Brush with danger in race

Ms Subina Aurora Khaneja stood in front of the racing animals for this shot.
Ms Subina Aurora Khaneja stood in front of the racing animals for this shot. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SUBINA AURORA KHANEJA

I just got back from a photography trip to shoot the Pacu Jawi Bull Races in West Sumatra, which was covered by photographer John Foreman (Bull Throttle Ahead, Life, July 17).

I would like to point out a couple of things Mr Foreman did not mention, which were the highlights of the event.

As the event is a market to sell the bulls and cows, the race is conducted to test the temperament of the animal.

The cows which can be controlled fetch a better price as that means they have a better nature and will respond well to the owner.

So at the start, the "jockey" bites the tail of the cow to make it run. In the 100m dash, the challenge is to keep the cows in a straight line.


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The winner is the person who can control the cows for the maximum time.

The other aspect is the danger photographers face while trying to snap photos of the cows and jockey.

At first, I took the photos from the side. Then I bravely started to position myself in front, letting the racers come towards me.

At one point, I lost my balance. As I fell, I heard the crowd shouting. I got up, but the crowd continued roaring and I realised it was roaring for me to get out of the way. I did not get hurt badly, but there were others who did. But I got my shot.

Subina Aurora Khaneja

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2016, with the headline 'Brush with danger in race'. Print Edition | Subscribe