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.


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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.