The idiomatic phrase Familiarity Breeds Contempt which means that “the more you know something or someone, the more you start to find faults and dislike things about it or them.” My neighbourhood falls squarely into this category. When I moved here circa 5 years ago, the neighbourhood wasn’t as populated as it is today, it was serene being next to the forest (before that began to disappear too!) and a distance from the main road and commuters. Today, that forest is disappearing fast and one could even spot my house from the Seria by-pass where the dense trees used to wall us in quite good. But all this progressively loss of privacy isn’t nearly as bad as the number of dogs (once affectionately called ‘man’s best friend’ for reasons I cannot comprehend today) that had appeared proportionately as the number of families who had moved here.
© Jan Shim Photography
Clearly, the owners of their pets having gotten used the endless barking that not on the odd occasion but rather on a daily basis and as a resident here, I should too but it continues to drive me and my family up the wall with their barking. And we get them in cinematic surround too literally being in the middle of a neighbourhood of canine loving families—one bark sets of a chain reaction!
Fortunately, the barks do not scare off the hornbills and if anything, I suspect the barks from the puppies that sound so familiar to the cries of the hornbills draw them into this neighbourhood. It’s uncanny. But even before that, Kampong Sungai Bera has been somewhat of a hornbill hotspot and I appreciate every waking moment of them choosing to transit at that haunting dead tree across from my kitchen balcony.
© Jan Shim Photography
So I titled this post Familiarity Breeds Art as that’s how I feel towards how little is left of the trees, vegetation that form a familiar landscape each morning as the strong sunlight casts an equally familiar silhouette. It has inspired me to create a composite from two photographs taken approximately two weeks apart into the above picture. I managed to capture the fast moving low clouds one morning and the effect you see in that picture isn’t manipulated (exception being the addition of the hornbills). Hope you enjoy this!