My haul of memories
My thoughts through the lens
After a month’s spotlight on George Town and its inhabitants, I would like to introduce you to another largely undiscovered gem of Penang, the fishing villages.
The southern part of Penang island has a string of fishing villages stretching from Batu Maung to Gertak Sanggul. The villages have retained its charm and personality, possibly for being far from the curious eyes of locals and foreign visitors. In this photo essay, my focus is on the Teluk Kumbar fishing village located at the south-east end of the island.
I am excited to share with you some of the images taken on a very bright and blue day. It was definitely a great experience and a good workout as well, especially for a nature-lover like me. The smiling faces of the local children made the day unforgettable. Looking back, I arrived at the scene at around 8.45am but not many fishing activities in sight. Most of the fishing boats were still tied to the shore and the village seemed to have not woken from the slumber yet or was it still too early? Well, as the sun rose, so did the inhabitants. First, it was the fisherman and then followed by children in groups. The children, especially, were a bundle of joy with their laughters filling the air. What a difference from the city kids; here, digging for shells and building sandcastles bring the most happiness to them. There was no need for any video game console or computer games but just simple games by the beach to put smiles on their faces.
Being kids, they were initially shy but a little coaxing went a long way. They smiled and waved; I smiled and returned the gesture, in thanks for the friendship that formed in that fleeting photographic moments.
All photos and texts by Calvin Kwok
An up-close shot of a fishing boat with a fleet of other fishing boats moored along the bay on the background. Most of the boats sport the classic red and blue combination, making them a striking sight from near and afar.
Off they go: Two fishermen starting their journey on a sunny morning. Who knows what the tide may bring? Will it be a good catch? Or will it be just barely enough to scrape through and feed the hungry mouths back home? These fishermen know that their fate lie in the fickleness of the weather and yet they strive on, propelled by hope.
With a vast blue backdrop and swirl of the clouds, I was taken in by the simplicity and serenity of this scene. The orange rooftop adds contrast and visual interest, thus anchoring the image in the eyes of the viewer.
A peculiar-looking coconut branch stretches out as though to reach a fishing boat. This image was taken just below the branch to lend a sense of perspective and depth to the overall image.
“This morning I’m not going to the sea”, this pakcik (uncle) said when I asked him if he was preparing to go out like the other fishermen. He wanted to fix his fishing equipment first, since the fishing nets had become quite entangled. There were a number of nicer-looking boats nearby for photographic purposes, to be honest. However, I chose to capture this image as my heart went out to the pakcik who, despite being in a less-than-favorable situation, had the look and determination to turn the tide around, so to speak.
A bird was spotted doing its own fishing along a stream which leads to the sea. Using my Tamron 18-200mm lens, I crept and got as close as I could to the bird. I shot more than 40 images of this bird alone, waiting to capture that split-second image of the bird with its prey in its beak. I tried and tried and finally, got the image I had been striving for.
While the humans are still lulled by the sounds of the waves, a pair of green beetles got ‘caught in the act’. Love is surely all around in this quaint little fishing town!
I just had to capture a portrait of this little girl playing in the sand. She was such a joy to capture and definitely melted my heart with her bright eyes and sweet smile.
A young boy showing off a fishing worm in his right hand (notice the length of the worm). To catch the worms, the boy munched and spat biscuits onto the sands (most probably as a form of bait). As soon as the worm appears, all he needed was a quick hand to pull up the worm. Sounds easy? Wait until you give it a try.
A self-portrait on the golden sands of the beach. It’s been quite some time since I last took a picture of myself and this silhouette is the closest I would get for now.
A fisherman spends his morning mending his net in the open and under a cool shaded tree, oblivious to the world around him, especially to the sound of my shutter clicking away while I got down low to take this shot.
A walkway of rocks and concrete slabs lining up the beach which provide a form of barrier to the incoming waves. When the tide is high, it is almost impossible to use this walkway. I was intrigued by the rough texture and repetition of the rocks and felt that it would make an interesting image.
The smiles say it all: A group of local children having a wonderful time at the beach, digging holes and building sandcastles. Despite not knowing most of their names, I could feel the bond that developed when they let me into their world in that flickering moment, That’s the beauty of photography; there is usually not much need for many words if you let your heart do the talking. Anyway, a big smile almost always does the trick. It’s hello and goodbye, my little friends!
Born, bred and schooled within the vicinity of George Town; Penang has been my home for over twenty years. As a way of saying ‘Welcome to Penang’, I would like to share scenes of Penang with you from my perspective as a keen amateur photographer. More [+]