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Showing posts from December, 2005

Go going gone

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2 eyes+2 hands=2 mobile phones - click for larger view Friends, since it's that time of the year, ampulets present here a picture to cheer you on as you make your resolutions! Have a safe, joyous new year! (I drew this lady this afternoon on my way back to the office after a trip to the dentist. That's what 2005 gave me - my first tooth cavity projected large on a TV screen.)

ring wraiths

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Gimme that ring now or I'll stab you OK, so I had griped about the hassle of having to go through a wedding here . But I admit that there are some definite up-sides to having a wedding. One of them is having a reason to walk into all these fancy snazzy jewellers in our T-shirts and trucker caps, peer into the display cases (hands shielding our eyes of course), before we sigh and walk out of the shop in disappointment, "oh well, too bad, there's nothing we like". I guess we knew, walking into these shops, that we would never find anything we like. But we did it anyway - a mix of curiosity, adventure and desperation. There was Tiffany - dear me, it's so dull I wonder how Ms Golightly could finish breakfast without falling asleep! Then followed Larry, Flower, Cartier etc - places where we did not buy anything simply because it would be too crass for us to be showing our wealth. Of course. And finally, in a dark shop tucked away at the corner of the Paragon

Rich Man Poor Man

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Cover & title page - inside pages are below J caught up with an old friend from his Secondary School over the Christmas break and was recommended by the well-meaning millionaire to read Rich Dad Poor Dad . I may be wrong, but somehow I remember quite a few people seemed to have recommended this title to J too. Do we appear so financially unwise?!?. I haven't read the book. Neither has J. I doubt we'll ever read it. To compensate for our deliberate ignorance (and a Christmas present that I thought wouldn't arrive in time from Amazon), I quickly made a tiny accordian book over Christmas for J with its own fancy rich velvet cover and gold letters. Eh, expensive -looking. As such, it's most appropriately titled Rich Man Poor Man , a picture story very loosely adapted from that Stone Soup story you too must have read and loved when you were a kid. With J's permission, since it's technically still his prezzie (yes, the Amazon package was faithfully delivere

Present

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I told you money grows on trees! This is J's Christmas present to me. Grim image huh? (I like it - of course! especially in its thick gold frame._ Click on the image for a larger pic...and to read melancholic J's explanation.

it's about the 2 of you, really

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lazy psychedelia Yah, rrright. There are 2s alright, but note the plural, the collective in that. 2 families, their desires and assumptions. 2 extended sets of relatives, colleagues and friends. And 2 objectives, namely yours and your family's. Yours (if like J and I, you are also very lazy and have a general dislike for rituals) will be to just get this whole thing over and done with, with everyone having as relaxing and enjoyable a time as possible. While your folks' concerns, despite all good intentions and well wishes, will be to tread successfully the minefield of relatives and their sensitivities. This, the Chinese call, maintaining "face". In such a situation, lazy us will typically opt for the path of least resistance - i.e. give the folks what they want. But we stand firm on these things which are way too personal for compromises. 1. No expensive diamond rings - why does a girl/boy need diamonds? 2. No wedding costumes, white or ivory - it's not

Stressed?

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Reading the news advertisement papers I was reading about stress in the Sunday Papers, and this bit caught my eye. Commenting on how folks who are poor suffer higher levels of stress, a doctor then qualified his remarks by saying that in a fairly affluent Singapore, poverty is not so much an absolute but a relative concept. In order words, it's those who feel themselves poor when compared to their peers who are likely to feel most stress. How warped can it be, this materialistic, competitive, consumerist, absolutely silly island life. J : All the handphones I've ever owned are always the most in-between models. Y : What do you mean? j : You know, neither the top of the range nor the cheapest. Y : Oh, I see. So? J : Like my camera. My laptop. My toys. Everything. Y : Everything? Like your life? Like me? J : .... you wouldn't understand. Y : Yes, because I only get the best? Like you? OK, in reality the conversation didn't go this far (artistic licence la. Heh, s

Kids and their Books

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That's what took up our weekend. Kids made up to be adults, from Ah Zheng J spent the Saturday making a video for a friend's childcare centre. The kids were performing for their graduation show. And I was at a junior college class reunion where there were as many kids as adults. We don't have any complaints because, I guess you may know by now, J and I are pretty fond of kids and enjoy teasing them . Maybe we both have romantic notions of kids = innocence...or whatever misconception people with no kids obviously have. And for this reason, making children's books is one of those things I really enjoy. Undeterred by my failed attempt at the GoldenPoint competition , I decided on Friday - the closing date - to submit this book I made many years ago for the "First Time Writers and Illustrators Initiative" organised by the Media Development Authority . I thought hard about the category it should go under...and decided on "Fiction for Young Adults/Teens

Little Dragon Girl, we meet again!

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I was 18 when I first met her, and have not seen her since. It was right after I finished my A-levels and while waiting to leave for the UK, I indulged in one of my secret aspirations - to be a salesgirl. Then, my classmate G and I found a job that paid $40 a day. We were to sell fake flowers at a temporary bazaar at Orchard Road. Every morning for a month, we would set up stall outside Orchard Emerald mall. We had to drag at least 30 one metre tall ceramic vases from a storeroom, and displayed the stock of plastic or cloth orchids, roses, tulips, lilies, peonies and other flowers we didn't know the names of. And for the rest of the day, G and I would stand by the cash register or assist customers with choosing and packing their fleurs en plastique. But between the lunch hour and the busy evenings, we were mostly free. So G and I would read, take turns to wander into the shopping malls, and best of all, chit chat with the other folks running the makeshift stalls around ours.

can I transfer my home to you?

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(warning: a long post...but if you persevere, there's a video at the end!) The chinese word for "home" is 家 (jia1), and the chinese word for "house" is 屋 (wu1). They are clearly different, and folks who confuse the one with the other are heading for trouble! For example, while you may end up trading houses, I should hope you are not into trading homes. Someone should point out this difference to HDB (Housing Development Board, the agency that develops public housing for over 80% of Singaporeans). On their website , its customers are classified as "home-owners" and "home-seekers". This "mistake" is intentional. It's no secret that Singapore's public housing policy is closely tied with our social policy. So for instance, folks who are single and under 35 are not eligible to purchase a HDB flat...lest you get complacent in the search for a mate. Of course, those who are single and over 35 are probably hopelessly unattra

learning to swim from Deng Xiao Ping

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cover art for a non-existent book, layout is by J. I saw some footage of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping swimming in the sea on tv some nights ago. It seemed that swimming in the sea was among Deng's many interests, which included watching the sports channel and playing billiards. The footage I saw was of Deng's last dip in 1992. At the age of 88, his doctors had disallowed Deng from swimming in the cold waters of Beihaide. But perhaps knowing that it would be his last, he kept up his questions such that in the end the doctors relented. They made him a special safety vest for this last swim. In a country (Singapore, that is) on an endless push for progress and "relevance", so obsessed with "Change is the Only Constant" that it becomes a self-fulfiling prophecy, growing old can be pretty depressing. Filial piety. "Mommy mommy, I want milk!" " You silly boy, everyone's starving, let grandma drink first!" Photo by J, tiled pic on

writing from the other side

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It is a pity how two of our best writers (writing in English) are living overseas. There is novelist Goh Poh Seng and my favourite Singapore poet Arthur Yap . A few days ago, I was forwarded this article that Mr Devan Nair (Singapore's third president) wrote in 1999 - "A Requiem for an Unbending Singaporean". It was about the "political death" of JBJ and possibly the Workers Party, though no doubt, Nair had a healthy sense of irony about his own political "requiem" then. A few days ago was also when Mr Nair died in Canada, where he has lived since he stepped down from the presidency. So the title of his article seems even more fitting now. ____________ P/S: Here are previous posts about Singapore's other past president and a wannabe president !

more or less

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same train, different page - click for larger view On the train home this evening, I stood between a man with a unicycle , and a man in a wheelchair. Not once did they make any eye contact. In fact, they stood with their backs to each other throughout the whole journey. Wheelchair-Man: [ clearing his throat loudly ] Interesting ah, your bicycle. Unicycle-Man: Oh, yah. It's a uni cycle. [ looks away ] WM: Must be hard to balance. UM: Not too bad. Must practise. After a while, it's quite easy. WM: Can go fast? UM: OK, quite fast. Still slower than a bicycle. Haha, one wheel less so also slower than you! WM: Ha. There is a long silence. The train stops. The Unicycle Man steps aside for a lady to get to the door, steps back, takes off his cap and runs his hand across his head of short grey hair before putting on his cap again. He adjusts the strap of his backpack - a gigantic bright blue mail bag - takes out a comic, its pages browned with age. The Wheelchair Man cl

Little India Rojak

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go tell the world! - photo take in Little India by J, remixed by Y Unlike J, I am not terribly fond of Rojak - a dish of deep-fried dough and dried tofu, boiled bean sprouts and pieces of cucumber, pineapple, turnip and green mango, mixed together with a gluey black prawn paste and topped with chopped peanuts. But it was hard to refuse L&G and Tym's invite to this event , named after the dish. For one thing, it was held at a place along Starlight Road, somewhere in Little India...and how bad can someplace called Starlight Road be?. Of course, the event also promised to feature presentations by 10 artists, illustrators, designers and architects. Since J and I are always curious about seeing the stuff others do, we trooped down to Little India for the 3rd time this past week. True to its name, the range of work spanned from the political to the personal; the prosaic to the elusive; the naive to the sophisticated. So what went into this rojak? There was Zixi's absol

for richer, for poorer

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Great Moment ,1992: Print by Chng Seok Tin in response to Archimedes' "Give me a place to stand, and with a lever I will move the world." Today, J and I spent our lunch break at "Blossoming of the Pomegranate: Documenting 30 Years of Chng Seok Tin's Art" , curated by independent art space p-10 and Koh Nguang How. By extension it documents 30 years of Chng Seok Tin's life - and what a life! What is important to me is not how to create pictures, but how to live. The exhibition is timely. This year, together with pop composer Dick Lee and entertainer Jack Neo, Chng Seok Tin finally received the Cultural Medallion - Singapore's highest state accolade for culture and the arts. She was also earlier given the Woman of the Year award in 2001. Then, in response to the laudatory remarks about her courage in continuing to make art after an accident in 1988 caused her to lose 80% of her sight, she had said: I have no husband, no children, no car, no h