Bird Man of Pudu

Posted on December 26, 2015

“Bird man of Pudu”
For the non Malaysians, Pudu is a town in Kuala Lumpur which is quite run down and has the 2nd highest crime rate next to Brickfields. There is a very well known wet market, although it’s open every day, the weekends are much more busy. You can find a Chinese temple, an indoor market that sells all the meats, and even under the counter shark fin, freshly caught from Terengganu (east cost of Malaysia), you can also find mother mainland Chinese prostitutes, watched under the close eye of the local triads (WIP)
The bird man, as I call him, is this old guy, who is mentally challenged who’s job is to de-feather ducks. He sleeps outside on any surface he can find, normally where they cut the pork, using cardboard as a bed. No-one knows his real name, or his history or where he comes from, he is just there, everyday doing his job. Occasionally, when he would see me I would buy him some cigarettes, he likes Rothmans.
I shot this during one of my classes which eventually became one of our strongest exhibitions at The Print Room called “Market”
I spent a lot of time with the duck men, non of them spoke English, but one would always think I was Dutch and would spurt out some premier league football team where I would reply.. I hate football, except of course the world cup, which of course I would end up complaining how bad the English team was. (glazed faces)
When I shot this, I was fascinated about what he was doing, he would sit there, smoke his Rothmans and wait for the ducks bleed and die before he put them in the drum. That was his job, sit, smoke and de-feather, from 7am until 2pm. Sometimes I would walk around the market at 2am, I would see him curled up on a counter somewhere.
Since I started the Print Room I think this is one of my strongest street shots that I have taken, not to mention that I nearly lost it during processing.
After a long break away, when I got back I mistakenly rolled two rolls on the same reel. (possible with 120 film, not 35mm) After taking the film out, two frames survived, and this was one, the other I also sold during the exhibition.
I haven’t seen the bird man since, no-one has.

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