Photography Insights

Recently, I got the opportunity to hear two photographers share their profession, dedication, and passion. We have an insight on how gurus make their decisions, their motivations, and their beliefs.

One theme came through from both photographers, Sincerity and Simplicity.

Tay Kay Chin
He keeps emphasising about being truthful to ourselves, follow our heart, and identifying our objectives. Kay Chin’s photos make you pause, wonder, and try to figure out the story behind.

He shared why photographing your own family might be the most challenging assignment.
You cannot be objective, you cannot be detach from emotions.
He was sharing this in the context of bereavement, when he was “in charge” of capturing and documenting death, while family members mourn.

We could feel Kay Chin’s hearfelt pain when he describe how he could not comprehend the loss of his dad. I was touched when he shows us how he document his nephew last few months with his terminally-ill dad. Maybe I am a parent, a father, I cannot, but feel sad, that such a small child would soon lose his father’s love, forever 🙁

Kay Chin reminded us not to assume that people do not want to remember sad espisodes. In fact, his relatives were grateful that he was there to document their moment of anguish.


Other pointers
:
Kay Chin showed us some blur photos. His point was photographs (sharp and blur) capture the moment and sometimes, milestone. As long as Photos can freeze a moment, or trigger some emotions, it is a good photo !

We did not hear talk about techniques or hardware performance from Kay Chin, when he critiques your photo, he wants to see your sincerity and heart.

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Danny Santos II
Photography is Danny’s passion, and he became super famous after his Orchard-Strangers series. I prefer his wet rainy album. Maybe it is unconventional, maybe it is the pedestrian’s vulnerability, or the unpredictable weather. I just love the Rainy photos.

Street photography is very challenging, as you need to be thick-skin to ask strangers to pose for you. Frankly, if someone ask me to pose, I would feel awkward and smile wryly infront of the lens. Look at his “strangers portfolio“, every pair of eyes look so soulful.

Besides capturing strangers, Danny has recently started a project to photoshoot local families. We were so honoured to have Danny with us on Sunday afternoon, over 20 to 30min, he got our kids to run up and down, make silly poses and facial expressions.

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SengkangBabies is recommending Danny to families because :
– He is not charging for his professional service. Yes, Free !

– Danny gives you 100% commitment ! We were his fifth family on a Sunday, but he still work his charm on the kids, even when he was drenched in perspiration

– Danny will let you keep 5 photos and one digital print
– every house needs a family photo
– we love his awesome portfolio

Email Danny at DannySantos@gmail.com for an appointment.

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Credit. Above group photo credit to Belinda

–> Do drop by Geng Hui’s blog for his interpretation of Kay Chin’s knowledge-sharing session

We won a HP Folio 13 notebook

Remember our blog about Daddy going to whack some HP notebook?

The blogger with the most tweets is entitled to one notebook, and one of his lucky tweeter followers will win a second notebook 🙂

Hong Peng garnered a lot of tweets, and SengkangBabies‘s tweet to #hpility won a second HP Folio 13. Congrats to Hong Peng, and ourselves 🙂

Special thanks to HP (coincidentally Hong Peng’s initials) for the gift, and GoodStuph’s Daphne for the photo and “artistic cap” 🙂

Where do we go to immerse ourselves in Peranakan heritage?

In the heart of Joo Chiat, lies a treasure trove.

Daddy followed some buddies to The-InTan a few weeks ago, maybe it was his curiosity for heritage, or perhaps there is some Peranakan blood flowing within Lee family? Daddy’s Grandpa is a baba from Indonesia, and our Grandma from China. It is quite embarrassing that Daddy did not bother to trace further up his family roots :p

Our host, owner cum collector, is Alvin Yapp, and he lives in his own museum too.

Infront of the ancestral altar, Alvin explain to us that only male descendents are placed on the altar. Nobody got any clue where does the female folks go after demise (百年).

.. but, even while Alvin is talking, you cannot help but wonder why are there so many spittoons and tingkats? Daddy suspects every collector got their own taste.

You will notice that a Peranaken house is always elongated and narrow. History has it that your property tax is based on the width of your house. Thus the clever Peranakan conceal their “bigger” house with folds and blinds.

Artifacts and collector’s items greet us from every corners and beams. Some of them are intricately crafted, while others look like a fusion between Bali, Eurasian and Chinese designs.

Peranakan woman folk love jewellery, and we heard how the kebaya is designed with a slit at the naval, so when it flips in the wind, you can steal a glimse of her special stone 🙂 Note to the buaya guys, do not go staring at any kebaya clad (not SIA) female’s naval area !


We heard Peranakans like to deck up their home with wooden furniture. Look at the elaborate cabinets, altars and even mother-of-pearl couches around us.

Alvin share with us that traditional Chinese love “round angle” furniture (as 圆 means good luck, fulfillment, or even gathering). But why does Peranakans love square and rectangle corners, he suggested this might have been influenced by Eurasians.

One thing which Peranakan adore are the colours Greens and Pinks, together with Peony and Phoenixes. Alvin readily agree that this Lang-ga colour combination are not main-streamed. (Lang-ga in Hokkien means accident!)

Love the beams and roof. Everytime when you look up, you can expect to spot some hanging artifacts or calligraphy-boards.

Lanterns and statues decorate the beams, we can even find deities (福禄寿)


Bedroom. Not for sleeping, but to display more beads and trinkets and hand-woven artifacts.

The colourful beaded sandals. Many people know more about the sandals and kebayas after watching MediaCorp’s “Little Nonya 小娘惹”.

Even the toilet looks like an art gallery. Impressive!

On every shelf, and behind each cabinet, we explore more hidden treasures.
Alvin has been building his collection over twenty years. His purpose is to share Peranakan heritage to a wider audience, and engage audience through outreach programmes.


A visit to a Peranakan house is not complete without tasting exquisite ang-ku-kueh (literally red tortoise pastry). Love the yellow pastries, which has a sponge like texture, chewy, and maybe a tinge of Durian? Sweet.

Our group waiting to hear more stories from Alvin, and we found out there are three main types of Peranakan. The biggest group are those who come from China, and married local Malay women. We also have India’s Hindu (Chitty), India’s Muslims (Jawi), and the smaller group from Eurasian. These inter-marriages mean Peranakan population along the Straits. inherit the cultures from separate communities.

And, it is an insult to say a Peranakan is not Chinese :p
Daddy only know they do not have a strong command of Chinese language, but they do follow Taoist or Buddist festivals.

Look at the cheong-sam magnets, and tissue paper, so cute and elaborate. Nothing is spared to entice the visitors.

SengkangBabies would like to thanks The-InTan’s Alvin and team for hosting us, we had an enjoyable tour and it was fun.
If you are interested to explore or even dine at The-InTan’s, you can make an appointment with them through their website –> http://www.the-intan.com

More information and photos can be found :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peranakan (there is a listing of the VIP Peranakans)
more The-InTan photos on our album
– our previous kids experience at Peranakan Museum {Armenian}

Do drop by my friend’s blog post:
– Jerome (http://thelongnwindingroad.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/a-gem-of-a-find-in-the-heart-of-joo-chiat/)
– Jade (http://www.jadeisabelle.com/2012/04/18/event-visiting-the-intan-on-saturday-14-april-2012/)

credit. Above group photo from The Intan‘s fanpage