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Showing posts from April, 2006

workers party

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I finished painting this picture this afternoon when I could have cleaned the week-old floor. Ah, the dirt can stay. I wish all workers, labourers, salaried slaves Happy May Day!

housework

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This picture is still work in progress, but I wanted to post it here on Nomination Day. This post is dedicated to Mr Chiam S. T. Mrs C did not think at the age of 45, she would still need to be doing homework, but she is. Homework, housework - same thing - both give her the same headache she had from as young as 9 solving "problem sums". The only difference was that homework was what she did when she did not own the house she lived in, and housework what she did when she has to pay to keep the roof over her head. Of course, Mrs C has been reminded by her husband that they do not actually own their HDB flat since, technically, all HDB flats are on a 99-year lease from the state. Mr C's rule of thumb is that whatever his grandchildren will not inherit is not really his to own. "Not my house. Not my motorcycle. Not my job." He would occasionally lament. "Only my gene that will them diabetes is mine." It is very likely that Mr C would be repeatin

once upon a time...

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TOHA/J's annual company dinner event on Saturday was supposed to be themed "Fairy Tale" - but it was telling how Disneyfied we have been that even though many of the characters his colleagues were dressed as were first born into stories and books outside of that entertainment conglomerate, the costumes were decidedly modelled on how the characters have appeared in their Disney reincarnations. America's wealth, our visual culture's poverty. Surprising even himself, J decided to attend and even donned his new black/white striped t-shirt in an attempt to create a costume. Y : Er, maybe I am getting old, but which fairy tale features a convict??? J : I'm not a convict! I'm a pirate! Y : Hmmm. [ Still unconvinced that pirates are fairy-tale material ] J : I just need an eye patch. Y : Where can you find one now? J : The pharmacy. Y : They only sell real eye patches, the white hospital ones. You'll look like a very inept pirate whose eye was taken out by

frog soup for the working(wo)man's soul

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ampulets have been working hard the past couple of nights to present you this picture - something light to end the week with! Ah, of course, as you can tell, the work was done in the living room with our television in the background tuned to this strangely addictive Korean drama series . One day, having just watched the theatrics stirred in the imperial kitchen just because the emperor has decided to go for a hunt, J remarked how like this fictional Korean imperial kitchen our workplaces - public or corporate - are on our island. In our workplaces we scurry to please our bosses (that is, both clients or superiors) and fuss over each demand, whether frivolous or significant. In our homes, parents fuss over the tiniest detail of their precious children's lives. In our relationships, we scrutinise each gesture and word, prod at it with the predictions of stars and birthtimes. If we walk the countryside, it is to scour for herbs and other treasures to enrich the meal. If we raid

the tiger and the trojan horse

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Watching the television "conversation" between the Minister Mentor and a group of 20somethings (mostly journalists), I cannot help but pity the young people in that recording studio. All their years added together cannot match his. As they sought to ask what they had imagined were difficult, awkward questions about his arrogance, his political longevity, the PAP's obliteration of the opposition, did they seriously think that the MM would be trapped by their questions, that he would stumble in his answer, unwittingly reveal a weakness? Or did they imagine that they would be depicted and viewed as anything else but arrogant, disrespectful youths? If they did, they would do well to read Dennis Bloodworth's The Tiger and the Trojan Horse . The late correspondent from The Observer (Bloodworth died last June) writes a prose as serpentine and faceted as the political drama he observes and records of Singapore's modern history. At times immediate, at times the distance

i gallop, do you?

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image by J J and I didn't think anyone would believe any of its claims, and buy one of these. Of course, my father proved us wrong.

i love my city!

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what did you just say? - image of toys in our kitchen by J During the Q&A session at a talk at the art museum this evening, I volunteered this public declaration: "I love this city!" And immediately regretted it. It was a talk by Charles Landry on city planning and the role museums play in shaping the social, cultural, intellectual and physical landscape of a city. During the Q&A session, there were 2 comments made about the lack of education or rather, an educational system that is rigid/counter-creative etc and the absence of art education "at the most elementary level". The second comment was made in the context of or suggestion that this city is not humane, lovable, livable. At that point, something in my head went "that's not true"...and after a quick chat with a colleague on my left, this came from my lips - "I love this city. This city is lovable because..." I regret it because I knew that my protest was a mere reacti

old 7 times over

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Old is when: (1) you look at your brother's new born kid and imagine instead an 18 year-old teenager looking back at you. (2) your parent(s) starts needing diapers (3) your peer starts telling you about his retirement plans in australia ("ah, BBQ on a weekday night, and when you are free, go fishing.") (4) someone from your schooldays and your other peers are announced in the papers as the new PAP candidates (5) if just one more problem, one more demand on your time/money/attention/love crops up, you feel you have exhausted your resources (6) you think of a "must-do-once-in-your-lifetime" list and wonder where did the past 4 months of the year go (7) you feel more tired on a Sunday night than before the weekend started. When I grow old I wanna be an old womanWhen I grow old I wanna be an old woman An old-old-old-old-old-old-old-woman When I was young - that is, teenager young - this was one of my favourite Michelle Shocked songs . I guess I liked how the i

chinese riddles

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image by J, enthusiastically taken with a new camera While cleaning the house this weekend, J and I found a brown packet that looked suspiciously like those envelopes they used in swordfighting TV serials to contain instructions on further adventures, coups or secret family histories ("Miss XXX, you cannot marry her, because she is actually your sister!"). But I digress. The truth about its content is... "It's my baby hair!" J exclaimed. In the surprisingly well-preserved 33 year-old envelope we found a pink sheet with chinese calligraphy and instructions for living that read more like riddles. It also contained his 八字, the 8 "facts" of his birth- the hour, time of day, day, year and lunar cycle...I think - the 8 "determinants" of his life - 8 strings that are woven into his fate. It was just as well the words were phrased as riddles we didn't understand; since it was not answers we were looking for. What we wanted was in another s

a quiet life

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[warning: very long post!] We have finally found the artist on J's side of the family! And more... As advocated by a senior politician to "take seriously the electoral process" (no jokes allowed please! Confucius says we cannot display the slightest sense of humour disrespect to political powers, or we will incur the wrath of the heavens!), Pa J sat us by the dining table last week and continued his tales of Singapore's more serious political past. Last week's special was Uncle DS, Pa J's youngest brother. Uncle DS is the guy with the glasses. Pa J is the guy with the biggest hair. When Pa J got off the boat from China, he was already too old to get back to school. There were also, of course, more pressing needs of the stomach. So being the youngest, Uncle DS was the one in the family who stood the highest chance of getting a decent education. And in the traditional sense of the scholar, a renaissance man, Uncle DS was also an artist. When he wa

good day

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Yesterday J/TOHA received a phone call he's been hoping for. I was reminded not to say too much for fear that I jinx tomorrow's test. So instead, to mark a good day, I dug out an image of a happy and somewhat slimmer (?) J, taken a couple of years ago at the Art Museum. background from yet another of my unfinished illustration projects "Turtle Time" - this composite image is by J

Better dead than...

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amps attempt a sketch of Soo Bin...ehem, so did renowned artists Chen Wen Hsi and Ye Qian Yu, albeit without photoshop. heh. ...be alive without art - or more accurately "要艺术不要命". Those were the words Teo Han Wue (executive director of private museum Art Retreat ) used to describe Chua Soo Bin who, in the 80s, spent several years, money and over 200 rolls of film photographing 14 renowned Chinese ink masters, despite the intervention of a major illness. I admit both J and I had little knowledge of thse 14 artists, but Soo Bin has always intrigued us. So we made time this afternoon to be at the Singapore Art Museum where there was a forum and exhibition on Soo Bin's portraits of the renowned Chinese artists, and the launch of the 2nd edition of his book. But first, who is this Chua Soo Bin? And why did he so intrigue us both? I know him to be the owner of Soobin Art Gallery , a gallery that has consistently showcased leading contemporary art from China. But acco

celebrate

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Goodbye March, humourless month of hospital meetings, anxious days and hurried meals. Happy April Fool's! To celebrate, amps give you a rare photo from our wedding. taken last month at wedding of our friends J&J Me in a gown and veil...helllooo?