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Wednesday 8 December 2010

Oxford: Christ Church College

Christ Church College is the grandest among all the colleges in Oxford University, as King's College is to Cambridge University. These university colleges were the only colleges that I had to pay to get in. The university that I work for is free of charge to enter. However, tourists won't visit my university anyway, even though it is free. They will still flock to Cambridge and Oxford.

Tom Tower is the most visible of all buildings in Christ Church College, where it is also the college main entrance.

After paying the £6 entrance fee, I was giving a small guide book to navigate around the college. I didn't enter from below Tom Tower, as it is only for the staff and student of the college. Tourist access is through the Meadow Building.

To get to the main attractions of the college, I had to walk through the cloister. Does the cloister look familiar to you? If you are a Harry Potter fan, then you must have seen Harry Potter and his peers walking along similar cloister in the movie series. Do you get it now? Yes! Christ Church College is one of the filming locations of the Harry Potter movie series.

Christ Church College is part of Hogwarts School to the Harry Potter fans now! I actually saw them overjoyed for having the chance to see 'Hogwarts School' with their own eyes.

After walking through the cloister, I came to the entrance to the main attraction of this college.

Do you still remember the scenes in the Harry Potter movies with the moving staircases and beautiful fan-vaulted ceiling? Well, now you remember!

This fan-vaulted ceiling was built in the 1640s, but is is very well maintained until today. That justifies the entrance fee that we have to pay.

After hanging around at the staircases for a while, I finally reached the final flight of staircase that took all the students into Hogwarts School. Erm... am I too carried away?

At the end of the staircase is the Great Hall or Dining Hall.

There was an upcoming dinner function during the time of my visit. That explains the properly set dining tables.

The Great Hall is also the dining hall that appeared in the Harry Potter movie series. Some tourists did the act there and then.

Besides the Great Hall, the college chapel, or the Christ Church Cathedral, is also worth a visit.

There are many stained glass windows here for you to appreciate.

The Memorial Gardens and Broadwalk are also nice places to be for a lazy afternoon. However, I did not have that luxury as I was only in Oxford for a day trip. So, I had to move on.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Shirley & Pamela at the Park

It was the same day that we shot Joshua and Jasmine at the Traffic Garden, but it was in the afternoon at a different location.

My friend arranged the shooting at the park beside MBKS building. I didn't know about this park before coming here for the shooting, and I have driven pass the MBKS building multiple of times!

The weather wasn't with us as the storm cloud moved in very quickly. Only after a couple of minutes of shooting, there was a heavy downpour. Henceforth, we shifted the shooting location indoor, a newly renovated cafe.

I am putting up the photos at the park first, and the photos shot at the cafe will be coming up soon, so please stay tuned!

Sunday 5 December 2010

In Search of the Old Well

How does the name of Kuching come about? This is a question that has at least three answers. If you ask the younger Kuchingites, the most popular answer will be that Kuching is the Malay word for cats, without the letter 'h'. That's why Kuching is associated with cats until recently that it earned the nickname of Cats City.

The more senior Kuchingites may tell you that the city is name after the longans. What has it got to do with longans? The people who tell you this version of the story will refer you the the longan trees that once occupied Bukit Mata Kucing. 'Mata kucing' is the Malay word for longans. That explains the association of Kuching with longans. 'Mata kucing' is actually cat's eye in Malay but longan was so named due to the black round seed. Henceforth, this version is somehow associated with cats also.

For the Teochew people who once dominated the Kuching town, they may beg to defer from the two preceding versions of naming of Kuching. Their version is associated with old wells. There were three wells around Kuching town that became the main source of water supply in the olden days. The pronunciation of the Chinese word of 'old well' (古井) in Teochew is phonetically similar to the word 'Kuching'.

Me and my photography buddies were curious about the old well version and we decided to embark on a mission of searching for the old wells. We know that the only existing one is behind the oldest temple in Kuching. The one we were searching for was said to be inside a shop-house near Upper China Street (大井巷), off Carpenter Street (亚答街).

After breakfast, we started walking along Upper China Street and was just casually snapping away.

It was quite a hilarious thing that we did not actually know where to begin with, since the whole street was very quiet.

So, besides casual shooting, it was still casual shooting!

Things began to take a clearer path when some of my friends started to converse with a shopkeeper dealing with scale business. It is a business run by the Tan (陈) family.

The shop itself is already more that eighty years old. They told us that the shop owner is terminating the lease very soon and they are going to wrap up the business once they have received the notice.

We don't know what is going to happen to this piece of historical heritage once they have moved on.

Perhaps the only thing that will move on from here is this antique bicycle belonging to the forefather of the business owner.

Coincidentally, we found out that one of the missing wells was once located at this existing shop-house. What a coincidence! Perhaps we were fated to find its location as the idea of finding the old well entered our mind just not long ago. The crack on the floor was caused by the ground settlement due to the ground water feeding the old well, marking its exact location.

Our mission was accomplished and we started our casual shooting again. We spotted this lazy-plumb cat along the way, which is also a popular association with the naming of Kuching.

I rewarded myself with a glass of iced sour plum tea at the end of the mission. It was time to quench our thirst after a few hours of walking, talking and shooting.

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