The Lost Souls of Malacca

This was a totally new way of dealing with death to me.

Malacca is a small seaside town in southern Malaysia. It has many Chinese residents, a majority of whom are still quite poor. When the family members die, there is usually very little money to give them a grave in a graveyard, so there are a multitude of shrines and temples in which families erect these miniature tombstones, stacked deep in rows. There are thousands and thousands of them. A photo is attached to each one, and most waste away with time. A few solitary ones remain behind.

In other news, there was a recent interview by the Homebody Blogger that I have been meaning to post. It has the over-the-top title of “Master of HDR Photography, Trey Ratcliff”. Well I don’t know about all that (!), but here is a link to the interview for you.

Lost Souls of Malacca

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A Slice of Life in Malaysia (and thanks for the Facebook fan club members breaking 1,000)

I spent a few weekends in the Chinese area of Melaka, which is on the southern coast. After it gets dark outside and you walk down the streets, you can always see little glowing lights coming from inside homes that are crammed together in the streets. There is a general clatter of Chinese voices with the clanking and scraping of dinner being made and shared. One of them had the door slightly ajar with a good mood coming out (picked up by my Jacobson’s Organ), so I craned my neck around inside with a smile to see what was happening. I had my camera in plain sight, and it’s always novel for them to see a whitey in this area of town. I gave an international greeting of “howdy”, and then the international sign of “can I take a photo of your interesting living area”, and then I snapped a single RAW for conversion to HDR later.

There are all kinds of interesting things inside if you look close… like a massive amount of eggs for a small home and also the ever-present Milo, which all Malaysians love and have in ready supply.

I checked the Facebook fan club today, which I should do more, and saw that it had broken 1,000 fans! Thanks everyone – that is cool. I am not sure the best thing to do on there yet; I’d like to occasionally do fun things there, like I do on Twitter, for people that like to see real-time updates or behind-the-scenes activity. If you have any ideas, feel free to start up a discussion thread there on the fan site and I’ll be sure to check in to see what I can do to help out!

A Slice of Life in Malaysia (and thanks for the Facebook Fan club members breaking 1,000 strong!)

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The Bicycle Builders and I added Facebook Comments to the Blog

In reverse order of the titles, some of you might notice that I have added Facebook Comments below, so now you can leave comments with the old style or the new style. I left both systems in place since there are so many good previous comments, and they are not really convertible. The New Facebook comments are pretty cool because they re-use your Facebook info, and it extends that community and network of friends, since all these networks come together nowadays. It took a tiny bit of coding to set myself up as a Facebook Developer, but it wasn’t so tough (I knew that major in Computer Science would come in handy some day!).

There is a very nice community of people that come here to the site! You all are very nice and helpful… you give excellent comments, help one another out, give me advice, and drop all kinds of cool info bombs on the crowd. Thanks for that! I hope this Facebook comment thing can help more people to join the fun.

Anyway, to the photo for the day. This is not the usual, but it was such a cool slice of life, I could not pass it up! I was walking through the streets of Malacca in southern Malaysia, and building after building have all sorts of industry spilling out of them. Many of them are just deep garages where people have holed up to perfect one craft or another. This one was full of thousands of little bicycle parts. I stood out front for a while, watching all of them slowly convert the metallic entropy into bicycles…

The second photo below was taken in a similar fashion, although it was in the backstreets of Bangkok, Thailand.

The Bicycle Builders (and I added Facebook Comments to the blog) (by Stuck in Customs)

Home Sweet Home

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The door in the back alleys of southern Malaysia

Some towns seem to have taken the meme of painting everything in nice colors very seriously.  I wonder how these things get started.  I assume, like other things, a few well-connected neighbors in conspicuous places start painting their homes with interesting colors, and then it spreads on its own.   Anyway, however it starts, I think its cool and I wish stuff was colorful like this everywhere!

The door in the back alleys of southern Malaysia (by Stuck in Customs)

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This is an unexpected visitor

There I was, minding my own business in the part of the temple where I probably was not supposed to be. But sometimes when you are just wandering around, you can meet interesting people. It reminds me of the Douglas Adams book about Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. If you are lost, follow someone that looks like they know where they are going, and you will end up somewhere you probably needed to be anyway.

So here I was in the back halls of the temple and this guy popped onto the scene. He seemed friendly enough. There was not a lot of spoken words, but there was a lot of international wild gesticulation which appeared to indicate that he worked part time at the temple to help clean up. Since we were in a remote part of Malaysia, I don’t think he got to see many white people with devil-blue eyes, and he seemed to enjoy twisting his head this way and that while grunting at me.

After just a short while, we ran out of things to wildly flail our arms about about, and I asked him if I could take a photo. He happily agreed, and started twisting his head again, looking into the camera.

It was a nice experience all around, and a gentle reminder that the most interesting things seem to happen when you are somewhere that you are not supposed to be, talking to someone you probably have no business talking to in the first place.

This is an unexpected visitor

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