Tasmania/ June 2017

Tasmania has been nothing but amazing (except being ridiculously cold, gloomy, and rather quiet). I’ve been wanting to go to Tasmania for the longest time for their southern light but unfortunately no southern light was there for me. The KP number was at it’s lowest and everyday Tassie was just a big gloomy ball.

I was in Hobart for two nights with my mom and other relatives when they came to visit. Due to time constraint I didn’t get to explore Launceston, the upper part of Tasmania. Don’t we always have to leave some small regrets behind so that we have something to look forward to in the future.

Tried using ND filter for the first time to create those soft dreamy waves with a longer exposure but I reckon I needed a higher stop filter. Pretty happy how it turned out though.

Another try.

Joined a tour and have a guide took us to Mount Wellington and boy was it freezing cold. Everyone stayed indoor looking at the scenery through a glass but I didn’t want to let the cold stop me from taking photographs of this breathtaking view. After about ten minutes I felt a sharp pain on my ears because the wind was just too strong and the cold was unbearable.

Hobart under my feet.

The guide also took us to Tahune Airwalk which is pretty similar to Otway Fly Tree Top Walk in Victoria. If you like easy hiking, you’ll probably like Tahune as the hike was really easy with interesting views along the way. Spotted tons of different types of mushrooms.

My relatives split up with us so it was just me and my mom walking and hiking together which gave us a really good time to bond in the nature. It just felt so nice to have my mom there exploring with me and talking about everything.

Hobart city, can’t do without a street photo.

Back in Victoria, at Ballarat wildlife park. Llamas in their formation haha.

My mom’s expression trying to tell you that she can’t deal with animals being so near to her.

This was actually so funny because after a short while my mom screamed and said there was poop on the kangaroo’s claw and she freaked out hahaha. There are poops all over the place so there should be lots of poops on these kangaroos’ claws haha.

The usual spot for tourist, Saint Kilda. Breathtaking sunset, as always.

She’s just getting cuter as she age, she said she wants to take fancy ‘artistic’ picture and I kinda interpreted it as silhouette lol.

One and only penguin we spotted at St. Kilda.

Tasmania didn’t quite turn out to be how I expected because it was way too gloomy and there was no southern light that I was expecting. The silly me also made a mistake by not checking MONA’s opening hours hence on the day when I wanted to visit MONA it was actually close. :(
I might actually go for a day trip just for MONA before I fly home end of next month, that’s how bad I want to pay MONA a visit.

I also managed to take some photos with my newly bought Nikon F3 (not so new anymore) and I shall upload it soon when my time ain’t so pack.
Till then.


Life as we know it…

My trapped emotions went haywire today. I totally lost it in the shower for no absolute reason.
I noticed a pattern, this tend to hit me every couple of months.
My heart felt so heavy like it just hit rock bottom.

Perhaps it is the quietness of my surrounding after my mom and my brother went back home from visiting me back to back.
It feels so nice to be surrounded by my dearest, the familiarity and the comfort that they seem to provide. The calmness they give me like everything else in the world is okay.

Few weeks ago I found out through Facebook that a guy whom at one point in my life means the world to me passed away. He was also my friend’s brother and I just do not know what to feel or how to react, or even what to say to this friend of mine. We’re all adults now and friends do go separate ways but he was once a very close friend of mine and although it has been years since I last saw him, I still do feel the pain for him and his family. It is a lot to take in especially when our old memories came flooding back. It was a very short period of my life but I could remember it as if it was yesterday.

The incident brought me to a lot of questioning.

A news came on today on how Airasia’s plane that was headed to Perth shook for 90 minutes midair due to a blade that sheared off an engine and I was absolutely taken aback.
If you know me well, you know that I don’t deal very well with bad air plane news.
My family just came and left, what are the odds. Or what about myself.
What if I was the one who were in the plane, what if the plane did indeed crash.
I couldn’t help but ask myself if all my what ifs did happen, what is my biggest regret in life?
At this point of my life, all I have with me is faded memories and a shattered heart, is that all?

I regret holding back. If I were to die tomorrow, I regret holding myself back.
The transition that I have to face for going back home to KL puts me off and I kept delaying what was supposed to be June to July to August.
I fear the transition, I fear jumping out of my comfort zone but I gotta do what I gotta do.
If I keep pushing it back, I will never go forward and start doing something for myself.
If I die tomorrow I will never know if I will be able to make it on my own because I never get the chance to try, because I was too afraid so it was like a never ending postpone session.
I would rather die trying than to not try at all.
Perhaps I just gotta tell myself that mistakes will come, inevitably but if I am strong enough to brace through it good results will wait for me at the end of all struggles.

Recently I’ve been getting these messages telling me that life is short, perhaps it is a way to show me that I really have to reset my priorities in life.
Just today, my tutor for my photography class told us that one of the other tutor (who initially was supposed to teach in my class) got diagnosed with cancer. I don’t even know him but my heart sank. That’s a lot of bad news in a day, more than I could handle.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be too worried over things I cant change and have no control over.
Perhaps it is time I work even harder towards whatever goal I set for myself or at the very least just keep improving in whatever that I can, or you know just improve as a person.
Life is hard as it is but at least make it a worthwhile one.

Comfort Zone

One third of the year has already passed us by, how are you living yours so far?

Ever since the start of lunar new year things has been going pretty great for myself, I’ve been living my life, doing things I love and meeting new great people along the way with common interests and really really just appreciating my alone time and freedom. My not so new found freedom.

These are nothing big but I felt proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and achieving something along the way.
Everyone has their own different set of comfort zone and I am a person who fear too much hence my ‘do not fear’ tattoo that doesn’t seem to do it’s work and remind me all that much.

I fear failure the most (and losing people I love).
Perhaps everyone fears failing, I do not know.
But throughout my almost 30 years of life I have never once gone for competition of any sort, not even lucky draws.
I might have participated in lucky draw but for as little as ten times or less because I have a feeling that I’ve never really been lucky all my life.

So why join competition when you know you’re gonna lose anyway?
Why put yourself in the position whereby you allow others to witness your failure in competing?
I see absolute no point in making myself feel so bad so the word competition doesn’t exist in my dictionary. I get very defeated when I fail and I need to learn how to cope with failing because part of life is about failing.

I’ve always been this girl who thinks that she is never good enough. Never good enough for anything basically. I was holding myself back, I was the one who put a limit to myself. I was the one who said no to myself and I was the one who failed myself before even trying.

Last month when I was hanging out with my mate at Fitzroy we went into Fitzroy library for some reason and upon exiting I saw a poster that caught my attention. A poster that says ‘Capture Yarra’, a photography competition so I grab the brochure just being all curious about the participation part.
My mate insisted that I go ahead and try and with a very hesitating look I asked, ‘Should I really?’
‘Just try, you have nothing to lose anyway. Never try never know’, he said.

With his words I brace myself and went on to try. I loaded my Canon SLR with a black and white film called Shirokuro made by Film Never Die and off I went to Fitzroy just walking around and capturing.
After my film was processed I felt like I made the wrong decision by picking the wrong film to shoot.
Photographers tend to say that black and white are more forgiving but I personally find that it has it’s difficulty because everything in my era is in colours unlike olden days.
I have difficulty watching black and white movie.
It is also because whatever I look through the view finder everything is in colours, I can’t quite picture how the photo will look like in black and white.

The hasty decision in using b&w film for this competition was from watching Vivian Maier and all these documentaries about street photographer but I think I could do a better job if I pick up Ilford instead. I picked a few photos from the roll which I found interesting and went around asking friends for opinion because I am an indecisive person and I needed opinions to pick my best two.

I wasn’t very sure of my film outcome so I went to Richmond during my day off to take more pictures but this time I used my digital Fuji instead. I just wanted to make sure that I have better chance in being a finalist but at the end of the day I followed my instinct and picked the photo that stood out to myself despite mixed favourites from friends’ decision.

25+yrs: CCP Weekend Photography Workshop + a One Year membership to CCP

An exhibition of the finalist entries and winning submissions will be launched at a special Yarra Youth Services’ National Youth Week Event, before beginning its tour of all five Yarra Libraries’ branches.

The prices definitely stood out to me, I really really want to go for CCP (centre for contemporary photography) photography workshop because I could only afford it if I sell off my kidney.
In all honesty I was just hoping to be a finalist because I know that there’s no way I will be good enough to win a photography competition when I’m not even a photographer myself.
I had been refreshing my email obsessively just waiting for that one important email that says ‘Congratulations you’re one of our finalist!’

I never would have thought in a million years that the photo I took will be exhibited, this is more than crazy. I was so thrilled to be one of the finalist and I pictured about 10 finalists from a group but when I went to the opening exhibition at Edinburgh Garden I realised from each group they actually only picked a winner and two finalists.

What!? I was that close to winning!?? You gotta be kidding me!!
This was my first time joining a competition and I took the difficult way to shoot film, in black and white with a camera that I was using the first time and got into top 3!
I still couldn’t believe it and the most amazing of it all is that my mom will be visiting me during June and I’ll be able to bring her to the exhibition and show her my work!!


One of the two pictures submitted and this was the picture that got picked into me being a finalist.
This is my favourite shot among all the pictures I took for the competition because this was a risky shot. I was standing at the opposite street from where he was sitting and I was trying to frame a shot but couldn’t find a good composition so I moved closer and hid myself behind a bus stop or tram stop stand. I took this picture of him through the glass, he noticed me and yelled at me asking me to delete the picture. It’s film, I couldn’t just delete it so I turned around and just walk really quickly to save my life. My first encounter being yelled at for taking a photo and now this photo means too much to me!


Second photo submitted which they marked into consideration as well.
This is Fitzroy public housing or sort of like housing for refugees (according to my mate) and when I went to this housing area, it is obvious that people who lives there aren’t Australian to begin with. So they’re building a home away from home which is why I used the title resettled.

They were 3 judges all together and I spoke to one of them at the opening which she proceeded to tell me that Michelle Mountain (funny name haha), the judge from CCP thinks that my ‘Resettled’ photo is fit to be place in contemporary magazine and all these while when she was talking I just kept mumbling ‘no way’ in my mind.
A HUGE THANK YOU to my mate for the push, really!

Besides this competition I also joined Slayer Latte Art competition two days ago without the intention of joining. I was just there to show support to two of my friends who were joining.
I saw them carrying goody bags and out of curiosity I asked what was inside.
They told me there’s a tamper that values at about $100 so me being the cheapskate me I asked how do they get the goody bag.
They answered, “Pay $20 to join the competition and you’ll get the goody bag.”
Okay I’ll pay and get the bag but I don’t want to join the competition, I think I must’ve repeated that for like 10 times.
They were all like you’ve paid for it, just go and try so alas I went and competed without having the intention to.

There were people like world latte art champion and another champion who designed her own jugs and shit and there I was with no preparation, with no personal jug whatsoever.
I was just borrowing jugs from other competitors haha, like serve me right for being such a cheapskate.

I was shaking terribly the first round but for some odd reason I beat my competitor and proceeded to next round. I was all ready to lose actually. There were a total of 128 competitors and probably about 200 people at the venue just looking at you pour your damn cup of latte art, what sort of stress have I gotten myself into. I have stage fright, I couldn’t even do presentation during my uni days in front of my own course mates and there I was doing my thing in front of so damn bloody many people.

I passed two rounds and I got into top 32 among 128 competitors which I am extremely proud of myself because being a person who actually have stage fright and have absolute no preparation (ie: training latte art for days) I think I really did pretty well. I guess it all comes down to really being comfortable with myself now. I feel like my stage fright weren’t an issue any more, sort of. Perhaps I’ve been way more open now to new people and experiences that I don’t see it as such a big issue any more.

At the end of the day I learned that sometimes it’s not so much about winning or failing but instead it is more about having that experience through walking the journey and knowing what’s your own worth and how far you’re standing right now.
If you have the same fear as me, I’d say go for it because you really really will never know.

Solitary Walker

I’ve been asked what is my favourite photography genre a couple of times recently and my answer was always, “Well, I don’t really know. I shoot random things but I guess I prefer street photography if I have to pick one.”

I always thought that I have no favourite genre because truth be told I do shoot random scenes and things but now that I am taking this whole thing more seriously I realised my favourite genre is indeed street photography. Not landscape, not architecture, not portrait, nope.
Landscape bore the fuck out of me HAHA. It’s nice and all but I honestly don’t feel much.
As much as I see myself as an introvert half the time or to put it more accurately, an outgoing introvert I am actually a people person.

(Leica Z2X / Hillvale Sunny 16)

Deep down I am very drawn to people, human beings and I am often very curious.
Humans of New York is one of my favourite page because through Brandon Stanton’s lens and bravery (yeap it is bravery to me) I get to feed my curiosity towards human.
Through his work I’ve seen so many types of struggles that different people are suffering from and also through his work it tells me that there are good people around, believe in humanity and have faith.
Fucked up humans make me extremely sad but at the same time I am very hooked on trying to know why they’re actually fucked up.

That Friday when a speeding car ran over pedestrians during lunch hour near Bourke Street Mall.
(Leica Z2X / Hillvale Sunny 16)

Criminal minds for example, especially serial killers fascinates me in a way. Maybe I shouldn’t use the word fascinates as I may sound too creepy now but really, I can’t help but wonder what is going on in their mind. What sort of childhood did they had that disturbed them so much and turned them into a serial killer. Childhood makes or breaks our adulthood, that’s what I believe.
I didn’t have a very good childhood, (it wasn’t BAD bad but it wasn’t really good either) so it shapes me in a way that deep down, I am a little fucked up too.

I am super self conflicting, extremist to say the least and perhaps might have the tendency to be a bipolar too. I’m not going to tell you my dark side because sometimes I gave myself a wtf look too but I do have my dark side. Is that the reason why I am drawn to human beings, I don’t know?
I want to hear about all those interesting stories, about all the different lives people are living but if you come to me and have small talk, I will want to run away. Like just leave me alone.
I am a confusing soul.

Quiet streets, gloomy day, death of loved ones.
(Leica Z2X / Hillvale Sunny 16)

I’ve found out that the reason why I love street photography is because it is a social and solitary pursuit.
I could just be alone, wandering around streets and looking at the world through my lens and really just be in my own world.
At the same time I am surrounded by people walking to their destination, going about on their business and the world just keeps moving.
At this point of time I do not wish to be notice by people I am photographing because I do not have the courage but I guess I will take up the challenge so that I can capture a more intense emotion or chemistry. I would like to start building up my courage to walk closer to my subject.

Despite, life goes on…
(Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

How many times I so wish to be as courageous as Brandon and talk to people I took pictures of on the street but I fear and I often think too much. I just fear rejection, basically. Yeap rejection is the word.
When I was young I have this feeling of my mom rejecting me and it haunts me although I know she wasn’t doing it on purpose because now that I am an adult I know how hard it was for her to raise me and my brother alone especially when I am the black sheep of my small family.
I honestly am so afraid of that rejection feeling so I try my best to find validation and affirmation through whichever way that I can.

How many times have I stress over not having any talent when I was young, you have no idea.
Why do I not have any talent when I saw peers around me studying so well, playing musical instruments, drawing and whatsoever. Why does everything just seems so hard to me, I often try to figure it out because without a talent or something that I can be good at no one is ever going to validate me.
I needed that attention from somewhere else when I lost the attention my dad gave me.
That could even be why I used to cut myself in high school, I needed attention and caring from somebody else. Anybody else for that matter. Of course part of me wanted to really leave this world too because I was extremely stressful and depressed. My daily routine after school used to be: came home from school, grab my lunch, then wait for my mom to head to work, head to my bedroom, pulled all the curtains, listen to fucking sad music and cry my eyeballs out. I was about 14 to 15 back then.
Honestly it wasn’t a very nice feeling and perhaps because I’ve felt all these intense sadness so many times for so many different reasons I empathize people who’s having a hard time.

(Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

So whenever I see a sad face on the street especially homeless people, a huge part of me wants to go over and talk to them but for some reason I never end up doing it. Well I did, just once and it was because that homeless guy was very different from the other ones. He was extremely positive so he makes it easier for me to walk up to him. Other times I so wish to just stop and stand still, adjust my camera settings, focus and take a few photographs but at the same time I also find that it might be rude for me to invade their spaces. Most of the time I just stare at them for a little while, really wanting to take a picture but I moved on and go about what I was doing at that moment.

I personally have low confidence level which is something I dislike people to see through and all the photographers that I met, acquaintances and friends gave me assurance that I should give my work more credit and have more confidence in what I am doing.
I’m not a photographer, not an amateur photographer, not an aspiring photographer, but just someone who loves taking photographs that’s all.
And how you define a photographer is someone who actually earns money from selling photos or services, that’s a photographer. Not just someone who owns a camera.

(Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

If you’ve been a long enough reader or a close friend of mine you’ll know that I started out with my pink Sony point and shoot which I mainly used it to take shameless selfies (guilty as charged), tons and tons of party pictures and ugly food photos. It was few years after when my camera died on me I tried changing to a new one, a stupid Samsung that drove me nuts and I just stopped using it and use my iphone camera instead. Then I bought my Fuji XM1 here in Melbourne and later on sold it off to upgrade it to Fuji XT10 which I am currently using. All these while (besides that lousy Samsung camera) I always carry my camera with me, in and out. No matter where I go, my camera is always with me. Even if I am going out for a quick lunch or a short coffee session, I have it with me and it has been a habit of mine since my pink Sony days which was probably at least 8 years ago.

A photo of absolute no patience. 
( Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

But because I’ve since changed into a mirrorless and it is bulky to say the least I cant bring it with me to clubs any more (not that I even go all that often) so I made a decision if I have to go to places where I’ll look like an idiot with a bulky mirrorless I will bring my super compact Fujifilm Mini Tiara that uses film.
On normal days now especially when I am using a tote bag I will have two cameras with me, my digital Fuji and a film camera, whichever I feel like it (because I now have 13 film cameras with me)!

Maybe I will start challenging myself and try talking to random people that interests me, that feeds my curiosity. I’d like to curate something in the future too but I’m just really not there yet. I see photo shoots I like on the internet and keep it as my mood board and I could try to replicate it but at the end of the day it doesn’t speak to me even though it might turn out looking nice.
If I were to curate a series I want my pictures to speak on my behalf, to show the deepest side of me because really it takes a lot of time, patience and attention for a person to know the real me.
My mom don’t know me well enough, not even my siblings or my exes I dare say. Or perhaps even myself.

It’s a lonely journey but aim high. 
(Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

Taking photographs on the street gives me a sense of calmness. quietness despite the busy surroundings, and in a weird way I get to communicate with myself more.

(P/S: If you’re into this sort of stuff go watch Finding Vivian Maier!)

Leftovers from February

Hello, I am finally all settled down in my second home after like about ten days and a series of vomiting and purging.
Yeap, second day back and I had some food poisoning issues going on but I had good friends who came and cooked me porridge. :)

3 weeks of holiday made me came to a conclusion that I will head home during mid year come rain or shine.
This short holiday back home helped ease my heart and at the same time opened my eyes yet again.
When you’ve been away for too long or too caught up with whatever that holds your heart you’ll tend to miss out on a lot.

Although my mom didn’t exactly put it in words I know that she is very supportive of my decision so for now I just have to do what I am supposed to do which is to work hard for the next few months, then pack up and leave.

It was nice to have my mom send me to airport (that’s a first) due to some unforeseen circumstances but at the same time I felt really heavy hearted to come back to Melbourne alone.
Why does it never ever gets easier?

I know the remaining months won’t be easy but I just feel glad for everything. I wouldn’t trade what I have now for what I had in the past.
Interesting life experiences make good stories in the future.

Here’s some pictures I took during my holiday with film, except the first two.\Went for high school Chinese New Year gathering but before that I went back to my high school and had a stroll despite the heavy rain.
I miss those carefree days when my only worry was what to eat for lunch.
Should I go for nasi lemak or french fries and how about that fried chicken? Haha.

Love my ‘finger’ cheong sam which I bought last year but didn’t get to alter it on time. 

Buddies I went to school with.

More than a month back I gave my mom a call and requested her to look around the house for our old film camera but she was too lazy so I ended up searching for it in my entire room. And there I have it, my mom’s old Kodak VR35.
I think she likes the idea of me shooting film too, she seems a little excited like she asked if I know how to load the film haha.
Below few pictures were taken with Kodak VR35 and Agfa Vista 200 but I didn’t quite like the way it turned out. I’m not too sure if it’s the camera or the film.
The outcome weren’t very sharp and the colours turned out a little dull, or maybe the days when I took pictures were not sunny enough.
I’ll try the camera again with at least iso400 next round. Or maybe flash, maybe I’ll try flash with this camera.

Light leaks.

I loaded the film, took a few pictures of my mom and suddenly realised the film counter might not be accurate. The paranoid me was unsure if I loaded the film correctly so with no choice I opened up the back of my camera (yeap now it’s mine) to make sure and as expected I destroyed the first few pictures I took of my mom. Hence all these light leak pictures. :(


The day when I prayed for a lot of things. 

Someplace beautiful.

Below pictures were taken from my Fujifilm Mini Tiara and Agfa Vista 400 which highlighted a lot of blue tone.

Here comes the bride! (

These two cuties!

Why do I look so out of place?

This picture is super cute! Jia Jia blocked her face with the rose hahaha!

Bangkok Chinatown, 02 17′.

Mom why your eyes no open?

Look at the exaggerated blue tone. 

Grand palace which we ended up not going in because the tickets sold were quite expensive and queue was extremely long. 

I really need to focus my mind when taking pictures with film, at times I still snap it like it’s a digital camera. Need to train my patience. 

And this was taken with Kodak at Melbourne rooftop bar. For some reason it took me so many weeks to finish up that 27 exposures. 

I developed my agfa 400 in KL that costs less than 50% of what I paid in Melbourne but it took them more than a week to get it done while my agfa 200 only takes a few hours for Digi Direct to send those files into my email. Talk about efficiency.

Ok my efficiency is shit too cause it took me so long to update my blog but since I somehow made the old laptop at home work now I will be more efficient!
(I have troubles deciding which photo to upload on instagram and which to post it here.)