Photojournalist brings joy to disaster victims, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Photojournalist brings joy to disaster victims

This article is more than 12 months old

Taking photos of natural disaster survivors has been his job for almost 13 years.

But it was only years after joining as a Singapore Red Cross (SRC) volunteer in 2005 did Mr Wong Leong Jeam, 67, realise he could also make them smile.

His photos of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan disaster, which killed 6,000 in the Philippines, along with photos from other SRC volunteer photojournalists, will be displayed at the SRC photo exhibition named Bangon. Arise. Stories Of Hope And Resilience.

The turning point in Mr Wong's life happened during one of his trips when he was taking a photo of a young girl.

She asked to see her photo and when he showed it to her, she smiled. He then took photos for her and her friends.

Mr Wong, a retiree, said: "Capturing the mood and feelings of these people speaks louder than the destruction around them.

"I realised that helping them take photos was a way of bringing joy to them, especially given the circumstances they were in."

Mr Wong was in one of the teams deployed to coordinate relief efforts during Typhoon Haiyan, and he also took photos of the survivors when he was there.

He returned to the Philippines in March this year to take photos of the survivors, five years after the tragedy.

He said: "Seeing them rebuild their lives, it really made me feel we should be more grateful for what we have."

The exhibition is from noon to 8pm. It ends on Sunday at The Cathay. Admission is free. - ADELINE TAN