Sayang Sayang. That is what our mother used to say when she ran her hands over our wounds. We were very careless then. Just as we are now.
I went to look up its meaning the other day. It felt important. In Malay, sayang means “darling”, “dear one”, “to caress gently”. I thought you should know this. In Filipino, it means something like “what a shame” or “what a waste” when you shake your head and say “Sayang Lah”. I thought you should know that too.
I don’t know why growing up involves pain, or why people hurt one another. I don’t think anyone really understands the fullness of what it means to hurt another person. That is of some consolation, I suppose.
Our history is full of all kinds of violence. I have a part in it too, I understand. We used to be very close.
Photographs & Text: Philip Ho
The IPA Mentorship Program is a photography mentorship initiative by Invisible Photographer Asia (IPA) for those who wish to further their personal photographic vision and goals. More info: www.invisiblephotographer.asia/ipamentorship