Category archives: Motivation

A Rural Teacher’s Story: Alvin Wong (SK Batang Lassa)

Tabi basa and greetings Tukang Rantek’s family! I hope these days has been great to all of you and your family. Just like all of you are familiar with, being a Tukang Rantek, I love to write stories about peoples that I have met, especially people that I think inspires others. For this edition, this Tukang Rantek has a story about a teacher who study and teaches at a remote area (pedalaman).

Alvin’s Story

The person that I want to talk about today is Cikgu Alvin Wong. He is a 27 years old teacher from Sarikei, Sarawak. Born on 1st Aug 1993, he is born to an Iban mother and Chinese father. He is currently registered as an Iban ethnic in JPN. Previously he was registered as Chinese. Being half-Iban, that gave him right to change to his maternal etchnicity, which is Iban.

Cikgu Alvin Wong
Look how big Batang Lassa Is
Aerial View of SK Batang Lassa

Alvin’s Family Story

Alvin and his family

Cikgu Alvin is the the eldest son of three siblings. Currently, he is teaching in SK Batang Lassa, Daro, a “Pedalaman 2” (P2) school. He has been teaching since 23 January 2017, which almost 4 years of service.

Alvin and his siblings

As for his his siblings, he has a younger sister, Shereen Wong (25 years old), who followed his footstep as a teacher, currently teaching English at SK Nanga Jambu, Julau, which falls under “Pedalaman 3”.

His youngest brother, Johnny Wong (22 years old), currently is a student-teacher at Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) Kampus Batu Lintang, Kuching. He will be graduated soon in 2021, majoring in English language as well just like his two other elder siblings.

Late grandfather (left-most), an ex-teacher at SK Engkamop, Pakan. Grandmother (alive) right-most.

His late grandfather, Mr. Wong Hieng Yiu (father’s side) was an ex-teacher at SK Engkamop, Pakan. His mother, Mdm. Lim Kee Kee (54 years old), is a also a teacher, currently teaching in SK St. Anne, Sarikei.

He and his siblings are inspired to be educators by following the footsteps of their late grandfather and mother. For them, teaching more than just a profession to earn good income, but it is a noble job, where teachers impart not only knowledge, but also giving life to younger generations (especially their pupils) with life values (nilai murni kehidupan) to be holistic & well-mannered individuals.

Education Background

Alvin sat for his SPM back in 2010, at SMK St Anthony, where he earned 10As (7A+, 1A, 2A-), making him one of the top 10As achiever for Year 2010. After that, he went for his Bachelor’s Degree at Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) Kampus Batu Lintang, Kuching for 5.5 years from 2011 to 2016. He trained as an educator majoring in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL / English Language). There, he achieved Best Academic Award (Anugerah Kecemerlangan Akademik) for Year 2016, was awarded with Bachelor of Teaching (HONS) (Sarjana Muda Perguruan dengan Kepujian) and graduated with a First Class Degree (CGPA: 3.87).

Alvin and IPG Classmates final year Annual Dinner 2016 (Bachelor Degree)
Bachelor’s Degree Convocation
Alvin’s Family During His Bachelor Degree Convocation

After he completed his Bachelor’s Degree, he pursue his Master Degree for two years from March 2018 to March 2020, at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi (UKM Bangi), pursuing Master Degree at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi (UKM, Bangi), pursuing TESL (English Language). He was awarded with Master of Education (Sarjana Pendidikan). He was supposed to have his convocation on October 2020, but it was postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic. For his Master, he achieved First Class Degree (CGPA: 3.90).

Alvin and classmates (Master Degree UKM Bangi)
Alvin and classmates (Master Degree UKM Bangi)
Alvin and classmates (Master Degree UKM Bangi)

Challenges In Teaching In A Rural School

Teaching at rural school poses its own set of challenges, unimaginable for those at urban areas. This is the thing that I would like to highlight today, where I want show all of you the among many challenges that Alvin and his fellow colleagues has to face.

1. Access To School

Being a school in a rural area, one of the challenge is acces, where in this case, the access to SK Batang Lassa is via River.

1.1 River

fznor

River access is available via Express Boats from Sibu to Daro & vice versa (stop directly at school jetty). Express Boats is a more popular option for teachers in SK Batang Lassa, Daro.

One may also charter (boleh juga catar) speedboat. However, it is very pricey, where one way trip is RM300. Speedboat is a rarer option and last used was on 2018.

Express Terus Singgah Di Jeti Sekolah

1.2 Off-Road Access Via Batang Lassa Palm Oil Plantation 

For road, it is preferred to use a 4 WHEEL DRIVE vehicle to access the path / gravel road / sandy road (tanah putih). Typical 2WD cars (Kancil, MyVi, Viva, Bezza, etc.) can still access the road without any problems though one has to be careful and cautious of the surface of the path / road to avoid any untoward incidents.

As for Alvin, his worst experience was his car (Honda HRV) got stuck on the sandy path, where soil mixed with sand became soft due to the heavy rain the day before. He was stuck for almost 2 hours.

Luckily there are other teachers (also from SK Batang Lassa) going through the same path. The other teachers (driving Isuzu DMAX 4WD) went to the nearest hardware store, outside of the plantation to get thick rope. Car was successfully pulled out. 

Lesson learned from this to always be prepared for anything. In his case, prepare with tools such as cangkul, tali kapal & always be grateful that there are people around you that will always be available to help you especially in need (kita jaga kita).

2. Telephone Reception

Telephone access is another big issue where he is teaching. There is no telephone reception at school. The residents there depended on WiFi Satellite (VSAT Maxis) for internet connection. This is no different from those used by those offshore, especially on barges.

However, when there’s a will, there’s a way. In order to boost the phone reception – they bought Signal Booster. Currently, they can use normal phone call and sometimes receive H or H+ connection, which is much better than nothing.

3. Water

He and his fellow friends there were also no stranger to water issue. For bath, they are fully-depending on Water Harvester, which is collected rain water.

The idea of using rainwater for bathwater is not really common in urban area, but thankfully the rain collected can be cleaned of sediments and dirt through filtration (using clothes) and water PH neutralizer, which is a type of pill or powder to neutralise the rain water. Again, this demonstrated that when there’s a will, there’s a way.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filtered from underground water are also provided as alternatives for teachers to bath, cook and to perform other daily necessities.

Every year, the school also receive boxes of Drinking or Mineral Water. Each teacher and staf will receive up to 8 to 10 boxes of these Drinking or Mineral Water, so they will have clean water source to drink and cook.

4. Current Challenge: COVID-19

Since March 2020, Movement Control Order was enforced throughout Malaysia. Due to the rise of COVID-19 cases, all face to face class interaction are converted to home-based learning (HBL) or Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran di Rumah (PdPR).

Schools are given multiple alternatives to conduct the lesson based on locality of the school, the community around them and most importantly the location of the pupils.

Schools may perform PdPR secara dalam talian (Online), PdPR secara luar talian (Offline), or the combination of both.

For the case of rural school like SK Batang Lassa, all of the teachers opted for fully PdPR secara luar talian or the combination of both (using WhatsApp to update the pupils of the works they need to do).

In Alvin’s personal experience, he were facing difficulties to distribute work via WhatsApp as not all pupils have internet access. Therefore, in order to cater to this issues, the exercises was printed in a form of module to be distributed to the pupils.

Preparing The Modules
Preparing The Modules
Preparing The Modules

Most of the pupils staying at the longhouse are able to obtain the module because they can visit school and take the module from the Guardhouse or Staff Room. However, for other pupils that are out of the longhouse area, where they stay at Sibu or Balingian (Selangau), WOD (Worksheet on Delivery) was performed.

Without being asked by anyone, Alvin’s own initiative to drive and deliver the module to his students so that all of the pupils will be able to do their exercises and learn. He felt happy inside when his students can follow their the learning session without any hindrance at all.

Delivery Module
Delivery Module
Delivery Module

Personal Achievements Throughout Teaching Career

Despite those challenges, Alvin did not stop. Instead, fuelled by his will to succeed, and strong support from the communities around him, he managed to achieve these awards. Being a keen learner, throughout his teaching career, he has ventured out to learn and joined lots of competition, such as those listed below.

  1. INTERNATIONAL INVENTION & INNOVATIVE COMPETITION (InIIC) SERIES 2/2018
Alvin with Daisy Kunang and Yii Hung Ying
(from left): Yii, Alvin & Daisy

This competition was held on 20th October 2020 (At Resorts World Langkawi). He attended under UKM (representing SK Batang Lassa), where he presented – CollaboWrite with MindMeister (Improving Pupils’ Writing Skills with Mind Mapping). Among his team members are Daisy Kunang & Yii Hung Ying. They achieved SILVER AWARD. 

2. KOLOKIUM TS25 PERINGKAT DAERAH DARO TAHUN 2020 – CATEGORY TEACHER’S INNOVATION (INOVASI GURU)

This is a Division Level (Peringkat Daerah) competition organised by District Education Office (Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (PPD) Daro). The result was announced on 17th September 2020, and he managed to achieve 1st Runner Up (Naib Johan) for his creative innovation called “Snadder It!”, which is an Innovation of English Language Board Game which aims to Improve Pupils’ English Language learning in a fun, meaningful and purposeful manner.

3. E-KOLOKIUM PENYELIDIKAN TINDAKAN DAN INOVASI TAHUN 2020 PERINGKAT NEGERI SARAWAK

This is a State Level (Peringkat Negeri Sarawak – Anjuran Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (PPD) Dalat) and the result was announced on 2nd October 2020. He achieved SILVER AWARD (Anugerah Perak). Innovation – Snadder It! Language Board Game (extension to the innovation above – with similar aim).

Pupils’/ School’s Achievements (Alvin as Teacher-In-Charge/Guru Pengiring)

Throughout his teaching career also, Alvin has been leading his students towards excellence as well through various competitions as listed below.

Alvin’s Avengers

BEAVER COMPUTATIONAL THINKING COMPETITION (BCTC) YEAR 2018 

BEAVER COMPUTATIONAL THINKING COMPETITION is an effort from Bebras International to foster interest in the Information Technology and Communication as well as Computer Technology Skills. In 2017, 1.6 millions participants from 45 countries all around the world joined this international level online competition. 6000 of it are from Malaysia.

This competition is divided into 5 categories:

  1. Ecolier (Primary 1 to 4, age of 7~10 years old).
  2. Benjamin (Primary 5 to 6, age 11 to 12)
  3. Cadet (Form 1 to 2, age 13 to 14)
  4. Junior (Form 3 to 4, age 15 to 16)
  5. Student (Form 5 to 6, age 17 to 19)

Each participants was awarded with certificate of appreciation which was signed by Professor Valentina Dagiene, Founder and Chairman of Bebras Board. 10% of the highest mark participants will be awarded with Honourable Mention. 50% of the rest will be awarded with Certificate of Participation (Sijil Penyertaan)

Competition Date: 17 April 2018

Pupils Involved: 

  1. Donna Anak Ngerembang (Achieved Bronze Medal for Benjamin Category)
  2. Aiswarya Rai Simren Anak Stenley (Achieved Honourable Mention for Benjamin Category)
  3. Becham Robertson Anak Benett (Achieved Honourable Mention for Benjamin Category)
  4. Victor Anak Johnny (Achieved Honourable Mention for Benjamin Category)
  5. Danny Pagang Anak Ngadan (Achieved Bronze Medal for Ecolier Category)

ANUGERAH PEMBESTARIAN SEKOLAH PERINGKAT NEGERI SARAWAK 2018

KATEGORI – PENCAPAIAN MURID SEKOLAH RENDAH PERINGKAT ANTARABANGSA

This award was received on 25 October 2018, there achievement was Contributed by the Bronze Medal of Beaver Computational Thinking Competition Year 2018. The pupil who received this award was  Donna Anak Ngerembang

BEAVER COMPUTATIONAL THINKING COMPETITION (BCTC) YEAR 2019

Beaver 2019 (Jagstine Ampari – Gold Medal Award)

This competition was held on 16 April 2019, where the pupils involved are as follows:

  1. Jagstine Ampari Anak Uji (Achieved Gold Medal for Ecolier Category)
  2. Stephenie Juli Anak Daud (Achieved Silver Medal for Benjamin Category)
  3. Aiswarya Rai Simren Anak Stenley (Achieved Bronze Medal for Benjamin Category)
  4. Daniel Anak Ngerembang (Achieved Bronze Medal for Benjamin Category)
  5. Hendry Anak Tingaw (Achieved Honourable Mention for Benjamin Category)
Beaver 2019 (Jagstine Ampari – Gold Medal Award)
Beaver 2019 (Jagstine Ampari – Gold Medal Award)

Note: Jagstine attended BCTC Award Ceremony at Pusat GENIUS@Pintar Negara, UKM Bangi. The Gold Award was received on 24th August 2019).

ANUGERAH PEMBESTARIAN SEKOLAH PERINGKAT NEGERI SARAWAK 2019

Anugerah Pembestarian Sekolah 2019
Anugerah Pembestarian Sekolah 2019
Anugerah Pembestarian Sekolah 2019

KATEGORI – PENCAPAIAN MURID SEKOLAH RENDAH PERINGKAT ANTARABANGSA

This award was received on 13 November 2019, where the achievement mentioned was Contributed by the Gold Medal of Beaver Computational Thinking Competition Year 2019. Pupil receiving award was Jagstine Ampari Anak Uji.

BEAVER COMPUTATIONAL THINKING COMPETITION (BCTC) YEAR 2020

Competition Date: 9 September 2020

Pupils Involved: 

  1. Jagstine Ampari Anak Uji (Achieved Bronze Medal for Ecolier Category)
  2. Stephenie Juli Anak Daud (Achieved Bronze Medal for Benjamin Category)
  3. Daniel Anak Ngerembang (Achieved Certificate of Participation for Benjamin Category)
  4. Leoneily Anak Uji (Achieved Bronze Medal for Ecolier Category)

KARNIVAL KO-KURIKULUM eMAS (e-Mansang Anak Sarawak) PERINGKAT NEGERI SARAWAK TAHUN 2020

KATEGORI: PERTANDINGAN PETA PEMIKIRAN i-THINK SCIENCE CONCEPT SEKOLAH RENDAH

  • Jagstine Ampari Anak Uji (Johan) – representing Sarawak ke National Level, with his I-Think Map Title: Planets in Our Solar System (Planet-Planet Di Sistem Suria). He was contacted by Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Sarawak on 2 September 2020 to proceed to National Level. The result was announced OFFICIALLY via LIVE Facebook on 6 November 2020.

PERTANDINGAN STEM (SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING & MATHEMATICS) ONLINE CHALLENGE KEBANGSAAN TAHUN 2020

KATEGORI: PERTANDINGAN PETA PEMIKIRAN i-THINK SCIENCE CONCEPT SEKOLAH RENDAH

Jagstine Ampari Anak Uji (Naib Johan) – Mewakili Negeri Sarawak di Peringkat Kebangsaan – National Level (1st Runner Up representing Sarawak from all the states in Malaysia). For this competition, he came up with I-Think Map entitled Planets in Our Solar System (Planet-Planet Di Sistem Suria). Result was announced via LIVE Facebook on 21 October 2020.

Hopes for The Future

For the last part of this article, Alvin has a main phrase of wisdom: When there’s a Will, there will always be a Way.

He believed that urban or rural school pupils can achieve great heights if they put efforts. His advise to them is “Do not be discouraged by your conditions/surroundings but instead put efforts to improve them. Be proactive and always be ready to learn new things”.

The stereotypical thoughts of “Sekolah Pedalaman” being labeled as underachieving schools must be changed. He believed that teachers must be proactive and put efforts in their work especially for the pupils. Teachers are the main role model to guide, assist and facilitate the rural pupils to success.

As for the rural pupils, his main advise to them is do not confine your thoughts within your comfort zone. Be prepared to face and embrace changes in a positive manner. My advice as well – do complete your studies until SPM, as SPM will allow you to embark into higher learning institutions. With education, you can change your life for the betterment of your future.

With this sharing, I hope the excellence that Alvin demonstrated with his fellow students inspires all of us to pursue excellence in our career path. We may not be treading the same career line, but in whatever we do, do it with all our heart so that we can be the branch that bears good fruit, for the good of our nation.

“Immortalising Memories!”/”Mengabadikan Kenangan!“

Tukang Rantek,
Claudius

Follow me at:Instagram: tukangrantekclaudius
LinkedIn: claudiusweson

Note: “Tukang Rantek” Claudius is a Portrait, Wedding & Event Photographer based in Miri, with a passion for writing.
[1] “TukangRantek” means photographer in Bidayuh Piching.
[2] Event covers Funeral, Birthday, Party etc.

All images here belongs to Cikgu Alvin Wong. No parts or pictures in this picture may be used without prior permission from “Tukang Rantek” Claudius Weson.

Immortalising Memories

Memories – each and every one of us has it. It is something to be remembered from the past. Inside our 2.5 penta-bytes brain, there is a lot of faculties which our mind stores and remembers information. Some of these faculties store memories that we wish to forget, while some contains those that we wish to remember, always. Accessing these memory faculties clears its neuron path, while less accessed one will have an undergrowth in its path, much like a less travelled road. Soon, it will become secondary jungle in our brain, where the faculty will eventually be forgotten over time, which results in us not remembering anything about that particular incident. Unless somebody came with the map to that faculty of memory, which is a picture of the past.

Imagine that you have a wonderful childhood. Realising the importance and value of photograph in the future, your beloved parents or family members (in my case, my aunty) set aside an amount of money to buy film camera despite life difficulties. 3 decades gone by, no one remembers what happened at your 5th birthday party. But when you saw the pictures of the happier times, suddenly all of these memories came back rushing in, as if the dam that holds it back collapsed and you memories overflown. At the back of your head, you remembered your family and friends happily singing “Happy Birthday” / “Selamat Hari Jadi” to you, with your little niece mistakenly singing “Selamat Pagi KP” (same tune by the way). But it does not matter, because it was memory of a happy times.

Same goes for the memories of our departed beloved ones, which is captured using photographs. We tend to forget them, because they reminded us of the pain the left us, but let’s not forget the wonderful memories they gave us throughout their lifetime on Earth. They are the one that supports us, they are family. Their pictures are family treasure, so that the younger generations know how their ancestors looked like.

Time flows forward, one second at a time. Our perception might change, but time flows steadily. In our good times, time seems to gone by so quick like lightning, but when we are in pain, times travels slowly like a tortoise. We can gain back our lost money, but we can’t gain back our lost time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. If we don’t seize the day, we’ll lose out.

Me and the rest of the photographer community are aware of this fact, and that’s why we love to create photographs. Our intention might be different from one another, but fundamentally, we helps people to remember the memories of the good time we had. Be it wedding, engagement, funeral or just simply to remember that you once had this particular look (6-packs, flawless skin, hourglass-shaped body, you name it). For me, I call it “immortalising memories” – to ensure that our memories are eternal, at least in a digital format that we can see and enjoy. Just like our fingerprints, each and every one of us is unique. We have our own ways of looking at things. A single picture might evoke a different memory to different person. That’s why people say, a picture is worth a thousand words. For some, prefer it to be hung at their wall so that every day they can admire it.

Similar to our existence in this world, with a unique path and way of life, every photographer has a different things they want to achieve. Some has an immense passion to achieve glory by winning international awards, while some just want to make a living. A lot of photographers that I admire has the passion for photography itself, and by being genuine to their passion, they are able to achieve greater heights. For me, my passion is to immortalise memories, with a focus to make people look beautiful/handsome in the photographs that I have created. When people came back to me and tells me that they love the pictures that I have created, I am happy “tukang rantek”.

“Immortalising Memories” 📷

Tukang Rantek,
Claudius

Instagram: tukangrantekclaudius

Note: Claudius is a portrait “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh Pichin) based in Miri.

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.

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.

The Story Behind Dayung Laut Contestants (2019)

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

How was your week so far? I hope it is great for you in this final week of October. Soon it will be November, and December will follow. 2019 is at its final quarter, and I do hope that you are making a lot of memories this year, because there will no longer the same year. Back in the 90s, I thought I would see cars flying around once we have reached 2020. It sounds so futuristic, with high hopes of our country will achieve accelerated modernisation. However, in 2019, all I wish for is road users to be able to use their turn signal light properly. There is no point for me to complain on something I can’t control, but I should do something within my control.

For this edition, I want to show to you the challenges, hopes and dreams of these wonderful ladies that joined the Dayung Laut Competition. SInce these ladies are working offshore, I was unable to reach some of them for the full interview.

Regardsless, the intention of this post is to show how these ladies started their offshore career, what do they love about it, challenges faced and future plans/dreams.

First Contest: Felicitie George

Full name: Felicitie George
Profession : Piping Engineer
Company : Petra Resources Sdn. Bhd.
Location : F12

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sky, outdoor and water
Another day at work.

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry? 

  • I was pushing my lucks applying offshore jobs after I graduated from Uni.

What do you love about offshore?

  • I love the environment. The sounds of wave crashing, the cold breeze and the skies full of stars at night. It give you sense of peace and serenity regardless chaotic day you have to endure when you at offshore. 

Challenges faced offshore and how do you stay resilient offshore?

  • There are time when I cant deliver my work to meet my client’s expectations. Things didn’t turn out as planned. I always find a simplest and efficient way to solve it rather than making it worse. I will just ignore the negativity and focus on the goals. 

Advice to ladies planning to work offshore

  • Be safe wherever you are. 

Future career plan for yourself

  • To become a specialist in my field and working with big players in oil and gas

Second Contestant: Sandra Sim

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting

Full name : Sandra Sim Vi Ting
Profession : Site Planner / Associate Engineer
Company : Petra Resources Sdn. Bhd.
Location : West Lutong Oil Field

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry?

  • Kick-started with internship in Sarawak Shell Berhad as Trainee Process Engineer.

What do you love about offshore?

  • It’s an amazing creation, a cool job place. 

Challenges faced offshore and how do you stay resilient offshore?

  • Adverse weather, that causes the boat to roll. As the result, I vomit, and have to sleep before I can recover. Also, you will meet all kinds of men out there. So, be open minded, dedicated and firmed.

Advice to ladies planning to work offshore

  • No hesitate, no fear, no regret.

Future career plan for yourself

  • Build solid knowledge foundation by hands on experience which able to contribute in planning. Ultimate goal is to move into project management.

Third Contestant: Esther Michael

Full name : Esther Michael
Proffession : Wellsite/Operations Geologist
Company : Repsol Malaysia
Location : PM3

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, sky and outdoor

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry

  • My name is Esther Michael a mix Sebob/ Lun Bawang from Miri.  Started career in oil and gas as a Sample Catcher/Mudlogger with International Logging in year 2005.  Joines Petronas Carigali after that as a Wellsite/Operations Geologist / Geoscientist for 8 years and finally to Repsol Oil & Gas Limited (previously known as Talisman) for about 6 years till present.

What do you love about offshore?

  • What I love about offshore is the fact that the workplace is just steps away from bedroom and only wearing coveralls! Concentration on work is more in offshore as there are less meetings compared to being in office so less interuption.  People treat you with respect (despite being a woman!) and listens to your input and takes them into consideration.  But of course, being on the rig/platform is like its own small little world, therefore people are usually really nice.

What is the challenge faced offshore?

  • Challenges faced is to manage your time because the critical job can go for few days non stop. People rely on your intepretation and input to plan for next way forward of the well. Scary part is at times, you are worried whether your inputs are inaccurate that it may lead to another issue.  So far touch wood..all okay!  And of course being away from my 3 boys!  Those early days, harrasments were encountered but nowadays you don’t hear that anymore.  Regulations are rather strict when it comes to harrasments.

Advice to ladies:

  • Be professional and treat everyone from all colour coveralls with respect. Not using gender as an excuse to not perform or demand special treatment. Own the well and always aim to perform your best.

Future plan

  • To be an entrepreneur!

Note: She won Mrs Chipao Malaysia 2018. Chipao is cheongsam.

Fourth Contestant: Stephie Kayus

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sky and outdoor

Full name: Stephanie Kayus
Profession : Field Engineer
Company : FugroTSM
Location : Jasmine Field, Thailand

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry

  • I joined O&G upstream since 2009 as a graduate engineer with Subsea 7 in subsea construction. My main task as project/field engineer is to ensure sufficient preparation for subsea construction. I develop installation procedure for offshore campaign and join in the execution on construction boats. I worked mostly in Sabah’s water.  Currently, I’m an operation engineer with Cortez Subsea oversee their operation in Malaysia.

What do you love about offshore?

  • The smell of the sea and the adrenaline of executing the subsea construction whether with divers or ROV. Sometimes, we got surprises when encountered sea creatures during construction. When we went to the very deep of the sea, everything would be just quiet and serene. At night, I love looking at the bright stars. And my favourite when going offshore is counting the day of going home 🙂

Challenges faced offshore and how do you stay resilient offshore?

  • Always being the only lady on the construction boat could be very challenging for me. As a lady engineer, giving instruction to some guys could be very challenging as my scope involve a lot of preparation at the back deck.I have to be smart  to ensure work is done safely and according to procedure. But I always have the peak of being in the only lady. Most of the time, i get my own cabin, washroom and locker room. When things get tough, I just tell myself, what doesnt kill me, make me stronger and most of the time, it’s true.

Advice to ladies planning to work offshore

  • Offshore is not for everyone. But once you are in, you are hooked. Ladies, you can be yourself, you don’t need to prove you are equal to your male colleagues but you can be as good or better than them. Work safely and enjoy the moment.

Future career plan for yourself

  • My future career plan is to be the boss..Lol..joking..I would like to be a project manager in near future and to lead a team for more subsea construction work offshore.

Fifth Contestant: Grace Tolebin

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing

Full name : Gracy Tolebin
Proffession : Project Engineer
Company : Boilermaster 
Location : Puteri Zamrud

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry? 

  • After completing my study in mechanical engineering, I joined Boilermaster company in 2016 until now. My boss gave me an opportunity to study again and I believe I can go further. Some people has a different mindset, i.e. they think that ladies are weak, “ladies no need to go offshore. They don’t know what to do, so it is better for them to sit at the office only”. I have travelled to follow projects, Turnarounds and for training. Also, I have the opportunity to go offshore. My boss gave me hope and believe that I can do it even though I am a lady. Various experiences I have gone through. From this company and myself, I managed to go places.

What do you love about offshore?

  • I love new experiences because it is seldom for woman to go offshore. We know different culture that they have over there. With the five star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 😂 foods, another thing is the mind therapy, where we can think a lot about future as we gaze upon the blue sea, fishes, wide open sky. I am amazed by the wondrous creation of God.

Challenges faced offshore and how do you stay resilient offshore?

  • I have to be tough, mentally strong, fit physically, be safe everywhere, alert all the time. This is because I saw Deepwater Horizon which is based on true story (highly recommended to watch 😿). I need to look after my ethiques because I am the only lady. Team work also has to be strong.

Advice to ladies planning to work offshore:

  • For ladies out there , don’t be afraid to try something new. Like what they said, “belum cuba, belum tahu” (you wouln’t know until you try). Before we do something, we need to ask our parents so that they can bless our career. You also must be active and strong (power). 💪🏻💪🏻 

Future career plan for yourself:

  • My career is still long, and there is a lot that I want to accomplish. My dream is when I am 30 plus years old, i want to have my own business. Probably hardware shop, material supplies that relates to oil and gas. 😅

Sixth Contestant: Amelda Rowellna

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sky and outdoor
The first lady who participate in this competition. Bravo! Diak dik stidi.

Full name : Amelda Rowellna Anak Awang
Proffession : Cook
Company : Maersk Drilling, Brunei Darussalam
Location : SWA 108 Ampa Oil Field

In July 2012 to July 2014🎩, im taking course DIPLOMA IN HOTEL&CATERING MANAGEMENT at MTSSR (maktab teknik sultan saiful rijal) ,😊 after graduating, there is BMA (Brunei Marine Academy) programme , 🙌 which 1 year seatimes as a Trainee Cook 🍽️under vessel of Pacific Radiance Ltd.

Working rotation 3 months on board, difficult times when rough sea🌊😭 season, the sea sickness but its okay, good experience to be remembered 😊👍. After completing the seatimes in July 2016 to July 2017, i ve got another job opportunity worked in drilling rig, Maersk Convincer😍.

What i love the most about working offshore is there is no trafficking xp, 😂😂despite the fact that working offshore will be far from families & love one, plus, we must have tough heart&mind, surround ur self with good peoples & vibes, love ur job! cause everyday is like Monday to us 😂🙌.

For those ladies, wanted to challenge their self, just go for it! dont hesitate, 😎believe that you can do it👏!

Seventh Contestant: Jennet Blasius

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, ocean, sky and outdoor

Full name : Jennet Blasius
Proffession : Offshore/Site Planner
Company : Petra Resources Sdn Bhd
Location : Sumandak, Petra Endeavour

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry? 

  • I’ve started my career in oil & gas industry on March 2015. Started working on offshore based on May 2019.

What do you love about offshore?

  • Plan to put my career on higher level through exposing myself more on technical part & field experience. Also felt want to experience offshore life myself.

Challenges faced offshore:

  • Task as offshore planner, the most challenging part is handling and dealing with construction crews.. the highest volume of crews that i had handled is 230pax. Apart from that is doing daily reporting & in charge of admin works at offshore at the same time. Boat & gangway transfer has always been challenging my courage. But, all challenges can be adapted..we just need a little time & a lot of patience & confidence.

Advices to ladies planning to work offshore:

  • Don’t afraid to work at offshore. You need to grab it once given opportunity..the expereince is priceless.

Future plan for yourself

  • become construction engineer..

The one from Jennet makes the end of interview.

These are the participants that I was unable to reach due to connection issue. But nevertheless, I just put the basic info here based on the info that they have placed for the competitions.

Eigth Contestant: Nuraisha Abd Halim

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and night

Full name: Nuraisha Abd Halim@ Robert Henry Eli
Profession : Material coordinator 
Company: Brooke Dockyard
Location/field: Bokor

Ninth Contestant: Nor Afzan

Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, sky, outdoor and water

Full name : Nor Afzan Binti Wahid
Profession : Safety Health Officer(SHO)
Company : Sapura Energy
Location : NC3

Tenth Contestant: Jill Uring

Image may contain: 1 person, selfie and closeup

Full name: Jill Uring Paul
Profession : Inspection Engineer
Company: Oceancare corporation sdn bhd.
Location : Bayan

End Note:

From the words from these ladies, I know there is a lot of challenges. However with the right spirit, mindset and mental fortitude, you can work offshore and become respectable part of the bigger oil and gas community. I sincerely hope that these stories inspires you to work offshore.

To say offshore industry if only for men and men alone is not entirely true as there are a lot of women out there working offshore, helping to grow our national economic growth from oil and gas. This is a tough business, especially if you are a mother and have to leave behind your little ones onshore. Another misconception that I always hear is that if you are a lady working offshore, you will become more man-like, which is not true. You still can be a lady and work offshore, no problem at all. Besides, there are rules about any form of harassment, be it physical or verbal, to deter any kind of such offense, all to provide a better working environment to everyone. Therefore, for the young girls out there, don’t be afraid to make offshore jobs your career path of choice. Emilia has done it, these ladies also has done it, and so can you. You can do it. Have faith in yourself. God bless!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Your Tukang Rantek

Tabi basa and greetings,

Dear family and friends,

Today I would like to write about fragility of our dreams. When I was still in primary school, my class teacher would distribute a form where it will display our performances so far. Let’s call it our KPI card. The best part about that card is the section behind it, where it I can write my ambitions, what I want to be when I grow up. For me, it varies. I remember that I want to be scientist, then a WWE wrestler (no kidding, I wrote it). I think it was highly influences by The Rock’s popularity back then. As I became more mature, it became more realistic. When I was in Primary 6, I even wrote I want to be teacher because I was highly inflluenced by Great Teacher Onizuka. I want to be a badass teacher, just like him.

What I am doing now though has nothing to do with what I write there. It seems like my ambition evolves over time. If you ask me five years ago, I would answer a different thing. I want to be like a big bike racer. That is why I bought my first big bike, a Kawasaki Z800, sold it, then get my Ducati 916. It costs me a lot of money though, so I sell it because it serves me no purpose, partly after I discovered that I have more important things to do; namely contribute as part of the bigger community in Malaysia oil and gas industry, and a bigger thing in mind – I want to be Tukang Rantek.

Origin of “Tukang Rantek” Terminology

The name of Tukang Rantek came from the sound that old film camera used to make. It makes that funny sound, that goes like this – krek, krek, krek. My villagers has no pronoun for it for they were farmers/hunters, so they created a new name for it, which is “rantek”. “Tukang” is a name for the person who is specialised/in charge of something. In this case, Tukang Rantek means, photographer.

However, I think only Kampung Pichin uses this term in Serian area. Therefore, due to its rarity, I adopted that name to be my moniker.

Tukang Rantek’s Dream

I always believe that everyone has their own wildest dream. Probably, one of you want to be a famous person beyond everything else. Or rich beyond measure? For me, I used to have a wild dream of buying and owning every single Leica lens in the world. After collecting and tried the best 50mm ever produced by Leica, my dream was stopped for a while. It seems like it does not fit to be a dream. I also realised, if I were to dream, it better be something that push my limit, beyond my current potential, the one that forces me to stay awake to make it a reality. I also cannot attach it to something that will be made obsolete in few years’ time as our technology improves. It has to be something wild.

Then I realised, I have a simple dream. I want to create the best image. Therefore, it not bounded by time. The definition of “best” may change from time to time. As our technology improves, it helps me to create the best image. However, I still stick to the essentials, which is ISO control, aperture control, and shutter speed controls. Also, focus controls. All manual.

One Camera, One Lens

That is my philosophy, as much as I can. I love to use 50mm lens for my photography purposes. It forces me to be creative, and many would smile when I always take few steps back to fit in more items in my composition. But it’s alright, and I don’t think I owe anyone an explanation. Fellow photographers would understand that.

M-Shooter’s Bliss

I am always happy when I am behind my own M camera. To use other’s camera feels awkward, as if I have the sense of loyalty to my own camera. Familiarity makes thing automated to you, as my muscle memories moves my finger to focus automatically without even thinking. I only have to wait for the right moment, and voila, I have the shot. The sound of the shutter is like a music to my ears. The sound of M9 is the best, and that is why I still keep the M Monochrom, though I still use M10 for other purposes.

Heading For Tomorrow

Initially, it is normal to feel want to belong somewhere; to a group, band, society, community. However, for the wild ones, they will realise that they have least control when they are in group. Like Tetris, once they fit in, they disappear.

I don’t want to disappear. I want to make my presence known, in the right way. I may not have my own CW Clan now, and it makes me like a lone wolf with all of the community. However, none of that matters. All that matters is in the end of the day, I still can go back to my family and capture the photos of my growing niece and nephew. I will groom them to be a useful person. With my core family behind me, I am willing to move forward alone. It is difficult, but it is the one that makes you stronger.

In The Beginning

When I started my CWPhotography, I faced quite a number of condescenders that told me it is a pointless path to be made. I still remember it vividly 2 year’s ago. However, I forced myself to be stubborn and I move along, and focus only to the weak signals of those who supports me. They are like the tonic ones that I need, especially my other half, with genuine connection that exists outside social media; unseen, unheard, but it is real. Fast forward, 2 years, I have achieved a level that I can only dream back then.

I still do, and I do acknowledge that I have a lot to learn. I am grateful to me a lot of people that has a positive impact to me, in photography space: Sifu Edwin Lay; from Leica community, Ng Chi Loon, Thorsten Overgaard, Craig Semetko, Fulvio Bugani, Anthony Barlan, Mathias Heng. Not to forget also Joyce, Daniel and Erica, and more recent batch, “Team Lead” Hanif and Harry. Outside photography community, Marvin Gau – the guy who challenges me to do something about photography. I will be forever grateful to him to him for the “push”.

Don’t Want To be a “Jaguh Kampung”

I remembered the TEDEx talk by Zung, Ninja Photographer. He said, don’t be a “jaguh kampung”. What he meant was, don’t be someone who is famous only in a certain place. This is a term coined by the Malay communities at Malaysia, which means, you are the champion of the village (Jaguh = Champion, Kampung = Village). My understanding from Zung’s word is don’t make “Jaguh Kampung” or even “Bandar” (City) as your final aim. It is like confining a shark in a tank. The shark baby will only grow as large as the tank. The smaller the tank, the smaller it will be. Wasted potential. In the open ocean, a shark can grow as big as they can be. This becomes the basis of Spielberg’s famous film, Jaws. Freddie Mercury would say, Jaws was never my scene and he don’t like Star Wars (but that is actually a lie. He likes both).

Likewise, your potential is only as much as you think it is. Your tank is your belief that you have framed in your mind. Therefore, your potential is much more than that. If you have achieved certain level of achievement, for example, you have done a talk or have your own private exhibition, aim for something higher, or bigger. Aim to have your personal TEDEx. I have always been invited to Curtin to give talk, but mostly on career. Echoing Simon Sinek, I always ask them, what is your “WHY”. Not knowing your why,  you will not be able to push forward. It is the sole reason you are doing the things you are doing. For example, your WHY is your family. You may not like the job, but it pays good money. Therefore, because of your WHY, it overrides your discomfort and you stays on. It is also another unique trait of human to ensure longevity, we persevere when we required, or when we have to.

I don’t believe in competing with other people, because that does not make me happy. I am aware of certain unofficial rivalry or competition between groups, which is a strong reason why I don’t brand myself with such groups as it creates unnecessary friction because I always believe in creating positive connection with other peoples. The worst is when the other side is not compatible with the energy that I emits. Instead of tonic, it became a toxic connection. The best thing to do in that situation is to minimise contact and keep it professional. There is no point to take it personal because they might have their own reasons, or their life’s journey has framed their mind and behaviour to act in such a way. Regardless, it is not my worry. I should worry more about things within my control. I should be more worried about what is plan for tomorrow, and what I can improve next. I already branded myself as “Your Tukang Rantek”, with “Dayung Laut” as part of my brand.

Further to the topic, I believe in competition with myself, where I always strive to be better, faster and more efficient that who I was yesterday. For example, now it took me few seconds to focus using my M manual camera. My target is to be able to focus as fast possible, probably split second using M-lenses. Not possible yet, but I believe I can go as fast as I can. Now I am started to learn how to use lights in a better way. I learned the fundamental in a proper way from Sifu Edwin Lay. I am looking forward to Rarindra’s class next year.

I personally would not know my own true potential if I stuck at my village. Only when I step outside, get to know other peoples, that I know how large of a shark I can be. I rather be a lone, hungry shark in the open ocean than a well-fed shark that’s stuck in a zoo. Who knows I can get to meet Aquaman on my way to Atlantis?

Next?

I am looking forward to the winner of “Dayung Laut”, a competition that I created and was inspired by Emilia, a fellow oil and gas senior.

Closing Words

I hope my story will inspire you to do something about your dreams, whatever it might be. Remember, when you have a dream, just go for it. Many will not believe in you at first, but just be resilient, persevere and keep on pushing and improving. Something good will come out from it sooner or later. Have faith in yourself. You can do it.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson
Dari Bi-Pichin

Staying Fit

Dear friends, 

Behind the scene during last year’s Gawai. Photo by Marcel George Levi.

Once again we meet virtually in my blog. Thank you for taking your time in this blessed Sunday to read my blog. I want to share with you the story that I had today, which is a conversation that I had with my fellow Catholic friends and musicians – Frank and Fabian. Intially we were talking about that famous 10 years challenge (that I did not participate at all). Fabian mentioned that he has changed so much in a decade. Frank also shared his challenges to manage his weight and body health, especially after each gig where they are tired and thirsty. Therefore, I shared about my ways of looking after my health and how to stay fit, and in a way, did not gain any additional size after 10 years. I am still using the same pants size since my secondary school.

As we bid goodbye to each other, our conversation sparked something in me – why don’t I write a blog topic about this. Besides, it is a common issue that I believe quite a number of my friends are facing, but have no place to turn to. With this be best of my ability, I will address later on here in this blog. I hope this will add value to your life. For info, everything that I said in this blog is for information only, and it is based on my current experience and its positive effect to my body and health in general. 

If you wish to know more, you are most welcomed to read on and try it. If you are in a good health shape, you can stop reading here. For those interested, I encourage you to try it and hopefully it will add value to your life. So, let’s go. 

Let’s start with why. 

WHY?

Why do you want to stay fit?

  1. You want to live longer to see your grandchildren
  2. You want to be a breadwinner to your family. 
  3. You want to look young
  4. You want to be able to carry your spouse/loved ones in case of emergency
  5. Bonus: You want to have an interesting body shape.

The truth is, all of you can have many reason to stay fit, but as a start, find one that really sticks close to your heart. Everyday, rehearse this inside your mind until it becomes your second nature. Everything that you do must be relatable to your main goal to stay fit. If you have a really solid reason to stay fit, the other small distractions will not be able to shake your resolution. Forget about new year resolution. You just need one lifelong goal in mind. Which is to stay fit. This part I will not be able to decide for you. You will have to make up your mind. If you are doing this half-heartedly, I will not be able to bring you to the next phase. But once you do, read on.

Once you have a firm WHY in your mind, then we can proceed to the next phase. 

HOW?

This one is the part that I can share with you. I acknowledge that everyone has a different metabolism rate, each and everyone of us are unique, unless you and I are identical-twin. As a start with this phase, I suggest you not to be fixed to your body weight, which is not a good indicator to your health. I don’t bother about my health or my BMI. All I care about is the daily health rituals that I practice. Now, for the first time, I am sharing it publically.

These are my suggested steps:

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Practice intermittent fasting
  3. Drink lots of plain, warm water 
  4. Sleep adequately 
  5. No alcohol and smoking
  6. No ice/cold drinks

Exercise Regularly:

This one is commonly known, but how many of us practice it? When you exercise, are you doing it from genuinely from your heart, or you want to achieve something else? You don’t have to answer me in this question. For me, I exercise because I want to be healthy – plain and simple. I relate it back to my why. Throughout my exercise, I will be focused on my activitiy such that during that 30 minutes intense exercise, I will not be doing anything else. If I am running at the beach, sometimes I sing as well. That is one way for me to improve my stamina, especially when you want to sing for church choir. Otherwise Mrs Chan or Amy Lee will say I have no energy. Lol.

My suggestion: If you have no time to exercise, wake up early to exercise. Then you can do your day normally without bothered to exercise. It is a good therapy and it also acts as a start for your body’s engine. Target 30 minutes of continuous cardiovascular-related exercise. If you have to gossip, do it while jogging or running.

Always try to do physical activities at work, such as taking staircases instead of elevator. If you are unsure you are doing enough or not, try tracking yourself using work out apps. At least it can give you an indication whether you have done a lot of good work or not.

For your info, exercise triggers your body to release endorphins. This hormone is the one that makes you feel good after you exercise. In a way, you can release stress and feel joyful, a sense of accomplishment etc. That is a good way to start your day.  

Stay fit, brother.

Practice Intermittent Fasting

This is the element that I think many people is struggling with because it involves with the act of not eating food as one wills it to be, and to control your appetite. The bitter truth is, a lot of us suffers from having too much nice meals. One way to reduce intake of food is to practice intermittent fasting. It is my favourite, and it helps me to maintain body weight and shape ever since I exit my secondary school.

You might be curious on how does it works. There might be some of you who never heard this term after such a long time. It is called intermittent fasting because in between your fast, you still can consume liquids, but limited to plain water and plain tea or black coffee. Normally I limit it to only drinking plain water during this period. However at work, since I am served with drinks, I chose plain tea and plain water.

For you to start, you should not eat anything from your waking hour to mid-day, say 12pm. When you wake up, drink a lot of plain water. Drink as you require, and when you hear your stomach growling. Your first meal of the day is your lunch. Your eating window is frim 12pm until 8pm. Normally after I finish my dinner around 6pm, I will not eat any more meal as I sleep early around 10pm. Assuming you sleep at 12am, then you should not eat anything from 8pm until 12am. 

In summary: 

  1. Waking hour until 12pm: do not eat anything. Just drink plain water and tea (best is water with slices of  lemon).
  2. 12pm – 8 pm – your eating window. You may eat as you wish here, as your body required. However, I suggest you not to eat too much. Eat when you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty. 
  3. 8pm until waking hour – do not eat anything. Refer to #1. 

However, if you just came back from your gig that finished around midnight or 2am, I suggest that you consume hot lemon tea, instead of taking a full meal and beer. that would be an alternative for you to stay hydrated. Besides, if you take that heavy meal in the midnight, where you are going to spend that extra calories instead? Bringing it to sleep will do you no good at all.

Drink Lots of Plain, Warm Water:

We are creature made of water, about 70% of our body is made out of it. For your body to function properly and to remove waste properly from your body, it has to be properly hydrated. It means you need to drink a lot of plain water to ensure that it will be at its optimum condition. You need to stay hydrated, especially when your are working outside under hot sun. If you can drink at least 3L of  plain water daily, you will be able to see the difference. By drinking a lot of plain water, you can help yourself to stay awake as well. Another benefits are it helps your digestion, better hydration, more complete bowl movement and reduce sugar craving.

Bonus: After I have my meal, usually I do not drink anything within one hour. This will enable my body to digest it perfectly. I read about this one sometime around 2007 but forgot the source. If I have to drink anything within that one hour, I will drink it in small batches. 

Sleep Adequately:

This one is also a commonly underestimated factor. Please do not skip your sleep, and always strive to get a good sleep daily, unless for whatever reason you are unable to do so. For me, I strive to sleep 7 hours per day, but sometimes I woke up on my own without alarm if I have a good quality sleep. Ensure that your bedroom is totally dark to promote a good sleep, with a bit of illumination at the pathway to assist if you need to wake up in the dark. A lot of young-looking celebrities emphasised that they always have a quality sleep daily. Also, if you have a quality sleep, your work performance will increase. Too good to be true? But tired of dozing off at work? Try it yourself.

Big sis guarding her little brother sleeping.

The next ones are my list of don’ts.

No Alcohol and Smoking

I don’t drink alcohol, unless there is a strong reason for me to drink it. If I am on my own, alcohol is not in my list. If I have to drink beer, I will shake off the gas. That gas is making my stomach bloat for no good benefit at all. Luckily, I am not a smoker. I suggest you start doing this too, for your own good, for your finance health as well as your family’s well-being. Yes, it might cool – drink and smoking, but are you willing to pay the price down the road? 

No Ice/Cold Drinks

This one is simple to explain. A healthy human’s body temperature is 37°C. If you drink a zero degree water into your body system, it will affect the thermal equilibrium. Among the effects are thicker nasal mucous, high probability of getting a migraine and slower digestion. Also, to make it worse, the sudden cold temperature will make whatever fat inside your stomach suddenly “freeze”. This is bad for you. 

And that is what happen when you only drink once. Imagine if you have been doing this for the past few decades. God knows what harm you have done to yourself. Knowing this, that is why I strive to not to harm myself intentionally.

Bonus: Eat more vegetables, and reduce your meat intake. I realised a lot of peoples including Bryan Adams have started becoming a vegetarian since they are getting older. Now that you have realised this early, you can start reducing your meat intake as you go along. I strive not to, but when your mother cook for you, it is hard to say no.

I hope this sharing is useful for you, and hopefully, will improve your health condition. Have a productive week ahead! 

Regards,

Claudius

Stay fit so that you still can ride ATV with your grandchildren.

Disclaimer:
Everything that is written in this topic is purely based on Claudius Weson experience. Currently Claudius managed to maintain his weight around 65kg and waist circumference of 29 inch.

Stay fit so that you still do street photography like Thorsten and Michael.

Be Fearless

Greetings friends,

How’s your life been doing? I hope you enjoy your week as much as I do. It is just another day to be great. No time should be wasted on living in fear. I have been following Eric Kim’s blog, and his recent post in being fearless made me awakened. You can read it here. For your info, he’s a great street photographer and he is on a mission to enlighten as much people as he can in the field of street photography. 

Terran’s Pylon.

In his post, he mentioned about a life where we took the safest option to live. What would that life be? It would be a boring life and you will not make a difference. To make a difference, you need to be fearless. You have to swim against the flow. Only dead fish go with the flow. 

Why do you want to be fearless? You want to be able to achieve whatever you want in life. The thing that is stopping you is your fear, and for many people it is of being rejected. You don’t want to express your feeling to that beautiful lady because you don’t want to be rejected. So what happens if you she rejects you? GG? No – You lose nothing. In fact, you learn something in expense of your time and energy spent. You learned that she is not interested in you and you are free to move on. It is one thing someone I know failed to do and ended up a virgin though been living for more than half a decade. Do you want to be like that to? No? Good. Speak your mind. You become more fearless the more you practice your fearlessness. Another case is you have stage fright. Good. Now speak in front of the public. Do you feel good after that? That is the feeling that your dopamine gave you. Your reward circuitry is triggered. You earned a new skill. Congrats. GGWP. 

Translated into photography, when everyone shoots colourful bokeh, be different, shoot a small aperture in black and white. When some  people shoot beautiful lady from afar using zoom lenses like peeping Tom, go and approach them and ask for permission. If they rejects you, move on. I for one will be reverting to black and white once again as my niche and be different. Why? Because I can. So what if I want to shoot in black and white? No harm at all. I still can shoot in colour because my camera sensor enables me to do so, but the final images is always in black and white. The worstcase is my business is not going to breakeven. But it was never intended to be a business in the first place. It is just a hobby that I took seriously to the point I meet Thorsten at Nürnberg.

Thorsten and I.

Again, the common fear that we all have is fear of being different, fear of being heard, fear of being uncomfortable, fear of being ridiculed, fear of being criticised and many other ridiculous fears that seems to be weird and has no value to your life. It only controls you and inhibit you from achieving your true potential. You can achieve so much more, if only you did not limit yourself and make yourself more unavailable for success calls. 

I am not sure what his name is, but he is one of the friendliest guard I have met at KL.
Learn how to jump from your fear, and fly afterwards.

Whenever I see successful peoples in their career of choice, be it inside or outside of their profession, I see peoples that has made sacrifices. Most of these peoples has an admirable set of success-magnet traits, e.g. not wasting time on talking about someone else or dropping toxic comments. Those toxics should be identified as such and you should keep a distance from them if you don’t want to be poisoned by them, and eventually normalised by being one with them. So avoid that trait.

To be fearless, you have to have a strong mental strength. The world seems to be trying to take you down at all cost. How to survive all of these waves after waves of attack? You need to refer back to your “why”. Why you want to be fearless in the first place? For me, my answer would be, to achieve my dream. Fearless is not being rude, speaking in a loud manner or bullying others. It’s just a state of mind – where you have no fear. Now, live on and be fearless.

Face thy fear!
Don’t let your life be controlled by fear, whatever it might be.

I hope this composition gives value to your life. Have a great week ahead!

Be Fearless!

Regards, 
Claudius

This used to be the scariest thing to do for me, once upon a time.
Combat your fear. Learn a Ninjutsu. Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu

Another Story of The DayBut I Don’t Have A Camera. So How? Part 1How To Start Your Photography Journey Without Camera

Luconia Sunset. Sunsets tend to be more beautiful when you go offshore. (iPhone only)

 

Sounds familiar, right? This is a common question that I believe many of photographers out there hear every now and then.

Sabahan Mother missing her family and her son. (iPhone)

Not to mention that there is a lot also did not pursue their passion for photography because they believe that they do not have the gear. To answer this once and for all, the best camera is the camera that is with you, a quote by Chase Jarvis. He actually wrote a book about this, and you may refer to the link.

In this post, it would be about me, doing photography using my iPhone alone. I am only using iPhone because that is the phone that I have been using for the past 4 years. I don’t plan to upgrade because it is still good and it is stil can be used until this day. For some serious photography, I only need to use my Leica cameras.

Why Mobile Phone Photography?

 

It is convenient. You cannot deny that fact. Just find the camera apps and off you go.

Perdana Protector (iPhone 6 Plus)

You have it with you all the time. Even though the quality differs from one model to another, but most of the model is getting better and better. Samsung recently released a new phone, A9 with 4 cameras. The competition is getting stiffer, and I am interested to see where the race is heading.

Regardless, despite the fancy accessories that these modern smartphone cameras have, the good news, it would be sooner than you expected that we are going to get an affordable technology for a smartphone. So that is a good place for you to start.

For me, since I am still using the old smartphone, the quality is good in good light. However, problem comes when there not enough light. I will be haunted by noises. Noise, noise and more noise. Sensor noise is the thing that you don’t want to have at your camera. It is the grainy items at you get to see at your camera.

Mister USA (iPhone 6 Plus)

Also, the quality that you will get when you zoom into your camera is not the best. It is not the one that you will have when you use a dedicated zoom lenses. It is kind of frustrating, but when that is the only one that you have, you have to live with it.

Anyway, my advise on smart phone photography is to find a good light and find a good composition.

For basic phones, you have no choice but to rely on COMPOSITION. In simple word, composition is the arrangement of the stuff that is inside your final image. In drawing, you can draw it. But in photography, you can move it around before you snap it. In street photography, it is much more complicated, you have to find the right moment, and be at the right place at the right time.

In a nutshell, a composition is the story that you want to tell using your image. If you want to make a portrait of someone using an older generation smartphone, try to distance up a bit. Otherwise, close-up using a smartphone’s wide angle will make someone’s face look distorted and it is not flattering.

FCB JJ – Once Upon a Time in the 60s. I can time travel. Trust me, I am an engineer. lol (iPhone)

Otherwise, you can always try to experiment around your smartphone. Once you have taken the photos, try to do a bit of touch-up using it. For my phone, I use Lightroom Mobile, although when I want a quick result, I just use iPhone’s image editing apps. I cannot comment for other smartphone because I have no experience handling it. However, you are most welcomed to try.

As a summary, for general consumption, smartphone photography is good enough, especially if you are a mobile person, or love Instagram to run your business. Even Baldkizz Sulaiman uses smartphone to run her 5-figure business. Just get a photo with good composition, and you are good to go.

Happy experimenting!

One of the old shots I took. I love the mood here. So serene. Things tend to be more beautiful after 12 hours working. (iPhone)

Another Sunset. I love this shot! (iPhone)

F28 from FCB (iPhone)

Another day at workplace, not for the seasick peoples. (iPhone)

Far away... This Ship is Taking Me Far Away...A Day Without Photography #1Far Away From The Memories of the People Who Care If I Live or Die

The Living Crow, Not Dead Yet. M10-P & APO-50

Have you ever wonder, what does it feel like when you go through a day without doing the thing you love most? It feels empty, right? As if there is a hole in your heart, that cannot be filled no matter how much you fill it with good food, or good laugh. It like a splinter in your mind. That is what my days go without taking any photos. That is why I bring my camera wherever I go. For portability, currently I go with my M10-P and APO-50 as it is the most convenient for me to bring around everywhere. You might think, Claudius is rich, Claudius has a lot of money. The truth is, there is only two types of person who bought a Leica. The first one, either you are crazy rich Asian, or you are crazy Asian (quote from my Bitcoin friend, Devon Buy). I am one of those Crazy Asian. Haha

David Liaw Says – TOO EASY!!!!!! M10-P & APO-50

Anyway, it took me a few years to go to where I am now. I start small, from Black Ice – and its cheap VGA phone that can be used to take a lot of photos. Seriously, a lot. That’s because its size is small. Now, every phone has a good camera. But I still stick to my iPhone 6 Plus because that is good enough for me. For more serious works, I just use my M.

Somebody cannot stand the sea-sick. M10-P & APO-50

Actually, now, I am away from land because of work. Time for photography is also limited. I miss the night walks around Lutong to hunt random photos despite the warning about Rabies. Now, the only animal that I can shoot around me is two crows.

 So, what can I do? I just have to keep myself open for any photographic opportunities. Even the sunset can be very beautiful from where I stand now. Yes! Praise the Lord! God is great. Now, as an advise to young photographers out there (I am still young too, still 2 year’s old in this business) – bring your camera everywhere you go. In the immortal word of Viking God – Thorsten Overgaard – Always Wear A Camera. You will never know when Inspiration will hit you. It can inspire you, it may perspire you, but most importantly, never retire from your dream. You can do anything else to make a living, but for the love of the lens and cameras and Oskar Barnack, don’t give on your dream. That’s all for now.

 

Your Leica-Man,
Claudius