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Showing posts from July, 2007

100

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image by J in flickr Sometimes I think about Ma J. I'm not particularly close to her, but at those times, I guess I miss her. I can remember her speaking to us, seated at the rosewood dining room table in her flat, before getting distracted by a string of long distance calls to some relative in her hometown in China or a relative working (always illegally) somewhere in the UK or Japan. I think how nice it would be that she could still be there when we visit. Or harder still to forget the image of Ma J when she was ill. That stare, or the droop of her head - always anger or despair. The whole year she suffered the indignity of her illness. Today is the 100th day anniversary of Ma J's death. I was at work but J managed to drop by Pa J's flat to be with him. J pointed out to me the irony that of all his siblings, only his sis and himself - the only Christians in the family - were with his father as he performed the taoist rituals of offering up food, incence and loads o

homebody

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J getting some help when he is working from home. click for view in flickr "Housewife" is a funny kind of word, as if you were married to the house. Perhaps it's meant to be ironic. But I find "homemaker", its more contemporary alternative, even more odd. What makes a home? surely not just a homemaker. "Housewife" is still allowed for older women - like "my mother's a housewife" - but it's less often used to refer to, say, a Mrs Lim, 32 years old - "She left her job as an accountant with one of the 'Big 4s' to be a homemaker." For the latter, it's as if "housewife" was too crude, suggesting a woman's limited sphere of influence. Plus, I guess "homemaker" is gender neutral. And besides, a homemaker may have nothing, no work, to do with the house (unlike the domestic help, the maid). But friends, I think there is something about "housewife" that is lost with the "hom

ok, one last push!

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photo by J taken of the filmmaker at the official premiere at the NUS Cultural Centre on 19July As if we cannot plug this film enough, us amps are giving one more shout to anyone who stumbles upon this blog to go buy a ticket to catch Invisible City at the Arts House. For tickets and more information, click here .

different worlds

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click for larger view in flickr The first time J and I stumbled across Haji Lane was many years ago one lazy afternoon. We had wandered to look at the old Istana Kampong Glam and do our bit for domestic tourism. Then, the tourism board's misguided efforts to "revitalise" Arab St and its rows of carpet and textile shops had glaringly failed (thank goodness). When we stepped onto the narrow Haji Lane, with its mostly abandoned hobbit-scale shophouses, there was a ghostly calm. Nothing creepy - but in a cliched sort of way, of time having stopped. And for Singapore, that's saying a lot. Two years ago , we found ourselves at Haji Lane again. This time, we were lured there by the Commes des Garcons guerilla store , which had just moved there from its first location in Chinatown. It was still mostly deserted, though a record shop (or was it a recording studio) was next door and a little boutique (with a guy who customised chandeliers on the upper floor) was across th

reminder

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click for larger view Melancholic J wrote this on his flickr (from which I stole the above series of photos) - "living in an old district means that you will witness periodic rampant deaths throughout the year". Rampant deaths (sic)! Let me assure you that no such catastrophic thing happens even on the PAP-side of Toa Payoh, though us amps have been noticing the number of wakes held at our block of flats the past year. Almost every other week, someone passes away. Yet every evening when I get home, there would be a group of old ladies chatting loudly by the tables/seats at the void deck - their numbers never falling - where a generous breeze would visit. J : I tell you something amazing. Y : Yah... J : It's amazing, their uniforms! Y : Er, whose? J : All these funeral musicians. I've been watching them for weeks now. Today - the group - they had these bright green pants with light pink tops. Wow. The colours were amazing. Really quite stylo. Y : ... I remember

marjorie, mortal

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the official eflyer with logotype by Mindwasabi . amps made our own unofficial guerilla "world cities" versions below. heh. As a document, a witness and a consequence of human activity - creative, destructive, acquisitive, criminal - sometimes we think of cities almost as man's gesture at immortality. Well, no different from most human endeavour that's creative, destructivem, acquisitive or criminal, I guess. Like writing a book. Ensuring a long line of descendents. Amassing an art or any kind of collection. Writing a book (or a blog!). Making a film. This evening, ampulets went to watch a special "bloggers" preview of Tan Pin Pin's new video Invisible City . A few months ago, we saw an earlier cut and lucky J even got to tag along at a few of the shoots - but there would always be that excitement with watching a film, starting with the opening credits - a visual and aural staccato - that is its own. I shan't say too much about the film itself.

A one and a two

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Filmmaker Edward Yang passed away a couple of days ago. The last film he made was released about 7 years ago - Yiyi , translated as A One and a Two - just about the time he was diagnosed with cancer. Yiyi was the first film I watched with J. It was at the 14th Singapore Film Festival, I remember. I was just wondering why there's not been a new film from him when wurx sms-ed me the news. The very first time I watched a film at the Singapore Film Fest, it was in 1991(92?) and it was Edward Yang's 3.5hr film about Taiwan in the 50s, A Brighter Summer Day . Its Chinese title translates more literally as "Gu Ling Street Teenage Murder Incident". The film had music (the schoolkids in the film had formed a band singing Elvis covers, hence also the film's title), comedy, love, a 15 year-old Zhang Zhen (already goodlooking), history and politics (since the film was set in the years of the "White Terror"), family drama, fights and gangs (yes, it's Taiwan!)