Mental Health of the Pioneer Generation – Yumna Al-Arashi Inspired Photography

(these pictures were taken with the consent of the man in the image, although he did not want to disclose his name)

Whilst walking through Pasir Ris Park, I noticed a lot of the older generation of Singapore sitting alone looking out into the sea. A common stereotype associated with the older generation is more insensitive, tough, thinking the younger/modern generation have it all easy, and either disappointed or grateful for their life.

In these two images, I have the same elderly man alone just sitting down enjoying the view of the sea. I decided to isolate my subject by making sure he was the only person in the frame, trying to use a lower aperture so there would be a little more background/foreground blur creating a shallower depth of field (which I was not able to accomplish due to wrong camera settings), and using the rule of thirds to frame him in the bottom left-hand corner to show that there is a lot more of the world around him.

I wanted to tell the story of a man who was contemplating his decisions throughout life, with all of us living in regret, just looking back and thinking about our past decisions really make us reflect on the mistakes we have made. A lot of the older generation say that they are satisfied with what they have done in their lives but is that really true? Everyone feels alone in this world, loneliness is one of the leading causes of depression, it is a common human instinct to want to feel appreciated and loved by another human being. This man might have lost a loved one, thinking about his future, his past, maybe suffering from a mental disorder, I will never know. Mental health among the older generation is something a lot of our modern generation do not consider as it is common amongst the younger generations.

We all have something we go through. My generation (Generation Z) and Millenials are not the generations going through something.

“Everybody’s got something” – Sneako

Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation -> Chronicles of East

Our main goal of Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation was to write memoirs of the local elderly community of Singapore. As we started going to the Care Centre, we realised that there was a major obstacle we had to face which was communication. Many of the elderly community there did not have the communication skills we were hoping they would have so we could communicate. Our objective, in the beginning, was to establish a relationship with the elderly community there which we achieved by playing simple games with them. We would play bingo, throw around balloons, stacking some wooden blocks and any simple motor skill activities. When we realised how challenging it was going to be able to communicate with the community, we thought that it was not the best idea to keep trying when we have been going for weeks.

After our service representatives spoke to our school service department, we were able to come up with the idea of interviewing the school community and their stories on service. Since our aim was to create memoirs or stories, we thought it would be beneficial to the UWC community to make stories on a major aspect of learning in our school which is service.

A setback we have faced was the CoronaVirus which has called our school to stop all local services at our school. This means that our group of writers are not able to talk to Local Service groups in our school. Instead, we decided to choose College Service groups within our school community to interview. We are currently at our planning stage within this whole operation: brainstorming different questions, deciding which services we are going to interview and the timetable it fits into.


Home Fire (Novel) & Yumna Al-Arashi (Photography)

In both representations of Muslim women, they are conveyed as empowered women. In Home Fire, Aneeka stands out because she is Muslim in a non-muslim country such as the UK. Whereas the subject in Yumna Al-Arashi’s photos is wearing a Burqa whilst posing in confidently.

Although Yumna Al-Arashi’s photos are all taken in Yemen, which is a Muslim country, it shows the confidence in the subject as the photos do not isolate her. A common theme between all of Yumna’s photos is how she decides not to use a low aperture to create a shallow depth of field (background blur) which is used to isolate the subject in photography, instead, she chooses to create a large depth of field to show that Muslim women don’t need to be isolated from society, feel empowered and take on the world. Likewise, the subject is wearing a Burqa, which is a piece of religious clothing and strongly represents the Islamic religion to show how comfortable she is as she stands out.

In Home Fire, the hijab is used to mainly represent empowerment as she is in the UK and wears a Hijab throughout her everyday life. With the discrimination women of religion face in the UK, Aneeka wears a hijab to stand up against that discrimination to show that she can do what everyone else can just with a hijab. However, Aneeka is represented as someone who is religious and takes Islam seriously through her comments on how prayer is not about the transaction and how she puts on a bra for the sole purpose of praying. Although before and after she prays, it is suggested that Aneeka and Eammon had pre-marital sex which is either forbidden or looked down upon in Islam.

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