Once upon a time, people sailed from ocean to ocean. At somewhere nearby the water, they dropped anchor and lived. Then, villages were built and cultures were rooted. Many years later, the sea was covered and cities sprouted like mushrooms.
Among streets, we were born in protected rooms. Since the new land asked for a complete devotion, the otherness was considered a wrong. In return for the love of the welcoming land, we had no choice other than to ground. Swimming was no longer crucial to our survival. The rain season satisfied our envy for the ocean.
Later, we have fallen in love with the dusty air. We get used to the loaded landscapes. We answer in violence. We zigzag in disbelief, while the newcomers fleeing from another misled regime, have sailed from ocean to ocean, and found our land.
And the history repeats itself.
During the trip from Kuala Lumpur to my hometown Pantai Remis, I used to repeat this children’s song “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat” in the car with my three years old niece because she was reluctant to take a nap.
When do we arrive? Why is grandparents' house so far away? If I open my eyes, we'll be there, right? The same questions would pop up in her mind again and again. At this moment, I would sing her favourite song and she would forget for a few seconds her preoccupation and sang with me.
So, we started to row in the dark, gently to the sea.
Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily is an ongoing photographic project consisted of a body of images taken since 2008 within and beyond the Malaysian context. By using the metaphor of water, the work intends to question the problematic among forms, identities and ideologies of the flux of migrants in the actual world. With an insider’s eye, the photographer intends to stir the troubled waters and reinvent the conventional condition of being through the daily practice of photography.
As suggesting the lyrics of the song “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat”, Mer.rily Mer.rily Mer.rily Mer.rily is guided by running water and it drifts from shore to shore. What is the most illuminating in a journey? Is it to land or to leave?
The answer is in one's doing.