SMEP Berjarah Raya 2023 in Black & White

Tabi basa & greetings everyone. Today I’d like to the images capture during the recent SMEP Raya Celebration that was held at Piasau, Miri, Sarawak. 

It was officially called SMEP Berjarah Raya, which means Raya Visiting in Sarawakian Malay language, a special kind of dialect used only at Sarawak, to some extent can be called lingua-franca amongst Sarawak peoples. 

Aside from being joined by Shell staff, the event was also joined by high-ranking individuals such as Petros CEO, Janin Girie, PSCB Senior GM (SK) Anual Ismail, Senadin assemblyman, Minister of Transport Sarawak Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin, as well as Shell Malaysia Countrychair, Siti Hurrairah Sulaiman. 

Siti Hurrairah Sulaiman, was the first Sarawakian woman to hold such a post, a high rank indeed, in an ever-challenging world of oil and gas, and inspiration to lots of aspiring young graduates.

The weather was scorching hot, but it doesn’t stop lots of people from joining the event & dressed their best, including Iza that dressed just like the a Malay’s pendekar (warrior) from Malacca Sultanate. Of course, one of the main attraction was the food offered, including “kambing golek”, lots of traditional food and free-flow cendol. That’s the best.

There were two song performances, first by Farah & Airbone – Seloka Hari Raya & by the our group, singing Selamat Hari Raya by Saloma, Malaysian legendary songstress. 

For me, that afternoon was a good opportunity to meet an old friends, notably people like Joe Balan, whom I’ve collaborated with for Gawai 2019, one of the best Gawai celebration that I’ve ever attended, in with collaboration ever-supporting Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) Miri Branch. 

The event ends at around 5pm, but people are still hanging out, having a good time chatting with their friends, whilst the grads are singing their hearts content on-stage. This is the kind of peace that our ancestors fought for, putting their lives on the line so that their great, great grandchildren can thrive in this prosperous land, and tackle a new form of challenges, be it spiritual or material.

May this year bring more joy and opportunities to all of you who read this.


During this event as well, I took an opportunity to capture lots of images, testing out  Apo-35 lens, but I capture it in black & white, reverting back to the medium that I love most. There are some part of me that tells me that I should’ve stick to B&W since I started this journey. 

For me, when you are making art, most importantly, think about yourself. Being an artist, you need to think about what you want to create. In this case, how do you want to tell your story.

Colour and B&W tells a different story.

Some dislikes B&W, because it is the photo for dead peoples. I disagree because B&W is another form of expression. Just like any other artform, you can choose to ignore whichever art that doesn’t suit your taste.

I like B&W because it has its own mood. You have to see it to believe it. In the world of colour images, if you blend in, you’ll disappear. But B&W stands out. Some may not like it, but it is not my duty to make them like it. Most people don’t even like themselves.

As time goes by, I am even more excited to shoot. If it doesn’t inspire you, don’t do it. 

That’s all for now. Until next time.

Tukang Rantek,

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