IN ENGLISH: Visual documentary instead of my poor (and never up to date) English writing :)

For a very long time, I haven’t added any text to the English section on this blog. Being a mother of two small children, I can always use this fact as an excuse, providing some explanations and complains about not having enough time for anything in my life. Which is party true, but you know, if I really wanted to … I can make the English writing happen as I do the cooking, running and many other things.  

The truth being told here, every time I sit in front of my notebook or computer, the Czech sentences start to pop up in my head automatically. While writing in Czech seems to be natural, very smooth and enjoyable process with a lot of emotions swirling around, in English, I have to really force myself to find the right wording as well as I have to forcefully stop the constant dissecting and doubts. And yet, no matter how hard I try to keep them away, they are still there. Writing in English is difficult and it’s very far from being an enjoyable process, partly also because I once hoped for a certain level of writing which I haven’t been able to achieve. As pretentious as it sounds, I don’t like being somehow mediocre, especially in my own eyes. Therefore a lot of times in my mind I quit before I even start.

However, in my pretty much non stop searching for a proper writer’s identity and unique voice, I also know that I don’t want to quit the English writing completely. 

Since my twenties, I have longed for adding good photographs to my writing and yet never did much for it. Recently, while living in Kuala Lumpur, thanks to my neighbors, I met a group of photographers which I now belong to. For past half a year, I have the opportunity to fullfill my dream, learn and visually document stories that resonate with a place I currently call home and topics that are critical importance to me. I am not transitioning from a writer to a photographer, but I am trying to combine these two passions together. The writing in Czech language will still be a priority, giving me a job as well as an opportunity to express my deepest thoughts and emotions in the language I was born with and I am most familiar with. The photography, on the other hand, leads me to the role of photojournalist whose visual stories combined with the short accompanying text in English can reach much further than my writing and advocate important issues not just in the country of my origin, but around the globe. 

Therefore, since now on, in this section of my blog, I would like to show you parts of my learning process of becoming a photojournalist, particularly on the visual documents I had covered. The story or Joanne Leong’s store in the heart of China Town in Kuala Lumpur is the very first assignment and project I would like to share here. Let me know in the comment section how you like it. Thank you! 

Settled in the heart of China Town in Kuala Lumpur for 43 years, Joanne Leong’s store remains one of the few left in which you can buy handmade wedding gowns or dresses for special occasions.  Leon has been part of the business since her teenage years when she started helping her uncle at the store. "The business has changed a lot over the years. Today, people order dresses mostly from the internet. However if you want a piece which really flatters your figure, then you come to me," she says. 

Her customers are mostly Chinese looking for a special wedding attire. Generally speaking, the color red is the most favored by the Chinese as it represents happiness. Red is also considered as a symbol of good fortune that drives evel spirits away. The traditional Chinese wedding dress in north part of China is usually one piece named Qipao. Brides in south of China prefer to wear two – piece dress called Qungua. 

Joanne Leon works with all kinds of dress materials. She takes care of everything from the first measurement of the customer to the last stitch of the hand made embroidery, which is usually connected to dragon, phoenix and other symbols bringing good luck and happiness to the newly married couples. From the cut to the final fitting, Joanne Leong is able to prepare the handmade custom dress within a week, depending mainly on the embroidery. The prices for the custommade dresses start at 200 ringgit, which is around 50 US dollars.