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。

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.

Day 366 : Cherishing Every Moment

I can’t believe I’ve reached the final photo of the one-pic-a-day project! If you’ve been following the postings, thanks for joining me on this visual journey.

The personal photography project is titled FUNicating 2012 because it is a slant on ‘fornicating’, to capture the scenic, emotional and psychological orgasm of each day in 2012. When I first started, it was fun. But as it progressed, it got harder and harder as there wasn’t always something interesting to photograph everyday and trying to think of creative captions for the shots began to feel draining.

Then I started to post the pictures on this blog a couple of weeks into the project and pen in a words to spell out the thoughts or circumstances behind the pictures. The FUNicating project became very time consuming and no fun at all. I wanted to stop the project a couple of times but thanks to the encouragements from Siow Har and Juliana, I pressed on.

I’m glad the project is over and I won’t ever want to put myself through it again although I did enjoy myself in the process. The daily assignment got me to explore a lot more angles of looking at a subject matter and pushed me to go down paths that I otherwise wouldn’t if I’m not hunting for shots.

Preparing the photos for posting was also a meditative procedure that had me thinking hard about what a shot meant or represented for me. What are the different layers I see in it? How can I be creative with telling its story?

For the last photo in the series, I fought with a couple of ideas for a hopefully spectacular visual finale but I decided on a simple family portrait to wrap up the project. They are the subject matter that matters most to me.

With this closing shot, I wish you a blessed 2013 filled with great joy, health, strength and fun!

Day 365 : Sexpressionists

I almost didn’t recognise them with their clothes on. LOL. It was surreal to chance upon Alvin and Vivian in front of Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur. The infamous famous Malaysian couple was interviewing people on the street about sex for an upcoming documentary on Alvivi Youtube channel.

Having gone through the whole media frenzy about their now defunct sex blog, Sumptuous Erotica, it’s great to see that they treat the debacle and critics as water off a fduck’s bareback. Then again, if one dares to post personal nude photos, genitalia close-ups and love-making videos in a public blog for all to see, especially in this conservative part of the world, what else is there that one could not stand up to? This couple has balls!

Losing his prestigious ASEAN scholarship to read law at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Alvin and Vivian are now back in Kuala Lumpur and living together. They tried to pitch a reality show about sex in Asia but of course, no studios dared to take them on and wanted them to steer away from the whole sex thing if collaborations are to be considered. Kinda like telling McDonald’s to not sell hamburgers because they are not health food. But Alvivi decided not to receive media castration and armed with their own camera and tripod, set up an interview point at the busiest shopping district in Kuala Lumpur, and got people thinking about their views about sex.

They asked if I would like to be interviewed but I was in a hurry to collect my lugguage from the hotel before heading to the airport. Besides, I won’t have much to say about sex for I hardly have any! My cobwebs are legendary amongst friends.

In the States, Sex and the City is a huge hit, in Asia, it got the couple into big shit. Meeting them was a sexciting surprise as I felt like I know them already from their nude photos and headlining news stories. Alvivi came across as sincere and personable in our brief chat and I think their self-confidence and guts are uber sexy!

Whatever the future holds for Alvin and Vivian, I wish them well and may they have a rewarding life together. Lights, camera, mirror, shoot and shoot! 😉

Day 364 : Last Trip of 2012

A last minute decision to accompany a friend who badly needed a break brought me back to Kuala Lumpur a second time after I’d sworn it out of my travel destination in June this year. I’m so used to the place by now that I actually fell asleep instead of heading out to the clubs on a Saturday night. The roar has left this party animal.

Day 363 : Hounding Concentration

Looks like this dog is deep in thoughts. Making new year resolutions perhaps? I’ve given up on making resolutions, I never seem to able to keep them and then feel shitty because I failed to realise them. So I decided not to build myself that mental jail and free myself from disappointments.

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