I Will Not Be Subdued

For the past 2 days I had the privilege of photographing the MSS Kapit inter-secondary school athletics tournament organised by SMK Selirik.
The primary schools had their inter-district athletics competition at the same time.
The weather was good & overall the event was pretty successful.

However, I did end up being escorted off the field. Not once, but twice!
Apparently, only SMK Selirik photographers were allowed inside. Not even the photographers from the Kapit Photography Club were allowed in. Esp not this measly unknown teacher from who cares where.

I think this is somewhat ridiculous. Sporting events like these need publicity. Esp when Sarawak is in dire need of talent to boost their lacklustre athletics performances.
I never got in the way of any event & I only spoke to my students. I only did so to ask them when they were on so that I could take their pictures for the school magazine.

When I asked if there was a person I could speak to for a pass, I was told by my escort, an AJK Keselamatan who was probably doing his job & wanting to get it over & done with, to approach their photographers & ask them to take the photos I wanted. Then, I had to write a letter to their school asking for the photographs. A phone call will not be enough. No such thing as a pass.
What nonsense is this? I was willing to stand under the blazing sun to take the best pictures possible while the organiser's photographers dressed up nicely & sat in the shades taking pictures from a distance. Who actually deserves the exclusivity? Amazing how bureaucracy can be so conveniently used to subdue me.

It would have worked on a lesser man.
After receiving such an unsatisfactory response, they will have to learn that I cannot be subdued. I have travelled too far & spent too much money to be sitting in the shade & taking pictures from afar. I do what I do with a passion & I don't mind the embarrassment of being escorted out of the field again & again to get the photographs I needed.
My face & reputation is the least of my worries. Passion, determination & fruitfulness is far greater.

If anybody from the organisers or future organisers are reading this, PLEASE allow each participating school 1 photographer. The Kapit Photography Club should be allowed 1 too.
Then, the school photographers can learn from the club photographer.
A win-win situation. No need to trouble your AJK Keselamatan with stubborn idealists like myself.

Anyway, I've got something more important to share.
My heart totally went out to the small contingent of 8 primary school athletes from the extremely rural district of Belaga.
For them to get to Kapit, they had to ride on a land cruiser & then a boat. It took them around 12hrs! Think of their transportation costs! No wonder they were such a small group!
Although their group was small, they won or nearly won every event they took part in.

I felt for them during the closing ceremony when they were called up to receive the 3rd place trophies.
There were only 3 districts taking part so their lack of participation = a lack of points = instant 3rd place position for every age category awarded.

Imagine the torment these young pupils had to go through to walk all the way up to the rostrum multiple times to receive a trophy they & everyone else in the stadium so clearly knew that they didn't deserve.
Imagine how they felt when they looked around to find that nobody was interested in taking their photographs.
One of the pupils even said "thank you" for the trophy even though it was clear that nobody cared to listen.

But I did.
When I heard that, I my heart broke & I realised I was too late.
I also missed a few of the earlier ones.
After that, I took photographs of every one their representatives.
I even used a really bright flash to show that I was there. Soon other photographers followed suit.
It takes one to make a difference in the lives of young children. I'm glad I was there to my bit.

My heart goes out to you.
I pray that you will not let your aspirations be limited by your background or how others think of you.
I wish I could do more for you. I wish I had done more for you...
Friends, let's watch over children like these & encourage them before they are hardened by time.

SMK Song are the champion this year.
SMK Katibas got second place... AGAIN.
hahaha~~ It's still an achievement nonetheless.
Unofficial results: 20+ Gold, 30+ Silver & 10+ Bronze.

Well done, lads!
Many of you really did give it your all.
I could see that every time you collapsed in exhaustion or cringed in pain.
I'm deeply impressed & very proud of you!

ps: SMK Selirik. You'll receive a letter from me very soon.
I hope your photographers are as good as they look.
Or did they even take the photos I requested?


  1. LOL!! Who cares??
    You got the cam, just click em!!
    They can't do anything about the clicked photos anyway.. :P

  2. Usually photographers are not allowed to walk everywhere in a sports event held in a stadium (especially across the field/along the side of the tracks). Because of safety reasons as well as they might disturb the event or the officers in charge of making sure that who gets number one and who gets number two (been a time keeper couple of time this year so far and yes, people walking around the side of the track do disturb our line of sight).

    At the same time, I'm a photographer too. If its just a school sports event, I wont mind walking around the field but not the events in a stadium. Humans created 210mm lens for that reason.

    And I agree, some photographers only love to brandish their package around, while actually don't even know what is aperture and what is white balance. They only know one word, auto. Why do they love to take pics from the distance under the shade? They don't even know how to set their package to get the best picture in a sports event!

    But seriously, usually in a stadium even the press aren't allowed to move around. They have the press room/booth/section for that.

    About the pass, try to look at one of them photographers passes and copy it, print it. ^_^
    Did that in my secondary years.

  3. Anonymous28/3/10 17:20

    go jarod!!! i hate that kind of rule. everyone clearly knows that it suppose to be a meaningful event and thus pictures must be taken. One photographer, selected by the organiser, would not be able to snap pictures from all school... duh...

    well your entry just gave me an idea... i should suggest ppd gua musang to orgnise sukan orang asli at the state level. It would be fun...

  4. Dewi: They didn't make me delete the photos but a track is so big & not everything happens near the viewing area.

    Nas: It's interesting that I'm considered a disturbance while their cameramen are the ones walking over the tracks, standing in front of the timekeeping benches & etc.
    I was nowhere near any of the ppl working there nor was I near any of the other contestants. I'm only near the subjects of my photographs.
    I tried my best not to interrupt in any way.

    Press what? Booth what?
    It's not the typical stadium ManU would be playing in.
    It's the kind of run down stadium schools have sports days in.
    But it's true. A long lens would have come in handy.

    1 cameraman from each school. tell them where they can be & where they cant.
    Only 4 photographers in a large field where events are
    Too much to ask?

    Warid: Good idea! Get it done!
    Anyway, they had about 4. =)

  5. This touched my heart. Oh the things those children go through to get education. And then I find myself doing the thing I promised not to : Compare.
    I feel really sad and pray that the future will be brighter xx

  6. Oh and good on you sweets! :) Im really proud of you for going that extra mile. We need more Yong Jik Kam's in the world. xx

  7. ... they didn't let you in to take photos of their measly event?

    I'd be angry too, especially if the Boss asked me to take the photos.

    My regards to Mr Clement :)

  8. woah, even your amazon is involved in a, inter-school sports event. that's cool.

    my school on the other hand, doesn't even have one on a school level yet =(

  9. Sarah: Thank God I was there at the right place at the right time to hear this & have a soft enough heart to take action.
    Other photographers would either scoff or be to timid to be different.

    Ramzu: I wanted to take the photos myself. I travelled the distance, I paid the fees. Nobody is going to keep me from doing what I went there to do. I got some great shots too!
    Anyway, I had the boss's blessing to make an ass out of myself.

    Najib: Our school is not only involved, we are a force to be reckoned with!
    I guess it all boils down to whether your Pengetua or PKKK is serious about this.

  10. firstly, i want to tell nas that i like his brilliant comment. i just dont know why i like it. haha. sgt apt kot.

    secondly, well, go jarod! post them the letter! and put it up on ur blog.

    and don't put out the fire for photography. the serilik inconvenience is just a dot of challenge. to be a great photographer, there will be much greater challenge along the way. kan?

  11. the event is over. write a letter forwarding suggestions on what changes you would like to be made in the future politely. if it is an official letter, they can't exactly ignore you but try to understand their reasons too. probably a cup of coffee in some coffee shop with the relevant person will provide the answers you need. there is always the other side of the coin.

  12. Aini: Thanks for the encouragement!

    Beng: I've written the letter. It was just about asking for pictures but now that you mention it, I think I'll put in a suggestion too.


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