Thursday, April 30, 2009

29 April 09

As usual, I love to start my posts with a dose of local food from Kuching.

Kuching Foochows are famous for their 'fried soup noodles'. This isn't really the best I've tasted, but it works for me anyway.

I still had some space in my stomach, so I decided to order a bowl of meat porridge. Probably the noodles dampened my appetite a little, so I wasn't really craving for it.

I finished work around 6.15 pm, so I once again rushed to the Waterfront for my daily dose of sunset shots.

I love intensely coloured skies.

The ever popular Riverside Majestic. I haven't been inside there since I got back, unfortunately.

Sarawak Plaza.

The Standard Chartered Bank building now hosts 3 different banks.

So much for some long exposure photographs around this area. I've got ideas of several different buildings I'd like to shoot in Kuching, so stay tuned for more in the future.

My first site visit in 2009

As part of my attachment in Kuching, my boss decided that it would be useful for me to go for a site visit and attend a meeting at the same time.

The project is basically a secondary school commissioned by the Ministry of Education in the Asajaya suburb. To make things simple for the contractors and the site managers, the design was purposely kept very simple (compared to another school around the same precinct).

Even though building a school should be a relatively straightforward, this project has been going really slowly, and its been 14 months since construction first started. My boss and the rest of the consultant made some noise during the last meeting a month back, but since then, nothing much has changed the situation.

If this continues to persist, the contractor will be in deep SH*T.

If a project doesn't come to completion according to the paperwork, a client can request to be reimbursed for lost revenue. It wouldn't be a small matter, I'm sure.

One of the issues made during the site meeting was that house keeping matters (eg. cleanliness of the site, and safety measures to prevent work accidents) weren't adhered to. My boss told me that in Singapore, one could be fined for not following rules at a construction site!

Most of the buildings were due to be built up to the 2nd floor according to the earlier agreement, but you can see that not much has been done here.

Classrooms look reaaally empty without any furniture and students in them.

Due to incessant rain, parts of the site has been flooded with pools of stagnant water, which could lead to breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests which carry various diseases.

After the site visit, a meeting was held in the site office to raise up the issues that were discussed earlier. Some light refreshments were provided.

During lunchtime, the consultants were brought to a nearby Malay restaurant.

Rendang (beef curry). The gravy was flavourful enough, but I reckon the beef wasn't cook sufficiently, as it was a bit tough to chew.

Curry chicken

Ikan masin (salted fish)

Curry vegetables with seafood.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

28 April 09

I made plans today to meet up with Robin after work today for a short evening photo session, and so we did. We went around the India Street Precinct from about 6-7pm.

There's a pretty large, pink mosque here that can be seen from the Padang Merdeka, because its located at a prominent spot on top of a hill.

And nearby is a dockyard. Too bad the place was closed up, otherwise, we would have had a ball of a time.

Electra House, a once popular shopping center is located right next to the open air market hawker center. The lookout tower on the right was once used to look out for fires all around Kuching (the timber shophouses are prone to catch fire).

The sky colours today aren't as intense, but Gunung Santubong can still be seen in a distance.

Another take of the boat pier, though this one isn't as successful as I hoped.

I wanted to do an evening shot of the Merdeka Palace Hotel, so we rushed back to Padang Merdeka.

I also tried a shot of the Kuching Museum, but the lighting was pretty crap, so it didn't work out. Such a pity :S

Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friendship Park Revisited

Another food update: I had some char kuay teow near my work place today. Its cooked by an aunty at her stall. She takes her time to prepare her food, but when it arrives, people are usually too hungry to care about it much anyway.

After work, instead of heading down to the Waterfront, I decided to stop by someplace nearer - Friendship Park.

There was a newspaper report a year back describing how all the fishes in the pond died because of apparent poisoning. Well thats long gone now. Fishes have now overpopulated the pond in full force.

Admiral Cheng Ho, who lead the first expedition from China to Malaysia many centuries ago, stands firm and tall as he watches over the park.

There was a dance session held for the folk who're interested (there was a huge crowd there too).

Alright, I'm pretty worn out. Laters!

Calling all Kuching Olympus Users !

Its been a while since I've got home to Kuching, but I have not met any Olympus SLR users yet, until yesterday.

It took some planning but yes, finally , I'm proud to say that our outing was quite successful. I contacted Robin and Methosphang yesterday, and we met up at the Open Air Market for lunch, before deciding where we would head off.

As Robin wanted to shoot something which was 'distinctly Kuching', the first place which I could think of was the Dewan Bandaraya Kuching Utara (Kuching North City Council Hall), which is located in Petra Jaya. We arrived there about 2pm and started shooting away.

As with all other important architectural icons in Kuching, the DBKU building is slowly decaying due to neglect and apathy. The famous Kuching Cat Museum is located within this building.

As the weather was quite bright and hot, the E-3's metering system purposely underexposed some shots, so I had to switch to Manual Mode to ensure I retained enough shadows and highlights.

After shooting to our heart's content at the DBKU, we stopped by Wisma Bapa Malaysia nearby, where all most of the government bureaus are located. As long as there are blue skies, the 7-14 will always make good work out of it.

This is the former Dewan Undangan Negeri building in Kuching. Petra Jaya is famous for its street races, so you can see the tire marks on the tarmac in front of the DUN building making a unique pattern on its own.

We headed back to the city for drinks , and so we stopped nearby the Cat Statue in Padungan.

The teh si peng special here is quite good, but its not that cheap at RM1.70 each.

As with all Olympus meeting sessions, if I do bring along the 35-100 lens, trying it is a must. Its a pity I use this lens quite rarely here in Kuching compared to Melbourne.

And here is Robin posing proudly with my 7-14, wishing that he was the one owning this lens :)

After sending Robin home, I had my own photowalk around the city while waiting for the sun to set. This is the Merdeka Palace Hotel, where I could be heading here in a few days to attend the Breeze Magazine Fashion Party. Hopefully I'll be able to meet a few more prominent Kuching bloggers and photography enthusiasts here, with Robin's help, of course.

I then took a sampan across the river to find out for myself how taking photographs there at night is like.

And boy, was I handsomely rewarded. You can see the Pending dockyards here to the left of this photo.

The clouds here form a ring that leads the eye right across the frame in conjunction with the expansive view of the 7-14 lens. Simply brilliant.

And as Robin has found out for himself, the 7-14 takes in as wide a field of view you can get.

Methosphang will still be here in Kuching, so hopefully, I'll continue to keep in touch with him and learn more about his macro photography interests.

I know there are some more Olympus users out here in Kuching. If you own an Olympus SLR, and you're keen to find out what a 7-14 f4 and 35-100 f2 lens feels like, you've got till July to ask me out!



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