By Rosli Mansor
Bagas Zakariah Orchard and Farm offers the experience of living in a traditional Malay village. However, of late it has become a mecca for photographers keen on capturing a typical kampong lifestyle for posterity.
The unique architecture of the traditional Perak Malay house – Rumah Kutai – has prompted Zamari Muhyi, Chairman of Perak State Bumiputera Tourism Entrepreneurs Association to host the Bagas Zakariah Photography Challenge 2020 on Saturday, February 1.
“We combined the best of Bagas Zakariah with Perak Malay costumes to showcase the uniqueness of Malay heritage and how it could be o
ptimised via a photography competition,” he said.
“The last thing we want to see is the erosion of Malay traditions and culture in time of rapid technological advancement. Hopefully, sufficient publicity will be gained from this competition through social media platforms to bring it to an international level,” Zamari added.
“We also wanted to promote Gopeng’s tourism products, especially its historical heritage left by the British colonials.”
‘Bagas’ is a Mandailing word meaning a house while ‘Zakariah’ is the name of the homestay operator’s late grandfather. He came from an area near Penyambungan, Kabupaten Mandailing-Natal in Sumatera Barat, Indonesia.
Located on a 5-acre site in Gopeng, Bagas Zakariah offers three types of guest houses. They are Rumah Lenggong, Rumah Lawan Kuda (also known as Rumah Merah) and Rumah Kuning. All were built circa 1920.
The other point of interest, according to Zamari, is the beautiful landscape the village offers. This is being optimised by photographers.
“There are over a hundred durian trees in the orchard. They have been here for many decades. Around the orchard is a small river with clean and fresh water,” he added.
“I believe Bagas Zakariah is the place to be for those who pine for a rustic village life away from the madding crowd,” said Zamari.
For his efforts in promoting artistic photography, Zamari has gained a new moniker, “Father Figure Icon of Photography.”
Some 65 professional photographers from all over the country took part in the competition and 130 photos were judged.
Abdul Hafiz Abdul Hamid, 45, from Kuala Selangor emerged champion. He won RM500. Muhammad Hanis Che Ar, 29, from Gerik was second. He received RM300. Ipohite Nazrul Hisan Mohamad Tarmizi, 47, was placed third. He took home RM200.