Malaysia & Singapore

Somewhere, somehow the stars aligned and my girlfriend Kayla and I were offered a photo job in Malaysia. It would give us the privilege of photographing a close friend of ours’s wedding over 3 long but exciting days. It was a Chinese style wedding which immersed us in the culture and family values that they cherish in their heritage. Witnessing a traditional Chinese tea ceremony as well as recognising the importance of the elders of the family throughout the ceremony. Overall it was an extraordinary experience and I'm so glad I was given the opportunity to photograph it. 

 The Wedding Of Kwee & Janet

The Wedding Of Kwee & Janet

The catch is that we had planned to travel through Malaysia for a week, there were still 4 more days to fill, so we wanted to make them count. 

Initially the wedding was exhausting and I found it quite a challenge to incorporate both work and a holiday, though once the stress of the wedding was out of the way it was a pleasure to relax and soak in the atmosphere of our destination. 

 Above the City

Above the City

Kuala Lumpur

The place that it the perfect envision of an urban jungle. This hot, multi layered city is a home to millions and was a very confronting change to what we knew. I must admit though waking up in a completely new place, seeing your surroundings for the first time under the light of day is something really special. What made it even more fascinating was seeing the Petrous Twin Towers for the first time. This mega structure sits in the heart of the city and can be seen from nearly all directions. It inspired us to go out and explore the city, leading us like ants to honey to the base of these colossal towers.

From a photographic perspective it was a tough area to shoot. The sheer humidity of it all made the cameras fog up and carrying gear almost unbearable. We also had to shoot differently from how we photograph in Australia for example, you aren’t looking for natural beauty because there isn’t any nature around. I also know I like to shoot very lively images but when you are surrounded by concrete it is very difficult to bring that to life. Struggling for inspiration on the ground we made our way to a collection of viewing platforms up the towers. From there we were seeing a hustling and bustling city from a completely different angle, which opened up a number of opportunities to tell the story that is the reality of living in such a congested city on a monumental scale.

 Central Bank

Central Bank

With time of the essence many of our other images came from street snaps as we moved to and from attractions which is always very relaxing in a more traditional photographic sense. Though I wanted to leave you with some parting tips when it comes to visiting Kuala Lumpur;

Firstly that it is far safer and more practical to use the train and commuter networks above and below the city, they also provide great air-conditioning and can cut distant times in half. Furthermore street food is safe and cheap so try not to get sucked into the commercial food joints… though if you do find yourself in one of the many hundreds of shopping centres the higher up the floors you go, the shops and food get cheaper which makes the climb up several escalators worth the investment.

       Top Left: Tropical Monsoon Above: KL nightlife 11pm Left: Aquarium exploration

 

 

Top Left: Tropical Monsoon
Above: KL nightlife 11pm
Left: Aquarium exploration

Singapore

There are a number of ways to get down to Singapore by either plane, train, bus or automobile as it seems many Malaysians cross the border regularly either for shopping or work. There is definitely a big difference between the two cities and from a western perspective you will definitely feel a lot more comfortable in Singapore. From the moment you enter this ideal metropolis you begin to realise how modern, clean, green and controlled it is. It’s a vast transition and shows why this is such a tourist hot spot.

Again photographically Singapore delivered less haze, brilliant landmarks, epic sunsets and finally nice, cooler weather. Places like Marina Bay and The Fountain Of Wealth are stunningly beautiful incorporating light shows attracting thousands of tourists. Even if that is to overwhelming there are always wonderful views of the skyline to be seen.

 Fountain Of Wealth

Fountain Of Wealth

Exploring the city was significantly more expensive however with the countries international reputation getting past with student prices at a number of attractions made everything a lot kinder on the wallet. One thing I don’t recommend is looking at trying a Singapore Sling, an iconic drink from the raffles will set you back about $26… aka a budget killer!! Plus I must mention that here the train line is so efficient and can get you to nearly every corner of the city, it made getting around and absolute breeze.

 

Thoughts On Where To Go

Despite all the pros and cons I have mentioned above, both countries have left a huge impact on me. For both I still feel I have hardly touched the surface of each, though I feel I would go back to each for completely different reasons.

The big difference between both cities is significantly that Kuala Lumpur has a real story to tell. Its a more established city, yes it may be gritty and complex however that gives it a lot more character which I would love to delve deeper into and create a more longer term project with the city of Kuala Lumpur. 

 Marina Bay

Marina Bay

Singapore is a beautiful destination on the surface and can be a great place to photograph the major global tourist attractions it has to offer. It has a pictures skyline though nonetheless the real character of the city is a lot harder to find after such a modernised city. Singapore is a far more comfortable place to be producing some great results in memories and pictures. Though if you want to truly challenge yourself and delve deeper into the daily lives of a mind-blowing city Kuala Lumpur has a lot to offer.