28 June 2010

World Cup favourites

You may wonder which teams I support in the World Cup.

I usually have a list. First choice, followed by the next, and the next. My first three teams that I support?

1. Italy
2. Germany
3. Holland

Teams that I dislike intensely? One actually. Brazil. They are usually the heavy favourites. I think they will win the World Cup this time, like I had expected four years ago.


Well, I like teams with a plan, teams with organisation, thinking teams where the thinking individuals contribute to something greater over instinctive play. Thus, I see the Italians cynical and defensive play as that of, perhaps, the less gifted in terms of ball skills, finding a means against the ones with natural flair. Likewise for the Germans.

For the Dutch, I guess it is a sense of the romantic, just a hope that their system of total football will one day carry them to the pinnacle. Yes, supremely talented individuals.

Anyway, it is just a sport. A sport which makes me switch on the TV every four years.

27 June 2010

Sudden Impact

I watched 'Sudden Impact' earlier. Forgettable Dirty Harry movie. Did I watch it two decades ago and forgot about it? Not unlikely.

The delivery of the lines was rather wooden as was the script. The action sequences were like the TV series of that era. The plot? Simplistic and unimaginative. Oh well.

I suppose the only thing that came out of it was "Go ahead, make my day".

It was also notable for the use of the 0.44 Auto Mag pistol.

26 June 2010

Chung King House

A pigment ink sketch of the Chung King House at Nathan Road, Kowloon in Hong Kong. The old, weathered buildings with the improvised external piping, the numerous changes, the signages and more, an urban narrative of sorts.

There was so much detail in each building, so much character. I do wonder as to the history of the buildings, the stories of individual residents, tenants and more.

On the walls of the Chung King House, one could see the signs of former residents and tenants. Chak Mei Ivory Factory, Golden Guest House, De Luxe Hotel and more. Simply wondrous.

I like Hong Kong. I can go back again and again to sketch the place.

25 June 2010

Benjamin Grosvenor

The Benjamin Grosvenor recital tonight had included the following:

KAPUSTIN - Concert Study No. 6 -Pastoral
Concert Study No. 7 - Intermezzo
Concert Study No. 3 - Toccatina

LISZT - Piano Sonata in B minor, S.178

CHOPIN - Nocturne in F-sharp major, Op. 15 No. 2
Scherzo No. 3, Op. 39
Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. post.

RAVEL - Gaspard de la Nuit

I had finally heard Liszt's Sonata in B minor live, one of my favourites. The performance was engrossing.

However, I don't know, I don't find tonight's programme as engrossing as the first two nights. My sister was in agreement with that sentiment. I guess I didn't care for the Kasputin pieces which I found to be forgettable. Lyn said that she didn't attend tonight's, I thought she didn't miss much.

Have a nice Doomsday

I bought 'Have a Nice Doomsday: Why Millions of Americans Are Looking Forward to the End of the World' by Nicholas Guyatt at Metrobooks in the gigantic Elements mall in Hong Kong over the weekend and I am halfway through the volume. It features interviews with Christians who believe that the end times are upon them. I do wonder how many of the Christians in Singapore harbour such a point of view. And if those Christians here that do, how does it influence their decision-making and colour their political views? Do these Christians support an Israeli state unconditionally? Do they seek to rebuild a new Temple in Jerusalem? Do these Christians also believe that the pope is the antichrist?

At the same time, I do wonder how many of my American friends subscribe to this point of view?
A dreary day. The skies are a milky grey after a heavy downpour and flooding. At least, it's Friday and I am attending a recital this evening with my sister. Whee!

Legs wide open

I hate sitting between or beside obese people who sit with their legs wide open. I had this unfortunate experience during a wedding dinner where I was squashed between two fatsos with wide-open legs. They were, of course, oblivious.

Then, there was the time when I had to sit beside a huge obese fellow in an auditorium. Noooo!

There was also that obese one with the body odour in the MRT train recently. Ugh.

17th Singapore International Piano Festival

For the 17th Singapore International Piano Festival, I had tickets bought for the Wang Yuja, Pietro De Maria and Benjamin Grosvenor recitals as the programmes had included large doses of Chopin, Scriabin, Schubert. Whee!

I had decided against the Piotr Anderszewski recital as the programme had little of interest to me.

Pietro De Maria

The Pietro De Maria concert last night was topped at the end by four crowd-pleasing encores! Wondrous! There was a woman shouting 'Bravo! Bravo' continuously at the end. The Victoria Concert Hall was almost full.

I did spot Lyn in the distance but did not say hello as my sister was waiting in the car and my other sister and I had to rush off after the concert.

I am always partial to the four Ballades and Sonata No. 3. Thus, this was a programme which had everything I liked!

CHOPIN - 4 Ballades
Sonata No.3, Op. 58

24 June 2010

Lords of the Sea

I am reading the 'Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy' by John R. Hale, a highly readable account of the rise of Athens with an emphasis on the naval affairs and how it contributed to the rise of the Athenian empire, the thalassocracy. As stated in the book, Athenian democracy was not as we common assumed, and the democratic state did assume the leadership of the Delian League. Member states were not allowed to leave while others were forced to join.

I missed that Krystian Zimerman concert in Hong Kong which was a pity. What was a greater pity was that his programme consisted mostly of Chopin. Oh well.

Wang Yuja concert

The Wang Yuja concert at the Victoria Concert Hall this evening was very enjoyable. I liked the programme with Scriabin, Chopin and Schubert/Liszt. She was obliging and gave three encores.

CHOPIN - Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35

SCHUBERT - Three Lieder
Gretchen am Spinnrade
Auf dem Wasser zu singen
Der Erlkönig

SCRIABIN - Prelude in B major, Op. 11 No. 11
Prelude in B minor, Op. 13 No. 6
Prelude in G-sharp minor, Op. 11 No. 12
Etude in G-sharp minor, Op. 8 No. 9
Poème in F-sharp major, Op. 32 No. 1

PROKOFIEV - Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op. 82

23 June 2010

I have only made a sketch of one building in Hong Kong which I will put up later in the week.
My mother said that Mimi was waiting eagerly last night. It seems that he could sense that they were waiting for my return. Of course, Mimi being that smart cat that he is, could simply have checked the airport information...

At the airport last night, there were a horde of children waiting at the gates. There were at least six or seven security personnel present too. A kid told me that a Korean band was coming in.
I find it hard to be excited over this current World Cup. I had watched a few matches but they have been lacklustre.

19 June 2010

A trip back to the late seventies

I am intrigued by many of the hotels here. Many of the hotels, especially the luxury ones appear to be stuck in the late seventies and early eighties. Glided gold decor, mosaic and slabs of marble tiles. It is not unlike a time travel journey back into time. Think the old Hilton in Singapore before it was renovated.
Willie's wedding is this evening! This should be interesting. Willie and Karen have been tearing their hair out as they have to arrange everything. Apparently, the Hongkies don't believe in wedding planners! Hahahahaha! I am laughing and I am enjoying this!

Willie is envious of Brian and I doing all the touristy things now! Whee!

Windsor House at Causeway Bay

I am at Pacific Coffee Company at Windsor House at Gloucester Road on Hong Kong island now. The heat is stifling. Direct, strong sunshine and temperatures of thirty-two degrees or so.

17 June 2010

An entertaining match between South Korea and Argentina. As Ken was saying the South Koreans were outclassed.

A hurry worth ten million dollars

Someone I knew sold her house for about $10 million. If she had the patience to wait for a few months, she would have gotten about $20 million or more. As it was, she was in a hurry.

Construction Time again

It was impossible to sleep. It does not look as if it will be possible to sleep in the afternoon for the next two years. Oh well.

Perhaps Sundays then.

16 June 2010

What a day. Firstly, an old man rear-ended my father's stationary car which was waiting at a junction. It was raining and the roads were wet. The old man claimed he applied the brakes including the hand brakes but his car kept going. An old Toyota Altis or something.

Then, a man from Australia called, wanting something to be done about a leaking pipe otherwise there would be damages. I had to warn a tenant of the company about it and I asked them to fix it after speaking to the building management.

Then, it was visits to a few workshops.

Orchard Road flooded? Heheheh.
I'm now done with my packing and almost all my preparations. Heh. Hong Kong, here I come. The last time I was there was in 1986. Half a life time ago. I wonder about the changes and all.

I should find time to write my diary instead of watching the World Cup.

It's Spain versus Switzerland later!
I like the tea and ice coffees at Charley T's at Handy Road. I will be back there sketching in the afternoons.

Will and Karen's Wedding

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At the Pan Pacific Hotel

Will was reviewing his schedules and more. It was an elaborate affair involving three countries and great distances. The UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.
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At the Pan Pacific Hotel

Will and Karen's suite. Preparations for their wedding.
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At the Pan Pacific Hotel

The night before Will and Karen's wedding.
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15 June 2010


I was at Equinox at Swissotel at Raffles City with Will and Brian on Sunday.

The place seems to be some sort of institution, being the Compass Rose from 1985 and then the Equinox after.

This was my first time there. I have not ever been to the previous incarnation either. Heh. Quite a view.

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Prince Charles

"..the prospect of a morose bat-eared and chinless man, prematurely aged, and with the most abysmal taste in royal consorts, is a distinctly lowering one. ."

A description of Prince Charles by Christopher Hitchens in Slate.


'I think people are full of indignation. It's a common human motive. Do you think I'll get complaints from the indignant?'

Philip Roth, quote from an interview in the Wall Street Journal, September 2008.

12 June 2010

10 June 2010

Dinner at Outback

Dinner at Outback at Millennia Walk with Brian, Will, and Will's friends.

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Shyue Chou's Law

Shyue Chou's Law.

'People don't learn from history and if they do, they learn the wrong lessons anyway.'

08 June 2010

The Green Knight

The Green Knight. A short sketch at work with a Colleen green colour pencil, a Colleen 2B pencil and a Chinese red pencil. I increased the darkness of the piece with software.

06 June 2010

I'm back home after dinner and drinks with Amelia and Brian at the Bugis Junction this evening. Heh. I did manage a sketch. I should have drawn a bit more. I also borrowed a volume from the library. Hopefully, that book will prove to be of use.

05 June 2010


The FV432 APC was the workhorse of the British army, the battletaxi that would transport troops to the battlefield.

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