi, or famously known Pak Bek.

Petra Dancers Story

Petra Dancers was founded in 1991, which makes them 28 years old this year. That gave them a lot of experiences especially in the dancing arena of Sarawakian culture. They can dance all kind of traditional dancers of Sarawak peoples, including Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau, Malay, Chinese or even Indian people’s dances. They one they performed yesterday was Iban’s Ngajat, Orang Ulu’s Kanjet Ngeleput, Bidayuh’s Rejang Beuh, Malay’s Joget Melati, and finally a group dance.

In terms of dancing experiences, they have performed all around the nation, including Brunei and have been representing Sarawak in the international level. They have a different kind of dancers category as well, with the one that we had yesterday was the junior to give them more exposure. For more challenging events, the seniors will go and perform.

In total, they have around 40 active members, with 3 assistant leader, namely Suharto, Kartini and Roberto. For big events, they will collaborate with dance groups from all around Malaysia, or Sarawak to make it bigger due to limitation of manpower and trainers. E.g. during Sarawak Day celebration, where there is a lot of dancers required.

They have their own studio at Wisma Ung Hwa Geok, Lot 418, Tingkat 1, Jalan Kulas Utara Dua, 93400 Kuching, which is the studio that they build at their own initiative without government support as they also runs bridal company, under Petra Bridal.

The current challenge that they face include the other group of dancers because customer tends to find a cheap but with quality dancers. It is a perpetual challenge, but with their reputation, they have little difficulty in that.

Pak Bek also emphasises on the well-being of the dancers, where for every performance, they will be covered their logistics, food and payment. Every week there is a performance, but it will be paid lump sum the end of the month.

Training schedule per week is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 8.30 – 10.30pm, 2 hours per day. That is the commitment required from every dancers in Petra dancers.

Pak Bek hopes to maintain cultural diversity through their works and wishes that every dancers has the discipline to remain focused so that they can achieve whatever they want, be it winning an international award or just to be a good dancer.  

Should anyone interested to join them, you may call 0168689226 to enlist yourself and dance.

Gear used: Leica M Monochrom and Noctilux 50.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Simbuk’s Ninety-first Birthday

Dear family and friends, 

How is your week? I hope you are doing well. The weather seems to be a bit crazy recently, with raining season coming, causing traffic jam here and there. By the way, I have a question for you. Have you ever imagine what you will do when you are older? Have you ever thought of who you want to be when you are older?

For me, it is simple. I want to be able to be able to do what I love most when I am older, which is to capture the moments with my loved ones, regardless of my age. I know some of my friend like Marvin who wants to be able to lift even when he is older, unlimited by age. People like Sifu Yong wants to rock his R1 all along the corner when he is older.

However, my simbuk (grandmother in Bidayuh Siburan) is happily enjoying her life with her grandchildren, which we celebrate last Monday. It was a simple celebration, with less than half of her descendants coming, but the joyful season can be felt.

Birthday girl and great grandchilren choirs are ready.

As usual, prayer is led by my uncle who is a catechist, followed by the usual cake-cutting and photo-session with her grandchildren. It is not easy to gather the kids around, but it is normal when you are managing them. You will get used to it.

Photo with some of the great grand children.
Runaway Baby Shark

Simbuk, just like any other normal Bidayuh woman, lives a simple life. She lives stress-free, and just focus on the essentials of life. She has done her hustle, and now her children is taking care of her. Compared to modern lifestyle, where we sacrifice a lot, especially times with our loved ones, to buy a lot of stuff to impress the people that doesn’t matter in our life. No wonder the pressure level sky-rockets in the recent years.

Just like any other community in Sarawak, for Bidayuh people, family institution is core of society. You can’t be an island, because there will be a time when you are falling down, and needs help.

Acquaintance, colleagues and  friends come and gone, but your family (and true friend) stays. Therefore, cherish them in your life. May your life is be blessed like Simbuk’s.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Gear used: Leica M Monochrom and Summilux 35 FLE.

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Nothing Is Permanent

Tabi basa and greetings dear family and friends, 

Today is Monday, yet another working day for most of us, but it is school holiday for students and teachers, and off-day for me. So enjoy the time with your family and friends. Having the time for myself once again, it triggered something in me – “nothing is permanent”

Awah Gawai Bi-Pichin. Lenge Kiburan is hiding behind the low-lying clouds

What is Permanent?  

Permanent is lasting, continuing, and endures the test of time. In Malay, it is “kekal”. When we say something is permanent, it is there probably until the end of time. When is the end of time? Time is moving forward, one second at a time. Permanent stuff is not going to go any time soon, therefore it is permanent.

Nothing Is Permanent

This is the fact of life. As glorious as the mountains or the continents itself, or even the ancient great structures like pyramids or temples, it is still subject to impermanence. Why? It can’t run away from weathers and act of God. An earth quake can shake a structure and bring it down to some meaningless ruin. A typhoon can blow houses and turn it into smithereens.

In times of trouble and great distress, many would seek solace and comfort from the Almighty God.

So is our life. If you read the ancient texts, or even Bible, the peoples in the past lives a ridiculously long life, few hundreds years old, with the oldest one in the Bible is 969 years old, Methuselah. However, modern humans only live in average 79 years old. If you want to live longer, live like the older Japanese peoples, they live in simplicity. The Japanese salarymen lifestyle not what I recommend though. They put a lot of emphasis to their career, such that their body has to pay the price, where I am referring to death from work, “karoshi”. However, I am pretty sure not many want to live that kind of lifestyle.

Pre-wedding Photoshoot Spotted

In the end of the day, we work to live, to put money on the table.

Walk Down Memory Lane

The Little Ones Won’t Stay Little

This is another realisation that I get. Long time ago, I am not sure why people spend so much money on buy film camera, because I can’t afford it. I was thinking, that money better be spent on  something useful, such as revision books, stationeries and food. Having limited resources forces you to stick with the essentials only, and invest where it is really required. As the result, I grew up with little or no pictures of my school days, except when our teacher collect some money to rent film camera for school project. 

High on “milk”

Back then, if I miss my school crush from another village, during school holiday I have to visit my friend that has her picture to have a look at her face. I kind of like it, because it gives less distraction for me to focus on my study.

As I grow older, I have the access to VGA phone camera. It is like a blind man having the ability to see for the first time in forever. I took a lot of pictures. My cousin is the model of that time. He’s still a baby, so he can’t say no. Take pictures of all time, all the moments. Most of the pictures are embarrassing, so I will not show it. 

What I am showing here is the new generation of Wesons. This is the time when I have access into the best camera in the world, Leica. Being best is subjective, one can’t be a winner in everyone’s heart. But for me, Leica is still the best because it optics is unparalleled. The user experience is priceless. You can’t put a price tag in that feeling. The happiest time is when I see through the viewfinder to aim at my subject. It is bliss.

Anyway, these little ones won’t stay little forever. They will grow up eventually. Before you know it, they will be going to school, graduate and fell in love with someone who will be part of your new family.

Create Memories

One of the best way to live our life to the fullest is to acknowledge our mortality, and make the best out of it. Create more memories together. Capture the images and cherish it while you still can. If you want to be immortal, create something so good that people will talk about it even after you are no longer around on the surface of this Earth. Images will stay on, even if the people inside it is gone. Don’t listen to others on what kind of image that you should take. What’s important for you may not be what’s important for them.

When Empire Strikes Back
The lovely super duper Sajek

That is how you can stay permanent, and granting immortality to those inside the images.

60s Picture

Keep on shooting!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Hip Hop Night Returns

Yo wassup & tabi basa everybody!

After two weeks of silence, Hip Hop Night Returns, this time is back with more fun and different face of peoples, as this night is the night reserved for those who can’t make it on the first dinner held on 1st Nov. I have written about it in my blog, linked here.

Theme

Fundamentally, the theme of choice for this year’s dinner is Hip Hop, beating the other themes, where one of it is Sci-Fi (a totally awesome theme but very difficult to prepare for). You might ended up getting everyone wearing T-shirt. So why don’t we just use Hip Hop theme instead, where it is so simple to get ready to? Pick a shirt, jeans, come with you own family and ensure you have the most important dress of all, attitude. As mentioned by Jill, our lady boss, hip hop is all about attitude. Also, it is the time for you to walk in the hip hop posture, where you don’t have to walk in the right manner, for just one night. That’s what they are doing for hip hop, isn’t it?

As usual, the event begins with the arrival of guests starting at 6pm. The official events kicks off at 7pm, starting with the speech from our lady boss, Jill. She’s well-dressed for the night, fitting the theme of hip hop.

Emcee & Entertainers

Sheron and Malcolm are the emcees for the evening, and they have one duty to ensure that the night is a good night for everybody. Sheron was the previous emcee for Gawai night which I directed, and I know she can deliver. Malcolm was the technical person for that event, and this evening is the first time I saw him doing emcee job. Not bad, I would say. It is good to know that you have a new face that you can count on for whatever event that might come in the future.

Entertaining us that evening is DJ Yosak, one of the well-knowned DJ in Miri scene, and he has been performing at Alice in Borneoland, at Marina, Miri.

For this dinner also, Beatboxer Tony Ngu also made his return. This time, seems like the words about his performance on 1st Nov was spread, and this time he has more crowd. As you can see, parents and kids are flocking in front of the stage. I truly admire the voice control that he has. I can only imagine what sort of training that he has went through. One of my acquaintances told me that he has to scream to purposely injure his vocal cord, which will make it “bigger”, and therefore he can achieve a lower bass sound using his vocal cord. That must be painful. Ouch! I am not an expert on this field, therefore I have no comment. However, Tony’s performance is interesting. You have to see it to believe it.

Lucky Draw

Following the performances are the Lucky Draws. As you can see, there is a lot of lucky person. Congralation to the winners!

Since this is a family event, it is not complete to not have it without the usual group photos. In that quest, I travel from one table to another, whilst mingling around with my colleagues.

Duel of the Dress

Similar to the first dinner, the Hip Hop Night is not complete without the best dress. For the first category, i.e. Bes Dressed Ladies, we have three contenders. First, Martina Black Pink, followed by Ying Ying and Latonia. Latonia looks like she’s a Sabahan Hip Hop artist. The duel is simple; these ladies go to the stage and do their actions, in their own interpretation of Hip Hop. To win, all they need is to get the crowd to cheer for them the loudest. After a brief “duel”, Martina won!

Martina Black Pink
LL Cool J
Mizz Ying2 ‘Ch-Chin’
Winner: Martina Black Pink

For the Men’s category, we have Capt Lee, Arshad and M&M The Eminem. Capt Lee is well-geared for the evening, and it is quite obvious who the winner is.

“The Captain”
Zakirul “Eminem” Saif
Arshad “T” Tani
Winner: Capt Lee!

Family category is more interesting, where we have four contestants; first one is Yinka J & Fam who looks like a real hip hop artist without even trying; then Kasmah and the Tang, The Malinos and last but not least, Perry T & The Crew. These family gave their best, but there can only be one winner, where Perry’s family emerged victorious from the ashes of the “battle”.

Perry T Crewz
Yinka “J” Family
The Malians
Kasmah and The Tang

Finally, after the duel, the grand prize Lucky Draw took place. Congratulations to the winners! With that, it marks the end of the dinner.

Grand Prize Winner

In The End

But that does not mark the end of the relationship that we have with our friends, colleagues because it one of the blessing that God has bestowed upon us – the gift of love. Have a great week everybody!

In the end, there is silence.

Love Portraitures

This section is dedicated to family or couples that caught my attention that evening, where I always look for the expression of love, that you can easily find in the eyes of the person in love, from one lover to another, from father/mother to their children, from husband to wife and vice versa. It is love that keeps us going. Like a vessel, only the one whose heart is filled with love will be able to love others.

People’s Gallery

The event will not be enjoyable without the peoples that comes and make it an evening to be remembered. Therefore, this section of the gallery is dedicated to my colleagues. We had a good year, therefore let’s make the remainder of 2019 a good one. Give our best and regret nothing as we cross the finish line of 2019. 

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Gears used: Leica M10-P and Summilux 35 FLE.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Offshore BBQ (ft F23)

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

Friday is here, and finally for most of people, it is the best time of the week. Weekend plans are coming. Some are heading back to their home town across the ocean. Some even plan to binge- watching their favourite series on Netflix. For Sarawak Asset folks, they are getting ready for another round of Hip Hop Night, part 2. For offshore operations, Friday is the same as Monday, it is business as usual.

Generally all of us know offshore from its busy life and it’s always 24 hours production. However, the often unseen part is that they also have their own time to do BBQ. For this edition, I took my time to capture the images at F23’s BBQ, which is a location at Sarawak water. The “Tuai Rumah” for the platform is OIM Jerry, one of the children of the wonderful Land of Hornbill.

Tuai Rumah, OIM Jerry
Second-in-Command, MS David
Orang Keselamatan, Antonio @ Antu
Thou shalt not work without permit, says Abang Rahman.
Start Start

 

Orang Lama masih berbisa
Post-BBQ Karaoke Session

This BBQ is part of the appreciation for the team who has been working tirelessly to ensure safe operation all year round, as well as part of the social event that the team have. It is also their opportunity to eat nice foods, while enjoying the sunset and sea breeze.

After the BBQ session, comes the karaoke session. It is usually the activity before crew change, since they have completed their working roster. The next day is the time for them to be spent with family.

Me and my team there. Good game peoples!
Bday Boy ada senyum.
Don’t mess with Instrument Guys.

I hope you enjoy these images! Have a good weekend and work safe!

Note: Gears used are M10-P and Summilux 35 FLE.

Your Tukang Rantek,

Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Respecting Christian Graveyard & Photography Etiquette

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

How’s your week so far? I hope it is good, and all is well at your side. The All Saint’s Day and All Souls Day were celebrated by Christians on 1&2 Nov, but I think the one that get the most attention is All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, because it is the one that can be commercialised and celebrated at parties. However, for Pichins, we don’t celebrate Halloween and go to church instead on 1 Nov for All Saints’ Day mass.

Visiting Grave Yard on 2 Nov. I missed this year’s visit. Maybe next year then.

The following day is the day to visit graves. However, preparation is being made a week before, where villagers clears the graveyard from all of the weeds, or any infesting plants and some even redecorate the grave, especially the old ones that was deteriorating due to exposure to the UV and heat from sun and rain, and repeat.

Before talking about going to the grave, I want to brief you about the proper etiquette at a Christian Grave.

Proper Etiquette at Christian Graveyard

My sharing here is based on what I have practiced throughout years of living my life as a Christian (Roman Catholic) at Kpg Pichin, Serian. This applies if you were to do any business, or even photography job there.

  1. Don’t go there without permission, especially if you don’t know the relatives of the particular grave you are visiting. If you must go, do contact the head of the village. The best time to go is during All Souls’ Day on 2nd Nov every year. This is the best time to visit graves, where all of the relatives of the departed ones visit their grave. It is totally different story if you want to visit your late great-great grandmother’s grave to clean it. You and your relatives, or friends of your choosing can go there anytime you want. You have a specific job to carry out there.
  2. Don’t play around at Graveyard. It is not a playground. If you want to play, go visit LePapa, Serian. They have a playground outside.
  3. Dress appropriately. To be safe, just wear any non-revealing attires or even better, wear casual attire, just like how you want to visit your friends during Gawai, Kaamatan or even Raya. The best dress is the black or white, and non-colourful or cheerful themed dress.
  4. Don’t make noise or even play inappropriate music there. It is not a rock concert or a stage. The acceptable case is when everyone recite a prayer together or even singing hymns together during All Soul’s Day. For me, that is the best part of the 2nd Nov, to see my villagers pray and sing together at our beloveds final resting place; praying for them to demonstrate our love even though we are no longer occupying the same phase of life.
  5. Do not do inappropriate business at graveyard. For example, sleeping there to get lucky number (superstition), do photoshoot there with intention of getting viral, which is inappropriate and a sign of disrespect.
  6. Remember to take bath after you came back from graveyard, because you don’t want to bring back anything to your residence. You also need to clean your gears from the graveyard soils because of this reason.

Wedding Dress Photoshoot at Christian Graveyard, Batu Pahat

Recently I was shocked to see a viral post, showing a bunch of people went for a photoshoot at a Christian graveyard at Batu Pahat. Initially I thought they were related to them, or it was part of the recent All Souls’ Day celebration. I was wrong. They are not doing it as part of religious celebration, but they are doing it as per normal photoshoot to promote their latest wedding dress just like how any photographer treat any normal photoshoot venue. That’s the first red flag.

The second one is, they are not part of the community there, and I highly doubt that any of the community members of the departed ones were involved. The biggest red flag here is that they are disrespecting the grave.  I believe majority of non-Muslims do not have any intention of doing photoshoot at Muslim graveyard because we, Christians respect Muslim’s religion, culture and graveyard. However, this bunch of people have crossed the line. That’s why, many of the Christians all around Malaysia were infuriated.

I dig further, and I found that Harian Metro interviewed her, Nur Amirah Mohd Amiruddin, 26, the owner of the boutique. You can read it here. In that article, she said that she just want to do something different, and inspired by the photographers and models outside of Malaysia, which is understood as they have a lot of cultures. She also mentioned that she has no intention of being viralised when she first did this.

“Saya pilih lokasi itu kerana mahu mencari kelainan dan mahu lari daripada kebiasaan dengan mengambil inspirasi daripada luar negara. Tujuan saya memuat naik gambar berkenaan di FB adalah untuk suka-suka dan tiada niat langsung mempermainkan mana-mana agama,”

(Translation: I chose the location because I want to find something different and to go outside the from the norm by taking inspiration from outside Malaysia. My intention to upload the picture is for fun and has no intention to make fun or ridiculing any religion).

That is the statement that was being given when she was being interviewed by Harian Metro.

Why Is This A Big Thing and Makes A Lot of People Angry?

For Christian, graveyard is the final resting place for someone after they leave this world. It is where their body resides. For Christian, our body is the temple Holy Spirit and it should be treated with reverence or deep respect. Love that we have is stronger than death. That is why we visit graveyard every year, to remember the one that left us behind as their soul passes on to God.

From Chrissy’s Tweet. That is why she is furious. Don’t mess around with a Sarawakian lady.

When I was a small kid, and to many other Christians, we were being taught to RESPECT the graveyards. I remembered that my parents and grandparents told me to not play around at graveyard, it is not even a place to play, joke around or even horse play. Even when you need to be particular when you are sitting on the grave, because for us at Pichin, we shouldn’t CROSS a grave (melangkah). It is a big no no. For us, it is a huge sign of disrespect. For other graveyards, even the priests will come and bless the grave with holy water. Grave plays a vital role in a Christian faith, where it is a symbol of reverence or deep respect to our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit as our soul passes on to God. Each steps should be taken carefully as we visit graves and when we want to visit our departed beloved’s grave. I do remember I had to be guided by my uncle as I find my way through the grave yard. Now that I am big, it is my turn to guide my niece and nephew as they grew older later on.

There is something disturbing about this photo. (From MummyQueen’s IG Story)

Also, they are using wedding dresses. Wedding is a sacred union between man and woman. It was unthinkable to do combine wedding-related items with graveyards. This is real life, not Hollywood. Not Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. I am not sure what concept they are trying to do, but to trying to do whatever you see on TV at an actual graveyard is not a good idea. Whoever suggested the idea should be brought to justice.

The funny Tweet about the whole thing, including Photography class.

I am glad to see that even her fellow peoples, (Malay & Muslims) understands the level of respect that graveyard deserves and condemning the activities of these irresponsible peoples that disrespects the grave. Such action is indeed a disgrace to the Muslim community in Malaysia, because I know that majority of them respects the other religions.

It is a shame that the bad apples get the most publicity. Therefore, there is no need for you guys to apologise on behalf of your religion because it is not your fault. The one at fault is the one who does and involved with this photoshoot.

I think that if you are desperate to be famous, any way is a good way, even if it infuriates other peoples. I learned that her followers’ number skyrockets. But at what cost? Losing your pride? You don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reason, particularly an over-the-top venue of photoshoot. In this particular case, not only they are being lambasted in social media, but they are also being schooled and scolded by their own fellow Muslims. Such is the price to be paid.

I have been singing “Helena” for the longest time I can recall. When I saw this meme from Jacob, I had a good laugh. From Facebook: Jacob Eli

If someone does that to my great grandparents grave, I will find you. Other headhunters descendants are not so forgiving though. Just be glad that you don’t do it at Sarawak. Otherwise, I am not sure what will happen next.

Conclusion:

What I can say is, respect others, to earn respect from them. That’s the fundamental things to be learned from one another, especially if you are living in a multi-cultural country like Malaysia. Also, she had posted a live apology. If it is sincere, then may she gains peace. Otherwise, only God knows what’s next. I hope this post teaches you what do do next during your next visit to any Christian graveyard. There might be some difference, but fundamentally it is the same, where you should treat it with respect.

Let us treat each other with respect, and show each Malaysian the level of respect that we all deserve. Since she apologised already, let’s forgive them as Jesus’ teaches us to forgive one another just like how Father forgives us. Let’s close this book as there is benefit in harbouring hatred and move on, but let the lesson remains lest it is repeated. Have a good week ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a Pichin-born, tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography. 

Depression and Self-Liberation in Photography

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

In the recent times, often we heard, seen and read about depression. Before that, it is quite common for us to hear people talk about it and dis it as if it is a laughing matter. I am pretty sure you also have your experiences dealing with such negative emotions. I have not dealt with depression yet, and I am lying if I said I understand how it exactly feels.  

Crying Junior

Definition of Depression

From American Psychiatric Association’s website, depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affect how you feel, they way you feel and how you act. It can cause sadness and / or loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It also can lead into various emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

The symptom includes:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite – weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Increased fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling worthless
  • Increase in purposeless activitiy
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

As you can see from the lists, it is quite severe, especially the thoughts of suicide. As you can see in the movie Joker, various mishappening in his life turns him into society-hating person, that stays in the shadows and unknown, and that is his greatest weapon against Batman in the future.

Don’t confuse depression and sadness or grief because the latter are a normal emotional cycle in human, but depression is not. Even if that person is living the ideal situation may even succumb to this, as they are facing a threat and hazard unseen to us – the price to be paid for fame. The more famous you are, the more important is the your emotional strength.

Talking about this, there are time where I feel so unmotivated for no particular reason, where I just feel like lying in my bed, listening to Fur Elise all day. I believe this is quite common, except it came in a different form or activities. I would imagine a singer would want to scream their lungs out at studio when they feel frustrated or depressed. Or runner, just ran until they are tired across the field.

Could there be a solution for this?  

Disclaimer: whatever that is written here is by no means absolute cure or prevention for depression. The words written following this are only the opinion of Claudius Weson, and should be taken as a layman's point of view, not a professional in field psychology.

Photography, Sense of Purpose & Self-Liberation

For me, this one is dealt with in a way that I treat photography as my main outlet to express myself, to tell the stories that I am unable to tell in words, and once I have done that, I express it in words. I like blogging, mainly because I can write things that I don’t get to talk in my everyday conversation. Not everyone that I know wants to talk to the level that I expect them to be. So, for me, I just keep it to myself, type it out here and post it. Who knows it might help someone out there.

I also have a passion in expressing myself, which is why I loved to join activities such as public speaking, debate, battle of the band and latest is photography and blogging.  Back then, adrenaline was running wild, unchecked, and therefore I have to channel it somewhere. Being heartbroken, rejected few times, I use that frustration to create songs, such as Dayung Salau, Buran, I Don’t Care and our Taruh Dari’s (3D) main song, Headhunters of Hornbill Land. Duirng that time, I thought that we can go on as a team. However, that honeymoon period did not last and we have to separate after we finished our schooling (I probably will write about that in a next post).

High-School Rocker

That is also why I come with my own brand, Tukang Rantek. Why? It makes me joyful inside when people call me Tukang Rantek, which makes me excited to go on day to day life. Back in my village also people started to call me Tukang Rantek, like yesterday when I go to church of Pichin, Holy Trinity Church.

The sense of purpose comes in the form of competing with myself. I have quit competing with everyone else because I don’t like where it is heading. Some people don’t mind sacrificing relationship just so that they can win extra job, extra medal, extra recognition and even extra acknowledgement. If that “extra” means I go home unsatisfied with my art, but expressing in the way I become a crowd-pleaser or even social media victim, I rather go without anything but being happy in whatever art that I create. If I am comparing myself to other person’s current state, I am insulting my own potential. Why? I can achieve so much more if I become my own ally, creating the art that pleases both myself and my inner self.

I also do acknowledge that my elders are getting older, therefore I decided to create as much image when I am back at my hometown because no amount of money or regret can give me back that opportunity once I have lost it. How many times have you thought about this in your own family?

Seize the day.

I am Award-less Photographer

Again, this is another source frustration, left unchecked, it can become another source of depression. For me, being a Leica user for few years already, it is not uncommon for me to dream about winning Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA), the most prestigious award for Leica society. Only one photographer can win this award every year. What happens to the rest of the photographer if they don’t win any of it? Did they just lost their puspose in life? Of course not; different photographer has a different purpose. For me, I want to create the best image. I strive for this goal in whatever situation that I am in. In that sense, I have a purpose. I further define it to create the best image in whatever situation I am in, given the poor lighting condition, given the gear I am using. For me, using Noctilux would be too easy because I can just blow the background away thanks to its atomic bokeh and leaving the subject intact. That is why I use Summicron recently, be it the first or the latest one. I like to make it difficult for me to capture the image, so that I can learn to control my M better.

In my off day, I like to call myself family photojournalist, capturing the day-to-day actitvities of my family. Sounds trivial, but few years down the road, we will miss these times, the time when the little one is no longer little.

Whether you realise it or not, each photographer reflects their own personality and emotion in the images that they created. If you are sad, you tend to create an image of sad people, and if you are happy, you tend to create an image of happy people. Therefore, before any event, it is better for you to find a good reason to be happy. Due to the emotional load (dealing with peoples) and time constraint, not many wants to be a wedding photographer. But for those who loves all of those, they really thrive in it. That brings us to the next topic.  

How about Money?

This one is tricky because for some people, photography is the way for them to make money. If they can’t make money, they cannot provide necessities for their family. When that comes, whether they like it or not, they have to find another sources of income, trading hours for money, which is unsustainable.

Dio & Anis’s wedding reception.

From my conversation with some of the established photographers, they don’t rely solely on photography as their main source of income. They take commissions from every camera gears that they sold, they organise courses. Not surprisingly, Youtube is also part of their income, especially if you are creating a good, niche content. You also can always be part of the bigger community of  photography, where you can become the second photographer for their job, provided they want your assistance and they trust in your ability to assist them. 

Liberate Yourself From Bondage Called Expectation

Cat woman feeding cats

A self-explanatory topic, your true liberation comes when you are really, and genuinely do photography for yourself, when you are really doing it because you like it, because you love it and you don’t care about those superficial stuff that we are being fed constantly with. The amount of likes or shares won’t pay the bills. Don’t worry about your post that doesn’t even go viral. Don’t worry if you don’t have or won any award. Don’t worry if you are not making any money yet. Do what you like, create the images that make you happy, make memories and make images your life as much as possible and share it with the others. In the end of the day, all you want to achieve is that little joy when you look back at your harvest (images created) and can go to sleep soundly. For non-photographers, just focus on your art, be it writing, singing or playing in a band.

I hope this sharing is useful to you, and able to empower you. No matter how high you have reached, don’t forget your roots. Have a great week ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a Pichin-born tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Jared’s First Birthday

Tabi basa and greeting family and friends,

How was your weekend? I hope it is great and awesome as it is supposed to be. Saturday, as usual, is a day of enjoyment, unless you made a conscious decision and declare that everyday is a time to enjoy. By right, any time spent on the face of the Earth is supposed to be a time to enjoy, rather than to confine it into one singular celebration.

For me, yesterday was the day of celebration, where we celebrate the birthday of our little Jared, who just clocked his first year upon his arrival to this plane last year. It was a simple celebration, but it was indeed more meaningful since it is the time for us gather as one big family, save for one that is quite a distance away from us.

Happy Birthday To You!

For me, birthday celebration is indeed a good way to say thank you to family and friends that has been supporting us in life. It is not something that we can do every day.

Jared and his grandfather.

Gears Used

For this celebration, I used Leica M10-P and Summilux 35 FLE. Reason for 35 mm is because I am working at tight space and have to make use of the wider angle to compose better. I can use 50mm but it would a bit too tight. A usual, for this kind of celebration, if you only have to use one lens, and one camera; a camera coupled with 35mm would be a good combination.

The used of medium-telephoto lens or telephoto lens is not encouraged unless you want to work at spot and avoid from walking around due to congested space.

Let There Be Light

In this job also I am using external light. Not because M10 can’t handle available light, but because I want to experiment with the lights.

Catechist Real in action. Yes, his name is Real.
With strobe, and “Datin” TJ.
Three boys. (Using Leica M10 & available light. Summilux 35 is good for this kind of job).
Aunties captured using available light.

For any room-lit environment, Leica can handle it without any problem, even if you are using the Elmar or Summaron family of lenses that has aparture higher than f/3.4. M10’s excellent ISO performance is good and high enough for you to use ISO as high as 10,000 without any problem, though I always keep mine as low as possible, usually 400, because I want to have my image as technically perfect as possible.

For my experience, Noctilux is my go-to lens for challenging events, because it is the King, King of the Light, or basically King of the  Night as it can capture as many photon of light as possible, without compromising the quality of the image. At the biggest aperture opening in modern Leica aspherical family of lens, it is indeed goes without a fight. The second contender is Summilux 50 FLE, that I believe many go for it instead. Though it was introduced in 2004, it is still a good lens as many Leica user is concerned. I even bought it as my first Leica lens, only to let it go to acquire the King of Light. 

Therefore, my take is, for event photography, the best go-to combination is 35-50, or if you have wider such as 24 or 21 (I would go for the latter), do add that in your lens bag. If you only have to go with one lens, go for 35 (the wider the better, I would recommend f/1.4).

Tukang Rantek Life Long Learning

To those who approached me about photography and if they intend to get serious, I would suggest to them to do an event first, and get hold of the experience first-hand before moving on the next discussion. For me, photography is more than just a sniper in the distance. It is one of the most important personnel in any event. My approach of doing my photography is to interact with the event-goers, and be part of them. Why? For me, if the photographer is having a bad time, it will be reflected in his expression, thus in a way, will affect the event goers. The negative vibe will propagate and it will make the event a bit less than it is should be. However, just imagine the photographer is a cheerful one, or the one with high energy, it will create and impact to the event-goers positively. Thus making the already good event even greater. For me, that is an accomplishment.  

Having said that, to each is their own, as photography job is like drawing on a piece of white canvas. The photographer can choose to be walking on the snow without leaving any footprint, or he can choose to make a snowman.

Have a good weekend!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Having fun on the Church’s floor.

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Hip Hop Night

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

Weekend has come, and it is a time to rest once again after a long week of working. Friday night is a night where many would spend their time with their family, and friends. It is a night where people gather together and reconnect. Some would take this opportunity to hustle, to work out, or to work hard to build a brand out of their name.

For Sarawak Asset staff, 1st Nov night is the time for them to enjoy and have fun after a year of toiling and giving their best to the organisation. It is also the opportunity for the top managements to mix around with the working level and check how they are doing so far as well to get to know their family, which is a rare opportunity for them to meet the top managements.

Nevertheless, for many, it is also a golden chance to mix around as such dinner can only come by once every year. Last year’s theme was Rock & Roll. This year’s theme was Hip Hop, a theme voted by many of the staff. I believe it is relatively easy to find and to prepare. Just find a cap, a hoodie, a suitable sweat pants, and a comfortable shoe, and voila, you meet the theme.

For this purpose, I just use a simple t-shirt and a jeans since I intend to be behind the lens anyway. Therefore, for me, comfort is my main priority. I do enjoy capturing the moments that you can see here in this blog post. As explained earlier, my blog post is my main form of communication as it is the one that I have the most control at. There is no point for me to upload a hard work of mine in a social media platform that may not be guaranteed its longevity in the future. In this case, my blog will be sustained as long as I desired it to be.

The crowd was entertained by Tony Ngu, a Beatboxer, who is also a beatbox trainer himself; including DJ Matt Abdullah from Sabah, who entertained the crowd with his selection of music.

DJ Matt Abdullah from Sabah
Tony Ngu controls the crowd very well.

Going back to hip hop business, as usual, it is not complete for us to do a costume dinner without any best dress winner. For the first category, the solo category for men and women, there are three  peoples were chosen by the committees. For men, Terry the Man, Tanna the Boroi and Baldave (from Bronx). They go up to the stage and tried their best. Tanna really went all out to the point I don’t know him anymore, with that moves of him on stage. Terry also gets better with styling as he gets older. But Baldave the Bronx Baddie won the crowd. 

For women category, there are three candidates; Fariza the Freezer, Mei Peng and Cindy. Cindy also dressed so smartly, and I think it is impressive. Cindy might have won the crowd, but Fariza won the hearts of the little ones with her excellent showmanship.

For family category, we have Thong’s family, Werry’s family  (geng Rantai) and Adli’s family (the Hip Hop Hurray team). The Geng Rantai won an undisputed victory as many voted for them. Thong’s makeover is awesome, and this time he is the Black guy. Last year he was the God of Rock. 

After the fancy dress performances, it is time for the lady boss to go up to the stage and present the winner their prizes. Congratulations to the winners! As soon as the final grand prize was given away, the crowd quickly disappears.

From my conversation with the peoples on the floor, I do know that this would be the last Sarawak Asset dinner for peoples like Colin Lester Koh as he moves into a different location, as well as Fariza, who will be leaving the organisation for a better opportunities outside, joining the red team. Therefore, this Hip Hop dinner acts like her farewell party.

As usual, farewell is not really a farewell, but just an opportunity for us to say hello once again. With this, I end my post for now and I hope you enjoy the images here.

Note: All of the images here were captured using Leica M10-P and Summilux 35 FLE lens. I think this combo is awesome for all purpose photography, particularly for reportage. No wonder Craig Semetko loves it.

Have a great weekend ahead with family and friends. For those working, work safe and stay safe!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice
All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Note: Claudius Weson is a freelance tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography. 

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice
All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Note: Claudius Weson is a freelance tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.