Charles and I go back a long way, he was the News Editor and me the Photo Editor at the 1974 Star Publications in Penang, Malaysia.
When I joint, The Star was hardly 2 years old. We were competing with the all powerful The New Straits Times, the national broadsheet and a 70+ year old local, The Straits Echo; another broadsheet.
Charles was a no nonsense News Editor during those "lean and mean" days, I remember fondly that he ordered the photographer to reshoot the job because the shots were not up to his high standard. In 1974, News Editor has MORE power and say than a young Photo Editor ;)
Charles got along with me so well that he SOLD me his precious SOLID SILVER Dunhill cigarette lighter for RM 60.00! He even let me pay the amount by 3 monthly installments of RM 20.00 :) He reckoned that was a sure way of quitting his smoking habit! Hee hee...
In the early years of The Star, good photos were displayed BIG to attract our readers; especially "human interest" pictures :)
Pictures taken by me at the flash flood in Kangar, The Star loved candid shots!
Decisive Moment captures! I am sure this "incentive" pushed the team of young photographers harder to excel in their work!
January 14, 1976; the then Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak died. Charles was stationed in Kuala Lumpur and I was sent from Penang to shoot the funeral. It was a big event, both the News Editor and Photo Editor were sent to the Subang International Airport to wait for the coffin.
On that faithful day our taxi was stopped at the Federal Highway and Charles and me had to WALK for MILES to the airport! Luckily we were younger then ;) At least Charles did not have to carry a big bag full of cameras and lenses, he took with him a writing pad and a ball pen.
After the event we managed to get into a waiting "to make a fast buck" taxi parked at the airport. It was anybody guess how theses taxis got into the airport!!
I remembered it cost us something like RM 350.00 to get back to our office in Bangsar! Goodness, that was nearly a month of my miserable pay! Ha ha ha...
I also remembered our Editor In Chief / Managing Director K.S.Choong told Charles when he try to claim back the fare... "Don't tell me if you were caught in a hotel with a girl, we will have to pay for the expensive room?" Ha ha ha...
This picture ran broadsheet (double spreads) in the tabloid.
I found this transparency more than 16 years later, it was moldy and faded; many hours of extensive Photoshop time were used to restore the image.
Nikon F2 camera, 20mm f2.8 lens on Kodak Ektachrome film. © C.Y.Leow / The Star
Remember the good old days, CY but don't stop creating new good days, too.
Soon, today will be the good old days ... I hope." Thanks Chong :)
Two old stars of The Star with their Generals and daughters at the Dragon, Dixon Street; Wellington, New Zealand.
Famous Last Words...
On October 27, 1987; Operation Lalang, saw the arrest of 106 persons under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the revoking of the publishing licenses of two dailies, The Star and the Sin Chew Jit Poh and two weeklies, The Sunday Star and Watan.
Charles got a job with the Auckland Star and I with The Dominion in Wellington. We immigrated to this Land of the Long White Cloud in 1988.