The Intrinsic Coolness of Infra Red Sunlight

BY MADS BAJARIAS | Sometime in the 1990s I started seeing graffiti in the public areas of Manila signed "Salen-Ga." On the Megamall pedestrian overpass, for instance, was this message written by hand with black permanent marker:
Salen-Ga, A Filipino, discovered that the Electron is actually Positive
This was flanked by drawings of the atom and it always made me feel better (someone's crazier than me!). As graffiti, Salen-ga's work was never threatening or posturing. They were just weird and fun with a (well-meaning but misplaced) nationalist bent. His graffiti was, um, positive.

What's remarkable is that I've since forgotten the stuff written in the many huge splashy billboards costing thousands of pesos to create and displayed outside Megamall, yet this hand-written assertion by Salen-ga will forever be etched in my brain.

In keeping with his "positive" vibe, a series of "win" writings that appeared one election period was attributed to him. The graffiti all had the word "win" in them.

I was told that his handiwork appeared more frequently near U-Belt. In another one I saw, someone had added "GO" after "Salen-Ga" to make "Salen-GaGO." Ack, a critic!

Because of Salen-ga I began paying closer attention to hand-written messages on walls everywhere. Once, in Quezon City I saw what looked like the signature of the Zodiac killer and immediately wondered if Salen-ga had done it.

Years passed and I forgot about Salen-ga as I stopped walking the Megamall overpass (the Q-Mart overpass near where I live has disappointingly uninspiring graffiti and is Salen-ga free, so far).

Then recently, I came across a blog by Seoph Martinez called "Pinoy Isulong."

Martinez wrote about his student days in Manila and how he used to see the Salen-ga street jottings on his way to school. Quite a few left comments on the site and one reported seeing (comment was left in 2006) the following in Quiapo:
The world is actually flat Salen-Ga
What's astounding is that Salen-ga posted comments in the blog. I don't know if it was the man himself but it sure sounds like him (a guy who's given outer space a lot of thought). Below is a message purportedly from Salen-ga and which was posted in Seoph Martinez's blog.
Salen-ga himself says:
the intrinsic coolness of infra red sunlight- i have discovered that
SUNLIGHT BECOMES HEAT ONLY UPON CONTACT WITH MATTER BASED ON TWO OBSERVATIONS WHICH I SUBMITTED TO D U.S. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

1.OUTER SPACE IS A VACUUM WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW HEAT TO PASS THROUGH. IF IT DOES,THROW AWAY ALL YOUR THERMOS BOTTLES.

2.THE TEMPERATURE OF OUTER SPACE IS SO COLD IT CREATES SNOW,MOUNTAIN ICE CAPS AND ICEBERGS IN THE NORTH POLE; SO STEEL HARD, IT SUNK THE TITANIC! INFRA RED OR HEAT RAYS AS SCIENTIST CALL IT IS INTRINSICALLY COOL (WITHOUT TEMPERATURE). GLOBAL WARMING ON EARTH IS LOCALLY MADE BY COOL SUNLIGHT! MALAMIG ANG SINAG NG ARAW.
Since I know absolutely nothing about physics (except that the electron's negative charge was proven in the early parts of the 20th century by non-Pinoys), I don't know what to think about his eccentric interpretations on the nature of light.

But as street art, his work has a cult following and is, so far, memorable.

In the "Pinoy Isulong" blog, veteran street photographer JM Chua posted a link to his photo "Salen-ga." For me, this was akin to seeing a photo of Bigfoot. For a long time, Salen-ga to me was this semi-mythical madman who scribbled cryptic things on walls around Manila but no one ever caught him doing it. Yes, I've heard stories about how people have seen him ramble on about electrons on board buses and jeepneys but no one had ever taken a photo and posted them for the public to see.

In Chua's photo, taken during a huge anti-Arroyo rally, we see Salen-ga holding his hand-made placards and the seriousness of his expression is a measure of his self-belief. It tells us how resolute he must be in defense of his own wacky theories. There's something quixotic about such confidence in one's certainty. Such persistence in the face of ridicule.

JM Chua sheds some light about "Salen-ga."

Congratulations on the photo of the mysterious Salen-ga. Do you know of any other photographer who've taken his picture?


JC: I took his photo during a demonstration in Mendiola. There were a lot of photographers in the area during that time. I'm sure at least one other person could have taken his photo.

What kit did you use for this?


JC: It was a digital camera, a Fuji S6000fd.

How long have you been taking photos?


JC: I became interested when digital photography started gaining popularity some 5-6 years ago.

Is photography a professional thing with you, or a hobby?


JC: It's a hobby, although I do wish it can pay the bills.

Where can people go to see your work?


JC: Most of my photos are in Flickr. Sometimes, I also upload photos (usually events) in my Multiply page.

What photo clubs do you belong to?


JC: I'm a member of flickristasindios. This group is composed of people from all walks of life whose common denominator is the love of photography. There's really no structure and people are very open and tolerant when it comes to expressing ideas, and this lends dynamisn to the group.

I'm also an administrator for Street Pilipinas. This group is still in its infancy, but the goal is to have a place for Filipino street photographers to display their work.

What did you know about Salen-ga prior to taking his photo?


JC: I didn't really know much about him. To be honest, I thought "Salen-Ga" was a group of radical Filipino scientists.

What do you think of Salen-ga after meeting him in the flesh?


JC: I went "s'ya na ba 'yun?" I guess I was expecting the stereotype mad-scientist image of an old man with frizzy white hair wearing a dirty lab coat.

When I was taking his photo, he asked me if I was working for a group or an organization. I told him that I was just an enthusiast, and this prompted him to tell me that the local media wouldn't show the world his works, that everyone is conspiring to silence him, and that the North Pole is gay. In the short time that we talked I found him to be interesting, to say the least.

Thanks JM!

Facebook's Terms of Use may just be a guideline.

After all, not just Reach Singapore has Facebook account. Other worldwide organizations--for example: UNICEF Youth Voice, National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, and International Karate-Do Goju-Kai Association--do have their own Facebook profiles.

Do they have troubles? Well, not that I know. Although I am sure everywhere else there's always someone who clings to the rules & regulations oh-so-tightly that he/she may cry out about how certain "non-compliance" has happened.

Yeah, I'm referring to Choong Yong's post, "Reach Singapore violates Facebook Terms of Use":
If the person who signed up the Facebook profile has actually spent enough time in the Facebook community to understand what Facebook really is and how it works, or if the person has taken the time to read the Terms of Use, it would be apparent that the Reach Singapore profile has violated the Facebook’s terms of use.

Quoting from Facebook’s Terms of Use:

"In addition, you agree not to use the Service or the Site to:

register for more than one User account, register for a User account on behalf of an individual other than yourself, or register for a User account on behalf of any group or entity;"

Choong Yong is indeed very sharp to notice that. And despite of my few examples of how other organizations abroad 'committed' the similar 'violation', one may argue (and rightly so) that it is just not an excuse.

But why so rigid? Think what the consequences of this so-called 'violation'. Sorry, I can't find any. So perhaps that's why Facebook do not enforce this particular Terms of Use. Heck, they may even want to consider to review their other rules as some may prove to be obsolete or redundant.

nooka loves sweden




i am writing this in stockholm, which as most of you know is the capital of sweden, a country in scandinavia. stockholm is very picturesque, a series of islands full of parks, hills, old buildings [you don't want to come here for modern architecture, as there's not much of any] and beautiful people! [they do have a lot of modern engineering like an extensive tunnel system that keeps traffic off the streets, something NYC LA and Tokyo should really look into for their congestion problems]

i came here to meet with my scandinavian distributor and research/assess the market a bit as i think nooka can do a better here. i was a bit shocked to see how poorly merchandised accessories are in general here, so it's no fault of our distributor. i'm actually curious as to how other similar designers/companies do here now that i've seen the shoppes. it seems that sweden is better at exporting it's high-design image than it is applying it internally:) also, i think our strategy in the US of placing nooka in fashion boutiques [as opposed to larger stores] needs to be translated better overseas. anyway, it's a learning process and i'm just very pleased that this little project called nooka is taking me all over the word!

i was taken out one night by swedish rapper, adam tensta, and had a great time at SPY, stockholm's most exclusive nightclub [we went to ambassa deur first, but it was full of the most pretentious lot of young people i've seen in a long time]. spy bar had 2 rooms, one with a house dj an the other pop/rock. adam is an amazing guy who will release his CD internationally in november. look up his name on youtube as there are many vids available. he's very popular here in sweden so i'm interested to see how well he does, first in europe and then in the US. also, as you can see, he's a fan of nooka, and the purple zub looks great on him.

i won't bore you with all the details of what i've done, but the sun doesn't set in the summer here, so it's easy to stay out longer than i'm used to! i need to plan a trip here where i can take in more of the music scene, as many of my fave bands are swedish [the knife, the caesars, the shout out louds, etc.]. it's also funny timing that 2 of my fave local NYC acts were/are playing live while here [not that i was invited or anything!], MGMT and the magnetic fields.

fotos: adam tensta with magnus [our distributor out of malmo] in the subway, me with magnus's baby, downtown club area at 3:00am – so however you slice it, stockholm ROCKS!

for those of you still reading this: i also had a nice day catching up with my friend ake who is a sake sommalier/importer here, had a lovely dinner with the brothers of our current intern, and had smoked rheindeer ham with breakfast. the only food i wasn't able to eat before leaving is isterband, a type of sausage eaten with lingonberries. if you need a cool hotel, the clarion skanstull where i stayed is very nice [shocking considering what the same chain gets you in other countries] with modern art everywhere and a trendy bar that was packed at 3:00 am on saturday night.

Jose John Santos III's Ambiguous Warrior


BY MADS BAJARIAS | In Jose John Santos III's "Commando," we get a sense that something is going on, but we can't put a finger on it yet.

A plan is in motion but we don't quite know what it is. Our animal instinct senses something that the more genteel parts of the brain are still struggling to piece together. We are suspended at that moment hovering between the mysterious and the commonplace. The attraction of "Commando" to me is that it secretes us to a pocket of surrealism between the membranes of the mundane.

Here, we get a dark-skinned man—a guy who works out in the open, a man used to manual labor—sitting on a plastic chair perched on a boat's ramp. His broad shoulders hint that he is capable of physical violence if he chooses to. The piece of cloth (shirt? towel?) tied over his face adds a bit of menace. It's unclear if he is hiding his face or maybe he just wants the sun out of his eyes. In any case, there's an intimation of nervous tension in the way that it is tied tightly over the head.

He has positioned himself on the ramp near the prow, which is a bit odd, as if he was blocking the passageway. Plus, what is he doing with his hands?

The sign "This Way Up" adds a disconcerting note. Up where? Where are we, in the first place?

The biplane is an element of fantasy that further tears us away from a clear and straightforward understanding of the scene. Its appearance brings a sense of dislocation and bewilderment that is mirrored in the way that the boat's passenger ramp is secured aboard the vessel. We are at sea. Unmoored. We are on our own. And we have no clear idea where we are.

And the final ingredient that the artist throws into the kettle is the title: Commando. Enigma complete.

Jose John Santos III answers a few questions.

Medium used. Size. When was it made?

JJS: Oil on canvas. 4 by 4.5 feet, finished in 2008.

Can you share with us the ideas you wanted to explore with this painting?

JJS: I wanted "Commando" to have a directly recognizable image, and yet have an unfathomable essence at the same time. It is this feeling of uncertainty and the unexplained that I find compelling.

Why the title "Commando"?

JJS: It gave this feeling that the man is out on a mission of unknown purpose, and the viewers become drawn to him and his mysterious mission.

Where can people go to see your works?

JJS: Art Informal. I also usually show my works in Boston Gallery, Pinto Gallery and West Gallery.

Thanks John. Much thanks to Tina Fernandez, too. We appreciate the help.

What are the "10 Promises to My Dog"? | A promise not to watch at Golden Village

Well, I'm never a dog person myself. More a cat person. Anyway, managed to watch the Japanese movie "10 Promises to My Dog" or "10 Promises between Me and My Dog" (Official site here, unfortunately not in English) and I must say the ChannelNewsAsia article, "Sensitive souls, get ready your tissue!" does not exaggerate. Throughout the movie, many were heard sniffing & the sounds of tissues being pulled out were evident.

Good to know we all do have feelings. Heh.

Anyway, I've been hunting on the Net about the list of the promises, but the closest I could find is the followings:
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Regular separation from you will be painful and can even cause depression. Think before you buy me.

2. Give me time to understand what you want from me don’t be impatient, short-tempered or irritable.

3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back, respect is earned not given as some sort of inalienable right.

4. Don’t be angry with me for long, and don’t lock me up as punishment. I am not capable of understanding why I am being locked up. I only know I have been rejected. You have your work, entertainment and friends. I only have you.

5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your tone. “You only have to look at my tail” to know that.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget, if that treatment is unjust or bad, it may spoil the special bond between us.

7. Please do not hit me. I cannot hit back, but I can bite and scratch and I don’t ever want to feel the need to do that.

8. Before you tell me off me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be wrong with me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food or I’ve been out in the sun too long, maybe my heart is getting old and weak, or maybe I’m just dog-tired.

9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old and will also want care, love, and affection.

10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence”. Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, Irrespective of what you do I will always love you.

The wordings are not exactly the same. Perhaps the show is based from that Ten Commandments From a Dog's Point of View. Oh well, to do more search on the Net...

PS. And a promise not to watch at Golden Village? That's because the advertisements shown before the movie are unbearably A LOT!! Okay, I'm making a comparison here with Eng Wah & Cathay.

PPS. Thanks to Nicholas who pointed out the 10 promises from the movie official site. Here they are:
1. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

2. Place your trust in me. It's crucial to my well-being.

3. Be aware that however you treat me I'll never forget it.

4. Before you scold me for being lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me.

5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when it's speaking to me.

6. Remember before you hit me, I have teeth that could hurt you, but that I choose not to hurt you.

7. Take care of me when I get old.

8. You have your work, your entertainment, and your friends. I have only you.

9. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be painful for me.

10.Go with me on difficult journeys. Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember I love you...

225 Outram Road

225 Outram Road in the 50s


225 Outram Road as at 26 June 2008

This building has stood at the end of Eng Hoon Street for the past 50 years.

I heard a KWA family owns this building and the immediate neighbour suspects it belongs to a very influential family in Singapore.

Anyway, I don’t care who owns it so long as they don’t tear it down to build another boutique hotel.

Here’s a short write up about this building which I found from the book titled: Singapore, A Guide to Buildings, Street and Places by Norman Edward and Peter Keys

One might pass by this corner building without notice it but it is a good example of the Modern Movement style established in England in the 1930s and further developed in the 1950s.

The building has shops on the 1st storey set behind a series of round columns supporting a reinforced concrete frame containing 5 storeys of apartments above.

A
Niemeyer-like curved concrete slab skirts the building to form an awning above the shops and creates an interesting spatial effect in its relationship to the cantilevered slab of apartments above.

The building turns the corner skilfully on 3 sides and is of good proportions.

Windows have sun-shielding cantilevered slabs above on one side and metal curve louvres on the other, very much in the Modern Movement vogue.

Fact: Built in 1956 and designed by Alfred Wong Partnership

Ngok's Meanie! Hits the Streets


BY MADS BAJARIAS | I first learned of Ngok after seeing a sidewalk pasteup of bizarre zombie-like heads silkscreened on paper with the words "Happy New Year" and signed "Ngok."

Recently, I came across a photo of "Meanie!" by Ngok. Set against a black background, what seems to be an IBM Selectric typewriter (or a stenotype machine) sprouts a hand and legs with feet in strappy shoes. Five yellow stars adorn the image under the heading: MEANIE!

It's strange. It's mystifying. It's a head-scratcher until the visual pun hits you: Type Ko Legs Mo. Not everyone will like it, but I find its oddball appeal satisfying. What else is there to say?

We're used to seeing politicians claim street space for themselves so they can put up posters listing their so-called accomplishments. I say I'd rather have images of morphing typewriters and sexy legs with strappies any day. And I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that we need more "Meanies!" in Manila.

I've since learned that Ngok is part of Pilipinas Street Plan (PSP), a group of street artists around the country. A few of Ngok's art pieces can be viewed here.

In deep cyberspace, I was able to reach Ngok and tried to extract more info about “Meanie!”

What's the deal with "Meanie!"?

N: “Meanie!” evolved from an illustration I did entitled "Type Ko Legs Mo.” The name “Meanie!” started when I met a childhood friend again after fifteen years. We took to calling each other “Meanie Prince” and “Meanie Princess” (cheesy stuff, I know), and that's where "Meanie" came from.

Um, so it's a typewriter, not a stenotype machine or a cash register, with legs.

N: It’s a typewriter.

Any plans for “Meanie!”?

N: I was planning to do a series of “Meanie!” pasteups by August around the De La Salle Taft area.

What’s the attraction to you of pasteups?

N: It is the cheapest form of street art as far as I know.

Once you paste something on the sidewalk, it’s practically gone, right?

N: Not really. The “Meanie!” pasteup actually is still there. It’s just a matter of choosing carefully where to paste up. Choosing a place like an abandoned building or a wall where no one would bother removing your pasteups would be good.

How do you deal with cops?

N: Pasting up runs less risk of being caught by cops compared to tagging using spray paint.

Tell us about Pilipinas Street Plan (PSP).

N: Filipino artists who love the streets.

Thanks Ngok!

SBS Transit Premium bus fares to go up | Time to pick up cycling!!

Boo hoo!! Bus fare to go up again. What else to be expected as one of the consequences of the higher fuel price?!

Premium bus fares will soon go up, as operators here feel the pinch from higher fuel prices.

SBS Transit, which runs more than half of such services, will raise fares by 30 to 60 cents, up to a maximum of $3.60 per trip.

The fare hike will affect all of its 40 premium services. Details are being worked out.

Currently, a trip on an SBS Transit premium bus costs between $2.70 and $3.60.

A company spokesman said that its electricity and fuel costs have increased by 52.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year.

Rival SMRT has already increased fares for premium service 531, which travels the Simei to Central Business District route, from $3 to $4. Fares on its remaining premium services remain the same.

Smaller players Bus Hub and the Singapore School Transport Association have also applied to raise their fares by 50 cents to $1.

Bus Hub runs two premium services; the association has five.

The Public Transport Council (PTC), which approves bus-fare increases, said it 'generally would not object to changes in premium bus services fares as operators make their own commercial assessments and risks to adjust their service pricing'.

Mr Ong Kian Min, deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, hopes fares will not go up drastically.

'Yes, bus operators are running a business, but it's also a time to attract more people to switch to public transport,' he said.

Premium services, a key plank of the Government's push to get more commuters to take public transport, have been gaining in popularity lately: There are now 76 services, up from 42 in January.

This includes six new SBS Transit premium services to be rolled out on Monday.

Source: Straits Times 28/06/08 "Premium bus fares to go up".

Truly, it's the right time to cycle more often, people!! Especially so with designated cycling paths would be provided like for Sembawang & Woodlands:

Cyclists and pedestrians in Sembawang and Woodlands will each get their own space from May next year.

These two estates will be provided with 7.4km of cycling tracks. They will run parallel to the existing footpaths linking residential areas to the Sembawang and Admiralty MRT stations.

The cycling tracks will be between 1.5m and 2m wide and cost $2.8 million.

Keeping cyclists on a separate path is a step up from what the Land Transport Authority, the Traffic Police and the Tampines grassroots organisations have been contemplating in the past year.

A trial letting cyclists and pedestrians share footpath space in Tampines has recently ended and a decision on whether separate cycle paths should be built in the estate is expected soon.

Surveys have indicated that both cyclists and pedestrians there seemed generally in favour of the idea of sharing the footpaths in order to get cyclists off the busy roads.

The initiative in Sembawang and Woodlands was the result of feedback from residents, who wanted to minimise accidents and conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.

Mr Hawazi Daipi, an MP for Sembawang GRC, said that the two estates were going ahead with building the cycling tracks because a 'considerable' number of their residents got around the neighbourhood on bicycles. This includes foreign workers living in the dormitories there.

Three in four cyclists killed on the roads in the first three months of this year were foreigners. The Traffic Police have stepped up a safety education programme targeting them.

The committee coordinating the facilities in Sembawang, Woodlands and Yishun has lined up talks and seminars for residents and foreign workers on the responsible use of the cycling tracks.

Signs and speed-regulating strips will also be installed.

Besides those who commute on wheels, recreational cyclists will also be provided for. A park connector running along Sembawang Way will be built by 2010.

You know what they say. Let's go green, cut down that carbon footprint of yours, etc. Oh, and you may want to calculate your carbon footprint here.

Alos let's revisit next year how well SBS Transit stock would perform thanks to the fare hike. Only then will we know for sure whether their unpopular move to increase the bus fares is indeed justified.

"SBSTransit500" share is in my watchlist. Heh.

Wage Wars on Unpaid Overtime | I love Tomer Hanuka's artworks!

Borrowed the past edition of BusinessWeek (01/10/07) from a library because I'm interested about the article, "Wage Wars" which is about workers--from truck drivers to stockbrokers--are winning huge overtime lawsuits. The news was illustrated by Tomer Hanuka and his caricature dazzles me--more than the story itself.

Humor & tragedy are nicely mixed in his sketch above. The main character was depicted shielding behind a big watch and with another arm, holding a pen-pointed spear. His tie was tightened on his forehead & his tired eyes reflect determination to fight (or to claim his overtime pay).

I'm awed. Almost in the same level of Braveheart moment. Heh.

PS. Other artworks by Tomer Hanuka can be viewed here.

Another Boutique Hotel?

Heard that this will be converted into another boutique hotel!!!!!

Do we really need that many hotels here at Tiong Bahru?

Hotel RE! just opened along Chin Swee Road and that is just a stone throw from Tiong Bahru Estate.

Their website looks interesting and the retro designed rooms looks good.

And now the new owner of this Tiffin Box lookalike building will be joining in the boutique hotel club.

If all the hotels succeed in filling up their rooms, I'm sure certain parts of Tiong Bahru will come alive and the retailers will be rejoicing.

Time will tell.

Another entry to Hall of Shame of those who abuse their maid...Presenting: Sally Ang Poh Choo

Can't believe the article, "Finance officer jailed for 'defacing' maid with marker pens":
To teach her maid a lesson, finance officer Sally Ang Poh Choo used marker pens to draw lines on the Indonesian maid's face. It was Ang's way of punishing Miss Sri Hartuti Rokiman for not closing the front door properly while she was washing the family's car parked in the front porch of the house in Eastwood Place off Bedok Road.

Miss Sri Hartuti, 26, ran away from her employers the next day and reported the matter to the police. A doctor found scratches and slight bleeding on her face. The maid had also asked a neighbour and her maid to take photographs of her scratches and bruises.

Ang, 44, a mother of two teenagers, 14 and 16, was jailed three weeks and fined $1,500 on Thursday for hurting her maid on five occasions over a two-month period.

Last month, she pleaded guilty to the charges which included pinching Miss Sri Hartuti and poking her head with a finger on two separate incidents in 2005.

Ang abused her maid for her sloppy work, such as not cleaning the kitchen to her satisfaction and not unfolding a bed cover.

Some animals just need simple excuses for abusing their maid. Ban her from getting another maid next time lah. Her kids are already teenagers, aren't they? And nothing in the story mentioned about the maid employed to take care the elderly.

Anyway, a credit for Distric Juge Wong Choon Ning for raising a question on a delay in prosecuting Ang.
When probed by District Judge Wong Choon Ning why there was a delay in prosecuting Ang, Assistant Public Prosecutor Olivine Lin said the police had 'sat on the case'. The Attorney-General's Chambers had to ask the police to expedite the matter, she added.

C'mon. The police better have a good explanation about this 'sitting on the case' thing. A simple question of 'why' ought to be raised as well.

The Cartography of Desire



BY MADS BAJARIAS | In Christina Dy's "His Shirt" (2008), we see a rumpled shirt depicted as if it were a mysterious landscape. At 55 inches by 100 inches, there is a map-like quality to the work as our gaze is swept along the sinuous folds of the fabric. In it, we see what could be a maze of twisting paths, canyons, cliffs, overhangs, crevasses, switchbacks and deep drops. A forbidding region. Easy to get lost in.

Cartographers make it possible for explorers to navigate their way around the dangers of the unfamiliar. We arm ourselves with maps to hold at bay a chaotic reality, and in the constellation of human emotions what is more troublesome and confusing than love?

In love's geography, difficulties flourish and the landscape is never dull. "Love requires absence, obstacles, infidelities, jealousy, manipulation, outright lies, pretend reconciliations, tantrums and betrayals," wrote Diane Ackerman in "A Natural History of Love."

"Lovers fret, hope, agonize and dread," she noted, while describing the travails of Marcel Proust's characters in "In Search of Lost Time."

Dy charts the shadowy cul-de-sacs and sharp turns of this intimate landscape. It is as if hidden within each crease is a trip wire to an explosive memory or expectation. To navigate this terrain requires extreme dexterity. Hidden dangers abound. That is what we get when we enter desire's realm.

As for the man who owns the shirt, his absence is the point. Ultimately, desire is a feat of the imagination.

Christina Dy answers a few questions about "His Shirt."

Medium. Date created. How long did you finish it?

CD: Charcoal on paper, 55 inches x 100 inches, 2008. It took me a total of 8 hours to make it, but a staggered 8 hours. I need time away from my work before I could go back to finish it.

What ideas were kicking around in your head when you made it?


CD: This piece is for a show called "Clothes They Stood Up In." I wanted to show intimacy in a very subtle way. So instead of drawing people in bed, or something as obvious as that, I drew the clothes that people usually just take off and leave on the bed or on the floor. A friend gave me that shirt, and when I wore it and we went out, people were like, "You look like you had just sex with him and wore his shirt after." That kicked off something in my head, which turned into this show.

I love the fact that its large size associates intimacy with geography. It reminds me of a topographic map.


CD: Yes, I was thinking of intimacy and how the scale of the work would draw you into it. How the work could actually envelope you with its size. I wanted a lot of curves and undulating lines to hint at a little sensuality.

Did you work from a photograph?


CD: Yes. That night after I wore his shirt, I took it off and when it was on my bed, I thought, hmmm...

Where can people go to see your works?


CD: I'm represented by Silverlens, so for available works, people can contact Silverlens Gallery at www.silverlensphoto.com. I'll also have a show "Soaplands" at CCP, July 25-30, and I'm part of the Ateneo Art Awards show that will be in Shangri-La Mall this August.

Are you the Christina Dy credited as production designer of "Maximo Oliveros"?


CD: Yup that's me! I'm doing Quark Henares' film "Rakenrol" now, but that'll be the last film I'll be doing in a while. Drawing na muna (Smiles).

Thanks Christina.

the dog is already out

............

check out how the dog is installed at chubbyhole


cheers,

.............


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The Exorcised -- Truth, Lies & Videotape

And to think that the alleged exorcism case first heard on August 2006 has still not yet been resolved. (Latest update on 13/02/09: the verdict is out; this case's closed--check out in the end of the article whether Mdm Amutha Valli Krishnan wins or loses.)

However with the recent finding "Video of woman who claims she was exorcised shows her physically fit", the legal battle might have taken longer than expected (especially with one psychiatrist assessed the video footages differently: they showed a sick woman instead.[1]) As per now, many view the video negatively like reported in "Sniggers over gym video". Me? I frown at the method of the defence which employed a private investigator to spy on Mdm Amutha Valli Krishnan.

It may be legally admissible, but it doesn't feel right.

PS. [1] The same psychiatrist, however, did suggested that Mdm Amutha could have staged a trance.


Update on 01/07: Madam Amutha Valli Krishnan was said to have visited several doctors after the alleged exorcism. Within two days of the incident, Madam Valli went to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) twice; her regular clinic four times; and was sent to the National University Hospital in an ambulance--and the interesting part is she refused admittance to hospital. An emergency-room doctor who testified on 01/07 agreed that she may have staged the church incident and gone looking for a doctor to back up her story.


Update on 03/07: Plaintiff's lawyer Mr R. S. Bajwa accuses the priest, Father Simon Tan of telling lies while on the stand & (unnecessarily) told the priest: "As far as I'm concerned, may God forgive you." Father Simon Tan, on the other hand, denied the alleged exorcism ever happened--he stated that it was 'a prayer of deliverance' & explained the difference.


Update on 04/07: The lawyer, Mr. Bajwa insisted that the exorcism did happened & an amateurish at that. Referring to Father Jacob Ong & Father Simon Tan, the lawyer was quoted to say, "The two of you goofed up that day. Both of you attempted an exorcism without the checks and safeguards."


Update on 08/07/08: Dr Angelina Chan from the Changi General Hospital stood by her diagnosis that Madam Valli suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the 2004 'exorcism'. But she conceded it was possible Madam Valli exaggerated her symptoms at times.


Update on 29/07/08: Madam Valli withheld info from doctors treating her. She was reported to see doctors at the Peace Family Clinic several times in June 2005 for insomnia and anxiety but did not tell them about her medical history--that she had been warded at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.


Update on 31/07/08: Dr Kartika Hanafi, a general practitioner at the Flame Tree Medical Centre, told the High Court that Madam Amutha Valli Krishnan, who claims that she was traumatised by a church 'exorcism' in 2004, was amused by the incident. But the doctor also said that Madam Valli later became depressed because of flashbacks and nightmares of the incident at the church. She also complained of being lethargic and unable to sleep.


Update on 13/02/09
: The verdict is out! Madam Amutha Valli Krishnan lost the case. Justice Lee Seiu Kin gave five reasons for his decision: 1) demeanour and consistency of the witnesses on both sides; 2) dubious evidence of Madam Valli's witnesses; 3) contradiction of her case with contemporaneous documents; 4) attempts by her and her husband to conceal evidence; and 5) strong evidence corroborating the version of the defendants.

First, it was "Toilet Break", then it was "Court Break" (well almost) and now it's "Airport Break"?!

The title respectively refers to Mas Selamat Kastari (enough said, who else?), the duo almost escaped from custody at the Subordinate Courts on 11/06--Jamaluddin Salam and Salman Abu Samah, and the recent screw-up at the airport where Mr. Ang Heng Soon passed the security with his son's passport.

Unlike the rest, Mr. Ang is not a criminal, though. So let's be clear on that. Nevertheless, the screw-up had happened & Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Mr. Wong Kan Seng is understandably very upset:
“I am totally appalled and flabbergasted at this slip-up at the airport checkpoint.

The officers who failed to spot the discrepancy between the name in the man’s passport and on his boarding pass, will be taken to task.

But this will not be enough. I have been reminding officers of the need for vigilance repeatedly after each lapse of human error. Obviously the message is not sinking in deep enough to the last man.

I want all the heads of departments in the Home Team to directly take charge and step up checks to ensure vigilance on the ground at all levels and leave no room for complacency. They will have to do whatever it takes to get this going.

Just last week, I had directed the Ministry HQ’s Homefront Security Division to work with all the departments to review their security systems and processes. This may take time but we will get it done as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, all the heads of department will be calling up their subordinate commanders and managers and tightening scrutiny and supervision on the ground.

Each of the 26,000-plus officers in the Home Team has a sworn duty to do his or her job well. They deal with more than 350,000 people each day in the line of duty.

Mistakes will happen occasionally, but the Home Team has to keep these to the absolute minimum, especially where the potential consequences are extremely serious. They clearly cannot afford to be complacent, and must stay alert at all times.

There is no other way if they are to remain effective and not disappoint Singaporeans who put their trust in the Home Team to keep them safe. Any lapse by any department in the Home Team is a failure which all in the Home Team family must bear.”

Despite four levels of checks(!!), the passport mix-up was not identified at all. Only when Mr. Ang realized it himself during the flight and once he arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, he informed immigration authorities there and they sent him back immediately on the same plane back to Singapore.

Mr. Ang is a responsible citizen. Kudo for him. It can be worse, you see. Imagine this: he arrived in Ho Chi Minh & he passed the immigration there. He returned to Singapore & he passed the immigration here. And then he realized the passport was not his!! That would surely smear more the image of Singapore in general & specifically, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

To be fair, like MP Ms. Indranee Rajah was quoted in "Airport security lapse leads to calls for more awareness":
"This is yet another incident of human error, but it's within the same home team, and we've seen a build-up of various incidents within various departments and this is troubling.

It's really two things, as I see it - one, the complacency that has entered into the day-to-day routine. And two, the sense of a lack of danger that if something can go wrong, it will.

If incidents like this continue, then it sends a signal that there are chinks and loopholes that can be exploited, and it would serve as an encouragement to people who want to test our security."

She pointed rightly. A human error is inevitable. Even one incredible case of a human error which involves failure of FOUR levels of checks in airport.

5th door matrix collab promo



i blogged about this at an earlier date but the official launch for this promotion was pushed back until mid-july by the ad agency that is handling the project. we designed a special in-store display for the collection made of an acrylic base that is milled to suggest a tire tread and provide support for the foam 'towers' that display an individual watch. the case is acrylic, and the although a bit large, the foam elements keep the overall weight down.

i'm not sure when these will hit stores, but should be in time for the back-to-school rush. the collab designs include brooklyn circus [BkC], afro punk, bulldog bikes, konsole kingz and what's really cooking. you can buy them now on our own online store though here! special features: lightweight aluminium cases, silk-screened polyurethane straps, mineral crystal lens, waterproof up to 5ATMs, and kool factor +++ with the limited edition nature of the release – only 200 of each design available for purchase worldwide.

learn more about the project here, and on upcoming 5th door promotions.

also, here is a great commentary by a fellow marketing professional about these kind of cross-promotional projects.

Fleeting Impressions

BY MADS BAJARIAS | When I first learned about Kin Misa's rusty work, I didn’t know what to think. I thought it was a joke.

Consider: Shiny objects get top marks in pop culture. Among the buzzwords of our brand-conscious set are fresh, brand-new, sparkle and clean. Consumer-directed imagery is awash with gleaming objects: cars, gadgets, rooftops, malls, faces, teeth, hair. Bling is corrosion-free. This thinking isn’t limited to purveyors of SUVs and mouthwash. Darwinian biology associates shininess with desirability, robust health and enhanced capacity for reproductive success. Radiant hair inside a shiny car means a winner, baby, or so they say.

Losers, on the other hand, are portrayed as dull, jagged, decayed, rusty. Someone sluggish and slow is “rusty.” Unfit. Fit to be scrapped. Junk.

But as we see in Misa’s “Stop the Lights Falloutbot,” rust can be more than those things. Corrosion evokes time's passing. Of a life lived. Misa's explorations in oxidation shines a light into our own condition and the gradual breaking down of our bodies’ machinery. One day nothing will be left of us but ghostlike imprints slowly fading away. As Yoda might have put it, ephemeral beings we are, mmm? Then party on, we must.

The marks of corrosion on Misa’s work seem to whisper: All things must pass. As the replicant Roy Batty in "Blade Runner" intoned, all our moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Misa answers a few questions about “Stop the Lights Falloutbot” (wackadoodle title, though).

Dimensions. Rust on canvas?


KM: Rust on board, 4 feet by 4 feet. I made it for my first one-man show at PROSE Gallery last December. I made it around November.

How do you make the rust stick?


KM: People always ask me that question. But it’s really so simple. Just use your imagination. How you think I did it is how I did it.

What triggered this fascination with rust?


KM: A college mate introduced me to rust's richness. He replicated the rusty color with oil paints and he also used rusty objects in his work. A lot of people actually like rust. I guess rust has an endearing quality because it is tied to the idea of impermanence. I hope I used the right word.

After doing a show about rust, are you considering moving on to other ideas?


KM: I love rust! I found my own world in it and I will probably explore it even more. The possibilities are endless. You just got to keep a healthy imagination. Don’t stop being a kid.

I am constantly exploring other ideas and other mediums.

Right now, I also make little functional sculptures: smoking pipes made of hardwood which can be seen in my website. I get the wood from a lumber yard up in Nueva Vizcaya. I use the bits and pieces left over from the chairs, tables and doors they make up there. Kamagong is really rare and I don't ever see it in the lumber yard. A friend just gave me a few scraps of kamagong which are denser and heavier than narra. They're like stone. I plan to make bigger sculptures, and maybe some furniture soon. I sell the hand-carved pipes: P200 for the narra and P250 for the kamagong.

I also take pictures of just about everything. I love imagery and I hope to do another documentary. Documentaries are something I’m also passionate about.

Tell us about the documentary you made.

The docu I made is called "Laro Sa Quiapo." Its about children in Quiapo and the games they play in their harsh environment. It's a bit disturbing and tender at the same time. You'll see how kids can't stop being kids no matter where they are. I'm really proud of my first docu and I hope more people get to see it. Pinoy na pinoy. I'll upload it on YouTube soon.

I want to do my next docu on dog fighting. It's just so hard to get into 'cause it's illegal and all. I don't condone cruelty to animals, but I want to see what's going on. It must be intense.

Thanks Kin.

noo look for nooka [preview]


we have been working on a new look for all our marketing materials as i always felt the photoshoot i did last year [images on nooka website as of this writing] do not successfully convey the future-fashion-focus of the brand (i can't get angry as i have only myself to be upset with). so i decided to concentrate and apply the same brand exercises i use for berrymatch clients to myself [a very difficult task to be both the therapist AND patient] and came up with a more focused approach for creative direction. i also decided to let-go and hire a young and eager photographer to work with my fabulous art director, yumi.

we were very lucky to have our intern lesley suggest that her boyfriend be considered as a photographer, and we did indeed use his services [along with his creative partner paul]. the quality of their conceptualizations and visualizations were really spot-on – it's great working with eager young creatives! i should also mention that they did this all why in the midst of finals for their design education at carnegie mellon in pittsburgh. paul and don operate under their studio, the supervisory [their website here] and i am proud that nooka is their first commercial client.

one of my main motivations has always been to create objects that look like they belong in the 21st century. therefore, it is no surprise that the concept and art direction for this photoshoot is sci-fi inspired [which is weird for me to write as we are actually in the 21st century now, though still no anti-gravity drives for cars, airplanes, and hovercrafts]. i wanted a slightly android look for the models which is hard to do as in the future, you can't tell the androids from the biological humans...

anyway, we will hopefully have new lookbooks completed by august of this year and will update the website to coincide with their printing.

Another entry to Hall of Shame of those who abuse their maid...Presenting: Mdm Tay Siew Hoon (and her dog, Yuki).

I couldn't find the link to the Straits Times article online (it was on the print edition on Sat, 21/06/08, titled "Woman ordered dog to bite maid" page H4), but you can find a rephrased & shorter news at thewest.com.au "Housewife orders dog to bite maid":
A Singapore housewife has been convicted of ordering her dog to attack her Indonesian maid during a fit of rage.

Tay Siew Hoon was found guilty after a 25-day-long trial in which the prosecutor described a night of abuse imposed on the 22-year-old maid nearly three years ago.

The woman ordered her shih tzu to attack after quarrelling with her husband earlier, the court heard.

She is the first Singaporean to be found guilty of ordering an animal to attack a maid.

The maid testified that the dog, named Yuki, latched onto her thigh and scratched with his paw, The Straits Times reported.

She cried in pain and tried to push the dog away, but Tay, 53, turned up the volume on the television set to drown out her screams, the report said.

The maid, now 24 and working elsewhere, said shortly before the September 24, 2005 attack by the dog, Tay slapped her face, pulled her air and threw a stool.

When the maid managed to avoid the stool, Tay ordered the shih tzu to attack, saying: “Yuki, bite,” the maid said.

Sentencing will be announced at a later date.

Further search online (yes, I still prefer having the reference to the Straits Times article) led me to this Maidcity Forum, "Maid Claims Employer Ordered Dog to Attack Her". The entry published on 03/05/07 & had the excerpt of the similarly titled Straits Times article dated 30/03/07:
A 51-year-old housewife accused of commanding her dog to bite her maid her dog to bite her maid appeared in court yesterday to face nine charges of abuse and use of criminal force on the 23-year-old Indonesian.

Tay Siew Hoon, 51, is accused of commanding her pet shih tzu to bite the young woman several times on September 23, 2005.

On the same day, the mother of three, also allegedly pulled the maid's hair, slapped her in the face and threw a plastic stool, tray and knife at her.

Tay also faces five other charges of assault said to have been committed on March 21 last year, when she allegedly grabbed the maid's neck, pulled her hair, then squeezed her breasts so hard the maid screamed in pain.

The last charge states that she pushed three fingers into the maid's mouth and told her not to shout.

The maid, who spoke in Bahasa Indonesia through an interpreter in court, was hired by Tay's husband, Mr Kim Hua Siang, to do household chores in March 2005.

She said Tay's attitude towards her changed after two months, and that Tay often quarreled with her husband when he came home drunk.

Apart from household chores, the maid's duties also included grooming Tay's dog Yuki, which had bitten her at least once.

The domestic worker told District Judge Wong Choon Ning that there was an occasion when Tay accused her of stealing food after she took some vegetables from the refrigerator to cook instant noodles for herself.

Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Tse How if it was true that she was not supposed to take vegetables from the fridge, she said "Ma'am never gave me food and i was hungry".

The hearing continues today.

If found guilty, Tay faces up to the three months in jail for using criminal force on her maid, and up to 7 1/2 years for ordering her dog to attack her.

It's evident that the last year article had more sordid details about the abuse whereas the recent post focused more on the fact that the housewife was finally convicted.

I just have this sudden thought: how about those animals proven guilty of abusing their maid to be banned from employing one for a certain period of time? That may mean the family--who are innocent--will suffer, though (especially if the maid is employed to take care the elderly).

So what do you think?

preserving tradition

It has been a while since I posted my last entry. Past two weeks have been very busy but has brought back a lot of memories. My childhood friend and her husband came to visit us. When she came to know about my blog, she helped me to produce this short video clipping showing how alpona[described earlier] is done on the floor using fingers.
We can’t remember at what age our friendship began. We went to the same school, learnt dancing together at the same institute from the same teacher, performed together in several dance programmes, and took up teaching as career. We both taught science subjects in secondary school but never gave up dancing. We are still involved in cultural activities and shared notes about the programmes we recently directed.
We talked about the dance style and dress concept we grew up with and how the trend has changed. One can clearly see the influence of Bollywood, western ballet as well as Indian folk music and dance in programmes based on rabindra sangeet. Use of keyboard as accompaniment in some cases changes the entire mood of the song. Both of us are trying to swim against the current in our effort to adhere to the tradition.

‘Bichitro Anondo’ - the programme I directed for Bengali Association Singpore in 2007 was an attempt to hold on to the beauty of the fast disappearing traditional 'Rabindrik' style, a distinct style created by Rabindranath Tagore. There are seven segments of Bichitro Anondo on YouTube of which the first two do not have dance items. This programme was a tribute to the two great personalities, Rabindranath and Nazrul. The backdrop was made from two batik sarees and some designs made on paper strips. The panel in front of the singers was made by pasting the designed paper strip on corrugated board that came with some packed item. It was made to stand by attaching it with wires to 2 l coke bottles filled with water. The dancers were dressed up simply with batik sashes hanging from the shoulder adds grace to the movement.
A typical Santiniketan style of dressing does not follow the contemporary fashion or trend. The blouse need not be the same shade as the saree. Instead,a blouse of a contrast colour with embroidered sleeves, makes the figure stand out which in turn add beauty to the movements. Flower is used as a substitute for ornaments.
Costume being an essential part of such productions, need careful planning. It is important to visualise the colour sequence choose the right colour suitable for the underlying idea of the song or the theme. It is also important to take into account the time available for dress change for the dancers. Getting sarees of the same colour and the same material for group dancers is not easy, specially in a place like Singapore. It is challenging to work under such conditions and exercise one's creative abilities to the fullest.
In 2006 I choreographed another dance drama by Tagore-Tasher Desh.The costumes were designed and created by me. I had to work within limited budget and hence recycling was an integral part of the costume.




Yes, she's got to be the YOUNGEST SingTel Grid Girl.

Just take a look at her (the first photo below) posing nonchalantly in front of the SingTel Formula One Simulator...



Nah, just kidding. She's just a passerby's daughter. The parents ought to be nearby because she didn't look scared or lost. (For completion sake, though, you can find the SingTel Grid Girl Finalists here, which is part of SingTel Race 2008 event.)

The photos were snapped at Causeway Point Shopping Center yesterday. I like the second photo because it captures how the young and old alike were interested on the simulator racing car. Can be much better if the very old ones happened to be in the picture.


The third image has the staff patiently explaining about the simulator to the two little kids. I guess. Either that or he just kept a close watch of what the two children were doing. Heh.

Electric Youth

MADS BAJARIAS | As a kid, Piaget Martelino was always drawn to art. He would have wanted to study the fine arts, but when he was offered a baseball scholarship in De La Salle on the condition that he take up sports and recreational management, he accepted. It was a rare opportunity, after all. But the dream, apparently, never died. When his team traveled to the US for a competition, a chance visit to the Academy of Art College in San Francisco re-kindled the dream. He has since spent his time painting and sculpting.

A childlike sense of energy and fearlessness permeates his painting "Xabin." The work is a fresh take on child portraiture. How many times have we seen excellent artists churn out child portraits which are exquisite yet devoid of animation and spark? In "Xabin," we get inside childhood's unrestrained universe. In it, we get electric youth.

Martelino answers our questions.

What medium did you use in "Xabin"? Size. When.


PM: "Xabin" is acrylic on canvas, 2.5 feet by 3 feet. I finished it in March 2008.

Tell us about the psychedelic patterns.


PM: I started adding patterns to my paintings to add movement and depth. I have always intended to portray playfulness and whimsy in all of my pieces. It's actually my color palette, and not so much the patterns, that give my paintings the psychedelic feel.

Do you consider American psychedelic artists an influence?


PM: I'd say it was the music, fashion and pop culture of the psychedelic era that influenced me more than the artists. The combination of the playfulness of surrealism and the freedom of automatism is what defines my style the most.

My earliest influence was Wassily Kandinsky. My work started out with mainly lines and color. It was just later on, around 2003, that I introduced patterns and biomorphic shapes.

Other influences I suppose would be the surrealists Joan Miro and Hans Arp for their biomorphic shapes. An artist whose work I really enjoy, although wouldn't consider an influence, is Friedensreich Hundertwasser. I love his use of patterns and his architectural style.

When you say "automatism," what do you mean?


PM: Automatism was invented by the surrealists, using it first in their poetry, and later on in their drawing games. There is actually more than one definition of automatism. I've adopted Motherwell's definition of automatism as being "actually very little to do with the unconscious. It is much more a plastic weapon with which to invent forms."

Do you consider yourself more a painter or sculptor?


PM: I see myself more as a sculptor. What I love about sculpture is that unlike painting, you're actually making a solid object out of nothing, and not just pushing paint around to form an illusion of something.

My sculptures are done in either a plaster or industrial glue mixture which I started using in 2003, or in cast resin. I always paint my pieces to bring out the playfulness of the forms.

Tell us about the subject in "Xabin."


PM: "Xabin" was a commissioned painting for a 3-year-old boy. What I enjoy most about this painting is its size. Most of the commissions I get for portraits are a bit small, so I was able to put a lot of movement, patterns and color into "Xabin."

The kid Xabin and his family really enjoyed the portrait. They thought it really captured his personality and it was different from other portraits that they've seen.

Where can people go to see your art?


PM: Everyone can see my art at my website.

Currently, I have some pieces displayed at Lunduyan Gallery, 88 Kamuning Road, Quezon City and PROSE Gallery, 3rd floor, 832 Arnaiz Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City.

Thank you Piaget.

This one victim sure knows her comic superhero | 'Spiderman' leaped five storeys to his death

Excuse me, Madam Tan. I'm not trying to be anal (okay, perhaps a little) but it's "Spider-Man", not "Spiderman".

A BURGLAR jumped five storeys to his death on Friday after being surprised by a landlady who caught him in her living room.

The man was trying to make a quick escape from the three-room flat in Marsiling Lane, but instead landed 15 metres below with a thud.

'Only a stupid person will enter my house. There's nothing to be robbed,' said Madam Irene Tan.

The 50-year-old happened upon the burglar, described Malay and covered in tattoos, at around 10am after returning from her morning stroll.

Madam Tan said he panicked, ran to her master bedroom and then took a shortcut to the ground-floor - from five floors up.

A neighbour from two floors below, Mr Abdul Rahman, said he heard the commotion.

'I heard a woman screaming: 'stop, don't jump'. After that, I heard something drop, boom!' That is when he peered out his window.

'I saw two guys carry a man's body and put it inside a car before driving off.'

Only a patch of blood was left at the scene. But the police confirmed on Friday that the man, who in his 40s, died at around 11.45 am after being taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Madam Tan said she left a back window open and thinks the man scaled her block like 'Spiderman' to break in.

Mr Abdul Rahman, 49, reckons the men are linked to recent cases of theft and said some of them might live in the building.

The whereabouts of the burglar's accomplices are not known, although they were described as tall, thin, Malay men with tattoos on their arms.

They were wearing white T-shirts and long pants.

(Straits Times 20/06, 'Spiderman' leaped five storeys to his death.)

A malfunction web shooter caused the burglar to free fall to his death? But I am more interested to learn why he panicked when Madam Tan suddenly appeared. Maybe he's surprised because his spider sense failed to alert him to her sudden appearance in the room.

Yeah, right. Who am I trying to fool?

On a serious note, how is it possible that the two accomplices brought him to Tan Tock Seng without being identified by the hospital?! Seriously, no forms to fill? Or is it just simply, "Here, we found the body. For your necessary action. Bye bye!"?

Nah, can't be...

The Intimacy of Slowness

BY JAY BAUTISTA | My all-time favorite moment is looking out the window when it is raining outside and the streets are wet. There is something appealing about it.

It’s the same feeling I get while gazing at Keiye Tuazon’s swimming-pool images. Her canvases swim with life. They have an ease about them, a fluidity, a calmness.

Ongoing at the 1/of Gallery, the exhibit title "Welcome Interruptions" could mean many things pertaining to Keiye and the directions she wants to pursue.

Keiye tells me:
“My fascination with water for my art started when I was in college. I used the image of a swimming pool to show personal space for a photography plate in Prof. Bobby Chabet's class. I was captivated by water's unpredictability, its movements. There is also something unreal about being submerged in water: The replications of images below the surface mirror issues of identity. My works are underwater images of people and objects that float, weave through, or swim around."
Keiye grew up surrounded by people who loved art deeply. Where art was on everybody's lips and came out of everybody's ears. Angono’s history of creative arts dates back to the 19th-century religious painters Juancho Senson and Pedro Piñon to National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco and the Angono School, to which Keiye's father and 150 painters of their generation belong.

On top of that, Keiye is married to trailblazing artist Wire Tuazon, with whom she helped organize "Surrounded By Water," an artspace where some of the most exciting young artists exhibited. (Think of Louie Cordero, Jason Oliveira, Lena Cobangbang, Geraldine Javier, Nona Garcia and the Ching brothers).

Having observed Keiye’s growth as an artist for more than a decade now, I must admit I have underestimated the painting prowess of this girl who has blossomed into a versatile painter. Mind you, after a five-year hiatus, she still holds that promise.

The comeback girl states:
“This underwater series started almost a decade ago, and it attempts to recapture images in a different perspective and explore the possibilities of the subject. Parang kasama ka nila sa ilalim ng tubig na sumasabay lumangoy sa kanila. Minsan you need to breathe.”
Keiye’s art explores slowness in relation to the fast pace of our times. Modern and postmodern modes of living have taken over not only space but also our conception of time. This is where Keiye's underwater images seems most effective in reminding us about.

She explains:
“The moving water serves as an element of defamiliarization, producing an ambiguity between the real and the unreal, thus setting new terms of encountering reality.”
Delan Robillos, co-owner of 1/of Gallery says, “I like Keiye's art. It is very interesting. I think she is a very consistent artist. In our art space, we like to give opportunities to young blood with great promise."

Keiye tells me:
“I want to explore more my underwater series, and I want to continue my work about twins (a subject I had worked on). I want also to do paintings that would investigate personal space, memory and childhood experiences.”
Summer is over. Take a dip for one last time, the water is fine.

1/of Gallery is located at 2/f Serendra, The Fort, Taguig.

Jean vs John -- both are innocent till proven guilty

I was mistaken. In Jean's post "Help needed: I was molested by a friend while I was asleep", I had angrily commented her to:

Yes, to echo Ridz: any photo of him anywhere? Put it up & trust netizens to further dig the info about him (who knows if he’s one lucky serial molester who has been, uhm, lucky so far).

Shame him publicly & let the pressure is on him to prove his innocence!

I was furious because I could imagine her frustration that the legal system of both countries--Korea & Singapore--seem unable to address her plight.

What she wants clearly is a sense of closure that her case is heard & the truth found. What she gets, however, are cruel comments from angry, sceptical netizens. Even the New Paper article today has hardly sympathetical title, "YOU ASKED FOR IT, GAL". Likewise that of Asiaone.com, "Molested? You asked for it".

Back to I was mistaken. I was mistaken because I had thought and assumed John is the guilty party & he has to bear the burden to prove his innocence. That's wrong.

Guilty till proven innocent. My goodness, it should be "innocent till proven guilty", instead.

But in her situation it would be very hard for her to prove his guilt. Unless of course, her friend has kept the record of the MSN conversation. Quoted from Jean's post:
I didn’t answer him but took the blanket and went to the small table where my laptop was. I signed in on MSN and turned on my webcam and told my friend what happened. I turned on the webcam facing me throughout the night, on one hand worried that something worse might happen and on the other hand at a lost of what to do.

That MSN conversation may serve as an evidence. Perhaps. John, on the other hand, may dismiss that MSN conversation to be one-sided & that Jean's friend is in cahoot with her to create troubles for him.

It's going to be a very hard case.

Especially so with the recent news claiming John had lent her $48,000 which she claimed that as a gift. More in Jaywalk's "Girl Molested -- His View".

Who's right and who's wrong?

As per now, both Jean & John should be treated innocent. Jean's persistence in pursuing the matter legally and online-ly (uhm, through her blog, I mean) may be an indication that she's truly distressed & that the incident may have really happened. John too was reported to have sought legal advice. This may be a sign as well that he truly believes that he's not in the wrong & that he'll fight to prove his innocence.

Good luck, the two of you.

Update on 19/06/08: Jean in her later post has tried to clear up the air about the $48K money issue. Personally I find it difficult to believe such amount was a gift. Still if it were a loan, John should have some proof in black and white.

Another entry to Hall of Shame of those who abuse their maid...Presenting: Lee Song Koi.

Tell me if you too notice something amiss. Quoted from ST article "He molested maid, then tried to send her back 3 days later", take a look at the following:
That night, he came home drunk after a company dinner and dance and hugged the maid in the living room.

Half an hour later, he went into her bedroom to molest her.


He was said to be "drunk" but still had a sense of right and wrong when he told the victim "not to tell anyone"?!
Deputy Public Prosecutor Elizabeth Lee Liang Mae said that the victim was sleeping in her room when Lee forced himself on her by kissing her face.

He lifted her T-shirt while the victim struggled and told him to stop.

Lee ignored her and continued molesting her.

Before leaving the room, he told her not to tell anyone.


It's a good thing that he is appealing against the sentence of 10 months' jail and three strokes of the cane. He should have been punished more. His claim to be drunk is very much questionable.

To repeat, a drunk man would not be able to know that his action is wrong & thus would not be able to warn the victim "not to tell anyone".

Malaysia tak boleh? | Malaysia's Queen of Rock rocked by a protest note from PAS

She's too sexy for their stage? The Malaysia rock singer, Ella or Norzila Aminuddin looks alright for me. At least from her photo in the left.

Then again, 'sexy' is relative.

And she's apparently judged too sexy by Youths from the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) which submitted a protest note on Monday to the Selangor government demanding the two singers be replaced with more acceptable artistes.

(The other singer is a pop singer, Mas Idayu also known as “Queen of Dangdut,” a genre of Indonesian popular music.)

Both are supposed to perform on July 6 at a concert in central Selangor state to kick off an annual footbal match organized by Sellangor's opposition-led government.

The Youths' leader Sallehin Mukhyi was quoted to say, “Their dressing and performance don’t reflect the true Malay culture. Their image is unacceptable to Islam. We are not against the concert but we feel the two singers should be replaced.”

He also threatened that PAS youths may stage a peaceful protest if the two singers are not banned from the concert.

If dressings are the problem, the two singers may consider to perform their songs donning traditional baju kurung and for Mas Idayu, hmmm perhaps, without the dangdut dance.

A rock singer with baju kurung...
A dangdut singer without dangdut dance...

That is going to be one hell of a concert.

PS. The whole drama has obviously made Ella disappointed. Referring to Selangor PAS Youth, she was quoted to say, "They are judging me and making baseless accusations. No one can ever judge anybody. Only God can judge us."

PPS. Another upset figure is Sultan of Selangor. Call off protest or I call off matches, or perhaps the event to be held in Singapore, he retorted.

nooka sightings – best model yet: erykah badu


the coolest things seem to come out of philly! omoi, a shop on pine street in philly sold a bunch of nookas to erykah badu and she was definitely wearing hers in her live sets. it is truly validating when other artists find my work on their own and not through some complicated PR scheme. and i must say, erykah looks AMAZING wearing it.
check out more fotos by todd owyoung here. he takes some of the best concert footage i've ever seen [and i'm not just writing that because of the nooka sighting].

The Ignorantsoup's "Why I love M1" is under category "Pornography"???


Clicked The Ignorantsoup's post "Why I Love M1" and was surprised to see how that particular page was considered "pornography" by FORTIGUARD or FORTINET. =(

COOL CONDUCTOR

The current resident conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) spent his growing up years in the Tiong Bahru Neighbourhood. Find out more about Mr Lim Yau in this article that appeared in the Straits Times yesterday.

The Straits Times
June 16, 2008
The monday interview, Lifestyle
By Stephanie Yap


An entire generation of musicians have played or sung under SSO resident conductor Lim Yau, who is still mentoring and nurturing amateur ensembles

THOUGH conductor Lim Yau is in the process of moving house, the living room of his condominium in Sembawang - the aptly named Euphony Gardens - is still decorated with all manner of music paraphernalia: bookshelves full of music scores, towers of CD cases and a wall covered with framed posters of concerts and operas he has conducted.

Most of the posters are elegantly subdued and the one that stands out is a poster for the Singapore Lyric Opera's 2006 production of Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro. It shows the corseted torso of an amply-endowed woman as two pairs of apparently male hands lace her up.

'Part of my agreement with the Lyric Opera was that I would get the poster,' the resident conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), 56, says in a quiet, deliberate manner, as if carefully considering each word before uttering it.


'I tried to find the person whom the pair of boobs belongs to. But, I think, it is maybe computer enhanced.'


He pauses for a beat, then chuckles softly in his sonorous, bass-baritone voice.


Indeed, his reserved, imposing manner and wry sense of humour are well known among musicians who have worked with him during his almost 30 years of conducting.


SSO's fixed fourth-chair first violinist Chan Yoong Han, 33, says: 'He may appear fierce and stern on stage but he's actually a very warm person inside, with a wicked sense of humour.'


Besides his work with the SSO, Lim is the music director of the Singapore Symphony Chorus, which he has worked with since 1981. He was music director of the Singapore Youth Orchestra from 1990 to 2002 and co-founded the Lyric Opera in 1990.


Life! classical music critic and SSO board member Chang Tou Liang, 42, says: 'Practically all the younger musicians of Singapore, professional or amateur, have played or sung under him - I would say an entire generation.'


Dr Chang himself first met Lim back in 1992 when the physician joined the Singapore Symphony Chorus, where he sang for 10 years as a tenor: 'Lim is known for his droll humour and dry wit, which he often uses to diffuse potentially tense situations when the choir does not sing to his expectations.


'Choir members regard him with awe and sometimes reverential fear, but he is always an approachable person who is very frank and candid, and does not mince words.' The only baton-wielding gig on the local classical music scene which Lim, a 1990 Cultural Medallion recipient, does not appear to have taken up is the big one: that of music director of the SSO, a position currently held by China-born conductor Shui Lan.


But he seems more bemused than defensive when you ask if he has ever wanted to be the SSO's music director. 'No,' he says firmly. 'It is a very hard job. It takes a different type of person to do that.'

Then, in his quiet, deliberate way, he adds: 'I doubt I'll ever be. But that is not an issue. I am happy where I am, contributing in the way I am contributing.

Those who can, teach

AS IT turns out, the contribution Lim seems proudest of is not to any professional organisation. He is most animated when he talks about amateur music societies which he founded - the 14-year-old The Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the 10-year-old The Philharmonic Orchestra.

Though these ensembles are defined as amateur, the members are so highly regarded that they are occasionally hired for professional engagements, and are described by Dr Chang as 'Singapore's most accomplished semi-professional classical outfits'.

Lim seems especially attached to the orchestra as he has known many of the musicians since they were teenagers with the youth orchestra, and has even referred to them as 'my children'.

'Those who, having been provoked, scolded, insulted by me, and are still willing to stay - they stay long,' he says, chuckling.

He has been preparing the two ensembles for their upcoming concerts. On July 10, the choir will present Light And A Hundred Colours, a concert of sacred motets from the Renaissance.

On July 27, the orchestra will present Northern Exposure III, featuring the fifth, sixth and seventh symphonies of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

It is the last in a series of three concerts featuring the composer's complete symphonies. The orchestra has tackled Beethoven and Schumann in previous symphony cycles. 'It is a good experience for us, as well as the audience, to do the journey together,' says Lim.

His work enables music lovers who do not pursue music as a career to continue pursuing it as a passion.

One example would be Ms Wang Siao Hua, 29, an officer with the Ministry of Education who plays double bass with the orchestra. She first met him when she joined the Singapore Youth Orchestra in 1991.

'It takes a while to get to know Mr Lim, and for some of us to get his jokes. But we are all his adopted children,' she says. 'Without his guidance, I'd have stopped playing in an orchestra long ago.'

Lim's dedication to the ensembles is all the more remarkable given that he is not paid for his work: 'I don't want them to pay me. I say, 'We are all putting in our spare time and let us build it up together'.'

Guiding non-professionals seems a natural fit for Lim, who comes from a family of teachers. In fact, his ambition as a young man was to be a music teacher.

'The funny thing is, I had never thought of being a conductor. I always had a very pragmatic approach to life and when I went to the Royal College of Music, I planned to be a teacher,' he says.

He candidly confesses that he 'did not like' the youth orchestra when he first took up its baton in 1990: 'I found the kids arrogant and maybe I was arrogant too, and we simply got nowhere together.'

In the end, it was his biological children who helped him appreciate the experience.

He has two children with his wife Quek Soo Hiang, his high school sweetheart who is a choir mistress with the Singapore Symphony Children's Choir. His daughter Veda Lin, 26, is now in Germany studying the baroque and modern oboe while his son Lin Juan, 24, is studying the cello at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music.

'After my kids joined the youth orchestra as well, I became more than just a conductor. I was also a parent and I began to see that it is very meaningful to work with young people,' he says.

'They are always so open. To be able to plant the seed in their thoughts, to cultivate certain musical disciplines in them - I consider this a privilege.'

From Beijing opera to batons

UNSURPRISINGLY, Lim came from a home filled with music.

The youngest of four children of a Chinese literature teacher and a housewife grew up in a flat in Tiong Poh Road, opposite a coffee shop which played Rediffusion, the cable radio service, from 6am to midnight every day.

'In the last half an hour before midnight, I would hear the nan yin, Fujian's ethnic instrumental and vocal music. It was a kind of lullaby for me,' he recalls.

The Chinese music would be followed by the British national anthem, God Save The Queen, as the station closed for the night. In the mornings, he would hear snippets of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony and Ravel's Daphnis Et Chloe used as mood music in radio soap operas.

Although his family was not musical, they played an instrumental role in his musical development.

'My father died when I was 11 and the little that I can remember of him is that he enjoyed reciting Tang poetry in Hokkien,' says Lim.

'He also liked Beijing opera, so I too like jing ju nowadays. I can't claim to know a lot about it, but I would happily sit through the whole show and listen to the songs.'

As for his mother, 'the only musical influence she had on me was that she would cane me if I didn't practise on my piano'.

Though he started studying the piano at the age of four or five, he never took any formal exams.

'I am quite rebellious and right from Day One, I did not see the point of doing that sort of thing,' he says. Still, he was accomplished enough that during his secondary school days at River Valley High School, he would help members of the Chinese orchestra notate music from cassette tapes.

But his first love was for the voice, which he attributes to hearing the Vienna Boys' Choir sing on television when he was in Primary 6: 'The television was not very common then, so you had to stand outside other people's windows to watch. They sang the Blue Danube, and I could not tear myself away.

'I kept hoping that my neighbours would not switch channels - though in those days there were only two, I think.'

He sang in the school choir and took his first music exam in his late teens, earning his Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (LRSM) in singing for both teaching and performance.

Though he was seriously thinking about pursuing music as a career by then, 'my mother had other thoughts', and thus he spent a year at the then Nanyang University studying biology.

'But this was 1970, the year the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, and so instead of reading my biology textbooks, I studied Beethoven's symphonies,' he says cheekily.

In 1975, after completing national service, he left Singapore for the Royal College Of Music in London, studying voice and choral conducting and graduating with honours.

It was his three elder siblings - his sister and his elder brother were teachers, while his second brother worked in telecommunications - who paid for his three-year course. They are all retirees now.

He gained real-world experience by joining London's Philharmonia Chorus in his second year, where he sang under famous conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa and Ricardo Mutti, and after graduation, he joined the chorus of the Bayreuth Festival in Germany, which specialises in Wagner's operas.

Lim truly fell in love with conducting after attending a masterclass with famed conductor Sergiu Celibidache in 1980. So he was excited by the news that Singapore had set up its first professional orchestra in 1979.

In 1980, he applied for the post of chorus master with the Singapore Symphony Chorus. He got the job, but as then music director Choo Huey pointed out, it took up only one day a week. However, the orchestra did need a concert manager.

This was why, for the first three years after his return to Singapore, Lim found himself writing Chinese programme notes, picking artists up from the airport, ordering music, borrowing unusual instruments, and even accommodating the backstage demands of guest soloists.

'I had to prepare a bucket of hot water for a prima donna pianist, who had to warm her hands right up to the second before she walked on stage,' he recalls with a wry grin, referring to Israeli pianist Ilana Vered.

But his waterboy days were soon over. In 1983, he received a British Council scholarship to take an advanced conducting course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He then worked as the assistant conductor of the SSO, eventually becoming the associate conductor.

'I had a three-year bond with the SSO and I have been stuck here ever since,' he says with a laugh.

He pauses for a second and adds: 'Well, except for when I resigned in 1997.'

That resignation caused no minor stir in the classical music scene at the time. Although it is understood that he left due to contractual and artistic disagreements with certain people in the management, he remains tight-lipped on the matter.

'We all have our differences,' he says simply, without any apparent rancour.

Three years later, he bumped into the SSO's current music director Lan Shui, who succeeded Choo in 1997. They chatted, and Lim signed on with the SSO again, this time for his current post of resident conductor.

What convinced him to go back after his dramatic exit?

He pauses, frowning thoughtfully. Then his face slowly breaks out into a grin: 'Because those people that had differences with me had all left the SSO.'

Indeed, as the SSO celebrates its 30th birthday next year, Lim is one of the few people who can claim to have seen the orchestra through its growing pains.

'With great amusement!' he quips, before breaking into raucous laughter.

When pressed to elaborate, he says coyly: 'You can't be too frank on this sort of thing, can you? I am very comfortable talking entirely openly, but it is not good for other people.'
Then, more seriously: 'I have seen myself grow, too. I am a typical SSO product. Much as I at times like to poke fun at it, like it or not, I am part of it.'

ysteph@sph.com.sg

WITH MUM: A young Lim with his mother at their Tiong Bahru flat
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF LIM YAU
WITH FORMER PRESIDENT ONG: Lim with the late President Ong Teng Cheong in 1993, when the then presidential nominee made his conducting debut with the SSO in a concert at Victoria Concert Hall to celebrate Singapore's 28th National Day

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