The project seeks to document and preserve my mother’s disappearing hometown in Malaysia called Telong, by building up an archive of collected artefacts, photos, and stories of this place and its people.
My mother loves Telong and has always been homesick. Unfortunately being uneducated, her only way of preserving her memories of this place was through stories told at bedtime, old photographs, and visits during the school holidays. She always wanted to write a book about the stories of Telong so that the world knows about it. However, due to family issues, this little dream of hers never materialized. It feels almost like a responsibility to me to do what my mother couldn’t do. It is now my weight to carry, as the last storyteller of Telong.
Another motivation to create this project is that although I am born in Singapore, I spent most of my childhood at Telong. As a result, I see it as my second home. With increasing abandonment of this place together with environmental factors that menace its existence, my beloved sanctuary is nothing more than a tattered ghost town today. To make matters worse, there is hardly any form of official documentation of this over a century old place. Much of the buildings there are left derelict and often destroyed over the course of time. I fear that the entire village would soon disappear altogether in a matter of years.
As a result, I would like to compile artefacts, photos, information, oral accounts, in short, memories of this place and its people that can be passed to future generations. Through the documentation of this heritage site and the outcomes of this research, I also seek to question humanity’s relationship with places and the meaning and importance of home.