Hi, I’m Mikhail, co-founder of HHWT. I chose to embrace Islam in 2016 and since then, I’ve met other Muslims across the world – Caucasians, Chinese, Indians etc. I can’t help but see how their lives are so different, yet, the same.
We may come from different backgrounds, speak different languages or look different but we are all Muslims.
This year I took the Sony a7R III and FE 24-70 mm F2.8 GM lens to record my Ramadan story.
I'm Mikhail Goh and this is Ramadan through my lens.
One of the things that you'll hear reverts talk about is the loneliness that sets in during Ramadan. I remember waking up alone to have my Sahur. It's almost too quiet in the morning when you're alone.
Alhamdulillah, things have changed since I got married. Now we rely on each other. ?
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/100sec., F5, ISO3200
My colleague, Faruq, could take shots of me in Sultan Mosque thanks to the silent shooting function of the a7R III.
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/60sec., F2.8, ISO1600
Islam is a gift I would never have received if it were not a chance meeting with my wife, Suzana. For that I am grateful.
I come from a relatively conservative Buddhist family, so you can imagine the number of objections I had when I first embarked on my journey to embrace Islam. I remember my ustad, saying “Be a better person than you were before embracing Islam, show them more love than you ever did, eventually love will prevail.”
I stuck to those words, Alhamdulillah, my family has come to accept me as I am.
My dad usually has dinner at 6pm but he waits for me during Ramadan so that we can break fast together with home-cooked Chinese cuisine.
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/160sec., F4, ISO6400
Suzana's family has also been very supportive. This is my Tok (grandpa), I meet him every Friday at the Sultan Mosque and it's no different this Ramadan ?
Tok has a surprisingly international taste, he broke fast with dim sum and Peking duck rolls that day! The autofocus was so fast that I could take his portrait even though he didn’t pose for this photo ?
ILCE-7RM3, FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (SEL55F18Z), 1/60sec., F2.8, ISO500
Culture & food
Many seem to struggle with the concept of culture and religion. Although I like rendang, lemak, and all sorts of curries, my tummy will always be calling out for Chinese food.
Nuodle is, IMHO, the best halal Lan Zhou La Mian in SG. Sony’s a7R III’s full frame sensor gives a better depth of field – perfect for food photography!
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/160sec, F3.2, ISO1600
As they say, a leopard, never changes its spots. I say, a Chinese boy never gives up on his noodles ?
P.S. There is a new food item that I’ve grown to love since I reverted - dates! They’re a staple for my sahur
(pre-dawn meal) and iftar
(breaking of fast meal). One interesting fact is that they taste very different from the Chinese red date that we put in our soups and desserts!
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/100sec, F5.6, ISO500
Work fills a large part of my life. Alhamdulillah, we've grown from a small team of 3 to a team of 12. It has been a difficult journey but we've built an organisation with purpose. Every day is a new challenge, but at least we all know that we're making a difference to the Ummah.ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/30sec, F4, ISO1000
I remember looking for a place to set up our office back in 2016. Serendipitously, we found ourselves a place next to the mosque. The landlord was afraid that the Azan would disrupt our operations, but It was love at first sight - I signed the office lease the next day.
This year, the HHWT team decided to do more for the community during Ramadan. We signed up for several community service programmes, such as the BAPA Ramadan Iftar Drive.
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/1600sec, F2.8, ISO5000
Meet Fatehah, our dear colleague, who arranged the activity for our team!
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/50sec, F2.8, ISO640
It was a timely reminder that there are others who need our help and always remember to count our blessings.
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/40sec, F2.8, ISO3200
A new friend we met as we were doing community work! With the Sony a7R III’s high resolution, you can see the details of its fur even though the photo is cropped.
P.S. Here’s the original photo!
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/400sec, F2.8, ISO5000
Patience & self-control
Fasting is decreed upon all Muslims. But some have a more challenging fast than others. My respect goes to the Bazaar vendors who brave long hours and aroma of food wafting through the air.
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/60sec, F2.8, ISO1250
The Murtabak bros (Zam Zam and Victory) next to my office, pacing up and down the streets tirelessly every afternoon, on the hunt for customers.
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/320sec, F4.5, ISO100
And also to our dear HHWT team, to be working on food articles while fasting. The challenge is real.
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/60sec, F3.5, ISO800
This is my 4th
Ramadan, and yet I feel there is so much more to learn. Do write to us if you would like to share with us your Ramadan story!
Have a blessed Ramadan everyone ?
ILCE-7RM3, FE 24-70 F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM), 1/60sec, F2.8, ISO1600
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