Standing Still came about after various visits back to South East Asia in the last six or seven years, during which the author was struck by the large numbers of ambitious development projects which seem to have been simply abandoned before completion and are now slowly starting to crumble back into the humid landscape. These remains are shells of what might have become large shopping centres or apartment blocks even entire housing estates. The economic uncertainties of the times changed these fantasies of ultra modernity into lonely ruins. From the future to the past without a present.
She started looking at these strange decaying giants in relation to the older abandoned buildings which punctuate small and large towns in Malaysia where these photographs were all taken. Empty and derelict buildings — houses, shops. hotels — many of which date from before the 1957 independence from Britain, but some are more recent. lt’s hard to know why they have been left to rot. One hears stories, of activities during the wartime Japanese occupation of the kind that can make places inconsolably haunted. or of family disputes about inheritance and such like, or of owners leaving their old homes untended in the drift to cities and larger towns. But I wonder if many of these places are allowed to fall apart simply because they are old.
The 117 photographs of abandoned buildings throughout Peninsula Malaysia featured in this book were taken between 2000 and 2003, three years after the Southeast Asian financial crisis. They comprise old buildings as well as new, never completed ones. The structures photographed range from the traditional to the colonial to the ultra modern.