Showing posts from January, 2008

joining the dots

The stories about the Singapore River never seem to end. Last Saturday, J and I went on a tour of the Singapore River organised by The Tangent and led by Mr Han San Yuan , the journalist featured in this film . Mr Han had an endless stream of stories about Singapore's past against the backdrop of the river. There was the story about a drawbridge that refused to draw; the story about that white statue of Sir Stamford Raffles; the story of Indian convicts shipped by the British Indian Company to build their post on this island (the prison quarters supposedly where the Singapore Management University now stands); the story of Chinese reformist Kang Youwei's supposed temporary abode where the UOB bank now is (and a poem Kang had written from the 3rd storey room overlooking the Singapore River); the story of the Yuan dynasty porcelain found by the river and the foot of Fort Canning which was, more importantly, the location of the keramat of the last Malay king in Singapore... &

sim city

the new city hall all decked out Nay Pyi Taw Myanmar's new capital is built on the flattened hills north of Mandalay. The land is stripped bare, a highway cuts across the city, and the semblance of a city is systematically planted - a mega parliamentary complex echoing the ambition of pharoahs, a gaudily lit city hall, a hotel zone of resorts, a city golf course and various housing types for government officials pegged to rank (walk up apartments for the rank and file, semi-detached houses for senior managers, bungalows for directors and palaces for the ministers). These developments sit in isolation. Immediately around them is usually an expanse of naked earth or stretches of scanty vegetation, while beyond, small dusty huts with woven walls sometimes dot the fields. Against this background, Nay Pyi Taw the capital was an unreal flaunting of concrete and ambition. small talk On my way to Myanmar, I was seated beside a Singaporean businessman. After asking what business it was t


click for flickr view J getting all pensive at the start of the new year wrote this: " I have been thinking if it is wrong to not really think about new year resolutions at all. I guess, broadly, there are a couple of things I really want to do - more design work, take better portraits, invest/spend money wisely, make more friends, spend more great quality time with the wifey and my dad... Actually, if I did not pen all this down, or even thought much about it, would the year be still very much the same? " Me? I started out more gungho about this whole resolution business. Right after Christmas, I decided on painting a kind of visual resolution. It ended up being a painting (photo above) of J sitting on a gold step with giant peace lilies. But once the new year at work started, I've not had a stretch of quiet to paint, so my painting-resolution remains unfinished until now (so much for resolve!). Well, stretches of quiet are what I am sure my evenings will be over the