Sunday lunch party

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On 24 Sunday February , Victor Chin invited about 70 friends to a lunch party at the KLPac, where his photo exhibition is still on till 29 this month. This special occasion was for some of Victor’s friends and some of Victor’s friends’ buddies to socialise, meet and talk with each other, some for the first time, others meeting again after many years.

The lunch was co-hosted by two old chums, Dato’ Faridah Marican and Victor Chin, who both wanted to share the cost for the party. Marge Chew made some delicious chocolate muffins and another old mate Heah Hock Heng and his friends did the aromatic ‘nasi kunit’, chicken curry and ice cream. All the food, drinks and goodies were assembled into paper bags on that morning by Numpueng, May, Lucian, Chong Ang, Ai Mee, Maureen, Felix, Dani and a team of friends. Renita was the guest MC and Ah Seng was the guest photographer.

Some visitors were taken on a tour of the KLPac by Ian Chow, others went to look at the Koi fish and Japanese gardens. Wairah Marzuki brought her companions and set up the painting and drawing group. Nala conducted a fun movement session with 20 different disabled bodies. Lucy Lim and Ean Lee brought their pals from the deaf club and Dr Shamsul came with his family and a few fellow paralympic athletes. Chee Keong invited his close blogging friend Peter Tan (read more) and they both come with their family members.

The music through the afternoon was provided by the Harmonica music group from the Malaysian Association of the Blind led by Godfrey Ooi.

There was a lot of music, food and fun for both the abled and the disabled, the young and the old and hopefully everyone had a good time.

Putting disabilities into focus



Lucien de Guise, a columnist for the New Straits Times (NST) newspaper, wrote on 21Thursday (read more), an opinion piece about Victor Chin’s photographic exhibition currently at KLPac until 29 February.

This collection of photographs has attracted a few commentaries including: Andrew Sia from the StarMag (read more), Anandhi Gopinath from The Edge (read more), Jade Chan from the Star Metro (read more) and Loke Poh Lin from the NST Streets (read more).

These several editorial writings with the display of the photographs of the disabled persons are putting disabilities and art into focus. The continuing drive by Victor to tour his pictures and to invite the mass media’s support is an effort to communicate and promote a public understanding between the different communities, from the mainstream and those often vulnerable groups, like the disabled with the arts. But how many will take notice and visit the show at the KLPac, is hard to tell, especially at a time like now, when the whole nation is caught up with our country’s political, social and economic issues, in the coming 12th general election.

Lucien de Guise mentioned some photographers who were working at the time of the world’s great political, social and economic depression in the 1930s. A few American photographers like Dorothea Lange and Walker Evens were commissioned by the US authorities to document the poverty of farmers and the other communities at that period. Lange’s iconic image Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936, evoked at that time and even to day, the plight of the poor and projected an image of the need to provide basic needs. Evens photographed the black neighborhoods and his Negro Barber Shop, Interior, Atlanta, 1936, was and is still influential politically as well as artistically till today. These iconic images have had some influence on many photographers including our photographers like Eric Peris and Ismail Hashim and now Victor Chin.

It is fair to say that almost every photographer, from any parts of the world, at one time or the other, are inspired by their early photographic great grandparents like Paul Strand, Blind Woman, New York,1916, and many other nameless photographers.

Photo: Lee Sheng Chow, Javelin thrower, 2006, Mohd Izwan Foniran, High jumper, 2006.





‘Fair is foul and foul is fair…’

Fraidden Dewan, swimmer,2006

Andrew Sia, a senior writer from the Star newspaper, wrote about Victor Chin’s photographic exhibition, in the Statmag, Sunday 17 February (read more). He highlighted that in Victor’s show, ‘Traditional notions of beauty and ugliness are challenged and redefined in an unusual exhibition that invites viewers to look at things from different perspectives’.

In the review Victor said that in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the witches cry: ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair…’ and that tragic play urges us to look at the human condition with all its varieties and varied forms when confronting difficult questions such as: what is beauty and ugliness, right and wrong, justice and injustice.

To the many disabled persons, either born with anomalies or was maimed through accidents etc. the first question in their mind must be ‘How can this happen to me, this is not fair, this is foul’. There are really no good or a bad, right or wrong, answers to this acute inquiry. Each individual has to find their own perceptive solutions to this question for themselves. Many of them do not find agreeable answers but there are also many who find their way out through sports and other recreations and creative endeavors.

From Victor’s point of view, the question of what is beauty or ugliness is not the issue. What is at issue is our generosity of spirit. How often do we find ourselves over crediting beauty of one type or group and under crediting others which seemed alien to us? To him beauty or ugliness is more plentiful then we can imagine and what is more useful is a sense of big-heartedness.

In his eyes what is asymmetrical and out of proportions can be beautiful and eloquent in a photograph or a painting. This is not done by hiding the unpleasant and unsightly parts but instead seeing it as it is, straight in the face of disability- there is beauty in ugliness.

A voice and a visual profile




Dr Shamsul Azhar Ahah works as a teaching doctor in epidemiology at University Kebangsaan Malaysia in the weekdays and is a wheelchair table tennis player in the weekends (when he is not traveling abroad) . He is also an active member of the Malaysian Paralympic Council.

Shamsul came to view the photographs In the Face of Disability at the KLPac and he is also one of the athletes portrayed in the exhibition by Victor Chin. Shamsul has been following Victor Chin’s photographic work on the paralympic sports over the last few years and together they have been trying to promote a wider exposure of the activities of this group of athletes.

‘This second collection of photographs by Victor Chin continue to raise the voice and the visual profile of this small group of athletes which is somewhat neglected by mainstream concerns. Seeing our pictures in an exhibition like this, taken in an artistic and engaging way, makes me proud and more determined. I am going to tell my other sports friends to come to see the show and of course I will bring my family too. My son will be proud of his dad when he comes here and then to spot my photo hanging on the wall among his father’s friends.’

In the Face of Disability will be on show till 27 February at KLPac. This exhibition is hosted by Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre and supported by Applied Imaging.


Rat Race

 the rat race

The Chinese lunar year of the rat has just started and here is wishing all my readers, who are in the race, a good run in the coming months. And to the rest, hopefully you don’t smell a rat along the way and become ratty (like me).

‘A rat race is a term used for an endless, self-defeating or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape whilst running around a maze or in a wheel. In an analogy to the modern city, many rats in a single maze run around making a lot of noise bumping into each other, but ultimately achieve nothing (meaningful) either collectively or individually.

The rat race is a term often used to describe work, particularly excessive work; in general terms, if one works too much, one is in the rat race. This terminology contains implications that many people see work as a seemingly endless pursuit with little reward or purpose. Not all workers feel like this. It is the perceived Conventional Wisdom, for example, that those who work for themselves are generally happier at work.

The increased image of work as a “rat race” in modern times has led many to question their own attitudes to work and seek a better alternative; a more harmonious Work-life balance. Many believe that long work hours, unpaid overtime, stressful jobs, time spent commuting, less time for traditional family life, has led to a generally unhappier workforce/population unable to enjoy the benefits of increased economic prosperity and a higher standard of living.’

Quoted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia