Zakaria Zainal October 14, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Nepal.
Retired Singapore Gurkhas, Dharan and Pokhara Nepal 2011
Zakaria Zainal (b. 1985, Singapore) graduated from the School of Communication, Nanyang Technological University in 2010. His work has been published in The Straits Times, Nepali Times and The Invisible Photographer Asia among others. His photographs have also been exhibited at the 3rd Singapore International Photography Festival, Valentine Willie Fine Art Gallery, The Philanthropic Museum and the upcoming Dali International Photography Festival. In 2012, he published his first monograph: Our Gurkhas: Singapore Through Their Eyes, an anthology of portraits and anecdotes of the retired Singapore Gurkha and also organized a traveling exhibi in Nepal of the work.
About the Photograph:
“These two photographs are part of a series titled “Our Gurkhas”. In 2011, I spent three months visiting three states in Nepal searching, interviewing and photographing Singapore Gurkhas. When people talk about the Gurkhas, they mainly refer to those from the British or Indian army. Little is known about the stories and memories of those Gurkhas who have served in the Singapore Gurkha Contingent. Working with the Singapore Gurkhas Pensioners’ Association (SGPA), I would refer to a telephone list of the Gurkhas. There were some numbers I could not call, because some were already dead or have moved overseas with their families. Both Mr Youm (left) and Mr Bhabindra (right) were kind enough to share with me what they could remember from their time in serving Singapore. Through their foreign eyes, they witnessed the rapid pace of change of this small island they once called home. In their current homes, both in Dharan and Pokhara respectively, they adorn their houses with tangible memories of Singapore — especially photographs of them in uniform.”