Tags archives: miri

The Story of “Bubuk”

Tabi basa and greetings friends and family,

On this beautiful Thursday, I want to share about my mini adventure to a place close to my work area, which is at Lutong. Sarawak, as all of you know, is a land full of its own stories and tales, where to cover all of the area in Sarawak is an equally challenging and exciting adventure on its own. However, today, inspired by the things that I have saw and experienced on my own, the topic of my story is about “bubuk” or its English name, shrimp.

Introduction to Bubuk

When I talk about “bubuk”, I am sure all of you know because this thing is quite famous and well-known throughout the region. Just like how Rantau Abang in Terengganu is famous for its turtles, Miri (and Bintulu) is famous for its bubuk. I keep on typing bubuk because it is the best word to describe it. The word shrimp doesn’t have an emotional touch because it reminds me to whale’s food.

Fresh WhiteBubuk

Bubuk’s scientific name is Acetes intermedius and Acetes indicus, where the name Acetes belongs to the group of small shrimp that has the length of around 1 to 4 cm. These little things are the main ingredient of “belacan” (shrimp paste). Bintulu’s Belacan, made from bubuk is highly sought after, and that on its own deserved another topic of discussion as it is quite a detailed and intricate process.

Thursday Bubuk Market Story

Bubuk market place at Miri is usually at the Pondok Area, at Jalan Lutong-Kuala Baram, which is only comes alive when bubuk season is around the corner. To know more about bubuk, I pay a visit to the place and noticed that there is a lot of people over there. Usually, there is much more, but today’s crowd is not too bad as well. There is always market for bubuk, and I can see a mix of peoples there – from Ibans, Kedayan, Orang Ulu to the local Malays. I think I am the only Bidayuh guy there. Anway, doesn’t matter – we’re all Sarawakians, so I used our favourite mother tongue, except when I am certain that the person I am talking to is an Iban. Then I will switch to “jaku Iban’.

When I was there, I noticed a group of photographer/videographer in a white van. Out of curiosity, when my inner photojournalist took control, I managed to spoke to one of them, who would like to be called Arif, from Raku and Roll group. I learned from Arif that they doing coverage about Miri Bubuk, which will be aired in Miri before Ramadhan, i.e. sometime around April this year. His buddy seems to be occupied, so I do not disturb him carrying out his job. Instead, I took few shots of him and the other bubuk-buyers gathering around the newly-arrived bubuk stock, which was just landed onshore. I am in for a good luck today.

Playing with cute “bubuk” cat while waiting for fisherman to arrive with fresh bubuk.
Here comes bubuk man.

After she was no longer busy, I approached her to know more about bubuk. She introduced herself as Sanisah. Kak Sanisah can’t recall when she first started doing bubuk business, and that means she has been doing this for a very long time already. Well, it is in the family. From her, I learned quite a lot about bubuk, which I will explain later.

Kak Sanisah

Miri Bubuk Market

Miri Bubuk Market concentrates around the shoreline areas, where Lutong is one of the most active, as it also attracts customers from Brunei, who is willing to cross border just to get a supply of fresh bubuk. Bubuk market at Pondok area, next to Sribima Maritime Traininc Centre (SMTC) is only alive when it is bubuk season. There is no exact date when bubuk season is, but according to Kak Sanisah, it is after Chinese New Year and ends around a month later, when the sea picks up and winds are getting stronger. Even now, as we speak, every day Mirians can sense that the wind is getting stronger, which signals the end-days of Miri bubuk season.

I also learned from there that there are two types of bubuk, red and white bubuk. The red bubuk is no longer available at Miri shoreline recently, but there are reports on red bubuk sightings at Bintulu. To make it clear, I sketched what I heard in the form of pictures for ease of understanding. Red bubuk is better, but it is also more difficult to catch and only available at the earlier part of bubuk season. As the bubuk season draws closer to the end, white bubuk is easier to find and it is cheaper, around RM 7~8 per kg, where red bubuk costs about RM8~9 per kg. However, I heard that bubuk price reaches about RM30 per kg. That is one of a craziest price that I have heard.  

Bubuk Travel Path According to Kak Sanisah

Equipment

To start with bubuk, one needs to have their own “bubuk boat’, which costs around RM7~8k. In the past, bubuk fisherman uses wood to fabricate their own boats. However, as time goes by, cheaper and safer alternative material, fibre are widely used because it is safer and does not sink straightaway whenever bubuk boat hits the seabed or rock as it has emergency floatation mechanism in the middle of the boat. That boat is usually maned by 3-4 person, though using 2 crews are possible.

To catch these bubuks, there are plenty of tricks. However, the one that was revealed to me was the “sobor” method, which is using the front net as you can see in the image below. That is the tool used to cateh the red bubuk which is floating near the surface of the sea.

Bubuk Boat, with PETRONAS oil platform at the background

Another method is to use the beam trawl, where this method is used by the fiherman to catch the white bubuk. Beam trawl is the net that is being casted at the sides of their boat, and slowly it is drawn to catch more bubuk. Another method that is used at the earlier days of bubuk is “lengkung” or “purse-seine” net, utilising multiple boats. This sometimes can yield up to 10 trays of bubuk, each easily contains RM500 worth of bubuk,

Challenges

The biggest challenges of this bubuk industry is season. It is something that only happens once in a year. Therefore, they have to make full use of the time as much as possible. Weather is also another thing that affects the fisherman. If the weather is bad, then they cannot go to the sea as it dangerous for the small boat. Furthermore, bubuk is hard to come by in bad weather. Also, it is about marketing. A lot of people were not happy with the price, but otherwise, the bubuk fisherman and family will not be earning much as it is not an easy task for them to catch it. It is all abotu supply and demand, and RM7~8 / kg seems to be sitting nicely at the sweet spot.

Conclusion

To conclude this story of bubuk, I am quite proud to be able to cover this story although it is a short duration. Thank to the ladies and gentlemen who entertained me while I was doing this “photojournalistic” job at Lutong. Should you have any other nice and interesting story that you would like me to cover, do let me know. Thank you!

Photography Gears Used

In this blog, I am using my favourite gears, my Leica M10-P black and APO-Summicron 50mm as it is the smallest gears in my set-up, and it fits nicely with Leica’s theme, of being nice and discreet. My advise is, if you want to buy these kind of items, be it Profoto or Leica, don’t talk about it to someone else and just go buy it. Otherwise, if you delay it, you will not be buying because 1) you will talk yourself out of it, or 2) someone else will, or 3) you will use that capital for something else. Either way, just don’t be a victim of G.A.S (gear acquisition syndrome). Just buy the thing that can last a long time. In that way, you will buy that item and will not waste long hours reading reviews, which is an even greater loss because unlike money, time cannot be gained back.

Why Leica?

There is something about Leica that I am always passionate to tell about to others. For me, I just love to be part of the history of Leica. Period. Of course, there is a lot of camera gears out there that comes with its own bells and whistles, that can do ultra-fast frame rate, that has blazing speed auto-focus, but none can give the experience that my Leica M gave. Only Leica can fill the vacuum in every Leica M shooters. That probably is another reason why I never bought any SL because all I want is an M. For me, M9 is good. I love the colour. However, after 10 years, it requires an upgrade. Having skipped M240, I opt for M10 instead. I never regretted it. It is like an M9 on steroid, with a permanent effect. M cameras are small too. It is dicreet enough to be carried here and there. Some might argue point and shoot like Ricoh GRIII is the best, but for me, M gave the best experience. To each their reasons, I do love my M.

The thing about using a manual camera, or any other camera, we need to teach our camera how do we see the final images. Our perception has an auto-correction that is done real time, such as auto-colour temperature adjustment, auto aperture control or even auto-ISO control, which makes our eye as the best photography tool ever existed, and inspired the birth of many cameras. That is why we do final touch-up in our post-processing, because, for various reasons, the camera did not managed to produce the image that we see in our mind. Hence, need to tweak it a little bit. But not too much though, otherwise it will look fake.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson a.k.a Del

My Photography Facebook Page: Claudius Weson Photography 
My Music Facebook Page: Del
My Youtube Channel: Claudius Weson
Instagram: claudiuswesonphotography (for B&W works & short story)

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 (2020). 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 of Nani & Akang

Greetings and tabi basa family and friends,

To my Chinese friends, Happy Chap Goh Mei. I hope you had a good celebration. How was your weekend? I hope it is a good one. Always keep a high standard of safety and personal hygiene wherever you go as a prudent safety measure to prevent spread of any influenza that may come to your residence or your family.

This weekend was a good one for me because it is another joyful celebration for a friend, and fellow Bi-Pichin – Stephenie or Nanie and her husband, Gabriel Akang. For me it is a beautiful wedding reception and even before that, there was a beautiful wedding ceremony at St Dominic & Rosary, Taman Tunku.

Remembering Yesterdays

These are few beautiful life chapters that I have involved with in Nanie and Akang’s life story.

Tijan’s First Birthday

This was actually my first involvement with Nani. I was quite surprised and excited when she offers me this job. During that time I was just at the beginning of my photography journey.

Dayung Pichin
Thai Girl?

Family Photoshoot

The following year, Nani told me that she has a secret job for me, where she plans to have a private photoshoot, and yet keep the photo secret, because it will only be revealed during their big day. This session was done at Taman Awam Miri. This is Suling’s first photoshoot.

Tijan looking pro here. Err, Suling?
She’s happy here by the way.
Love Story in Miri

The Wedding Day

For the day itself is a beautiful day, and it was another blessed day under the sun. Friends and family all come together to make the event merrier.

Not to forget the bunch of Bi-Pichin that came to make the event merrier.

Purple Ladies

After church wedding reception was done, all of us head to Eastwood valley for another round of photoshoot.

Wedding Dinner

The wedding dinner is indeed one of a kind, and the one that really symbolises Sarawakian’s wedding. It is a mix between Iban, Bidayuh and Kenyah culture, with various guests from all around Malaysia, or even from outside of Malaysia.

I have to post this: Emilia – the first Dayung Laut, the first one that became viral.

Emcee – Jerry Wan

As for the night’s event, without a sporting and crazy emcee, the event won’t be as lively as it is. Jerry’s special touch is he is able to connect with the audience, and he also sings, and dances, while making some jokes with the audiences. I still remember that “batang” jokes. lol.

The Band – Avalanche

They are the entertainer of the night, and they did an awesome job! This is actually the first time I heard them live. I love how sporting they are, because their lead male singer realises I am a Bidayuh and he gave me the honour to sing Mr Sanuh and Kampung Love. Azie also rocks! You guys are awesome. One special touch that I can’t forget is when they start to play Another One Bites The Dust. That’s cool indeed.

The final act of closing it with It’s My Life is awesome indeed!

Del’s Performance

I also did a performance during the dinner. You can actually see the video using this link. Basically it is a acoustic version of Can’t Help Falling In Love and Dealova. I notices in the distance that there is a second-voice backing me up. I appreciate it. Tiga tawai!

The new thing added here is the “sirambuk” that I just obtained from Delia.

Let Fun Begins

The event begins with entrance processions, with the first group of Kenyah ladies escorting Akang’s parents; Bidayuh dancers escorting Nani’s parents and lastly, Iban dancers escorting Nani and Akang.

Zianzilyana singing Darah Muda.

Last Photoshoot: One For The Road

Mujan – model Kenyah.
Love transcends the fragility of our mortal bodies.
Somehow this reminds me to Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham.
Akang’s sporting family.
Amat stidi Ibu’
I, I, I, I Love You Very Bageg
Few Last Men Standing

Gears Used:

As usual, I am using Leica cameras for my job, because it like its natural rendering. However, the one that trumps it all is the experience when handling it. I like how Leica camera is all manual. As usual, I am referring to Leica M system, as I am not a fan of its other system. For the night’s job, I used Noctilux. It is the lens that many would regards as the end-game of Leica lens, until there is a new successor that come to topple the king.  

End Note

May God bless Nani and Akang, and their family. Keep the love’s fire burning brightly by trying to win each other’s heart again and again. That is something so beautiful with  

Until next time. 😉

Your Tukang Rantek,
Del

Instagram: claudiuswesonphotography (for B&W works & short story)
YouTube Channel: Claudius Weson

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 (2020). 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. 

Dayung Bidayuh Miri

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends, 

Once again, Sunday come, and hopefully you are spending your time with your beloved family and friends. Today is a great day and it is hot sunny at Miri. No rain fell from the sky, probably due to heavy rain yesterday.

Note: Dayung means, girl/woman/lady, in Bidayuh language.

Wake Up Call:

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I had a wake-up call, where I realised that when I am posting my stuff at an established social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, I am actually at their “mercy”. For example, if somebody does not like your posting due to whatever reason under the sun, they can report your account and makes your account suspended; or, suddenly there is a new “Facebook”, making the old Facebook redundant. Therefore, your efforts will go down the drain. So, it is better if you can spend your time and resources on something that you really have complete control on, for example, your paid website, so that you can modify it as you wish. I am still learning and in progress of making my website as interactive as possible to give you that one pleasant experience browsing through it. You can leave a comment below at my comment section or you can even message me directly using FB, or even WhatsApp.

Group? What group?

This is my group – Taruh Dari (3D)

Before I proceed, there are few peoples asked me, which group of photographer do I belong in Miri. To be honest, I don’t belong to any group. I do know and acknowledge that Miri, and Kuching has a lot of talented photographers, belonging to their own respective group. There are fun and joy in having a place to belong to. It is like having a race buddy, or even passion-buddy kind of thing. I like it, I appreciate the camaraderie of being in a group.

Pichin Ladies: Ladies in Red

However, for me, I am in a constant race with myself. Everyday is a chance for me to learn from myself yesterday. Also, because of the fluidity of my schedule, particularly because I am also working professionally with oil and gas company, I really have to make do of the time that I have available. Also, there are times I want to be like Henri-Cartier Bresson, though I am wearing coverall, but at the same time I want to be like Jason Lanier or Anthony Barlan, doing photoshoot of beautiful ladies at various locations. These constant mental tug-of-war is what makes me who I am now. I love the independence, which also being appreciated by certain personnel that I met along the way. I love to work with tonic peoples, the ones that gave-off positive aura and energy, making me more excited to create beautiful images, be it my favourite Monochromatic or Chromatic like how my clients like it.

Being a freelance photographer, one of the common question I received is that, how many jobs you have this month? I always answer them in this manner: I started CWPhotography not to earn money, but because I want to leave a legacy, or even a book. If I can create one image, and that image is remembered by generations to come, I am a happy man. Genuine passion is what keeps me going, otherwise, I would stop creating images on the first year I am starting CWPhotography due to very few clients. I believe each photographer has their own ways to see images. So, do hire a photographer because you like how they see things, how they tell stories using their camera; not due to their cheap price tag. You will regret your decision later. Happens a lot to me, where I became their listening post for every poor decision making in choosing photographers for their event, or even wedding. I once became a guest to my friend, and I casually capture the moments using my then-M9-P, but my photos ended up becoming her main images of her wedding dinner because she don’t like the final image that she received from her main photographer. This happens, and my please to you, as a photographer, please do your own research before you hire someone.  

Camera? You Mean, Rantek?

In case you are wondering, I am using Leica camera, particularly Leica M. I don’t look down on other camera system, there are many camera that is even more modern than the manual M that I am using, with blazing fast autofocus, awesome ISO numbers, with adjustable focal length at an amazing aperture sizes. I don’t use autofocus, mine is all manual: fixed focal length (usually 50mm 99% of the time) manual focusing, manual shutter speed adjustment, manual ISO adjustment, manual aperture adjustment – it’s all manual. I like to take my time in creating beautiful images using my M.

Just like my camera choice, I just want to do things that I like, using the tool that I love. It’s like dating the same girl for the past 8 years even though there are many pretty girls that come and gone, but none gave you the spark that she gave you. You just date her throughout the years simply because you love her, for no reason. Well, you can’t fix your love to a reason, because once the reason is gone, so does your love.

Gear Used:

As usual, I am using my M10 camera, but the difference today is, instead of using my comfort zone lens, Noctilux, I am using collapsible Summicron once again. This time, I want to test how does the collapsible Summicron perform using M10. You can see the result in the images below.

Collapsible Summicron. Still usable although much older than my father’s age.

In terms of handling, it is easy to use the lens. I find it gets easier, and the focusing is getting smoother the more I use it. Previously, when I first obtained it, it felt stiff, probably after few years of being idle inside dry box of the previous owner. I don’t see any fault with the lens. It seems the perfect. No wonder Henri likes to use this lens with his M3.

Photoshoot Time! / Ngirantek Time

Anyway, today’s photoshoot is with two beautiful Bidayuh ladies, Tania and Trisha, residing in Miri. They are also DBNA (Dayak Bidayuh National Association) dancers at Miri, and is active in performing Bidayuh dances around Miri. Trisha has been involved with this business for quite some time already, and I can call her well-experienced, or in Tania’s word, pro. Tania is new to this, but that doesn’t stop her from having fun under the sun, and strobe. The photoshoot is done at my favourite place, Tanjung Lobang because I like beaches. Sunset at tanjung today is not so flattering, but show must go on. I realised that we continue until it’s dark. But that is ok because we have our honorable “bouncer” on duty, Mcgrable or “Mc” from Capture Media. You should check out their Facebook page, they create beautiful videos. Do look for them if you want to hire photographer for your events as well (NOT SPONSORED).  

As for the attire, Trisha is wearing Bidayuh Salako’s costume, while Tania is wearing Bidayuh Bau’s costume. The difference can be seen in the colour of their dress and their headgear. For Salako ladies, they have no headgear, while the other groups have headgear, with Padawan/Siburan and Serian has “toko” (highly decorated hats). Both are wearing “pangiah” (necklace), that you can buy from Trisha since she is also selling it (NOT SPONSORED).

NOTE: Salako ladies do not use “Pangiah” (Bead Necklace) and “bobot” (fang accessories). This mistake was unintentional as we are using the accessories that we have at that time.

If you like what do you see in this blog post, do leave a comment below. I also welcomed any feedback in case you do have some comments, particularly about my photography. Just like any other people, our lives are a series of decisions. If there are poor decisions that I have made today in terms of photography, do let me know. Thank you for reading until this line. May God bless you and have a pleasant week ahead!

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.

Celebration of Love: Garnette & Ayrton

The long-awaited forehead kiss.

Dear friends, 

How was your week? How are you feeling now? I hope you are having a good time and have a good weekend with your family and loved ones, because this life is too good to be wasted by dwelling on negative thoughts. People has been posting images about the Miri’s sakura, and about the spring is coming to Miri. I find it amusing though, never in my life I heard about it before in Miri.

As for me, 18 May was spent immortalising memories for both Garnette and Ayrton, and their family and friends at St Francis’ Chapel, Miri, gathering together for their wedding blessing with celebrant Father Martin Vincent Sta. Garnette is a friendly person and she get along with everyone easily and she is truly an expressive person, with the ability to speak more than 5 languages. The warmth that radiates from her caught the attention of Ayrton, whom has a cooler persona, a bit like a Malaysian oppa, but equally friendly as well. Like the old adage said, opposite attracts. Both of them complements one another, and that is the reason why they are meant to be together, as it was written by God, somewhere inside His master plan up high in heaven.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning where everyone dresses elegantly to celebrate the big day between these two hearts. It was not an easy journey for them as they faced their own fair share of hardship, but that does not matter because two hearts in love can overcome all odds.

There is also a reading that keeps on playing in my mind whenever there is a wedding blessing, from Genesis 2:18-24:

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam, no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, 

“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

This verse explained about the origin of woman from Christian’s perspective, which is the one that completes a man. So is Garnette to Ayrton, and together they will embark their journey in the new chapter of their lives. Not as two, but as one. In Catholic, a person can only marry once because Sacrament of Matrimony is “covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring”, and which “has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptised.” (CIC can 1055). Therefore, it has to be honoured as such, and every faithful Catholic should uphold this at all time, throughout their lives.

As for the wedding ceremony, praise the Lord, it went on smoothly without any hiccup. The event was continued with the long, awaited photoshoot between the families and friends, with second part of the event at St Joseph’s Multipurpose Hall. After the lunch, there was a cake-cutting, wedding bouquet tossing event as well as toast to wish the best for the newlyweds.There was an audio system around, where Ryan and I did not waste the opportunity to sing a couple of songs to entertain the crowd.

Congratulations to both of you and as usual, always remember this: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” – (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

With this, I end my post and may God bless the two of you, Garnette and Ayrton!

Your Tukang Rantek,

Claudius Weson

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

PETROS: Transforming Sarawak Oil & Gas

Dear friends,

How was your week? I hope it is good. The blog post this time is dedicated to the future of Sarawak’s oil and gas, since I believe every Sarawakian deserves to know about it. On Sunday, during the second day of inaugural Sarawak Oil and Gas Seminar and Exhibition 2019, I managed to find my way in to hear PETROS (Petroleum Sarawak) Berhad’s senior managers sit down for a forum entitled “Transforming Sarawak Oil and Gas”. As expected, the session was one of the highlight during the seminar and attracted the attention of many of oil and gas-related personnel, be it the working level or the managerial level despite the session was done in early Sunday morning. This high interest is partly because PETROS was given the mandate by Sarawak government to manage oil and gas resources originating from Sarawak, both onshore and offshore.

Disclaimer: All the information written here were based on the presentation done to public during Sarawak Oil & Gas Seminar and Exhibition on 14 April 2019, Sunday, 8am – 9.30am. Claudius Weson Photography will not be responsible nor liable to any damages should there is any information taken out of context, decision in whatever field of expertise made based on or any changes in information regarding the subject thereafter. The intention of this blog post is merely for information sharing, such that Sarawakians that were unable to attend or hear the session will be able to know the latest news on PETROS.

CEO PETROS – Sauu Kakok

Back to the presentation, speakers for the session are as follows:

  1. Sauu Kakok, CEO of PETROS
  2. Momas Modon, Vice President (VP) Upstream
  3. Peter Wong, Head of Supply Chain
  4. Kiddney Enau, GM of Regulatory & Compliance

Starting the session was PETROS’ CEO, Sauu Kakok. As explained by him, structure of PETROS is driven by Sarawak’s government aspiration to achieve:

  1. greater Sarawak share of revenue from oil and gas
  2. greater participation of Sarawakians in Sarawak oil and gas industry

How they will achieve it?

  1. Regulatory unit in Upstream and Domestic Gas. – to ensure that state law is complied with (namely Domestic Gas Ordinance 2016 (DGO) and Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 (OMO)).
  2. Business & Investment Units: PETROS EP (Upstream), PETROS Gas (Domestic Gas) and PETROS Niaga (Downstream retail businesses). Currently Upstream is the biggest part of the value chain. 

As mentioned above, the two governing ordinances are Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) and Distribution of Gas Ordinance (DGO). Right under OMO is Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri, which under it is State Minerals Management Authority. As for DGO, under it is Majlis Mesyarat Kerajaan Negeri, to which the Director of Gas from Ministry of Utilities reports to.  

In terms of the hierarchy, PETROS currently sits under Ministry of Utilities and State Minerals Management Authority. OMO governs all of the activity Upstream, while DGO governs the Domestic Gas-related activities.

State Minerals Management Authority will decide what the state wants to do with the resources. In this case, PETROS will be the delegated authority, and there will be continuous engagement between PETROS and State Minerals Management Authority as well as Director of Gas to decide what to do next.  The challenge now is for PETROS to align with OMO, DGO as well as MA63 timeline as the outcome of MA63 discussion will also impacts the role that PETROS will play for the benefit of Sarawak. From the forum, it was revealed that October 2019 is the time where the Cabinet will sit for MA63 once again.  

After Sauu’s presentation, it was Momas Modon’s turn to talk about PETROS Upstream business. As the Vice President (VP) Upstream of PETROS, he presented on how PETROS Upstream would look like. He divides his presentation in three key thoughts, namely:

  1. Key features of Sarawak oil and gas industry today.
  2. Landscape of Oil and Gas at Sarawak today and how PETROS is going to contribute to State’s aspiration.
  3. Key characteristics of PETROS EP would be. 

Momas begins with a bit of history. Malaysian oil and gas industry was pioneered onshore by Sarawak in 1910, where the first oil well was called Grand Old Lady, located on top of the majestic Canada Hill, Miri. Now, there is no more onshore oil production at Malaysia except for Asampaya field, bordering Brunei. Exploration works onshore was done but has not led to significant onshore prospects. The industry moves to offshore around mid-1970s. For info, Baram delta platforms are visible from the coast of Miri. At Sarawak, offshore oil platforms are very mature, some are more than 40 years old and some has been decommissioned. Report by Woodmack on 2017, 2500 million barrels was produced from Sarawak. 80% of discovered reserve was produced, and what remains are high water cut oil wells, which requires secondary and tertiary recovery methods should we want to produce from it. As for Baram delta, EOR is the next step. In essence, offshore oil of Sarawak is very matured, combined with aging facilities and is not cheap to produce. Furthermore, the remaining reserves are not that big and continue production will require not small investment.

As for gas, he continued that gas began since mid-1980s. We are proud that not long ago, we are the largest LNG producer in the world. In terms of volumes, more than 30TCF (trillion standard cubic feet) has been produced. Remaining from it is around 20~35% of reserves that has not been produced, which is not easy to reach, small pockets of gas, has high contaminant and more costly to produce.  He mentioned that if PETROS was started 10 years ago, they would have captured more value, but Sarawak has to start somewhere. Heart of Sarawak gas is at Bintulu, where the famous MLNG, SMDS and petrochemical is there. Everyday, 4.5 BCF (billion standard cubic feet) of gas is channelled to Bintulu. However, this would pose a sustainability challenge because supply offshore cannot cope with the ever-growing demand of Bintulu. More downstream hubs are being created. Therefore, the key challenge is for PETROS and Sarawak oil and gas players to find new reserves to keep the demand being filled up.

In terms of the key part that PETROS play to meet the challenges, there are three strategic theme for the business.

  1. Integrated gas. Gas business is the largest revenue generator. 
  2. Oil businesss – smaller portion.
  3. Onshore EP 

It is known that oil business has a smaller portion compared to gas in terms of revenue capture. He explained that with EOR and high water cut, they have to be mindful of the investment that they want to put in place with state’s fund. Therefore, the strategy is to target profitable oil business prospect as well as good revenue-generating asset.

Since onshore was left in the 1960s, utilising the latest know-hows and tools available globally today, they will look into oil space once again, probably the last chance to have a real look at it as they do not intend to leave money on the table, if it means greater benefit to Sarawak. However, with this three themes – Integrated Gas, Oil Business, Onshore EP, their participation is constrained by the organisation. Therefore, it is their utmost priority to build the capacity of their organisation since they are a startup company. Self-sustaining company is also has to be ensured whilst driving technical and operational excellence, hence the need to find the right people for the organisation.

Momas also explained how PETROS EP would look like. One question that he throws to the crowd on oil price is – “Is it lower forever or lower for ever?”. It is quite known that oil price issue has created a level of resilience of the oil and gas players that has survived through the 2015 oil price drop. Secondly, the effect of new technology and digitisation. It is common to see that company’s embrace those to drive down cost. PETROS has the opportunity to embrace this in the very beggining because they are a new company, thus positioning it to compete straightaway.

The third part of Momas’ presentation is the societal expectation, where good governance and culture of care towards the workers and protection of the environment. Many company has committed to the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement, but in this day and age, it requires more than that. The next generation is quite vocal and demands that companies, especially oil and gas, energy industru demonstrate transparency in good governance and top notch safety performance and minimise impact to the environment. With that in mind, Momas explains that PETROS has been busy for the last few months to build PETROS’ organisation, putting in place key government processes, to put their systems and procedures and pulling in the right talent to help building the company and to be fit for the future (sounds familiar).

Peter Wong, Head of Supply Chain

The third speaker of the forum is Peter Wong, Head of Supply Chain. His starts his talk by mentioning that the 25 booths during Sarawak Oil and Gas Seminar and Exhibition was fully booked, despite some of the companies in Sarawak are not aware of it. He briefly mentioned about many of the vendors at Sarawak does not know each other, thus the importance of get-together like this. For Sarawak, there is only abour 400 plus vendors, out of 4000 of registered vendors under PETRONAS register. That only accounts for 10% from the total of vendor at Malaysia. He encouraged vendors from Sarawak to be more proactive and to find more opportunities outside Sarawak, and even Malaysia. Also, he encourages greater participations from Sarawak vendors, especially Sarawak-based participations to create more job opportunities to Sarawakians. The most important thing is to continue to be better in what you are doing, which PETROS and vendors will work together to unlock more remaining hydrocarbon in Sarawak. He ends with “Sarawak Boleh!”.

Kiddney Enau, GM of Regulatory & Compliance

The last speaker of the session is Kiddney Enau, General Manager of Regulatory and Compliance, the “youngest” one out of the four, because he just joined on 7th Jan 2019. Prior to that, he was the first Director of Gas under Ministry of Utility. He explaines that OMO applies to Upstream, offshore and gas processing plant, and DGO applies to downstream. It is divided into two part; firstly Economic Regulations that includes LNG Import to RGT Terminal, Power Sector, Export Large Industries, and secondly, Economic, Technical & Safety Regulations, which covers Small and Medium Industry, Commercial as well as Residential.

Now, PETROS is in the transition period and undergoing regulatory adjustment. The main focus now is to embed both OMO and DGO to applicable provision and into the relevant petroleum activities in Sarawak. That transition period, however, will end on 31st Dec 2019

OMO – on the upstream bit, is similar into other ordinance, general in nature. Therefore, when they have the engagement with the lawmaker, all of them is engineer by technical background, so the interpretation is different and they have very interesting discussion when they were discussing it. DGO only applies to the gas distrubution. Fuel is not part of DGO 2016. When they talk about DGO – they put up public notice in July 2018, when the ordinance was effective. Gas distribution part is quite small and not many people know about DGO 2016 is anyway.

His successor started on 1st April 2019, new Director of Gas Distribution. He will work closely of the new director of Gas and how they can collaborate to smoothen the process.

What follows after the presentations is the Q&A session, which many participants were waiting for, as can be seen from the peoples queueing up behind the microphones. It is quite evident that the interest on PETROS is rather high, to Sarawakians and non-Sarawakians.

First Question: Data is lifeblood of any organisation, but it was not mentioned. We have amassed 109 years of data in Sarawak oil and gas industry. We don’t seem to talk about it. So could you comment?

Momas answers it by saying data is very important, sometimes it is more important than the physical asset itself. Since PETROS is a new company, he did alluded to it when he mentioned that PETROS is going to embrace digitisation.

Previously, creating the project in digital platform is a means to and end. However, the trend the last few decade is the original digital twin with the power of digitalisation creates its own significant value. So, the question  now is how PETROS/State have or acquire the decades of centuries of worth of data from Sarawak, under purview of Petronas at the moment. PETROS want to have the direct access to those data so that PETROS can have better long term planning.

Sauu Kakok adds that it is part and parcel of the ongoing discussion, where data drives everything else. PETROS is still discussing it at the moment. What they want to do is to have access of those data and the discussion is how and to what extent will be underpin by the data. Sarawak government has the right to it, and it is part of the the big umbrella discussion where the outcome will be known within the next couple of months.

Second question touches on the PETROS’ plan with the existing license requirements in Sarawak, and does PETROS plans to add additional requirement, or plan to replace the existing PETRONAS license?

The answer from Sauu is no plan to replace the existing PETRONAS license. Two guiding law that PETROS need to adhere to, i.e. OMO and DGO. PDA (Petroleum Development Act 1974) is still there as well. Therefore the aim is for PETROS to not to overcomplicate the processes, but to make it simpler while putting compliance to state and federal law in mind.

Added by Peter is also that this also applies to vendor as well. A lot have asked them whether to register with PETROS or not. To ensure business continuity, vendors will continue to use the existing process, but to make it much more simpler as they do not want to add further cost point to the vendors.

Third question is asking what does PETROS wants to be? Do they want to be like PETRONAS or being PETRONAS Operating Arms? Second part to the question is inquiring on the compliance of the State and Federal Law, where does PETROS divide the line?

Answer from Sauu Kakok is that since all of them engineers by background, they takes advise from the state government on the interpretation and implementation of OMO and DGO. Discussion that is ongoing, and they have the top two Legal mind in the team, as well as the state legal advisor. Thus, they advise is taken from them. PETROS is really there to implement the Sarawak’s mandate to them to implement. Again, he emphasised that state aspiration is greater revenue and greater participation of Sarawakians in Oil and Gas business.

Fourth question, first part, from putting on a date of 31st Dec 2019, what will happen next? Investors would really like to know  what is next. Second part of the question is, with the current situation, word “disruptor” is the best word to describe the key management and PETROS as they are disrupting the current oil and gas industry (though not really specified where by the speaker). For the past one year also, there has been so much secret by PETROS. As for the investors and vendors, it is good to have this kind of session from time to time.

That bold question was answered by Sauu, saying that they fully recognised the silence, which is deliberate since they have a lot of moving parts, which includes engagement with the right authorities to move forward. The intent of the 31st Dec 2019 grace period is to accelerate the process and to allow the implementation of what is being done by state and federal in timely manner. He said that PETROS will communicate ahead of time to which the time and changes. Thy will not flip over to new processes once the 31st Dec 2019 is met and their commitment is to ensure smooth transition moving to 2020.

The fifth question from the crowd is on the licensing method, where it is not really clearly stated whether to embrace the PETROS license or PETRONAS license? Also, who actually owns Sarawak oil and gas resources.

Answer from Sauu is PETROS is not to decide who owns Sarawak oil and gas resources. However, as mentioned earlier, they do take guidances and advises (from State legal advisor) and implement it to achieve state’s aspiration within the framework, which is greater revenue to the state and more involvement of Sarawakians in the Sarawak oil and gas industry. With the current setup, the one strong differences is that state has a role in approving the decisions moving forward. Peter Wong added that in terms of vendor registration, the main thing is to ensure business continuity. Process will remain the same to not to burden the vendors, and this is to ensure that more Sarawak contractors involved in the higher value contract.

One final question from the crowd inquires about effort to put in place organisations’ move to sustainability? Employee creativity is important, and should be put in place to positively impact oil and gas sector.

This question was taken up by Momas, which explains that roughnecks and “cowboy approach” might have worked in the past, but those talents today will not survive. It is a challenge in the oil and gas industry, where the most of the players are the tail end of their careers, and the new generation graduates are less inclined to join oil and gas industry. Therefore, PETROS need to create a diversed team that is dynamic for the future. Since they are just beginning, it is a golden opportunity to start it right. Sarawak has no lack of talents to run a company, and we have talents all over the world, working in oil and gas industry. The trick is to bring them back and entice them to contribute back to Sarawak. Also, it is one of PETROS’ agenda to reach out to the local space in terms of the local university and institute to groom innovative talents for sustainability for the future of Sarawak oil and gas.

Adding to the point, Sauu also jokingly explained that they are “dinosaurs”, because their approach is different in the past, as the future will employ artificial intelligence (AI) that requires different mindset to work. Also, PETROS would need more time to ensure that local universities’ in Sarawak expectation aligns with them and the industry’s evolving needs in the longer term, the skillset required and thus ensuring it is fully align in how we will run the business safely in the future.

With those words from Sauu, that marks the end of the session with PETROS for the seminar. With the arrival of PETROS, it marks a more exciting part of the Sarawak oil and gas industry. Who knows what might come next for Sarawak?

The general impression after the session is that many were quite happy with the session with PETROS top management because this gave them more understanding on what PETROS is going to do next, even though there are still many works required, particularly building up a solid team to really benefit Sarawakians.

As a parting words for now, it is crucial for the younger generations to learn and equip themselves for the growing needs of the future. One thing that I always see as a shortcoming is the ability to communicate fluently in English. This is not just for the sake of showing off, but to ensure marketability. Combined with solid technical skills in engineering, legal, marketing, one can easily become deehto for the future. Most importantly, one needs to have the desire to learn more and improve to be more competent.

Being there, I also took the opportunity to capture few images of the interesting peoples there. Until next time, take care!

Your tukang rantek,

Claudius

Brooke Dockyard ladies.
Dayang Enterprise ladies.
Serba Dinamik ladies.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved. No content of this blog should be used without prior approval.

Ivanna’s Family Moments

Dear friends,

How was your week? I hope you had a good one, and now enjoy your weekend with your family and friends after a long week of toil and hard works. Just a week ago, the theme was fashion and runway. Fast foward, this weekend was all about family – another favourite topic of mine.

Chilling in the weekend.

Why family? Basically it is the first unit from which you receive your first love, be it from your parents or your siblings. Home is usually where your heart resides, and that is family.

Time is the true resources that we have, and all of the other things that we have in life is a result of our transaction that we have done, be it in the form of material or relationship. I believe that one of the best was to spend time is with family.

Sometimes, we often spend get caught with our work life that we are unable to switch off, fearing that we will lose our momentum. Thus, we keep on running this rat race. However, we often forgot that we are not getting younger. So is our parents, they are not getting younger as well.

If you are away, please make a conscious effort to pay a visit to your family as frequent as possible if it is not too difficult. I know some of my fellow friends, working far away from their home, only go back during Gawai (Harvest Festival). Some might say that is a long gap. However, taking into consideration his/her difficulties, it is better than none. At least the effort is there.

In our day to day life, we often interact so much, and we are normalised that we forgot that we also should immortalise the family moments, in the form of pictures – a job that can be accomplished using various image-creating tools nowadays, from VGA phones to the latest Huawei P30 Pro. As for me, I would entrust this kind of job with my favourite gears – my very own Leica M10 and Noctilux as it creates the image that I would call my own expression of photography.

Regardless, the most important thing is that we are immortalising the memories of our loved ones.

Enjoy the pictures below and have a blessed weekend!

Your Tukang Rantek,

Claudius

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

Miss Mermaidopia Ambassador 2019

Dear friends,

How’s your 2019 so far? Are you getting closer to your dream than yesterday? For me, being a “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh Pichin) took me into a different path in life as part of my self-discovery photography career. Thanks to Trisha, I met Aldrin, a gentleman who runs  Aldrin’s Flair & Events Decor and managed to get my hand into his next event which they organise, Miss Mermaidopia Ambassador 2019, an event sponsored by Boulevard Shopping Mall, Miri Events and Décor Specialist, Wan Soon Florist and Love Mermaidopia as well as the kind Miss Eva Mae (Miss Asia International 2008). 

Love Mermaidopia is a brand with mystical mermaid theme that aiming to enlighten beauties that beautifying can be affordable and easy with natural yet safe range of products. They are proud Malaysia brand, based in Selangor and currently have super agents around the country. They are also still making waves to share the love with their Serum Hair Mist, Coral Curl Duo Mascara, Aqua Glow Cushion and more to come.

As for the competition, the winner will receive RM700 of cash, crown, sash and will be the ambassador of Mermaidopia. First and second runner ups will win RM500 and RM300 respectively along with crown and sash.

Coronation ceremony.

Personally I have never been involved in this kind of event before, therefore this is a new learning for me and I am thrilled to be able to cover such event. Armed with my Leica gears, this time only with M10 and Noctilux 50.

The event itself is a combination of both Singing Competition and Beauty Pageant. As for singing, it was participated by Vivian Garvin, Harith bin Habib, Hezron Joseph, Patrick Unchu, Awang Mohd Faiz Ashraf, Chia Chai Ying, Elia Mitchell and Mohd Faizul bin Mohd Maidin.

As with any other competitions, it is not complete without a line-up of wise and experiences judges. For Miss Mermaidopia Ambassador judges, they are Angelia Vanessa (Winner GCM Miss Cultural 2018), Emily Elizabeth (Winner Miss Youth Festival 2018) & Emily Chieng (Winner Miss Vibrant 2019).  For your info, Emily Elizabeth herself is an accomplished chef. She is such an inspiration to those who wants to make their dream a reality. 

Emily Chieng, Eva Mae, Spanski, Angelia Vanessa & Emily Elizabeth.

For the singing competition, which is organized by Miri Events & Décor Specialist, the judges are Jeremiah Udan and Dayang Bismi. I have a feeling that she is related to Dayang Nurfaezah. Anyone can confirm? Please write in the comment below.

Event Flow:

The event will not be lively without a good emcee, and that is where one of Miri’s most sought after emcee, Spanski Steven come into play. With his deep bass voice, he ensures that the event runs smoothly as a hot knife cuts through a butter. Behind the scene, running around here and there with Aldrin are Hayes Collin, Trisha Joe & McGrable Diwan to make sure that the event runs smoothly. 

Mr Spanski Steven

The singing competition is quite straightforward where every participants only need to sing a song. But that can be a tricky part as you need to pick the song that can represent the best of your vocal abilities as well as your mastery in fully utilising the stage, which can be a daunting task for the new ones. Anyway, that doesn’t stop Harith to bag the championship and win, followed by Hezron and Elia.

As for the beauty pageant, after few rounds of cat-walks and two sets of Q&As, Miss Mermaidopia Ambassador 2019 winner goes to the talented Nicole Goldy, with runner-ups won by Abigiel Lawai, Noria Anah, Veronica Michalle and Cindy Balang. There is also a subsidiary title of Best Opening Dress, won by Helena Telun, followed by Njzallina Supand and Amelia Kassim.

Congratulations to all of the winners, and to those who participated in the event because it takes a lot of courage to be part of this exciting competition as well as to answer question on the spot, in front of the public. Not to mention singing.

From left: Jeremiah, Elia, Harith, Hezron & Dayang Bismi.
The winners and the Aldrin’s crew. Alvin said they never had any event photos, so this is to break that tradition.

Below is the gallery of the event photo. Enjoy!

Bonus: The Power of Family

As I was shooting around to get the photos, I noticed that there is a lot of family members and friends who came to show their support to the contestants. Coming from a family that emphasises a lot in family values (subtle expression of love), I like this situation. It is from a strong and loving family that we can generate enough willpower to move forward, especially to achieve a seemingly impossible goal. Be it to pursue your dream of becoming an accomplished fitness coach like MarvInspire Fitness, or a chef and beauty queen like Emily, family is a powerful unit that can brings that extra power, and make you realise your full potential. They are also your fallback plan, should things doesn’t go as per your plan. I love to enjoy my uninterrupted off-day by my family side, especially now that I have two new family members, thanks to my sister (yeah, keep it coming) and snap my family photo.

Nicole and her family.
Inik pan datai mega. Amat stidi, support ucu. 😀

For me, I love photography because I want to immortalise my family moments. With my skills also, I can immortalise the beautiful moments in your family, be it wedding, birthday party as well as festivities.

Until next time, have a great week ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek,

Claudius

All photographs are © Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved. No content should be used without prior approval from Claudius Weson. 

Angelyna & M9-P

Greetings friends,

First and foremost, Happy International Women’s Day to all great ladies out there. May God bless all of you always! Today’s story is the continuation of my experiment with M9-P and my effort to combine flash into my outdoor photography. Ideally, this would be simple if I have a dedicated helper. But, due to limited resources, I just have to make do with whatever I have.

Introduction

On this beautiful Saturday morning, me and local talent from Miri, Angelyna had a photoshoot at Coco Cabana, because I love how that place is. It is usually crowded with people over the weekend. To avoid this, we did out photoshoot in the morning before everyone comes out.

On my way there, I can see a lot of health-conscious Mirians, young and old, and their family jog in the morning with their family and friends at Marina’s pavement. Some did it solo, with Airpods accompanying them. Others, with a band of cyclists. For me, I usually exercise in the evening to keep my for any upcoming photography jobs, especially weddings, because you have to be physically fit and active to catch all of the decisive moments.

Gears: M9-P & Noctilux

About the gears, I am using my M9-P and a Noctilux lens. My camera is a 9 year’s old rangefinder, serviced at Leica Store Malaysia and the CCD sensor that its own signature look out of the camera, something like the Kodak film. That’s no surprise, because the maker of the sensor is Kodak. On a side note, its first successor, M-240 has a different rendering that does not appeal to me, hence the reason why I skipped it until M10 came, where Leica finally got it right. M10’s image is much closer to M9’s rendering than M-240, although a bit too “clean”. However, if the job is not so demanding, like dimly-lit places or event, I will just stick to my M9. Another reason is because M9-P is my first Leica camera, so the emotional attachment is there, just like any other artists with their favourite paintbrush, microphone, plectrums etc.

I was frequently asked this question: what is the best Leica camera to start with? I would say, M9 – first, it is full-frame and secondly, it is relatively cheaper compared to the older bodies, although you can find its advertisement popping up in Mudah ever once in a while. Also, the next question is, the technology is already 10 years old, so is it still relevant? My answer is yes, and I have been photographing weddings using it. I love the colour that it produces. Also, if you do it right, it is not prone to be soaked by water. I did headhunter run and SMEP Fit For The Future Run coverage using it, under pouring rain. As long as you do not purposely expose it right under rain water but only receive splashes, you should be alright. Make sure to dry it right afterwards, and put it either inside dry box (best method) or container of uncooked rice (cheapest method).

King Of The Night

Also, I am using Noctilux for obvious reason – I love the bokeh that it produces. I tried f/1.4, but it is not pleasing enough for me. Also, Noctilux’s low-light performance is second to none in the world of rangefinders, considering the maximum effective ISO that I can use with M9-P is only 800, so I have to rely on high aperture to get the same light input. With f/0.95, it is a staggeringly high number, that my beginner-self “fought” to acquire 3 years ago. I did get few comments from other fellow photographers that what I am doing is not correct because the norm is you should not blur out the background too much. I did tried to follow their advice, but as time goes by, I realised I keep on reverting back to it, and after that, I just do it. Why should I stop doing what I love most? Also, that will be my signature style. Bokeh. After such a long time operating it, the relatively long focus throw no longer bothers you as your left fingers and your left eye, in a beautiful synchronisation, automatically adjust the rangefinder to find the right focus as the target moves on. Once the target it set and found, the trigger is pressed, producing the beautiful M9-shutter tune. It is like a Termignoni exhaust to a Ducati afficionado.

On the other hand, when I am doing day-time street photography, I prefer to use Summilux 50 or APO-50 because it is much lighter that 700g King of the Night. 50mm has always been my favourite focal length, and it has shaped how I created my images, be it wedding or events, or even photoshoot like this.

Photoshoot:

First thing when I do is to get the white balance right, which will minimise my time when I am doing post processing later. The good news about Leica is you will get the best skin tone rendering, natural looking if you get the white balance correct. I am using a simple white balance card and then set it manually. After that, we just proceed with the photoshoot. You can see the sample images below.

Closing:

Overall, I am quite happy with this photoshoot but I admit that there is so much to be learnt about this particular field. Being so used to event photography, where you just “react”, this one requires me to think and plan ahead for the shoot. To make an image is the easiest part compared to planning a successful photoshoot. This sort of challenges makes life became so much interesting and I am looking forward to work with more talents in the future. I hope you guys enjoy this post.

Inspirational note here – Make sure your dream is big and do not be afraid or shy to make it happen. A thousand miles is just an accummulation of 63,360,000 inches. So make your steps counts.

Have a good weekend! 🙂

All images © Claudius Weson Photography (2019).

Claudius Weson is a wedding/event “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh language) based in Miri.

Story of a Sape Maker – Matt Linggi

Dear friends, 

Sarawak is a beautiful land. As the son of the land, I am always proud to tell the others where I came from when I am being asked, which is from Kampung Pichin, Serian. Growing up in the south, surrounded by my fellow Bidayuh clansmen, I am not really exposed to the other peoples in terms of day-to-day interaction during the first 12 years of my life. As I grow older, I met more peoples from all around the world, which is an eye-opening experiences. Currently residing at the northern part of Sarawak, Miri, I have the best opportunity to get to know more about the people of the North, which is the Orang Ulu (literally upriver peoples).

Orang Ulu is the term used by Sarawakians to refer to the ethnically-diverse group in the north, including Kenyah, Kayan, Kelabit, Punan, Penan, Lahanan, Kiput,Kajaman – to name a few. Due to the vast history of these culturally-rich peoples, it deserves its own story in another post. Interestingly, the Kalimantan Indonesians that has the same historical and blood ties with the Sarawak’s Orang Ulu still call themselves Dayak. Dayak, in Bidayuh Biatah/Padawan dialect means “people”.  Orang Ulu is the term popularised by Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA) which was founded in 1969. In Sarawak, Dayak refers to either Land Dayak (Bidayuh) or Sea Dayak (Ibans), which was introduced during James Brooke time, making it easier for them to identify us. However, I have no knowledge of the separation of these Dayaks and Orang Ulu. Perhaps if there is any reader that has the knowledge can share it in comments below.

Anyway, there is one aspect of Orang Ulu that I want to touch today, which is their most famous musical instrument – Sape. Sape is originally three or four stringed instrument and is scaled in a way it is pentatonic, but modern variations has more strings and frets. Among the famous Sape players are the Sape Masters – Matthew Ngau Jau, the Sape master behind Lan E – Jerry Kamit and Kelabit beauty on a mission, Alena Murang.

My journey to find the more about this unique musical instrument leads me to the down-to-earth Sape maker of Miri, Matt Linggi from Iban tribe. He is actually an oil and gas professional, famously known as PLS – project liaison supervisor – at Central Luconia, but during his off-day, he dons his Sape maker outfit and grinds on.

Matt Linggi’s signature trademark
Close-up of Matt Linggi’s personal sape.
Sape and I.

Background:

He liked Sape music since his early childhood when it was played over the radio or cassette player. He have not seen any real sape instrument until he was in his 20s. His first sape was bought from a Kenyah Sape maker and also seasoned sape player, the late Usat Ulai from Tatau, Bintulu. The sape has a beautiful acoustic sound and authentic in design. He owns that sape for a couple of years before he gave it away to someone from Kuala Lumpur.

His inspiration of making sape came after I watched Jerry Kamit’s sape on his video clips album and in Youtube. He was amazed by its modern shape, handy and mobility. Since then he was trying to look for one of those kind but to no avail. He scouted around wherever he saw handicraft shops. He saw few sape but did not find them to be satisfactory to his expectation even though they are well- built Sape, well-designed and has various types of wood selection and range of prices.

His father has experience in crafting sape body for Orang Ulu tribe of Kayan from Belaga when he was young. Despite being experienced in crafting few sape, his father never learnt to install the strings and frets nor attempt to play any song whatsoever.

Entry Into Business:

His official entry into business started one day in early 21st century, sometime in 2005 when he asked his father to make one sape for him. His father did one for him, but then again, its shape and design was not up to his preferences. This sparks something – he was thinking maybe he can make one himself. With his father’s help, they managed to find the wood (Kayu Pulai/Pelaie) and he designed the shape and dimension to his preferences. His father made one and he also made one himself at the same time.

HIs first attempt of making sape was quite an experience for he have never seen and observed the real processes involved. His first Sape, visually is not so bad, acoustically was not impressive as he expected. The body construction was not ideal. Back then, he has no idea of how thick is thick or how thin is thin.

Since then, he is always thinking of making another, and better Sape but the ideas always come to a halt because he is always working abroad in oil and gas industry. When he works abroad, he is donning his coverall and focuses into HSSE aspect, but his heart and soul is always at the land of Hornbill and of course his Sape.

Reigniting the Flame:

In 2008, once again, he finally has a career based in Miri. That was where he began to materialise his dream. This time, he has better ideas after observing few sapes from different makers. His traditional ornament design was still very basic and simple. It is meant for his personal uses. He made Sape out of his hobby but then of few of friends showed strong interest in his Sape and asked him to make one for them. 

That was how he began to make more Sape whenever he is available and has free time to spare.

Way back in 2011, his friend Hezekiah Asim gave him one Sape made by William Balam, a Kelabit guy. The Sape’s shape was so unique and has a fascinating ornament design. Hezekiah asked him if he can make one sape for him with something similar in design. He said He cannot promise but will do the best in his ability. After a year or so he managed to produce one of his own version very much inspired by William Bala’s Sape design.

From then on his Sape design has been transformed from basic and simple to more complicated and fascinating ornament design.

Sape-Making Processes:

The following are the processes involved in making sape, in their sequence, from paper to the finished product.

Comparison between Sape, mini-Sape and an acoustic guitar.

Challenges:

As of now, he personally feel that we need more Sape maker to cope up with demand from the ever-rising players request. This mean not only massive in production but also in term of quality that also has to be ensured. Through the quality of the Sape, it will be the Sape makers’ signature and their ambassador though people may not have met us personally.  

Four-stringed and six-stringed sape.

Sape has evolved as time change. He said we hardly keep up with the pure traditional cultures because we are brought up in different time and place. But we ought to make an effort to preserve the traditional value of this precious instrument by reflecting the place of origin.

According to him, we could have modern version sape which reflect the traditional assents. This is where the new generation need input from the Sape masters or experienced maker/player because believe it or not, a Master’s was once a beginner too. 

Also, due to severe deforestation, searching for the right and suitable wood also pose another concern. 

Future:

Personally, he foresees that Sape will soar further than it already was. There are many young enthusiast that is eager to bring it up to the next level be it in craft design or ways of playing. Just like the performances made by the Alena, or even Nick of Sada Borneo. Beside local peoples, there is also a huge demand from international level for sape instrument. For example, the lute collectors from European regions. There will be no limit to this future because different player might want to have different Sape from different maker just like other instrument, where there is a need to be unique. Unlike others, most, if not all, Sape maker/player that he knew are very generous in sharing ideas and tips. They always compliments each other and should there is any “competition”, it will be a healthy one. In this way, the Sape players community can ensure the growth of Sape music throughout the world.

Ordering:

Should any of you are interested to get Sape of your own, you may do so and contact Matt Linggi via his Facebook . However, due to high demand, one will have to bear a long waiting list, especially if your Sape of request is beautifully decorated.

Alena and her beautiful sape, handcrafted personally by Matt Linggi. (Snapshot from Alena’s Instagram). Follow her IG account to know about her latest updates.
One for the road. Matt Linggi plays a composition before I left.
(Leica M10 & Noctilux – wide-open)

© Claudius Weson Photograpy (2019), unless stated otherwise. Matt Linggi’s personal images are used with his permission.

Claudius Weson is a freelance “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh) based in Miri, with passion in immortalising memories.