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Mokhtar Le Baker

Create: 06/25/2015 - 12:04
Kilang Roti Mokhtar Slim River

It is unfortunate that this more than half-a-century old bakery is known as a factory (or kilang). In reality, it is a one-man baker outfit and an artisan one at that. Every loaf, bun and pastry is lovingly hand-crafted by Mokhtar himself. No workers, interns or apprentices behind the scenes.

Put him in Klang Valley and call it a boulangerie patisserie instead of kilang and fad-hungry hipsters will swoon all over him , even without him proclaiming sourdough.

The Sad Truth

Create: 06/24/2015 - 19:46
The Sad Truth As To Why Small Town Businesses Are Closing Down

Many of the shops in small towns along Federal Route 1 are dying, if not dead. Mr Yang, a long-time shopkeeper in Slim River town told me he is glad I am here to photograph the town now and not later. I asked why. He said if I were to come later, many more local old businesses will be shuttered or turned into something else.

Stare Down At The Cowboy Town

Create: 06/22/2015 - 12:14
Slim River Main Street is like a cowboy town

Mani Store in Slim River sells fresh cow's milk, among other things. The Indian family business started 78 years ago with a small herd. They now run a ranch with 180 cows, supplying milk to its own shop and to a government agricultural agency.

I spoke to the lady proprietor who is a devout Anglican Christian. Funny to hear from a cattle ranch owner that Slim River is a cowboy town. Not in the lawless sense but in its visual representation of a one-street town with rustic shops, I guess.

A Moment of Contemplation

Create: 06/08/2015 - 13:11
A Moment of Contemplation

Still in Behrang, I walked into a vintage Indian grocery shop to get a soda. Met a friendly and sweet old lady there. She's the proprietor, is in her seventies and operates the shop by herself.

The surroundings seemed deserted and she appeared delighted to see a new customer. Delighted not so much for the sale but for a chance to talk, I guess.


Create: 06/03/2015 - 20:05
Behrang, Perak

In one corner of old Behrang town, there are 5 shades of blue and yellow.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f8, 1/125 sec.

Linoleum And Boats

Create: 05/31/2015 - 22:33
Linoleum Floor Mats In Behrang Town

It is very colourful and the old shop houses on the main street seem so full of character. The initial drive through made me think the town is susceptible to floods.

For a small town, it has quite a few shops selling linoleum floor mats (tikar getah) and boats. I remember seeing the same while covering the Great Johor Floods of 2007.

I was partly right. Took a walk around town, spoke to the locals and discovered an interesting fact unbeknown to many outsiders.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f5.6, 1/250 sec.

Kaki Lima

Create: 05/10/2015 - 09:24
The 5-Foot-Way or Kaki Lima

The five-foot-way or 'kaki lima' is a colonial legacy from the time when front of shops were required by law to have a 5-foot wide walkway. The practical and functional architectural design element lives on in the old shops of Tanjung Malim and many other places.

According to Wikipedia, the requirement was first specified in the Stamford Raffles Town Act of 1822 for Singapore. It applied also to Malaya and Brunei .

War And Peace

Create: 05/08/2015 - 11:57
Old Shop Of Tanjung Malim

The Larut War of the early tin mining years took place during the second half of the 19th century. Running battles between the Cantonese-dominated Ghee Hin clan and the Hakka-dominated Hai San clan continued until the Pangkor Treaty in 1874.

Near the end of the protracted war, some Hokkiens fled central Perak and settled in more peaceful Tanjung Malim. In the early 1900s, they built two rows of shop houses that formed what is the old town today. A few of these ancient buildings still stand.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f6.3, 1/250 sec.