Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Guardian of the Flame

(300MM X 410MM)
I was in Kuala Sepetang, Taiping, not too long ago and whenever I am there, I would pay a visit to the charcoal factory lying just outside the town that was once known as Port Weld. This is the picture of the guardian of the flame tending to the fire at the kiln during the second stage of charcoal baking.
The entire process of making charcoal takes about three weeks with several firing stages. This is in its final week when the door of the kiln will be sealed shut using bricks and the temperature gradually brought down. It takes an experience person to gauge the temperature. Too high and coal turns to ash. Too low and the coal will be smoky.
The job is back breaking, the surroundings smoky, hot and even hazardous. But for someone of limited education, this is the only option in a town where high-paying jobs are few and far in between. And for the sake of his family, the guardian of the flame has to keep the fire going.

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