Come August 31 Malaysia will be celebrating 52 years of independence. While I ponder on this I can’t help thinking of the things I missed and the happy childhood memories that will never be revisited by the children of this generation. I read with nostalgic despair in today’s papers a news item that gleefully announced that the traditonal Chinese opera is going high tech – they are using fogging and snow machines in their back drops! Very soon we will only be able to watch such stage shows in huge LCD screens in air-conditioned theatres in cool comfort or in dinner shows where you have to pay an exorbitant sum for such performances.
Fifty years ago you can watch such performances for free but you would have to bring your own seat, usually a wooden stool, to sit in front of the stage or stand and watch whenever the show was in town to perform in celebration of a religious festival. Such stage shows may still be in practice in some small towns and if you know of such a place and you are a photographer, professional or otherwise, I would seriously suggest that you capture this moment in time not because the images will sell but for posterity, for your children’s children.
None of us can stop the rapid rise of technology but before we totally lose sight of all traces of the good old days, make an effort to look out for such scenes and capture them on film. Fifty years ago when there were no television or computer games, we cycled to the beach, to a river to catch fighting fish, made simple kites to fly on a windy day, climbed trees, played hopscotch and played all kind of games, mostly of our own invention and imagination. Remember these scenes?
While I applaud the the progress of our country on one hand I cringed at the way society wants every thing quick, fast and immediate. To me the greatest loss is to lose the appreciation of the beauty of a language, the joy of communicating with words. I truly despair at how prevailing the use of text messaging in our lives today not only by handphones but in emails and chat as well. It really pains me to receive an email that reads “C u b4 3 pm 2day when you could easily have written “see you before 3 pm this afternoon”!
Happy Merdeka, everyone!