Saturday, 19 January 2013

What Kuala Lumpur Should Learn From Seoul's Public Transport System - Don't Listen, LOOK

A few days ago there is a video gone viral on the internet. The video is about a UUM law student that came up to a microphone in the forum and starting to babble about billions of ringgit and free education. At first I thought; oh, just another bersih supporter. But I had a rude awakening when one of the panelist came down from the stage, interrupting the girl by saying 'listen' multiple times, pulled the microphone away from the girl and deviate from the topic. But I am very interested in the answer given when the girl listed a few countries that gave free education. Here is the answer;

"Jangan samakan negara Malaysia dengan negara lain (Don't equate Malaysia with other countries). Sekiranya negara Malaysia disamakan dengan negara lain, (If you equate Malaysia with other countries,) what are you doing in Malaysia? Listen, what are you doing in Malaysia? Go to Cuba, go to Argentina go to Libya, go everywhere."

Does this mean that we cannot give any suggestions to improve policies in Malaysia according to examples of other countries? I mean back three decades ago during Tun Dr. Mahathir's time, he inspired the Look East Policy where we would refer to Japan and Korea as examples of our modernization. If you still think the same way why don't you tell Tun Dr. Mahathir to leave Malaysia and live in Japan or Korea?

There is a lot going on in Malaysia nowadays. People are having problems with price hikes, the cost of living are rising day by day to cars being sold in Malaysia overpriced. Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition party for the ruling party Barisan Nasional, saw these issues and pointed them out, saying that they are willing to solve this. Although I am not a big fan of politics, I do hear some murmurings that they are planning to use the revenues from Petronas to give more subsidies to lower the prices of important goods in Malaysia. I'm not sure if it is true, but it does sound appealing to those who are in a financial crisis in these times with high living costs. Still, I think giving more subsidies is not a very sustainable way of solving the problem. I think we can solve this problem by simply re-initiating the Look East Policy.

Improvements in Public Transport System

There is more to Seoul than just Kpop. Let me list some of the improvements that Kuala Lumpur needs, taken from the metropolis of Seoul. Seoul hit the 10 billion population mark in 1988, now it is estimated that 23 billion people live in this mega city. With lots of people crammed in a single city, life strangling congestion is becoming the major problem. To solve this, officials turned to a controversial solution, demolition of one of the important highways in the middle of Seoul to uncover an ancient stream that runs below it.

This is the stream that I meant. The Cheonggye Stream. The removal of the highway really improved the quality of life in Seoul and now it becomes one of the important tourist spots in the city. With the removal of the highway, the problem is solved by actually reforming the public transportation of Seoul. This means that the integration of subway networks and buses. First is the network of subway lines and trains that intertwines in the city, in Seoul we literally can get to anywhere with the subway, train and bus system. Plus we can even go to the satellite cities around Seoul such as Suwon, Incheon and Gyeonggi-do with the same train network from Seoul.

The major improvement in this reform is the bus system. Seoul was one of the first cities in the world that has a dedicated bus lane in the middle of the road. But bus lanes are not effective enough if the buses needs to weave through traffic to get to bus stops at the roadside, so Seoul officials took the step further by placing bus stops in the middle of the road parallel with the bus lanes. Every bus in Seoul is also equipped with GPS positioning system called TOPIS where the location of every bus is monitored to keep its timeline. This means that buses can distance themselves accordingly with the bus up front and behind it in the same line. This ensures optimum waiting times and more than one bus in the same line won't suddenly appear the same place at the same time. Plus at bus stops people are informed of the waiting times for the buses to come to their bus stop in real time through an electronic info display installed in every bus stop. This helps people to plan their journey effectively whether to wait for the bus or not.

The addition of bus lanes and bus stops being put in the middle of the road instead of the roadside.

Plus the public transport here uses a rechargeable smart card called T-Money as the main means of payment. The T-Money system charge users with the first initial fare of 1050 won and gives up to three free transfers. It also records the time and distance traveled by the user and change additional 100 won for additional 5km traveled and if it exceeds 40km, the charge changes to an additional 100 won for each 10km traveled. This ensures efficiency and cheap public transport system that becomes the main means of transportation in Seoul, eliminating the need for Seoulites to own a car just to get around. I am quite unimpressed on how we have a similar card in Malaysia called TouchNGo, but at the current rate of usage in Malaysia, it is extremely underrated. Plus, the fare system is also not as integrated and quite expensive in comparison with the fare system in Seoul.

Having a similarly reliable public transportation system in Kuala Lumpur would solve a lot of the problems that we face today. Owning a car means that we need to pay for the monthly installments, insurance, fuel, maintenance costs, parking fees and so much more. If the public transportation system in Kuala Lumpur is reliable enough, the need to own a car is eliminated automatically. This can lower much of the pollution, traffic congestion and ultimately, lower the monthly spending that most Kuala Lumpurites do on cars. Having a similar train system that connects Kuala Lumpur to its surrounding cities such as eastward to Klang, south to Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, up to Negeri Sembilan, and north up to Rawang also helps a lot in managing sky rocketing real estate prices in Kuala Lumpur. It helps a lot if people can buy affordable houses far in the surrounding cities and still be able to go to the city center for work with a reliable public transport system just like going to Seoul from its satellite cities.

Another problem that was pointed out and politicized by the opposition political party is the installment of AES speed trap cameras that intends to punish speedsters. In the streets of Seoul, cameras are installed not in the intention of punishing people with summons but as a means to combat traffic congestion. The presence of cameras in the streets of Seoul is very obvious especially in street junctions. They are the 'eyes' of the city. If there is a traffic accident, the cameras can quickly inform first responders to tackle the problem immediately, taking them to a safer place before a traffic deadlock starts. I have seen how quickly the police respond to an accident personally and I am very impressed by the response time. It would be extremely useful for Kuala Lumpur to install a similar monitoring system that helps to keep traffic running smooth and for first responders to react in time instead of punishing motorists.

Speed Trains as The Main Means of Moving Commodity and 'Balik Kampung'?

I still remember how the fuel price hike effects the price of commodity almost immediately in Malaysia. They would give the excuse of the goods being transported by lorries that consume much diesel to justify the price hike of goods. What if we improve the network of railways in Malaysia, especially in Kuala Lumpur just like in Seoul. Major railway lines converges into the city into large railway stations such as Yongsan Station and Seoul Station, making transporting commodities with trains easier. I am informed that in Korea, nearly half of its electrical power consumed is generated from Nuclear power. When there is electricity, the trains can keep running despite of fuel price hikes. Would it be nice if Malaysia can be like this too?

Plus, why can't we have a fast train system that effectively connects every state in the Malaysian Peninsular? There are the new double rail at the west coast, but would it be nice if it could be connected to another line going to the east coast as well? It would be a lucrative route especially in the Raya season for 'balik kampung'. Some would give the reason of not enough economic activity there, but if there are reliable logistics running from Kuala Lumpur to the east coast states, would it open up a million possibilities of new investment and development there. By that time they would be preoccupied in working, improving their own economic status by themselves and care less about asking for money from offshore oil.

About offering more subsidies from oil, what about encouraging more and more high tech industry and agriculture in Malaysia? Instead of offering more subsidies, let's try and make our own stuff. Just like Koreans that make their own cars and electronics that now known internationally. Some would laugh but it is true that here in Korea, LG does make bathing soap and Samsung makes cars. Although the cost of living in Seoul is relatively high because of the food prices is quite high, but this trend is slowly changing as more and more local produce are coming to Seoul. In Korea they prefer locally produced commodities mostly because of patriotism, but also because it is cheaper than imports. Expensive stuff? Let's make them ourselves! It would be lovely if Malaysians would think the same way.

There is a ton of possibilities in Malaysia. We just need some bold men to unleash it just like the leaders during Tun Dr. Mahathir's time. We need people like you nowadays, more than you know.

The writer is a photography blogger that is currently studying in Seoul, South Korea. Although most of the steps are not well thought through, those are just suggestions to get people's minds moving. I hope you wouldn't have to tell him to go out to Malaysia and live in South Korea. We like South Korea, but we still love Malaysia.

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Light & Shadow Project

Ia bermula dengan pembelian tripod mini untuk kegunaan semasa travel. Lepas tu ada orang ajak pegi keluar. Dah lama jugak tak shoot. Walaupun suhu 4 degree bawah paras beku tetap beranikan diri keluar demi melepas gian nak shoot.

Inilah hasil jalan-jalan malam semalam.

Hari ni kena pegi sekolah.

Tepi tingkap pun jadi lah.

Light and Shadow experiment. Lain kali ada peluang kita shoot lagi. See ya!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Perlu ke Tripod?

Tengoklah mini travel tripod yang saya baru beli! Murah je. Saya beli ni sebab perlukan tripod kecil untuk dibawa travel ke mana-mana sahaja. Ada jugak bunyi-bunyi bising yang cakap, "Apa ni lembik la tripod besi pun tak nak bawak". Malas dah nak menjawab, aku nak naik flight ada limit berat kbai. So, dengan pembelian tripod mini ni jugak datang ilham nak tulis artikel ni; Perlu ke tripod?

Memang perlu. Ini antara sebab-sebab yang saya rasa kita perlukan tripod.

Sebab-sebab kenapa kita perlukan tripod
  1. Meningkatkan sharpness dan depth of fieldgambar anda dengan memastikan kamera tak bergerak terutamanya dalam keadaan pencahayaan malap dan menggunakan shutter speed yang perlahan.
  2. Untuk letak alatan yang berat contohnya lens telephoto atas tripod atau monopod.
  3. Meningkatkan kualiti gambar sebab kita guna ISO yang rendah.
  4. Menggalakkan kita berfikir tentang composition sebelum tangkap gambar.
  5. Tripod berguna untuk kekalkan kamera pada satu tempat yang tetap untuk HDR.
  6. Untuk tangkap gambar macro yang ekstrem tahap mikroskop (hiperbola je k!)
  7. Tangkap gambar diri sendiri guna self-timer
  8. Untuk letak barang lain macam flash, reflector dan lain-lain.
  9. Membolehkan kita shoot dari angle pelik-pelik.
  10. Shoot video dengan stabil supaya viewers tak muntah tengok video gegar yang amat.
  11. Mempertahankan diri. Hayun laaa...
Tanya la mana-mana photographer yang berpengalaman dia akan cakap tripod ni antara aksesori yang sangat penting. Terutamanya landskaper tegar, kaki HDR dan kaki long exposure. Monopod dua jenis je senang cerita, satu yang biasa yang membolehkan kita sambungkan apa-apa yang kita nak kat atas dia dan lagi satu ada ballhead siap kat atas. Tapi tripod ada banyak jenis. Yang mana satu nak beli?

Jenis-jenis tripod

1. Pan/tilt Head Tripod
ada dua paksi pergerakan dan biasanya ada satu handle. biasanya dibuat untuk tripod yang murah-murah. Ok je tapi tripod jenis ni tak kukuh, tak boleh tahan berat, tak banyak paksi pergerakan dan kalau nak tengok viewfinder kamera kita, handle tu mengacau. Sangat tak digalakkan untuk beli!

2. Ballhead Tripod
Ini biasanya lagi bagus sebab dia lebih kuat dan lebih banyak paksi pergerakan. 

3. Gimbal/Wimberley Head Tripod
Erm ini legend sangat pulak. Kalau pakai lens 300mm+ baru la pakai gimbal head.

4. Travel Tripod.
Macam gambar yang atas sekali tu. Kecil dan ringan supaya senang untuk dibawa ke mana-mana.

Apa yang perlu kita fikirkan semasa memilih tripod

1) Berat tripod
Walaupun tripod ni berguna, tapi agak menyusahkan nak bawak dia bergerak. Jadi kena ambil kira jugak berapa berat tripod tu. Ada orang cakap ada je tripod carbon fibre yang ringan, tapi bila dah tambah ballhead satu kat atas, berat la jadinya.

2) Ketinggian tripod
Untuk full size tripod, prefer lagi yang boleh sampai tinggi muka. Senang nak tengok kamera masa shooting.

3) Bahan Tripod
Ada tripod yang dibuat daripada besi, aluminium, yang mahal-mahal tu biasanya dibuat dari carbon fibre. Biasanya yang dibuat dari carbon fibre dan besi ni lagi bagus sebab dia boleh tahan berat.

4) Berapa berat dia boleh bawak
Kalau korang ada lens berat-berat mesti fikir pasal ni. Cuba tengok specs barang-barang anda tu, darab dua. Itulah berapa berat yang tripod anda perlu mampu bawak.

5) Stabiliti Tripod
Cari la yang stabil. Ada cakap kita nak kaki tripod yang kuat untuk bawak kamera, dan tak nak yang ada center pole. Boleh je work around.

Ada ke tripod yang di-rekemen?

Masalah yang sama kepada semua photographer ialah, terlalu banyak jenis tripod di luar sana dengan kelebihan dan kelemahan tersendiri. Susah untuk kita point out satu jenis tripod dan terus rekemen kat orang sebab setiap hendakkan jenis tripod yang sesuai dengan dia, bukan sesuai dengan tukang rekemen. Ada faham? Sebab tu photographer yang pro-pro tu pun biasanya ada lebih dari satu tripod. Kamu keluar dan cari la tripod yang sesuai dengan kemahuan anda...

Camne nak cari tripod?

Keluar pegi kedai. Atau pegi google brand terkemuka macam Manfrotto, Gitzo, dan lain-lain. Kalau nak murahan punya cari Horusbennu, made in china punya benda. Tapi ingat, korang letak DSLR atas tripod tu. Kalau nak murahan sangat sampai beli yang tak stabil lepas tu DSLR jatuh, menangis. Jadi cari baik-baik.

JADI, selamat mencari tripod kepada sesiapa yang ingin membeli satu.

Ini antara gambar yang saya tangkap dengan bantuan tripod.


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Highlight Tone Priority

Kalau kita tengok dalam menu kamera kita ada option Highlight Tone Priority (HTP) yang tersorok dalam custom functions.

Kalau baca kat tempat promo kamera, diorang mesti cakap 'menaikkan dynamic range' kamera kita dengan memproses gambar dengan cara yang berbeza daripada normal. Dynamic range ni atau dalam bahasa video dipanggil latitude, ialah perbezaan antara kawasan gelap dan kawasan yang terang. Orang suka dynamic range yang tinggi sebab orang nak detail dalam kawasan terang dan gelap.

Satu efek yang pertama nampak bila turn on HTP ialah 'ISO expansion' akan turn off. Contohnya ISO value biasanya bermula dengan ISO 100, tapi bila turn on HTP, pilihan untuk ISO 100 hilang dan kita punya base ISO jadi ISO 200. Kalau kita expand ISO kita guna custom functions sampai H1 (ISO 12,800 equivalent), dia pun akan hilang jugak. Maksudnya ISO yang kita boleh pakai dalam range ISO 200 hingga ISO 6400.

Boleh dikatakan sebagai naikkan dynamic range jugak la benda Highlight Tone Priority ni. Nak terangkan secara detail agak pening sebab Canon tak terangkan secara mendalam tentang efek fungsi ni kepada gambar kita. Tapi apa yang kita tahu ialah dia menggunakan exposure ISO 100 untuk expose highlights, atau kawasan terang. Lepas tu dia gunakan exposure gain ISO 200 untuk menaikkan kawasan gelap. Bob Atkins pun susah nak terangkan, klik sini kalau nak baca kat website dia. Hasilnya jadi macam ni;

Nampak kan kita dapat lebih detail di kawasan langit dengan menggunakan HTP.

Yang bestnya, ada berpendapat benda ni tak beri efek kepada RAW dan hanya beri efek kepada JPEG sahaja. Tapi ada jugak yang berfikiran HTP beri efek kepada dua-dua, RAW dan JPEG. Saya pun tak faham. Mungkin bila saya dapat jawapan nanti saya akan post kat sini. Tapi saya memang suka RAW lagi sebab bila buka file RAW kat komputer guna Adobe Camera RAW kita dapat lebih detail dengan kurangkan highlights.

Perlu Guna Ke?
Jadi, nak guna ke tak payah guna? Kalau pendapat personal lah, saya galakkan lagi korang untuk shoot dengan RAW dengan exposure yang betul (syarat penting tu!) dan lepas tu proses highlights, shadows, levels, curves, dan contrast kat photo editor. Anda ada lebih kawalan atas editing dan InsyaAllah hasilnya lebih baik.

JOM BELAJAR SAMA-SAMA : Siri Tutorial Fotografi

Tips Mencari Kamera Impian

Sekarang ni dengan adanya facebook, makin ramai orang nak gambar berkualiti tinggi sebab gambar yang kool dapat banyak likes. Alkisah terjadilah beberapa tahun lepas trend semua orang nak DSLR. Lepas tu berganti kat iPad sekejap, lepas tu kamera lomo pulak. Buat masa saya menulis artikel ni, sekarang ni trend GoPro. Tak payah nak ikut trend sangat.

Sebagai pengguna bijak kita kena tahu cara untuk dapatkan informasi tentang barangan yang dijual. Model apa yang ada segala kelebihan yang kita nak, dan apa kelemahan yang kita sanggup tahan. Senang je, google kan ada.

STEP 0 : Baca artikel ni : Panduan Membeli DSLR

STEP 1 : Buka dompet dan tengok berapa budget yang anda ada!

STEP 2 : Pergi ke laman web official pembuat kamera tersebut.

Canon : Canon Malaysia
Nikon : Nikon Malaysia
Sony : Sony Malaysia
Olympus : Olympus Malaysia
Pentax : Pentax2u

dan lain-lain cari sendiri

STEP 3 : Tengok kamera yang mana anda minat. Kat situ ada harga jugak so tengok jugak la.

STEP 4 : Bila dah ada kamera yang korang minat, take note nama model kamera tu.

STEP 5 : Contoh di YouTube, cari; "-nama model kamera- review". contoh "Canon 600D review".

STEP 6 : Baca review secara detail dengan google "-nama model kamera- review".

STEP 7 : Kalau ada kawan yang pakai kamera tu, tanya dia dan mintak try test drive sikit.

STEP 8 : Kalau minat nak beli, kembali ke website official pembuat kamera dan tengok harga.

STEP 9 : Nak harga lebih detail mengikut harga pasaran semasa, rujuk website ni: ''

STEP 10 : Bawak parents atau kawan yang tau pasal kamera pergi beli kamera serta gaduh-gaduh sikit dengan penjual kamera tu supaya dapat harga yang diinginkan.

STEP 11: Selamat berjaya.

JOM BELAJAR SAMA-SAMA : Siri Tutorial Fotografi

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