Women in Kiln

PhotographerHamlito Nocete
PrizeBronze in Deeper Perspective / Deeper Perspective
Entry Description

In northern coast of Perak, Malaysia, is a town where a traditional way of making a charcoal is still one of the major business the town has - the Kuala Sepatang Charcoal factory. In this town lies a gazetted mangrove forest reserve since 1906, considered the largest in the country. These mangroves trees are the raw materials in making the considered best charcoal in Asia. Nowadays it attracts tourists, educational tours, journalists, photographers, etc. to visit the place to understand the process and watching the workers perform. The charcoal factory has lots of kilns where the baking of the debarked logs takes place. It takes approximately 30 days in 3 stages to complete the process of charcoal making, from pre-drying, heating to about 250 degrees until the cooling down or the carbonizing period before the unloading of cooked logs or charcoal. The factory consists mostly male workers from different part of Asia, workers from Nepal, Myanmar, India and local Malaysians. What's surprising is sometimes groups of women mostly in middle age and few are considered elders are the ones doing the unloading job. Sources told that they are like "for hired" people only during the unloading job and are paid per job. When unloading, the chamber still in about 45 Deg C temp. enough to put anyone in sauna mode when inside. Taking photographs of their movements around the kiln is hell of a task. These women are very tough withstanding the heat for more than an hour. There is always this feeling of pity but what's amazing is these people know how to overcome adversities. That leads to a realization that life is difficult for some and we should be thankful and contented for what we have and share to others. Women in Kiln, an inspirational photo shoot.