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Showing posts from December, 2006

Door Gift

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Last week J and I found a box of old Christmas decorations he bought before we'd even met. It was only after putting some of it out on the door to our flat that it occurred how sad it must make Boy #106 and Girl #15 look - home alone clutching the iron gate while the body-less snowman twirled above their heads in the monsoon weather. Perhaps some kid in our block (we discovered later it was the 9 year-old niece of our neighbour upstairs) felt this way too, because last night, she slipped this painting under our door. company for the home alone kids this new year's eve with Mr Cross-eyed, Lil' Fearful, and Ms Those-Aren't-My-Friends friends, whoever it is you will be with this evening - you, them, him, her - amps wish you good company.

More than bricks and mortar

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I've never before been near or inside a building designed by Pritzker Prize winner Frank Gehry . Since the Sentosa "Integrated Resort" ultimately did not go to Kerzner & Capitaland with their Gehry bid, the chances for that now are even more remote. Of course, Gehry's recent freeform and curvaceously faceted buildings, such as the Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao and the Disney Concert Hall in LA, have attracted a good amount of love and hate. In the same way, one of us islanders had described his design for the Sentosa IR as "a wad of wet tissue", while another, a "lantern" (I reckon it looks like a lion fish - which, if true, is a great literal dig at the Merlion!). Well, at least it was a design that stirred some imagination and inspired opinion. Give me architectural tissue or lantern anytime instead of Universal Studios ... What led me to think about Gehry was a random link to this Interview with Gehry in the Opinion Journal . Even if you

blessed

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Friends, amps wish you a blessed Christmas - albeit belatedly - and give you this drawing by J/TOHA in his inimitable freestyle, about insatiable appetites and the real blessing that we may therefore miss. click for flickr view And in keeping with this theme, our favourite presents this year include a small container of "A Hot Hot Rub for Aches & Pains" from cousin KM that promises to also "Conquer All Demons" (!) and a faux gold plaque from an aunt that declares for us "Christ is the Head of this Home".

A time to live and a time to -

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image by J Y: Hey, do you notice that there's always more funerals and wakes held in the void deck in December? More people die in December yah? J: Oh yah. Y: I wonder why...maybe it does actually get colder in December and old folks are weaker so they will fall sick and get pneumonia? J: Yah, that makes sense. Y: Or maybe it is psychological...you know, December is a time for reflection, and old people, they look back on another year that has passed and that the new year is approaching, maybe they grow tired or think that it is time to go - On our small tropical island, sometimes it feels like nature does not offer many reminders of the rhythmns and seasons of time and life. The trees shed their leaves all year round, it rains or drizzles without seeming pattern, humidity is a heavy monotony to bear, and the weathergirl never quite tires of reading the temperature range of 26 to 33 degree celsius (someone in the office once joked that we do have seasons - aircon and outd

2-in-1 saturdays

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click pic for larger view in flickr. J/TOHA coloured this drawing as well. For his version, click here It's always hard drawing kids on the train since they can't ever keep still. Even when they do, they are always quicker to notice you. And unlike adults, who will pretend that they are not aware of you (or that anyone would even think of sketching them), kids have no qualms about making their knowledge obvious and staring back. But this girl was sitting quiet in the pram. She looked way too old to be still pushed about in the pram. She stared vacantly ahead and did not fidget. Occasionally her eyes would move, but not her head which was supported by a child-sized pillow. After a good afternoon of kueh pie tee and wine with colleagues at my boss's apartment , J and I spent the rest of the day with Ma J at the hospital. These 2 halves of the day could not have been more different. By 9 or so, most of the visitors to the hospital had left. Some patients had turned o

the cosmopolitan vs the homebody

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image by J J/TOHA writes: One of my japanese class lecturers used to call me "cosmopolitan". Frankly, I don't know why. That was a huge word for me! Anyway, I have been reading a bit about design and the world of creatives. And it seems that one of the most commonly quoted source of inspiration for these folks is travelling. As I have an extremely sensitive nose, I cannot endure long flights, since my nose would be all clogged up and my throat will become extremely dry. So the furthest I have ever been to is Japan. But I have been thinking about travelling quite a lot these days. Maybe because it is the end of the year. Or maybe the cosmopolitan in me is calling. There are many types of travellers. Some feel the need to see every significant historic and cultural site, taste every possible local dish. The supermarket traveller. Some like the thrill of adventure and seek out only the most exotic and the most obscure. The trophy traveller. Others desire the luxury a

who's more tired - mama or her cat?

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After a Saturday playing cleaning lady for J's ampulets studio while he played IT technician trying to overcome some ridiculous Mac/Intel/Adobe bug, we visited the mentally and physically exhausted Ma J at the hospital before rushing to catch Theatre Practice's re-staging of the late Kuo Pao Kun's play Mama Looking for her Cat . Mama Looking for Her Cat was first staged in 1988. It is often referred to as the first multilingual play in Singapore. From watching a short clip of that original staging screened as part of Saturday's new staging, how I wished I was in the 1988 audience! In the 1988 staging, Sasitharan (current director at the Theatre Training and Research Programme ), played an old Indian man Mama bumped into while searching for her cat. It turns out both of them are in a similar predicament, having had their cats "chased out" by their children. Though not speaking each other's language, they gestured and "meowed" their way into a

documenting love

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image by J - from the fashion themed gallery J and I went to take a look inside the newly re-opened National Museum this evening - and we loved it. Well, to be precise, these were what we loved: (1) the restoration, extension and renovation works to the building by W Architects (Mok Wei Wei) with CPG Consultants. It created a sense of space we did not think was possible in Singapore - not the space that came with having miles of shopping floor, nor the empty granite hollows of our train stations. Instead, the unobtrusive glass and stone created new public spaces from or with the plastered surfaces of the 19th century building that were, consequently, at times grand, intimate or expansive. These spaces felt both storied and yet to be written. image by Y & J (2)the large LED wall installation by artist Matthew Ngui titled The building remembers/Remembering the building . The wall of LED lights captured and "reflected" images of the visitors standing before it,

numbers

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click for flickr view Ma J gets back into the hospital for the 3rd time this year. The doctors are asking if they should send some kind of micro-camera into her body, but they are too busy to explain any further what it all means except that it costs $2k - and there's a 1% chance it may get lost somehwere in her gut! This time Ma J is in a 6-bed ward ( sb - yes, some kind of cattle class). Like the doctors who are too busy for the patients' bothersome families, it would seem that we also are too busy with our professional lives for the patients. So of the 5 beds that are occupied, 4 of the patients are accompanied by the families' domestic help. 4 ladies from Indonesia. They sit daily by the beds, assist the nurses with the changing of the patients' diapers and sheets, chitchat with the bedridden old women, give each compatriot smiles, and doze off. 3 of them actually stay over at the hospital - lying across an arrangement of peach-coloured plastic chairs. This be

who's the boss?

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image by J, boss disguise courtesy of lint from J's cardigan It's been two and a half months since J stopped being a salaried employee and started running "ampulets" as a registered design business. Since friends have been asking how's it been, here's a summary of J/TOHA's experience so far - Sweetest part of the deal: Being able to "control" how you spend your time, even if most of that control is technically false since you are bound to complete the job for your client (usually within tight deadlines). But more importantly, doing something you enjoy and have chosen to do. Plus there's always the satisfaction of learning and knowing you have provided more than just a solution to someone else's challenge. Things to get used to: Not having colleagues (well, not until you think you want to hire or grow with new partners) around to banter and toss ideas with. Consequently, having to wear several hats - e.g. cleaning lady, delivery boy