“My hobbies now are mostly photography and some clay modelling, though clay modelling is mostly related to education. I used to travel, but not so much now. Otherwise, I like the outdoors and tinkering with some old cars, like classic cars from the 70s. They are mechanical, which brings me back to my original hobby, keeping me connected with mechanical engineering in a way. I don’t do all the work, but it’s still good to be looking after a machine. I do some minor maintenance and diagnosis when necessary, but of course the right mechanic is needed to put things right. So before buying any of these cars, you must make sure that you have the right mechanic, and are able to get the spare parts required. ⠀
“In the past, I did take up a ceramic course for clay modelling, but did not have time to explore further. I took up these hobbies after graduation as we didn’t have these opportunities then when we were still in school. We had the interests, but no way of pursuing them. So, for many of my hobbies, I had to take up later in life, including music—I had learnt a little bit of guitar and so on. Those days, things were very conservative. If you were in school, you study, there was no specific training for extra-curricular activities.
“One kind of photography I do is bird photography, at areas such as Kent Ridge park. Every year, I collate some of the photos into calendars and give them to my friends. I have a huge amount of photography equipment, and had spent quite a lot of money in my younger days on photography. I used to do my own printing, with the solutions and dark room and enlarger. The enlarger I bought in those days was enough to buy a used car. A hobby is something you are really interested in, and I never regretted it. Those were fantastic times. I also used to take photos for playhouse and the class photos in front of the old MD6.”
(Photos: Prof Raj looking through his view camera; Prof Raj holding the calendar made with photos taken by him; Prof Raj looking at an old photo he had taken of Playhouse)