My Dog and My Family, One Day at a Park

My Dog and His Dog Tak Tak

I wonder if any of you remember precisely what you did during the New Year Day, or on that day, what has gone into your mind.  I didn’t.  As I processed my digital mountain worth of photo backlog, the timestamp of this particular photo collection tells me that on New Year Day, my family took our lovely dog to the park.  Ma joined late, it was a cold day, and there were moments when our beautiful white dog drew attention from the fellow park visitors, unintended attention from the dogs bigger than him, smaller than him.  Pa doesn’t like our dog to get bullied by other dogs, I get it.  To the extend of over-protectively keeping our dog inside the house most of the time, I don’t get it.  But then again, I don’t keep a pet, have no clue on what it’s like, and in the rare moment, during our stay in Hong Kong for my sister’s wedding, this is a photo album of my dog and my family, one day at a park.

I understand not everyone likes to go through others’ family photo albums.  And so, I have extracted 12 photos to share at the bottom of this blog entry.  For our family and friends and readers who are more or less in touch with my family life, I have added a new high resolution photo album (59 photos) to my online collection for sharing.  Inside, you will get to see a lot of pictures of our dog, my parents, my sister Lora and her husband Benny, and Cynthia and I.  I have included mostly spontaneous shots, may not necessary be the best shot for my subjects.  Nevertheless, I know how they look at their best, at their not-so-best.  I treasure those moments that I tend to forget more.

My dog’s name is Tak Tak.  The direct Chinese translation of his name would sound strange.  So I would say, he is named after the can-do attitude.  Tak Tak is an amazing dog.  So clever in so many ways, he is a gift from Heaven for my parents who are living thousands of miles away from my sister and I in Singapore.  When he was still a puppy, before my sister’s emigration, Tak Tak had an accident, at my home in Hong Kong, and broke a leg.  The operation would cost more than getting a new dog.  It was a hard decision to make because we have a humble family income, Pa has long retired.  My family has decided to go through the pain and the expense of an operation.  Deep inside, although I don’t know Tak Tak that well, I am sure he knows that he is loved by those around him.  And I can understand the tears in his eyes whenever my parents leave home for an overseas holiday.

Photos of Taman Safari Taken During Our Trip to Bandung, Indonesia

An Owl at Taman Safari, Indonesia

I agree with Haruki Murakami: The older we get, the busier we become.  Maybe as I acquire wisdom and experience, more opportunities open up; maybe time is taking a chip off my efficiency, slowly but surely.  It is a good and a bad problem at the same time.  I enjoy writing pieces that are more personal.  But my life is not that exciting on a day-to-day basis.  And some pieces take time for a common theme to evolve.  So, in between, I fill my writing diary with my thoughts on the things that I consume, like music, books, movies, and etc; things that I am passionate in.  Reviews of these sorts usually generate a decent amount of web traffic but lack the readers’ interaction in the form of comments.  Google thinks that both are important measures for relevancy.  To me, I just wish to keep practicing my writing skill regardless of the topics of my choice, as often as I can.  Either outcome is a nice-to-have but certainly not something to-die-for.

I still have tons of photos sitting inside my computer waiting to be selected and processed.  To be honest, it doesn’t take long to compile and publish one photo album.  It is just tedious and I always seem to have something better to do.  I love Bandung and so does Cynthia (her birth town).  And because of the recent infrastructure upgrades – a new highway connecting with the capital as well as the availability of more direct flights into the city – Bandung has suddenly become an attractive tourist spot.  If you do visit Bandung one day, you should not miss the Taman Safari as one of your daily excursions.  Into the valley of the tea plantations, you literally drive into the Safari Park and are up close and personal with the animals.  If someone was crazy enough to get off the car and stroke the roaming tigers and lions, no one would care.

OK.  Someone may care.  Inside the confined area of the most ferocious animals on earth (beside us, humans, of course), there are guards watching over the visitors and the animals making sure that both us and them behave.  There was a big sign asking us not to wind down the window.  As I opened a tiny gap sticking my long camera lens out of the passenger seat window, I felt the guards intensively staring at me from their jeep.  And as these ferocious animals moved towards our car, everyone inside the car would scream and I would quickly retreat and wind up the window.  Everyone would laugh and the cycle continued.

Follow the link below if you wish to view a complete set of photos (50 in total) including my offbeat comments for each photo.  I don’t run the Animal Planet cable channel here so do excuse me if I can’t get the names of the animals correct.  Hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I risk my life making it.

CLICK HERE to view the complete photo album with captions (50 photos in high resolution)

Below is a sampler of my Taman Safari photo album (10 in total).

PS. Photos taken on December 13, 2008.

Related Tag: Bandung December 2008 Trip

My Sister’s Wedding in Singapore – Thank You For Your Warm Wishes

We wrapped up the night with a group photo

It is amazing how pressure can propel us to do the seemingly impossible.  I woke up this morning barely 8 hours after I shot the last photo of the evening and my parents were already pacing around my living room hinting or rather strongly hinting that they wished to take all the photos I have shot for my sister’s wedding as they are.  As they are?!  It is hard to explain to them why they can do that for point-and-shoot photos and not for the 500 pictures I took with my dSLR camera.  I find it hard to believe that too.  It has got to be my skill, or the lack of it.

And because it breaks my heart to see my parents fly back to Hong Kong disappointed, not only have I done the necessary photo shortlisting and touch up in record time, but also have them published online with a less than 24 hours turnaround time.  I am happy with the results.  Some of the shots I really like.  I suppose Benny and Lora may have passed this blog entry to you for viewing.  Maybe you were there, maybe you couldn’t make it.  As a proud brother of Lora and a good old friend of Benny, I thank you for your warm wishes to the wedding couple.  I am pretty sure in time to come Benny and Lora will share the professionally done up photos of the event with you.  Meanwhile, here are some of the candid shots I have taken to complement the event, arranged chronologically in three albums.

PS. Stay tuned for a little write-up on how the day went.  Thank you for viewing the pictures and as always, feedback is welcome.

For My Parents With Love In The Beautiful Landscape of The Singapore Botanic Gardens

My Parents at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

My 74 years old dad said the funniest thing.  He told me that these days when he went fishing, along the harbor of Hong Kong, young photographers often take him as their photo subject.  And in his tone of reminisce he said, “When I was a young photographer I was doing the same.  Now that I am an old man, it’s my turn [to be photographed by the strangers]”.  We all laughed.  But on what?  We don’t know.  I don’t know.  I don’t want my dad to be old.  I want everything to stay the same.

Reality is, we all get older as time goes by.  Decades ago I was my dad’s photography subject.  Who doesn’t like to see little babies, little kids, so full of innocence, so full of joy on pictures, on prints?  Decades later my parents have become my photography subject.  Kids and old folks – the two most common picks for the photographers on human portraits.  It is the innocence and the wisdom; it is the sign of creation and the mark of time; it is a blank story book filled with possibilities and a memoir that inspires.

Why the Singapore Botanic Gardens?  It’s rare that both my parents are in town, thanks to my sister’s wedding.  It is the green and the fresh air, the flowers and the butterflies.  My family loves to visit parks.  Back when I was in Hong Kong.  A tradition that I still carry with me today.  Some of the happiest moments of my life happen in the parks.

That’s why.

For the viewing of a personal photo collection dedicated to my parents, please click here.

P.S. An entry written with my Nokia N96 the sms style hours before my sister’s wedding dinner at a cafe at China Square Central while waiting for Cynthia’s make up session at Raffle City to be done, synchronised with Nokia free OVI service using the free Wireless@SG wi-fi network.

Photos of Bandung North – De’Ranch, Maribaya, and Sapulidi (A Ranch, Waterfalls, and A Restaurant)

Cynthia and her mother underneath a tree at De'Ranch, Bandung North, Indonesia

As you may or may not know, the northern part of Bandung, Indonesia, is beautiful.  Approximately an hour’s drive away from Bandung – the Capital of West Java – it is a place of foliage and waterfalls, ranches for the animals, and restaurants against the backdrop of natural serenity.

I am not going to write too much here and let the photos and the lighthearted captions do the talking.

  • Click here to view the photo album with captions in high resolution

I had a lot of fun playing around with the photo processing and the Nik Software Color Efex Pro 3.0.  This Nikon software is developed with the professional photographers in mind and I love it.  There are quite a few photos that Cynthia and I both like a lot.  We hope you enjoy our album too and you may wish to visit Bandung North the next time you plan your holiday.

So, tell us, which are your favorite ones, if any?

PS. Photos taken on December 14, 2008.

Related Tag: Bandung December 2008 Trip