Photo Essay: Sayang Sayang, by Philip Ho

IPA IPA Mentorship Program, PROJECTS 3 Comments

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

Sayang Sayang, by Philip Ho was made during the IPA Mentorship Program. Click to view: More Mentorship Projects.

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:



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Comments 3

  1. Pingback: Photobook: 50 Essays From 50 Photographers In Singapore | Invisible Photographer Asia (IPA)

  2. Actually, we malays use sayang-sayang as what a waste as well. Eg. Sayang sayang kalah dengan thailand ari tu. (What a waste, we lost to thailand the other day)

    However, the tone of reading/saying it plays a part as well. :)

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