Born in Malaysia – One man’s journey rediscovering his home

Chan Kin Wah, second generation watch and clock repairer, Melaka. This was one of Kenny’s most memorable encounters: “I love the watch repairer because he’s preserving our heritage. He had something to say: I repair old watches, why can’t we repair old buildings the same way?” – (Pic credit: Kenny Loh via

What would you do if, after spending many years abroad, you returned to your home country only to find it much different from how you remembered it to be? If you’re Kenny Loh, you’d take a three-year long road-trip throughout country (in this case, Malaysia) to explore and rediscover it.

Now three years after being on the road interviewing and taking photos of ordinary people in their everyday life, Loh has published Born in Malaysia – a photo book filled with over 100 pictures of all the people he’s met on his journey. recently sat down with the Malaysian photographer to speak to him about the inspiration behind this passion project.

In Loh’s own words from his website:

Coming back to Malaysia in 2010, after spending the better part of the previous 20 years out of the country, was disconcerting. Everything seemed different and new. Trips to visit places I knew as a boy would be filled with apprehension as I wondered if I would still be able to recognise it. Would it be as I remembered? Would it even be there? I felt compelled to rediscover the land of my birth.

Mohd Rudin Sulaimeen, proprietor, Kedai Kopi Din Tokyo, Kota Bharu. “71 year old Rudin is the teh tarik maestro. He has been holding court in his coffee shop, standing behind his unusual U-shaped counter for over three decades.” – (Pic credit: Kenny Loh via

On why he chose to photograph ordinary people instead of big names, Loh explains to

As Kenny sees it, Malaysian heritage is not just old buildings and artefacts but people, and we have far more in common than we might think. “We all work hard, we want to give our families a better life. This book is about these unsung heroes. These are not celebrities but simple Malaysians.”

Kenny Loh is a well-known Malaysian photographer with great passion. He started his career in the 1980s as a commercial photographer and later spent 20 years in Taiwan, with the last few in China. Loh sees his book, Born in Malaysia as a celebration of one nation’s diversity and believes it is the true essence of the Malaysian identity. Get more information on his project here.

Born in Malaysia is available for purchase in MPH stores or via MPH Online


Read original article: Photo Feature: Born in Malaysia

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As a homebody, Maggie likes spending her week-nights and weekends curled up on the couch with her furbabies, catching up on her favourite TV shows, all while sipping on a nice warm cup of green tea.