Sunday, March 29

#25 update

Ooops. Such prophetic words.


#34 done, with typos galore.


#20 on the list. A no-bake cake layered with house-brand pound cake, store-bought vanilla ice cream, home-made raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries. Happy birthday, S and M!

Saturday, March 28

4500 photos

Notte Sento (English subtitles) from napdan on Vimeo.

Made from 4500 photographs. It's beautiful, and so is the girl. The guy ain't bad either.

i also can make

I love to say, "I also can make". Yeah, but I never do.

From New Math.

Friday, March 27

days with my father

I couldn't grab my favourite image off Days With My Father, but go click through all of the lovingly shot photos. Thoughtful, touching and totally heart-breaking.


Actually, it wasn't a good morning at all since we had to meet at 6.30am.

It was March 21.

We were on a road trip to Melaka.

We did some perfunctory sightseeing.

But our main agenda was to eat.

In our bid to consume 10 meals a day over 2 days, we braved smelly alleys...

...and crazy kueh-buying aunties at Baba Charlie's. (That's Charlie's mom, an oasis of calm in the madness, placidly rolling kueh kueh.)

By 4pm on the first day, we were stuffed and on the verge of heatstroke, so we sought refuge in Voyage Cafe.

There were eight of us altogether, destroying the tranquility of the cafe with side-splitting games of Hokkien verbal Pictionary.

However, none of my travel companions appear in the three rolls of film I shot.

There are also few food shots, even though we did consume 13 meals (total of 32 food items).

Instead, I took a lot of photos of laundry.

Brief encounter.

Matching wall.

I took the chance to practise my pseudo arty shots.

This so remind me of my Grandma's shophouse, down to the cabinets and furniture layout.

What time is it?

Time to head home. And that's #29 crossed off the list.

Friday, March 20

mmm mmm mmm

Salad days are back. M gave me an exquisite bottle of honey vanilla balsamic vinegar that was all sorts of subtle loveliness, so I had it with salad on Monday.

It was so good, I had it again on Tuesday, drizzled over grilled tomatoes with mozarella. Mmm.

In related mmm news, my cubicle neighbour is driving me mad with her hour-long drama-filled phone conversations throughout the work day. Close relative in a cult needing intervention? Check. Someone being sedated and sent to IMH? Check. Spelling out words with C and going, "C for cat. Meow meow"? Check. Mother exasperating the hell out of her with understooded questions? Check. (Although to be fair, I think we all have that last one.)

But the worst part is when she agrees with whoever is on the phone with endless strings of "mmm mmm mmm", "mmm mmm mmm" and "MMM MMM MMM".

At one point just before offstone, when I was trying frantically to make a couple of photos of mobile phones fit onto a page without them looking as big as laptops, I lost it and banged my forehead against my keyboard, muttering under my breath, "OH. MY. GOD."

She was, butofcos, oblivious.


An impromptu trip to Ikea for lunch, in which I became bewitched by the semla (above) on display in neat rows, and insisted M split one with me, even though we already were sharing six chicken wings (the best ones in the world, ok!) and 10 Swedish meatballs. One more Swedish dessert wouldn't be too sinful, or so I figured.

According to the very informative leaflet accompanying each semla, the name is derived from the Latin word for simila or fine wheat flour, which is what it is made of.

It also expounded that the bun, a traditional Easter dessert, was filled with "smooth almond paste and crowned with fresh fluffy whipped cream" and "almost floating on the creation is the cut-off bun lid, sprinkled seductively with fine icing sugar".

Sounds good so far? Well, I'm sad to report that the almond paste was so over-poweringly artificial that we couldn't finish it. But it was worth every cent of the $3.50 we paid for it for making me laugh so hard, because of this fun fact included in the leaflet:
"King Adolf Frederick of Sweden died of stroke in 1771, after consuming a luxurious banquet topped off with 14 servings of semla."

Wednesday, March 18

on the road

I want to take a photo like this one, by Gordon Ball, on our upcoming roadtrip to Melaka this weekend. Counting down now...


"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
Leonard Cohen

The light got in, when, in my eagerness to send the roll for developing, I absentmindedly flipped open the back of the camera before rewinding the film. It took two full seconds before it dawned on me what calamity had befallen my entire roll of film -- four days' worth of Hong Kong photos -- and I snapped it shut while simultaneously cussing. The last few frames were fatally ruined, but as you probably already know from a few posts down, the Hong Kong photos survived my idiocy.

I like how the last frame, barely salvaged, with its lack of focus and over-exposed side, is of my saccharine-sweet-yet-edgy-or-so-I'd-like-to-kid-myself pink Converse.

Perfection is over-rated. Let there be cracks.

inauguration night, 11pm

How much do you love this photo? The best part is the secret service guys all averting their eyes.

untitled no. 1

Untitled No. 1
Colour pencil, highlighter and marker pen on photocopied paper, 15x15cm, 2009

Untitled No. 1 (mixed media on photocopied paper)
On display at Gallerie McConaughey de la Fonte (25 Lorong Sedap)

Suggested head: Rainbow blight

By Fayë Wachowski-Hong

Part of an upcoming series that promises to offer stark new perspectives on the iconography of childhood nostalgia, this first piece by up-and-coming enfant terrible SS is both a blatant fuck-you to the art establishment's current obssesssion with faux-socialist heroic tableaus and a cerebral meditation on the importance of being earnest.

In traditional Pygmy culture, rainbows were believed to appear only when the souls of deceased family members wanted to reach out to surviving loved ones. In fact, this shimmering arc was a sometimes sinister symbol of the link between the living and the dead, and the oral epics of Pygmy lore are filled with nightmares of children dreaming about rotting grandparents sliding down rainbows into their beds.

It is this unsentimental, chilling emotional aura that SS draws on for this mixed media piece, which depicts a post-apocalyptic landscape where the sun has a demon-red core and throws off highlighter-yellow (and possibly radioactive) rays. Swollen pink clouds drip portentously with acid rain; the land itself is a barren desert of fallen stalks of barley.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the artist originally intended to use cotton balls to fill out the clouds, but was unable to find cotton with sufficient fluffiness. The final result is flatter, no doubt, but the eventual pink hue of the clouds also bear an unmistakeable resemblance to Swiss avant-garde maestro Rudin Svealler's collage of decayed cotton candy floss, although what is conceivably intended as a homage can more convincingly be construed as unimaginative tomfoolery.

The rainbow itself takes on a comparatively less vivid presence in the overall mise en scene, which does not bode well for SS's impending portraits of an exploding carousel, a Care Bears vs Smurfs skirmish and toy trains carrying replicas of Osama bin Laden. After all, if the point of it all is to subvert the innocence of childhood, one could argue that the objective is only weakly achieved when the final result is so pallid. But still, that hasn't stopped collectors from participating in a furious bidding war for this soon-to-be-ubiquitous artist's work. One can already find Untitled No. 1 reproduced on mugs and T-shirts everywhere. Can an entirely unironic reprint on nursery wallpaper be far behind?

This is what happens when a sub-editor who colours to destress meets a former art-fart writer who now reports on menopausal women's hair.

Sunday, March 15

lead me not into temptation

It was love at first sight when I saw this swacket -- sweater plus jacket, geddit? -- from Harputs Own. I have a thing for multi-way convertible clothes. But the price tag of US$445 stopped me from putting it into my shopping cart. That, and the fact that I will probably never get to full utilise the 12 or more ways of wearing it.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race, with its oh-so-clever takes on fashion, was a little harder to resist. And with almost everything priced at an democratic US$100, I was stuck on the website for half the night.

The ballet flats -- my footwear of choice -- are so witty, I was sorely tempted. I have just about managed to convince myself that I don't need a 15th pair of flats, not when they cost US$100.

I also do not need a 143th brooch, no matter how cool the pearl tumour looks. I convinced myself that I can DIY one with cheapo Chinatown pearls at way below US$100.

I'd been looking for black oxfords for a long long long time, to the extent of going to the boys' section of Bata, but no luck. This -- in canvas, patent snakeskin and suede -- is near perfect, except it seems to be sold out everywhere. Thank god for small mercies, I guess.

This is my personal fave (I'm constantly on the lookout for a BBB -- Big Black Bag -- that can stand the test of time and the weight of all my barang, and is not an It Bag). A take on the classic Birkin, in leather, reimagined with four sides and as many handles. At US$1,000, way out of my reach.

So I settled for the canvas version instead.

Tuesday, March 10

in the mood for hong kong

My ninth tenth trip to Hong Kong and possibly the coldest one ever at 13 deg C, due mostly to my own negligence in checking the weather report and packing super light. I made up for it by purchasing two scarves.

Me and the bathrobe in the very swank hotel room, which unfortunately had a haunted TV which kept switching on and off against my wishes half the night, despite the technician's checks and assurance that it was "no scary, no scary". I changed to another room the next day.

Persistent drizzle in Central did not deter me from heading to the H&M mothership. I didn't bother with the over-rated roast goose at Yung Kee and the frankly lacklustre noodles at Tsui Wah (both just up the road).

Just a few steps away was the swish entrance of Shanghai Tang and facing this was one of the many rabbit hole-like entrances leading to the MTR station.

Hidden in a wet market in Wanchai, behind huge red metal doors, was modern art gallery Ooi Botos. There was no sign outside, of course, just a discreet buzzer.

It didn't seem right to take photos of the art, so I shot the spiral stairs instead.

Next door was a poorly-lit gaming centre with grimy boys in a world of their own.

Stalls right at the doorstep of the gallery, with fruit glistening in the rain. Wet market, indeed.

Classified, where I had possibly the best cheese in my life ever. The cheese may or may not have been called madara, excessive wine has addled my memory.

The uber cool droog lights at the wine and cheese place. Totally DIY-able, I say with great confidence.

Waiting at Causeway Bay. Long exposure gone on too long without tripod, but I like. So there.

Low Price Shop. The name said it all.

Peered futilely, as I always do, into the apartments while riding the Midlands Escalator in hope of catching Christopher Doyle's pad from Chungking Express, which, incidentally, I rewatched on the plane back home, eschewing current blockbusters to fall in love with Tony all over again.

What you don't see is the drink seller just out of the right side of the frame pretending not to observe me trying to get the shot -- darned manual focus! -- before the uncle moved away.

My fave noodles in the world. I had two bowls this time. You can see the very petite rice bowls they are served in, so I wasn't being excessive. Or at least that was how I justified it.

Wandering around Causeway Bay in -- this is a recurring theme -- the drizzle.

In a not-entirely-successful bid to shop less, I set aside time to visit a couple of indie bookstores. The first one I trudged to, Mackie's Study, had closed down. I climbed those stairs for nothing.

The second one, After School, was locked, even though I saw someone at the window. It just wasn't meant to be.

Energy completely sapped after just four days there. I would like to sleep for a week, but alas, neglected work beckons.

P.S. The best and worst part about shooting film? The nail-biting finger-crossing part where I send a roll in for developing not knowing if I had completely, devastatingly, ruined an entire trip's worth of photos by absent-mindedly opening the back of the camera before rewinding and then discovering I did not lug around a piece of heavy metal for four days for nothing and that I must have done something good and my karma is at an all-time high because there are even a couple of shots which nailed the focus.