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Showing posts from November, 2005

it takes 2?

Epaulettes make more sense in a pair...but ampulets, well, often make less. Friends, as such, J and I present to you 2 videos that don't have anything in common, except a fair amount of shaking. The first is my puppet-impersonator debut where nothing much happens and the supposedly red-sequinned sexy one cannot stop bopping her head - Next, J/TOHA's trial video, a "stop-motion" of photographs taken mostly in Taipei, and with a title even I don't quite understand. ______________________ We just discovered youtube , which hosts short clips. Oh, new toy! If the players above don't work, click here to view the first clip and here for the second clip.

Call Girl

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talk to me That's what I get to be in my debut role in a puppet performance . OK, before you get too many funny ideas, let me just clarify that the script was about the nature of true love and the human desire for lasting relationships. It was a performance for a group of 9-16 year old students from the boys brigade. And to be precise, the puppet character was not a call-girl lah, just someone who works for a telephone chatline whom the lead puppet/character spoke to in a moment of misguided desperation. It was a brief 1-2 minute part, and despite my nervous and imprecise movements, she was still possibly the sexiest puppet ever in a red-sequinned halter-neck top!

watermelon blues (a 1min play for 2 fruits)

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Y : I don't mean to be rude...but - but - were you born like this ? Watermelon Man (WM) : Not really. Y : Then what happened!? WM : I was born, first, a watermelon in a watermelon patch. But unlike other watermelons, I grew up to be a watermelon man instead. Y : Ah...right... WM : Amazing huh? But my story is just like that of Pinnochio. Y : Pinnochio?...I guess you can see it that way... WM : You don't believe me? Y : No, no, I mean, yes, I believe you. [ A long pause, during which WM waves a fly away. ] WM : You know that there's a movie named after me! Y : OK. WM : And many songs too - There's that famous tune by Herbie Hancock in the 60s. Wah, that's one great jazz hit. Catchy stuff. The drums, tetetededum...And there's some 70s song also. I don't quite understand the words, those strange 70s people. But somehow...they make me want to cry. [ sings and tears, black melon seeds falling down his face ] "And it’s a new day, Watermelons waste awa

my days in the palace

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Warning: a long post My whole office trooped down to the Malay Heritage Centre at Kampung Gelam for a tour yesterday afternoon. The trip ended with a 5min lesson on how to weave a ketupat which, for me, resulted in this duck-like object. Oh well. It's generally accepted that history is written by those in power - at least history as they understand it. In the case of Singapore's history , anything post-1965 assumes a well-known narrative of independence and PAP-led growth. And with the date 1819, a colonial narrative is usually told starting with the arrival of that sly British "civil servant" Raffles (who supposedly could write Jawi?! impressive). So it is perhaps telling that when we asked our guide for more information about Sultan Hussein , his descendents and life at the Istana - there was little she could say. Or at least, little that she said which could be verified. The sultan did not leave many written documents. Neither did his descendents. And of

graffiti town

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The Toa Payoh MRT station - photo by J, graffiti by Y The Straits Times yesterday contained a 13-page special report on Toa Payoh, J's neighbourhood. The report detailed how this first public housing project in the 60s, has been "upgraded" in the last few years : It was Singapore's first comprehensive Housing Board town, and the blueprint for many more. Then it aged, looked tired and grew unappealing. Now a $2.2bm effort is refreshing Toa Payoh, its changing landscape is attracting new residents and visitors...showing how to breathe new life into old towns. - ST, Special Report, p1 Cynical me thought It must be that elections are coming soon! After all, all the stories of Toa Payoh's residents contained in that report were cheerful ones of prosperity (the high sale value of the properties were cited, their high-end flat-screen televisions described) and contented retirement. I guess we all want to be able to shape the environments we live in some way or

bright-eyed

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image by J Look closer here ... - J

making music

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coloured with my new Intuos! Sketch of a band we heard in Taipei's "legendary" Witch Cafe I've always thought that if you threw together a bunch of creative and talented folks from different disciplines, you'll get a real lively collaboration and discussion - you'll get music. But, boy, am I wrong. I spent the morning today at the "Beyond 2005: Reinvent Your Future - Global Summit for the Creative Industries". Yes, yes, whatever that mouthful means! It is, after all, sponsored by the government - hence the cheesy, insecure title. It was a strange mix of speakers - first the Minister spoke (yadda yadda, Singapore, creative, arts...you get the drift), followed by the hottest architect at the moment Rem Koolhas, then the fashion designer Martine Sitbon with her art director (a French duo who punctuated everything with "voila"). Add to this Wallpaper 's editor and one of the top creatives at advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather.

If we dream too long...

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the long march While talking with some colleagues whether there was such a thing as "The Singapore Novel", a colleague recommended that I read Goh Poh Seng's If we dream too long (Singapore, 1972: Island Press). Well, how to resist a book with such a dreamy proposal? But first... who is Goh Poh Seng?!? I googled his name and this was what I found: Goh Poh Seng was born in Malaya in 1936. He received his medical degree from University College in Dublin, and practised medicine in Singapore for twenty-five years. Goh's first novel, If We Dream Too Long , won the National Book Development Council of Singapore's Fiction Book Award and has been translated into Russian and Tagalog. His other books include The Immolation, Dance of Moths, Eyewitness, Lines from Batu Ferringhi and Bird with One Wing . (Extracted from here ). I also found this vague article by Think Centre which teases and insinuates that Goh left Singapore for Canada under unhappycircumstanc

happy geekdom

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Today I have become the proud owner of a super geek Wacom intuos3 tablet! This smart piece of technology allows the user to paint and colour on the computer as if handling a real (air)brush. J (smarter, and infinitely sweeter) cleverly tempered all its geekness by giving it in a happy green Marimekko tote bag. Bonus gift! And now back to "painting" with my new toy - the finished pics will be up over the weekend...Good night, good night friends!

a tale of 2 cities

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i want i want i want! - kid sketched in Singapore, photo of Shilin-Taipei It's our 3rd day back in Singapore from Taipei - and all the post-holiday blues have made themselves a comfortable home somewhere in my head. We are both due back at work tomorrow (oh, dark dark day!). Do I miss Taipei? Hmm... I miss more the sense of freedom associating with travelling, made more intense by the chaotic openness of Taiwan. The cabdriver who took us to the airport was full of criticism for Chen Shui Bian's government ("他們比国民党还要国民党!" = "They are more Kuomintang than the Kuomintang!"), but when he attributed all this to Taiwan being "too democratic", "too liberal", it was with an obvious pride. Of course, he added, he could never imagine living in Singapore. I like, too, the compassion of the Taiwanese. Maybe it's just the language. I like the way doorbells are labelled "爱心呤" (="compassionate bell?") and the seat right by

food food food

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Is there any other way to title this post?! Well, folks, if you are ever in Taipei, you will know which 10 dishes not to miss! not in order of preference & *means it's in the photo here 1. Wan Kueh, Bowl Cake * Try the one at just across the LongShan Temple subway, on the row of shops before you get into HuaXi Jie Night Market. 2. You Yu Gen, Cuttlefish Starchy Soup * This you can find everywhere. The one we had is just doors down from the Wan Kueh shop that dates back to 1921. Equally yummy is the one by Ah Liang (bottom left pic) in the Shilin Night Market instead. Cheaper and dirtier. 3. Ba Bao Bing, Eight Treasures Ice * The stall we ate at is in Huaxi Jie Night Market itself, called Long Du (Dragon City). It dates back to the 30s. We also had Suan Mei Dong Bing there, which is Sour Plum Jelly with Ice . 1-3 were described here . 4. Ah Geh * I think the name is short for "Agedashi" as in the Japanese Tofu dish. This is a local specialty of Dan Shui (ta

mine are better than yours

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Little children, Taipei loves you! And so do ampulets, especially TOHA On our first day in Taiwan, J already insisted that kids in Taiwan were cuter than those in Singapore. Our second day in Taiwan, this conversation took place - J: Taiwanese kids are definitely cuter. Y: Really? J: Yah, see. Look at them. Kids in Singapore are plain irritating. Y: Aiyah, this is another case of grass is greener...they are about the same. Mostly ugly Chinese kids. Duck girls and boys. J: No, really. Look at them. I looked at two mothers walk by, each with a toddler holding their hand. Y: Ok, maybe you are right. [ casting a critical eye ] But maybe it's just styling. J: No, no, something more... don't you think they are not so irritating, not trying so hard to be cute, less noisy and inconsiderate. Y: Oh, I see what you mean now... J and I walked into a park, where kids are running around the playground, their parents and grandparents watching from a distance. Taipei has many

city of sadness

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Abandoned Sheng Pin Theatre with the poster from HHH's movie Dust in the Wind - image by J Thanks to radiohate's tip on 九份 Jiu Fen , J and I took a day trip to this Gold-mining town. Jiu Fen's a little town made up of maybe 10 winding alleyways of low houses, built against a steep slope by the beautiful northern coast. The town got its second lease of life after Hou Hsiao Hsien shot his seminal film City of Sadness (1989) there. But as if this town was never meant to be, it is most certainly on its way down. Beautiful desolation. Images by J - click for a larger view In the last 5 years or so, the tourist flow has died down. Today, other than one crowded alleyway of foodstalls and sourvenir stalls, the rest of the town is pretty much a ghost town. More than half of the buildings are failed hostels and teahouses, and abandoned, fallen shells. We spent most of the time exploring these quieter streets, staring through the dusty windows (if they still had glass

Hot Pot

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what happens when you play the fool at the hotsprings We got out of Taipei city to the hotspring town of 北投 Beitou , a 30min subway ride from the city centre. There, we saw another instance of Taiwanese civil engagement in action. The beautiful Beitou HotSpring Museum used to be a public bathhouse that was first built when Taiwan was a Japanese colony . In 1994, the local government was about to tear the abandoned and derelic building down, but a Primary School teacher Ms Li thought it was a pity. She organised a petition and got enough signatures to save this gem. To restore the building, support came from all quarters - students, teachers,old tile makers, photographers, Beitou residents...Till today, the museum is run entirely by volunteers. As a treat , J and I checked into this hotel where every room comes fitted with its own private bath - all slate-tiled, wood and pebble-lined floor. I was about to describe it as zen , but I thought it would be quite an oxymoron: zen luxu

taiwan history 101

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Yesterday, J and I walked in the drizzle to pay a visit to Dr Sun at his memorial hall. Well, Dr Sun is my hero. Ok, there's the bit about him having 2 wives which I don't quite agree with. He married Soong Ching Ling, while still married to Lu Muzhen - his wife from an arranged marriage. Plus all his rumoured lovers all over Asia. Sigh. That aside, he led the democratic movement in China, coordinating the resources of Chinese from all over Asia and even America. In Singapore, he supposedly stayed at a villa in the Bendemeer area called Wan Qing Yuan during his 8 visits to Singapore. Click for larger view of these Expressions of lurve! Today 31st Oct is the birthday of the other key figure in Taiwan history - Chiang Kai Shek. He holds the other memorial hall in Taiwan, and I think it's actually the grander looking one. As for Sun Yet-sen, I am *proud* to say that we share the same birthday (different year of course)! To celebrate General Chiang's birthday,