It’s Sarah’s turn to host the Friendly Friday Challenge and she asks us to feature people met during travels at home or abroad.
Looking at her photos, I am reminded of a documentary workshop I took while in Singapore years ago. This is a post from my archives and given Singapore’s super-vigilance on Covid-19, I’m not sure Sundays on Orchard is the same. I suspect a variation is still true but maybe my friends in Singapore will let me know.
In Singapore, domestic help live with their employers during their six-day work week. They have sundays off and usually spend it with their friends. This is no different from anywhere else in the world. Except that in Singapore, there aren’t a lot of public spaces for masses of people to meet.
A favourite hub is the Lucky Plaza mall on Orchard Road. Every Sunday morning, thousands of people pour into this old-style shopping plaza and block. The crowds are equivalent to Black Friday sales in the US. Or Boxing Day sales in Canada. Or New Years Eve in Nathan Phillips square. (Pre-Covid!) Lots and lots of people.
Normally, I avoid crowds but I’d signed up for a workshop on ‘Documentary Story-telling’. Our group exercise was to craft a photo essay on Filipino maids spending their Sunday on Orchard.
It’s a hard life being a maid; cleaning and caring for one family while living far away from your own. Most come from the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. Typically, they work two years before taking vacation for home trips. It’s no wonder that on their day off, they reach out to compatriots and spend the time socializing.
Thomas, our workshop teacher gave hints on taking surreptitious street photos. The tip I liked most was how to take photos with a mobile phone in one hand. It helps to have long and nimble fingers. Too bad for me!
Thomas did not spend a lot of time on technicalities, his focus was on messaging and mood capturing. Sometimes it involved taking imperfect pictures. Pictures which by themselves were un-interesting but as part of a whole, made sense. Here is my collection.
Photos taken on Orchard Rd, Singapore. April 2016