Category Archives: Photography

The Bathroom Singer Goes Live and Other Stories

Last Saturday was BAMSA Night for the 2012/13 academic year. After sorting out the Chinese dancers in the last week of practice I volunteered to help out with Dikir Barat in which I became Tukang Karut. Yay for a first!

It was nerve-wrecking as singing traditional Malay songs aren’t my forte and I had to sing on upbeats. Miss the cue, mess the whole ensemble. I was still unsure which key to sing on and  during the tech rehearsal I couldn’t project my voice properly and was drowned out by the percussions. I did quite alright despite a 0.1 second facepalm onstage during the actual performance when I sang the wrong lyrics.

The following are some pictures taken during a full dress rehearsal using a borrowed Canon EOS 600D, kit lens. I don’t know if anybody took pictures during the actual performance, we’ll wait and see.

Indian dance led by Chareeyan.

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Chinese dance was choreographed by yours truly. Song was Wang Leehom’s Mei. I must have listened to the song hundreds of time and dancing/singing everywhere (bus stop, toilet, walking to lectures, library) while thinking of the steps. As usual, since proper practice rooms are scarce on campus, we were practicing at various building foyers after lecture hours. The ICIA exhibition space at 3WN, down at the Maths’ department at 4E, or the spacious lower ground floor of East Building.

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There was better audience appreciation this time compared to the previous fan dance/break dance mash up. I learnt that if you’re going to try a new dance combination, the dancers have to be very good to pull it off. For this dance I used basic steps and formation (we only had a month to get it done) although for some parts were a little tricky. Half of them had almost never danced before.

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I really appreciate that they turn up for practices diligently and the only male in the group really did his best to give a good performance. He was so stiff during the first few practices xD

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Lights, Camera, Action!

The following pictures were meant to accompany a post last year titled Ealing Studios. The pictures are as they are unless my friend, the director of the film-shooting happened to have processed them post-production while the memory card was with him. I only got round to getting the pictures earlier in February when we met up in London. Could’ve done it earlier, but then again, why do you think I’m the CEO of Penggoyang Kaki Profesional?

The following images are just previews. I took a total of over 400 shots and still thinking of a way to sort them out so the readers will get a coherent set of pictures instead of utter randomness.

I’ve been driven to sheer levels of exhaustion lately. Juggling lab reports, courseworks, and directing an amateur theater production is working me to about 80% of my full capacity, if I say so myself. The remaining 20% is reserved for body recuperation. I find myself falling ill every now and then when I don’t get enough sleep. Second year has probably been the most miserable yet the best part of my life to this second. I shall continue to LIVE. LIFE. TO THE FULLEST.

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Ealing Studios

“Quiet on set! Getting a take. . . camera rolling?”

“Rolling!”

“. . aaaaand ACTION!”

I love the summer holidays when I get to indulge in non-academic, non-engineering activities guilt-free. I had the opportunity to help out my budding film director friend with his short film shooting at Ealing Studios last weekend. The experience was exhilarating.

I saw how the make-up artist applied sweat, bruises and blood on the actors. I was impressed by the actor’s (who played the protagonist) ability to express his character during rehearsal (when the actor(s) act without the camera rolling) even without his acting partner. Ok. Maybe that is the standard for students from acting schools, but I was still amazed anyway. Later in the day we got a glimpse of Colin Firth as the shooting for Gambit happened in the studio right next to where we were.

Hollywood, Bollywood may sound and appear glamorous but the work that goes on on set requires all your attention and energy. The shooting for my friend’s short film began around 9am and I only left the studio after 6.30pm, after helping out with the cleaning up. I slept throughout the whole tube ride back to central London (where I crashed at a friend’s) and may had members of the public assuming I was a little tipsy. I was still half-asleep when exiting the tube station and temporarily lost the ability to walk straight. I recovered slightly after a restorative of salmon ramen and takoyaki for dinner.

While introducing myself to one of the crews on set, I told him I studied Chemical Engineering and I wanted to work in a chocolate factory. Being somebody who is very detached from the engineering world, he couldn’t see the relationship between the two, until I explained that chemical engineers are the ones responsible to oversee/organise/design the processes that happens to make your toothpaste, shaving cream, canned food, shower gel etc. He told me that, “Everyone wants to be a film director, a whatever, so-and-so, but this is the first time I’ve heard of somebody who wants to work and own a chocolate factory.” At that point in time I wanted to go HELL YEAHHHH!!!!! but I just smiled and laughed instead.

He himself started out with producing home-made films by getting himself a camera and having fun with his friends. Another guy I spoke to on set actually did a PhD in Physics before enrolling into a drama school in London. Now that’s monumental. I thought he was a model at first impression. One very important thing that all these people reminded me was, dare to follow your dreams. As a Malay proverb goes – kalau hendak seribu daya, kalau tak hendak seribu dalih.

Direct English translation – If you wanted something badly enough, you would put all your efforts in it, but if it was something you really do not want to do, you’ll come up with thousands of excuses for it.

BAMSA Night!

Part contributor to my blogging absence was due to relentless rehearsals and time taken to memorise lines for the play. Each year, Malaysian Societies in universities all over UK will organise a Malaysian Night at their respective universities. In the case of University of Bath, it’s called Bath Area Malaysia and Singaporean Association.

If there is such an award, I would have probably won the title of ‘Mak Cik of the Year’. I was given the role of the evil stepmother in the performed play, Bawang Putih Bawang Merah on the 18th March at the Art Lecture Theatre on campus. Looking back at the pictures taken during performance, I was rather afraid of looking at myself. It looked like I was radiating absolute meanness and this comment have been echoed by several other friends as well. Oh well, call it convincing acting.

I hijacked a few people’s camera for the following pictures. These were taken during rehearsals. Taken by yours truly 😉

Credits to Fau for her directions, May for the makeup, Fiona who keeps reminding me of practices, the choreographers, co-ordinators and everybody in the production – you guys were AWESOME!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the event, and everyone who attended! It was great to know the audience enjoyed the show. That’s the best satisfaction one can have doing performing arts. I won’t lie. The stress, the frustration, the anticipation. I enjoyed every single bit of it.

Best Shots of 2010

Another year has passed, and I must say, it had been a very good one. Year 2010 had been one of the most stressful, most fun, and most defining moment of my life to date and I say, Alhamdulillah, for being able to cherish nearly every single moment of it. To sum up the past year, I have compiled some of  my favourite photos I took in 2010.

1. Best Mugshot : My Name is Sieau.

2. Best Camwhore : 1920s Shanghai.

3. Best Group Photo : Raya 2010

4. Best Editorial : The Little Iban and the Mountain (original cover), Alia House page for KTJ Annual Magazine

5. Best Scenery/Location : Bath Skyline in the snow, Oxford – Hollywell Manor.

 

 

Happy New Year to All!

One Morning in Oxford

I woke up before sunrise, checked Facebook, did my prayers, too lazy to shower, left toothbrush at home, somehow got dressed, face washed and feeling rather famished. My friend was still curled up in the duvet, so I nibbled on some Hobnobs while waiting for him to wake up.

He never did.

Not until about four hours later.

In the meantime, he lent his camera to me while I went to explore the place where he lived. I didn’t go far.

I just popped down to the common room downstairs and look what I found.

HOGWARTS! For a moment, I actually thought  the place has house elves (I was still half-asleep and hungry at that time). I promised myself to be good, so I didn’t touch any of those. Instead, I took pictures of them.

The piano was half-broken, but I thought it had a very nice Baroque touch to the keys. The piano pieces I found were technically demanding. Music speak : Chopin, Beethoven, Hadyn, Rachmaninoff. I found some of these composers best works in the pile of music books. And I went on ecstasy on discovering a Beethoven flute and violin/viola sonata! These type of pieces are reasonably hard to find, and to buy them from high end music stores is equivalent to two weeks worth of grocery (I’m a scrooge, I know).

I returned to the room to find the bloody engineer still in a fluffy ball of duvet. Made him wake up (which took much coaxing) and while he went to continue his slumber in the shower (he’s still not back yet as I’m writing this) I did a little photography from his window.