I am a Malaysia-based lawyer trained in Christchurch.
Stirred by the solitude, boredom and the astounding natural beauty of New Zealand in the eighties I took up photography as a hobby. Taking pictures soon became a passion especially when combined with the great Kiwi pastime of tramping – walking and hiking the forest trails, alpine lakes and mountain passes amidst the celestial landscapes of the South Island visually documenting my experience and feelings with youthful curiosity and a second-hand East German camera.
When I returned eventually to Malaysia in 1991 after a decade abroad I witnessed up-close Asia’s surprising ascendancy as well as its spectacular and sad shortcomings. Changes came to be measured in months and not years anymore. From Beijing to Yangon (changed from Peking and Rangoon respectively) buildings and national habits vanish often with little trace when you return to a place after just 2 or 3 years of absence. Not since the industrial revolution has so much change affect so vast a region and so many of its people in so short a period.
As Asia juggernauts its weight, the rest of the world too has joined in the race to erase with the return to religion, racism and other fundamentalist ideologies as a reaction and backlash.
The saying by a famous someone that ” the past is a different country” is now painfully plain and true every country you go.
Like most avid photographers I too love to capture buildings, landscapes and lately pictures of what I had for lunch. But in these urgent times these nice subjects can perhaps wait. I want to concentrate on taking pictures of people first and like what Picasso said late in his art career there is so much I want to paint and I have so little time.
If you like to share your photographs or experience, please feel free to post a comment or write to me at email@example.com
Kerk Boon Leng