Meeting after ten years



Awang Goneng/Wan Hulaimi, author of recently launched Growing up in Trengganu , is one of Victor Chin’s few old friends. They have lost touch with each other for more then ten years. How this could have happen to their friendship puzzled both of them. However, last week they finally met when Hulaimi was in town to launch his book.

Victor invited Hulaimi to visit to his photographic exhibition In the Face of Disability currently at the KLPac until 29 February. Hulaimi later wrote in Victor’s visitor’s book, ‘Victor, I’m v. happy to see you progress from one neglected aspect of KL to its ‘neglected’ people, and you’ve taken in your embrace more then just KL people. Remember how we once tried to save ‘Court Hill’? Well done.’

Their meeting brings back a lot of fond memories of their early friendship and ‘activist undertakings’ in Kuala Lumpur (KL) in the late 1970s. One of their projects was a public campaign to stop the demolition of the first court building in the city, located in Court Hill, in the heart of KL, where the present Malayan Banking Headquarters is now standing. Obviously, and not surprisingly, their early efforts came to nothing.

Later, Hulaimi and his wife went off to London to work as correspondent for the local newspapers. In the 1980s and 1990s, Victor continued by using his paintings of old shophouses facades to crusade for a more humane conservation policy for old buildings in towns and cities. His drive at that time also did not add up to much against the continuing demolition of important inherited Malaysian historical architectural legacies, in the name of development.

There is a word in Growing up in Trengganu (page 233), kkenang’, that best describes the mood of their recent meeting in KL. ‘Kkenang‘ in Trengganuspeak can mean melancholy, lost, approval and includes remembering with rejoicing or reproach. But in this case it is not the latter. And they have both moved on in their own ways.

One of the many facets of the art of writing or photographing, is how sometimes the writer’s books or the artist’s visual statements; the beauty of their thoughts and constructions, might perhaps press the readers or viewers towards a greater concern for justice – ethical equality.

One of the many insights to the human conditions that Hulaimi writes about is ‘what we have lost in our deliberate acts of greed’ and Victor too shows what we have forgotten in our race to monopolies the few basic supply needs of human beings.

To ardent admirers of Awang Goneng this blog is not about Victor Chin claiming to have the same level of artistic talent or gift as the author. Far from it. It’s just about friendship.




New uses of photography




Paul Choo, a well known photographer/designer/blogger, was among the many hundreds of visitors to KLPac Open day on the 27 January and he walked round to the photography exhibition In the Face of Disability by Victor Chin.

What was written on his face as he gazed at the photos, which he had seen before displayed at Kimi Gallery, were many questions about photographers and their artworks. Pual perhaps may be thinking that this collection of images go beyond the normal range of pictures taken by today’s photographers that he had seen.

To him Victor’s portraits of the disabled group is making him rethink the uses of photography and how photographers may need to find new stories to tell or find new angles to present an old story – to show what is commonly hidden or over looked.

Hopefully, some of the visitors who came to this visual event may have seen an aspect of beauty in the human condition which they thought there was none.

Victor Chin’s exhibition In the Face of Disability is now extended to the 29 Febuary 2008 at KLPac by popular demand.




In the Face of Disability was first shown on 14 November 2007 (for one day only) during the Open Heart and Mind Day at the DiGi Headquarters Shah Alam, Selangor. Chee Keong and his mother were among some of the visitors to the display. Chee Keong commented that the photographs of the paralympic athletes on show is encouraging, both for him and to many other disabled people in the community.

Chee Keong wished he could do a bit of sport for exercise to keep physically fit but in his condition it is not so easy, but he is encouraged. He is the web master behind MIND a website for the disabled community in Malaysia. Thought pretty independent on his own his mother and family members help him out in many ways.

DiGi is one of the few multi-national telecommunication companies with a social responsibility program employing wheelchair persons in their more then a 3000 workforce. This is a positive sign for many wheelers to get decent employment in an international working environment in Malaysia or elsewhere.

Victor Chin’s collection of photographs is currently on show at KLPac till 27 Jan. Come meet Victor Chin on 27 Jan at KLpac Open Day when he will be giving a gallery walk through of his exhibition.

Up Lifting

Brendon and his elder brother Jordan at exhibition and having tea

In the Face of Disability
was an up lifting photo exhibition for Jordan and Brendon and they were happy to have gone to see the collection. That experience had stimulated them to seeing the disabled people they come across with new understanding – with care and empathy.

This was the second time Victor Chin showed his photographs at Kimi Gallery Café, in Tamam Tun Dr Ismail. It was displayed there from 17 November to 31 December 2007. Victor’s first collection of photos of the disabled was shown here in 2005. The two occasions were hosted by Kimi Gallery Café and supported by Applied Imaging.

Great care has gone into the planning and execution of these images. Pictorial composition and appropriate lighting help to evoke the drama and atmosphere of each captured moment. The black-and-white digital techniques of dodging and burning are later employed to filter out any distracting background/peripheral elements so that the portraits are allowed to ‘speak’ for themselves.

Victor’s exhibition was reported by the local newspaper, to read the write up, click  The Star.



 KLPac foyer
Exhibition at foyer of Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac)

Victor Chin with his photographs at KLPac

In the Face of Disability is now on exhibition until the 27 January 2008 at the KLPac. It is the third location for this collection of touring photographs. Entrance is free and is open daily from 10 to 10. KLPac is in Jalan Strachan, off Jalan Ipoh.

On the Sunday 27 KLPac is having an open day and there will be a host of art and performing art activities for all the visitors. It is free and open to the public 10 to 5 pm. Victor Chin will guide visitors through his exhibition on that day at 11.30 am.

These 30 black-and-white photographs tell vivid stories of the strong will and determination of people with disability. Many visitors have found these portraits inspirational.

Focusing on Malaysian athletes caught in action or at rest, the pictures capture moments, gestures and facial expressions that evoke the vitality and zest of people revelling in a variety of sporting events.