Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Project PET n' TOUCH: Website Research Development.

Everyone loves field trips. So, when we were told that the graphic design, animation and architecture students were going to get a trip of our own, we were ecstatic. Not only were we going to get a short escape from the reality of tests and deadlines, but we were finally going to get a chance to tighten the bond between our majors. The trip was set for Malacca, on the 15th and the 16th of August. Initially, I saved those dates for the annual cheerleading competition, but, well. I had to choose, and I didn't regret my choice in the slightest.

For this trip, we were told to pay close attention to our surroundings, and to capture whatever we deemed interesting using our cameras. Our seemingly non-existent photography skills were put to the test as we had to shoot our interests, all in order to compile them into one mock-website. Our lecturers said that our subject could be of anything, so, we didn't have much constraints to worry about.


Our first destination was the Mini-Malaysia and ASEAN Cultural Park in Ayer Keroh. It's a theme park well-known for showcasing all the different types of Malaysian houses (based on the state they're representing) along with showcases of cultural specialties like traditional games and heritage.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the blazing hot sun, an empty ticket counter, and inside the overly large front door, we found horses. Man, I am weak to animals. The horses were so cute and obedient, I found myself naturally hovering towards them without much thought. After talking to the people in charge of the stable (and finding out about the unrealistically expensive rate for a short ride), I was pulled along with the rest to begin our exploration of the theme park.

The Petting Zoo.

At first, I was strangely attached to the Penang Island and Negeri Sembilan houses, but the attraction that pulled on my heartstrings the most was unsurprisingly the secluded petting zoo that was located behind the latter house. It seemed like no one was taking care of the quiet little zoo, but the adorable animals were still eager to greet me and Elyna as we walked towards them.

What we saw were three ducks and a few baby goats with whom we assumed to be their parents. The signboard tells us that there should be other animals, like rabbits and chickens, but they were nowhere to be seen. The guy taking care of the zoo that day said that some of the animals weren't available at the moment, and when I asked why, he just shrugged. Oh, well.

Where were the kura-kura (turtles), the arnab (bunnies) and the ayam (chickens)?
I asked Nek, a good friend of mine, to be my model for the day. We bought the goat treats and asked permission to get into the zoo. And much to our surprise, the animals were being just a bit too affectionate. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun.

Nek was attacked by the goats. Beeehhh, they demanded. Beeeehhhh.

Even I was approached, although I had no food on me.

They were generally friendly, and were all up for selfies.

I even stalked a few of the animals and even managed to sneak a few photos of the ducks bathing. How shameless of me.


The goats were really chilled out, at least, these goats were. The other brown one and the white one were unbearably clingy.

My attention span wasn't that great, though, as I got completely distracted by a stray lizard. I thought it was a komodo dragon, and began chasing it around with Elyna by my side. After I was satisfied with chasing the majestic creature, we continued on our way with the rest of the houses that were featured.

The Dance Performance.

"Make sure you guys come to the stage area at 11AM! There'll be a show!" said Ms. Ida, our lecturer. I wasn't that interested, to be honest, and kept thinking about the animals back at the petting zoo. My carelessness resulted in me falling from the stairs of the Sabah house. I thought I was cursed, because of all the photos I took of the skull replicas.

I never expected much vigor from the dancers, but this guy was killing it (in a good way).

Before the show began, I thought I would be bored out of my mind, but as soon as the music started and the dancers came out to perform, I found myself clicking my camera non-stop. Their movements were so graceful and cheery, I couldn't help but feel entranced by their performance. I snapped, and snapped, and snapped, until Sir Nizar chirped in and said, "Why don't you try taking photos from different angles... It'll end up boring if you take everything from the same place." And so, I stood up and worked my way around the stage area. The dancers danced almost every traditional dance that can be found in Malaysia, from all cultures, although most of them seemed of Malay ethnicity.

The tourists were loving the action, especially the guy with the red plaid shirt. He was really into it.

When the dancers called the audience up to dance with them, I considered myself sold. They were so charming and emitted a bright aura of sunshine, that everyone just ended up laughing and had a great time. I loved the performance, and I commend them for their dedication to the traditional dances they beautifully showed to us that day.


After having lunch, we went to the city of Melaka, specifically, Menara Taming Sari. Here, we were given the freedom to explore and travel the area, and were given the option to either sketch or take as much photos of we want. I was, of course, enchanted by all the Captain America-themed rickshaws. I was tempted to ride them, but Elyna gave me the "Please don't tell me you're actually considering to spend THAT much money just to ride something that has Chris Evans' face," so, I refrained.

In the end, we split up from the rest and climbed up the seemingly endless flight of staircases leading up to St. Paul's church. There were a lot of artists, selling their work and handicrafts. Truly inspiring to see, really. But, once we got up and took many photos of the structure and the statues, I heard a call from my kin.

As expected, there were animals up there, too.

The Animal-for-photos Vendor.

The man pulled a few animals outside tiny carrier cages, bearing signs that said "RM 5 FOR PHOTO WITH ONE ANIMAL," and with next to no hesitation, I told Elyna I was going to take a photo with them. In his hands, he had an iguana in one, and a parakeet on the other. They were both so friendly and playful, I just couldn't resist cooing at them. The guy before me was alright with the parakeet, but freaked out when the iguana was on his shoulder. I was feeling giddy just looking at him go. When it was my turn, I had the time of my life.

If you look closely to its face, you can see it going "what's up" to the camera.

The iguana was super cold, but it was chill in nature itself, so. It shouldn't be that surprising. It literally did nothing in my hands and just... Chilled out. It only showed signs of not wanting to fall when it was placed on my shoulder, given that my small stature couldn't provide it with much reassurance to its safety.

"Give me your brains, Radhi, give 'em to me."
"No brain? Fine. I'll keep my distance, then. Hmph."

The parakeet on the other hand was super talkative, and wouldn't stop squawking, which is what I usually do in my daily life as well. It kept biting my cap as we took photos together. I decided to take that in stride, you know, maybe it was a sign that the parakeet wanted to know what went on inside my head, to get to know me like no one else would.

And my choice for the website project was made.

After coming home, and going through my photos. I found myself attached to the photos I took of the animals and the dancers. Not just them, but also of everything else that had life, including the snapshots I took of random tourists and street artists. After consulting with Ms. Ida, she reminded me of what I felt closest to my heart.

I've said it once, and I will say it again.

Man, I love animals.

And so, I'll create a mock website showing the specialties of Malaccan animals, both from the Mini-Malaysia and St. Paul's church. Hopefully, I'll be able to bring more public interest to these charming animals. Godspeed.

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