Thursday, January 28, 2010

Federal Territory Mosque

The Federal Territory Mosque or Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan is a major mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is located near MATRADE complex and the Federal Government Complex off Jalan Duta.
The Kuala Lumpur Mosque was constructed between 1998 and 2000. It is situated on a five hectare site near the Government Office Complex along Jalan Duta. The Wilayah Persekutuan (Federal Territory) Mosque was opened to the public on October 25, 2000 and was officiated by the 12th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Almarhum Syed Putra Jamalulail. It is the 44th mosque built by the Government within the city limits. The mosque can accommodate 17,000 devotees at one time.
The mosque's design is a blend of Ottoman and Malay architectural styles, heavily influenced by the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. It has 22 domes made from a composite material of glass fibre fabric mixed with epoxy resin to make it durable and light.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Birch Road Christian Cemetery

Once again I continue my morbid theme on cemeteries. To me, however, they provide an atmospheric and peaceful setting for photography and particularly so when combined with HDR photography which seems to add to the mood of the images. 

The Birch Road Cemetery is a Christian Cemetery which lies just to the north of the Kwong Tong Chinese Cemetery and sits in the corner between Jalan Maharajalela and Jalan Dewan Bahasa.  Birch Road originally ran from the small roundabout at the end of Petaling Street, now enlarged to Bulatan Merdeka, in front of the Chinese Assembly Hall, past Stadium Merdeka and Victoria Institution to the Edinburgh Circle, no longer a circle but a large junction with an underpass. Birch Road is now Jalan Maharajalela, named after the local Malay chief who was, ironically, involved in the killing of James W. W. Birch, a British Resident in Perak, in 1875.

Video slideshow can be see here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Burns Supper 2010

On 23rd January 2010 the Selangor St. Andrew's Society held their annual Burns Supper at the Nikko Hotel, Kuala Lumpur with over 300 people attending.

After cocktails in the foyer the guests sat down to dinner and the Master of Ceremonies, Hector Ingram, welcomed the members and the guests. During dinner there was the traditional piping in of the haggis, the address to the haggis delivered by Paul Henderson and a performance by the St. John's Alumni Pipe Band. The Toast to The Lassies speech was given by Paul McLaughlin and the Reply on behalf of the Lassies was then given by Tracy Dale.

After dessert, coffee and the raffle draw Sue Paterson accompanied by George McKie gave a recital of Scottish songs before the evening moved onto the serious part of the entertainment.

Scottish comedian Craig Hill burst onto the stage to the sounds of Madonna and gave a wonderful belly-aching performance of gay Scottish humour delivered in his own inimitable style.
Craig Hill entered the comedy scene in 1998 after training as an actor and as a result of a frined booking him for a gig without telling him. His renditions of Shirley Bassey singing "Who Ate All The Pies" and Julie Andrews singing Punk songs made him an instant hit and won him an award for the Comedy Stores "Stand Up for Hooch" competition that year. He was quickly spotted by the BBC and asked to be one of five stand-ups on BBC Scotland's "Live Floor Show".

After two series on BBC Scotland, Craig became part of the cast when the show went national with a regular slot on Saturdays on BBC2. He was then invited by BBC Scotland to be the host of another rendition simply known as "Floor Show" and eventually given his own show "Craig Hill's Out Tonight", a chat show and guide to what's on in Scotland. For more on Craig, visit his website.

The evening then continued with Scottish country dancing until Auld Lang Syne and the close of the evening.

More photos of this event can be seen here.

A slideshow with video can be seen here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rachel Guerzo - Live at Alexis Bistro

Rachel Guerzo played a two night concert at Alexis Bistro in Great Eastern Mall, Kuala Lumpur on 22nd and 23rd January 2010 to launch her new album called "Just Friends".
Born into Malaysia’s most influential music family – the Solianos – the pianist and singer Rachel Guerzo has emerged as one of most exciting and innovative jazz musicians in her own right. Having studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, she honed her art and cemented her reputation by playing to discerning live audiences in the time-honoured tradition. Influenced by consummate performers such as Shirley Horne, Tania Maria, Diana Krall and Eliane Elias, she both learned from them and gradually discovered her own unique voice.
In addition to playing regularly with her father, the saxophonist Salvador Guerzo and her uncle, the drummer Rizal Soliano, Rachel has worked with some very fine musicians such as Michael Verrapen, Steve Thornton, Valtinho Anastascio and Farid Ali. She headlined the Sunrise Jazz & Rhythm Festival and in April 2010 Rachel will make her debut at the prestigious Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS as part of its Spotlight: Jazz series. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Water Palace (Tamansari), Yogyakarta

In Yogyakarta, Indonesia there is an interesting structure called the Water Castle or Tamansari. Formerly Tamansari was a recreation garden or a resting house for the Sultan and family. The other function is it was used as hiding place for the royal family to defend against the enemy assault.

Tamansari is located about 2 km south of Yogyakarta Palace and built by a Portuguese architect in European aquatic construction adorned with Javanese symbols and ornaments. Tamansari was built in the Sultan Hamengku Buwono I period in the end of XVII Century. Tamansari comprises a compound of bathing pools, canals, rooms and an extremely large swimming pool.

The above image was post-processed using Topaz Fusion Express which offers a large range of post processing options to enhance images. This image was done using the "Spicify" preset.

The two images below were processed using Photomatix HDR software from a single RAW file.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kwong Tong Cemetery

The Kwong Tong Cemetery is a Chinese cemetery located in central Kuala Lumpur which covers around 343 acres and houses the largest number and oldest graves in the city. It has been in existence for 112 years and is the final resting place of the prominent city pioneer Yap Ah Loy.

In 2007 the Kwong Tong Cemetery was renamed “Heritage Park” and landscaping turned the park into one of the few city’s “green lungs”. In addition a cultural museum was built housing a comprehensive collection of information related to the prominent Chinese pioneers.

Pudu Prison

The Pudu Prison was built by the British in 1895 as a prison in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was used to house criminals including drug offenders and was a location for administering corporal punishment by rotan caning. The canings were administered in a special "caning area", so marked, not inside the building but in the grounds.
After the fall of Singapore, during World war II, the Japanese occupation forces incarcerated many English, Australian and New Zealand prisoners there.
1986 saw the execution of Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers, both Australian nationals, at Pudu for the drug trafficking of heroin. More recently, the prison was closed for several years. It was reopened in 1997/98 as a museum and again for a short time in early 2004.
Eight supporters of the Hindu Rights Action Force were arrested and incarcerated in Pudu Prison following the 2007 HINDRAF rally. They were later released due to lack of evidence.
There are rumours that Pudu Prison is haunted. There have been reports of a strange Indian man walking the halls of the prison and disappearing around the corner. Supposedly, screams have been heard from rooms where hangings have taken place, and there are certain areas of the prison that are far colder than others. Russell Lee, the author of the book series True Singapore Ghost Stories included a story of a prisoner in Pudu Prison in one of his books. The prisoner reported hearing screaming from the rotan caning area, and he also heard the story that one prisoner committed suicide in order to avoid being caned. Supposedly his ghost stops the last stroke of the cane being given, and the prisoner personally reported this experience happening to him.
The cells were small and dark, each equipped with a window only the size of a shoebox. The prison also features murals painted on the walls circling the compound, depicting scenes of nature. These murals were painted by the prisoners, who used over 2,000 litres of paint to accomplish the task.
Pudu prison was finally closed in 1st November, 1996  and was reopened briefly  as a museum in early 2004. The area has been identified as a key site for mega development (70% commercial and 30% residential development) and is now in the process of being demolished for yet another downtown commercial development. I took the opportunity to photograph the external views of the jail and in particular the wall murals before these are ultimately demolished and lost.