Posts

Showing posts from January, 2007

a dog's life

Image
My mother has been crying over her dying dog, a white peek-a-poo (a cross between the territorial pekinese and the yappy poodle) whose fur around his mouth and paws has turned a strange maroon and pink and whose eyes are cloudy with age. Now that its kidneys are failing, it cannot eat. Still, it seems oblivious to its ill health and continues to try to lift itself up from its bed. My brother E, who is the original owner of the dog, is a stoic about the dog's dying. "I mean, it's led a good life thge past 13 years, there's nothing more we can ask for." Of course, what is a good life is relative. The standards shift. Even the markers change. For a dog, a good life probably means regular meals, regular walks, no abuse, and lots of human company and love. Last evening, J and I braved the weekend crowds at Vivocity to catch Malaysian filmmaker Ho Yuhang's 3rd feature Rain Dogs . I haven't seen any film from across the border, except The Last Communist , but J

a herd of clouds

Image
illustration by J The night sky doesn't have the same joyful changeability or the more obvious theatre as that of the day. More often than not, it is a impenetrable stretch of purplish black. Of course, there is some poetry with the moon - those dramatic nights when it hangs large and low. Two nights ago, round about 9pm when J and I were getting ready to go grab dinner, I looked out of the bedroom window and there was a whole herd of clouds - greyish in the dark - surging forward. The air was still. Yet these distinct clumps of various sizes and shapes moved as if they were chased by something, swift, even urgent, but quiet and smooth. Later that night I was chatting with Ru over msn. Preggie issues, sick family, spouses, impending babies, job (or jobless) woes, investment-savvy peers, mortgages, retirement (!) fears...I thought, grown-up troubles, how old we sounded! Of course there's a certain beauty about the night. A stillness where even the traffic sounds seem dis

hill billies

Image
The terrain on this island is mostly flat. Unlike our Indonesian neighbour, it is our good fortune to lie outside the ring of fire. There are no markers of violent past tectonic movements, no volcanoes, no sharp peaks. But we do have little hills. The highest of these little hills being Bukit Timah, with an official height of just 538 ft. There's also Mt Faber for lovers, Mt Pleasant (which doesn't seem to have any elevation at all!) for its animal hospital , and Mt Sophia & Mt Emily, Singapore's own siamese twin peaks overlooking the Istana . This evening J and I took a 3min walk up Mt Sophia Road, passing quiet condominiums and making a turn to find ourselves at the top of Mt Emily instead. There, between Mt Emily Park and a budget hotel , is an old bungalow that has been converted to be a centre for the arts and business. Supposedly built by a wealthy Straits chinese, the house was later used as some Japanese HQ when we were occupied in WW2. At some point in its

recalling on sounds

Image
playground at the mall - image by J Last week, J and I finally made our way across the monster mall Vivocity to reach this bookstore , designed by the same architect for the Kinokuniya and the very first PageOne at Marina Square. Like the PageOne at taipei 101, entering this bookstore is like entering a forest (well, paper is from trees). Its slanting shelves of unequal height, overhead shelves and displays, crooked paths, uneven floor heights and hidden nooks where you could pause, sit and read - these give the store a labyrinthian quality. But PageOne is especially lovely because, for those who read Chinese at least, the Chinese titles are shelved alongside the English ones. And in this way I chanced upon this book : ( Recalling on Image ) by 杨卫 (Yang Wei), published by 宋莊 (the artist village to the more Soho-esque 798 galleries ). For a long time to me, Chinese contemporary art = Revolutionaries and a Prada logo + identical grinning men + bright green dogs = anachronistic

killing time

Image
click for larger pic J : What is picture relay? Y : Picture relay is when you draw something, then pass the pen on to another person to draw the next thing. It's like stream of consciousness drawing, but in an inclusive way, you know - almost like some kind of collective consciousness. Visually. J : Er...ok. So can more than 2 play? Y : Of course, it's a game for everyone! But with 2 people, you can play picture tennis. You know, back and forth until the page is all filled up. J : I challenge you to picture tennis. Y : Loser is the one who gives up? J : OK. On. Anyway, I lost to J's aggressive backhand of a man falling down into a deep, tiled room. If you have time to kill in a cafe while waiting for a movie to start, and the book you are reading is not enough to stop the wondering, why not try some picture tennis?

easy

Image
Dream Numbers - click for larger pic Pa J spends a good amount of whatever cash he has in his pocket each week betting on toto and 4D, and has been doing so for as long as J remembers. Several times in his lifetime, Pa J has made the top few prizes. However few and far between those wins are, and however quickly the winnings are whittled away, Pa J still hangs on to the hope, at age 72, of scoring the winning bet of his life. Perhaps it is the fact that his wife is bedridden and there is nothing much left of her now he recognises but her unlovable difficult stubborn-ness. Perhaps there's now a closer realisation of his own mortality and the desire to be able to leave his children a more substantial inheritance - that they may remember him more fondly. There are days of unending work and obstacles (like today!) when I, too, can imagine how easy it is to just dream of easy money, easy living. Then how much easier it is for a man who has held those tens of thousands, felt that

so how heavy is your brain?

Image
I first came across an interview of (Elizabeth) Ewen & (Stuart) Ewen in I.D. magazine last month. The interview was accompanied by a full page photograph was of a stern-faced middle age couple, the man bearded, and one was seated. Both were wearing (in my memory) dull-coloured patterned sweaters in front of a shelf of books. What are you thinking when you read this description of them? What image, if any, forms in your mind's eye? What we see, of course, is also what we have been taught to see. The ideals of beauty, the judgement of chcter, the assignment of racial attributes, the rationalisation of power - it is really quite amazing how much contradiction we actually live with in order to maintain these notions. From the the opening pages of historians Ewen & Ewen's book Typecasting: The Arts and Sciences of Human Inequality , the reader is presented with a sweep of vignettes not so much about stereotypes per se, but how we perceive what we see - particular