Production Talk - 'Female Games' by Kan Lume

Almost like an annual Singapore International Film Festival tradition, Kan Lume makes his mark again. This time with 'Female Games'. Apparently, he's just wrapped his project, so here are some scoops on it.

The film is a portrait. Confessions of a Pan-Asian model.The film takes place in Kuala Lumpur. Alexia, a young model together with her friend Sandy, leave Singapore and arrive to look for representation. As they go through the casting process, Alexia quickly finds herself at the center of attention and Sandy becomes jealous.Through the journey, she grapples with what it means to be Pan-Asian and Lesbian.

Jeremy (J) : When did you make this film?
Kan (K) : I began sometime July 2008. It has taken roughly 8 months to finish the film.

J : How was the idea for your film conceived? What inspired you?

K : I chanced upon a very brave actress by the name of Evelyn Maria Ng,who was excited to make a film and trusted me a great deal. As I spoketo her, I became fascinated with the concept of a simple girl, born with extraordinary beauty, and the burdens and opportunities that would bring. (pause)

At the same time, I met Shen Qiaoyun. She is the complete opposite, a perfect counterbalance to Maria. She is a deep thinker with many great talents. I envisioned two characters with a common goal (to be a successful model), yet using different means to obtain it. The scenes were designed to pit one against another. One used great effort, while the other had natural grace. I love both characters a great deal. Their different strengths and weaknesses fascinate and repel me in equal measure. That may account for the lack of a clear “bad guy” in the film.

Kuala Lumpur and Penang were also important inspirations. 80% of thefilm was shot outside Singapore. I find it increasingly difficult tobe inspired by Singapore’s cleanliness and cramp-ness. The filth and disorder of KL was extremely beautiful and Penang’s beaches were awe-inspiring.

J : Your previous 3 features are very different from each other. How does this compare to them?
K : The Art of Flirting depicts a couple. Solos deals with family. Dreams From The Third World involves Singapore society and Female Games explores the overseas experience in comparison to life in Singapore.

J : The title rings a bell with 'The Art of Flirting', do they share a common origin/inspiration?
K : The Art of Flirting and Female Games feature two characters going through different stages of a relationship and the protagonist coming to a self-realisation at the end. I am toying with the idea of making films focused on two characters from now on and cutting away everything else! Set design, location, I would just shoot everything in a room if I could. I sometimes find all other elements to be a bore and arbitrary.

J : Is this on DV? What's the budget for this production?
K : It was shot on HD. Budget was $10,000 for production costs and $90,000 for above-the-line and post-production.

J : What were the biggest challenges in making this?
K : It was a complete pleasure. I wish all films were this fun to make.The biggest challenge now, is will the audience like it? If not, that would send me into depression for a couple of months. That is, until inspiration hits again.

J : Is the approach to making this film similar to your previous films(i.e. sort of an experimental, organic process)? Or is it morescripted this time?
K : It was written on the spot. Based on my instincts and the actors’ suggestions, we moved the film forward. It was a thrill and we wish edit would last longer. After a week, we ran out of money. I would love to shoot a film this way for a couple of weeks. I think the stuff we’d bring back would be phenomenal.

J : Do you intend to make a commercial film anytime soon?
K : That question perplexes me a great deal! I have struggled with it for the longest time, since I started in 2003. We can only be who we are. And if that sounds too mysterious, it’s not! I have found that it is better for me to accept what I do well and keep building on that, rather than fight a losing battle. Against myself. So the answer is, I don’t know. I wish I would. But I shall let destiny decide. In the meantime, all I can do is persevere, keep learning and remain positive!

September-October 2008

I returned to Singapore on 24th August and had to immediately start preparing for the submission of the annual magazine ‘Milon’ for the Bengali Association Singapore. Being the editor, it involved a lot of work. The cover, designed by me was a combination of water colour and digital imaging.
This magazine is circulated annually during Durga Puja to the members of the association. ‘Milon’ is a Bengali word meaning union. The cover depicts meeting of people and the moment in time when the night meets the day along with the union of Bengali and English, Singapore as the backdrop and symbols representing Durga puja.This entire compositon was my original idea.
I learnt to use the software free hand.The other softwares used by me were firefox, open office, gimp, paint etc.
I had to hand in the final draft two weeks before the commencement of Durga Puja.
I was also responsible for the decoration of Durga Puja, which started on 5th October. The idol was brought from Kolkata but the surrounding was to be decorated in grand style [see the image below]
The materials used for this item:
The background was made from material from IKEA
The white material was also a stiff fabric purchased from IKEA
One rejected CD
Common aluminium foil
Craft glue

The materials used for this item:
The background was made from a matting from IKEA
Styrofoam square
Cotton rope
Craft glue
Red oxide paint

At this point I would like to include a few items designed by me for Durga puja 2007.

This alpona was done on a circular sheet of transparent plastic table cover using poster paint.The advantage of doing it on the plastic cover was that it could be recycled.
Alpona is an integral part of hindu relious festivals and usually done on the floor [refer to posting dated May 16 2008]

This item represents a tradltionally dressed Bengali woman
The materials used for this item;
An old metal vase
An empty wine bottle
Two cardboard tubes found inside kitchen rolls
Cotton rope
A saree

Now the same lady can be seen in our living room clad in a different saree.

what a deastro!

can companies fall in love bringing a new dimension of B2B? i think so, as it is the case with nooka and ghostly records. well, ghostly records is celebrating their 10th anniversary and we are celebrating with them by giving a free copy of deastro's keppers with every web order of a nooka watch on from march 1st while supplies last.

why deastro? because keepers is one of my FAVORITE albums of 2008 AND i want to share that joy with as many people as possible.

more on deastro: Deastro is the brainchild of Detroit-area wunderkind Randolph Chabot, who's been recording music since he was 12. Deastro's Keepers contains a whirlwind of styles, as Chabot hops from shy synth-pop to instrumental robot-rock, whisper-soft ballads to sky-high anthems and coats it all in a delirious fizz of production. It's wildly positive, upbeat music tinged with an experimental spirit and a hint of melancholy. Deastro's next full-length, Moondagger, will be out this May on Ghostly International.

buy a watch after march 1st here or buy keepers on itunes here.

also, slightly unrelated, but if you're on facebook, join the "Love Nooka" group!

me on acquire magazine site

they made me look good [maybe those monkey arms need a trim though...]! full interview here.

i'm sporting a zon, available at fine shops and here.

also, slightly unrelated, but if you're on facebook, join the "Love Nooka" group!

Ageing monk's devotion leaves deep mark on temple...literally

It is said that the monk, Hua Chi has knelt in prayer so many times that his footprints remain deeply, perfectly ingrained on the temple's wooden floor. Check out the monk's footprints here.

To GIC: If you can buy CHEAPER, why...oh, why do you choose to pay MORE?

No, really. I just don't get it. By choosing to convert its convertible preferred nots in Citigroup to common stock, GIC would pay 32% premium--more expensive!--compared to its other option to just buy the shares in open market.

The Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) has said it will convert its convertible preferred notes in the US lender Citigroup to common stock in a bid to help shore up the troubled US lender.

The exchange price is US$3.25 a share – a 32 per cent premium to Citigroup's closing price on Thursday. The price is way under the conversion price of US$26.35 a share under the original terms of the investment.

With the conversion, GIC's stake in Citigroup will rise to an estimated 11.1 per cent, without any injection of additional funds.

In January 2008, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund bought about US$6.88 billion worth of perpetual, convertible notes in Citigroup. These preferred stocks would pay a 7 per cent annual dividend.

Preferred shares are similar to bonds in that holders receive a fixed dividend. By getting preferred shareholders like GIC to convert their holdings into common stock, Citi will be able to reduce its quarterly dividend payment.

The US Treasury Department has said it will convert part of its holdings of preferred shares into Citigroup common stock. So too will some other large preferred stockholders, including Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Abdulaziz Alsaud.

In a statement, GIC said it supports the initiative by Citigroup and the US government to strengthen the quality of the bank's capital base in view of the challenging economic environment.

The US government will now take a US$25 billion stake in troubled Citigroup, with the conversion of its preferential stock into ordinary shares.

Separately, Citigroup has announced it will record another US$10 billion worth of writedowns as part of its already-released fourth quarter results. This brings its net loss for the year to US$27.7 billion.

From Channel NewsAsia, "GIC converts preferred notes in Citigroup to common shares".

In another news (Source: UK., "UPDATE 1-Singapore GIC converts Citi notes, pays $3.25/shr"), an analyst at an investment bank, who declined to be indentified was quoted to say: "It now means GIC are in the real danger zone. Equity holders are the first to absorb any losses. Or if the Treasury decides to inject more capital, they will get diluted,"

Channel NewsAsia turns 10 on March 1

I've visited their 10th Anniversary microsite. Quite interesting to learn the 10 trivia about Channel NewsAsia.

MediaCorp's Channel NewsAsia turns 10 on March 1 with a series of new initiatives on-air and online.

First up is the 10th Anniversary microsite, where viewers can revisit the top stories of the past decade and vote for what they think should make the Top 10.

They can also test their knowledge of the channel and even send in their birthday wishes.

The coming months will also see a varied programme line-up that showcases the best of Asia, its people, places and physical feats.

This includes a five-part series on Asia's most successful brands, premiering March 3.

MediaCorp's managing director for News, Woon Tai Ho said: "We made it to 10 years. It is a significant milestone considering we were a latecomer compared to well-established global news channels. We are now known for providing a viable alternative to these channels."

Channel NewsAsia was formed in 1999 in the midst of the Asian financial crisis. Since then, it has become the leading broadcaster in the region giving viewers an Asian perspective.

Its programmes and news coverage have also gone on to win multiple regional and international awards, including a silver for at the New York Festivals earlier this year.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Channel NewsAsia celebrates 10 years with online and on-air initiatives".

What TOP GUN is really about by Quentin Tarantino

TOP GUN is a gay movie. Yes. Quentin Tarantino presents a compelling argument in this video clip. So, do you agree with him?

conversations on cat welfare II

Several significant connections were made at the cat welfare meeting between active individuals immersed in cat management in one way or another – TNRM, rescue, fostering, feeding.

Beyond cat management practices, potential advocacy and education/awareness platforms were shared and discussed. These ideas are being ironed out before they can be usefully shared. There is one they can start working on that will benefit from inputs from the wider cat community – you.

They plan to produce and disseminate a smart little booklet for general public consumption. More specifically, for people who don’t like cats. The booklet will educate, entertain and more importantly, provide practical, humane solutions for avoiding cat encounters on the streets and on their lawns.

This, it is hoped, will work towards reducing human-cat conflicts. Working on it might even open cat advocators’ eyes to the predicaments of those who find us less than adorable, even sinister and menacing. Frustrating as their phobias and prejudices are, bashing them really hasn’t gotten us any further along in our goals of getting cats into HDB flats and for the government to stop culling. Satisfying, yes but here’s the much needed Plan B.

Through the next few weeks, drafts of the book will be put up on this blog for comments. The woman’s initial thinking is that it will be in a no-nonsense B/W format downloadable online, also easily printed on any printer by anyone and freely given out to family, colleagues and neighbours.

Owing to her animal welfare and eco interests, the woman has had the good fortune of meeting many socially conscious, passionate people like the cat activists and volunteers who attended “Conversations”. Justifiably, she has been encouraged to think that perhaps people in Singapore of her age and younger are differentiating themselves from those before them by becoming more engaged and more involved in the social and in the political.

If you think the same, you would be wrong. Findings from a recent study on local Y-Gen’s attitudes will knock you off your feet. Y-Geners (born 1977 to 1997) are found to be a very pragmatic lot – they want remuneration for their work. No surprises there. Yet while ability to make decisions and implement changes is cited as the main reason for choosing not to work for the government, a whopping 77% indicated that they should not have a voice/say in any government policies.

So let there be no lingering delusions of grandeur for us rabble-rousers. We have no audience. If the message is too robust for local sensitivities, we will be like a posthumously decorated JBJ making his final stand outside Raffles City, ignored.

That's why the book idea is worth a fair shot. Cat advocators need to speak the regular language of the general population and of the government. As important as words like ‘compassion’, ‘karma’ and ‘rights’ are, they really only work in novels, on TV series and in America. They don’t work in campaigns, on letters and in forums simply because they are too elusive, too vague to bridge the psychological gaps between the 23% and the larger 77%. we need grounded words like 'responsibility', 'co-operation' and 'mutual benefit'. It’s worth thinking about.

Edison Chen: "I'm determined to protect their innocence. They have suffered enough." | Another mystery of who took the photos?

Sure. Whatever. Protect their identity by running away leaving them in Hong Kong, you mean?!

Anyway another mystery appears. Were the photos taken by Edison himself or by one unnamed female celebrity? There were two contradicting points brought up by two different sources.

In a court hearing earlier in the week, Hong Kong actor Edison Chen revealed that some 40 obscene photos were taken by a female celebrity and given to him as a 'present'.

The case, in which obscene photos of Chen and four other Hong Kong female celebrities were seen involved in sex acts, is currently being heard in Canada, Shin Min Daily News reported.

According to the Chinese paper, Chen testified in court that 40 of the hundreds of photos that were posted on the Internet were taken by one female celebrity during one of their trysts.

The pictures were then burned on a DVD and given to him for his "personal appreciation". Chen also admitted to downloading the 40 pictures onto his computer.

The actor also told the court that the pictures were given to him by the female celebrity out of her own will, and that it was only meant for the both of them. The other women involved in the case had no knowledge of this, Chen testified.

He also stressed that the obscene photos were not meant to be shared with any third party, and that none of the people involved had given the photos away or spoke of their sexual encounters.

This, Chen reasoned, was why the photos, which existed since 2001, were not known to the public until February 2008. The pictures were taken between 2001 and 2006, Chen said.

Chen also denied accusations that he transferred the obscene photos from his computer to his mobile phone and showed the pictures to others.

During the hearing, Chen testified that he bought four Apple computers from the eLiTeMULTIMEDIA store in Chung Wan, Hong Kong.

One of these computers was the Apple laptop in which the obscene photos were extracted when the former action star took it back to the store for repairs. Chen said that the notebook computer remained at the store for a few days.

However, Chen told the court that the obscene pictures were already deleted before he sent the computer in. But he admitted that he did not know deleted files could still be extracted from a computer by persons with the knowhow.

Lianhe Wanbao reported Chen confirming the identities of the four female celebrities involved in the case as Cecilia Chung, Gillian Chung, Bobo Chan and Rachel Ngan.

The Chinese evening daily said that Chen was initially reluctant to testify to reveal their identities, speaking in English, "I'm determined to protect their innocence. They have suffered enough."

From Asiaone, "Edison Chen: 40 photos given as 'present'".

The above Asiaone has Edison Chen claimed that the racy photos were taken by a female celebrity (Uhm. To think that she must have been present during all the scenes between him & other celebrities. Yes. That's thought-provoking alright.)

The second news article from Taipei Times quoted Edison Chen saying that he's the one who shot the photos.

MOUNTAIN GOES TO MOHAMMED: The former actor/singer refused to return to Hong Kong for the trial, so Chief Magistrate Tong Man and a team flew to Canada

Edison Chen (陳冠希) was shocked when he found his own sex photos posted on the Internet, the Chinese-Canadian pop star told a Vancouver court on Monday.

The Chinese-Canadian film star in a racy scandal over photos that showed him in bed with eight of Hong Kong and China’s best-known actresses and singers testified against Sze Ho-chun, a computer technician accused of accessing his private laptop, which held the images.

The scandal dominated Hong Kong headlines for weeks last year, and the Chinese government censured the country’s top Internet search engine for allegedly helping spread the photos of the stars apparently performing sex acts or in sexually suggestive poses.

Sze faces three counts of obtaining access to a computer with illegal intent and his trial is taking place in Hong Kong. Chen refused to return to the territory for the case but he agreed to a deposition in Canada.

The Hong Kong Department of Justice flew a legal team, including Hong Kong Chief Magistrate Tong Man (唐文), to Vancouver. The hearing was scheduled for a week but wrapped up in just a day.

The Hong Kong judiciary is allowed to take testimony in Canada under a mutual legal assistance treaty and Chen’s testimony will be presented in the Hong Kong case as a deposition.

Chen, 27, told the unusual hearing the photos were his, but that they had been on a personal laptop computer that had gone missing last year. He said that the computer was taken for repairs in the summer of 2006. He said he thought he had deleted the images from the computer.

He said he believed they were released by “some foul play” in a computer store he used.

“I’m quite a private person,” he said. “This was never meant for anyone else to see.”

On Jan. 29 last year he said his friends started contacting him about the images circulating on the Internet.

“This was a very huge shock to me,” Chen told the court.

A month later, a police inspector showed him a compact disk of photographs.

“Of course, I had seen these pictures. I took these pictures. They were in my personal computer,” he said.

He said the images were released in spurts.

“It was more of an attack, a well-planned attack in the way these images were released,” he said.

Chen called the theft of the photos an “invasion of privacy.”

“Everything was consensual,” he said.

He told the judges that he would not answer questions about the women.

“I am determined to protect their innocence,” he said. “They have suffered enough.”

A reluctant Chen was ordered by the Canadian judge to confirm the identities of some women in the pictures. They are actress Cecilia Cheung (張柏芝), actor-singer Gillian Chung (鍾欣桐), former actress Bobo Chan (陳文媛) and model-actress Rachel Ngan (顏穎思).

Chen, a Vancouver native of Portuguese-Chinese parents, returned to Canada last year in the face of intense public anger in China.

From Taipei Times, "Edison Chen testifies in stolen photos trial".

mo rooms - mo hotel

The soft openning of Mo Rooms (a.k.a Mo Hotel) was finally held on February 20th. the vibe was cool and fun since creativity, art, performances, energetic people and relief were gathered.

เปิดกันไปแล้วแบบพองามกับ โม รูมส์หรือ ที่เคยรู้จักกันว่า โม โฮเต็ล เมื่อวันที่ 20 กพ ที่ผ่านมา
บรรยากาศเท่แล้วก็สนุกมากเพราะด้วยความแปลก สร้างสรรค์ของตัวโรงแรมเอง ศิลปะและการแสดงต่างๆ พลังความคึกคักของแขกที่มาร่วมงานและความโล่งอกโล่งใจที่สามารถทำให้โรงแรมนี้เป็นรูปเป็นร่างได้

Snake room designed by hern were finished just in time. phewww!!
ห้องมะเส็งของพี่เหิรก็เสร็จแบบทันเวลาพอดี โล่ง!!

รูปตัวอาคารด้านนอก เอามาจาก เฟสบุ๊คของ pohluan ขอบใจจ๊ะ
exterior photos were taken from pohluan's facebook w/o permission. thank you na

continuing stroke of luck with new TC officer

We have a new TC officer and she is a cat-lover! There has been some complaints about the number of community cats in the estate but she lets it be known that the TC abides by the general rule that sterilised cats will not be removed.

The sun is finally shining on our estate.

But the area she is referring to is a problematic one that keeps us busy catching and sterilising every few months. There must be at least one chronic breeder upstairs if not more. The officer has spotted kittens in one of the corridors and the woman will hopefully be able to follow the lead this time to the culpable unit.

The woman also reconnected with a feeder who discovered an old hoarder in the neighbourhood. The old cleaner lives with her mentally challenged brother and 20 cats, although the number can’t be confirmed as the old woman opens her door only enough to speak through it. Even so, the putrid stench can fell a grown man. Only seasoned cat aunties like the woman and the feeder are able to stand their ground without so much as an involuntary nose twitch as they coax the old woman to let them sterilize and install grills for much-needed ventilation.

They met minor success when the old woman agreed to neuter her male cats. The whole experience brought forth geriatric tears as she passed the cats out to the woman one by one. It’s a start. She has still to relent on the females and help in cleaning and grilling. At least there will be no more new litters for now.

These are the small victories that the woman keeps her eyes on when the decision to fund cat welfare efforts becomes more complex in our present economic climate. Yet all the more, it calls for dedication and determination from volunteers and sponsors to stay the course. It will really be a crying shame if we let our collective labours be undone by a prolonged but ultimately temporary bad situation.

Ginger needs you!

A Child's Plea to Adults: If you don't know how to fix it, pls don't break it!

This is a speech made by a 13-year old Canadian, Severn Suzuki of Environmental Children's Organization @ the UN Earth Summit in 1992. 17 years later, people have forgotten. They ALWAYS do.

This is a very timely & thought-provoking message and I can't help but think about Holden Caulfield, the main character in the book Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger, 1951). A disillusioned & confused teenager who is entering the coming of age, Holden dreams of only one thing, and quoting an old poem by Robert Burns, he sings, "If a body catch a body comin' through the rye..." Quite pathetic but true- when we become adults, we lose something very essential. We become hypocrites. As we grow up (ironic huh), it seemed like we've undergone a 'processing' from the rye, which results in a manufactured, destructive mankind.

Anyway, back to the video. A memorable quote from Severn's speech:

"At school…, you teach us how to behave in the world, you teach us not to fight with others, to work things out, to respect others, to clean up our mess, not to hurt other creatures, to share not be greedy… Then why do you go out and do the things you tell us NOT to do???

My message: Children, remain in the rye (if there is a clean one left).

nooka in LTD magazine

i can't believe i forgot to upload the december issue of LTD magazine [or did i?]. well, here is the winter 09 #14 AND the spring 09 #15 issue pages with le nookas featured prominently. the current issue also has some style picks of mine. the price for the zon is wrong, but hey, not complaining. get one here.

nooka pairings: android homme

how perfect is this? android homme is a new brand from 2 sexy guys in L.A. – what more do you need to know?

they've been great friends of nooka and now i want to spread the love.

get your metallic zub zoo at fine stores from our where to buy section of and here. learn more about android homme here.

The Rainbow Connection

It started to rain at about 6pm at Tiong Bahru this evening.

Fortunately the rain stopped in time for me to pick my son up from school by 6:30pm.

When we arrived back in Tiong Bahru at about 6:45pm, we had a very good surprise.

Right before our eyes was this very huge and clear rainbow.

I’ve never seen such a huge and clear rainbow in Singapore before!

(Emphasis : IN SINGAPORE)

Fortunately I had my camera with me because I was supposed to attend a basic photography class tonight!

So it was a Man, Moment Machine kinda thing.

I took out my camera and snapped away happily!

And then resident Mark walked by and told me there were actually 2 rainbows.

He told me the other one is above the obvious one and is rather faint!

I looked and looked and finally “saw” the other one.

I think resident Mark has far more superior retina than most people.

Click on this picture to enlarge it to see the second rainbow.

And quite predictably, I just have to end off with rainbow songs.

nooka + i love dust at vallery barcelona

some random shots from the "our friends and our family" show by i love dust at vallery in barcelona spain, february 16th, 2009. gracias to nuria mañe for the fotos!

Featuring Rick Lim Say Kiong, the ‘chope-ing’ fearless vigilante

Oh yes, this vigilante's method might have worked. At least in his neighborhood hawker centers. Heh. Whenever he sees a packet of tissue paper used to reserve a seat, he'll remove & dispose it. Yes. That will work.

But hey, why just stop at that? That packet of tissue paper can be passed to the aunties who sells tissue papers & the cycle of life will be repeated again...

Time and again, it is reported in newspapers and online that foreigners — unfamiliar with the Singaporean practice of using packets of tissue paper to “chope” (reserve) seats — are made to give up theirs seats at hawker centres and foodcourts when the “rightful” owners of the tissue packets return.

Tourists, expatriates and foreign workers who arrive in Singapore expect to see a courteous citizenry, corresponding to its modern infrastructure and efficiency.

However, the demeanour of indignant patrons, who return to find “their” seats taken by foreigners unfamiliar with the ubiquitous practice, puts our perpetual courtesy campaign to shame. More often than not, these people demand that the foreigners leave the table right away, even if they are halfway through their meals.

Unfortunately, this sort of behaviour leaves more than just a bitter taste for those hapless “offenders”; they will have the impression that Singaporeans do not know what true social etiquette is.

I dare these perpetrators to try the same tactic in food establishments in any other country, and then see how the locals will ridicule them for being obnoxious and impertinent.

For proponents out there, please do not deem this as another Singaporean trait that needs to be preserved for its uniqueness. This is different from the argument that colloquial “Singlish” defines our way of communication and that the Queen’s English is for the British.

“Chope-ing” seats is as disgusting a trait as spitting indiscriminately. Some social percepts are universal, but “chope-ing” is not one of them.

The rules should be thus: The first patron to sit down gets the table. If that person stands and leaves, then the next patron waiting gets the table. No reservations with tissues, umbrellas or whatever — leave them there at your own risk.

My solution, though drastic, is simple. From now on, I resolve to remove and discard all packets of tissue if I chance upon them at hawker stalls. Even if I do not require the seats, I will do likewise.

So yes, all guilty readers are forewarned — if your “choped” seats end up without the offending packets of tissue, chances are I was the one whodiscarded them.

And please do not blame the people sitting there; they would not have known that those seats were ever “reserved”.

From a letter from Rick Lim Say Kiong published in Today, "The ‘chope-ing’ vigilante: Leave your packets oftissue on hawker centre tables at your own risk".

New EZ-Link Card: *MORE* users unhappy with 'no travel deposit' feature

I lamented about the issue before in my earlier post, "New EZ-Link Card: No Deposit, but need MINIMUM balance for travel???" & I'll do it again now. Arrgh!!

If you are using the new ez-link card to take the MRT, remember, 3 is the new zero.

If the balance on your card falls below $3, the turnstiles won't open for you.

The old card lets you ride the train even if the balance is zero because there is an invisible deposit of $3 on it.

Said one commuter, who gave her name only as Mrs Siew: 'I took the bus from Hougang Avenue 4 to Ang Mo Kio and it cost me 93 cents. But I couldn't use the same card for my ride on the MRT to Braddell because my balance was only $2.90.

'As a result, I had to use another card and ended up paying another 82 cents. If I had been able to use the first card, I would have got a transfer rebate, which I think would have been about 40 cents.'

Commuters like her are upset about this and there have been a chorus of complaints on the Internet.

But the Land Transport Authority (LTA) explained that the new features of the card make this system more convenient.

The card now also allows you to pay Electronic Road Pricing charges and even some retail bills.

And for these, you can use your card down to a balance of zero.

Unlike trains, on buses, the minimum balance is not fixed. It can be up to $1.67, depending on the length of the journey.

The new requirement affects only adult cards.

An ez-link spokesman told The New Paper that whatever value is left on the new card will be returned to the owner if he decides to return the card.

So, how exactly is the new system different from the old?

When you bought the old ez-link card, you had to pay an extra $3, known as a travel deposit, and this was not reflected in the card's balance.

So, when the card reader shows a balance of $0.01, there is actually $3.01 still on the card. And you can still take a bus or a train.

With the new card, the $3, which is no longer known as a travel deposit, is reflected in the card balance. That's all.

But some commuters and netizens say they feel 'cheated' that they cannot use the full balance on their new ez-link cards.

Netizen Greenapples wrote: 'If there is a reason to require a minimum stored value, then put it aside as deposit, which is the proper way things should be.


'Why re-invent the wheel? Why is it so difficult to retain the deposit system like before?'

Another forum writer, Rukanightmare wrote: 'It's so irritating if you see money inside, yet you can't use it because it is meant to be the deposit value.'

One website,, asked visitors whether they thought the new rule was reasonable. Out of the 109 respondents, 72 per cent said no.

Other commuters The New Paper spoke to were also not happy.

Bank manager Tan Kok Jwee, who is in his 50s, said: 'I sometimes use the card until the value is $1 or less. So, $3 is going to be an inconvenience if you are just going to travel from, say, Bugis to Raffles Place (for a fare of less than $3).'

An LTA spokesman said the new requirement was to ensure that cardholders had enough value in their cards to exit the MRT gate, even for the longest trip.

By removing the $3 travel deposit, the full value of the new card can also be used for non-transit purposes.

The spokesman explained: 'To illustrate the use of the card for non-transit applications, an existing ez-link cardholder whose card has a total value of $7 ($4 stored value and $3 travel deposit) won't be able to buy a $6.85 McDonald's Big Mac meal even though the card's full balance is more than sufficient to cover the cost of the meal.

'This is because only $4 of the card's stored value can be used to pay for the meal, as the $3 travel deposit can only be used for travel on trains and buses.'

With the new card, commuters can use the full value to pay for non-transit transactions, for instance the McDonald's meal.

The spokesman said alert messages will pop up on the card reader when the card value is low.

'With this alert feature, commuters would, on average, be alerted at least three times (starting from $5) to top-up their cards before their card value reaches the minimal required value for travel,' she said.

Not all commuters find the new requirement an inconvenience though.

Student Yeo Ming Qiang Ivan, 25, said: 'It's a bit weird that there's an amount there but you can't use it (on trains). But I guess I'll get used to it.'

The new ez-link card was launched on 9 Jan. Since then, more than 1.6 million old cards have been replaced. The old ez-link card can no longer be used after 30 Sep.

From The New Paper, "New EZ-Link Card: Users unhappy with 'no travel deposit' feature".

Kwong Hou Sua Teochew Cemetery

I wondered if anyone read yesterday’s Straits Times about the Teochew cemetery.

The print edition has a little note about notable people who were buried there and one of them is Mr Seah Eu Chin.

One of the street within Tiong Bahru Estate was named after him.

(See previous post : Seah Eu Chin)

In case you are unaware, Mr Seah is also the brother in law of Mr Tan Seng Poh, one of the 4 richest Teochew in Singapore at that time.

In fact, Mr Tan is a brother in law twice over to Mr Seah as two of Tan's sisters were married to Mr Seah.

One of the main street in Tiong Bahru, Seng Poh Road, was named after Mr Tan.

The Straits Times Interactive did not have the snippet on Mr Seah but the printed version has. I forgot to scan it before giving my newspapers away. Sigh.

Anyway, since Tiong Bahru was located next to a huge cemetery before it was turned into a housing estate, I am inserting the story here for everyone’s reading pleasure.

The same rites were probably performed when the graves were exhumed about 100 years ago.

For more stories and pictures of the Kwong Hou Sua Teochew Cemetery, please click here : Blog; Pictures


The Straits Times
By K. C. Vijayan & Carolyn Quek
Feb 23, 2009

A family burning offerings before proceeding to the burial grounds at Kwong Hou Sua Teochew Cemetery to pay their respects to their ancestors before the exhumation.-- ST PHOTOS: DESMOND FOO

Teochew graveyard's buried treasures

Exhumation allows reconstruction of community's history

THE last Teochew cemetery here is yielding up a treasure trove of secrets as its graves are being exhumed.

As the land on which the 150-year-old Kwong Hou Sua Teochew Cemetery sits is being prepared for redevelopment, researchers from here and abroad have descended on it to attempt a reconstruction of the lives of the early Teochews here.

Among the artefacts unearthed and documented, with the permission of the families of the deceased, are jade bangles of the Qing Dynasty era, stacks of paper money and remnants of courtly robes that once draped the corpses.

Also found are jade beads with insignias seen on hats like those worn by Qing Dynasty officials.

Dr Hui Yew-Foong of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies explained that many of the Chinese elite here brought their official titles from the Qing government of the day and used these titles on their tombstones. So tombstones bearing such inscriptions were likely to have artefacts buried in the grave.

While Dr Hui has been documenting the gravestones' inscriptions, Dr Gan Su-Lin and a Republic Polytechnic (RP) team have been trying to piece together a social history of the Teochews here.

Among those buried in this cemetery are Singapore's first ambassador to Thailand Tan Siak Kew and a prominent rice merchant in the early 1900s, Mr Chen He Qu, who was the grandfather of famed Singapore-born artist Chen Ke Zhan, 50.

Mr Chen He Qu is of particular interest to another researcher on the site, Professor Choi Chi Cheung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Prof Choi, whose interests are in business history and popular religion, has been tracing the Chen family's regional business network for nearly 20 years.

The graves have also drawn the Genealogical Society of Utah, which is working with Dr Hui to document the family histories of overseas Chinese going back more than a century.

They are looking to publish the collected data to add to knowledge on the genealogy of overseas Chinese.

The cemetery, sited along Woodlands Road, is being exhumed in two phases:

The first phase last year cleared more than 1,900 graves to make way for the new Downtown Line MRT depot; the ongoing second phase will clear another 1,020 burial plots spread over a 70,000-sq m hilly area.

Burials in this second area, considered 'prime estate' because of the positive fengshui of the hill, began in 1929 and continued till the late 1970s.

Ms Diana Soh, who is on the RP team, said: 'The higher on the hill the grave was, the greater the wealth and status of the deceased.'

She noted that the graves on the upper parts of the hill were spaced farther apart and were bigger, often with space for the family clan, while the plots lower down sat 'cheek by jowl'.

When the Singapore Land Authority completes Phase 2 of the exhumation by June, all unclaimed remains will be put into storage for three years by the National Environment Agency, after which they will be scattered at sea.

About 55 per cent of the graves have been claimed by the descendants of the deceased, of which 47 per cent have opted for public exhumation, which begins today.

In a public exhumation, the Government removes and cremates the remains and then lodges the ashes in a columbarium.

The family is kept informed.

The families of Mr Tan Siak Kew and Mr Chen He Qu are among the 8 per cent who have opted for private exhumations.

They do so to keep the grave away from the public eye and also to find out what their ancestors had buried with them.

Private exhumations also enable the family to relocate the remains in accordance with the best fengshui timing.

For the researchers, the work is arduous, and progress, piecemeal.

Their first stop is with the descendants of the deceased.

But the fact that it was customary for Chinese gentlemen to use different names through their lives or one name in life and another at death complicates matters.

For example, Dr Gan found that Mr Chen is listed as Chen He Qu on his tombstone, but when he was alive, he called himself Chen You Tang (or Tan Yew Tng in the Teochew dialect) in correspondence.

For business dealings, he was Chen Ken Gou or Tan Kheng Khor, which had been variously spelled as Tan Kheng Keoh, Tan Keng Kok, Tan Keng Khor, Tan Kheng Khoh, and Tan Khing Koh.

That this was a member of the Teochew elite is not in doubt: His grave sits on a high point on the hill, which is supposed to augur good luck for his descendants, said Dr Hui.

The grave has a half-moon shaped pond in front of it and a mound to represent a hill at its rear, in accordance with good fengshui.

Before the flats of Woodlands housing estate rose, the grave would have had a clear view of the Johor Strait.

This was, after all, the final resting place of a man who had a prominent regional import-export business in rice that survived for more than 150 years.

Hong Kong-based Danny Chin, who heads the Asia office of the Genealogical Society of Utah, said the aim is to document all the inscriptions in the cemetery's tombstones in digital photographs to form a source for future researchers.

He is getting help from more than 100 volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints here for the task.

Artist Chen Ke Zhan holds an umbrella for his uncle Tan Song Keow, who is carrying an urn bearing the remains of the artist's grandfather, at Thong Tek Temple


The Straits Times
By Carolyn Quek
Feb 23, 2009

Caretaker Chong K.E. had been working at the Kwong Hou Sua Cemetery since she was young. Here, she is helping clean up a tombstone. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Keepers of the graves and tradition

MADAM K. E. Chong, 59, squats in front of a grey tombstone, scrubbing at the smudged paint of its Chinese inscription.

A middle-aged couple wait beside her, hoping she will be able to give them the name of the village in Shantou, China, where the man's grandfather was born.

The couple also want to replicate the inscription at the place where their ancestor's remains will rest after his grave is exhumed.

Madam Chong comes through and gives them the information they need. She has helped many families in this way since the start of the exhumation of Kwong Hou Sua Teochew Cemetery.

'If you give me a name, I will know which grave you are looking for,' said the cemetery caretaker, who has been at this job since she was nine.

She is among the fewer than 10 caretakers who have tended to the 3,000 graves there.

Some of them hold a second job, but all return during the Qing Ming Festival to help families paying their respects to their ancestors - such as by repainting tombstone inscriptions, cutting the grass or even helping the families to locate the graves.

For these caretakers, tending to the cemetery is more than just a job - it is about upholding a family tradition.

Madam Chong, for instance, is a third-generation caretaker in her family.

Fellow caretaker Ng Choon Hai, 72, has been at the job for almost 60 years.

His father did the same job, as did his brother, and now, his nephew.

Like most cemetary caretakers, his and Madam Chong's families lived on the site.

They are called to duty even in the dead of night, which is when private exhumations take place.

They do not mind the hours, nor are they spooked.

As Madam Chong said: 'What's there to be afraid of?

I used to live next to these graves.

The people buried here are like family to me.'

Mr Ng said the families used to pay him $3 to $4 to tend to the graves, 'very big money then'.

Now the going rate is $30 to $40, but fewer families visit the graves now, so he moonlights as a taxi driver.

Madam Chong said she would rather tend to the graves than do her other job of selling handbags in air-conditioned department stores.

She said of her outdoor 'office', laughing: 'I feel carefree here, there's no one to mind me.

You know, I can be very unrefined.

But I have to talk softly when I sell bags. I can't be myself.'

With the cemetery making room for development, her life-long job will soon be no more.

She said: 'When this place is gone, I'll miss it.'

Besides the caretakers, officials from the Singapore Land Authority have also been on hand to ensure the exhumation goes smoothly for the families.

Where did you go, my Singapore of old?

The Straits Times (Forum)
Feb 24, 2009

I AM a 45-year-old Singaporean much in love with this country, which I am proud to call home.

Over the years, I have visited a few other beautiful countries, but I cannot see myself living anywhere else but in Singapore.

However, as much as I call Singapore my home, there is almost nothing of it I can connect to when I try to look back in memory.

A few weeks ago, I decided to drive my parents around to revisit places to try to recapture the fond memories of our earlier years.

There was almost no place familiar left to go.

Almost everything has been eradicated.

It was a sad morning.

I am sure, to the zealots of change and development, this means nothing at all, and others may say people like me are like a broken record (nostalgia) that gets stuck and plays the same thing over and over, but I feel it is very sad.

The little we have left is also about to go: the last kampung in Buangkok, the New Seventh Storey Hotel and so on.

Who needs the kampung in Buangkok when there is the shiny plastic version in Geylang Serai, right?

After all, it is clean, safe and pristine.

With reference to last Monday's letter by Ms Lisa Healey-Cunico, 'Let Singapore shape itself naturally', I fully agree that Singapore has lost much of its soul.

It truly seems we have an unquenchable need to wipe out and develop anything and everything.

Alternatively, if a place is deemed worthy of heritage, redevelopment sets in with the original tenants, who contributed to the colour of the place, removed because of high rent and commercialisation.

Maybe I am just getting old, but I would like to be able to visit some places in Singapore with nothing added but a few coats of paint over the years.

I resort to flea markets for photocopy pictures sold at three for $10.

I used these to share old stories with my parents and daughters.

That is all there is.

Needless to say, one of my favourite haunts is Sungei Road.

I am certain it is already in someone's plans for eradication.

I appeal to whoever can make the difference, please leave some things as they are.

I love you, Singapore, but I fear I do not remember you.

Vincent Paul Carthigasu

Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings.
All rights reserved. Privacy Statement & Condition of Access

I came across this letter from Vincent Paul Carthigasu in the Forum section of the Straits Times today and I thought it is a good reminder to everyone that we need some memory markers to help us feel belonged.

If you are subscribed to the Straits Times Interactive, you would be able to read some of the comments. Some of the comments are thought provoking while some are just frivolous.

I'm reproducing some of them here for us to read.


In the 1970s, what remained of the 1950s Singapore?
In the 1950s, what remained of the 1930s Singapore?
...In the 1830s, what remained of Singapore before Raffles?

Even for first-generation buildings - the land itself had something else before the first-gen buildings came up.

It's not that I don't value and appreciate old buildings, I do like revisiting "old city" locations in Singapore as well as in other cities around the world.

Many have nice designs, and unlike modern buildings that depend on airconditioning etc., many of the older buildings were designed for natural ventilation and to benefit from natural lightings - an environmentally friendly feature sadly neglected, even though newer buildings do have better indoor plumbings and waste disposal etc.

The point I am raising to those who reminisce fondly of sights that were common in their younger days is that during their younger days, there were already changes that occurred, and there were changes that were taking place, albeit at a much slower rate or smaller scale compared to today.

What we really missed is what we had became familiar with, not necessarily the original.

The secondary school building I attended in the 1980s was not the school's original campus, the original site was at Bras Basah.

The school had since moved to yet another campus at Bishan.In the same way I missed my old campus, despite the new one being supposedly bigger and better, I suppose the students before my time would have missed the original building too.

One person's Singapore of old is not necessarily another person's Singapore of old.
Posted by: coolbeagle at Tue Feb 24 10:49:50 SGT 2009


It's true, all we have now is all new buldings etc. The old 'buildings' by Changi Road are all gone now, even my family and I went back to where we used to live in the 70s, that too has diminished. Only when we visit Malaka, we feel "at home" cos nothing much has changed there.
Posted by: NonaSings at Tue Feb 24 10:11:11 SGT 2009


Singapore govt are visionaries....They have seen the future...and the future does not permit old houses. The future only include spaceships and highscrappers.....
Posted by: luvmibiz at Tue Feb 24 09:47:31 SGT 2009


No development = no injection of cash from govt = no contracts = no jobs = no money = society unrest = problems for govt.Hopefully this gives u an idea why nothing is spared
Posted by: weischin at Tue Feb 24 09:33:19 SGT 2009

CapitaLand pays staff bonuses in shopping vouchers

Interesting. Shopping vouchers as a bonus. Want to guess the shopping vouchers are of which shopping centers'? Heh. Shall we see the vouchers being auctioned in eBay anytime soon?

CapitaLand , Southeast Asia's largest developer and Singapore's biggest mall operator, will pay part of its managers' bonuses this year in shopping vouchers.

"Staff will receive shopping vouchers in March, and the amounts range from S$750 to S$10,000," a CapitaLand spokeswoman said. "About S$1 million worth of vouchers will be distributed in total."

CapitaLand earlier this month said it will raise around S$1.84 billion via a rights issue after reporting an 88 percent slump in fourth-quarter net profit due to weaker sales in Australia and China.

From Yahoo! News, "CapitaLand pays staff bonuses in shopping vouchers".

nooka sightings: big sean

thanks to mike for the heads up. here's a post with a free mp3 from kanye west's blog, and big sean is wearing an über-rare garbege nooka! original post is here.

info on the collab featured here.

nooka press: mono magazine japan

really great press from japan. published since 1982, "mono" is japanese for "thing/object" and their focus has slowly been shifting from general goods to more 'design' products. i am very honored to be included as one of 118 designers presenting one new product for their 600th anniversary issue [i am designer #93 on page 42]!

clear zub featured can be found here.

U & I

Here’s a corny line:

We cannot spell Tiong Bahru without u & i.

Corny as it is, it does have some truth within that statement, isn’t it?

Here’s one more corny variation:

Tiong Bahru is incomplete without u & i.

Why Green Glass?

Kelvin Ang has just set up a blog on Tiong Bahru.

Check this out at :

Click on to the picture to get to his Blog about the Green Stained Glass commonly found within the Tiong Bahru Estate.

(Getting rarer and rarer by the years)

Celest Chong: "I'm ugly but not as poor as you"

The things a star may say & view it as...what, sarcastic?! And it worked? Yeah, sure!

REMEMBER Celest Chong?

Modelling, acting, singing, radio DJ - the 36-year-old has done it all.

Leggy Singaporean Celest was a regular fixture on the local entertainment scene until she left Mediacorp in 2005.

After her departure, she dipped her feet into the Taiwanese entertainment industry - and got a real shock.

In an interview with The New Paper, the naturally-tanned actress recounted the venomous remarks she had to put up with when she moved to Taiwan.

'All sorts of verbal abuse were hurled at me. I've been told things like 'you're so dark!' and 'you can't even speak Mandarin well'. It was a real culture shock.

'But you learn how to deal with them. You have to retort with sarcastic remarks like 'I'm ugly but not as poor as you.' Then you suddenly find yourself a best friend in the person who yelled at you first.

'It was inevitable that I was bullied. Everyone became territorial - they think that a foreigner is vying for a piece of their livelihood.'

Despite the negativity, she managed some limited success.

There, she released her third album, Snowflakes (2005), and played a reporter in C'est La Vie (2006) which also starred Taiwanese actor Lin Youwei.

After 1 1/2 years, Celest packed her bags for China, where she spent two years involved in several projects.

She moved back to Singapore last January due to a family emergency.

Viewers can soon see her on television again as she stars in Channel 5's new English drama serial, Red Thread, which starts on April 7.

The single actress also revealed that she has been reading Hollywood scripts, but does not want to 'you know, say two lines and die', and fade into oblivion'.

She also said she has been offered a hosting gig on an online Canadian variety show, but wants to deliberate on it.

Celest is in no hurry to accept more projects, and she just wants to 'take it easy'.

From Straits Times, "I was insulted in Taiwan".

LECTURE @ National Gallery: Reframing Slavery

Dr. Krista Thompson to Present 2009 Edna Manley Memorial Lecture on Thursday, March 5 at the National Gallery of Jamaica

The Edna Manley Foundation, in association with the Edna Manley College and the National Gallery of Jamaica, is pleased to present its 2009 Edna Manley Memorial Lecture, Reframing Slavery: Photography, History, and Re(Memory) by Krista Thompson. The lecture will take place at the National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston Mall, on Thursday, March 5, 2009, starting at 2:30 pm. A reception will follow at the end of the lecture.

The Edna Manley Foundation was established shortly after Edna Manley's death in 1987, as a foundation dedicated to her artistic legacy, in terms of her own work and her broader role in Jamaican art. The Foundation is also dedicated to the broader development of art in Jamaica and to stimulating intellectual discourse on the subject. Its activities include, among others, the organization of an annual Edna Manley Memorial Lecture, which is featured during Edna Manley Week, the Edna Manley College's annual founders' week. While the inaugural lecture focused on aspects of Edna Manley's life and work, this year's lecture will cast a broader look at Caribbean culture and history.

Krista Thompson's Reframing Slavery lecture examines how photographs from the late nineteenth century inform visual memory in Jamaica and in the Anglophone Caribbean more generally. It explores how, despite photography's invention as slavery was being abolished in the English speaking territories, historians often use photographs from the post-slavery period to represent slavery. While this occludes aspects of the history of slavery from view, it also brings into focus African Diasporic ways of remembering. Indeed, the transposition of slavery and the late nineteenth century in some historical accounts seems to aptly capture what Toni Morrison characterizes as "re-memory" among enslaved Africans and their descendants, the ruptures in space and time, the ever-presentness of the past, that are intrinsic to the memory of slavery and to the formation of the African Diaspora more generally.

Krista A. Thompson is Assistant Professor of Art History at Northwestern University and the author of An Eye for the Tropics (2006), an examination of the colonial imaging of the Anglophone Caribbean in photographs and its effects on landscape, history, race, governmentality, and contemporary art. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History and Cultural Studies from Emory University. A Getty Foundation postdoctoral fellow (2008-2009), she is currently working on a book titled The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Practice on the intersections among black vernacular forms of photography, performance, and contemporary art in the Caribbean and the United States. Her writings have appeared in American Art, The Drama Review, and Small Axe.

The Edna Manley Memorial Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Veerle Poupeye, at 929-2350-2 @ extension 2117, mobile 579-8282 or

-contributed by Veerle Poupeye

Blog Archive