Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia (or ‘Malaysian Borneo’ as the local tourist office likes to call it – I suppose that sounds more exotic to foreign tourists than just ‘Malaysia’) has many water villages along its shores and mangrove estuaries. I spent a few hours shooting there last weekend, but the light wasn’t particularly good, so for this post I decided to go with a relatively tight crop of some of the village houses to accentuate the reflections on the water. It was just on high tide when I shot this, so the water was quite still to provide these nice reflections.
These water villages are home to many stateless people and illegal immigrants, mainly from the southern Philippines. Kota Kinabalu’s problem with illegal immigration started in the 1970s when thousands of people fled the Muslim insurgency in Mindanao, and other islands in the southern Philippines, but even after the Philippines Government signed a peace agreement with the rebel Moro National Liberation Front in 1978, the illegal immigrants have continued to come to Sabah for economic reasons.
The proximity of the islands of the southern Philippines to the Sabah coastline makes it easy for immigrants to reach Malaysia undetected, and their physical and cultural features being very similar to the indigenous Malays, makes it easy for them to be assimilated into the local community. When the illegal immigrants have children that are born in Malaysia, it is not possible for them to register their births, and so their children become ‘stateless’.
Illegal immigration is a problem throughout Malaysia. In many other parts of the country it involves immigrants from Indonesia which make up the largest number of illegal immigrants. From time to time the Government cracks down on the immigrants, threatening to round them up and whip them if they don’t return to their own countries. A couple of years ago, in one such crackdown, there was a mass exodus of Indonesians from Peninsular Malaysia, and the country’s entire construction industry came to standstill. The government hadn’t realised that nearly every construction worker was an illegal immigrant!
Gradually many filtered back into the country, some with legal work permits that had to be issued to keep the construction industry going, but many without. For most of the time, the Government turns a blind eye to the immigration problem because the Indonesians, Bangladeshis, Nepalese, Filipinos, etc. are prepared to do the ‘dirty work’ that Malaysians don’t want. But when there is a spate of crime involving illegal immigrants, the Government is forced to do something. So there is a crackdown and then the cycle starts all over again.
PP: Adjusted levels, increased contrast +7, USM at 450% (0.4)
Critiques | Translate
Paolo (41222) 2006-05-13 11:25
Hi David, good shot. the reflection of the village is amazing, colorful and well captured.
leo61 (0) 2006-05-13 11:39
Really good and colorful shot of this watervillage.The contrast with the trees and the reflections look great.
Modacolor51 (1309) 2006-05-13 12:28
Wonderful colors and very good shot.
Thanks for sharing.
magost (616) 2006-05-13 13:49
Nice composition and good scene, full of life, colours and... disorder! I also like very much the luxurious vegetation behind the village
anesugur (18789) 2006-05-13 14:54
This picture is very beautiful.
Great colors and reflections. I like the composition.
Thanks for sharing. Uğur
kensimage (8561) 2006-05-13 21:09
Those reflections would make a nice abstract painting! It's nice how glassy the water is, with just enough ripples to provide the abstraction. The tight framing is a good choice. The two people in the shot add a touch of life. Very nice all around, David! Regards, Ken.
riclopes (35577) 2006-05-14 6:21
This is a superb shot! Beautiful lighting and reflections on the water and showing the architecture of the poor people leaving by the river. I guess we see this kind of constructions all over SE Asia. Magnificent colours and composition, with so nice details to observe. I had a good time in Borneo, in 2000. Kota Kinabalu was the place to reach Mount Kinabalu, which is gorgeous. We didn't got to the top, because of the non stopping rain, but it was an unforgetable experience.
Excelent note, as usual. Congratulations!
Have a nice weekend,
capthaddock (28790) 2006-05-14 11:36
Hi David - another example of what travel photography is all about, an unknown place, presented under a beautiful light and perspective, which makes even dilapitated slums look pretty, and a mega interesting note to accompany it.
devimeuxbe (58557) 2006-05-14 11:40
I like this beautifull composition with the perfect reflection in the water.
ERxcellent capture of the light.
kclai (2267) 2006-05-15 3:57
It's nice to have somebpdy like you whom are able to put up an impressive tect that make the picture more interesting.
From a simple snapped shot to the interesting notes, this packed up a good show.
The underlighting of the image gives the gloomy atmospheric feeling on the floating village and the present of activity, especially the drying of the cloths here, put up a good presentation of the true identity of this place.
Cheers and good day, david.
siolaw (38050) 2006-05-15 22:40
Very good capture of that village.. the reflection, colors and sharpness are top! And your note is very informative..well done
gaby (19819) 2006-05-16 11:37
David bonsoir - a great image, very well composed with many colors and superb reflections -
elmec (12210) 2006-05-16 17:45
This is very interesting place - so exotic for us!
And the reflections in the water are perfect!
Kenny10pin (19301) 2006-05-17 21:11
very nice reflectins, I like the rural look here, ad the colours too, well done
jbweasle (9373) 2006-05-23 14:21
Hello David, this is a very attractive picture. The light on the houses is beautiful and it saturates the colourful scene well. The background of tropical trees gives good context. And of course that reflection is stunning.
oochappan (22043) 2006-05-24 8:50
I even like this one more the your last postcard as there is a lot more to see, more colors and a nice reflection in the water, even pleasant to spot these tiny people in here.
rabani (9645) 2006-05-28 5:48
...and you didn't call me.
For things that are bordering on mundanity among the locals, it is always an educational or simply refreshingly different, seeing it from outsiders. The almost muted light quality and the late afternoon sun behind you, it gives the stilt houses, the drying clothes and its reflection, a drawing effect. Nowadays, almost any water villages like this in Sabah, is something of the water version of the Bronx. And they don't like photographers walking in shooting what's in them with the exception of foreign or Caucasian photographers. To them you are just a tourist but photographers like me, nosy parkers.
PixelTerror (0) 2006-05-28 12:35
Being at the right place at the right time delivered here a photo strong in terms of lights and reflection, not to mention the learning about the world value and your excellent note. Excellent in each and every point.
Have a nice day,
jemaflor (80806) 2006-05-31 6:23
All is in these beautiful reflections to give an original shot, well seen and taken.
dHitman (0) 2006-06-01 22:33
Excellent shot you have here! The tight framing really work well and the reflection is brilliant. The vivid colors from the hanging clothes and pots really give this picture a boost and not forgetting the human scale too. TFS!
Didi (55103) 2006-06-03 6:06
Very interesting notes and a very nice composition of this local way of life.
Lights on the houses contrast well with the dramatic sky.
jhm (135274) 2006-06-03 11:47
Today I browsed to your gallery, I took this picture because this a very beautiful composition and wonderful colours,I like this daily life shot, also the splendid reflections, my compliments for this, very great work!
Have a nice weekend,
aloyho (6798) 2006-06-08 21:51
It is nice to look at something familiar and you are lucky to have the water still enough for some very good reflections. It is impossible for me here as the water is always choppy with those water taxis around. You have selected a good portion of this village as the various elements tell a complete story of the life there. The lighting is incredible. Splendid shot!! All the best.
axiotea (21649) 2006-09-03 3:05
A great compo with beautiful reflections in the water, with the trees giving good contrasts to the dark sky and the "houses".Light, colors and POV are just good.Well done ...Of course, I am concerned and aware whith what is happening in the world today and your note is one of a good explanation of it...TFS...
All the best,
nicoz (1979) 2006-10-17 8:22
Nice shot with these little patches of color! Great light, and interesting note too!
hoorge (1434) 2006-12-28 10:04
Nice shot of life and daily life. Good lighting, reflection, composition, and perspective. The picture seems to have a hint of blur where the man is standing in the center.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-05-07
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED, Circular PL
- Exposure: f/7.1, 1/180 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Blogger slideshow [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2006-05-13 11:10
- Favorites: 1 [view]