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Showing posts from October, 2006

oh victor!

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J and I finally heard Mr Yew Hong Chow play the harmonica live this at the DVD launch of Tan Pin Pin's Singapore Gaga this evening in Substation's Timbre cafe. A small man who with his hands over his mouth, the harmonica invisible from where we sat, made sounds I've previously thought came from other instruments. Yet he amazed us with his humility. When called on stage to be thanked, Mr Yew thanked the director instead - for raising interest in the harmonica. (Mr Yew's CD will be released next week.) Despite there being a stage, mics, a host, a reception table and a gift for guests (an old skool condensed milk tin used for takeaway kopi), the event was great for feeling more like a family reunion party of sorts than a DVD launch. At a large table before the stage were several "uncles" with their Tiger beers, and at a far corner 2 middle-aged ladies and their cautious Cokes. When one of the "uncles" who was featured in the video for their na

guise

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The late playwright Kuo Pao Kun is often quoted, and in particular, this phrase - " a worthy failure is better than a mediocre success." A carpe diem kind of phrase, which I guess explained its attraction. This week, I heard someone use it in trying to convince a large and powerful entity to forge a collaboration with a smaller artist-type organisation. The stern-faced representative from the former was all teflon-coated. Everything he did - including his silence - suggested that he thought the speaker was merely trying to disguise failure. He was certainly not in the mood to reflect or question what was of worth or value, he would rather contemplate success. That day I sketched a fellow train commuter on my way home. J suggested that he be transformed into various superheroes taking a break. But perhaps when superheores take a break, they are probably less like superheroes on a break and more like nameless train commuters.

the future in print

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J and I made time to drop by the National Library because we thought today was the last day of Imprints of the Past: Remembering the 1966 Woodcut Show (the exhibition has been extended till 31st October, but the library will be closed this Hari Raya Tuesday). Curated by a good friend CT and art researcher Koh Nguang How (Koh was behind Errata ), this exhibition resurrects a 1966 exhibition by 6 woodcut artists first held at the old Stamford Road National Library. Of course, the old National Library is now a vehicular tunnel. But 40 years ago, this post-independence exhibition was held at a site symbolic of Singapore's post-independence future, a public institution of learning built withboth government funds and donations. The 1966 exhibition was a decided writing of art history. 6 artists presenting art grounded in the realities of Singapore in their time, its streetscapes, its trades, its people. A fresh page of art history. Today, of the 6 artists - Lim Mu Hue, Tan Tee Ch

soon you'll see it, now you don't

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image by J! Well, actually, now you can see about 2mins of it here . It being Tan Pin Pin's ( Singapore Gaga ) new documentary Invisible City . And if you like her work, you can even consider being a film investor donor - which is, I assure you, not quite the same as being a blood or kidney donor.

the power(lessness) of 1

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What appears from the trailers as a "heart-warming", charming film set in a Chinese kindergarten and fronted by a whole troupe of adorable, peach-cheeked kids paints actually a depressing picture of society. Little Red Flowers by director Zhang Yuan is still showing at The Picturehouse , and despite this grim introduction, I must say it is a film worth watching. Warning: spoilers ahead Given director Zhang Yuan's previous films - the earlier Mama , Beijing Bastards , East Palace West Palace - I should have expected Little Red Flowers to be not just a straightforward narrative of a boy's mischief and how the odd man will always strike a deal of mutual respect and tolerance with his community. Because even if the odd man wants to, chances are the community will not. Fang Qiangqiang, a 4 year-old, is sent to a boarding house kindergarten because his grandmother has returned to the countryside and his father, we gather from the brief shots of his workmen clo

Me I and Myself

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first coloured pic of the train sleepers series Perhaps owing to the inauspicious date that marked its end, this week has been incredibly painful - my day would end at 2 in the morning and start at 8 to a mad rush of "papers" (by others and myself), bosses' queries, hospital visits and home to an equally busied J. The best parts of my day now are herefore my morning and night rides on the MRT train . There I am my own. Once J and I had overheard a train commuter - a man in his 50s - describe animatedly to his female companion how "the worm" is digging its way through the earth towards them, how it has in its body the undigested whole bodies of men and women, and how soon they will also "be eaten". He gestured, he laughed, then he and his wife (?) were consumed. Well, there in the worm's digestive tract, I am thankful and privileged to have the company of the following for the past 2 months ever since J stopped joining me on these daily ride

food so tasty you want to hug it - part II

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Want to tell someone he/she is the apple of your eye, but don't quite know how to do it with words? ampulets present here 9 easy steps how you can do so in a silent way. All you need now are these materials: (1) Red cloth (2) Thick brown felt (3) Acrylic or oil paint, or any other kind of fabric paint (4) 2 wooden or black beads (if you don't have any, you can also embroider the eyes or use small buttons) (5) A handful of green/red beans...or styrofoam beads (6) Cotton wool (7) Thread, needle, scissors (8) bonus : Styrofoam "netting" for fruits After some 30mins (or 1 hour if you are watching the TV at the same time), you should be able to have your own Fuji-san to declare your sweet love for you. image by J - aren't I lucky his favourite fruit is not the durian! If instead you wish to tell him/her that you like him/her regardless of how ugly, stinky and high in cholestrol he/she is, try this instead . Unlike other top chefs, ampulets tell all in our recip

just wanna shout about it

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design by J The old lady whose hospital bed is diagonally across Ma J's is a 94 year-old with a hell lot of lung power. Shrivelled as a burnt out matchstick, she demonstrated her strength by smacking the hand of a visiting granddaughter and push away her grandson, all the while shouting in cantonese 你走!你走!你不要來! ( Go away! Go away! You don't come here! ). Her voice rang through out the normally silent hospital ward, mocked the barely audible moans of the lady next to her and Ma J's defeated murmurs. Later, in order to restrain her, the nurses trapped her in an armchair secured with a tray table by the corridor. For the next hour, she shook her the stand that held her drip and shouted to a world immune to her cries: 我要吃煙! 喂,我要吃煙啊! ( I want a smoke! Hey, I want a smoke! ) Another old lady who lay in the bed directly across from Ma J was tubed up, feverish and helpless. All through the afternoon her middle-aged daughter sat at the foot of the bed silently reading a yell

happy belated children's day

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Lelong lelong, amps fresh and chip-chip - collage by J watermelon man : The washing machine broke. persimmon girl: Huh, what's a washing machine doing in a melon patch? wm: And my laptop screen, it broke too. pg: That's tough luck. wm: Not to mention 2 weddings to make even my wallet broke. pg: Ah, fruit mating season. wm: Oh, it's tough - so tough -[ he cries, black melon seeds falling down his face ] pg: Cheer up watermelon man, stop crying...look, you are getting your pink protective styroforam packing all dirty - wm: Oh no, oh no, and my washing machine's broke! This year, adult-type problems almost threatened to keep us from saying this, but - amps wish you, especially you folks who have laundry to do - a Happy Belated Children's Day!

miracle man

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I can never quite tell if Ma J is asleep or just pretending The old lady in the bed next to Ma J's is in hospital because of a second stroke. When we were visiting Ma J this afternoon, the old lady's middle-aged son was also there. He was in his usual round-neck tee tucked into a pair of blue jeans with a belt made of buffalo hide. His limbs are slim, but his belly is round. His bald head, too, is round and abnormally large for his small frame. Let's call him Ah Biao , or if you prefer an English name, you can think of him as Bill (after his buffalo hide belt). When J and I walked out of the ward, Ah Biao or Bill followed us. Three of us stood around the counter by the nurses' work area. J and I were quiet, enjoying the break. Then Ah Biao wanted to show us something special. "Eh, I show you something." Ah Biao unzipped his black waist pouch and took out a small yellow cloth pouch. He untied the colourful string that secured the opening of the pouch.