09 October 2010

Longhouse adopts Japanese couple - Borneo Post

THE NAKAZAWA FAMILY: In this family photo, Ken is seen seated on his mother lap. The man at left was his father.

That soldier was the father of Ken Nakazawa who was only a year-old toddler when the former left for Sarawak in 1942.

Ken never saw his father before and all his life, he only heard about him but had no chance to talk to him.

After the Japanese occupation, the four dark years of misery were quickly forgotten. Things changed with passing time as a new world order emerged from the ashes of war to reconcile victor and vanquished.

In later years, the memory of his father brought Ken to Sarawak to live among the community that took his father’s life during the war. He came with good intention and genuine friendship.

Today at 69, Ken Nakazawa is happy he has found a family at a longhouse in Kanowit District. He wants to die and be buried there.

Ken was born in Tokyo in 1941. A year later, his father moved to Sarawak and became a general manager of a Selalang sawmill in what is now the central region. Little was known about the elder Nakazawa but Ken said his father fell in love with an Iban girl and they got married.

In 1944, when the Japanese invaded Sarawak, his father was forced into the military to serve the emperor despite having no training. A year after joining, he was caught near a Roban longhouse in Betong. Both he and his wife were later killed by the natives and buried near there.

It is said his wife was killed in defence of her husband. She had pleaded with their captors that he was not really a soldier.

When the Japanese surrendered on Aug 15, 1945, Ken’s family in Japan received a letter about his father from the Japanese military, stating that he had died in Sarawak in service of the emperor.

While in Japan, Ken had constantly thought about his father. He said if he could not see his face again, the least he could do was to pay his respects at his grave.

“I don’t know my father. My relatives tell me about him but I have never seen him before, so I decided to come to Sarawak to see his grave. Sixty-five years ago, my father died in this land. His spirit has brought me.”

Ken was a university professor in Tokyo and on his retirement in the 1950s, went to live in Penang for 10 years. He was very active in community work, serving and helping the disabled there.

Later, he moved to Kuching and fate led him to Dr Joseph Jawa Kendawang of Sungei Bawan, Kanowit. Ken was looking to rent a house and Dr Joseph had one for him and his wife, Kazuyo Nakazawa, 65.

On Dec 31, 2003, Dr Joseph invited Ken and Kazuyo to his longhouse for a wedding reception. They stayed for three nights and Ken was touched by hospitality of the longhouse folk.

According to Tuai Rumah Michael Jalak, after having a few glasses of tuak, Ken made a surprise request whether he could stay at the longhouse.

“I thought he was not serious but after leaving Kuching, he wrote to say he wants to make Sarawak his second home.”

Seeing his sincerity, Michael held an emergency meeting with the longhouse folk to decide whether to accept Ken as a member of their community.

“If one longhouse member disapproved, we would not accept him but none objected — all were willing to take him into the family.”

Michael conveyed the good news to Ken that if he decided to stay at longhouse, he could come anytime.

Ken returned to the longhouse to meet the people again not long after that. At the same time, he was thinking of building his own home and started working out the costs.

Ken’s house — Rumah Ken Nakazawa — was put up by the longhouse community. It took about eight months to complete through gotong-royong.

In 2007, the Japanese couple celebrated their first Gawai Dayak at the longhouse as part of the family. They observed Iban customs during the festivities.

The longhouse folks not only opened their door and prepared an extra room for the couple but also adopted Ken as a family member.

Taking the name Ken Nakazawa anak Jawa, he is “unofficially” Michael’s adopted brother. And as brothers, they help each other to speak Iban and Japanese.

However, both joked that age had caught up with them and picking up a new language was tough.

Ken quipped the only Iban word he knew was mabuk.

Kazuyo has picked up a little of the language from her newfound longhouse kin.

“Mimik ja, not so much,” she smiled.

Asked what made him decide to stay with the longhouse folk, Ken said he liked the community atmosphere and the people are very friendly.

“In Japan, everything is so convenient. We have convenient stores 24 hours a day. Whereas here is not convenient at all — no electricity, no shops, no telephone, no police station or post office and no hospital. But the atmosphere is very good; the people are very kind; everybody is so harmonious. This is a peaceful community,” he enthused.

Today, Ken and his wife make Rumah Michael Jalak one of their favourite longhouses in Sarawak.

Despite past conflicts and different cultural backgrounds, two different people can still stay together and become family.

Ken told reporters when he decided to become part of the longhouse family, he asked Kazuyo whether she wanted to join him, and to his surprise, she agreed.

Kazuyo said she was very surprised how the three-night stay at the longhouse had convinced her husband to move in with the community.

Kazuyo has since learnt many traditional and local cuisines and is now an expert in brewing tuak.

She said the longhouse folk were very helpful and willing to teach anything she wanted to know.

However, the couple miss Japanese food but Ken said it was not his main concern because Kazuyo is a great cook.

“I’m very lucky to have Kazuyo by my side because she is a very good cook. She makes sushi and other Japanese food almost everyday at home.”

Unlike West Malaysia and Kuching, Ken said, it was hard to find Japanese food in Kanowit.

Asked whether he would return to Japan one day, he said the moment he stepped on Sarawak soil, he knew he wanted to settle in this land.

“My father was buried here and my mother ashes were brought here too. So when I die, I want to be buried in this land too,” he said, adding that he would return to Japan twice a year for meetings.

Ken is now on a “Malaysia My Second Home Programme” and has to renew his social pass every five years.

“I’m applying for citizenship right now but it’s very difficult to get,” he lamented.

Ken has set up a centre for the disabled near the longhouse. He calls it the Rejang Community Service (RCS).

He always knew he wanted to be with the people here when he first arrived a few years ago. His heart and soul is with Sarawakians and he cherishes this land ever more because of his father and acceptance by the people.

Whatever happened in the past should remain in the past and all conflicts and agony have long been forgotten.

The younger generation may view the Japanese occupation as a remnant from an irrelevant past but those who had been there would appreciate the moment of triumph when both sides embraced one another with open arms in peace.

Sixty-nine years ago, the Japanese presence in Sarawak caused fear but today, the Nakazawas meet the Ibans again and have become family, cementing ties between the two lands forever.

08 October 2010

The P. Ramlee CD Limited Edition

An Interesting Project on P. Ramlee CD Album to all CMs. This CD was designed only available to all CMs. It was an exciting moment and a huge privileged to design CD cover for the important people. It was also a nervous yet daring to explore a new art direction for this project. Thank God i manged to pull this by applying a few techniques and a few experiments into creating a CD artwork. The medium includes of watercolor, crayons, sketches, and photoshop software.


06 May 2009

The Final Assignment for the 1st Sem in Degree

The Graphic Instruction.
Assignment Topic: How to MoonWalk.
Designed by RoyHamson 2009

06 April 2009

The Identity Fraud

18 March 2009

Hand Rendered Revival Type.

This is my 2nd typography project in degree program. It is quite similar to the previous project 'Experimental Type'. It's simpler as i do not have to produce radical concept idea. In this project, it involve more on hands on meaning to sketch or trace the existing fonts you have chose and to enhance it to a new fresh idea in a low tech method. 

I chose the font 'Bauhaus' as it's characteristic and personality are simple, bold, loud, and has a consistent stroke width. with this elements i have fully research and understood, i began working on sketches on developing ideas. Then proceed to the technical part of measuring the stroke width desired, kerning and spaces. All has to be carefully measured and consistent. Then i apply the hands on work to Illustrator to edit the final artwork. I was told to produce 3 headlines with the typeface that has been redesigned. I was pretty satisfied with the result i had produce for this 2nd project. Finally had a presentation and received good feedbacks from lecturer and friends. I hope that you enjoy the creation of the typeface i have posted.

Thank you guys for the feedbacks and the compliments! =)

06 March 2009

My Creation : Experimental Typeface

It is one of the kind project for semester 1 in degree that had the opportunity to explore the typography in the next level. The 1st thought that came out of my mind was "Is it possible for me?" Apparently i had never done this before, not even my freelance job. Despite of  all kinds of question pouring out of my head, I reminded myself to stay positive and have faith in what i'm doing. 

Basically in this Experimental Type Project, i was challenged to explore all kinds of methods and medias to create a font that is not common but yet keeping its value going. It has to be usable, legible, readable and valuable. With these requirement given, it helps me to step out of the comfort zone meaning not just laying back on the couch flipping through books for inspiration but hands on  experimenting materials. I thank God for providing me a few crazy designer friends who are totally wacky! Because of them, through funny conversations, and wacky thing that we talked about, we had alot of wacky ideas! I then caught the inspiration whereby i saw a man removing gums from his shoe. It was a big laughter in my mind keeping it to myself with the idea i had in me. 

So i began working on the concept idea for my typeface, a 'gum' and a 'shoe'. It sounds and seems to easy to produce but trust me, i got it in the wrong way. Generating ideas was pretty easy for me as i have been developing it for many years. The challenging part of this process of the experiment type is time. We were given only a week to complete a total of 52 fonts! So in this case, i have to be quick and work smart, cant afford to make a mistake on my very 1st degree project. 

During the process, there's definitely encountering trials and frustrations. It depends how you response to the problem coming along. So i told myself not to complain cause it doesn't make any changes. Putting more affords in finding ways to solve it. The problems has been battled for 2 days and finally came out with an alternative idea to support my idea development, keeping the value alive. 

When the problems has been solved, that's when i am excited and excel to my final artwork. Had a presentation in the class, and thank God again that everything goes well. Lecturer (Soo Boon) was impressed of my 1st assignment given and i hope to be the role person as a designer to be an example and to inspire others to improve their quality of work. Cheers!

10 February 2009

New Macbook Pro for a New Semester.

This is one of the most exciting year for me. I have been dreaming and longing to own one. It is dream that got me to work harder to earn more to have it one day. I would 1st and fore most say a BIG thank to my mum who willing support me to make sure i become a successful designer in years to come. Its not lucky to have it, but it is a blessing to have it. I thank God too for he heard my prayer and provided me i asked for... Now its on my table! From a vision to a reality. on the 1st day..i just kept hugging and carrying around in my room just to envy as long as i can. Im very confident that this toy of mine will help me on long run and help me to perform better.