Let Romance Pop-Up with a Handmade Card

It was my first time making a birthday card, a pop-up one. I wanted to make it really special because love has the power to make you do things like that. And when the relationship is over, it’s the crazy things you have done or done together that will become a warm memory of this person you were once in love with.

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The recipient of the card has an artistic streak and has created several pieces of abstract and sometimes profound digital artworks. Since it is for a birthday, I picked this piece that was inspired by the recipient’s trip to Sydney and was enthralled by the fireworks at Darling Harbour, resembling angels of light bringing something good with them.

I spent a couple of sleepless nights thinking about how to make the birthday special and a few more getting excited about the idea of making a pop-up card, but more on thinking about how to do it. Thankfully, there are Youtube tutorials around.

So after an online crash course and picking the image, I set about conceptualising a pop-up card using elements in the image to form the layered effect and it’s off to Bras Basah to buy materials. Although it is a simple card, quite a bit of brain cells died to anticipate the number of cards and the combination of different types needed to provide a nice finish.

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I settled on 2 pieces of black construction paper, one to for the pop-up structure to hold the pieces of graphics, and another to form a backing so that when you look through the holes cut out from the top piece, you don’t see through them. I also got a thicker gold card to form the outer skin of the card.

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Side view of the pop-up card with 2 layers of black construction paper. The first layer if for cutting folded strips to hold the graphics and the back layer is complete the illusion of a night sky for the fireworks, else you will see through the cut strips.

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I’ve thought through and done the measurements but unfortunately, I didn’t take into account the fact that the full height of the centre graphic is taller than the height of the card when folded close, resulting in it jutting out of the card. *Panic!* To rectify the problem, I went back to the stationery shop to buy a bigger piece of gold outer skin as the first one I got was the same size as the black construction papers and extended the size of the card to fit everything in.

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Ta-da! The completed card. Not something exceptionally beautiful but it came from the heart. The envelope says “Celebrate”, the front of the card states the recipient’s name, and inside says “Happy Birthday” so they form sort of a 3-part greeting before the message. I know, the message I wrote is lame. LOL.

So that’s my little adventure into arts and crafts. I think there’s nothing more romantic than a handmade something because it says that that person is thinking about you through the conceptualisation, planning, and execution stages. It’s time consuming and a lot of work.

But when you see the person’s eyes really light up, it’s all worth it.

好花不常开,梅景不长在

Sakura-Fallen

A sakura flower that has fallen before it has withered; just like a relationship that has ended before the love has been weathered.

苦守五季,终遇一春,

心花绽放,日夜成诗。

无奈

花未凋谢,却已落枝,

爱未冷却,恋已无存。

奈何

心花生刺,日夜成尸,

寒痛伴伤,碎多一次。

我会永远记得我们一起看过的美(梅)景。

The Future of Us Exhibition : An Insider Guide

Launched on 1 December 2015, The Future of Us exhibition is a multi-sensory and experiential showcase of the ideas and possibilities for our little red dot by the year 2030 and beyond.

I have the privilege of working on this national exhibition as a producer for a number of items within it and hope that this blog post can offer an insight into the invisible intent behind some of the exhibits as well as the challenges we faced to make your visit to the exhibition more flavourful.

I will also share tips so that you get the most out of your experience at the exhibition.

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Vertical panoramic shot of the Symphony of the City dome at The Future of Us exhibition. Share your photos with the hashtags #FutureSG #SGfuture #TheFutureOfUs!

When I first heard the brief for The Future of Us, my eyes widened at how forward thinking the creative direction is. Then my eyes rolled to the back of my head thinking about how challenging it would be to achieve what the client envisioned.

The creative direction, first of all, called for the exhibition to be innovative and panel-less where visitors are not swallowed by a labyrinth of panelled information and things to read, but an experiential journey into the future.

Secondly, this exhibition is to be all-inclusive. From the exhibition’s spatial design that applies barrier-free access principles to include families with prams and visitors on wheelchairs to content elements that included people of all races, ages, languages, and profiles. By profiles, the client meant people with tattoos, single parents, same-sex coupling, underprivileged persons, and citizens with a disability. The Future of Us aims to leave no one unrepresented. This spirit of inclusiveness forms the foundation on which to truly appreciate the exhibition with.

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The Future of Us exhibition is located within the compound of Gardens by the Bay (access via Bayfront MRT Station Exit B). It is open daily from 1 Dec 2015 to 8 Mar 2016, 9am – 9pm. Admission is free but ticket reservation is encouraged. Reserve your ticket at http://www.thefutureofus.sg.

The premise for the exhibition to be innovative, panel-less and all-inclusive guided the exhibition’s design as well as drove many of us who worked on the project to the asylum.

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Kee seow (‘up crazy’) at The Future of Us project site.

Pico Singapore is the chief designer, consultant and builder for The Future of Us exhibition in collaboration with an ensemble of award-winning film, light and sound directors as well as creative agencies.

The Architecture – 4 Domes, 7 Zones

From conceptualisation to design to build to opening, the realisation of The Future of Us exhibition took about a year and involved over 100 governmental agencies, private entities, non-profit establishments, schools and public contributions. The exhibition structure consists of 4 massive domes that anchor an exhibitory experience that spans 7 zones.

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A lattice roof designed by students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) forms a porous skin that wraps around the domes.

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Doesn’t it feel like Star Wars?

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As the sun shines through the lattice, a patterned shadow that shifts with the sun’s position dresses up the domes and ground.

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Visit The Future of Us exhibition in the late afternoon and you just might catch the setting sun peeping through the lattice.

The Experience

As mentioned, the exhibition consists of 7 seamless zones and here’s a quick summary of what they are :

1 – The Future Express… welcome and holding area

2 – Theatre of Generations (Dome 1)… massive projection film

3 – Symphony of the City (Dome 2)… immersive LED show

4 – Home Tomorrow (Dome 3)… interactive exhibits showcase

5 – Blue Skies (Dome 4)… contribution of wishes and hopes

6 – The Lion… playground with all-inclusive equipment

7 – The Marketplace… future products and conversation space

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After admission at the Arrival Plaza area, you will come to The Future Express at the exhibition’s entrance. You’ll spend about half an hour here before entering Dome 1. There are no toilets in this holding area so my advise is to go before coming here if it is urgent. Else, it will be quite a walk to toilet facilities located near the SG50 car park. After entering Dome 1, there are toilet facilities within the exhibition space.

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The photos in this blog post were taken prior to the exhibition’s opening so some of the spaces, such as this welcome area, look different after finishing touches were added.

The Future Express

Connecting the past to the future, The Future Express takes the approach of imagined local newspaper headlines that pay tribute to 3 different time periods – 1965, 2015 and 2030.

Presented as 3 installations that correspond with each time period, the simulated front pages of The Future Express newspaper lets you get a glimpse of lifestyles in the 1960s, feel the Singapore spirit through spontaneous events that happened in 2015, and anticipate the possibilities of 2030.

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The Future Express simulates a printing press with imagined headlining topics that capture our past, encapsulate our present and captivate our future.

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Front page news that come with “moving” headline images that are essentially video clips about where we were, what makes us, us, and where are we heading. Watch the clips at the exhibition for some really uplifting moments.

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After exploring The Future Express area, you will be guided to pass through this corridor to enter the first dome that houses the Theatre of Generations.

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Better hold on to your jaw as you enter the Theatre of Generations for the massive 360-degree half dome projection is bound to leave you awestruck.

Theatre of Generations explores the underlying values that power our strive for success through 4 characters in the year 2030 and how their aspirations are linked to their grandparents’ generation from 1965. The dreams and struggles of these characters are first mooted in this 5-minute film and as you move from zone to zone, if you look closely, you’ll notice that what the characters set out to achieve slowly takes shape along the way.

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The 4 main characters in the Theatre of Generations film are (from left to right) – Joseph, a Eurasian social worker; Yi Xin, a wheel-chair bound Chinese designer; Faizal, a Malay cycling enthusiast and entrepreneur; and Ravina, an Indian horticulturist.

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The film begins in the year 2030 with the 4 characters seeking a breakthrough to realize their dreams and goes on a reverse time-lapse to 1965 to draw a parallel with the aspirations and challenges their grandparents faced. And it is through values such as working together regardless of our race, language or religion; openness; having a stake in our communities and home; and the can-do spirit that have Singapore made… and will continue to be our pillars of success into the future.

What are the challenges faced by the different generations of Singapore citizens? Find out at the Theatre of Generations.

While you can’t miss what’s going on in the film with such a huge screen, there is a sweet spot to stand to best enjoy this larger-than-life experience and that is to the sides near the entrance of the theatre.

Symphony of the City

This immersive dome is where you get transported into the possible living environments of the future through a 4-minute show unfolding across a huge 270-degree wraparound LED screen that is 35 metres long! Another visual spectacle in this dome is a model with projection mapping that allows elements from the show to spill over into 3D form.

The Symphony of the City explores exciting ideas and developmental possibilities on a macro level in future Singapore. Some of these ideas are far-fetched and may or may not materialise, some are already at the stage of test-bedding for potential mass adoption (eg. autonomous vehicles), while some are already in the process of being realised (eg. expanded MRT network, enhanced greenery, round-island cycling network, advanced water quality testing robots in the shape of a swan, etc).

The show provides a glimpse of what life could be like as future infrastructural developments open up more choices for us to set our desired pace of life.

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Look out for these intro boards at the beginning of various exhibition zones for a synopsis of what you’re about to experience.

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As you walk through the different zones, you’ll notice a thread of text that weaves through the exhibition. This is the Thread of Us and it is made up of hopes and wishes contributed by Singapore citizens from all walks of life in 4 languages. In the Symphony of the City dome, the thread takes the form of a techno wave that undulates across the LED screens.

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The show follows Ravina, Yi Xin, Faizal and Joseph as they went about their daily lives in the year 2030.

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The storytelling takes a 3D form when designs of future public housing are mapped onto objects on the projection model. Producing the Symphony of the City show has been very challenging because of the huge screen size and the need to coordinate the show and projection sequences.

Contents are very rich at the Symphony of the City and it can be a lot to digest. The best place to take it all in is to stand just behind the row of cushion seats. Standing provides a better experience as you can see more of what’s going on at the projection model as compared to sitting down.

Home Tomorrow

While Symphony of the City looks at the possible macro developments in Singapore, Home Tomorrow offers you a peep into the micro level technological innovations and evolution in ideologies that could impact the way we live, learn, work, care and defend in the future.

There are a number of interactive exhibits in this zone which you can explore to find out more about the future of learning and different pathways to success, how smart homes can potentially enable us to better care for our love ones, possible concepts in creating a more sustainable living environment, urban farming, multi-tiered living, and many more.

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Does this look like a computer generated graphic? Well, it’s not. It is actually a photo!

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The graphic wall encircling the Home Tomorrow dome often gets neglected but take a closer look and discover the little nuggets of future living.

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Peep into possible future lifestyles through the windows of the tower blocks.

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Get your eyes and hands busy at Home Tomorrow with a bevy of interactive multimedia exhibits.

Blue Skies

This is the 4th domed experience and you can share your hopes, dreams and wishes for Singapore digitally here. Whatever your aspirations are, you are not alone in your dreams.

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The sky’s the limit for our aspirations for Singapore.

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You can select a category and write or draw your message.

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Your completed message is cast onto the circular screen above. There are viewers at the side of the dome where you can see what other contributors have written.

The Lion

Dreams will remain as dreams without action. At The Lion playground, you can go on a swing or move fitness equipments in the zone to generate kinetic energy that powers the roar of the lion.

The Lion playground is a metaphor that the success of Singapore depends on every citizen playing a part and taking lead to collectively power our achievements in all aspects for the future.

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If you notice, the design of The Lion sculpture is done by the 2030 character Yi Xin, who is a wheelchair bound designer. From having a dream about creating an inclusive playground in Theatre of Generations to working on her dream in Symphony of the City to the realisation of her design in The Lion, subtle plotlines are planted throughout the exhibition as part of an overarching storyline. Try identifying the underlying stories for the other 3 characters – Faizal, Joseph and Ravina.

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Look out for a surprise at The Lion zone. Hint : It floats.

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Swingapore galore!

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A unique feature of The Lion playground is the inclusion of swing seats that allow people with disabilities to enjoy a fun ride.

After having some fun swinging at The Lion, head on over to The Marketplace for a glimpse of future products that could appear on our shelves. Conversations with various agencies about future ideas, demonstrations and talks are also held there.

Stay for the Night

At sundown, The Future of Us reveals a different side as the lattice and domes get painted with a splash of colourful lights.

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White and steely during the day…

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… all ready to party at night.

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Light confetti on the lattice.

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The future has landed.

The Future of Us is not a governmental masterplan exhibition but a consolidation of visions that the various ministries as well as everyday Singaporeans have for the days ahead. The future is not only about our built environment, the hardware, but more importantly, the software, the human element behind every improvement and transformation.

I have read several Facebook feedback that some of the ideas presented in the exhibition are impossible and that compassion is lacking in our future aspirations. Yes, some of the ideas are far-fetched, just as putting man on the moon or in the sky was seemingly impossible before 1969. As for the missing human quotient, they are there but not very apparent. During the production of contents in the various domes, our client constantly reminded us to not neglect the ‘soul’ that drives our progress. It is something that the client cannot force, but hope for, that graciousness and empathy can be as much a part of our social fabric as it is in the acquisition of prosperity.

If you look closely at the Theatre of Generations and Symphony of the City shows, you will see an abled citizen helping a blind person, someone giving up a seat to another who needs it more, urban farming for community benefit, social work that can reach more needy persons, and other socially empathetic aspects that will hopefully be the heart that our future is built around.

It is great that the Facebook feedbacks mentioned that because it showed that that’s what people care about and want. And if we all want a more caring society, we can get there :o)

Behind-the-Scene

During our production of the exhibition, the epic exhibitory techniques that presented unprecedented challenges aside, the dilemma was always how not to over promise while delivering real possibilities for the future. Although this is not a government masterplan / blueprint kind of exhibition but a presentation of collective dreams, we were cautious not to produce a fantasy.

So after tossing around several ideas to find the right pitch of future-ness for the exhibition, the creative consensus agreed on a style between the fantastical Tomorrowland and the local realism of 2025, a Mediacorp Channel 5 TV drama series that everybody didn’t watch.

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Green screen video shoots were our blank pages to create future scenes for almost 70% of show contents in The Future of Us exhibition.

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From green screens to green-scapes, the future of Singapore is going to be very green. We endured the outdoor burn but alas, this scene of us using various personal mobility devices at Marina Bay East was cut from the Symphony of the City show and there goes my dream to be Singapore’s next uncle idol.

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My skulls and bones polo-tee probably wasn’t very auspicious to be worn on site while the exhibition was still undergoing construction but I was eager to see the progress of Home Tomorrow because it was the dome that gave the team the most headaches.

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We survived the hard work of yesterday to bring you The Future of Us! We are only the tip of the iceberg that made the exhibition happen. I hope you would, or had, enjoyed the exhibition and may we continue to build our magnificent city into an endearing home that is affordable, gracious, caring and inclusive for all!

A Unique Do-It-Yourself Christmas Hamper

Hampers make great gifts but they’re usually rather costly and there’s no control over what items to include in the package. So this yuletide, I decided to assemble my own hamper to gift families of close friends and conceived what I call the Christmas Hat-per!

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Goodbye impersonal gift hampers… hello Christmas Hat-per!

The Christmas Hat-per is very easy to put together and this post will share how it is done. It took me only about 15 minutes to wrap the Hat-per but a lot more time thinking and shopping for the items to be included within.

To assemble the Christmas Hat-per, you will need 3 things – a Santa hat, a container, and streamers.

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Streamers for decoration, plastic containers to serve as a base and Santa hat to conceal the gifts within.

I got all the above items from Daiso Singapore at S$2.00 each (streamer, hat and container) but you can get them anywhere as long as you can find a container with a rim that fits the circumference of a Santa hat. The container acts as a solid base to stabilise and hold the gifts in place.

I put together 2 hat-pers according to what I know about the people I created the them for. One is gold and the other red.

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GoldHealth Hat-per… this hat-per was put together for a family who is very health conscious. It consists of a box of green tea, a pack of Nasi Lemak (yup, you read it right… nasi lemak!) tea, a small packs of nuts and a bottle of organic honey-vinegar.

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A tip about selecting items in the hat-per is that a tall bottle is a must to serve as the central pillar to hold up the Santa hat.

Start the assembly process by first securing the bottle with a lot of scotch tape to the base of the container in the middle. The other gifts need to be smaller and fit around the bottle. Scotch tape is used to stick the items to the bottle to secure their placements.

I then wound the streamer around the ensemble to fill up the gaps and twirled it around the bottle to the top (the streamer is secured with scotch tape at the top). This creates a visual surprise when the recipient pulls off the hat and see the sparkles inside.

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Red Adventure Hat-per… for a lively personality who has a penchant for pink / red (that’s why the gifts are almost all in those hues) and cute animal things. The curation of gifts includes a vanity set (from my mum), nasi lemak tea (I’m so enthralled by this exotic flavor that I bought 2), koala biscuits, lemon biscuits (gift from another friend), mocha almonds, and a bottle of bubbly.

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Because of the tight space, the items are held together easily with a little scotch tape at the back of each item. The great thing about assembling a personalised hamper is that you choose the items to include and control cost.

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After assembling the gift items and adding the streamers inside, slip the Santa hat over the packaged gifts and pull the hat’s brim over the containers rim. The container is a little larger that the hat’s rim so it forms a secure seal when the fabric stretches over the rim. No need for scotch tape or any other fasteners to hold the hat to the container. As a finishing touch, I stuck pieces of scotch tape rolled to form double-sded tapes at close intervals at the base and wrapped the excess streamers around it to add some bling. I avoided using double-sided tapes as they are hard to remove from the containers surface later.

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Ta-da! Specially made personal Christmas Hat-pers ready to bring on good tidings. Best thing is, the hat can be worn and the container used for other purposes so there is minimal wastage and a second life for the packaging materials.

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Wishing you and your love ones a blessed yuletide. Happy gifting!

Singapore: Inside Out & Takeout – A Double Bill Creativity Showcase

It was an evening where I kept saying to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

And the cause for my constant incredulity was a visit to the Singapore Inside Out and Singapore Takeout twin events that showcased the creativity of Singaporean artists and culinary maestros.

Sitting side by side on the grass field lining Tan Quee Lan Street (Bugis), this double bill creative showcase offered up quite some delightful surprises with its gathering of creativity across a multitude of disciplines such as architecture, installation art, performance art, product design, lighting design, and food all in one place. It’s like the walk-in version of a “Best of” CD compilation, but instead of songs, we experience the crème de la crème of Singapore’s creative spirit.

Having paid legwork over the years to a number of free-for-public art events such as iLight, Night Festival, Future Everything, and a slew more artistic exhibitions presented by the collection of local museums, this is the first time I’ve walked into a multi-disciplinary creative showcase that is wholly Singaporean. From the exhibition “housing” to the art installations to  performances to products to gastronomic creations, all of them have been the brainchild of some of our nation’s new breed of celebrated artists, performers, innovators and chefs.

So what can you expect at Singapore Inside Out and Singapore Takeout that could possibly get you saying “You’ve got to be kidding me!”? Here’s a peek…

Singapore: Inside Out (SG:IO)

Returning home after a multi-city tour to Beijing, London and New York, SG:IO is a conversation with the world about our cultural soul expressed creatively through contemporary art forms. The exhibition is on from 27 Nov – 6 Dec 2015.

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Tickle your artistic senses at SG:IO.

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You’ve got to be kidding me… with an exhibition that is being uncontained by an installation of scaffolding instead of walls to define the activity space.

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The mind behind the curation of SG:10 – Randy Chan, an award-winning architect of Zarch Collaboratives. I have the privilege to work with Randy on a couple of gallery projects with Pico and this man is simply brilliant in the way he interprets spaces to form the spine of an exhibitory experience.

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My favourite installation at SG:IO has got to be the nondescript set up of a study table. There’s a big twist in this piece which I won’t divulge so as not to spoil the surprise. On the wall are the words “有影無 wu ngia bo” (Hokkien for “really?” or “is there a presence?”) which questions the existence of an art scene in Singapore. The work is also an invitation to visitors to step into a playground of creativity. How are all these messages apparent from this scene? Well, get a docent to explain the full artistic intent behind this work when you are there and be prepared for your mind to be blown away.

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A wall of rat traps juxtaposed with the nostalgia of traditional Chinese medicinal halls.

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Would you rather be in a rat race or a rat trap?

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An installation that welcomes visitors to co-create the interior of a room.

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Graffiti welcomed.

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In addition to static installation pieces and conceptual spaces, SG:IO in also an interactive showcase where visitors can interact with the works.

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I had a Hansel and Gretel moment when I stepped into this candy-coloured room because lollipops sticking out from the ceiling can be eaten and the paints and decorations are apparently edible! Except for the lollies, I won’t recommend licking the paint off this piece.

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Not your usual lollipops, the ones found at SG:IO has such “you’ve got to be kidding me!” flavours such as bak kwa, chilli, laksa, etc!

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Didn’t get to spend a lot of time to explore SG:IO as I would like to as there was a launch event happening. When I returned later, a long queue has formed at the entrance so if you plan to visit, go early. Having worked up an appetite milling through some of the SG:IO exhibits, we headed over to the Singapore Takeout culinary showcase just a couple of steps next to SG:IO.

Singapore Takeout

A sister event of SG:IO, Singapore Takeout offers a spread of local favourite hawker fare and ethnic recipes that have been marinated with imagination by a new breed of Singapore’s designer chefs.

Singapore Takeout happens over 2 weekends : 27 – 29 Nov and 4 – 6 Dec 2015.

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Love the playful, funky, and artsy visual mascot of Singapore Takeout.

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Eat in or takeout, an taste adventure awaits!

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Interior of Singapore Takeout… Smart, stylish and rather chic.

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Started our creative food trail with a delicious concoction of Kopi & Kaya Vodka that is both hot and cold at the same time! Mixed by Masterchef Asia finalist Lennard Yeong, this alcoholic embodiment of kopitiam flavours has a warm layer of kaya foam afloat on iced coffee. Equally intoxicatingly fragrant is the Ice The Halia (ginger tea) Tarik with Cognac. S$10 each.

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Chef Han and Chef Wayne with their “YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!” experiments… Chilli Crab and Black Pepper Crab Ice-Cream! I’m not talking about adding a scoop of vanilla ice-cream onto chilli crab or black pepper crab but ice-cream that actually tastes like chilli or black pepper crab. Does that make your stomach crawl?

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I had my doubts but the savoury ice-creams turned out to be surprisingly appetising. S$10 per flavour that comes with soft shell crab and mantou.

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Can’t get enough of Chef Justin Quek’s Kagoshima Kurobuta Wantons with Diced King Prawns in Laksa Espuma. S$10 / bowl.

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A traditional Indian dish that has been lost in time… Kothu Parotta (S$8).

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Indian desserts are usually very sweet and heavy but Chef SR Bala’s Masala Chai Jelly is delightfully pleasing and refreshing (S$4).

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Getting bowled over by the Kueh Pie Tee with Laksa Sphere and Coconut Espuma (S$12) at Singapore Takeout.

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Peranakan food with a twist… Buah Keluak Maggi Goreng with Grilled Pork Cheek (S$8) by Chef Malcolm Lee.

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The Kurobuta Bak Kut Teh by Chef Lee Boon Seng from RWS has been stewed for 8 hours to achieve a soft texture with fat that melts in the mouth (S$15).

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A mosaic of creative new tastes on traditional local favourites at Singapore Takeout… Buah Keluak Maggi Goreng, Mao Shan Wang Durian Pengat Waffle, Kothu Parotta (Indian’s answer to chai tow kway), Kueh Pie Tee with Laksa Sphere and more!

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We completed our taste adventure with a German vintage that was refreshingly fruity and light at the Takeout bar.

It has been a fun night out feeding the senses at both Singapore Inside Out and Singapore Takeout. Hopefully this will make it into our art calendar as a permanent feature.

Taipei – Standard Chartered Marathon 2015

It was a cold, windy 5 o’clock in the morning with a drizzle plunging the already chilly Taipei pre-spring temperature to around 10 degrees. I missed the warmth of my hotel bed and chided myself for being gungho to take part in a marathon while on vacation.

Then again, I’ve been to Taipei a couple of times and seen most of the attractions so I figured that the next best way to experience one of my favourite Asian cities is to become one with the locals in the nation’s favourite sport — running. In 2012, there were only close to a hundred running events in Taiwan. Today, more than 300 marathons happen year-round in the country! This is one holiday where my luggage packed on the kilos but not me.

Starting of point of the Taipei Standard Chartered Marathon 2015 was in front of the Presidential Office Building. I was fighting goosebumps from the cold but unbelievably, some of the runners were clad in just a singlet and short shorts (see the couple in blue tank-top and black shorts behind me). I shiver for them.

I signed up for the 8km run. It’s not an eye-popping distance but for someone with asthma, a bad knee and who runs as often as the moon is blue, this felt like I’m going on a mission to Mars. I began training a month prior to the marathon but due to a couple of long-haul travels, I was never able to complete 8km during my practice sessions. I seriously doubted I could reach the finish point without being delivered on a stretcher.

Flag off and my heartbeat was synchronised with the pulse of the Taiwanese. I’m no longer a tourist.

In most marathons, anything under 10km is considered a fun run but the Taipei participants were very serious during the 8km run. I felt delinquent skiving off to make frequent photo stops.

When breathing became laborious and my knees started to tingle and the temptation to just stop running and walk the rest of the distance was strong, I looked to the blind and paraplegic participants for strength. If they can do it, so can I!

I’m terrible at taking selfies but can’t resist snapping a memento of this rare scene in the middle of a Taipei highway with a horde behind me.

One of the great things about running an overseas marathon is you get to act like it’s your grandfather’s road in a foreign country.

I wasn’t the only one running a marathon. It was a snap-a-thon for my handphone too. Love the photo opportunities:)

The adrenaline of the masses was fuel to complete the marathon.

Finally reached the finishing point at Da-Jia Riverside Park. I didn’t think I could complete the marathon unscathed since I haven’t ran such a long distance in a long time but I made it! Having so many ‘companions’ on the route really helped made completing the run much easier.

8km conquered! I actually didn’t feel the distance because of the cold and the freshness in scenery of a foreign route. Felt great after the run knowing I’ll return home fitter! This is definitely a holiday off the beaten track:)

This post has been made possible by CTC Travel (Singapore) who can help plan and realise a sporting vacation in Taiwan.

命运的傀儡

我们是命运的傀儡还是动画幕后的遥控师?

The future is in our hands or the predestined outcome of destiny? I feel like a puppet of fate no matter how much I try to cut the invisible strings.

Photo shot on 1 December 2014 at a weekend market on Inle Lake, Myanmar.

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