I saw a Malay woman feeding stray cats in her neighborhood in Kuala Kubu Bharu. I gravitated towards the scene, naturally. After a cordial chat about cat food, she introduced me to her husband and daughter.
The joys of street photography is not just in capturing people with your camera. It is about meeting, engaging strangers, to listen to their life stories, if they are willing to share. Inter racial marriages seem to be more common in small towns and I was happy to hear a new perspective. A sweet love story.
Meet The Family.
Puan Saudah's husband Ameer and daughter Ramizah came to join the conversation. Looking at my pics on the iPad, the man noted he knows one of the guys I photographed. It was Gurcharan Singh from the Sikh Temple in Kalumpang.
I looked up at Ameer's face again and did a double take. Our conversation went from Malay to English at this point:
Me: Don't tell me you are Punjabi?
Ameer: Yes (with a grin). I am Ameer Abdullah, formerly Balbir Singh the Sikh.
Me: How long ago was it when you married Saudah and how did your community take it in those days?
Ameer: Some 30 years ago. I fell in love, converted to Islam, discarded my turban and married the girl of my dreams.
Me: That's so sweet.
Ameer: I became an outcast for leaving my religion, was shunned by my own community and treated as traitor.
Me: I understand. I had a Punjabi classmate who hated singer DJ Dave just as much for the same reasons.
Ameer: Not surprised. Hey. I know Dave and he is from Tanjung Malim (further up on Federal Route 1).
Me: I think things have changed and people from the Sikh community are now more tolerant of inter-racial marriages?
Ameer: Yes. And time heals everything. I am accepted as a friend again.
Me: How do you know?
Ameer: When fellow Punjabis in town call me by my childhood nickname.
Ameer, a civil servant, is happily married, deeply religious and have four grown-up children now. Ramizah is 22 and is a teacher at a Islamic religious school in KKB.
Am honoured to meet such a warm, honest and animal-loving family.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f5, 1/80 sec.
#documentaryphotography #sikh #muslim #kkb #kualakububharu #smalltown