Page 1




Special Thanks

Ruhana DaSilva

Bryan Chin

Amsyar Naaif




Atira Ariffyn

Jeremy Tan


Shafiq Salehuddin

@jeremiahnatusch Awang Mohamed Fadli Contributing Editor


Aaron Lee @0ld.b0y

Azizi Musa @azizimusa_

Assistant Editor Lim Jing Run

Bryan Lim



Editorial Designer

Fitry Yusoff

Carmen See


@carmensee Ivan Lee Chun Kit Writers


Fazlur Redza @fazeatworld

Khairul Razali @khairulrazali

Khaliss Khair @muhamadkhaliss Tunway Yeoh @tunway Photographer Safwan Sarimin @_safwans

Mohd Firdaus @pdahv Naif Farhan @naivefhn


Sufian Ghaffar @_____od Tajang Jinggut @tajang Victoria Ting @victoriating Masses Studio 14A, Jalan 1/77A, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur. Connect


p.7 Editor’s Note p.8 Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia p.36 Part 1: My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping p.56 Camping Hacks for the Concrete Jungle Dweller p.66 Part 2: My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping p.84 The Marksmen Travel Series p.106 “Where there is a wave, there is a way.” p.120 Ditching the Engine and 4-Wheelers with Mayhem p.134 Treading North Korean Soil p.164 Converse Counter Climate p.182 Directory


The concept of travelling - preferably to idyllic locales far detached from any resemblance to our mundane daily lives - is firmly rooted in the hearts of young Malaysians today.

In this issue of MASSESzine, we’re taking you on a figurative journey and talk about all things related to travel and the great outdoors, with the budget of the average young Malaysian in mind.

Globally, youth travel is extremely popular, though Malaysia particularly has a very strong base of young adults that love to mobilise beyond the familiar. This shouldn’t be a surprise; after all, this country is one where low-cost flights are common and travel opportunities within the Southeast Asia region are aplenty.

Camping is one activity that’s easy to dismiss because of how tedious it can be, and our writers found it out the hard way as they erected tents at a couple locations in Malaysia. It’s an acquired taste, but even those that hate camping can find something to love when sleeping in the wilderness. Of course, preparations for the endeavour are many, so we’ll run you through some tips and tricks that’ll make your camping experience far more enjoyable.

We love the idea of escaping the modern grind, to embrace new sights and sounds despite the limitations of our wallet. In an effort to not bust the bank, we look for great tourist spots that are value for money, where enjoyment can be experienced on the cheap. To many, that means a backpacker’s trip to Phuket or Cambodia, where accommodation is extremely affordable, nature-based activities are abundant and nightlife is buzzing. Though sometimes greener pastures are just a state or alleyway away. Malaysia has huge tourist appeal, even among the local populace. Not many Malaysians can boast that they have plumbed the depths of the attractions the country has to offer. How many of Kuala Lumpur’s urban dwellers, for instance, can say that they’ve even journeyed to Sabah and Sarawak? As far as cost is concerned, young travellers here can find solace in that for the most part, domestic travelling here is extremely cheap. Also, much of what is available ‘across the pond’ can also be experience right here, from natural beauty, to an invigorating night life and all the way to luxury shopping and accommodation. However, relying entirely on popular landmarks to decide you travel experience is quite limiting. Sometimes the best sights and sounds are found off the beaten track.

Tourism in Malaysia embodies far more than just its island hot spots, namely Penang or Langkawi. Through these pages, we’ll highlight the country’s smallest state, Perlis, and how we think it might just be Malaysia’s silent gem. Trips are never complete without pictures, so this issue will be laden of them, many of of which will attempt to capture the essence and may facets of what makes this country beautiful. Of course, there are experiences that are simply impossible to achieve within our borders. Curious to learn about the unfamiliar, we enlisted the help of a young Malaysian to document her journey to the highly inaccessible and infamous hermit kingdom of North Korea. Truly a once in a lifetime experience. There’s more, but like any good journey, it is one of great discovery. Happy travels!

Jeremy Tan, Editor.


Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia

Perlis: The Silent Gem Of Malaysia Words by Team MASSES Photographs by Safwan Sarimin

Any mention of vacation within Malaysia will likely conjure thoughts of the heritage rows in Penang harbouring ancient eateries with scrumptious cuisine. You may instead wax lyrical about the historic landmarks in Malacca, that serve as atmospheric reminders of Old Malaya. Or you might reminiscence on an eventful beachside party in Langkawi, a memory made all the better thanks to duty-free booze. Many other great locales within the country will come to mind, but you’d likely never have even thought of Perlis as a potential tourist destination. Originally part of Kedah, Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia, lying at the northern part of the west coast of Peninsular

Malaysia and has the Satun and Songkhla Provinces of Thailand on its northern border. The capital of Perlis is Kangar, and the Royal capital is Arau. Its population is equally tiny at slightly over 200,000 people as of 2010 and comprises mainly humble Malay folk, who go about their daily lives tending the paddy fields or fishing. The village of Kuala Perlis, the second largest town in the state, is great if you’re a seafood enthusiast as the place boasts many restaurants that serve fresh and cheap bounties of the sea. Though beside that, it’s such a quiet, unassuming state with a relatively dull nightlife and modest development that it’s easy to overlook the main

attraction: its natural beauty. Perlis is simply gorgeous. It blends the beauty of the lush tropics that haven’t suffered the creeping of modern civilisation with a misty, cool air that affords it an ambience incredibly reminiscent of New Zealand. You might even forget you’re in the same country. From epic swaths of autumn green across the countryside to the imposing mountainous landscape that prompt ‘Insta-worthy’ moments, there’s a lot for the eyes to feast on if you’re a sucker for nature. If an escapade from modern living is just what you need, do yourself a favour and “Perlis” go there. Pardon the pun.


A father taking his son for a ride on a narrow road along the Kedah-Perlis Border.


Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia

A big plot of plantation land in Chuping, Perlis. It's almost unbelievable that this view can be experienced in Malaysia.





The quiet railway of KTM Perlis. Development in the state is relatively dialled down, which is a godsend for the nature lover.



One of Chuping's many rubber plantations.It's surreal atmosphere feels almost autumnal and can easily be mistaken as a prime picnic spot.


Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia


This lone home right smack at the centre of a paddy field encapsulates both the tranquillity and beauty Perlis offers.





Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia

The villagers around Timah-Tasoh Lake earn a living by catching its underwater bounties. The lake can hold around 35.3 million litres of water at any one time, so it also serves as a primary source of water for the people of Perlis while helping in flood prevention.


Boats of the few fisherman that take Timah-Tasoh Lake as their hunting ground.


Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia

Yet another rubber plantation in Perlis that might evoke thoughts of the Forbidden Forest in the Harry Potter series. Anyone looking for a location to shoot horror flicks should keep this spot on their radar.



Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia

Epic National Geography-level photography is possible in Perlis, as evidenced by the poetic capture of this lone tree.



Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia

27 A shoreline in Kuala Perlis, the second largest town in the state. The area is known for fishing and by extension great, fresh seafood.


Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia



Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia





Perlis: The Silent Gem of Malaysia


My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 1

My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 1 Words by Khaliss Khair Photographs by Safwan Sarimin

I am not an outdoor guy, and I hate camping! The idea of parting from the luxury of having a roof on top of my head and saying goodbye to the artificial cold wind that puts me into deep sleep every night doesn’t excite me at all. Heck, I even skipped my JPAM Camping trip back when I was doing my Diploma.




Doing so caused me to extend my college duration for another semester, but better that than enduring the untamed, wifi-less world of flora and fauna. However, the time spent exploring the nature with half of Team Masses has made camping an enjoyable experience. What used to be the least likely thing I’d ever do has now shifted its way to the very top of my to-do list… provided that good company is present for the trip. Four of us were assigned to go on the expedition. Carmen See (a happy camper whom has the most outdoor experience among us), Fazlur Redza (Masses very own Metal Head Chef), Safwan Sarimin (sharp shooter and tempeh enthusiast), and last but not least myself. We began our journey to the first location from our office at roughly 7a.m. Carmen was appointed to ride shotgun next to me because judging from history, the other two dudes sitting at the back weren’t so dependable as assistant navigators. One was always busy texting his girlfriend, while the other spent most of his time lost in reverie.

It was raining cats and dogs that morning nonetheless everything seems to be on the right track so far. Traffic was on its best behavior, navigating through and out of the city was such a breeze. We have good company and a total of 55km worth of distance for us to cover. The timeless intoxicating psychedelic tunes in Pink Floyd’s finale song to their 1971 Meddle album gave warmth against the bone chilling weather. “Echoes” had done its part in making the icy dawn a tad more bearable. Well, at least for me. We then made a quick stop to get some last minute camping essentials like cooking oil, sulfur and ice. While at it, we gobbled up burgers, hash browns and coffee to keep our tummy happy and eyes wide open before heading back on the road. The scenery gradually morphed as we got ever closer to our destination. The three-lane highway shrunk into a one-way road while what used to be tall concrete superstructures on the sides have been replaced by rows of thick woods. The number of eight wheelers on the crooked asphalt that day put the journey on pause, though it did buy us time to really appreciate the surrounding panorama.


My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 1

When we resumed our ride, the coursing air as we blazed through the road with windows down was fresh, a welcome departure from the air back at the cityscape. The green and peaceful surroundings gave this city boy some sort of tranquility that the city could never offer. It made me curious to see what awaited us up ahead. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all, I thought. Soon we were on a continuous uphill climb, which was punctuated by plenty of successful attempts in overtaking the slow lorries. Minutes felt like an hour behind the wheel till the 5km signage to Sungai Sendat Campsite passed us by. Filled with anxiety to explore the unfamiliar place and the upcoming opportunity to finally take a break from driving, I gave the pedal an extra push toward the last few bends of the road. However, what waited for us at the end of the path inspired conflicting feelings of joy and disappointment. We made it to the campsite in one piece but luck wasn’t on our side as the place was closed due to an unfortunate drowning incident that happened a few months prior. Going home empty handed was never part of the plan, especially after all the tedious preparations we have done for the trip. Without wasting any more time, we turned to Google in search for the nearest campsite to lay our tents and spend the night. We managed to locate a nearby spot called Sungai Kedondong, 17km away. Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s this time, we gave Majlis Perbandaran Hulu Selangor a call to get a confirmation whether the place is open for us to camp. The person in charge gave us the green light but said that we were required to first settle the camping fee at their office. Off we went, resigned to endure yet another tormenting pit stop. The detour to Majlis Perbandaran Hulu Selangor ate a lot of our time on the road. To make things worse, the service we received was unpleasant, to put it mildly. We were forced to wait for over half an hour just to pay the RM15 camping fee plus an additional RM100 deposit (incase we didn’t keep the place clean). The shocking part was there were only three of us sitting in the hall while the officers were all busy having breakfast. Couldn’t they get their

priorities straight and attended to us first? Frustrated with their inefficiency, I left my colleagues there to wait for their turn and went straight to meet with Safwan who was knocked out in the backseat. My eyes felt so heavy as we forged ahead to Sungai Kedondong. It was way past lunchtime yet the campsite wasn’t even in our sight. The number of stops that we took made it feel as if we were in a transit bus. We were all starved, irritated and of course a little grumpy too. The world could easily turn into chaos if we were required to make another stop; even hearing the word itself pissed us off that day. What we desperately wished for at that moment was to have a good rest, a proper meal and a straight 10hour nap. Endless session of curses and complaints became our only entertainment that had kept us awake and sane till we checked into the campsite. We drove around the campground for a lap so we could get a good look of the place before I pulled the handbrakes on. Man, the Majlis screwed us over! Sungai Kedondong was worlds apart compared to the image we Googled. The place was decorated with used diapers, plastics and papers courtesy of the incompetent campers who threw rubbish as they wished. To make matters worse, the air carried with it the scent of rotting animals. Are we seriously going to stay at a place like this? What have we got ourselves into? We searched for the cleanest and least rancid spot to set up camp. Up and down we went on the slippery stairs, avoiding pieces of rubbish as we trekked through the infested jungle. Moments later we stumbled upon a huge green clearing wide enough to fit at least 10 campers… and apparently an innumerable legion of mosquitoes. Carmen unleashed her latent girl scout, taking charge in teaching us to set up our tents. Truth be told, setting up the tent was a sweaty affair, but shockingly easy compared to what I initially imagined. All we had to do was to connect the tent poles into the flaps in the tent, raise it up and secure it safely to the ground.



My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 1


In dying need for a proper meal, we rushed Fazlur to start prepping for the long awaited lunch. Our menu was simple and required relatively little hands-on work yet Fazlur’s signature dish of not so tender spaghetti mixed with half cooked sausages became the delicacies we longed for. With a full stomach we went for a quick dip in the river not far away from our

tents. We were quite surprised to see that the water was crystal clear and wasn’t filled with floating pieces of rubbish. It was so clear that we could spot tiny little fish swimming at the bottom of the river. We jumped right into the cold streaming water for a quick swim and hurried back to our tents before nightfall.


My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 1



My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 1



51 Starting a fire proved to be no easy game when you are out in the wild with little to zero experience. The cold temperature and the wet firewood made it difficult for us to even get a spark going. We tried everything from feeding tissues, papers and also spraying deodorant to fuel the fire, yet none of it was working. The fire we managed to finally cultivate was so pathetic it barely lasted minutes.

It was nearing 9pm but all four of us ended up in near pitch-black darkness, with the tiny lights from our headlamp just barely keeping our faces discernable. We had some snacks as our dinner and went for an early night. There was nothing else left for us to do anyway.


My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 1

53 The cocoon-like sleeping bag left us with minimum room to move in the already tight-spaced tent. Our solid bed made it hard to fall asleep. Lying dead awake I looked up from the windows of the tent to kill some time. The view that night was so astonishing. Captivated by countless blinking lights up high in the sky, I woke Safwan up so he could capture the exceptional beauty bestowed upon us. The rest joined us soon after, stayed up till sunrise and had a big breakfast before we packed everything up for the next location.

My very first adventure with the team will definitely be one of the memories that I will treasure forever. Each and every challenge that we went through together strengthened our bonds and made us be better friends. The lack of comfort, terrible reception and mosquito bites were nothing compared to the priceless experience we gained. I still hate camping but I will definitely say yes to the opportunity of going outside the normality of cubicles and raised beds for a night or two in the wilderness with Team Masses again.


My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 1



Camping Hacks for the Concrete Jungle Dweller

Camping Hacks For The Concrete Jungle Dweller Words by Fazlur Redza Illustration by Carmen See

The great beauty of modern civilization is the comfort brought on by technology and urban amenities. Too many of us are so used to these perks that we can hardly survive a day without them, which is precisely why ‘glamping’ is a growing trend. Glamping, a portmanteau for glamorous camping, is the urban dweller’s poor excuse for camping. The activity avoids the use of sleeping bags, setting up tents and starting fires with rocks by adding actual beds, household appliances and the kind of services you’d expect from classy hotels into the mix. It’s almost like bringing your house to the campsite.

While there are no ‘caveman antics’ prevalent in glamping - much to the satisfaction of the average city slicker it isn’t really camping if there aren’t any sleeping bags or tent building involved. If you want a taste of actual camping but are too reluctant to temporarily wave farewell to modern day tools, there is a middle ground you can tread. With help from technology (thanks Google) we’ve curated a list of tips and tricks you can do to make your camping experience feel a little more like home. Concrete jungle dwellers, these next few pages are just for you!


Knots 101

There are a myriad of ways to tie a knot and the campsite is where this particular skillset will prove most useful. Unleash your inner boy scout by learning some of these knot tying skills! Here’s a list of knot terms to assist your Google searching efforts.


Camping Hacks for the Concrete Jungle Dweller

Makeshift Loudspeaker When you get tired of frogs croaking and crickets singing in the background, punctuate the sounds of nature with music! You aren’t going to be ridiculous enough to bring your huge audio speakers to the campsite, but thankfully you won’t need to. All you need is a phone or iPod, a cardboard roll and a couple of plastic cups with holes in their sides. Combine them and you’ll have your very own campsite audio system. If you’re too lazy to craft such a thing, the next best thing is to just chuck your phone into a ceramic mug for quick and easy sound propagation.

D.I.Y Lantern Fancy reading an epic Dan Brown novel post dinner while nestled within nature’s beauty? Get the perfect amount of lighting to do so by strapping your headlamp to a huge jug of water. The resulting combination creates a very pleasant ambient light that’s bright enough for you to easily navigate through the dark. The tool also doubles up as a thirst quencher… just don’t drink it all if you still value the lantern.


TicTacs to spice up your camping trip (sort of)




Pickles Steak


Most likely discovered by a college student in a cooking experiment gone wrong, a bag chips are a good foundation to build a fire on. These edibles are rather combustible, so although that isn’t a positive indication of their nutritional value, it’s an alternative for starting a fire if you’re not too fond of banging rocks together for half an hour.


Chips make a great outdoor fire

Garlic Salt

TicTac containers serve as great spice holders as it’s compact and therefore easy to carry around. You’re not likely to appreciate dull, tasteless food when you’re stuck in the middle of a forest clearing, so your tummy will thank you for bringing salt and pepper for the occasion.


Camping Hacks for the Concrete Jungle Dweller

Portable Coal with Egg Cartons A campsite barbeque is a wondrously salivating experience, but lugging a whole bag of charcoal is significantly less so. Avoid such nonsense by using an empty egg carton to easily carry about sufficient amounts of coal for your grilling needs.

Coloured padding for comfort Take camping comfort one step further with an item most commonly seen in a toddler’s play room. These coloured puzzle-like pads make going barefoot far more pleasant while adding some vibrancy to an otherwise dull abode. A yoga mat will also do the trick if you don’t already have these coloured pads.


Makeshift Toilet Paper Protector Toilet paper is an indispensable asset if you are averse to wiping your rear with leaves, so protect your tissues with utmost care. Anything from coffee cans to empty biscuit tins can be used as storage, safeguarding your tissues from rain assault or getting crushed. Depending on the composition of your makeshift storage system, you can even cut a little hole on the side of the tin to run the paper out of!

Foil and Food go hand in hand Speaking of campsite barbeques, foils should be an automatic inclusion to your backpack if you’re looking to make quality camp food. Having foil available at the camp opens up gastronomic horizons that would otherwise be unavailable to you. Now you can easily cook up a delectable serving of melted cheese and potatoes, vegetables without burnt marks and a whole load of other edibles!


Camping Hacks for the Concrete Jungle Dweller

Roast your chewing gum! Marshmallow roasting is a textbook camping activity. It’s a little too mainstream, so embrace your inner hipster by roasting your Sugus instead! Crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, it’s a texture that will certainly be a lovely departure from the norm.

Simple Coffee Filter Some of you can’t sincerely say ‘good morning’ without a nice hot cup of coffee. Though you won’t have to worry about not getting your caffeine fix during a camping trip if you bring along a simple coffee filter. Just drop some coffee in it, tie it up with dental floss, and then use it as a teabag in hot water. It’s simple, efficient and with almost zero fuss.


Always Bring An Easy Insect Repellent This one is a little bit of a no-brainer, but do yourself a favour and bring some form of insect repellent. Love bites from mosquitoes are the worst love bites imaginable, though this is easily avoided with mosquito patches. If patches are unavailable to you just buy the traditional one with the ringer on it.

Marking tapes lead the way! Hiking tends to be an integrated element of camping and getting lost while doing so can single handedly ruin your experience in the wild. Avoid this by bringing along marking tapes to mark your trail; they’ll serve as a sort of compass to guide your way back to the campsite. If you’re hiking in the dark reflective marking tapes can be a real life saver, so keep those in mind.


Camping Hacks for the Concrete Jungle Dweller

Bring Microfiber Towels Microfiber towels distinguish themselves from their mundane counterparts by being extremely absorbent, so they dry super quickly. It’s yet another easy-to-carry item you ought to bring along for all your camping trips.

Substitute expensive BBQ woods with rosemary for fragrant smoke! Instead of buying relatively expensive apple wood or oak wood for your grill, you can use rosemary to impart the scent and taste of savoury herbs to your barbeque. Once the coals are uniformly gray and ashy, cover them with fresh rosemary branches. Your meat and vegetables will be a more tasty treat, and that’s never a bad thing.


Pack A Mini First-Aid Kit Into An Old Prescription Bottle or Any Peppermints Tin. Just as the title says, prescription bottles or small tins are great and compact ways to store your medicine for outings into the wilderness. You’ll never know when you’ll need a mini first aid kit, after all.

Rakes are a chef’s best friend… apparently Let’s just ignore the potential hygiene issues here. Who needs actual skewers when you can just stick all your sausages on a rake for an effective grill? Yes, it’s weird, but it gets the job done without you needing to sit an inch away from the sweat inducing embers.


My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 2

My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 2 Words by Fazlur Redza Photographs by Safwan Sarimin

Echoing the sentiments of the writer in the preceding article, I’m not much of a camping enthusiast. I studied Interior Design, for God’s sake, a course premised entirely on decorating whatever that’s indoors. Though the wild outdoors aren’t exactly foreign land to me; since middle school, I’ve traversed and slept within lush forests to mangrove hills in a bid to clear my thoughts with nature’s beauty. So while I’m not a great fan of the activity, I’m not entirely dismissive of camping either.



My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 2



My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 2

Camping at a beach, however, had yet been ticked on my mental to-do list. With the shoreline sands beckoning me - and the fact that our resident Buddha (read: Editor-in-Chief) issued his ultimatum - my colleagues and I took off from Kedondong and onward to a new destination: Batu Dam. Before all you anal folk start lobbing imaginary pitchforks, we know it isn’t a beach. Though considering the sheer mass of surrounding water, the sporadic patches of sand sprinkled across the perimeter and the breathtaking beauty, the locale is almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Sadly, the management from Empangan Batu Dam Sdn Bhd disallowed us from setting up camp there as it had become a restricted zone, unless we were keen on getting sued and spending a period of time enjoying free meals and a homestay behind metal bars. After some deliberation, we resigned ourselves to changing course toward a more appropriate location in Pantai Redang, Sekinchan. Being denied

from Batu Dam was still fresh in our minds though, with our resident driver Khaliss firing a series of expletives in frustration as we headed northward. If memory serves correctly, Kuala Selangor is a popular spot of firefly sightseeing and munching on delectable fresh seafood. Also, there’s their mouthwateringly famous Cendol Bakar, but I digress. Our destination within Kuala Selangor was near a small fishing village close to a port where all the fishermen in the area gather to cari rezeki. Our almost 2 hour long drive to reach the camping spot was rewarded with views of an achingly beautiful white sandy beach, and sand receding into an ocean that stretched over a gorgeous horizon. The sand was a sight for sore eyes, but the shoreline waters? Not so much. Blobs of rubbish littered the waters like an infuriating blemish upon an otherwise immaculate canvas. Worse, the rubbish discouraged any thoughts of dipping into the ocean, which is a huge appeal to beachside camping.




My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 2



Still, camping at Pantai Redang proved a relaxing distraction, what with its cool breeze - which I was pleasantly surprised to find wasn’t smelly despite the spam of garbage - and notable lack of hustle and bustle, beyond the few local fishermen there hoping for a good catch. Seeing them, I decided to try my luck for the ocean’s bounty with my dad’s fishing rod. Alas, all my bait hooked in was a bunch of plastic. Irresponsible beachgoers be damned. Soon after we were done erecting our tent, we encountered a bald, skinny and tanned Chinese guy who turned out to be our next-door camping neighbour for the evening. A brief conversation revealed he had travelled to Pantai Redang from Puchong… entirely by bicycle. I found it rather impressive that a two-wheel paddler would be willing to ride for hours just to quench his thirst for travel. In any case, we welcomed his presence with open arms, and he responded by setting up his own tent at lightning speed before taking a shower at a nearby public restroom. Clearly, the man’s a veteran

of the outdoors. We were rather keen on asking him to relate to us his own travels, but he was a rather quiet neighbour throughout the night. Speaking of the night, the four of us had our own tasks to accomplish before the darkness embraced us. Dividing into two groups, one half went around the area gathering wood to make a fire for the night, while the other half were tasked with the preparation and cooking of our stocked ingredients. The sudden rain wasn’t very kind to us though, forcing us to continue our activity at the nearest gazebo beside our campsite. The relatively strong breeze colliding with the heavy rain morphed the originally warm atmosphere into a near freezing night. We warmed ourselves with some potatoes we baked on the fireplace while waiting for our instant noodles to finish cooking. By the time we had our fill of campsite food, we headed back to camp for an early sleep as the rain denied us most other meaningful forms of spending our time.


My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 2



My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 2

It was incredibly windy around 2 am, and the rain had intensified. I was aroused from sleep by the hammering thunder and the heavy shaking of our tent. Sleep after that was rather fragmented. At dawn, we started the day by walking on the beach and appreciate the sunrise. However, with yet another storm coming from the horizon, the anticipated panorama was denied us. We decided to pack up early to avoid yet another assault from heavy rain. As much as the views were eye-catching and the fresh breeze a welcome departure from the smog-filled air of the metropolis, we left Pantai Redang with much to be desired. Pantai Redang’s magnificence was tarnished by the garbage and the

unfortunate presence of crying nimbuses above us. However, even the heavy downpour was ironically somewhat tranquil when experienced in a context that doesn’t involve city traffic and rushing to an office cubicle. Mother Nature, in almost all its forms, is still beautiful from a certain perspective, and camping puts you right at the heart of that beauty. Heck, I’d rather deal with beachside garbage and bad weather conditions while sleeping in makeshift homes and nothing but a campfire to cook than head being stuck in a constant 9 to 5 corporate work cycle. Looking at it that way, camping has its perks. One more thing I’ve learnt that’s crucial to a good camping experience? Location, location, location.



My Boss Forced Me To Go Camping Part 2


The Marksmen Series: The Travel Edition

Photographs by:

Amsyar Naaif Awang Mohamed Fadli Azizi Musa Fitry Yusoff Ivan Lee Chun Kit Khairul Razali Mohd Firdaus Naif Farhan Safwan Sarimin Shafiq Salehuddin Sufian Ghaffar

Tanjung Tuan, Negeri Sembilan.

Photograph by Naif Farhan Instagram @naivefhn

Pantai Pandak, Terengganu.

Photograph by Amsyar Naaif Instagram @Amsyarnaaif

Pantai Tusan, Miri, Sarawak.

Photograph by Awang Mohamed Fadli Instagram @awanawang

Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

Photograph by Azizi Musa Instagram @azizimusa_

Mabul Island, Semporna Sabah.

Photograph by Fitry Yusoff Instagram @melongray

Hardrock Hotel, Penang.

Photograph by Ivan Lee Chun Kit Instagram @kosherunit

Pantai Kelulut, Terengganu.

Photograph by Khairul Razali Instagram @khairulrazali

Crystal Mosque, Kuala Terengganu.

Photograph by Mohd Firdaus Instagram @pdahv

Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Photograph by Safwan Sarimin Instagram @_safwans

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Photograph by Shafiq Salehuddin Instagram @shafiqanaksaleh

Cameron Highland, Pahang.

Photograph by Sufian Ghaffar Instagram @_____od


“Where there is a wave, there is a way.”

“Where there is a wave, there is a way.” Words by Victoria Ting Photographs by Tajang Jinggut, Bryan Lim & Ruhana DaSilva

400km from KL, there’s a surf town we drive to, and it ain’t Cherating. How committed are you to doing something that you love? I ask myself this, lying in bed at 3:54am, wide-awake, right before my alarm goes off, and it begins. It’s been eight weekends in a row, and I have not let myself down. The decision to forego fridays and weekends in KL is easy, in pursuit of the possible promise of waves at an obscure fishing village down south.



“Where there is a wave, there is a way.”

Somewhere between sleep and being awake, we ask ourselves if breakfast is a priority, quickly dismissing it as we make our way down to the car. We’ve packed the night before, mostly essentials, saving us precious time as we lug an empty ice box down to the car. Every minute spent saving time packing seemingly makes the the 400 km drive quicker. The morning drive is picturesque. We’ve documented the journey as: Darkness, then rays of light slowly peeking through, flowering bushes along the highway – red, yellow and purple, the morning sun starting to fill the sky, the clouds of fog that envelops the highway as we drive somewhere through the lands of Malacca and Johor. It’s the same, but different every time. We turn off, about 20 kilometers before Johor Bahru and onto the Senai-Desaru highway. Zooming pass Johor Premium Outlets, we acknowledge it; asking ourselves, each time why we haven’t visited. The question mostly answers itself.

Our attention peaks whenever we drive across the Sungai Johor Bridge, it means we’re getting close. As we exit the Penawar toll, the excitement continues to build. We pay close attention to the wind, swell and tide determine if we stop for breakfast – choices includes the “best roti canai in Malaysia”, modestlooking but decadent morning kuih, lontong, soto and nasi lemak. Or there’s always surf for breakfast, some say, and we concur. When it’s on, it’s on. We say that a lot, especially when there are waves, more often when there aren’t. Desaru is dotted with small pockets of surf, nonexistent to the untrained eye. Over-head waves are a common sight later in the season, and we’re lucky enough to have ridden some faces, pull off some floaters and turns; enough to invoke that feeling of stoke you so often hear surfers ramble on-and-on about.



“Where there is a wave, there is a way.”


“When there is a wave, there is a way.”


“Where there is a wave, there is a way.”



“Where there is a wave, there is a way.”

The waves in Desaru do as they please. As they wrap around the bay, they can either be merciful or punish you with such aggression only known by nature. We think about this, as we watch the waves roll in, keeping an eye out for clean sections or a peak in the distance.

through your mind again and again sending all sorts of good feelings into your brain, not unlike a drug. This is the definition of stoke, that immediate feeling you get after catching a wave, replayed over and over again until that memory disappears - only to leave you longing for more.

On good days, we stay in the water for hours on end, taking a break when the hunger pangs get so real that the cramps set in.

Time on a wave is limited. From 1 foot humps to 10 foot mountains coming at you, the face you take off on, the drop, the green, charging down the line until it disintegrates and forms a sea of mush and white wash. Imagine this played back so many times in your head that the lines blur between reality and your imagination.

There are no bad days. If there’s no swell, there’s always sleep and lobsters (Freshly caught, at a fraction of the price you would pay in KL). The hardest part about surfing is piecing together what you remember happening versus what had actually happened. Every turn and glide goes

The more times you do it, the more surreal it gets until you’re left with something out of Inception. You know that it happened, but don’t know how it starts or ends.


Surf footage is limited, like a precious resource; every time there’s a photographer nearby, surfers scramble to catch waves and pull of tricks in hopes that there would be some form of digital evidence that the deed was done. Our sessions are limited to 1-2 hours depending on the waves. A quick lunch provides sustenance as we drift somewhere between a nap, playing back the waves we’ve caught in our head, keeping an eye on the tide and watching as the sets roll in. During this lucid lull of rest and awakeness, I mostly find myself asking how we found ourselves in this fishing village, turned resort town where a budding surf community thrives and operates within the dayto-day lives of its people. 400 kilometers away, we commit to a totally different lifestyle, confined by the priorities and working order of the concrete jungle.

During monsoon weekends; 48 hours of driving, surf, and hanging out with your atypical run-of-the-mill surfers and kooks barely provides us with enough fuel to get through the week before the froth sets in - suddenly we’re in our office spaces, drawing imaginary lines on imaginary waves. From outsiders, to frequent visitors to friends of the community, we are happy to call this place our Weekend Home. As the sets begin to close out, so does our journey back home. This dude named Thomas Mitchell wrote “Surfing is a combination of soul and stoke interacting harmoniously with the wave. This is what makes the surfer.”


“Where there is a wave, there is a way.”



Ditching the Engine and 4-Wheelers with Mayhem

Ditching the Engine and 4-Wheelers with Mayhem Words by Tunway Yeoh Photographs by Safwan Sarimin

Why aren’t we cycling more? Beside reducing our carbon footprint, cycling is arguably the best vehicle for low-cost scenic travelling. You essentially have a full 360 degree view of the world. The invigorating winds rushing against you is completely unobstructed by the confining space of an automotive. Your legs are the engine, pushing you forward at your pace. You emit zero pollution, allowing you to appreciate whatever piece of nature you land yourself in without slightly ruining it. The bicycle is remarkably beautiful in its simplicity and function. Even a simple commute to work or the convenience

store can be a tranquil experience on this 2-wheeler, in part because you avoid the morning traffic. Though most urbanites, it seems, have an aversion to sweating and moving their feet for more than five minutes. To persuade the uninitiated into the world of cycling, we got in touch with Mayhem, a group of fixed gear cycling enthusiasts based in Shah Alam to shed some of their thoughts on the activity. Formed in 2010, Mayhem began their journey with weekly cycling and along the way began designing t-shirts for the team

members and eventually started to sell them to the public. Mayhem notes that fixed gear bikes - also known as ‘fixie’ - is a good start off point for newbies because it’s a simple bicycle that is very easy to maintain. All one has to do is to keep the tires and chains in good working order. There is a certain segment of the population that loves basic and simple things. In addition to being possibly the most efficient people-moving device that exists, the fixed gear bicycle can be an important accessory. Flip over the next few pages for more of what Mayhem has to say.



Ditching the Engine and 4-Wheelers with Mayhem



Ditching the Engine and 4-Wheelers with Mayhem


How can the bike-commuting culture in Malaysia be described and understood? Bike commuting is a healthy ongoing culture that’s been garnering greater awareness among society today. Although bike commuting seems new to us, it was a primarily means of transportation relatively not too long ago, so why not now? Many bikes events and awareness campaigns have been promoted and organised to reinstate the culture back into the modern day. Can the local cycling demographic be largely defined? As in, do you happen to see more young adults cyclists, or is the local cycling culture kept alive by the older generation instead? It’s a culture that has now been carry out by both young and older generations with different approaches and styles. Do you think people need to be encouraged to see cycling as a legitimate means of commuting? Is it? Depends on how you designate

the necessity of it. People don’t tend to cycle to work here, nor cycle primarily as a mean of travel. Given our country’s landscape and its people’s habits, do you think there is a hope to further cultivates the cycling culture here for both work and travel? Malaysians do intend to cycle especially to work but due to our unpredictable weather especially the heat and heavy rains, it’s quite difficult to do so. Sweat and wetness will be a challenge for work. Habit can be trained but Mother Nature can’t. It will be good if our public transportation could be more bicycle friendly as we could then bring our bike into the LRT and such. As for now, there are bike messengers namely Velo Express that offer messenger services around the city. The existence of such services could be motivation for cultivating the cycling culture in the future. Definitely, the cycling culture will be increasing as more awareness by the public and the authorities inevitably take place.

By extension, what do you think is the best ways to cultivate such a culture here? Through organizing cycling events, special facilities for bikes and many more cycling routes around the city. These will generate more participants and more awareness about the cycling culture. It’ll also be great if the tax for imported bicycles be reduced, which will mean more options for people with less buying power. Options are important as even if the bike is used simply to commute, it’s also best to have a good compatible bicycle. It’s harder to achieve that when the right bike for you may be imported and likely too expensive. What is your definition of cycling? A recreational activity, a way of life or something else entirely? To us, it is not only a lifestyle. It should be a necessary part of Malaysian life for improving health, leisurely travel or simply as a commuting agent.


Ditching the Engine and 4-Wheelers with Mayhem


Do you consider the streets and roads in Malaysia to be generally “cyclist friendly”? Why or why not? As for now it’s a good start by having bike lanes around the city but it is still a work in progress. Hopefully there will be more to come.

If someone were to come up to you for advice for travelling on a bicycle, what would be your suggested bicycle route around KL? Kuala Lumpur has opened to the public its first dedicated bicycle path, a 8.8 km stretch from Mid Valley to Dataran Merdeka. The route passes through the Klang River, Brickfields, the Kompleks Dayabumi compound and Lebuh Pasar Besar. It’s an interesting route where you can stop at several of Kuala Lumpur’s primary attractions. Kudos to Cycling KL for their efforts in making the The Bicycle Map Project.

Many people like the idea of traveling by bicycle but don’t know how to get started. Do you have any advice or words for them? First and foremost is to identify your budget. Do not be easily fooled by what is currently trending. Also, wear the safety helmet and appropriate cycling attire - the brighter the better as well as equipping your bike with additional accessories like rear lights. For nighttime biking, reflective gear will go a long way in enhancing safety. Equip yourself with basic knowledge of bicycle maintenance, such as how to change a flat tyre. Also, it is good to always have bike tools and a lock when you cycle.



Ditching the Engine and 4-Wheelers with Mayhem



Ditching the Engine and 4-Wheelers with Mayhem



Treading North Korean Soil

Treading North Korean Soil Words & Photographs by Atira Ariffin

I never dreamt of setting foot on north korean soil. North korea. Those two words rolled off my tongue with an unfamiliar taste. In my head, it has always been this strange land, a hermit kingdom forgotten by the rest of the world as the earth spins day and night. A sealed land full of secrets, of peculiar tales whispered by the defectors who fled the country. A kingdom led by the supreme leader.



Treading North Korean Soil

Zelionyj Bazaar, Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre, Astana, Kazakhstan.

I was working in my studio when I saw an opportunity that came earlier this year. My school was organising a two-week collaborative architecture program with Pyongyang University of Architecture, and they were calling for applications. My heart sank when I saw the price tag of £2,600, which translates to roughly RM16,000 based on the exchange rate at the time. That figurative price bomb didn’t even include the return flight ticket from London to Beijing where the participants were supposed to gather the travel documents at DPRK embassy in Beijing. I was in my fifth year in architecture school, an income-less student still fully financially dependant on my parents who were supporting my education and living cost in London. In between completing my final year design thesis and piles of submissions, there was absolutely no way for me to gather that kind of money. Reality hit me like a massive rock falling from the edge of a cliff, crushing my hopes into a thousand little pieces, but I could barely stop

Mutianyu Great Wall, Beijing, China.

thinking about it. I was burning with desire to go. I knew I had to. But how? With a sinking feeling, I was aware that I had no other choice but to negotiate with my parents. I waited for the right time and finally broached the subject to my parents. My father was not too convinced at first and said he’ll think about it. I was prepared to forget about it when a couple of days later he called and agreed to fork the bill. “This will be your graduation gift,” he said. I was too stunned to even reply. The sweet words rang in my ears like bells; I was in a different dimension. My graduation gift from my parents was a trip to North Korea. What more could I ask for? Fast forward a few months later, I found myself alone on a plane to Kazakhstan, en route to Beijing where I would be meeting with the program director and four other students to finalise our travel documents and collect our visas at DPRK embassy in Beijing. I spent a night exploring Kazakhstan before I continued my


Mutianyu Great Wall, Beijing, China.

Travel documents preparation at DPRK Embassy in Beijing.

journey to Beijing the following day. The long journey was indeed exhausting but it was the cheapest flight option from London. It was 2 a.m. when my flight arrived at Beijing International Airport. I peeked outside the little plane window. Underneath the veil of that moonless night sky, Beijing was soaked wet. Arrival in Beijing International Airport wasn’t as smooth as I expected. Exhausted and jet lagged, I was having trouble passing the border at the immigration counter and was escorted to interrogation room regarding my purpose of visit to China, mainly because I just arrived alone from Kazakhstan seemed to have raised suspicions. I did not dare to tell the officers I was actually heading to North Korea via China. The immigration officer asked what was the reason I travelled to each country stamped on my passport

170m tall Juche Tower standing on the eastern bank of Taedong River, Pyongyang.

and examined all my visas, particularly the USA, UK and Russian visa. I was asked to empty all the contents of my bags while three Chinese officers stood in front of me, filming the whole thing. They went through all the contents in my iPhone: photos, messages, emails, everything. I just smiled and gave my best cooperation. I was dying to get out of that fluorescent-lit room and just wanted to get it done and over with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, lady luck was not on my side. I was stuck in the interrogation room for over an hour until 3 a.m. in the morning. I was probably the last passenger exited from the arrival hall where I was swarmed by a number of Chinese unofficial taxi operators trying to rip me off. I finally checked in at my hostel at 4 a.m, had a couple of hours of nap and before I set off into the pouring morning to hike the Great Wall.


Treading North Korean Soil

Urban exploration in Beijing, China.

After three days in Beijing, the most anticipated day finally arrived, the departure day to Pyongyang. I was ecstatic. I double checked all my belongings to make sure that they were clear of any sensitive and prohibited items. We have been strictly reminded not to bring any religious, pornographic and antiDPRK materials, South Korean medias (printed or electronic), and maps or satellite imagery of North Korea. High-power telephoto lenses were discouraged, and GPS devices were officially banned. Neatly packed in my backpack were my Macbook, a Fujifilm camera and two prime lenses (35mm and 56mm). I was all set.

Photographed from my seat as we landed at Pyongyang International Airport.

The moment I stepped on the Air Koryo plane I knew I was already in a different universe. The plane were old-ish Soviet-era built aircraft with a classic vibe. I examined the aircraft interior. The chair, the deep blue carpet, the faded patterns on the cushion, everything was old fashioned. I felt like I was on a Malaysia Airlines planes back when I was in kindergarten. It wasn’t until I returned back to London after the trip I found out that Air Koryo is in the list of air carriers banned in European Union due to safety and maintenance concerns. Air Koryo aircraft are banned from landing at EU airports or overflying EU airspace.

139 As I was walking towards my seat number, I noticed that more than half of the passengers were young adults in their 20s, just like me. They were all in smart black suits, crisp white shirts and a small round pins with Kim Il Sung’s face on it neatly pinned on the left side of their chests, their dear leader close to their hearts. There were also some North Korean businessmen, a small group of Chinese tourists and a very small number of other Europeans aside from the members of my group. Soon after the plane soared into the clouds, propaganda songs began filling in the plane. There were small screens at several intervals of the seat rows. I stared at the screen closest to me as it was showing a group of North Korean girls in white military uniforms accompanied by a set of full orchestra band made of a team of military officials in their uniforms. They sang and performed with full enthusiasm and precision as if their lives depended on it. I later came to learn that the girls are one of the most famous North Korean girl band, Moranbong. I was drifting into sleep when I was awaken by a soft tap on my shoulder. The stewardess placed a burger in a clear plastic container with a round lacy napkin and a glass of pink-coloured drink on the small foldup table in front of me. It was a cold chicken fillet sandwiched between two hard, sweetened bread. The pink drink left a strange taste in my mouth. The flight from Beijing to Pyongyang took about two hours. I was deep asleep during most of the journey until I was again woken up by the gentle voice of the stewardess to pull my seat upright when the flight started descending. Pyongyang Sunan International Airport is a newly built terminal after the demolition of the previous terminal. It’s not too big, very basic and not too fancy but good enough for international standard. I imagined it is part of the government’s effort to give a good first impression to the foreign visitors. I scurried with other passengers towards the border control. The queue was very small.

After the incident in China, I was nervous about crossing the border to DPRK but I tried to remain calm. Upon arrival, I was given three different forms to fill in. The first one was a health declaration form, followed by landing card where I had to include the details of the organiser who invited me to their country and other travel details, and the last form is a custom declaration checklist where I need to list down every single items I was carrying with me; how many pairs of jeans, socks, shirts, sneakers, electronics, cameras, lenses, USB drives, toiletries, et cetera. Once I have been cleared to cross the border, I walked across the small hall towards the conveyor belt where a group of passengers were waiting for their luggage and suitcases. It didn’t take too long for my black luggage to arrive. I retrieved it quickly and immediately queued for the last security check. The final check point was full of security officers and military officials in uniforms. All passengers were required to hand over all electronic gadgets; laptops, cameras, lenses, smartphones, hard drives and USB drives for inspection. It was finally my turn. I smiled and gave the security officer my declaration form with all the list of items in my luggage. He examined the list and instructed me to place my luggage in the X-ray machine. I then had to pass through the metal detector and escorted to the inspection area where the officers pulled open my luggage, looked through my possessions and compare it to the list I gave to match. All my electronic gadgets and books were taken to a different room for further inspection until I was finally announced clear to go. The whole process took slightly over one hour. At the arrival hall, my group were introduced to Mr Hua who came to welcome us. He was one of the member from the organiser in charge of our program in Pyongyang. He was good looking, probably in his early thirties. I was really surprised and curious to hear him speak in a full American accent. We were then informed that his father was a DPRK diplomat stationed overseas. He grew up abroad and attended international school until he returned back with family to Pyongyang at the age of seventeen.


Treading North Korean Soil



Treading North Korean Soil

Typical large portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il hanging in front of most buildings in Pyongyang.

Mansudae Grand Monuments was the first place we visited on that very first afternoon before we even checked in at our hotel. The iconic 22m high bronze statues of the great leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il stood high against the mosaic mural illustrating a scene of Mount Pekktu, a sacred mountain of the North Korean revolution. We were first taken to a flower stall at the entrance. Carrying two bouquets of colourful fresh flowers, we were then escorted to the grand monument to pay respect to the great leaders. The flowers were carefully laid on the steps in front of the statues and we were asked to bow down to the statues. It was a strange experience for me. Never in my life have I ever bowed to any statues. Numerous monuments, statues and large portraits of the Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il marked every corner of Pyongyang. On the building facades, in every lobbies, shops, supermarkets, theatres, offices, everywhere. In every single household in the entire North Korea, these portraits are hung in their living rooms, polished daily with great care. Photographing the portraits of the leaders are strictly prohibited.

143 Days passed and I carried on with my design tasks, progressing quickly. I was beginning to get used to not having any communication to the outside world. During the whole two weeks of my stay in Pyongyang, I had zero access to internet connection or mobile network. The international phone call privilege is only permitted to foreigners via hotel phones with super expensive call rates.

A photograph of me with my team members, Kim Ji Song and Sin Tae Il on our project’s proposed site.

My friendship with two of my North Korean partners from Pyongyang University School of Architecture flourished. The three of us were working closely together to prepare a conceptual and schematic design proposal of an urban regeneration project on a small plot of land in the heart of Pyongyang. In normal circumstances, foreign tourists are prohibited from interacting with the locals. Being close to them on a personal level has changed my perception toward the North Koreans drastically. I was unveiling several extra layers of the North Korean life unseen by most tourists on tour agencies. I saw glimpses of the people and their normal everyday lives that is often overlooked in favour of the political propaganda painted by the media. We grew really close over the span of two weeks, eating Naengmyeon (cold noodles), bibimbap or Korean barbecues for lunch every day, joking around, talking about everything from architecture to religion to personal relationships. Occasionally they would open up a small window into their lives, bringing me into their world through photos captured on their smartphones. I would show them the world outside in exchange. Conversing in basic English was not a problem with them, although sometimes we needed our local translator to help us communicate.

Naengmyeon (cold noodle). A delicious handmade noodle from flour and starch served with cold broth. The noodles are freshly made per order, therefore it usually takes awhile to be served.

Hot water is limited and only available at a certain time of the day. Electric power cuts are also common. On most other nights after a nice bath I would do some reading on North Korean politics, philosophies and history from local North Korean publications I bought at the small bookshop in the hotel. I was curious to know what every single North Korean had been obliged to read. We were not allowed to walk outside of the hotel without our guides or escorts, so nightly activities would only be limited within the parameter of the hotel.


Treading North Korean Soil

Worker’s Party Youth Union members with torches in their hand outside of Rungrado May Day Stadium prior to the start of the event.

Time flew and my workshop in Pyongyang was coming to an end. I was having mixed feelings about leaving. Just a couple of days before I left, the most surreal thing happened. I met Kim Jong Un in real life. THE Kim Jong Un. It was a once in a life time opportunity to be within 50m from one of the world’s most controversial leaders. Through his connections my organiser managed to get my team and I invited to the 9th Congress of the Kim Ill Sung Youth League at Rungrado May Day Stadium, the world’s largest stadium. It was only for official guests and not open for tourist as it was a political event. I was seated at a special section next to the VIPs among other foreigners and diplomats. This chance was exceedingly rare even for nontourists; the previous 8th Congress occurred 23 years ago, while the next date is unknown.


I have never witnessed such an impressive parade in my life. Almost 50,000 youth members were standing, each with two torches and another large group were holding coloured cards and LED lights in their hands making precise rhythmic movements and formations in the large field. No words can describe it. The most shocking part would be the very moment when Kim Jong Un appeared. 150,000 people in the stadium sprang up on their seats, a huge cheer echoed around the stadium as everyone applauded with full enthusiasm to welcome him. The standing ovation went on for over five minutes, the event marshal had to blow a whistle to stop everyone from clapping and told them to sit down so that they could actually start the event. I’ve never witnessed such enthusiasm for a leader.

Female delegates in traditional Korean hanbok queieing outside of the stadium.

That was not all. After one of the performances, hundreds of delegates started running across the field to where Kim Jong Un was seated, cheering, crying, clapping, jumping and waving to him, desperately trying to be within his field of vision. It was like a mosh pit suddenly appeared. People on their seats started climbing over the fences and jumped onto the track and ran to join the hysterical crowd of people. It was chaos. I spotted one girl who fainted and was taken away. From his seat, Kim Jong Un was looking at them through a pair of binoculars. It was like a cult. The whole scene unfolding before me was surreal. Pyongyang is a whole different world. A world I wish to revisit again someday. I have tried my very best to capture its essence through my photographs, to let the photographs speak their very own stories. Some may be translated into narrative words, and some may forever remain as nameless visuals carrying a strangeness that words can never hope to convey.


Treading North Korean Soil



Treading North Korean Soil



Treading North Korean Soil



Treading North Korean Soil

Residential blocks for the scientists on Mirae Street. As a socialist country, property ownership does not exist in North Korea. All North Koreans are assigned to their homes by the government. “The North Korean law makes it quite clear: It is illegal in North Korea to buy, sell and rent out houses. It is theoretically possible to swap houses within one jurisdiction, but it is still illegal if such an exchange is made to gain any kind of financial advantage for either side.” — source:


The government invested a lot in the development of science and technology within the nation. This sci-tech complex comprises of e-library, library, hundreds of computers accessible by the North Korean with intranet network (basically their own google, youtube, and wide web system), research laboratories for scientists as well as permanent exhibition of on going and completed scientific researches on various branches; geology, military technology, chemistry, physics, human anatomy, geography, construction technology and material research development, and many more. The whole centre was filled with locals of various ages, students, primary school pupils as well as young children.


Treading North Korean Soil

Modernist concrete architecture of Pyongyang Ice Rink built in 1981. One of my personal favourite architectural piece in Pyongyang.




These residential tower blocks were completed in time for the centenary of Kim Il Sung’s birth in 2012, the year in which North Korea was to become a “strong and prosperous nation”. These blocks accommodate highranking members of the Workers’ Party and their families.




After being completely destroyed and turned to dusts by the US bombing during the Korean war, Pyongyang rebuilt itself from scratch starting from 1953 under the leadership of Kim Il Sung. Most of the early reconstruction of the city were heavily influenced by Stalinist Neoclassical architecture style. In the past, the DPRK government had sent a number of students to be trained as architects in Russia and some east european countries, hence the adaptation of the Stalinist style in many parts of the city. The metro system in Pyongyang is among the deepest in the world (110m below ground level). Due to its depth, the metro stations also double as bomb shelters in case of any attacks. It took three and a half minutes to travel down the escalator from the ground level to the platform level. The moment I stepped out of the super long escalator, I felt like I was transported back to one of the Moscow underground metro stations with their beautiful chandeliers hanging on the high ceilings and richly decorated platforms. This is Yonggwang Station constructed in 1987.




Looming skyscrappers as part of the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s mission to project the North Korean ability in keeping up with the world. The new campaign was launched earlier this year to change the Pyongyang skyline with 200 new towers in the capital city. Construction workers consisting of North Korean armies were put to work at supernatural speed. Rumour has it that the soldier-builders were distributed with crystal meth or “ice” to speed up the construction process. These photographed towers only began its construction about 6 months ago and its already reaching full height. The soldier-builders are now putting up the frames for each new floor at the hyper-speed of 14 hours per floor to get it all done by the end of the year. We witnessed them working for 24 hours non-stop. Note: It is illegal to photograph construction sites from up-close.




Mansudae Grand Monuments


Photographs by Lim Jing Run

Converse Counter Climate


Converse Counter Climate




Converse Counter Climate


Converse Counter Climate





Converse Counter Climate


Converse Counter Climate




Converse Counter Climate


Converse Counter Climate




Kuala Lumpur


DC Shoes, KLCC

Cover By Crossover, Sunway Pyramid


Crossover Concept Store, Sunway Pyramid

Heavy Weight, Fahrenheit 88

Dc Shoes, Sunway Pyramid

Hoops Station, Lot 10

Dc Shoes, Paradigm Mall

Hundred%, Lot 10

Dc Shoes, Setia City Mall

Krookz 651, Bangsar

Grafa Cafe, Subang

Macbeth Footwear, Robinsons @ The Gardens

Heavy Weight, Sunway Pyramid

Pestle & Mortar, Bangsar

Major Drop, Sunway Pyramid

SHOWROOM, Times Square

OBEY Clothing, Tangs @ One Utama


OBEY Clothing, Tangs @ Empire Shopping Gallery

Sole What, Midvalley Megamall

Sole What, One Utama

Sole What, The Gardens

Tea Code Coffee, Balakong

Stussy KL, Pudu

The Cap City, Subang

Snackfood, Bangsar

The Yard, Subang

The Super Sunday Store, Bukit Bintang

Wheel Love, Subang 17 Gallery, Subang

Melaka Kickstart Cafe, Alor Gajah


Corm Kafe & Distro, Jasin

Crossover Concept Store, Johor Bahru

Aku Design Store, Melaka

Crossover Concept Store, AEON @ Tebrau City Gent Utopia, Johor Bahru

Kedah Conquer Store, Alor Setar Pahang Amity Concept Store, Kuantan Terbang Headquarters, Kuantan KRASS, Kuantan

Penang Bricklin Bar, Georgetown Pik Nik, Georgetown The Alley, Georgetown

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.