Backseat Driver

Mother: What’s wrong with our driver? Where did he go?!

Daughter: You complain too much, Ma. This happened with Pa, too, remember? And I don’t think either one of them is coming back…

(Photograph courtesy of Muhsein Sofian)

12 Differences Between Pro and Amateur Photographers


  1. The pro envies the amateur’s artistic freedom; the amateur envies the pro’s lifestyle
  2. The pro buys the cheapest equipment that can get the job done; the amateur buys the most expensive equipment for projects he will never do.
  3. The amateur has to earn money to finance his photography; the pro has to resort to photography to finance his life.
  4. Models fall in love with the pro – and then regret it; amateurs fall in love with the model – and then regret it
  5. Amateurs drive BMWs; pros drive Protons
  6. Amateurs READ articles in photo magazine and think, “I can write that, too!”; Pros WRITE those articles and think, “Anyone can write this. But why don’t they?”
  7. Camera-shop owners love amateurs; camera-shop owners hate pros
  8. Amateurs think pros are at the top of their game; pros know that he is just an order-taker (most of the time)
  9. Amateurs THINK pros make tons of money; pros KNOW that amateurs make tons of money (not necessarily through photography, tho)
  10. Amateurs like to be seen with 30 kilos of equipment; pros think nothing of being seen with a crappy point-and-shoot camera
  11. Amateurs try to dress like pros; pros try to dress like amateurs
  12. Amateurs dream of going pro some day; pros dream of becoming amateurs some day.




It was the Hari Raya holidays and I was half asleep on my recliner – busily digesting about a ton of lemang – when my five year old son come up to me and asked, “Ayah, cuba ayah jawab teka-teki ni!” Frankly, I was in no mood for riddles. But the enthusiasm in his eyes was simply too much to throw a wet blanket over. So I turned to him and said, “OK, sayang. Mari Ayah jawab.”

Not being a very cerebral kind of guy, riddles just stump me even on the best of days. But I was not about to disappoint a very excited 5-year old – especially when he was my son. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t (normally) eat babies for breakfast. So I cranked-up my brain, heard the sputtering as it struggled to come to life and put my feeble mental faculties into gear. I was ready. Or so I thought!

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Please Hear Us Out


Over the years, I have more or less surmised that the problem with man-woman relationships is that the woman component (when it suits her) expects the man component to think and behave as if he were a woman. Any deviation from this paradigm brings about accusations of gross insensitivity, brute-force male-chauvinism and–the worse of the lot–cries of “You don’t love me anymore!”

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Strange Search Terms


Yesterday I flushed, cleaned and polished my fountain pens (all 24 of them) and was stumped as to what to do next. There wasn’t a book in the house that I hadn’t read, and a game of chess (with myself, again) would only go down the all-too-familiar Sicilan Defence (Sozin variation) path.

So, I decided to fiddle around with my WordPress dashboard.

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A Day At The Chemist


I arrived at Heathrow Airport on the 12th of September 1981, resolute on undertaking the mission that had been mandated to me by MARA. I was to read the law, came back to Malaysia, and do my part in improving the economic lot of the Malays. Not too long after that, though, life intervened.

I shall not go into the lurid details, but within three days of arriving, I found myself in a position where I had to go out and get myself a packet of condoms. Since I was still an innocent babe-in the-woods at the time, I hadn’t the faintest idea of how to go about doing this (Hey, I was still barely 18 then, OK?).

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