A Tale of Two Rs (First of Two Parts)

Katauhan, Katotohanan (Self-Portrait)

BY JAY BAUTISTA Next to Michael, Gil and possibly Junjun, the names Raffy and Ronald are the most common pinoy names on top of your head. Such personalities could pass up as your next door neighbors whom you grew up with; and even sons of your father’s drinking buddy, introduced to you many times over; faceless friends or classmates whom you didn’t bother to talk to during your entire high school stay.

Hard and ordinary as it may seem, you know from their features that Raffy Napay and Ronald Jeresano are dead serious artists, or chose to be one – that lanky, withdrawn look; their long, hard stares, the look that says “when is the next art contest? Hala the AAP is coming up!” from their often sleep-deprived, dreary eyes, evoking more cynicism than confidence to me. One who, as he talks to you, would probably have already memorized the lines in your face and the manner by which the five minutes you have spoken to either one of them. Ah those paint-stained hands that are never cleaned even how many times they may have compulsively washed them.

What makes them even more special is that these two friends are not your usual“Oh-Daddy-can-you-call-Tito-Dean-to-please-enroll-me-to-his-College-of-FineArts-I-want-to-be-an-artist?” types. They have to endure life and learn art in the most common way possible – though the sari-sari store comics, through corporate wall calendars that have featured paintings, or through art subjects from school that require them to make posters for the Eat Your Vegetables campaign. Now as they are all grown up, the only opportunity presenting itself, in their desperate attempt to escape their saddled lives, is through winning art competitions around them.

Having been from public schools and state universities all their lives, they have already beaten the odds at this point. The Polytechnic University of the Philippines Sta. Mesa and the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology maybe noble institutions but what are the chances that these are schools that would churn out for any contemporary artists to emerge?
Persistence, however may be their middle names, with luck seems to be tilting in their favor and in this year’s listing of Philippine art competitions, including the recent Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE), their names have prominently figured many times over.

Samu’t Saring Kaanyuhan, Samu’t Saring Katotohanan

Made for MADE

Open to all Filipinos not more than 35 years old with no solo exhibition to your name, the MADE is an open painting competition for both fine arts students and professional artists who have not had a solo exhibition to their name. Formerly called the Metrobank Young Painters Annual (MYPA), three years ago it was renamed MADE to accommodate other categories like Architecture, Interior Design, and Achievement in Sculpture.

More than the cash prize it provides as incentive and a selling show during the awards night, the YPA then has helped launched the careers of Roberto Feleo, Gabriel Barredo, Dennis Gonzales, Elmer Roslin, Maria Taniguchi, Leslie de Chavez, Norman Dreo, Alwin Reamillo and most of the members of the Salingpusa – Mark Justiniani, Elmer Borlongan, Ferdinand Montemayor, Anthony Palomo, Tony Leaño, and Karen Flores.

Now add to their exclusive and elusive roster are both Ronald for Oil/Acrylic category and Raffy for water-based media.

One cannot escape the fact that being immediate winners of a few significant art competitions such as MADE carries with him a certain pedigree of instant marketability and adulation. In fact, some galleries and art spaces only offer an exhibition slot depending on how many art awards he or she has won.

To prove their worth, the irony of these art contests is that Ronald and Raffy had to unlearn whatever formal art practice they imbibed in their respective fine arts schools in every new entry they submitted. In doing this they found their own.

To win MADE in the oil category maybe hard but the water-based category would even be a harder-earned triumph considering they only award one winner and a special award. The probability is higher and more risky.

In describing Raffy’s winning piece Mahiwagang Pagbubukas, Galaw na Walang Wakas, MADE painting judge Cid Reyes, in writing on the catalogue, had this to say:

“A sense of exhilaration suffuses the viewer, despite the artworks darkly gleaming nuances of shapes and shadows. Napay orchestrates these teeming forms into suggestions of movement; ceaseless flowing, a natural world dreaming, evolving, mutating, and dancing to the music of water and wind, fertilized by the artist’s wildly lyrical imagination.”

Something ethereal grabs you in most of Raffy’s works. Usually rendered in monochromatic earth colors such as moss green or decaying brown, he works most of his canvases flat on the floor, Pollock-style. With only a vague image in mind, he starts to splat on the blank canvas, as if investigating the plots, carefully inching his way in filling up the space. This is the most exciting aspect for him and the most significant part of his art, the initial conception. Admittedly, his is not of the formal/western/academic standard style of sketching or thumb nails drawing, more like a trying out staggered-like approach. Organically fulfilling what would eventually comprise and compromise the theme of his work. Even he does not know what will happen next. Possessed by his own mystic, he charters deeper on the undesired image, stopping only as the subject reveals itself. In the end, you see life in a new way after his finished artwork.

Mahiwagang Pagbubukas, Galaw na Walang Wakas

Rock, Raw and Roccoco Renditions

Consider the piece Samu’t Saring Kaanyuhan, Samu’t Saring Katotohanan. Even more astounding in visual rendition, it was adjudged as one of Juror’s Choice for Excellence in the recent Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards 2007-2008.

“Unveiling the genesis of a wondrous world, a curiosity without color. As light threatens darkness, tones appear and oil becomes a source of origin, flooding the terrain of a work and yet open to chances beyond itself.” mentions Dr. Patrick Flores on the exhibition catalogue.

Art has been something more of a need than an appreciation for Raffy. With no trace of artist in the family as influence, what has probably endeared this son of a tricycle driver to most judges of these art competitions, and eventually earned the nod of his fellow artists is his observance with curiosity and details. Indeed the smallest aspects are what interest him. His art is as scientific as he paints what he dutifully sees and feels around him.

Open to artists not over 28 years of age, the 2008 Maningning Miclat Art Competition would be another venue for Raffy’s curiosity in nature. Exhibited at the ArtPlaza, Level 4 of the Shangri-La Plaza Edsa Mall, this time Raffy puts himself on a blank wall since it portrayed the inevitable – a portrait of himself in Katauhan, Katotohanan. Armed with the same intensity and keen explanation of a continuing dialogue of why he continuously views himself as mere part of nature and not the dominant of it.

One who has limited resources does not mean he can’t be creative or less expressive. Raffy believes those less in life may have also more other mundane things including art, or in his case, even have more discoveries in creating. Diskarte lang daw. One cannot help but be intrigued to where his perspective is coming from. Is it going back to the basic, returning what art is and should be? A reflection that as artists we not only grasp all that we have, we must also leave all that we are. His message is as important as how ingeniously he depicts it. Without outlines and forms, thus, his innate and curious way of chronicling our ecology may mean only of how commercial and artificial we have already become. He has brought back the long narrative story in contemporary visual arts. His paintings grow on you. You can even get lonely after looking at them.

Speaking to someone who abhors or has objections to praises, self admiration has never been his style. You even come to the point you seem to accuse him as the most insecure one out there. However meeting him in the flesh and seeing his works, one can conclude that he is for real -- experimenting in all possibilities. He is all faith, pure passion inside him.

And don’t forget, he is just all of 22 years old.

which are you?

if you are a person who has an uncommon feeling for the weak, the strays and the downtrodden and feel quite alone in your point of view, this piece of research might help shed some light on why when it seems so obvious that saving a life, ending suffering should be in the highest priority, others can look away citing what seems like watered down reasons for public good.

in a less elegant and scientific way, i, in my feline wisdom, have come up with my own observation about the different social attitudes that exist in Singapore. Jonathan Haidt made a very successful career studying the same phenomenon.

his Moral Foundations Theory looks at the way morality varies between cultures and identifies five fundamental moral values shared to a greater or lesser degree by different societies and individuals. these are
1. care for others, protecting them from harm
2. fairness, justice, treating others equally.
3. loyalty to your group, family, nation
4. respect for tradition and legitimate authority.
5. purity, avoiding disgusting things, foods, actions.

before you read on, rank these five moral values for yourself.

as the blogger and champion for this family who takes my cue mainly from the man and woman of this animal house, here’s how I rank
1. loyalty to your group, family, nation – this family is everything to me
2. respect for tradition and legitimate authority – man and woman, your wishes are my command, most of the time…
3. fairness, Justice, treating others equally – felines like fairness, no favouritisms please.
4. care for others, protecting them from harm – i do care but cats like our privacy and I am just respecting everyone else’s, yeah?
5. purity, avoiding disgusting things, foods, actions - I am pretty disgusting in my habits and lovin’ it.

this is how the woman ranks
1. care for others, protecting them from harm – non-negotiable
2. loyalty to your group, family, nation
3. fairness, Justice, treating others equally.
4. purity, avoiding disgusting things, foods, actions.
5. respect for tradition and legitimate authority.

by american definitions, that makes me a down turf conservative and the woman a flaming left-wing liberal. why I think Sarah Palin is a hot folksy harmless hockey mom and the woman thinks McCain is on drugs to put her so close to the steps of the white house.

interestingly, my ranking mirrors the man’s.

he will lay down everything for the welfare of the family while the woman will be out throwing herself at the world in hopes of saving it. there is no right and wrong, of course. conservative thinkers preserve much needed structure and order to society: state, family, traditions, institutions. liberal thinkers buck it when they see the wreckage trailing behind these big shiny buses.

in all fairness, you need the both for society to progress spiritually and intellectually yet still in keeping to a pace that remains hospitable and tidy to most. in Singapore, my conversative voice certainly rings much louder in the hawker centres, in shenton way and in parliament. but if we are to become the vibrant city that we keep hearing about, it bodes well that while we retain the societal structures that serve us well in keeping us safe, organised and sparkling, we give room to these eccentric liberals who would not let go of a life, be it an old cranky old woman, a stray mangy cat or a tired misused elephant, room to do what no one else will, which is to plug the gaps left gaping open by the sharp unseeing corners of societal building blocks.

the Script is ♥

`Cos when a heart breaks no it don't break even'...

first I thought they were just
another boy band coming around the bend. The Script describes their music as the new 'Celtic Soul', combining pop melody with soul and some rock dynamics. (Even if it were cuckoo music, I would still have listened).

Well, I am
utterly captivated - the lyrics AND the Irish accent made the difference. Plus, it didn't hurt that Danny O'Donaghue (lead, 25) is a hottie! But more than anything, I fell in love with the voice (oh, man!) and how the lyrics transcend beyond the simple use of narratives and rhymes.

Some Gen Y-ers are spoilt brats

Reading this Asiaone.com article, "Not all Gen Y-ers are spoilt brats", which (surprise, surprise...not) also include the story of one Agnes Lin. She was made famous (or to be precise, infamous) ever since she's featured in the Straits Times, "Mum & Dad will provide".

In that Asiaone.com article, it was mentioned:
And as for Agnes, I certainly hope this experience will strengthen her character.

By the way, she had prudently turned down an offer to clarify matters in this paper, saying that she would rather wait patiently for the debate to subside.

Her decision to do so, I think, shows that she is wise beyond her years.

Yeah right. I don't buy it.

In her blog--Alvinology has a complete excerpt in his post, "Agnes Lin: Spoilt brat or misrepresented?"--she ranted amidst all those vulgarities that:
i was misquoted and i want my justice done.


See? What see?! I don't see anything!!

She claimed, on the one hand, that she wanted her justice done. And yet, on the other hand, she "turned down an offer to clarify matters in the newspaper, saying that she would rather wait patiently for the debate to subside."

Oh, wait. Don't say that she's again misquoted?!

I just don't understand. She refused to have the whole story clarified in the newspaper where she was allegedly misrepresented in the first place. So what's the point of her story in The Online Citizen Exclusive - Agnes Lin: a victim of the ST?

Open Letter To Ms. Rachel Lim

Dear Ms. Lim,

Referring to your letter, "Foreigners should be kept at arm's length", I am totally appalled & speechless at the same time.

You are making assumption--and a wrong one at that, and let me quote your assumption here--"that people who argue that it is all right to have foreigners living near you probably have not had to deal with them on a daily basis."

I do have to deal with foreigners on a daily basis and I do believe it is all right for them living near us.

Yes, you are right to say that some of foreigners treat Singapore as a stepping stone. That, however, is one of the results of globalization and faced by many other countries. (Why else every company all over the world does its best to retain its workforce & talents?!)

Regarding your point about they're arrogant & unhygienic. Arrogant & unhygienic, by the way, do not come side by side. (What, they're arrogant because they're unhygienic? No, right?) And arrogant is individual's trait, anyway. It has nothing to do with the individual's country of origin.

Unhygienic? Perhaps they fail to live their lives to Singapore standard. You put up an example about the mess those foreigners left after their gathering. True. But the fault may lie with us as well. Whatever happens to our enforcement? The mess may be considered as littering & it's still punishable with a fine, no?

And your point about China citizen committing murder recently, I choose to be optimistic to say that there isn't a trend yet. Crime can be committed by any people regardless of their nationality. Remember about the last week news about one Malaysian clerk being blackmailed by her Singaporean Net friend?

And your other point about maids bringing their boyfriends to their employers' house? I think it's a valid point. Let's ban the maids from now on. Let's the wife & the husband & the children do the household chores together! And take care the elderly too on their own.

Yeah right. As if that may happen here.

C'mon. Let's just face it. We need maids because of our pursuing of career (or just simply that we're adverse of doing those domestic duties). Therefore, we too have to be responsible to ensure that maids do not have the opportunity to do those unacceptable stuff like bringing their boyfriends home. (Instead, give them a regular day off & advise them which cheap hotel the maids may want to use for their illicit liaison. Heh.)

Yours truly,


Ms. Rachel Lim's letter as follows:
NOT welcoming foreigners to stay near us does not mean Singaporeans are not gracious.

How many of you have daily dealings with these people? I have switched jobs from the civil service to the private sector and have my fair share of dealings with foreigners.

Let me tell you how I feel.

They treat Singapore as a stepping stone, hoping to "jump" from here to European countries.

They are arrogant and unhygienic.

Take a look at Jurong Point, Serangoon or Peninsula Plaza and the mess they leave behind after their gatherings.

Look at the recent rise in the number of China citizens who have committed murder in Singapore, the number of maids taking boyfriends into their employer's home and so on.

Are we being selfish by keeping them at arm's length? No, not at all.

You might say that not all foreigners are like the people I have described but I say that a great many are.

I thank God that I was born in the 80s, before this increase in the number of foreigners in our midst. It was not so bad in those days - at most, there were some Malaysians. So I grew up among my own countrymen.

I feel that people who argue that it is all right to have foreigners living near you probably have not had to deal with them on a daily basis.

win a nooka glow-in-the-dark for halloween!

question? where will the nooka studio be on friday night for halloween? answer: Ghostly + Throne of Blood - Halloween 2008: The second annual bash, presented by Justine D. and Ghostly!


Costume Contest with Cash and Prizes provided by Metromix.com and Nooka!

October 31st, 2008
Studio B
259 Banker St.
(Between Calyer & Meserole)

$15 in Advance
$20 Door

Advance purchase suggested! Buy online @ www.theghostlystore.com

"Tapes" compiled and mixed by The Rapture out Nov. 25th on !K7. For more information, go to www.therapture-tapes.com

LTD magazine + nooka = invisible warrior

hypebeast already broke this news a few hours ago, but here it is here.
super exclusive LTD magazine and nooka collab. translucent grey polyurethane camo strap with bold colored aluminum case nooka zoo = super limited edition nooka invisible warrior model.

only 144 available for preorder [delivery around november 7th] here.

LTD magazine site here.

contest to win one invisible warrior watch here.

hypebeast post is here.

Bad News (if you're in South Korea): Adultery is criminal

South Korea's Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that adultery should remain a crime, rejecting a petition from a top actress who said the decades-old law infringes individuals' rights. A court spokesman confirmed the ruling but gave no immediate details. It was the fourth time that the court had refused to overturn the 54-year-old law.

Actress Ok So Ri filed her petition in February, saying the law infringes the right of individual choice in sexual relations. Three similar petitions were also before the court.

Ok, 39, is awaiting trial for adultery after her actor husband Park Chul sued her and two men for allegedly having affairs with her.

She admitted having an affair with a pop singer but put the blame for her loveless marriage on Park.

Her petition rekindled debate over whether adultery should be a criminal offence, punishable by up to two years in jail.

Some women's groups contend the law must be maintained to protect female rights in a traditionally male-dominated society.

Critics say the law breaches an individual's right to sexual choice and has become outdated.

Court data show the number of people jailed for adultery has declined sharply over the years. Last year only 47 people were jailed while 592 were given suspended sentences.

Quoted from Straits Times, "Yes, adultery is criminal".

While I agree adultery should be seen as a criminal act, past articles about the marriage did point out that the fault lies with the husband as well.

Take on this article, "Park Chul, Ok So-ri Both Blamed for Broken Marriage" (26/09/2008):
The court, however, ruled that Park was also responsible for the broken marriage, as he came home late almost every day and spent much of his earnings on drinking and other entertainment.

We allow the divorce, as the couple have reasons for divorce, including economic trouble, disputes from lack of talk, Park's lack of care of Ok, and Ok's extramarital affairs. As the two take almost the same responsibility for the failure of the marriage, both Park and Ok do not need to give compensation to each other,'' the court said.

And the other earlier article, "Star Couple's Divorce Turns Nasty" on 29/10/2007:
Park Chul and Ok So-ri ― are seeing their divorce fight take a nasty turn. Park said on Monday that he had filed a criminal suit against Ok for adultery. In Korea, adultery is against the law.

Park's disclosure followed Ok's press conference held Sunday. Breaking her silence since the news of their divorce became public, Ok denied certain rumors around her and divulged the couple's marital problems to the public. .

Ok said that it was untrue that she cheated on Park through having inappropriate relations with an Italian chef working at a five-star hotel in Seoul.

She said that she just learned English and cooking from him. But Ok admitted that she had an affair with a vocalist, identified with Chung, for three months in 2006. She said she she ended the relationship because Chung asked to borrow a large sum of money from her.

Ok also said that she was not happy in her marriage life because she had many financial and other private problems resulting from Park's inability from the beginning of the marriage.

Hotel Re!

By writing this post, the hotel gives me a complimentary stay of 1 day. See the photo of ClearChannel advertisement for "Hotel Re!" above? Kinda plain, don't you think? Still it manages to pique my curiosity & makes me visit their website, hotelre.com.sg & boy, am I impressed!.

In particular, the part about "Re!Lax". Apparently the hotel provides a massage service. Although I'm not sure whether the rate is reasonable (head, foot, shoulder massage at $25 for 40 minutes & body massage at $50 for 60 minutes are considered inexpensive? I don't know), I like the fact that the hotel does offer the service.

Trans-Cab (the leader) axes fuel surcharge | Comfort (the follower) trails behind

Competition does benefit customers. Even if Trans-Cab is just one of smallest taxi companies, the company is capable to force the bigger rival, Comfort to follow suit to stop the infamous fuel levy. Starting 11/11, there will be no fuel surcharge if you ride in Trans-Cab. Comfort will do so a day later from 12/11 onwards.

So let's support a smaller company! Support Trans-Cab! Heh. (From what I read at ST Discussion Board, "Trans-Cab axes fuel surcharge" & Channel NewsAsia Forum, "Trans cab is a leader in singapore", there are many who will support Trans-Cab.)

So if you are one of them (or considering to convert to be one), you can book Trans-Cab by calling 6555 3333. More info about the company & their rate can be found here.

Six brokerages here to compensate ‘vulnerable’ Lehman investors

ABN Amro gains the publicity for being "the only financial institution yet to take concrete action." Kudos for the six brokerages: CIMB-GK Securities, DMG and Partners, Kim Eng, OCBC Securities, Phillip Securities and UOB Kay Hian.

As usual the arguable definition of 'vulnerable' can be found in the article:
They define the vulnerable as those above the age of 62, who are less educated, with littleinvestment experience, among other factors. These points will be determined from interviews with an undisclosed number of investors who bought from the six brokers.

Malaysia tak boleh: Ban on yoga for muslims?

What a wonderful idea from the very same fatwa council (one of Malaysia's highest Islamic bodies) which last Friday banned women from dressing or behaving like men and engaging in lesbian sex, saying it was forbidden by the religion.

From Asiaone.com, "Ban on yoga for Muslims?":
Muslims in Malaysia may be barred from the ancient practice of yoga if they engage in Hindu 'religious elements' during the exercise, a top Islamic cleric said on Wednesday.

Mr Harussani Zakaria, a controversial cleric from the northern Perak state, said the government-backed National Fatwa Council would soon release a decree, or 'fatwa', which would decide if Muslims were allowed to practise yoga.

'If it involves any faith or religious elements it is definitely not permissible but if it is just a form of exercise that is all right,' Mr Harussani said.

'Muslims cannot practice yoga in its original form because it involves another religion,' he said in response to a call to ban Muslims from engaging in yoga.

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of the population of 27 million are Muslim Malays who practice a conservative brand of the religion.

The practice of yoga, a popular stress-buster in Kuala Lumpur, dates back thousands of years in India, where it was a favorite of holy men before becoming hugely popular internationally, especially among western celebrities.

Prof Zakaria Stapa, a professor in the Islamic faculty of the National University of Malaysia, had called on Muslims to stop practising yoga, saying it could cause them to 'deviate from their faith', news reports said on Wednesday.

Muslims in Malaysia practised yoga not just for exercise but also as part of the growing urban lifestyle and involved 'chanting mantras while in various positions', he said.

'Why should we look for other alternatives to exercise and search for peace? Yoga could cause (Muslims) to stray from their faith because its movements are according to the style and traditions of Hinduism,' he said.

Sure there is a saying, extracted from this one site, Hindu Wisdom - Yoga: "There is no Yoga without Hinduism and no Hinduism without Yoga." But that's just that. A saying. Ultimately it should be individuals' right to take that saying at face value.

Really if the issue lies with the part about chanting mantras, by all means be creative about it. Change the mantras with something else more acceptable, perhaps with Islamic verses for Muslims who practise yoga.

To simply ban this and that without offering a solution or an alternative is such a simple, easy, and lazy thing to do.

DBS: Most of Lehman-linked notes valued at zero

As dreaded & for some, as expected.
In reference to Structured Retail Notes Series 75 issued by Constellation Investment Ltd, DBS said: "The credit event redemption amount for the Notes has been calculated to be zero, and therefore no amounts are due and payable to the beholders of the Notes on the credit event redemption date. For the avoidance of doubt, no further payments will be made on the Notes after they have been redeemed."

Meanwhile, a DBS spokesman also told The Straits Times: 'Unfortunately the worst-case scenario has materialised and the majority of High Notes 5 investors will not be receiving anything back.'

This follows a statement posted on the bank's website on October 22 wherein DBS CEO Richard Stanley said, "Regrettably, our initial expectations of the worst-case scenario whereby investors will lose their entire principal investment amount is likely to materialise."

From Asiaone.com, "DBS: Most of Lehman-linked notes valued at zero".

Someone may be willing to be Steven Lim's girlfriend for $5,001 or more!!

Yeah, that's how I interpret the article, "No one willing to be Steven Lim's girlfriend even for $5,000". Hilariously pathetic & yet at the same time, it's truly a wonderful way to gain publicity.

From the article which happens to have a screenshot of his blog post about the indecent offer:
Controversial Singaporean blogger Steven Lim posted a message on his site offering $5,000 to anyone who wants to be his girlfriend, but has yet to get a single reply after 19 days, local Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News reported.

According to Shin Min, Steven Lim, 32, posted the message on October 9 telling visitors to his site that he was looking for a girlfriend. Interested parties should submit their photos via email, or send him and SMS. The selected 'candidate' will then be rewarded with $5,000 in cash.

He also uploaded a video to his post, in which a couple was shown kissing and hugging each other. A message flashed across the screen at the end of the clip, "Wah... so sweet!!! I also want a girlfriend!!! CASH REWARD: $5,000 for successful applicant."

When Shin Min interviewed Lim, he told the Chinese paper that the video and post were uploaded on October 9, but has received no applications or queries as of October 28. Lim told Shin Min that the lack of a response to his ad does not bother him, "It's really all for fun. I'm just trying it out to see what kind of a reaction I'll get from this."

"Actually the couple in the video recording are really just models from my modeling agency. The video was done to promote them and create further awareness of their talents."

"If I eventually receive an application, I will definitely give that girl the promised $5,000 cash prize. It's not as if this amount of money means a lot to me!", Lim told Shin Min.

He also told Shin Min that he used to know a number of Netizens through his blog, and will chat with them on a regular basis. However, the number of friends on his chat list has dwindled since he uploaded the clip with a message seeking a girlfriend. Lim said, "Maybe they were worried that I'll be mistaken that they are chatting to me just for the money."

Steven Lim claims on his blog that he is the "world's most handsome guy" and also claims to be the "shareholder of seven big public-listed companies". He describes himself as a very adorable person and that any girl who will be with him is guaranteed to be very happy.

He also listed some requirements for his prospective girlfriend-to-be, stating that she must be "pretty, nice, faithful, gorgeous and rich". He also wrote that he does not care if the other party is "black, white or orange" and will accept her as long as she is willing to adopt him.

Now, please excuse me while I go to the toilet to puke.

Woman in red drives men crazy

That's what the article said (apparently there was some study about the subject), but I can't tell if there is any subconscious influence of the song, "Lady in Red" to the people who involved in the study. Heh.

Another good reason to retire in Indonesia...

Rupiah tumbles to 7-year low.

MP fed up with fare hike

Well done, Ms. Phua. Well done! From Asiaone.com, "MP fed up with fare hike":

MP Cynthia Phua is fed up that her appeals for polytechnic students to be granted higher transport fare discounts have failed.

To provide relief, the MP for Aljunied GRC is setting aside $1,500 of grassroots funds monthly for tertiary students whose family's household income is below $2,500 and who are not bursary holders.

About 30 applications have been received for the $150 vouchers - the number has not been decided - to be given every quarter.

'It's been said a lot of times, and I'm very frustrated about appealing. I am now resigned to creating my own help,' said Madam Phua.

23-year-old gymnast Alison Carroll is the new Lara Croft

Check out the photos here. Seems to me that Alison Caroll does a better job as Lara Croft than Angelina Jolie did. The latter's photos as the tomb raider: Google result page here.

two more interviews!

i was interviewed by adnan arif of wristfashion via email and in-person by liz kinnmark of designglut. it's interesting to see how different the tone is from catching me on different days and also the difference from an interview via email and one transcribed from an audio recording [the type of questions also changes things].

adnan is perhaps one of the most knowledgable people in the world when it comes to the world of watches – he travels to the fairs in hong kong and switzerland every year and represents numerous brands for the middle east out of his offices in dubai [one brand of which is nooka!].

DesignGlut.com is "a resource which tells the stories of how many creative businesses got their start. You don't need magic. You may, however, need some inspiration and a little advice". it is 100% interview format.

wristfashion interview here.

designglut interview here.

nooka in hungary: hodosi enikö

our contact in budapest sent us a scan of enikö hodosi wearing a white zub zot in the popkultúra magazine, wan 2. she is a member of a hungarian band known as neo. they are listed on myspace as new wave / electronica / pop which is misleading as i think it's more pop / rock on some tracks and eurobeat for others. her solo stuff is definitely eurobeat if you search for her videos on youtube. eurobeat gets pushed further and further east every year, most certainly a victim of global warming! there haven't been eurobeat sightings in north america since the last dead or alive and sique sique sputniks died in the cincinatti zoo in 1995.

she's really cute and the white zub zot looks great on her. neo's myspace page is here. watch shown can be purchased at fine shops in budapest, worldwide, and here. the nooka hungary site is here.

thank you viktor and enikö!

Bak Bak's hospital visit

Bak Bak is starting to refuse food so they brought him to the vet yesterday to see what they can do to make him more comfortable.

he is as curious and as oblivious as ever to his condition, making eyes at a passing dog and taking a keen interest in the coys in the pond.

the vet recommended the drip twice a day and the man and woman decided they would do that at home where Bak Bak can still be in familiar surroundings amongst family with room to roam when he wants.

their first in-home-intravenous-attempt went well. he hardly protested like he did at the vet's.

he even took a short stroll afterwards!

old smoking feeder

second stop this weekend, they visited *Wendy*'s ex-friend, old chain-smoking feeder. it's not the horror story they were expecting but certainly the air in the spartan but spotless apartment is pretty stale. the only windows open are the top vents above the casement windows.

the three kittens and their mother are very tame and at ease with people, a very good sign. the man and woman introduced themselves as cat welfare volunteers who will help to sterilise the cats when they are of age. that got them through the door. after offering to bring them back some eye and deworming meds, the man broached the subject of meshing the windows. it was surprisingly well-received so it must be the man's touch with old auntie types...

this one is so pretty and knows it. she has no qualms hogging all the attention and camera time!

Grave Joy (Rip-off/Inspired from Yusuf ibn Harun al-Ramadi's Slave Boy)

Well, I did follow his rhymes & the no of syllables of his each line. Just for a fun of it. Heh.

Grave Joy

They hit the bed
to sail through the night’s darkness
out of fatigue and smear
of their booty.

They dreamt of the Fight
and their murdered spawn.

Which is admittedly a rip-off from Yusuf ibn Harun al-Ramadi's poem, Slave Boy.

Slave Boy

They shaved his head
to clothe him in ugliness
out of jealousy and fear
of his beauty.

They erased the night
and left him in dawn.

A much better poem (and not to mention, original). =) I like the brevity of the sentences. Yeah, almost like a haiku.

busy long weekend

it's the man's bday but there's work to be done. they visited Socks who is very happy in his new home. he now lives in the lap of luxury in a hip city studio with direct view of the singapore flyer. lucky cat!

yeah, we can see you are totally at home there!

Join OKTO Community | OK TO be me because...

Seriously those who think the new TV channel OKTO is just for children, they're mistaken. Take a look at the screenshot of OKTO Community website below. So far there have been 6 individuals rated for-sure-not-children in the OKTO Community.

They have all put up their photos with the reason of why it's OK TO be them. Kind of a non sequitur, I'd say. Especially the one with "OK TO be me because life's too short to think of things immaterial!" Heh.

So I wonder if I were to join the community & if I come up with an equally illogical reason of why it's OK TO be me, what would it be? "OK TO be me because...it's not OK TO be you."? Nah, still a bit logical. How about "OK TO be me because...I am working even during Saturdays and Sundays."? That sucks. And bitter. How about "OK TO be me because...I said so." There's still a logic there. Hmmm, it's not easy of being irrelevant. Oh well...

PS. You too can join the community by submitting your photo to oktolive@mediacorp.com.sg (it's a simple photo of you holding a piece of paper with a written "OK TO be me because put-your-reason-here).

Advance Medical Directive | 'Til (Natural) Death Do Us Part

It's good to know that more people are getting logical in choosing how their lives shall end. Simply by making use of an Advance Medical Directive. (More about AMD & to download the form: here)

From Choosing a 'good death':
They're young, but they are ready to confront issues related to dying, opting for a 'good death', as Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan describes it.

About 150 people aged between 20 and 29 have declared that they want to be allowed to die naturally.

They have signed an advance medical directive (AMD) and do not want to be sustained artificially should they become terminally ill and unconscious.

The keywords are 'terminal illness' & 'to die naturally'.

From Advance Medical Directive Act Section 9 about 'terminall illness':
Certification of terminal illness
9. —(1) Where a medical practitioner, who is responsible for the treatment of any person, has reason to believe that the person —

(a) is suffering from a terminal illness;

(b) requires extraordinary life-sustaining treatment; and

(c) is unconscious or incapable of exercising rational judgment,

the medical practitioner shall —

(i)determine and certify in the prescribed form that the person is suffering from a terminal illness and the reasons for the determination; and

(ii)forward the certificate to the Registrar with a request that a search of the register be conducted in order to ascertain whether the person has made a directive which is in force.

(2) Upon receipt of a request made under subsection (1), the Registrar shall cause a search of the register to be conducted in order to ascertain whether the person has made a directive which is in force and shall thereafter inform the medical practitioner accordingly.

(3) Where the Registrar informs the medical practitioner responsible for the treatment of the person who has been certified to be terminally ill that the patient has made a directive which is in force, that medical practitioner shall obtain, in the prescribed form, the opinion of 2 other medical practitioners as to whether they agree with the determination that the patient is terminally ill.

(4) Where the medical practitioner responsible for the treatment of the patient —

(a) is not a specialist, the 2 other medical practitioners referred to in subsection (3) shall both be specialists;

(b) is a specialist, at least one of the 2 other medical practitioners referred to in subsection (3) shall be a specialist.

(5) Where the opinions of the 2 medical practitioners referred to in subsection (3) are not unanimously in agreement that the patient is terminally ill, the issue shall be referred for determination to a committee of 3 specialists (referred to in this section as the committee) appointed by the Director from among the panel of specialists referred to in section 8.

(6) A patient shall, on a reference to the committee, be determined to be terminally ill only on the unanimous decision of the committee.

(7) If the committee is unable to reach a unanimous decision, the patient shall be presumed not to be terminally ill.

(8) The committee’s determination shall be recorded in the prescribed form and sent to the medical practitioner responsible for the treatment of the patient.

(9) No medical practitioner shall certify or participate in the determination or certification that the patient is terminally ill if the medical practitioner —

(a) is a beneficiary under the patient’s will or any policy of insurance;

(b) has an interest under any instrument under which the patient is the donor, settlor or grantor;

(c) would be entitled to an interest in the moneys of the patient held in the Central Provident Fund or other provident fund on the death of that patient; or

(d) has registered an objection under section 10 (1).

Confused? Do read it again. I read it thrice then only it makes some sense. Heh.

And about the second keywords 'natural death'. Let's not confused it with euthanasia. In fact an Advance Medical Directive has got nothing to do with mercy killing or euthanasia. From Advance Medical Directive Act Section 17, it clearly specifies:
Act permits only natural death and not euthanasia or abetment of suicide
17. —(1) Nothing in this Act shall authorise an act that causes or accelerates death as distinct from an act that permits the dying process to take its natural course.

(2) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that nothing in this Act shall condone, authorise or approve abetment of suicide, mercy killing or euthanasia.

Pity. Reading about euthanasia from Wikipedia, I must admit that I'm not against euthanasia. Interesting to note that Thailand is the only Asian country where euthanasia is legal. Hmm...

3 Books, uhm Graphic Novels, throughout the long weekend...

I was elated to finally come across in the library The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo & Fables Vol.9: Sons of Empire. (I borrowed Identity Crisis just for fun of re-reading it again.) Click the link of the titles below the cover photos for more review from Amazon.com.

The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo

Fables Vol.9: Sons of Empire

Identity Crisis

Photos from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport -- Part 4: Random Shots

Titled random shots because I don't really bother to categorize them. The last of the series. Only four photos anyway: HSBC's ad (and words of wisdom at that) of "Success is nothing if you can't enjoy it", passengers scurried away from some trigger-happy photographer, two tourists causing one handicraft salesman scratching his head (tough coustomers? or just language barrier?), and lastly one of the two money changers inside the airport (somehow they had different exchange rate for Singapore dollars).

Photos from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport -- Part 3: Beauties (mostly) & the Lounges

There are surprisingly quite a number of lounges in the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport like Emerald Sky Lounge, Esplanade Lounge, Garuda Indonesia Executive Lounge, Mutiara Lounge, Premier Lounge, and Pura Indah First & Business Class Lounge.

Yes, I was that bored that I took the pictures & perhaps, at the same time practised shooting candid photos. Indonesians are such a nice people; they didn't form a mob & bashed me for capturing their images without permission (A polite grin & nod did not count as a permission, for sure.)

openers october

i forgot to post this earlier this month, but my 2nd article for openers japan was published a few weeks ago. this time i wrote about the harsh environment NYC still poses for cyclists but also how it's improving. only in japanese here.


This picture looks rather out of place here within this blog.

What is there to talk about this pile of construction material?

If you click on the picture to enlarge it, scrutinize the picture carefully and you will find a rodent peeping back at you.

I’ve actually noticed these 5 or 6 large rats scurrying around the bin centre for quite a while and I’m finally cheesed off enough today that I took the trouble to wait outside the rubbish collection bin to catch these rodents in action.

These rodents are getting bolder by the day and you can see them scurrying around even in the day!

I should have brought a DSLR camera along as the compact camera was just not fast enough to catch them in action.

I think the rubbish collection centre at Kim Pong Road should be kept clean and the Tanjong Pagar Town Council should even consider engaging a professional pest control company to eradicate this vermin problem.

They could be seen running around all the way to Moh Guan Terrace and this problem cannot be swept under the carpet anymore.

Either the Town Council clean up the act here or they relocate the rubbish collection centre somewhere else.

It is actually strange to have a children’s playground and exercise corner located next to the bin centre as the foul smell is not something you want to inhale when you are playing or exercising there.

DBS to hold formal dialogue sessions with High Notes investors

From Channelnewsasia.com, "DBS to hold formal dialogue sessions with High Notes investors":
DBS Bank will hold at least two formal dialogue sessions on Thursday and Friday with investors who bought the DBS High Notes products, which failed after US investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed last month.

Channel NewsAsia understands that the dialogue will explain what DBS is doing to compensate the investors and its compensation review process. The dialogue comes after investors called for the bank to clarify various issues.

A DBS spokesperson said at least three of the bank's top management will speak to the investors at the dialogue sessions. DBS' independent external adviser, Gerard Ee, who is tasked to oversee the complaints and resolution process for the bank's investors, will also be present.

It's about time, really! How the bank shall handle the complaints will surely affect to its reputation.

Profound Loss @ Eng Hoon Street

Take a look at these images:

Photo courtesy of hyacinthus

Photo courtesy of TEH

These images have just become very valuable because they will never be captured on another camera or video devices ever:

A new commercial building will replace that beautiful building.

I was speechless when I saw the on going demolition.

I had always wanted to snap some pictures of this place but never really got around to doing it.

The only pictures I had was taken earlier this year:

When I saw them covering up the place with netting, I enquired around and was told that the building was not safe as tiles from the roof were falling onto the parked cars.

And the building owners were asked to do something about it.

I suppose the easiest thing for them to do was to demolish that building to make it safe for everyone!

I really miss that JACK ROOF. That loss will be too profound for me to accept for a long long time.

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