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Showing posts from September, 2006

voices from the street

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they were definitely not shouting "i love you" on the street - image by J The folks behind the website Art Singapore & the Danger Museum project are putting together a series of podcasts on the Singapore Biennale . Though us amps have lofty artistic aspirations just short of cutting off an ear, we could only pay humble tribute to the dotty Kusama at the virtual sidelines of this event. And now, J/TOHA provides his plebeian chatter about the Biennale (as one of the "Voices from the Street") to Episode 1 of the above podcast.

inheritance

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images by J/TOHA - click for flickr view I was looking at mom, while she was lying listlessly on the hospital bed. Her eyes were closed, but I was not sure if she was really asleep. Dentures laid quietly in a cup beside her. These days, she likes to pretend to sleep when she does't feel like talking to someone. Anyway, she does't really talk much after her stroke 6 months ago. Frankly, I was shocked that I could hardly recognise her face. In the past 6 months, about half of her was lost - weight lost. - J/TOHA A rather nasty infection sent Ma J back to the hospital again some 6 months after her stroke. This time she did not panic and break down. She did not complain about sleepless nights and ghostly shapes - not even when the old lady in the bed across from her died after the first night. Her eyes did not grow red. She did not ask to go home. There is a fine line between stoicism and hopelessness. I'm not so sure that she's on the side of the former. Several hour

island life

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Yums, I love citizens! , conference doodles. On our small island yesterday, in a still smaller room, a group of young islanders gathered for the second day of a closed door conference "Building a Community of Citizens in the 21st century". Elsewhere, the Thais woke up to the the termination of their "constitution, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Cabinet and the Constitutional Court" . These young islanders from the non-profit, corporate, arts, media and public sectors traded sentiments, plaints and opinions, bandying about terms like "equality", "public space", "shit-stirrers", "freedom of expression" and "dual citizenship" all within 2 hours to the ears of a Harvard professor and an island politician. Then politician picked up the mic and proceeded, with furrowed brows, to condense, stretch and contort the histories of nations and places with the rehearsed earnestness of a high school debater. T

balancing the books

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Happiness is a room lined with books, each of them an old friend and the start of a new daydream. Being married is - Abandoning some books in your old room so that the new shelves can also be inhabited by his toy figurines; and - Forgoing a fancier design for boring no-nonsense shelves because she insists that books are the main thing. Of course, the 2 (happiness and being married, I mean) need not be mutually exclusive.

a birthday visit

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this drawing is meant for the previous post, but I figured it works for this one too After our usual Saturday brunch at a Killiney Road Kopitiam, J and I was early for our next appointment so we took a walk down Killiney Road and made a turn up Dublin Road. Dublin Road is a dead-end street. Y and J joke about how they should pose for pictures by the street sign with a Guiness in hand, then they take a couple of photographs of a derelict peranakan shophouse, ooh at its neighbours which have been spruced up and now house fancy businesses or ladies/lads... before they come to the end of the street. Yes, the end that is dead. old noodle shop beside the Kopitiam There, a nondescript single storey house. Through the simple black gate you can see 2 things: the glass of its large windows covered with a reflective material and a handsome gurkha guard. J: Wah, whose house do you think it is? Some minister's? Y: [in a whisper] Eh eh, you know what...I think it's the MM's h

geography is fate?

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nothing to do with geography, maybe fate? #7 of "My life as a magician's rabbit" This historian's cliche is clearly not on the mind's of the Singapore organisers for the IMF/WB meeting, who defied our tropical fate by planting a row of sunflowers along Stamford Road (across the new National Museum and by the S'pore Management University). In the Garden-City government's over-zealous stagemanship, it has thus ridiculed its own flora and clime to fulfil this miraculous blossoming of north american beauty. Oh, how I pity you sunflowers, the common ixora, the veritable Miss Joaquim, and you my beloved tropics! animals from the african plain dropping by Singapore for last year's Lantern festival I am reminded of a neighbour who lives just one floor below us. She has lined the corridor outside her flat with pots of plants, survivors from many Chinese New Years passed. Life in this highrise concrete garden is not easy for these plants, and they d

The Goodbye List #3

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Continued from list #1 & #2 After all this time has gone, 2 o'clock -detestable, humourless hour - will be like the one lazy heir made king. It will revel in meetings conducted standing up and throats burnt by expressos gulped. It will boast that walks are brisk (the dog will have to make do) and food is fat with grease. Daytime, nghttime, 2 o'clock will reign supreme. So hurry, forget about the forty or even twenty winks and pity those lovers on their urgent sheets. Rhymes, be swift! Computers, run at triple your speed! Yet since no king has ruled forever, whether their rule is corrupt or just, 2 o'clock will also soon depart. So there remains the final hour: 6 o'clock solitary on the empty clocks. Alone, it bears the day's anxious beginning and its reluctant end. Here is dawn - and dusk. Friends, look up and remember what you can of this intense hue, this mingling of orange, gold and plum - quickly, it is fading fast. Quick, see there those dark patterns

The Goodbye List #2

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...continued from List #1 尋夢- all images by J Even though neither human eyes nor careful cameras caught this fact, I saw in my mind a kidnapping that was almost perfect. A band of shadowless thieves - no, wait, to call them thieves would be to say that they are like our back alley bandits and neighbourhood cheats; this would be a mistake. Stealing time is nothing if not an art. These masters roam our cities with their fingers on our clocks, and with the air of poets and painters they put to work the dreamless gaps in our sleep. You do not believe me? Just you wait and see. Soon you will witness the disappearance of 3 and 4 o'clocls. And how sweetly the sleepers in bedrooms or offices will consent. You will discern how the languid 11 o'clock has melted away in thoughts of lunch or the weekend soon approaching. Observe how its yawning twin will seem to drift away on its own as you think about the things that could have been: the dress you should havebought and the bet you

The Goodbye List #1

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J's morning sickness - image by J, click on it to view large in flickr The first to go missing was 10 o'clock. Out went the morning cartoons, but no one noticed. The children were kept very busy at school. For them, too, bedtime arrived earlier, but that was also no surpirse. The homework had put them all to sleep. Next to disappear was 1 o'clock. That slim hour, singular and tall - all the more easy it was to tip it over with a plastic fork and slip it away in a styrofoam luncn box. And when the teeth were being cleaned, the shirt was being buttoned, the headlines were being scanned and yesterday's dishes was still sitting in the sink, like a magician's long-suffering rabbit, 8 o'clock vanished as soon as the audience blinked. Where had all that time gone? Will they ever come back? Who took them away? And why was this so? These were qestions I never asked until one day I realised something was defnitely amiss. It began when I felt the feverish whoosh of s

open sesame

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Almost a year ago, the well-meaning HDB "upgraded" our apartment block and replaced our white (and yellowing nicely) door with a fancy fire-retardant door and a new iron gate. Tired of tolerating this aesthetic "downgrade" all this while, J and I decided to paint our door and gate over the weekend. ampulets give you here a short 7-step guide to un-do some HDB ugliness . Step 1: Set out to buy your painting supplies - On your way out, check out yours and your neighbours' doors, and know that you are about to "do the right thing". We found a paint shop just 15min walk away from our flat. We bought an "Undercoat" paint, sandpaper, roller and bristle brushes, and paint the colour(s) of your choice. The lady who ran the shop was amused. She did not understand why anyone would want to paint a new door, and of all colours, white. She obviously has not seen this: our neighbour's door. ours looked like this too, but no longer. all images b

trash

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images by J This play by Dramabox is ending its run at the Esplanade Theatre Studio with the last show pm 3rd Sept, 8pm. If you have no plans this evening, take your mom/dad/kid out to this play. J and I had watched Dramabox's A Stranger at Home earlier this year at the Arts Festival, and even earlier, their, er, Shithole . The former suffered from an over-worked script, but the latter had enough wit, inspired delivery and puppetry to cheer me up about the future of Chinese-language theatre in Singapore. Trash supposedly follows from Shithole - but there are no direct links, except maybe the idea that the idealism of heroes is not enough. In the foreword to Trash , Director and playwright Li Xie (this must be her stagename! The Chinese translates literally as "Evil Lee"...haha) wrote: From Meyerhold and Chaplin to these idealists, from art to the society, there exists a common yearning: live and let live. It is this simple. In the play's concluding scen

nothing happening

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international monetary fund + world bank + big art ( Singapore x Shanghai x Gwangju ) - Street Protest√Batam = Yayoi Kusama happening at the Padang ... I'm just glad it's Friday. And to friends who are still in the teaching profession, ampulets wish you a happy Teachers' Day!