Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Volunteer Cook in Lesvos, Greece

One morning when I was driving to school, I listened to two TraxxFM DJs talking about a young and kind Malaysian who went all the way to Greece to help the Syrian refugees. I immediately knew they were referring to Rayyan Haries. He is no stranger to me as I have met him while we were covering the Rainforest World Music Festival back in 2013. I managed to record part of the conversation on the radio and decided I should let him listen to it. He deserves to know that many people from around the world truly appreciate what he has done for those who are seeking opportunities to start again after they have fled their war-torn country. 

Rayyan Haries is currently running The Volunteer Cook soup kitchen at Skala Skamnias where thousands of Syrian refugees arrive in their rubber boats wet, exhausted and hungry. He and his team will serve hot soup and tea all day long besides making sandwiches, biscuits, croissants, milk and juices for the war refugees. To Rayyan and The Volunteer Cook project, food carries an important message which is to give people hope as they continue their journey to wherever they are going. As we are well-informed by now, everyday there are thousands of Syrian refugees willingly risk their own lives crossing the Mediterranean sea from Turkey to Greece on rubber boats just to escape war atrocities. I believe we will never forget when the whole world started to pay attention to these refugees after the photo of lifeless Alan Kurdi lying on the beach went viral on social media, subsequently prompting international response. 

Rayyan's soup kitchen is able to feed thousands of people everyday as it is funded by many generous donors from all over the world. Therefore it is important to donate directly to The Volunteer Cook cause which will allow Rayyan and his team to buy food supplies from the locals. If you do want to support The Volunteer Cook, you can send gifts (money) as family and friends on Paypal to . To my fellow Malaysians, you can always transfer fund to CIMB Bank Malaysia, the account number is 7008398899. Remember to email Rayyan Haries at for those are sending gifts through CIMB account so that he can keep track of your donations. For further enquiry, please email Rayyan at . To get updates on The Volunteer Cook cause, you may want to follow his page at: 

So, keep the funds coming and put some smiles on the faces of those who desperately need them. To dearest Rayyan Haries, keep doing the great work for humanity sake, keep inspiring the world with your food and smile. Ignore the negativity and remember you are already making headlines around the globe. This world needs more people like you to make it a better place. 

Friday, 25 September 2015

CANON PhotoMarathon Kuching 2015

Photo taken during the 'run'

Photography enthusiasts in East Malaysia had the opportunity to participate in an annual photography event which was recently organised by CANON Malaysia in Kuching on the 20th of September, 2015. Canon PhotoMarathon is Canon's largest annual photography event which is also held in other countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Brunei. The "base camp" or the official venue for Kuching's CPM was Boulevard Mall. Registration began as early as 7 a.m and each participant was given goodie bag, tag and the official t-shirt. All the fees collected from participants were donated to some charities. 

It is not difficult to join this event because all you need is either a DSLR or a compact camera, regardless of the brand. People who are not familiar with this event have this misconception that you need to own a professional camera, you must be a pro-photographer and you need to run as in jogging during the competition. In fact, some of us who took part in Canon PhotoMarathon came as a family. There were some young kids who participated too. So, there is nothing to be shy about for not using any Canon's camera or just because you are an amateur photographer. We were at this event to have fun and learning from one another at the same time. 

Participants had to submit one photo for each theme and before the cut-off time. We were given three themes throughout the day. For those who completed the challenge within the stipulated time, they were awarded certificates of participation. Although we were not literally running to get the perfect shots, but it was a bit of a rush going places to capture photos for each theme. Besides, we had to submit only one photo within three hours for every theme. All photographers were allowed to travel anywhere to shoot, some participants even went to a cave or as far as Kuching Waterfront to take some stunning photos. 

All the interesting shots taken were shown on a stage screen throughout the day and two of my photos were featured (Theme 1 & 3). Although I did not win any prize but that was already quite an achievement as not everyone's photo was up on the big screen. I must admit photos taken by those in Junior category (under 18) were as good as those in the Open category. The competition offered attractive prizes to both Open and Junior categories. The grand prize went to Sheblee Zulazhar and the Junior category won by Renee Bong. The grand prize winner won himself a trip to Japan for a photography clinic and also some really cool photography equipments. What I really like about this competition is that it truly puts our photography or shooting skills to the test and no one is allowed to edit their photos. 

Just for your information, this annual photography event will not be organised in Kuching only. We are not sure if it is going to be held here again next year as Canon wants to give equal opportunity to other cities too. So, I'm glad and grateful I really pushed myself to join the Canon PhotoMarathon. It was really a fun-filled learning experience, will I do it again? Yes, no doubt I will. Hey, at least I got to meet TV-Celebrity/Professional Photographer like Justin Mott from the History Channel's Photo Face-Off. 

Photo for theme 1: Natural

Photo for theme 2: Hide & Seek

Photo for theme 3: Weather

Click the link below to see all the photos taken by the winners:

Friday, 14 August 2015

Stars and Milky Way

I planned to take photos of the Perseid meteor shower these two days but ended up mesmerised by the Milky Way. Stars are much more visible if there is no moon. The darker the sky, the better your eyes can spot the Milky Way. I know it is not easy to spot one, the night sky just look the same for the untrained eyes. During a starry night, the milky way looks like a dusty cloud among the stars. Try to capture the 'cloud' on Manual mode with the settings 30", f/4 (the wider the better, depending on your lens), ISO 1600 or 3200. Just for your information, I took the photos using my Canon G7X. If you can see the Milky Way on your camera screen, then you are zooming in on the right spot in the sky. To capture an excellent photo, you need to be as far as possible from the city or town. Complete darkness is the best place to witness the stunning view of the night sky. It will not be possible for us to see the stars with our naked eyes if there is too much light pollution. Perhaps camping out under the star at somewhere remote or rural is not a bad idea at all. I hope in the future I have the chance to travel to places where the astrophotographers often visit to experience it for myself the real beauty of nature while enhancing my astrophotography skills. By the way, all photos in this blog were taken in Sri Aman town, nowhere 'ulu' nor did I travel overseas for the shoot. I will be glad if anybody can share some information regarding the best place to shoot night landscape in Malaysia. I don't want a typical holiday, I prefer to go on an astrophotography adventure with a group of people who share the same interest and learn something from them. I always love the idea of going on a trip for photography purpose, or on "Instagram mission". 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Loudness Empire

If you ask me personally to name a Dayak indie rock band which is capable of producing good quality on both songs and music videos, I would reckon LOUDNESS EMPIRE. I must say they exceed my expectation. It's unusual for a newcomer to have such capacity as mostly are only applaudable for their songs but not music videos. After years of struggle and unyielding determination, they managed to release their first album to the public on the 26th of July 2015. 

Loudness Empire was founded back in 2010 when a group of young men met while pursuing tertiary studies, then formed a band to compete in battle of the band. The band members are Lesley, Frankie Sana, Christopher Twanc, Estefan Balan Besam and Adrary. The launch of their first single, Sulu, marked the beginning of Loudness Empire's journey to stardom. It was their second single, Pengerindu Nadai Penyangkai, that became a big hit among the local music fans and took the Dayak music world by storm. The song also earned the band the privilege to perform live at Anugerah Muzik Dayak (AMD) 2014 apart from being on top of radio chart. Their success didn't just stop there, currently they are listed as one of the semi-finalists for Anugerah Carta Sapa Juara (ACSJ) 2015. To vote for the band, all you need to do is get a copy of Senawah magazine (Vol. 18, 19 & 20) and fill in the form.

To purchase the original album, you may contact:
Lesley LE (Band Leader)
Leo (Band Manager) +601125180484

For more information regarding the band, kindly visit their page:

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Original Macam-Macam Ada Mega Buffet

It is during the holy month of Ramadan that every Muslim family is looking forward to breaking fast with all their loved ones. There is no better way of spending a quality time with family members if not enjoying a great meal at the Original Macam-Macam Ada Mega Buffet at Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching. 

The Original Macam-Macam Ada Mega Buffet offers wide range of cuisine which are authentic flavours of Penang, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and the local food too. They have Laksa Penang, Gula Apong ice-cream, Penang Char Kueh Tiaw, Sushi, fruits, cakes and the list goes on. There are more than 200 kinds of food to choose from. It feels almost impossible to taste and digest everything in just one evening. 

To experience the truly Asia Ramadan buffet, do make reservation in advance in order to avoid from being disappointed. The buffet is priced at RM100 per adult and RM50 per child. For more information or reservations, please call 6082-532111 ext 1158. You may also want to visit their Facebook page at 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Konsert Suara Hati Afgan KL 2015

OMG!!! It's happening! Afgan's Suara Hati concert is coming to town! I knew there would be some sort of announcement after seeing him posted some concert plans photo on his Instagram. The concert will be held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on the 18th of September 2015. He is keeping his promise although it isn't exactly held in Kuching like we hope for. He did mention giving us a concert when he came to Kuching for a showcase and that was back in September 2014. However, this is a good start and we hope in the future he won't hesitate to come back for his crazy fans in Kuching. The international Indonesian artiste has won various awards and he is not stoping to earn more. His fan base spreads all over the world including Southeast Asia, Korea and European countries. One of his fans is a member of a K-Pop band, Super Junior. The concert tickets will cost around RM106 - RM386. For more information regarding the online booking, please refer to this website . 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Nading Rhapsody's First Single Launched - UMBAS

It felt like only yesterday when we watched Nading Rhapsody performed on Rainforest World Music Festival stage. One of the songs they sang last year was finally launched this year on the 13th of June, 2015. It was the song that got everyone dancing at RWMF 2014 - UMBAS

Umbas in Iban Language means enough. The song itself is the indie band's way of channeling their frustration towards both local and international issues. Apart from that, it also carries the message of motivation and inspiration despite the negativities that plagued the world these days. Umbas is only their first 'baby' and we should expect lots more songs to be recorded in the studio by Nading Rhapsody in the near future. When asked if there was any difference between recording in a studio to performing on a live stage, they said it involved more complex processes in order for all the instruments to be heard on one track. The recording experience did not come as easy as all of the band members have day jobs. Finding a convenient time for everyone to come together to lay down a track was already a challenge but it did not deter them from wanting to produce their first single. 

Nading Rhapsody does us proud too when this year the band is invited to perform at an international stage, the Tong-Tong Fair or also known as Tong-Tong Festival. However, the band decided to postpone their show at the festival until next year due to financial constraint. Their dream to perform at the world's largest Eurasian fair is about to come true, thanks to the Malaysian Performing Arts Agency (MyPAA) who is willing to fund their trip after being chosen as one of the 16 receivers of the Royal Arts Gala Fund. They will not only represent Sarawak on an international stage at The Hague (Netherlands), but also Malaysia in general. 

The launching ceremony also featured some local talents such as Letticia Kila Thomas who just won the Miss Talent World Harvest Festival 2015, Diana Ant Blikau, Lydia Desmond and Arry Sullivan. For those who are interested to purchase their first single CD, it can be done through their official Facebook page ( ). For further enquiries, kindly contact Opah at 019-8399188. 

Press Conference

Album cover