I like to achieve some variety in what I post to TrekEarth, so for my 101th posting I have decided to offer something in the humorous category.
I was in Sarawak last weekend and spotted this shop in one of the old streets in the centre of Kuching. It reminded me of what I was taught when doing my management studies at university, and that was if the core activity of a business is in decline, it should look to diversify into other fields where it can best utilise the unique skills and resources that define the organisation’s distinctive competence. I thought that as head-hunting was definitely on the decline in Borneo, the selection of tattooing and body piercing was a good example of business diversification utilising this organisation’s “unique skills and resources”. Perhaps this would make a good case study for the management textbooks!
This shop is in row of shoplots (as they are called in Malaysia) that is in an area of the city where the buildings were reconstructed after the Great Fire of Kuching in 1884. I am not sure how old these particular ones are, but I’d guess over 100 years. This is a typical two-storey shoplot with the downstairs shop set back from the road so that there is a shaded passageway along which pedestrians can walk, sheltered from the sun and rain (Sarawak gets a lot of both), and the upstairs shop being accessible through a narrow flight of stairs (behind the maroon door in the bottom left hand corner of the photograph under the circular tattoo sign). Note the ferns growing out of cracks in the wall on the left and on the roof. The year-round heat and humidity of Borneo makes it possible for plants to grow almost anywhere. Sometimes fig trees start sprouting from cracks in walls, but it is necessary to pull these out otherwise the roots will eventually crack the whole structure.
If you are interested in the history of tattooing, this business has quite an interesting website. According to the website: “For many centuries, the tradition and practice of tattooing has also been a way of life for the Iban - one of the largest tribes (on the island of Borneo). Tattoos were very much entwined with every aspect of their culture. The practice of tattooing was a sacred activity that connected the people to the spiritual world. Tattooing was also linked to the men's success in headhunting and the coming of age amongst the womenfolk.” It also mentioned that the business was founded in 1998 but they had been bootlegging since 1992. I assume the bootlegging referred to tattooing and not to hunting heads.
PP: I first had to straighten this slightly – it was actually hard to decide what was straight and what was not, because the walls on either side of the shop are not parallel and the signs are all a bit crooked. Then minor adjustments to levels, contrast, saturation and USM.
Critiques | Translate
capthaddock (28790) 2005-12-11 15:10
Hi David - great catch, simple but busy and colourful, the architecture is as diverse as the business, and excellent note as usual.
kensimage (8561) 2005-12-11 17:57
Pretty amusing! I looked at these guys' web site, looks like rather serious stuff, international competitions and the like. (Tattooing competitions, I mean, not headhunting. At least none that they mention on the site.)
I'm trying to imagine the brainstorming session when the business was founded:
"What are our strengths? What skills do we bring to the table?"
"Stabbing people with sharp objects, and turning the results into a trophy."
"Sounds like there would be fabulous synergies with international tattooing competitions!"
"I like it. Our edge is that we know how to execute. So to speak."
"We need to find a CEO."
"No problem, we're headhunters, remember?"
WorldGuru (176) 2005-12-12 14:09
Great TE picture David!
Excellent note. I enjoyed a quick perusal (is that an oxymoron?) of Borneoheadhunter.com Interesting...
I really like the bamboo siding above the sign...;-)
Well seen and captured!
ps Can you still find real shrunken heads for sale over there?
chaity (1539) 2005-12-14 4:05
Hi David, welcome back. I love the colors and clarity of the photo. I can see your point on the level of the horizon. I would scratch my head too on what to level. 8-)
bpelvan (3798) 2005-12-14 11:16
A meaningful image. Full of stories. Visible and invisible (to people such as roof) parts of the architecture look so interesting..:)))
Bamboo siding, probably to hide the areas require repairment is also looks beautiful.
Very colorful and sgarp image. Well done and thanks for perfect note and sharing...
colinbrenchley (6431) 2005-12-26 4:43
Great notes and agree with the diversification aspect - although the practice of "Headhunting" used to have a diferent conotation in some parts of the world!
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-12-03
- Categories: Humorous
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED, UV
- Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2005-12-11 10:59