LookBack : The Forgotten Sufferers – The Lepers of Sungei Buloh, 1999
A recent posting on a friend’s personal blog about her visit to the leprosarium in Sungei Buloh just outside Kuala Lumpur urged me to dig out this series of images I had put together way back in 2000 for a grant submission, photographed at the same colony. Built by the British in the 1930s, this is a vast area in the foothills surrounded by lush tropical forests and plantations. There is a clinic building, blocks of houses where the inmates lived in basic conditions, a small chapel, mosque and Hindu temple, shops and schools back then. It appears that there are still many inmates living there in semi-isolation, and the public are free to make visits. Many have used their spare time to grow vegetables and make handicrafts, whilst others just hang out in the coffee shops.
These are just scans, as I have lost the original negatives or perhaps, misplaced them. They will eventually surface in the future, no doubt. These were shot in film, using a Konica Hexar 35, one of the best film cameras then and still is. It has a ‘stealth’ mode, when set, produces an absolutely silent shutter. Self-printed also, with full frame edge borders. (How I miss making prints in my bathroom!)
I only got my first digital camera in 2003.
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