May 26, 2017

15
PSI
CONNECT WITH US
 
 
Authors Posts by Yusof Najeer

Yusof Najeer

Yusof Najeer
57 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

by -
0 0
DO NOT USE!!!

by Najeer Yusof

SOME of you might have been lucky enough to see the double rainbow that coloured the skies last Friday (Sept 30), while the majority of you only saw photos of it on your social media feed. Rainbows are a rarely occurring phenomenon, as it requires a couple of conditions. There has to be moisture in the sky, the sun has to be at a low angle along the horizon, and the sky has to be clear and not cloudy. Only if these conditions are met, the sun rays reflect off the water droplets in the sky to create a rainbow.

However, what makes last Friday’s rainbow even more special, was the presence of a double rainbow. This only happens when the sun rays reflect twice within water droplets. The second rainbow then appears, but with a fainter shade and its colour are in a reverse order. The last time the double rainbow appeared in Singapore was in July last year.

Capturing this phenomenon and keeping the picture as a memento is a must. Using a wide angle lens would be ideal to capture the entire rainbow in your shot. When doing so, you could position an interesting subject in the center of the rainbow. These may include a building or a tree, and doing so provides a scale for comparison. Another way to compose these shots would be to use the rule of thirds. You could position the start and end of the rainbow such that it coincides with interesting subjects, while only taking up a portion of the frame.

Here are some example photos of the rainbow seen last Friday:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured image by Huntergol Photography.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by TMG visuals

MISTER Andy Tian’s family has been in the mooncake business since 1939, when his grandfather first opened a Chinese confectionery shop. Then, they made Chinese confectionery such as Tao Sa Pia and peanut candies, and of course mooncakes. But mooncakes were made only during the Mid-Autumn Mid-Autumn festive period. His dad took over the business and started Lee Guan Cake Shop in 1978. When he was growing up, Mr Tian used to help out at the shop after school. He soon picked up some baking skills and learned to make a variety of Chinese confectionery, including the mooncakes. Today, the 53-year-old runs the business with his younger brother Robin Tian, 49, and his dad, who still refuses to retire.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival period, Lee Guan Cake Shop makes an average of about 1,200 mooncakes a day. They mostly supply to hotels and restaurants which then repackage the mooncakes for sale. They also sell their mooncakes and other Chinese confectionery at their shop along Chai Chee Street.

According to Mr Tian, currently there are no more than 10 of such traditional Chinese confectionery shops in Singapore. The family business has shrunk significantly since the 80s when they used to supply a total of about 40,000 mooncakes yearly. These days, the figure has been reduced by half. They even had a factory in Sembawang, where they made their confectionery for two years. The family closed that factory two months ago.

“These days, not many people are buying Chinese confectionery as youngsters are not very keen on these kinds of pastries,” said Mr Tian. Still, he is determined to carry on his family’s legacy.

 

 

 

Feature image and video by Tan Wei Jie and Suzannah Lucia.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

skillsfuture_300x250

by Najeer Yusof

FOR the past four years Muslim foreign workers from the dormitories along Kian Teck Avenue have been gathering along the pavements to pray the Eid Adha prayers. Since the nearest mosque is quite a distance from their dormitories, they have decided to organise their own prayers, just outside their dormitories.

There are about 2,000 Muslim foreign workers and a total of three different groups organising the prayers. Each group prays at a different time slot to cater to the population. TMG observed the group that conducted their prayers along Kian Teck Cresent. They began laying the canvas and setting up the sound system at around 6.30am and the prayers commenced at 7.30am.

 

0v9a9476
SERMON: The sermon for Eid Adha prayers are read from this book. They are in Arabic and come with Bengali translations. Two sermons were read out for the Eid Adha prayers. These sermons are similar to those read in all the mosques in Bangladesh.

 

0v9a9492
SOUND SYSTEM: A speaker secured to the trunk of a tree using raffia string. The Imam, who leads the prayers, wears a microphone set around his neck, as he delivers the sermon and the prayer commands. There are two speakers placed along the street to magnify the Imam’s dictation for the huge turnout of foreign workers. About 1,000 Muslim workers joined the prayers today and that has been the average turnout.

 

0v9a9493
NEW CLOTHES: A fellow worker ties a turban around the cap of his friend before heading for prayers. The wearing of the turban around the cap was a practice of Prophet Muhammad. Turbans have been worn by the Arabs even before Islam was adopted and the turban is worn in a reversed manner, with excess cloth hanging at the back of the turban for shielding’s one’s face during sandstorms.

 

0v9a9561
THE IMAM: Mr Mohammad Botchan, 26, has led both the Eid Adha and Eid Fitr prayers for four years. He has memorised the entire Quran, as part of his Islamic Studies in Bangladesh. After his parents passed away, he had to support his siblings and decided to come to Singapore to work as the pay was better. Since Islamic Studies would not land him a job in Singapore, he acquired the skills of piping and welding in Bangladesh. He came to Singapore in 2009 and has been working for Alpha Engineering Private Limited, in Keppel Shipyard, for seven years. “Anyone can come and pray. The police watch us every day, as we conduct our daily prayers here too, but there is no problem. The Singapore Government also understands that we are only conducting prayers and not misleading anyone. We just want to encourage our fellow men to continue practising the teachings of Islam and not be misled,” said Mr Botchan. Mr Botchan was able to get his siblings married off after coming to work in Singapore and plans to get married in Bangladesh after his work permit expires in July.

 

0v9a9633
ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS: Muslim foreign workers crying as they ask for forgiveness. After the prayer, the Imam leads the rest with asking for forgiveness and seeking blessings. This portion is done with the cupping of both hands as a symbol, and one can ask God for anything he wishes.

 

0v9a9638
‘EID MUBARAK’: Muslim foreign workers from the first group embracing one another after the prayers and wishing each other a blessed Eid Adha, as the second group, also about 1,000 strong, prepares for their prayers. There were two groups led by different Imams and they led their prayers at different time slots, one at 7.30am and another at 8am. The different time slots were to cater for the huge population of Muslim foreign workers from all the dormitories along Kian Teck Avenue.

 

0v9a9686
MEALTIME: Muslim foreign workers from the first group enjoying a meal together after the prayers. One of the fellow workers prepared the meal in the morning before the prayers. The meal was served in huge round plates and the workers sat in groups of fives, around each plate.

 

All images by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by -
0 0

Video by Nick Tan

THE nation bid its final farewell to its former President Mr S. R. Nathan, on Friday, Aug 26. His casket born by the ceremonial 25-pounder gun went on a state funeral procession and passed by the landmarks of significance to him, such as the old City Hall and Fullerton Hotel. The public gathered along the procession route, to say their last goodbyes, as they waved the state flags and chanted his name when his casket passed by. Mr Nathan passed away on Monday, Aug 22, at the age of 92.

HALF-MAST: The state flag on top of the Parliament House, flying at half-mast. State flags on all government buildings were required to be flown at half-mast from Tuesday, Aug 23, till Friday, as a symbol of respect to the late Mr S. R. Nathan.

by Najeer Yusof

FORMER President Mr S. R. Nathan died on Monday, Aug 22, at the age of 92. His body was brought to his home along Ceylon Road on Tuesday and he lay in state at the Parliament House on Thursday. The state funeral procession took place on Friday, at 2pm. The ceremonial 25-pounder gun bearing his casket drove by landmarks of significance to him, such as the old City Hall and Fullerton Hotel before heading to National University of Singapore’s University Cultural Centre for the state funeral service. Here is a series of photos documenting the funeral from Tuesday:

 

HALF-MAST: The state flag on top of the Parliament House, flying at half-mast. State flags on all government buildings were required to be flown at half-mast from Tuesday, Aug 23, till Friday, as a symbol of respect to the late Mr S. R. Nathan.
HALF-MAST: The state flag on top of the Parliament House flying at half-mast. State flags on all government buildings were required to be flown at half-mast on Tuesday, Aug 23, till Friday, as a symbol of respect to the late Mr S. R. Nathan.

 

SLOW AND SOLEMN: The casket bearing the body of Mr S. R. Nathan arrived at his home along Ceylon Road from the Singapore General Hospital, on Tuesday morning, Aug 23, at around 10.45am. Eight pallbearers carrying the casket on their shoulders marched slowly into his house.
SLOW AND SOLEMN: The casket bearing the body of Mr S. R. Nathan arrived at his home along Ceylon Road from the Singapore General Hospital, on Tuesday morning, Aug 23, at around 10.45am. Eight pallbearers carrying the casket on their shoulders marched slowly into his house.

 

FINAL NOTES: A lady reading the messages of condolence left by others on the condolence boards at the Istana. 9 condolence boards were set up outside the Istana on Tuesday, Aug 23. Small white cards and pens were provided for the public to pen their messages for the late Mr S. R. Nathan. These cards were then slotted into the pockets of the condolence boards. The crowd was not as huge as compared to when the boards were set up previously for the passing on of Singapore's first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
FINAL NOTES: A lady reading the messages of condolence left by others on the condolence boards at the Istana. 9 condolence boards were set up outside the Istana on Tuesday, Aug 23. Small white cards and pens were provided for the public to pen their messages for the late Mr S. R. Nathan. These cards were then slotted into the pockets of the condolence boards. The crowd was not as huge as compared to when the boards were set up previously for the passing on of Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

 

E-TRIBUTE: Electronic display screen along Raffles Place MRT station featuring a tribute to Mr S. R. Nathan. Between intervals of advertisements, the screens of these electronic boards featured a picture of Mr Nathan and a message of tribute.
E-TRIBUTE: Electronic display screen along Raffles Place MRT station featuring a tribute to Mr S. R. Nathan. Between advertisements, the screens of these electronic boards featured a picture of Mr Nathan and a message.

 

PERSONAL TOUCH: Some members of the public brought flower bouquets and personalised boards with messages of gratitude for the late Mr S. R. Nathan. They were directed to place them on any one of the four tables beside the condolence boards along Saint Andrew's Road.
PERSONAL TOUCH: Some members of the public brought flower bouquets and personalised boards with messages of gratitude for the late Mr S. R. Nathan. They were directed to place them on any one of the four tables beside the condolence boards along Saint Andrew’s Road.

 

PAYING THEIR RESPECTS: The public heading to the Parliament House to pay their respects to the late Mr S. R. Nathan. Mr Nathan's body was brought to the Parliament House on Thursday, to lie in state. The public were allowed to pay their respects from 10am till 10pm. Throughout the day, people came to pay their respects and at 10pm, over 20,000 people has visited Mr Nathan.
PAYING THEIR RESPECTS: The public heading to the Parliament House to pay their respects to the late Mr S. R. Nathan. Mr Nathan’s body was brought to the Parliament House on Thursday, to lie in state. The public was allowed to pay their respects from 10am till 10pm. It was reported by the Straits Times that over 20,000 people had visited Mr Nathan on Thursday.

 

TENTAGES AND SIGNAGES: Temporary tentages and barricades were set up on the Padang, by the state funeral committee, to shade the public that were queuing up to pay their respects to Mr S. R. Nathan. The queues was only present during the day, as the crowd subsided by the evening. There were sign boards set up to signal the waiting time and they were placed along the queues during the day. However, these board were later removed, when the crowd subsided.
TENTAGES AND SIGNAGES: Temporary tentages and barricades were set up on the Padang, by the state funeral committee, to shade the public that was queuing up to pay their respects to Mr S. R. Nathan. The queues were only present during the day, as the crowd subsided by the evening. There were sign boards set up to signal the waiting time and they were placed within the queues during the day. However, these boards were later removed when the crowd subsided.

 

FREE WAFFLES: Ms Keish Lim, 23, stood alongside her mother Mdm Alice Lim, 54 (left), to gave out free waffles to the public leaving the Parliament House. Ms Keish Lim, who owns and runs, House of Waffros, a waffles stall at the coffeshop along Everton Park, brought along 55 pieces of waffles to the Parliament House yesterday. "My mother wanted to pay respects to Mr S. R. Nathan and told me make some waffles to give them out as a form of gratitude to the late Mr Nathan," said Ms Lim. She took about 5 hours in total to make the waffles and they came in five flavours: ham and cheese, azuki red bean, peanut, nutella and salted egg. After paying her respects with her mother, she started giving out the waffles around 8pm and by 8.30pm she was down to the last tray. She closed her stall two hours earlier, before heading to the Parliament House.
FREE WAFFLES: Ms Keish Lim, 23, stood alongside her mother Madam Alice Lim, 54, (left), and gave out free waffles to the public leaving the Parliament House on Thursday. Ms Lim, who owns and runs House of Waffros, a waffles stall at the coffee shop along Everton Park, brought along 55 pieces of waffle to the Parliament House yesterday. “My mother wanted to pay her respects to Mr S. R. Nathan and told me to make something to give out as a form of gratitude to the late Mr Nathan. So I decided to make waffles,” said Ms Lim. She took about five hours to make the waffles and they came in five different flavours: ham and cheese, azuki red bean, peanut, Nutella and salted egg. After paying her respects to Mr Nathan with her mother, she started giving out the waffles at around 8pm and by 8.30pm she was down to the last tray. She had closed her stall two hours earlier before heading to the Parliament House.

 

The ceremonial 25-pounder gun carriage carrying Mr S R Nathan's casket passed by the former City Hall today afternoon. After Lying-in-State at the Parliament House yesterday, Mr S R Nathan's casket was carried for a state funeral procession at 2pm. Beginning at the Parliament House, where he opened the Parliament on five occasions, as the President, his casket passed by other landmarks of significance to him such as the former City Hall. This was where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) was located. Mr Nathan was a pioneer of the MFA in 1966 and spent a large portion of his career as part of the Foreign Service for Singapore. The funeral procession also passed by Fullerton Hotel and NTUC Centre. The procession ended at NUS's University Cultural Centre, for a State Funeral Service. Subsequently, his body was taken to the Mandai Crematorium for a private cremation.
FUNERAL PROCESSION: The ceremonial 25-pounder gun carriage carrying Mr S. R. Nathan’s casket, passing by Saint Andrew’s Road. After Lying-in-State at the Parliament House, Mr Nathan’s casket was carried for a state funeral procession at 2pm on Friday. Beginning at the Parliament House, where he opened Parliament on five occasions as President, his casket passed by other landmarks of significance to him such as the former City Hall, Fullerton Hotel and National Trades Union Congress Centre. The public gathered along the procession route, on sidewalks, to bid their final farewell. The procession ended at National University of Singapore’s University Cultural Centre, for a state funeral service.

 

All images by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

skillsfuture_300x250

 

by Najeer Yusof

THE victory parade for Joseph Schooling took place this morning, from about 9.50am and lasted up till 12.50pm. The three-hour long parade began at the Sports Hub, along Old Airport Road, and ended at Raffles City Shopping Mall. Schooling made a total of three pit stops. His first pit stop was at 50A Marine Terrace, followed by Singtel Comcentre Plaza and finally Raffles City, where he signed autographs with fans. He also stopped for a toilet break, along Republic Boulevard. TMG followed him throughout the parade and here is what the parade was like.

 

CROWD-SIZE: The first pit-stop Schooling made, was at his estate, Marine Parade. He was met with an overwhelming number of residents. They cheered as the parade bus drove to a stop and began crowding at the entrance of the bus, awaiting Schooling's appearance.
CROWD-SIZE: The first pit-stop Schooling made, was at his estate, Marine Parade. He was met with an overwhelming number of residents. They cheered as the parade bus drove to a stop and began crowding at the entrance of the bus, awaiting Schooling.

 

WEFIE TIME: After thanking the residents of his residential estate, Marine Parade, for turning up to show their support, Schooling then took a wefie with the crowd. The security officials had a tough time escorting him onto and off the stage as the crowd was mobbing him, as they tried to get pictures of Schooling.
WEFIE TIME: After thanking the residents of his residential estate, Marine Parade, for turning up to show their support, Schooling then took a ‘wefie’ with the crowd. The security officials had a tough time escorting him onto and off the stage as the crowd was mobbing him, as they tried to get pictures of Schooling.

 

SUPPORTERS HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE: Students and teachers from the Canadian International School, lined up along the overhead bridge to wave at Schooling as the parade bus drove by. Supporters of Schooling were everywhere along the parade route. Some waved from buildings, overhead bridges and vehicles, while the majority stood along roadsides and cheered. The parade bus drove by four schools: Broadrick Secondary School, Tanjong Katong Girls' School, Tanjong Katong Primary School and Canadian International School. Students and teachers gathered along the roadside with handmade banners and Singapore flags and cheered for Schooling.
SUPPORTERS HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE: Students and teachers from the Canadian International School, lined up along the overhead bridge to wave at Schooling as the parade bus drove by. Supporters of Schooling were everywhere along the parade route. Some waved from buildings, overhead bridges, and vehicles, while the majority stood along roadsides and cheered. The parade bus drove by four schools: Broadrick Secondary School, Tanjong Katong Girls’ School, Tanjong Katong Primary School and Canadian International School. Students and teachers gathered along the roadside with handmade banners and Singapore flags, as they cheered for Schooling.

 

WEARING RED: A family dressed in red, and carrying the Singapore flag, while waving at Schooling. Although the public were told to wear red, not many did so. The route map of the parade bus was shared online by the various news media, so that Singaporeans would know where to await catch the parade bus driving by. Along the parade route they many groups of people, waiting along the roadside, for Schooling to pass by.
WEARING RED: A family dressed in red, and carrying the Singapore flag, while waving at Schooling. Although the public were told to wear red, not many did so. The route map of the parade bus was shared online by the various news media so that Singaporeans would know where to catch the parade bus driving by. Along the parade route they many groups of people, waiting along the roadside, for Schooling to pass by.

 

DIE HARD FAN: When the Parade bus was moving along Bras Basah Road, this uncle rode by in his bicycle and waved the Singapore and Team Singapore flags at Schooling. He followed the parade bus for about 100 meters.
DIE HARD FAN: When the Parade bus was moving along Bras Basah Road, this uncle rode by on his bicycle and waved the Singapore and Team Singapore flags at Schooling. He followed the parade bus for about 100 metres.

 

SLOW DOWN, IT'S SCHOOLING: Even on the road, several Singaporeans waved and cheered at Schooling, as the parade bus drove by.This family of 6 wound open the car windows and sunroof to wave at Schooling. Other motorists honked at the parade bus to show their support for Schooling. Seeing the arrival of the parade bus, some even parked their vehicles by the side of the road to grab a quick picture of Schooling.
SLOW DOWN, IT’S SCHOOLING: Even on the road, several Singaporeans waved and cheered at Schooling, as the parade bus drove by. This family of six winded down the car windows and sunroof to wave at Schooling. Other motorists honked at the parade bus to show their support for Schooling. Seeing the arrival of the parade bus, some even parked their vehicles by the side of the road to grab a quick picture of Schooling.

 

LONE SUPPORTER: While most people got to the streets to try and get as close as possible to the parade bus, this aunty decided to wave at Schooling from her corridor.
LONE SUPPORTER: While most people got to the streets to try and get as close as possible to the parade bus, this aunty decided to wave at Schooling from the corridor of her flat.

 

HAPPY AUNTIES: (From left to right), Mdm Irin Au Yong, 55, Mdm Mary Qua, 55, and Mdm Jessie Yeo, 55, were celebrating after they successfully shot a video of Schooling amidst the overwhelming crowd at the Marine Terrace Market. They stood on the hawker centre tables, to get a vantage point as the crowd engulfed Schooling. Schooling was there to try the carrot cake from Bee Bee Carrot Cake stall.
HAPPY AUNTIES: (From left to right), Madam Irin Au Yong, 55, Madam Mary Qua, 55, and Madam Jessie Yeo, 55, were celebrating after they successfully shot a video of Schooling amidst the overwhelming crowd at the Marine Terrace Market. They stood on the hawker centre tables, to get a vantage point as the crowd engulfed Schooling. Schooling was there to try the carrot cake from Bee Bee Carrot Cake stall.

 

GOLDEN BOY: Joseph Schooling was spent most of the time on the top deck of the Duck & Hippo bus, waving at his supporters along the parade route. He did take occasional breaks by moving to the lower deck, when the parade bus was moving along the expressway. There were two Duck & Hippo busses that were a part of the parade entourage. Some of the media were on the same bus as him, while the rest were on the bus in front.
GOLDEN BOY: Joseph Schooling was spent most of the time on the top deck of the Duck & Hippo bus, waving at his supporters along the parade route. He did take occasional breaks by moving to the lower deck when the parade bus was moving along the expressway. There were two Duck & Hippo busses that were a part of the parade entourage. Some of the media were on the same bus as him, while the rest were on the bus in front.

 

 

Featured image and photos by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

skillsfuture_300x250

by Najeer Yusof

SINGAPORE’S Olympic gold medallist swimmer, Joseph Schooling, was received with a huge turnout when he landed at Changi Airport early on Monday morning. The 21-year-old’s Olympic gold medal performance in the 100m butterfly event saw him beat the 23-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps and win the hearts of Singaporeans.

Although his plane was only scheduled to land at Changi Airport at around 5.35am, many supporters started showing up at Terminal 3 as early as 4am and gathered behind temporary metal barricades that stretched from Belt 42 to the arrival hall’s exit. Waving Singapore flags and Singapore scarves, the crowd became frantic as he stepped out of the arrival hall to greet them. The meet and greet session took place for at least an hour, as many supporters were trying their best to grab his autograph and take pictures with him. TMG staked out the gate from 3am and this is what we saw amid the frenzy:

 

0V9A2676-2
EARLY BIRD: Mr Sulaiman bin Ahmad Kemal, 42, a massage therapist, turned up at the airport with his daughter at 11.30pm the night before after taking the last train. He prepared his cheer props while his daughter was still sleeping. Mr Sulaiman has represented Singapore for the five-a-side soccer for the visually handicapped in the 2015 ASEAN Para Games.

 

0V9A2749-2
HOME SUPPORT: By 4.30am, the crowd of Singaporeans were already swelling. The flight information screens at the airport featured a picture of Schooling and added on a message of gratitude and appreciation, some Singaporeans decided to personally design their own banners, with handwritten messages.

 

0V9A2777-2
Mr Colin Schooling was the earliest to arrive and speak to the media. The 68-year-old was not able to join his son at Rio de Janeiro due to health reasons but watched his son compete on the television. Moved by his son’s achievement, he said: “Joseph’s motto is: dare to dream and I think he’s done a good job… Now we have to aim for the world record.” Not having seen his dad for the past few months, the younger Schooling embraced him the moment he saw him.

 

TURN OUT: Initially reporters filming the crowd had to rouse them by getting them to cheer and wave their Singapore flags. However, the moment Schooling stepped into the arrival hall the crowd turn into a frenzy without any prompting. Most of them brought the Singapore flags and wore the Singapore scarves.
TURN OUT: Initially reporters filming the crowd had to rouse them by getting them to cheer and wave their Singapore flags. However, the moment Schooling stepped into the arrival hall the crowd turn into a frenzy without any prompting. Most of them brought the Singapore flags and wore the Singapore scarves.

 

0V9A3208-2
CELEBRITY: Many were either trying to hug Schooling, get a selfie with him, or get his autograph as he interacted with his fans along the way to the arrival hall’s exit. Students from his former school, ACS, welcomed him by singing their school song and Schooling signed his autographs on their t-shirts.

 

0V9A3589
FAMILY SUPPORT: Schooling’s aunt and uncles turned up to welcome him too. He hugged his aunt, Mdm Cora Schooling, 61, and she proceeded to pose for photos with him after claiming to be a very proud aunt.

 

s
MOVED A MOTION: Schooling was garlanded and he posed for a photo with the ministers: Mr Tan Chuan Jin, who flew back to Singapore with him and Mr Teo Chee Hean. Also present were Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann and Parliamentary Secretary for Community Culture and Youth Baey Yam Keng. Schooling was invited by the Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, to join the parliamentary session later in the afternoon, and was given a 30-second standing ovation by the House, as it moved a motion to congratulate him on his achievement.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like the Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

skillsfuture_300x250

by Najeer Yusof

IF YOU aren’t playing Pokemon Go, count yourself in the minority. At least, that’s what it looks like going by the hordes of people venturing out into the open to catch these cutesy pocket monsters. Day or night, and all around Singapore, it’s not uncommon to suddenly come across a group of people with their eyes glued to their smartphones, and occasionally swiping their fingers across their screens.

 

Pokemon catchers at the playground between Blocks 838 and 841, at Khatib.
Pokemon catchers at the playground between Blocks 838 and 841, at Khatib on Wednesday night, at around 9.30pm. (Photo: Najeer Yusof/TMG)

 

Pokemon catchers along Orchard Road.
Pokemon catchers along Orchard Road on Saturday, August 6, at around 7.30pm. (Photo: Sean Chong/TMG)

 

Pokemon hunters at Serangoon's Nex mall
Pokemon catchers outside Nex Shopping Mall at Serangoon, on Wednesday at around 7.30pm. (Photo: Sean Chong/TMG)

 

Pokemon catchers along Clarke Quay.
Pokemon catchers along Clarke Quay, on Tuesday at 9.30pm. (Photo: Frank Koh/Facebook User)

 

Pokemon catchers at Block 401 along Hougang Avenue 10.
Pokemon catchers at Block 401 along Hougang Avenue 10, on Tuesday at 8pm. (Photo: Nicholas Kong/Facebook User)

 

Pokemon hunters at Yishun Park.
Pokemon catchers at Yishun Park, on Wednesday night at around 10.30pm. (Photo: Najeer Yusof/TMG)

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like the Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

skillsfuture_300x250

by Najeer Yusof

ALTHOUGH this year’s National Day Parade’s fireworks display was not as breathtaking as the previous year’s jubilee celebrations, they still left the crowd of onlookers surrounding me in awe.

Carrying my camera, a tripod and my favourite red plastic stool, I made my way to level 6 of Golden Mile Tower at about 5.30pm to find a good vantage point to shoot from. From where I stood, I was granted with a great view of the brand new Indoor National Stadium. This year’s National Day Parade was held at the Indoor National Stadium for the first time.

As I began laying out my gear, families started strolling in with picnic mats and chairs. There were other photographers setting up their gears. The fireworks began at around 8.18pm and only lasted for about 10 minutes. This year, the fireworks display took place both outdoors and indoors, within the stadium. The display did gather a few “oohs” and “ahhs”, but some were disappointed with the short duration of the display.

In case you missed last night’s firework’s display, here’s a peek:

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

skillsfuture_300x250

Image sourced from Flickr user: Tomomi Wong

by Najeer Yusof

STUNNING or stunting?

Recent pictures of the Fukushima exclusion zone by freelance photographer Keow Wee Loong, which have gone viral on social media and published by media organisations like TIME and CNN, are just the latest to stoke the fires in the raging debate about the ethics of photography. Mr Keow, a 27-year-old Malaysian photographer based in Thailand, went into the “red zone” without a permit from the relevant authorities. He was clad in just a hoodie, shorts, sandals and what looks like a gas mask.

The exclusion zone was set up following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, which led to the release of radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. As a result, the Japanese government declared a nuclear emergency and evacuated people within a 20 km radius around the plant. The radiation levels at the core of this zone, which is where Mr Keow spent 13 hours, have reached up to 9.4 sieverts – this could kill a person in an hour.

Mr Keow’s foray into the exclusion zone in Japan has drawn criticism by readers and professional photographers alike, with one open letter, which has been shared over 5,000 times, calling it a “a cheap, disrespectful publicity stunt that oozes desperation in both its vision and execution”.

The letter writer also pointed out that the stunt was disrespectful to those who were forced to leave their homes due to the disaster.

TMG spoke to two professional freelance photographers, who called Mr Keow “irresponsible”.

 

When TMG contacted Mr Keow, he said: “Initially, I approached the media agencies to sell my work but nowadays, I don’t. My photos go viral and they come to me to pick up my story. Most foreign press pay me and it usually is sufficient to refund the amount I spend for each project.” His earnings from this Fukushima project was sufficient to cover his travel fare and the cost of a month’s stay in Japan, he added, but refused to disclose the amount he spent.

“Before I went there, the authority told me that I needed a special permit to visit this town and it takes three to four weeks to get the approval from the local council. Well, too much bureaucracy bull**** for me. So, I just sneaked into the forest to avoid cops on the road,” Mr Keow wrote in his Facebook post, on July 10, recounting his venture. To date, his post has received about 45,000 likes and 70,000 shares.

 

 

It is this devil-may-care attitude that has riled others, including fellow photographers in the industry.

The photographer disregarded governmental rules and trespassed into a restricted and dangerous zone, said Mr Stefen Chow, a 36 year-old professional photographer and film maker. “Rather than saying he is plain wrong, I would question his motives. Is it to uncover a truth that people need to see? Is there education to this, and people can benefit from the knowledge?” He added that the pictures were not “aesthetically professional” and were nothing short of attention-seeking.

“Rather than saying he is plain wrong, I would question his motives. Is it to uncover a truth that people need to see? Is there education to this, and people can benefit from the knowledge?”

“This was plain reckless, offensive and irresponsible,” said Mr Chow.

Besides the ethical issues pertaining to trespassing, Mr Keow also crossed moral boundaries to place himself, and potentially others around him in danger. This is rather unusual for freelance photographers as they “usually go to a location only after being assigned or having successfully pitched it to an editor or client.”

“The stories assigned or approved would be after careful consideration of the risks and the news value of the story,” said Mr Joseph Nair, a 30 year-old professional photojournalist who freelances for news organisations and wire agencies such as the Associated Press.

 

No big deal?

Mr Keow worked with a Singaporean friend to plan the shoot but ventured into the area alone, he said. He feels that he posed no danger to anyone around him. “When I exited the red zone, I proceeded to a booth within the green zone, to check the radiation count in my body. The radiation level was equivalent to a cancer patient who goes through radiotherapy,” said Mr Keow. As such, he said, he would not cause harm to people around him.

When asked why he decided to proceed without appropriate protective equipment, the self-funded freelancer said: “I do not wish to expose myself to the radiation. I accidentally left behind the envelope containing about 300,000 Yen, at Shinjuku train station. Since I lost my money, I could not get a protection suit. As a photographer, I only have the option to do it or waste an opportunity.” According to him, visitors can enter the red zone for five hours, without getting any serious health effects – he was there for 13 hours.

But he wasn’t completely immune though. In his Facebook post, Mr Keow described the effects he felt upon entering the red zone: “I could feel a burning sensation in my eyes and a thick chemical smell in the air.”

Mr Keow had been fined previously for illegally scaling the Sentrum Tower at Kuala Lumpur Sentral by climbing the facade of the building without any safety lines.

Mr Nair feels that what Mr Keow did in Fukushima might encourage young photographers to join the “urban explorers” club – those who photograph themselves doing dangerous stunts.

“It’s about being there and nothing else. They don’t have the same ethical codes as photojournalists,” said Mr Nair. This trend is picking up among Singaporean youngsters too, as they bypass security to climb tall buildings and photograph themselves standing or hanging off the edge of these buildings.

It’s about being there and nothing else. They don’t have the same ethical codes as photojournalists.”

Besides risking their own lives, some photographers can endanger the environment too. In an attempt to capture dramatic shots of wildlife in action, some Singaporean wildlife photographers have resorted to baiting. They create photo opportunities by stuffing fishes with styrofoam, causing them to float, so as to bait birds who swoop down for an easy meal. The ingested styrofoam particles can be toxic to the birds and they can remain within the animals for years.

Such trends in modern day photography seem to be based solely on gaining fame and fail to provide the public with valuable insights. Yet, due to the visual appeal of stunting, boosted heavily by social media, many are starting to latch onto this trend.

Is photography still being used as a tool to provoke further inquiry? Or is it just for the mere purpose of gaining attention?

“I personally think it’s exploitation,” Mr Nair said.

 

Image selfie on the rooftop by Flickr user Tomomi Wong (CC BY 2.0)

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.