Portrait of a great Railway man


It was an interesting sit today for today’s wet plate shoot. I met with Mahen Bala and his colleague, Ms Law Siew Fei, which he introduced to me one of very few, and very important individual, Tuan Abdul Hai, an ex-Deputy General Manager for the KTMB.

Tuan Abdul Hai being given the royal treatment. Thank you Fei for your kind courtesy to assist in shielding Tuan Hai from the hot morning sun.

It has been awhile since I last met any KTMB staff members, as I usually in touch with the workers, engineers, and staffs since my days in the railway depot project in Sentul, the Iron Dragons of Malaya (Project IDoM).

Through the groundglass… everything was upside down & inverted; which makes it all business as usual for any large format camera users

Though Mahen and his team has been working on the railway project on a larger scale in which covers a significant portion of the railway lines of Malaysia, in which is a fabulous project which I believe will be a great resource on the living culture along the railway lines. It is an on-going project, in which I know and believe will be an impressive feat! Check out their works on the Facebook and Instagram news and updates via @keretapikita.

Today was a good morning; the sky was overcast, but ample enough for the sun to peep through. This was a perfect opportunity for me to begin assembling the materials needed for a wet plate session with the honoured guest and his wife, Puan Azizah Kamal.

Stories were told in the spirit of how it was in the past; the Japanese occupation of Malaya, his days in Kelantan while at the KTMB, and various key events during various times with his service within the KTMB.

Plates were washed and immediately ‘suspended’ in glycerine for transporting back to the darkroom for further wash & varnishing.

Few plates were made, but it was an excellent morning and we were in good company.

Thank you Mahen & Fei for your kind assistance for today’s image-making session.


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