The 60s meets the future; Kek Lok Si, Penang, Malaysia.
When my Dad was just knee-high to a Hobbit he lived in Singapore with his family since my Grandfather was posted there with the army. We have a pretty cool collection of photographs of Malaysia and Singapore circa 1962 and I decided that I would try to find all of those retro locations and photograph them as they are now, partly for fun and partly to give my wanderings some sense of focus. The first location of my grandparents photographs that I managed to identify was Kek Lok Si temple, the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia, located on the island of Penang, Malaysia. It seems that much of it has remained relatively unchanged.
I figured these gardens would be fairly easily identifiable from my high vantage point but, despite showing my photographs to every fairly elderly looking guide at the site no-one had the slightest clue.
Never in a million years did I expect to be able to find this obscure artifact but there it was, not moved in 50 years:
So far, my little self-imposed challenge has proved entertaining (and a little frustrating) as well as pretty tiring since apparently they couldn’t always go to nice easy places! What its been best for however has been for meeting locals. All I need do is show a few pictures to an old dear on the bus or about town and all of a sudden I have a gaggle of them herded about me exclaiming in delight and ‘i-remember-whening’ till the cows come home; trying to work out where they all are now for me. The best so far was an older gent who worked at Roommates hostel on Penang (which is brilliant by the way). He looked through them over and over again, shaking his head and smiling and identifying photos right down to the street names. He marked all the ones he knew on my map and then kept asking to looking through them some more, murmuring nostalgically about the good old days. The rest will follow suit shortly.