Tuesday, March 06, 2007

11th Flickr Meetup - Old Town Kopitiam and Petaling Street Shootout


Hanny high on sugar and laughing non stop as we photographed her along a back alleyway near Petaling Street.

The 11 Flickr was to take place as usual on the fourth week of the month and this was to be the week after Chinese New Year. My first plan was actually to come back on Sunday since the office was closed for the CNY week but two things made me change my mind, one was driving back on a Sunday and going to work the next day would be a killer and secondly there was the Flickr meetup. There was just no way I'd miss that. So I found myself coming back early, anticipated meeting the group again and bam I was driving around Petaling Street near noon hunting for a parking space even as the sky threatened to pour.


Our street photography session went about with great success helped in a lot of way by the group members who would lend a hand by posing on the streets.

From suggestions from fellow members, it was decided that our meetup would be for a street photography session especially since Magnus said that Central Market had a makeover and was now stunning though he admitted he missed the old CM where he spent so much time hanging out in his past. We were to meet at Old Town Kopitiam and later a walkabout in Petaling Street.


A street bum was about doing his 'thing' which was to say randomly spouting sentences such as 'Welcome to Malaysia' or 'Gonx Xi Fa Cai' while collecting a bit of cash from people parking nearby or else was slipped some cash by some sympathetic soul.

Petaling Street hass really changed quite a bit since I was last here. I still remembered the time when the blue awning walkway was not there and the corny arches that just screamed 'Look its another Chinatown!' were not so obviously deliniating the area. Yet walking the backlanes and going through the old shophouses showed that mostly the charm of the place was still there even as its apperance had changed somewhat. It did pain me to see some of the architecture gone such as the shophouse frames near the road towards the stadium were now gone and a carpark taking its place. There were a few places I never noticed especially near the area of the sikh gudwara police station and how much places like S&M Mall had changed due to a redesign, not only of its murals but inside as well (last I was there the lower ground was a haven for cheap medias like animes and videos).


Fariz @ abentam was our star that day, going into such antics that even Hanny was surprised he had that naughty and oh so devilish side to him which endeared everyone instantly, an we all though he was such the good guy hehe.

I was circling Central Market, which as usual was busy with people since it was the weekend. The front was crowded with various stalls selling everything from goreng pisang to artists peddling their work, to street musicians singing aloud with mixed effects to plant sales. Walking about Central Market the place looks great, it certainly had a facelift, was well lighted and there were more shops and places to eat yet it was familiar at the same time since many of the elements that were previously there was still present. I came early as usual and peeked into the Kopitiam but saw that no one was around so I decided to explore the place a bit. Near to the appointed time I once again passed through the Kopitiam and this time was rewarded by noticing Syiqin and Shafina already tucking into their grub.


The beggar aka Fariz doing his thing, we had many stares from passersby who thought we were either on a shoot and even a tourist asked us if the man was a famous star.

It took a while but slowly everyone arrived and we shifted to a corner of the kopitiam to accomodate the lot. The whole bunch was nutty as usual, Kenmin was up to his antics as usual poking fun at Syiqin and Visithra. Magnus came with a friend, Fariz was there, Hanny, and quite a number of others. The usual antics crept up everyone was talking about their cameras, sharing tips and shooting techniques. It became more interesting once everyone was sated with the great food served there and then their trigger fingers became itchy to shoot.


Fariz striking a pose using the backdrop of a shoplot near the Sri Mariaman temple.

Kenmin got out his little straw hat and somehow everyone began striking a pose with it using the nice backdrop of a sepia tone scene of olden Ipoh. As the hat passed round and everyone took a shot in, the biggest surprise must have been Fariz who started striking a pose and took out a cigarette and lighter. With these he transformed himself into this macho image that begs to be shot and everyone obliged with him as a willing model. Hanny soon got whiff of it and took in some action as well in her Mamasan role, wicked. Johan showed up a bit late and brought along his daughter whom was incredibly adorable to Hanny's delight.


A flower garland seller peddling his wares to devotees near the Sri Mariaman Temple.

We had lots of laughs, nice food and planty of shooting within the kopitiam and the group shot we had outside the shop showed us all in high spirits. Problem was it was raining outside and we were suppose to have a street shooting session around Petaling Street (reason why Hakim was late due to the downpour). We had a leisure walk about the newly refurbished Central Market to wait out the rain. Luckily for us we got our break and the sun came out.


Visithra who often claims she was shy yet being a sport by posing near to some cherry blossoms we saw outside Central Market.

Johan and Kenmin were shooting all out this day, Johan with his fisheye lens and Kenmin going for a chest shot all the way to find more creative angles. It sure is sticking out when you have a bunch of photographers spotting their gear and moving in a bunch, we had tons of stares from the curious to those that think we were a mad bunch, can't blame them as some of us were going all out with photo taking, Johan chased a peddling vendor, stopping in the middle of the busy street to get a shot and much more. We even had some impromptu model shoot along the way as Hanny, Fariz and a few others posed about the place. It was a bit amusing being asked by a tourist if the posing Fariz was a famous celebrity to have so much attention as he sat on the five foot alleyway.


Fariz in his taikor period. Kenmin provided the strawhat, he took out a cigarette and against the old town kopitiam backdrop, it was perfect and infectious as everyone started to pose with it.

Too bad that it was already quite late and the temples were all closed, we managed to get several shots outside the clan temples and the Sri Mahamariaman before moving on. The day threatened with even more rain and it was a bit of a worry but thankfully it never got to that. We were just sort of walking about and snapping at the sights, posing at a few strategic spots such as the mural near the police station. Met this Indian street bum that was going all about greeting the odd passerbys and accepting fees as a jaga kereta. Magnus managed to get him a bit friendly and he posed a bit for us. It was funny when Hanny approached him to offer a bit of cash as appreciation and he almost ran off thinking she was there to arrest him or something to that effect. After seeing that Hanny was no harm he kept on profusely proclaiming to her 'Welcome to Malaysia' and 'Gong Xi Fa Chai'.


Hanny soon went about posing with the same paraphenillias and reverted into her mamasan image with condition to us that we take her without revealing her face.

Crossing through Petaling Street was quite hard as the evening stalls were setting up and the lanes were by now only several meters with people all squeezing between the stalls and their merchandise. We all stopped at the famous mata kuching stall to have some refreshment before moving on. It was getting quite late and we soon ended up at Starbucks for our final stop. At this point most everyone was pooped out and sat down. We bid goodbye to some who had to make their way to some other purpose.


Fariz in another one of his taikor pose.

In the end some of us were supposed to head for the Eye and I really wanted to make it this time but I was already dead tired and decided to forgo it even though it was the last night that they were having the fireworks display there. So that was another successful meetup and we all had fun. The next one would mark a year of Flickr Meet and everyone was jazzed up talking about how to make it really memorable. So till next time, hope more people would join in the fun and hope to see all these great people again.


Fariz the taikor looking cool.


Visithra's turn with the straw hat looks very country and western.


Me and Kenmin were having a lively chat laced with innuendos about these two dust blowers and Shafina was there smiling all the time as if innocently and Hanny just burst out laughing. You can never go round comparing these two 'toys'.


The required food shot, I loved the nostalgic feel of the porcelain coffee cup served at the Old Town Kopitiam and the coffee was great with thumbs up by our members for the food there as well especially for the nasi lemak.


Best of pal pose by several of our lovely members.


Syiqin is one dedicated member turning up for every single meet even as this great girl had to travel all the way from Penang each time.

No comments: