31 August 2010

Owen Road

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The real transcendence

"The real "transcendence", then, is the one that allows us to shake off the notion of a never-dying tyrannical father-figure, with its unconsoling illusion of redemption by human sacrifice, and assume our proper proportion as people condemned to be free, and able to outgrow the fearful tutelage of a supreme supervisor who does not forgive us the errors he has programmed us to make."

Christopher Hitchens
Quote from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-hitchens/collision-is-religion-abs_b_326673.html

30 August 2010

Hypothetical questions with no easy answers

The longsword versus the katana? The medieval knight versus the feudal Japanese samurai? The katana versus the rapier?

These are, of course, questions with no easy answers. The people today are different from those of the past, likewise, the skills, the lifestyles, the mentality, physiques and more.

This train of thought was prompted by a Neal Stephenson article where he thought that the rapier would probably win.

*Thank you Ethan for the link.

Dear Mr Chuang, I am calling from a ...

"Dear Mr Chuang, I am calling from a market research firm representing some of the more prestigious financial firms..."

And yet another cold call from out of the blue. A salesperson with an accent from one of those nations providing call centre services.

Like the many previous ones before (numbering over ten) this was likely a call to provide information on alternative energy and green energy which would be followed up by another on purchasing shares in such companies. A cleverly staged and scripted thing with a bait, a hook and follow-up. I had told these firms a few times never to call again but they had persisted with a regularity similar to that of annual taxation, modern life in the 21st century I suppose.

Previously, I had entertained these folks with questions and amused myself. Numerous calls later, the novelty has subsided. Thus, now, as soon as I hear the line about a market research firm, I will put the handset on the side and let the speaker continue. Minutes later, I will hang up. Once in a while, they will call again, thus the cycle begins.

Whose presence his heart first opened...

"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened."

Albert Camus

29 August 2010

Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts (MICA)

The Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts (MICA), now housed in the former Hill Street Police Station. How apt. Policing our culture and information? What do you think?

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27 August 2010

Figure Sketching at 6A Lim Tua Tow

On Sunday, I made my way to the strangely named street, Lim Tua Tow.

There, I ventured into the confines of the V Studio.

I saw three familiar faces there. Zhu Chuan, Shyam and Miel. Nine of us proceeded to sketch after. Two had not shown up.

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Ideas and not visual products

"I am interested in ideas, not merely in visual products."

Marcel Duchamp

Cat in a Box

Mao Mao, the little meanness, is hiding in her little box again.

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26 August 2010

The limits of my language

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." (proposition 5.6)"

Quote from ''Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus' by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Conquest, Italy and its Invaders and the Science Fiction Handbook

Some volumes picked up at Borders in the last few months. 'Conquest' was interesting as it described many means by which societies overwhelmed others including the following in their respective chapters:
  • Staking a Legal Claim
  • The Power of Maps
  • Claiming by Naming
  • Supplanting the Savages
  • By Right of Conquest
  • Defending the Conquered Territory
  • Foundation Stories
  • Tilling the Soil
  • The Genocidal Imperitive
  • Peopling the Land

Medieval Italy was the battlefield and playground of the various powers. Invasion after invasion from the French, the Holy Roman Empire, the Goths and more. The medieval history of Italy is an area of interest for me. What fortune to have found this volume in the discount rack!

'The Science Fiction Handbook' is yet another volume examining science fiction, an overview with individual sections on individual volumes including 'River of Gods' by Ian McDonald, 'Snow Crash' by Neal Stephenson, 'The Forever War' by Joe Haldeman and more.
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23 August 2010

Owen Road

A plain shophouse at Owen Road.
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On the reports of a food blogger demanding free food

I read about the recent episode where it was reported that a food blogger had demanded free food with great amusement. Certain terms, unflattering, come to mind.

It was reported that in this instance, this blogger had patronised the upscale eatery Private Affairs.

The food blogger's reported reaction afterwards had me shaking my head.

I have also visited a few other sites which had offered opinions on this matter. I cannot take the reviews of any site which gives sponsored reviews, be it in the form of free products, discounted products, special treatment and so forth seriously. I cannot take the reviews of any site or blog which has the reviewer recognised or revealing themselves to be reviewers to the restaurant. The integrity in both instances would be suspect in my opinion.

For terrific writing about food, I would recommend that one look up 'The Man Who Ate Everything' by Jeffrey Steingarten. Now, this is fabulous writing, not merely about food, but fabulous writing in generally.

I am a very middle middle class person

"Eh, SC, don't lah... I am a very middle middle class person..."

Dispensing with generosity

"I always dispense with generosity; if you are going to dispense charitably, you should be generous and not stingy."

Dispensed with generosity

"Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity."

Albert Camus

21 August 2010


Wanderlust, a new hotel soon to open. A boutique hotel? It did look pretentious inside.

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20 August 2010

The cynic

"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing."

Oscar Wilde

16 August 2010


Mimi curled up.
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The art of the Lord of the Rings

I have always enjoyed and revered the Lord of the Rings. However, I did not take to Peter Jackson's adaptation. The casting was wrong for some of the protagonists, the direction lacked feeling, the pacing wrong and hurried at points while laboured in others.

Whether the film adaptations were faithful or otherwise did not bother me as I recognise that the film and the written word are two different mediums and would have to be tailored accordingly.

I do think that the art direction, a lot of which were based on well-known artists specialising in the Lord of the Rings were great in many instances. Thus, I bought these volumes at Basheer months ago for the conceptual art.

The artwork of John Howe and Alan Lee were known to the Lord of the Rings readers for their years of splendid visualisation. I have my own in my head, of course.

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15 August 2010

OIC's figure drawing session

I attended the OIC figure drawing session on Saturday afternoon. I made my way there from Owen Road, navigating through the maze of streets, lugging a huge stack of drawing pads, watercolours, inks, pigment pens, pencils, brushes, container and more.

Shyam, pictured here, patiently explained the format of the session, starting with five minute poses by the model, followed by ten minute ones and finally fifteen minute ones. He was immensely patient and helpful. For that, I am grateful.

We drew at a small dance studio at Kampong Kapor in Little India. A charming little place. I was able to make numerous ink and pencil-watercolours sketches. I am recovering my touch and refining my techniques. It was a great session. Thank you to OIC, Michael and Shyam for organising this.

I will be attending future sessions.
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China Square

The swings are gone! Boo hoo!
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Cross Street and Upper Cross Street

Once the domain of the Chinese booksellers and stationers in Singapore, housed in double-storey shophouses, today, this place has been mostly redeveloped. Public housing blocks, squares ringed by commercial buildings and a Hotel 81.

The Chinese stationery and book trade has mostly moved to Bras Barsa Complex.
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More artbooks

Volumes that I picked up at Basheer recently. There were some interesting images conjured by the fertile minds of the people at the Art Centre College of Design in 'In the Future...'

I don't play Midway games, consoles or at the arcade. Their conceptual sketches fascinate me. Their creativity and their imagination.

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