The Laughing Buddha by Linda Preece

I am often the type of person who is found enjoying a crowd, mingling, laughing, simply enjoying the moment. I love to learn people's stories and find ways to make a personal connection with anyone I meet. Not too long ago I met a laughing Buddha ... and he inspired me.

This laughing, happy Buddha has a very special meaning to me and will always be a treasured memory. I came across it as I was heading home after a long day of shooting for my Singapore portfolio. The temple and the Buddha caught my eye, so I stopped to take a photo of them. While I was snapping my shots, an Uncle in the temple came up to me, pointed at the Buddha and said, “Rub the Buddha’s tummy and it will bring you luck.” Of course, I complied - who doesn't want luck, right!! As I rubbed the Buddha’s tummy, something very special and inexplicable made me smile, as if telling me, "laugh with me." It wasn't until I got home and did some research that I understood the significance of my discovery. I found out that in fact, this Buddha is known as the Maitreya Buddha and is traditionally thought of as a representation of contentment and abundance. Maitreya is derived from the word maitri (Sanskrit) meaning "loving-kindness." To me of course, he is my ‘Laughing Buddha’ as I like to call it. It brought me luck, laughter and inspiration.

The Laughing Buddha is a photographic collage made up of striking images of the Buddha from the temple I visited that day, as well as other common temple sites like Chinese lanterns and incense. The collage can also be customised upon request to include photos of families, children, friends or favourite Singapore landmarks or sites.