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Showing posts from August, 2005

Repeat it slowly for me

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There's an earlier post with this painting, but it seems more apt here now The principal I work quite closely with was telling a couple of us this story about a boy hauled into her office for shouting a string of hokkien vulgarities at a teacher (as part of her larger tale of gangs resurfacing at her school). Principal : Ok, Ah Huat (let's just call him that, the name of my favourite Potong Pasir Cheng Tng seller) What did you say to Mrs So-So? Ah Huat : [Still somewhat agitated]... Principal : What did you just say to Mrs So-So that made her so angry? Ah Huat : Er...I... Principal : Just repeat it for me...slowly, nevermind, say it slowly. Ah Huat : #^@...$!...%....* ... How we had laughed during lunch. Ah Huat stopped after a few phrases, I think, realising how his words sounded. But as story went on, rest assured the laughter stopped. His was another story of abuse, poverty, broken relationships and a kid bottling up his own sense of guilt about the violent mess of

dwarf dreams

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click for larger view in flickr We got to know L and G better a couple of weeks ago, though we've been dropping by their shop for some time now. Both were graduates from art college. L, older and an interior design graduate, is now working with a furnishing company and an associate lecturer at a polytechnic; and G graduated from a fine arts programme. Together, with no formal training in fashion, both have scraped together their savings and some brave investment, to start a little boutique at Heeren . It was great watching the shop pick up over the months, and seeing L&G develop greater confidence in every new piece. I was reminded of L&G partly because of this post by the angrylittlegirl about the culture of mediocrity at her fashion design programme/school. ( p/s Just found out The angry little girl's cover was blown at school, so she has removed her blog temporarily. ) Amongst the industries that have failed to take off in Singapore despite years of government

Don't call me (Very) Special

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Godzilla ripping across The Big Land - click for larger pic This is the second year we've been to the VSA annual show . This year, we bought a Chinese ink painting by Lim Mun Chong and a pen drawing by Lee Fook Hong - both, coincidentally, were of trees and had strong graphic elements we liked. We took to the The Big Land immediately - the variations of diagonal lines creating a real depth yet still retaining the graphic, comic-like, Tim-Burton-ish flatness (pic above is not too clear though). Last year, we had bumped into Chng Seok Tng at the show and bought one half of a pair (no money lah!) of her lino prints. I remember I was a student in school when I first read about Chng Seok Tng in the Chinese papers. The article was about the fall she had just taken from a bus during an overseas excursion with her students. It was only some weeks or months later that she found her sight begin to diminish. Even when I did not care as much about Singapore artists, I kept a look out fo

new supplies

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We sent the greeting cards to be printed today! There are now 5 card designs . We also did mock-ups of 2 T-shirt designs . The mushrooms in the pic are God's creation. We've noticed them sprouting up in all sorts of grass patches...must be the strange combination of lingering rain and that hot, melty sun.

Walk Over Me

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Don't Walk Over Me Obedience is underrated in a world that generally privileges and romanticises dissent and rebellion. But it takes either a very ill-advised or a very secure politician to boast that his people/country is unique because nowhere else in the world can a government introduce, without protest, a chewing gum ban and the pegging of civil servants' (hmmm, civil servants and politicians, he means?) salaries to "market rate". In most countries, the electorate will read such a boast more as a taunt than a moment of national pride. Maybe the Prime Minister said it because he believed it as a statement of fact? And because he is secure in the knowledge that this boast, too, is not likely to meet with any scrutiny, much less protest. More so, because it is a boast the people could share in - a boast about this country's peaceful compliance, unity and faith in the government, our singlemindedness and, of course, our "uniqueness"? Then I thoug

Massacre in Geylang...and Toa Payoh

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With all the renovation and major hacking up of concrete done to J's apartment block, the natural world was feeling the strain. Since their homes were being threatened or even invaded and destroyed, lizards, cockroaches and ants residing in all the secret nooks of the block have had it tough. They have been forced to migrate ...and where else, but some to J's apartment. (Just in case you think we are slobs - we've always been conscientious in the hygiene and not-leaving-food-around department, so we've never really had many of such guests in the apartment before.) However cruel it all is, we decided in the end to resort to a variety of ant, cockroach and even, lizard traps. The lizard traps are the most primitive. They are these little cardboard tunnels where the base is made of a super sticky material, so that when these little houselizards tramp through the tunnel towards that tasty snack - schlick - they are stuck. The Untimely Death, 19 Aug,morning : Yesterday, w

"My dear Wormwood..."

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Channelsurfing on the Soultrain It must be because of all those Narnia trailers on TV that J and I picked up a stack of C.S.Lewis' books. J has been reading the Narnia Chronicles (ah, his delight at the large font and pictures!) and Surprised by Joy , Lewis' autobiography of sorts about his journey from atheism to the Christian faith; while I finally read The Screwtape Letters . Judged on literary merit alone, Lewis somehow doesn't come across as a great writer. He is never seen to be quite as talented as Tolkein, to whom The Screwtape Letters was dedicated. But I have to say that The Screwtape Letters has been a surprisingly good read. Though written as a series of letters from the demon Screwtape to his nephew, a junior tempter called Wormwood, Lewis resisted the more fantastical path such a satire could easily have taken. Don't get me wrong, the book is really quite funny and the irony is most biting when Screwtape gets impatient with Wormwood's "

You (don't) have mail

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Before HDB changed the letter boxes at J's block to the sort where you can lock the slot (so that no one except the bona fide postman can place mail in it), we would receive all kinds of junk mail. A year ago, the packrat in me started a collection of these junk mail. They are brochures and pamphlets mostly, with the occasional discount coupons from Ronald and Colonel Sanders. Some are photocopies of handwritten notes, others are glossy full-colour projects. They range from the full A4 size sheet to the tiniest slip measuring 5cm by 3cm. The more socially disturbing brochures have included this mail-order-bride agency's advertisement (for single men 25-70!); the politically-incorrect messages from maid employment agencies; and the temptations of the neighbourhood porn peddlar (unbelievable titles and promises!). Right after the government announced the go-ahead for 2 casinos integrated resorts to be built in Singapore, I also found this brochure from an enter

ampulets∙supplies

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It's here! We went and printed some A1 posters this afternoon (the last day of our too-brief break from work, *sigh*) on some luxurious 230gm paper with matt laminate...they feel so sturdy you can use them as giant placemats at a dinner for 4. But there'll be more stuff coming up over the next few months as we've taken a small step in the silk-screen department, plus there's some old stock of books. So friends, check out some of ampulets' supplies for daydreaming :)

real life of an artist

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Most people take a holiday out of the country when they are on leave from work. However, J and I are staying home instead because of this ...but also to catch up on the things we really want to do: 1. Learn how to silkscreen T-shirts (we owe several people their angel and starry wings t-shirts! ) 2. Finish a 3minute video 3. Start on a short story that's been sitting in my head for a year 4. Make posters from some of the drawings Other than #2, we have accomplished next to nothing (ok, so this is meant to be a holiday). Instead of working our way from #1-4, we spent today helping real artists and curators at p-10 prepare for an exhibition... The exhibition is called Errata . It is the result of years of work by art researcher Koh Nguang How. Koh used to be an assistant curator-cum-photographer at the old National Museum, before it became the Singapore History Museum (in 2006, when it moves back into its original premises, it will also go back to being called the National

Cafe Society

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Life goes on (#1) - click for larger pic The scene: Evening, a branch of Coffeebean & Tea Leaf at our neighbourhood mall Bishan Junction 8. Ampulets being nosey and no-life. J : [Right after the girls beside us leave] So, so, did you hear what they were talking about? Y : Yup, bits of it. I think the girl who's sitting on your side, she's heart broken. J : Oh, is it? I heard the other one girl say "I really want that job." Y : Yah, I heard that too. But most of the time, she was giving her friend advice about what to do with that no use boyfriend. Funny, the things she said...I mean, not humourous-funny. Anyway, I don't think her friend really heard any of what she said. J : Those 2 guys over there look like they were saying something pretty interesting too. Y : [turning around to look] Hmm... J : Hey, all these conversations going on everywhere, I always find it strange how many of them are talking about similar things or topics - and sometimes I thin

Another day older

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Like all good Singaporeans, J & I spent the national holiday watching movies. One was Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , all dark chocolate with marshmallow & fudge. The other film we watched with Monster Ru was Tsai Ming Liang's misplaced and disappointing The Wayward Cloud ...like chunky Watermelon juice with seeds (aiyoh, not suitable for children). This is one rare occasion when I would vote for the candy-coated Hollywood product instead. Teenagers in general spend a fair bit of time at the cinema, mostly consuming Hollywood visions. 2 weeks ago, responding to the Chinese conference "Culture and Youth: can they grow up together?", a writer from the Chinese language daily Zaobao observed if Singapore's cultural development would be stuck forever at the "teenager" phase - consumerist in nature, fickle, fueled by the desire for random self-expression and for freedom from tradition and authority. These are, of course, only the

Happy News

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Blank Walls is the title of The Observatory's second album. It will be launched on 2 September with a performance at the Esplanade . The band has also started a blog . Not a great title, but I'm keeping an open mind about them this time. What happy news about a good Singapore band on National Day.

We must not have heroes

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There are few statues of state leaders, war heroes, or of any sort of hero in this country. The closest we have to this is of Sir Stamford Raffles , our supposed founder who had first set foot on this sleepy fishing village from his East India Company ship in 1819. Arguably, of course, the most prominent statue we have is not even of a person, much less a hero (but enough angst about the merlion already). I think this is because the country's founding leader(s) held strong views against general hero-fication. Perhaps they saw it as reminiscent of more corrupt, less enlightened nations - all this hero business is too romantic and therefore, misguiding. Or perhaps the suspicion was reflective of a deep-rooted anxiety about communism, and communism's attraction to iconic leaders - Lenin, Stalin, Mao... This afternoon, though child of this island and its system, I surprised myself when I bought the coffeetable book Ong Teng Cheong: Planner, Politician, Politician , a 2005

T.G.I.N.D soon

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Not taken any time out recently to watch them leaves falling? No worries, my friends, soon soon! The nation's birthday is around the corner, and whether or not your heart has warmed up to this island and its deciduous (oh, delicious sounding word!) trees, ampulets give you here a picture to celebrate the long weekend!

Heng again?

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The newspapers confirmed that Mr Stephen Ooi Boon Ewe has decided to run for the Singapore presidency yet again: Channel News Asia online , 2 August 2005 The Elections Department has received a third application form for the certificate of eligibility for the Presidential Election. It was submitted by 64-year-old Mr Ooi Boon Ewe who had failed to qualify for an eligibility certificate during the 1999 Presidential Election [...] Mr Ooi told Channel NewsAsia earlier that he still does not meet the strict criteria to run for the office. But Mr Ooi would have the benefit of experience this time, when he receives the confirmation that he has failed to meet the eligibility criteria for th race: South China Morning Post, 9 August 1999 Career diplomat S. R. Nathan, a man at the centre of numerous spats with neighbouring Malaysia over the years, looks set to become the next president without a single vote being cast. Two rivals submitted applications to run for the presidency by Saturda

The Island of One?

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Island of One Many Singaporeans lament that our island is small (just 3.5times the size of Washington D.C.), hence boring. What is there to see or do in this country that is still struggling to free itself from its many labels - amongst the more stubborn ones are "cultural dessert", "sterile", "nanny state", and the more recent "air-conditioned nation" . We are Nemos in a dentist's aquarium! For close to 2 years, I've kept a sketchbook with me wherever I go. It has become a habit that whenever I am in a train , waiting or alone somewhere, I'll take out the sketch book and something or someone interesting will inevitably wander into my line of sight. I just have to wait - and see. I have always wondered if those who lived before the days of the internet, air travel, the locomotive, the automobile... in villages whose piece of sky is as large as the dense vegetation allowed... had had similar misgivings about their homes. Are the