Certificate of Debaptism from National Secular Society -- the ultimate Christian exercise of 'free will'?

You may now debaptise yourself by downloading the "Certificate of Debaptism" here. One UK-based organization called, National Secular Society is very serious about it (It's a creative business idea too! Especially with more than 100,000 Britons have so far purchased the certificate. Heh.)

More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.

The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster which triggered protests by proclaiming "There's probably no God."

"We now produce a certificate on parchment and we have sold 1,500 units at three pounds (4.35 dollars, 3.20 euros) a pop," said NSS president Terry Sanderson, 58.

John Hunt, a 58-year-old from London and one of the first to try to be "de-baptised," held that he was too young to make any decision when he was christened at five months old.

The male nurse said he approached the Church of England to ask it to remove his name. "They said they had sought legal advice and that I should place an announcement in the London Gazette," said Hunt, referring to one of the official journals of record of the British government.

So that's what he did -- his notice of renouncement was published in the Gazette in May 2008 and other Britons have followed suit.

Michael Evans, 66, branded baptising children as "a form of child abuse" -- and said that when he complained to the church where he was christened he was told to contact the European Court of Human Rights.

The Church of England said its official position was not to amend its records. "Renouncing baptism is a matter between the individual and God," a Church spokesman told AFP.

"We are not a 'membership' church, and do not keep a running total of the number of baptised people in the Church of England, and such totals do not feature in the statistics that we regularly publish," he added.

De-baptism organisers say the initiative is a response to what they see as increasing stridency from churches -- the latest last week when Pope Benedict XVI stirred global controversy on a trip to AIDS-ravaged Africa by saying condom use could further spread of the disease.

"The Catholic Church is so politically active at the moment that I think that is where the hostility is coming from," said Sanderson. "In Catholic countries there is a very strong feeling of wanting to punish the church by leaving it."

In Britain, where government figures say nearly 72 percent of the population list themselves as Christian, Sanderson feels this "hostility" is fuelling the de-baptism movement.

Theologian Paul Murray at Durham University disagrees. "That is not my experience," he said, but concedes that change is in the air.

"We are in an interesting climate where Catholicism and other belief systems have moved into the public, pluralist arena, alongside secularists," he said.

De-baptism movements have already sprung up in other countries.

In Spain, the high court ruled in favour of a man from Valencia, Manuel Blat, saying that under data protection laws he could have the record of his baptism erased, according to a report in the International Herald Tribune.

Similarly, the Italian Union of Rationalists and Agnostics (UAAR) won a legal battle over the right to file for de-baptism in 2002, according to media reports. The group's website carries a "de-baptism" form to facilitate matters.

According to UAAR secretary Raffaele Carcano, more than 60,000 of these forms have been downloaded in the past four years and continue to be downloaded at a rate of about 2,000 per month. Another 1,000 were downloaded in one day when the group held its first national de-baptism day last October 25.

Elsewhere, an Argentinian secularist movement is running a "Collective Apostasy" campaign, using the slogan "Not in my name" (No en mi nombre).

Sanderson hopes rulings in other European countries will pave the way for legal action in Britain, since European Union directives require a level of parity among member states' legislation.

"That would be a good precedent for us to say to the British Information Commissioner: Come on, what's your excuse?" said Sanderson.

The bus-side posters that hit London in January sported the message: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

The scheme was in response to pro-Christian adverts on buses directing passers-by to a website warning those who did not accept Jesus would suffer for eternity in hell.

Comedy writer Ariane Sherine, mastermind of the British bus campaign that saw a copycat version in Barcelona and other cities, said she backs the "de-baptism" movement but insisted the two initiatives were separate.

Sanderson meanwhile remains resolute. "The fact that people are willing to pay for the parchments shows how seriously they are taking them," he said.

From Yahoo! News, "100,000 secular Britons seek 'de-baptism'".

Caught in action: A Traffic Police officer worsens congestion

The photos said it all (screenshot below). Darn. Although it may be just a little misunderstanding that a taxi driver was actually taking a shot of the vehicles involved in the accident (you know, for the 4D thing) & he ended up snapping the photo of the traffic officer lady who anyhow "parked her vehicle in the middle of the road and obstructed traffic".

Asiaone, "Traffic Police officer worsens congestion"

Searching for Jollywood

I am among many persons concerned about or at least curious about the lack of a thriving film industry. We want so much to have the tangible evidence of the creativity and richness of our storytelling tradition in that most glamorous and cool of cultural industries. We are proud of the handful of critically acclaimed films but we still wonder what can be done to jumpstart the way. Many in the authority roles in the country have tried form starting film festivals, holding forums and conferences, sponsoring proportionately big budget productions, funding training camps. inviting the many film industry professionals from the US and UK, who are often expected to breathe life into our feeble infant of an industry by waving a magical stick. I thought maybe Jamaica's film industry cannot start as an industry, maybe we shouldn't yearn for a type of Jamaican version of Hollywood. Our Jollywood maybe found perhaps in the cheap tools and technologies that many have around us and take for granted. Maybe we shouldn't look to others for that million dollar budget, maybe we could start in our own back yard, in small rooms, in our spare time, just go for it. Be it bad or rude or crude it perhaps should just start from anyone interested. Our Jollywood will most certainly start from the underbelly, the unschooled or schooled but definitely the passionate. Who says that we need to know and use a particular way, lets build our own way or work on using the mainstream way in our own way. I recently watched 'Be Kind Rewind' and felt how great that would be for us to inspire any kind of attempt at social change, recording personal histories,engaging our culture and imagination through something like grass roots films, animations etc. If we don't know how to or what to do first or even have already tried I invite you to use this blog and our Google group forum as the place to network and share ideas and air what you have, call for participants etc. Ask a question and hopefully you can find an answer.
One group of students from Northern Caribbean University students have already released a few films online and have been building a following on YouTube. I present The 'Revenge of Hurricane Tongue'

house in Daybed Magazine

Vol.79 March '09

CIMB urges its staff to take (up to) 6-month unpaid leave--but not the senior management!

(Because CIMB senior management are required to evaluate the 'request' of those employees who are applying for such leave. Makes sense. I'm sure the senior management are seething for not being able to lead by example--that is, to take such unpaid leave to motivate their staff.)

The CIMB Investment Bank has presence in 9 countries: Bahrain, Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom and USA. I'd love to learn about how well the CIMB employees in all these 9 countries react to the so-called Staff Rejuvenation Programme.

A 6-month unpaid leave may seem a dream come true...for those who desperately need to take a break & can well afford it.

Or a nightmare for those employees who take up the offer due to the sheer peer pressure. (I'm taking up to 6-month paid leave! Why not you too? Don't spoil market leh!)

To have this program is well accepted, perhaps there should be some reward system introduced. For those who are willing to help CIMB to cut cost with their sacrifice (of taking those unpaid leave), they should be recognized & rewarded with something. I'll leave the management of CIMB to think of the reward system (I have no vested interest in CIMB so I don't really have the need to help this organization too much. Hur hur.)

Malaysia'S top investment bank, CIMB, on Monday urged its staff to go on unpaid leave for up to six months in a move to cut costs because of the global economic downturn.

CIMB Group chief executive Nazir Razak said the offer to its 36,000 staff was aimed at avoiding layoffs and would involve employees across nine countries, including Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, the national news agency Bernama reported.

'We don't have a target, but there will be cost savings,' Mr Nazir said. 'It's a positive move and a win-win situation.' He added that in the current economic situation, 'it is fully understood that there is spare capacity'.

Any employee in the group is eligible for the initiative - called the Staff Rejuvenation Programme - and the option would be granted after evaluation by senior management, said Mr Nazir.

CIMB officials confirmed his comments and said the unpaid-leave programme will start next month. The move, however, will not affect the group's operations as leave is subject to approval and the company can recall the staff when necessary, officials said.

CIMB, the country's second-largest bank, is the first major Malaysian company to ask staff to consider taking unpaid leave.

The surprise move comes just after a labour group said on Sunday that more than 26,000 people have lost their jobs in the country so far this year.

CIMB's move reflects increasing difficulties for Malaysian corporations as the country faces the prospect of its first recession in a decade.

The government said earlier this month it expects the economy will grow 1 per cent in the best-case scenario this year and shrink 1 per cent in the worst-case scenario.

It had previously forecast growth of 3.5 per cent.

Economists have warned that the RM67 billion (S$28 billion) of stimulus measures announced by the government recently may be insufficient to avoid a recession.

From Straits Times, "Take 6-mth unpaid leave".

good news on the rehomed, the sterilised and the released

the rehomed
ah ma's conjunctivitis kitties grow from this,

to this.

afiq (in the background) has a squinty eye while putri has a cloudy eye. still, they are in the care of a loving extended family so it's as good as it gets. their siblings are faring just as well, one as a royal family pet and one with a mummy inspired to greater cat welfare volunteerism.

the sterilised
just out of surgery but look at him go. popped out of his picnic basket for a merry-go-round in mario's moving taxi.

wonder what the people in the car behind make of this.

safely back in a more secured cage but still acting up, shredding the newspapers and lying on his back in defiance.

the woman had a bit of luck catching this one. he walked right up looking for food. but now, we are so waiting to let this constant whiner back out where you belong.

the released
auntie's released cats are doing fine. they get plenty of food and cat auntie company (definitely more than one, including the woman).

although one ginger with a knotted tail seems to be losing out in the pack. she bolts when she sees the woman and doesn't get to the food fast enough when it is left out. hope she gets her groove soon.

"What I Learned from Dating 100 Men"

Perseverence combined with a healthy dose of positive thinking. She has it all when she was dating--at least--100 men...within 6 months. Believe it or not, you decide.

New Creation Church is very GENEROUS: 1 employee was paid between $500,001 - $550,00 and 2 were paid between $150,001 - $200,000!

I don't really know about this New Creation Church. Sure there's a Wikipedia article, titled "New Creation Church (Singapore)" dedicated for this religious organization. And not to mention the official website of New Creation Church elegantly designed & very informative, I must admit.

In addition, I do recall quite a recent news about how $19 million were raised for the construction of its new premises at Buona Vista in less than 24 hours! Fantastic. The generosity of the New Creation Church members is simply beyond this world. Good for them (especially the Church)!

Today I come across about how in its last financial year, one employee of the New Creation Church was paid $500,000 (or as the news stated: between $500,001 and $550,000.) Another article mentions about two employees were paid between $150,001 and $200,000.

Perhaps generosity does beget generosity. A pity that New Creation Church's website does not have an advertisement for a job vacancy. I'd love to consider joining them. Of course, man does not live by bread alone, but it helps, doesn't it?

The New Creation Church, which made headlines for raising $19 million on one Sunday last month for its upcoming multi-million dollar building, pays good money to its staff too.

The independent church paid one employee between $500,001 and $550,000 in its last financial year, checks by The Straits Times showed.

The church did not confirm if the amount went to its leader, Senior Pastor Joseph Prince, but told The Straits Times that its policy is to 'recognise and reward key contributors to the church and Senior Pastor Prince is the main pillar of our church's growth and revenue'.

From Asiaone, "$500,000 pay for New Creation Church employee".

More details can be found in this article by MSN.
A Singapore-based church paid one of its leaders more than 500,000 dollars (329,000 US) in its last financial year, a report said Monday.

The New Creation Church, which raised 19 million Singapore dollars in just one day in February for the construction of its new premises, paid one employee between 500,001 and 550,000 dollars in the financial year ended March 31, 2008, the Straits Times said.

It said the church did not confirm if the money was paid to its leader, Senior Pastor Joseph Prince.

But New Creation's honorary secretary, Deacon Matthew Kang, was quoted by the newspaper as saying it was the church's policy to "recognise and reward key contributors... and Senior Pastor Prince is the main pillar of our church's growth and revenue."

Kang also described Prince as "the key man responsible for bringing in about 95 percent of our church's income," and added "he has enriched the church and not the other way around."

Two other employees of the church were paid between 150,001 and 200,000 dollars, but no names were given, the report said.

One of Singapore's fastest growing churches, New Creation had an income of 55.4 million dollars and net assets of 143.36 million dollars in its last financial year, according to its website.

Singapore is a predominantly ethnic Chinese society with deep Buddhist and Taoist traditions, but Christians here are known as a devout, close-knit and relatively affluent community.

From MSN.com, "Singapore church pays princely sum to leader: report".

openers japan article march

i write a monthly article for the fabulous openers online magazine in japan, and for march, i was out of ideas on how to write another article that encapsulates fashion/design and my world with a focus on NYC when i hardly leave my apartment or office when here in NYC! an idea came to me after lunch with my friend yoko in february when i turned 44 on the theme of how we all have uniforms whether we're aware of it or not, and how my uniform has shifted over the years from artist to graphic designer, and is now getting more fashion insider. i know it can read as shameless self promotion, which is actually fine – there's nothing wrong with my look as a branding project. post in japanese here.

nooka is available at fine stores and here. remember, you get a free copy of deastro's keepers with every nooka.com order while supplies last.

join nooka and love nooka on facebook and nooka_ on twitter.

3rd death in NTU: a research fellow hit by a car

Death becomes, uhm, NTU? (Strange the title of this movie, "Death Becomes Her" comes to mind.)

The victim was said to be a research fellow in the School of EEE--the same faculty from which David Hartanto Widjaja (the final year student who fell to his death after allegedly stabbed his lecturer Professor Chan Kap Luk) & Zhou Zheng (the project officer who was reported to be found hanged in a staff apartment) was studying and/or working respectively.

I guess that's all the similarity about. For sure it won't be sufficient for people to speculate & conjure a incredible tale about the deaths. Unless the car driver has something to do with the first two tragedies--however, we shouldn't think that way especially with the lack of details about the car driver. Who was he? Did he stop after hitting the victim? Why was he not mentioned at all in the article?

Another death of a person linked to Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has occurred, making it the third in 25 days.

Last Friday, Mr Hu Kunlun, 29, a research fellow in the Division of Control and Instrumentation from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE), was killed when he was hit by a car.

According to a report in the Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao, the China national was on his way to work that morning. He was believed to have started work less than a year ago.

A car hit him when he was crossing Pioneer Road North to catch a bus.

He was rushed to the National University Hospital in an ambulance and pronounced dead at 11.20am.

His family has been contacted and will arrive in Singapore tomorrow.

NTU declined to comment on the incident, telling The Sunday Times that the death is not the same as the two that occurred previously.

On March 2, an Indonesian EEE student stabbed his professor before falling to his death.

A few days later, a 24-year-old project officer, a China national who was also from EEE, was found hanged in the balcony of his campus apartment.

From Straits Times, "Another NTU death".

Update on 30/03: The New Paper reveals more details about the accident.

Dr Hu Kunlun, 29, was killed in a traffic accident around 9am on Friday.

A research fellow with Nanyang Technological University's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering's (EEE) Division of Control and Instrumentation, Dr Hu was on his way back to campus when the accident took place.

According to witnesses, Dr Hu, who is from China, was waiting to cross Pioneer Road North towards a bus stop on the other side.

As he was waiting for the traffic to clear, a service 179 bus arrived at the bus stop.

Dr Hu then dashed across the road to catch the bus.

But just as he stepped off the road divider, he was hit by a red car.

A witness, deliveryman Lin Yaoming, 50, told Lianhe Wanbao: 'Only bus service 179 serves the bus stop. I saw a man rush across the road as the bus arrived. A red Mazda couldn't stop in time and hit him.'

Service 179 plies between Boon Lay Interchange and the NTU campus.

Mr Lin said that as the car hit Dr Hu, his head smashed into its windscreen.

He then rolled over the car's roof and fell in the middle of the road, behind the car. He was bleeding from his head.

Dr Hu was wearing a red and white shirt and jeans, and was carrying a backpack.

Backpack flung 10m

Another witness said he spotted a badminton racket jutting out of the backpack, which was flung about 10m away. The racket landed on a nearby grass patch.

Mr Lin added that the driver of the red Mazda looked like a man in his 30s, and there was a female passenger with him.

Both left the car and rushed to check on Dr Hu, looking shocked.

Passers-by also helped to call the police and for an ambulance.

Dr Hu was taken to the National University Hospital, but he died at 11.20am.

His death comes after those of Mr David Hartanto Widjaja, 21, a final-year student at the School, and Mr Zhou Zheng, 24, an NTU project officer.

The former, an Indonesian, stabbed his project supervisor, Associate Professor Chan Kap Luk, before falling five floors to his death.

Mr Zhou, a Chinese national from Hubei, was found hanging in the balcony of his apartment at NTU five days after the first incident.

Yesterday morning, several of Dr Hu's friends and colleagues, as well as two officers from NTU, were at the mortuary to identify the body.

They said Dr Hu's family has been informed. They are making travel arrangements and are expected to arrive in Singapore tomorrow.

A male colleague told Lianhe Wanbao that Dr Hu, who was single and a native of China's Jiangxi province, joined NTU three months ago.

He added that his colleagues have been feeling very sombre since they received the news and that he would not comment any further.

Police said the accident is under investigation.

From The New Paper, "NTU research fellow killed in accident".

Ping.sg cheater feat. "howcomeyouarehere" (still cheating in ping.sg, huh?)

Let the above screenshot of the post by (one recalcitrant cheater) pingster howcomeyouarehere speaks the deed itself: 21 pongs with only 20 reads! For the clueless, it's the common case whereby the no of reads exceeding the no of pongs. At the very least, both figures may be equal.

But to have more pongs than reads can only mean 1 read is done by more than 1 pong. In short: cheating in progress. Sheesh. And this is not the first time the cheater howcomeyouarehere featured in this blog. Yes, any kind of publicity is welcomed, eh, cheater?

3rd Earth Hour: Join Anonymous_X and the world for Earth Hour!

Great minds think alike, huh, Starhub. Nudge nudge. Okay. The title is inspired by Starhub's initiative to promote Earth Hour (which will be on 28/03/09 from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm).

How Starhub does it, you wonder. Well, simply by pleading us the irreverent energy users to switch off our lights for Earth Hour. (Check out its fancy site here and here).

Simple, isn't it? And if you do click the button, "Join us", this site will appear & explains about what is Earth Hour & how Starhub participate in Earth Hour fad:

Earth Hour is an annual global initiative organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) that encourages households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour in order to raise awareness of climate change. It started in Australia in 2007, and achieved global participation in 2008.

This year, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights. It is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories, including Singapore, have pledged their support to Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

StarHub supports Earth Hour and will do our part by switching off our office lights, and dimming our StarHub Shops and Customer Service Centres on 28 March, from 8:30 - 9:30PM.

We look forward to your support for Earth Hour by doing the same.

Fantastic. I believe the period from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm is hardly a working hour for any decent offices. Perhaps there's not much difference, huh?

I reckon it's the thought that counts. An independent report from the power generation company needs to be published about how many dollars they lose due to the significant dark hour on that day. Maybe--just maybe--out of spite to the power generation company, more will be motivated to join this Earth Hour craze next year.

A noble goal...surely justifies whatever means, doesn't it?

More about Earth Hour, check this "Earth Hour" website & WWF Singapore.

Elsewhere (still in Singapore, though) this is how Earth Hour shall be celebrated.

This Saturday, check into a five-star hotel and “sleep naked”... without air-conditioning. Dine by candlelight for discounts. Get free beer. Trek to Mount Faber for a view of the city lights going out. Or check on your Blackberry how the rest of the globe is celebrating Earth Hour, which takes place at 8.30pm in Singapore.

Although it’s just the second time Earth Hour is being observed here, businesses and organisations are taking a creative approach to get the public abuzz about saving energy.

Five hotels under Hong Leong Group’s Millennium and Copthorne (M&C) umbrella —including Grand Copthorne Waterfront and M Hotel — are going beyond just switching off their facade lights. Guests and staff are encouraged to do without air conditioning for the night.

“The idea for ‘Sleep Naked’ came from the fact that many South-east Asians living in rural areas sleep with little else but a sarong,” said M&C International Limited’s chief operating officer Yim Choong Hing.

“On very hot days, much of the sarong would come off.”

And to save paper, M&C staff are promoting the cause among guests largely by old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

Elsewhere, discounts, food and the promise of fun are being rolled out — mainly to get the buzz going for a good cause, establishments told TODAY, since business is already typically brisk on Saturday nights.

Making Earth Hour “happy hour”, Marriott Hotel’s Crossroads Café is giving a free half-pint of beer for every order of a pint, while Peranakan Place’s Alley Bar, Outdoors Café and Bar and Acid Bar are offering “green” drinks like apple martinis at S$12 (usual price S$16 to S$18) all night long.

At Wisma Atria, retailers and F&B operators will offer candlelight dinners, star-gazing and acoustic music.


Guests of the InterContinental Hotels Group — the stable includes Crowne Plaza Changi Airport and Holiday Inn Atrium — will have their bills halved at some in-house restaurants during Earth Hour, provided they turn off their room lights.

But “we’re not going to go into their rooms (to check), because it has to be based on trust and environmental awareness,” said Crowne Plaza Changi Airport’s sales and marketing director Bryan Gabriel.

Diners at Four Seasons Hotel’s One-Ninety restaurant will be part of a 21-hour vigil, as 35 of its sister properties spanning Sydney to Hawaii, hold candlelight dinners. A dinner menu from S$48 will feature organic and local produce.

At Concorde Hotel (the former Le Meridien), fresh fruit, cookies and non-alcoholic drinks will be on-the-house at the hotel’s poolside, and guests will be given sparklers and entertained by a violinist and an accordionist.

“If guests stay in their rooms, they’ll have the lights, air-con and television on — how does that then support Earth Hour? So we thought, let’s have a party, let’s meet them and chat with them,” said Ms Evelyn Neo, its director of marketing communications.


For those not up to shelling out money for dinner or a hotel room, there are other fun (and innocent) things to do in the dark.

Besides the official Earth Hour events at the Botanic Gardens and the Esplanade Park, there are activities catering to nature lovers, heartlanders, students, even virtual world fans.

For the latter, Blackberry manufacturer Research in Motion has set up a dedicated mobile site for users to connect with others around the world, and to receive Earth Hour updates.

Environmental group ECO Singapore is reaching out to 30,000 households with the help of 1,200 student volunteers, with community events at five locations — the Esplanade, Zheng Hua Community Club, Hong Kah North Community Club, Bedok Community Centre and Damai Secondary School. On the cards are cultural performances and movie screenings.

Fellow eco group Nature Trekker Singapore will conduct a night walk to Mount Faber for a bird’s eye view of the city lights going out at 8.30pm.

The number of participants will be capped at 50, so as not to “disturb the lovers there”, quipped founder Ben Lee.

Fortune telling, palm-reading and star gazing will be held at the Singapore Management University’s Campus Green for students and the public, even as exams loom for some in two weeks.

SMU wanted to support the World Wide Fund for Nature and “take students’ minds off the exams” for an hour, said senior corporate communications manager Kim May.

With so much going on, there is little reason not to “switch off” at 8.30pm on Saturday. “It’s sexy, its fun and it’s the right thing to do,” said M&C’s Mr Yim.


Official events this Saturday will take place at the Botanic Gardens and Esplanade Park, courtesy of Earth Hour organiser the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature.

Pack a picnic basket and head down to the Esplanade Park for the carnival from 5pm, before counting down to the big “switch off” with WWF Singapore’s managing director Amy Ho. Local bands and DJs will continue to entertain celebrants during the hour of darkness.

At the Botanic Gardens, The Climate Project’s Singapore-based director Tony Boatman will give a presentation — based on Al Gore’s 2007 documentary An Inconvenient Truth — at the Botany Centre’s Function Hall, at 2pm. You’ll need to register as seats are limited.

The official events will be powered with biodiesel, thanks to Alpha Bio Fuel.

Other events include a candlelight reception and talk by social media groups at Tangs’ Island Café; Sacred Funk’s yoga and meditation session at Stamford Green in Fort Canning Park; and 400 volunteers lighting candles to form the phrase “We Vote Earth!” on the Formula One track adjacent to the Singapore Flyer.

A slew of corporates will do their part by switching off lights on parts of their premises, include their facades and signage, such as Cathay cineplexes, HSBC Building, Marina and Meritus Mandarin Singapore, Suntec Singapore and 29 CapitaLand Singapore properties.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Earth hour is happy hour".

Elsewhere (this time I mean it, elsewhere) Earth Hour shall be celebrated with:
- University of Calgary astrophysicists to monitor sky glow for Earth Hour

- The Coca-Cola Co. to turn off many of its signs to support “Earth Hour

- Woolworths to place specially designed bins in 46 of its national stores in which costumers may dispose of used energy-saving light bulbs, which contain mercury that can harm the environment

- Bay Bridge lights to be turned off Saturday for Earth Hour

- A Billion to go dark saturday. (Check out also EARTH HOUR PICTURES: Before & After the Lights Went Out at Brisbane, Toronto, Sydney and Perth)

Update on 27/03: Channel NewsAsia has a report about 550 corporations and 8,000 individuals sign up for Earth Hour. From the article:

It is just one day before Earth Hour takes place, and some 8,000 individuals in Singapore have pledged to switch off the lights for an hour on Saturday from 8.30pm.

The numbers fall short of the target of one million participants, but those taking part are already showing their enthusiasm for the green initiative.

Come Saturday, 1,200 volunteers will be knocking on the doors of 30,000 households to share about Earth Hour and some energy-saving tips.

A volunteer from ECO Singapore, Loy Sye Yuet, said: "We find that there's growing support from the ground and that more and more residents are actually supportive of (Earth Hour)."

Datacraft is one of some 550 companies who have registered their commitment to switch off the lights. Employees of Datacraft have been given candles for the global environment initiative.

The company also observed Earth Hour a day earlier by turning off the lights during Friday's lunch break. The bright afternoon sunlight helped minimise the use of candles.

Human resource manager of Datacraft (Singapore), Ivy Chew, said: "What we did was we drew the blinds, so that it became brighter. People felt that there was no difference, we could still continue to work as per normal. There was no disruption to the workforce... Maybe we could do this more often."

The very first Earth Hour in Sydney in 2007 saw a 10 per cent reduction in energy consumption. However, organisers here are not measuring Singapore's success by the amount of energy saved, but on raising awareness on fighting climate change.

Update on 28/03: It's reported in Channel NewsAsia about how Singapore observes Earth Hour, many buildings switch off lights for an hour. From the article:

Thousands of people across Singapore observed Earth Hour on Saturday, as individuals at home and organisations switched off their lights for an hour.

Many parts of Singapore were plunged into darkness, as the lights went off at 8.30pm Singapore time, and remained off until 9.30pm.

Earth Hour is a global initiative by the World Wide Fund for Nature to raise awareness of climate change. It is the second year that Earth Hour is being observed in Singapore.

Various hotels across the Marina Bay area switched off their lights at 8.30pm sharp.

Even the Singapore Flyer took part in observing Earth Hour this year.

The Fullerton Hotel dimmed its lights at 8.30pm sharp, while over at Raffles Place, the colourful lights outlining the Maybank building were switched off as well.

Downtown at Orchard Road, shopping malls also joined in to play their part in raising awareness of global warming and climate change.

More than 10,000 people pledged to take part in Earth Hour this year, and more than 450 businesses also said they would switch off their lights.

Earlier, on Saturday evening, hundreds of people gathered at the Esplanade Park for a picnic. Some of them told Channel NewsAsia that they were there to show support for Earth Hour, while others just wanted to have some fun.

Singapore is of one of the many countries in Asia that have joined the world in switching off its lights for 60 minutes. Altogether, some 83 countries are expected to observe Earth Hour this year.

Production Talk - 'Mosquitoes - Xiao Fu' by Ang SooKoon

Mosquitoes-Xiao Fu is a 2 part short film. mosquitoes is an animation of a short poem about missing someone. Xiao Fu is about a little girl who hangs out with her younger brother. They go about doing regular things that kids do. She also has a penpal whom she writes to, exchanging information about their lives. I was the only person filming this at the production phase. The music for mosquitoes is composed by Evan Tan and Xiao fu by Joe Ng.

Jeremy (J) : What inspired you to make this?The visuals evoke a mix of nostalgia and surrealism. What did you intend to create?
SooKoon (S) : i made the film because i miss my boyfriend, vincent. In retrospection, i think i always make my videos/films as a sort of reflection on my personal state of mind/emotion.
I think the nostalgia is evoke from the wish to have befriended vincent as kids. As for the surrealism, I guess any memory is part real, part made-up.

J : Were you shooting with a super 8 camera?

S : Yes, it's shot in super 8 to get soft tones. The natural daylight here in singapore makes colours come out too vivid, too bright which can be good for some thing but i didn't think it's good for this one.

J : It looks extremely grainy, were the images altered, modified to a great extent in post?
S : I like to tell you that it is intentional but no, i didn't alter the images. It came out grainy because i filmed and edited it. I am not so pro as a cinematographer and as an editor.
things i do come out rough. I like this style anyway. But well, on the other hand, i also try to improve technically.

J : Any interesting things happened during the production phase of this film?
S : It took one day of filming with the kids for xiao fu. The kids are very good kids and easy to work with. Nothing very interesting happened (other than, i hope, the film) We had mcdonald's in the afternoon. Mosquitoes was made entirely at home.

J : What kind of works have you done in the past and how does this comnpare to them?
S : I make videos that is a cross between video art and narrative video. Most of the time, i have an abstract or a very minimal story going on mosquitoes-xiao fu is sesame street inspired short film. Mosquitoes is made in the one of sesame street's cartoon style. I love these cartoons about alphabets and numbers. I watch them in utube if i want to feel this certain child wonder lightness of being. Xiao fu is the first time i have kids as actors. Xiao fu is named after a little chinese girl who is big bird(from sesame street)'s friend in the film, "Big Bird in China". Mosquitoes-xiao fu is similar to my other films in the sense that I try to inject a sort of otherworldliness in the simplicity of the common everyday.

J : Are you working on anything currently?

S : i am making drawings for my solo show in the substation coming sept,
along side with a sculpture which i have in mind to complete for quite some time already.

Who are the 54 most beautiful politicians?

The recent news has Eunice Olsen from Singapore ranked 9th in the list of the world's most beautiful politicians. Big news? Maybe. Considering out of the 54 so-called most beautiful politicians, there are only 5 from Asia.

Not bad. 5 out of the top 54 most beautiful politicians are Asians! Out of curiousity, I googled the Net for their images. So here are those 5 Asians' most beautiful politicians:
No.5: Yuri Fujikawa, 27, Japan

No.9: Eunice Olsen, 31, Singapore

No.27: Angelina Sondak, 32, Indonesia

No.37: Jiang Yu, 44, China

No.54: Malalai Joy, 31, Afghanistan

The complete list of the most beautiful politicians (54 of them) are as follows:
1 - Luciana Leon, 30, Peru

2 - Mercedes Aráoz 47, Peru

3 - Sara Latife Ruiz Chavez, 32, Mexico

4 - Mara Carfagna, 32, Italy

5 - Yuri Fujikawa, 27, Japan

6 - Anna-Maria Galojan, 26, Estonia

7 - Toireasa Ferris, 29, Ireland

8 - Yuliya Tymoshenko, 48, Ukraine

9 - Eunice Olsen, 31, Singapore

10 - Cayetana Álvarez, 34, Spain

11 - Vera Lischka, 31, Austria

12 - Alina Kabaev, 26, Russia

13 - Gabriela Cueva, 29, Mexico

14 - Orly Levy, 35, Israel

15 - Cristina Dia, 50, Mexico

16 - Tsepeli Nikolet, 28, Greece

17 - Marianne Thiem, 36, The Netherlands

18 - Carme Chacó, 37, Spain

19 - Pnina Rosenblum, 53, Israel

20 - Bibiana Aíd, 31, Spain

21 - Tanja Karpel, 38, Finland

22 - Julia Anastasia Bon, 23, Germany

23 - Ruhama Avraha, 44, Israel

24 - Sarah Palin, 44, United States

25 - Stefania Prestigiacom, 43, Italy

26 - Sofia Larse, 36, Sweden

27 - Angelina Sondak, 32, Indonesia

28 - Cristina Fernández de Kirchne, 56, Argentina

29 - Katrín Gunnarsdótti, 43, Iceland

30 - Soraya Sáen, 37, Spain

31 - Anastasia Michael, 33, Israel

32 - Stephanie Herseth, 38, United States

33 - Mónica Lorente Ramó, 38, Spain

34 - Hillary Clinton, 61, United States

35 - Melissa Park, 42, Australia

36 - Ségolène Roya, 55, France

37 - Jiang Yu, 44, China

38 - Freya Van den Bossch, 34, Belgium

39 - Nebahat Albayra, 40, The Netherlands

40 - Kirsten Gillibran, 43, United States

41 - Eva Glawischni, 39, Austria

42 - Sabine Herol, 27, France

43 - Hillevi Larsso, 34, Sweden

44 - Hillevi Larsso, 46, Iceland

45 - Piia-Noora Kaupp, 33, Finland

46 - Sabine Bätzin, 34, German

47 - Isabel dos Santo, Angola

48 - Penny Won, 40, Australia

49 - Kate Elli, 32, Australia

50 - Melissa Lee, New Zealand

51 - Marcela Guerra Castill, Mexico

52 - Delsa Solórzano, Venezuela

53 - Natalie Rickl, 33, Sweden

54 - Malalai Joy, 31, Afghanistan

Three top reasons for the use of foreign children for Speak Mandarin Campaign ad.

Why use foreign children for Speak Mandarin Campaign ad? Here are three reasons (I have yet to eat my breakfast, can't think fully. Would love to have at least 5 reasons, though. Heh):

1. Will it make more sense to have local Singapore Chinese children for Speak Mandarin Campaign ad? Audience might not immediately identify that the advertisement is about the campaign for speaking Mandarin. They might have thought that it's just a strange ad showing a Chinese children speaking in Mandarin.

2. With the use of foreign children, it emphasizes the fact that Mandarin is one of universal languages. In fact, the Chinese language is the most widely spoken language!

3. It will be more expensive to feature foreign adult in the ad. The children models (wait, isn't it a kind of exploitation? Well, perhaps, if they're truly paid, that is.) should cost much lesser than the adult ones'.

Anyway here's the Speak Mandarin Campaign ad from YouTube, "Speak Mandarin Campaign 2009 - Be Heard in Chinese - 讲华语运动2009: 华文?谁怕谁?"

studio visit: limité magazine

this wednesday i finally met up with the brains behind limité magazine, adrian farquharson in my nyc studio. we had a great chat and found out that we both graduated from the same high school [but no joke, different centuries!]. you can check out his tastemaker site here. note to self: green makes me look very very very pale!

i also noticed that he has a great post on the nookanooka today. thanks adrian!

the nooka adrian wears is available at fine stores and here. remember, you get a free copy of deastro's keepers with every online watch order on this link.

join nooka and love nooka on facebook and nooka_ on twitter.

some music nooz

some music news for the weekend and beyond.

michna michna michna: i can't believe michna is still on tour, but nice to see the orange zub peaking out under his signature santa claus streetwear [foto by angela dawn photography] while playing tombone. you can still catch him playing, so look for shows the following dates and cities.
Michna with Raw Paw live
3/27 Orlando, FL @ Will's Pub*
3/28 Tampa, FL @ The Honey Pot*
3/29 Jacksonville, FL @ Freebird Live*
3/30 Knoxville, TN @ World Grotto*
3/31 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In*
4/1 Tuscaloosa, AL @ Mellow Mushroom*
4/2 Birmingham, AL @ Zydeco*
4/3 Athens, GA @ Tasty World*
4/4 Brooklyn, NY (DJ Set) @ Brooklyn Museum
5/23 Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
6/18 Barcelona, Spain @ Sonar Festival
*with Eliot Lipp

deastro deastro deastro: deastro plays his very first NYC date this weekend, tonight and tomorrow night at cake shop and will release his new album. moondagger soon. news on that here. remember, you get a free copy of deastro's keepers when you buy a nooka on our e-store here.

nooka michna/adrian wears available at fine stores in your town and here. join nooka and love nooka on facebook and nooka_ on twitter.

animal hoarding in Singapore

City density does have its advantages. No animal hoarder has been left isolated and undiscovered long enough for the situation to spiral out of complete control. Usually an irate neighbour does everyone a service by blowing their horn.

Proximity to neighbours aside, it is probably also a reflection of our society that hoarders are kept from their irreversible slide from eccentricity to psychosis by their own tenuous but indissoluble family ties, and our wide-reaching government mechanisms. Their situations have hardly escalated to the kind of horror and devastation that are reported in bigger, more far-flung countries.

At least as far as we know.

Animal hoarding traits and types

Pet News Examiner Helena Sung provides an inventory of animal hoarding traits in her article What is animal hoarding? Psychological profile of a hoarder. They are used here to make a comparison of our two recent cases:

Yesterday, the Seletar Hills multi-cat home was featured in The New Paper. Are they borderline hoarders? It is hard to say without insight into their situation. But certainly the widely reported stench is worrying.

In most cases, hoarder caregivers are dealing with what the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium identifies as an Overwhelmed Caregiver. Their self-esteem is linked to their role as caregiver. They have some awareness of their situation, have problems triggered by change in circumstances and yet are unable to resolve them effectively. This could happen to any caregiver, even the woman, and this is the category that Auntie falls under.

According to a HARC report, “the overwhelmed caregiver is more likely to respond to a softer, more therapeutically-oriented approach. S/he has greater insight that the situation is out of control, and may actually find some relief at the prospect of help and downsizing.” Also, threat of action from the authorities may be sufficient to reduce the likelihood of repeat offending.

Ah Ma is trickier. She leans towards being a Rescuer Hoarder, whose mission to rescue leads to compulsion. She takes an active rather than passive role to acquisition and believes she is the only one who can care for them. She also has an extensive network of enablers - neighbourhood people who think she is the best resort to leaving kittens and cats on the street and even compensates her with little gifts and donations for her ‘work’.

If Ah Ma’s case is anything to go by, verbal persuasion, even threat of action from authorities, is unlikely to be effective with this type of hoarder. They are paranoid and they do not take kindly to criticisms. Caregivers need to spend time and energy to gain their trust, usually by injecting large doses of flattery about their compassionate nature and tireless work.

The last type of hoarder we hope never to encounter. The Exploiter Hoarder is sociopathic, lacks empathy for people and animals, lacks guilt and remorse and has a need to control.

Local animal hoarding situation

No one has as yet looked into the local animal hoarding problem in any great detail. Perhaps there are nuances unique to our society. Certainly, we need to build up a set of tried and true intervention methods that works in this country. Currently, there are at least 5 cases (update: 7 cases) surfaced and handled by caregivers. With a growing aging population, increasing uncertainty of a globalised economy and widespread breakdown in family bonds, we can expect more cases ahead.

HARC recommends a multi-disciplinary approach that focuses the law, law enforcement, animal welfare organizations health department and social service agencies on this issue.

Right here, right now, there are just HDB by-laws, eviction letters and amateur caregivers. IMH has no answer, social services have no clue. Govt agencies have but two solutions, removal of animals or removal of said person and animals. Nothing is halting the hoarder's mental deterioration nor stopping the hoarder from repeat offending, leaving little room for preventing the suffering of the animals except with the promise of death.

A preliminary guide to hoarder intervention in Singapore

Ideally, hoarders are reconnected with their families when their situation improves. This is the case with Auntie, whose sister and niece's family have come to visit after the intervention.

In Ah Ma’s case when reconciliation is a long rocky road, the burden on the befriending caregiver is a big one. As these hoarders largely fall into the elderly or needy boxes or both, it is not unreasonable to expect involvement by befrienders, social workers, psychologists and counselors to reach a shared commitment to this problem. Yet none has been forthcoming.

Until they are, we need more Jaimes and Janets in Singapore. If you think you can fit into one of the roles below, please come stand with the giants and bring hope to these lonely suffering lives, on two legs and on four.

Karen Flores at the Center: An Interview

Father's House/Beautiful Moon/Mother's House

BY JAY BAUTISTA For their gift of nurture and grace, Filipinas have always headed our government cultural institutions. The National Museum, The National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Intramuros Administration to name a few are now handled by competent and well-respected Pinays who have shown a significant progress in advancing the cause of Philippine arts and in keeping the Filipino soul of our heritage intact.

Ms. Karen O. Flores is the new Officer-in-Charge of the Visual Arts and Museo Division (VAMD) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) replacing Sid Hildawa, who passed way last year. Karen brings with her a wealth of experience to the post having been a visual artist since she graduated with the Fine Arts degree in Painting at the University of the Philippines in 1989. A known feminist artist, Karen has four solo exhibitions to her name and had international exposure in international art circles in Australia, Japan, United States, Singapore and South Korea. Locally she has been involved with local communities in Sta. Cruz in Laguna, Lipa City in Batangas, Vigan in Ilocos Sur and Negros.

A CCP 13 Artists Awardee herself in 2000, she also writes on art and artists and would be best to know the real impulse and issues facing our contemporary artists as she became part of various art collectives like Salingpusa and Sanggawa art community and recently TutoK art group. She recently received the Metrobank Award for Continuing Excellence and Service (ACES).

We checked on her how she is adjusting to her new position at the CCP and this is what she sent us though email:

We have known and admired you as both as an activist and artist, was there a need of convincing for you to work for the government or at the Cultural Center of the Philippines at that? Or it was more of someone has to step in for the artists? Looks like you have come full circle?

I remember that it was a big part of our discussions in Tutok back in the last half of 2009-- the fact that CCP has invited me to take over the visual arts office. Bogie warned me that it was going to be an excruciating choice, that I would be in effect saying goodbye to making art, that I would have little time for anything else, including my family. He is of course, very right. This is not a career move that would exactly fit right into my present life and work situation. This also meant departing abruptly from my work in TutoK, which is just about 3 years old, still very much a fledgling art group.

But yes, I felt very strongly that someone among us in the visual arts sector had to step into the CCP. At the very least, I thought, someone has to start the ball rolling again since a good number of months had already passed after Sid's demise. I do have a number of matters in mind that I hoped to help reform. After all, if I cannot contribute to change, then what would be the point? The CCP is mainly a performing arts center, and there are still present indications that the visual arts is very challenged to assert itself strongly amongst the disciplines and operations emanating from this Center.

Three months into the job, I realize that the problems are more immense than my initial projections. It's a given that bureaucracy burdens the work process, that budget constraints demand a lot of creative streamlining when it comes to planning and implementing projects. But I find it tougher to deal with the relationship issues that stem from my sudden entry into established office and institutional dynamics. I find it frustrating that I am not familiar nor equipped to handle the CCP Museo-- and that I may not have the immediate opportunity to recruit the right people and secure the basic requirements to be able to take care of the collection. It is a position that denotes heavy responsibilities within and outside the institution, but actually promises very limited power and means to undertake the tasks within those responsibilities.

So then it's best if we turn our attention to whatever psychic rewards the job has managed to bring. My weakest point has always been PR. I'm not naturally comfortable with a lot of people. I still get stage fright attacks. That's the more testy aspect of the job for me. But I am naturally a projects person, and I have gained over the years the trust and confidence of a reliable network of art practitioners who have helped me do my work. I find that I am depending a lot on these networks once more to get the tasks done, and overall, I get a lot of assurance of support. The consultative and collaborative process that had ruled most of my life's work and career has found a good application here.

Sid Hildawa had big shoes to fill, how are you holding up at the CCP? What exactly do you as Officer in Charge of the CCVA? Can artists send their proposals for possible exhibitions there?

Yes, it's hard to fill in for Sid, but it's doubly hard since I'm also filling in for Onet, who resigned from her post at the end of 2008. At the moment I am at the helm of the CCP Visual Arts and Museo (VAMD), a division perceived more as an administrator of CCP exhibition spaces and custodian of a trove of treasures ranging from museological and anthropological pieces of the CCP Museo and the landmark modernist and contemporary pieces of the CCP Art Collection. It is not so equipped now to operate as a coordinating center for the visual arts; it is not functional in performing visual art work outside of the CCP. So I guess I'm the one bringing in my own coordinating resources and skills into the position. Fortunately, while I do not move in all the circles that Sid belonged to, we are equally familiar with a good number of people in the visual arts; hence, a sense of continuity is also assured with my presence here.

Yes, we have been informally accepting proposals for 2010 in the VAMD, but soon I will be making a formal call for such so that we can have an interesting lineup for the next year. We can tell everyone here now to start proposing for projects in the CCP spaces-- the Main Gallery (Bulwagang Juan Luna), the Small Gallery (Bulwagang Fernando Amorsolo), the Fourth Floor hallway (Pasilyo Victorio Edades), the Third Floor Hallway (Pasilyo Guillermo Tolentino), the Second Floor Hallway (Pasilyo Vicente Manansala) and the Little Theater Lobby Wall (Pasilyo Carlos V. Francisco). We will be accepting proposals till the end of September 2009, in order to program a schedule for 2010. As always, accepted proposals will get a venue grant, plus a small budget that basically covers invitations, notes and captions. Guidelines on how to exhibit at the CCP are available at the Visual Arts and Museo Division at the 4th Floor of the CCP. I will work on how to get this info online to make the information more accessible.

Manananggal 1: Puso, 2002

The CCP is celebrating 40 years old this year and your exhibition "Suddenly Turning Visual" is part of the celebration. What are your succeeding shows to look forward to? Are there long term plans of the CCVA or CCP for that matter.

The exhibit "Suddenly Turning Visible: The Collection at the Center" curated by Patrick D. Flores appropriately opened the anniversary year with its thematic presentation of selections from the CCP Art Collection. It has been extended until April 26, 2009. This is a very fortunate development for audiences since this is only the third time that the collection is being presented within a curatorial premise. The project has also mined valuable exchange and recommendations from among the artists and curators who have worked with the CCP. I hope to present the transcript of those conversations in a CCP publication or online zines like Judy Freya Sibayan's Ctrl+P (Journal of Contemporary Art). We are also looking for proposals that would interact with pieces from the collection. We invite artists and curators to let us know of the next ideas.

"Uncommon Sense (Trauma Interrupted, Too)" will be showing at the 2nd and 3rd Floor Hallways from April 2-30.

For Earth Day 2009, the front lawn of the CCP will be the site of a public art competition and installation of conceptual trees called "Juan for Trees (143s) where students of fine arts, design and structure will be asked to construct works that are each made up of 80 percent recyclable materials to be contributed by participating corporations. The installation will be launched and winners will be announced at the CCP Earth Day on April 22.

Kasibulan's anniversary show Pasyon Nasyon will be showing May 14 to June 21 at the Main Gallery. CANVAS, Inc.'s second installment of the "Looking for Juan" project will be on from May 12 to June 7.

On July 9, the Thirteen Artists Awards and Exhibit Opening will take place starting at 6:00pm. The event will be part of the CCP Anniversary program of presenting "Brave New Works" for the months of June and July 2009, wherein the various art disciplines will showcase new and original works by young Filipino artists. Parallel to the Thirteen Artists would be a readings and enactments of works by young playwrights (Virgin Labfest), experimental performances of pieces by young choreographers (WiFi Body), Musik Underkonstruktion will be about innovative musical compositions, and Word Jam will be series of spoken word events organized by the CCP Literary Arts Division. The Thirteen Artists exhibit is curated by Wire Tuazon with Louie Cordero designing the trophy; it will run till August 16 and will be on view during the run of the 2009 Ciemalaya Independent Film Festival in July.

Treena Alison Wong David presents her solo exhibit at the Small Gallery and the 4th Floor Hallway from August 13 to September 27.

On September 8, CCP's main celebration of the anniversary will open with "Daloy," the CCP Timeline Exhibit at the Main Gallery (curated by Noel Soler Cuizon and Claro Ramirez, Jr.) at 6:00pm and the opening of the CCP Gala Night at 8:00 pm at the Main Theatre.

"Katawhan," a joint exhibit on Philippine myths and folklore by Brenda V. Fajardo and Nonoy Estarte will be shown at the Small Gallery from October 15 to November 22.

Philippine Art Educators Association (PAEA) holds its annual show at the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Floor Hallways on November 15 till before the holiday break in December 2009. Likewise, the Main Gallery will cap 2009 with the 40th Anniversary Show of the Printmakers Association of the Philippines (PAP).

In the long run, with the help of our networks, I hope to come up with a comprehensive program, which is not just about scheduling exhibits, but about having CCP as an integral player in art and community development.

I have always viewed the CCP 13 Artists Award as one of the more prestigious contemporary art awards for a Filipino artist. The awardees were announced recently, for everyone’s benefit, can you take us how the process goes? Who nominates the artists? Who gets to be the judge? (Off the record: Sid was part of the previous selections and you weren’t. Did you abstain since you had friends who were nominees?) Can you comment on the current winners?

Thank you. I agree with you, whether or not I have been an awardee, and regardless too, even if I am not with the CCP today.

Nominations to the Thirteen Artists is submitted by art councils, art groups, heads/deans of art schools, museums, gallery curators and directors, art critics and past Thirteen Artist awardees. Those who are qualified to be nominated are artists who can answer to the following requirements:
  • Body of work characterized by artistic integrity, innovativeness and forcefulness of ideas
  • Responsiveness to contemporary realities
  • Evidence of sustained artistic activity demonstrated by a track record of individual exhibitions and group shows for the past three years
  • Engagement with contemporary visual art forms including, but not limited to, painting, sculpture, multimedia, installation, performance art, photography, digital imaging and printmaking
  • Filipino citizenship
  • Less than 40 years old on the year of conferment

This is part of the template established by Sid since Thirteen Artists 2000. Since the nomination process for 2009 happened in 2008 before I came in, my only intervention in February was to ensure the jurors will be composed mostly of artists (Lao Lianben, 1976 Awardee; and Mark Justiniani, 1994 Awardee) and an art critic (Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez). Not only that I know many of the nominees, I myself nominated three artists last year. My choice of jurors also required that they did not nominate anyone. I think I would like to keep inhibiting myself from the jury even in the future. My facilitation of the selection process and the exhibit production would suffice as my part in the award.

The jurors must be credited for patiently combing through 56 nominees' portfolios in the course of three days. They also agreed that each awardee would be unanimously chosen. As I witnessed it, they went through 5 rounds: the first 3 was about who was common in their shortlists, then the last 2 rounds resulted from deliberations.

Since we are discussing awards, I do need to end this with a critical thought. Awards are good and do play a vital role in promoting excellence, but more than awards what we primarily need are more platforms for development and exchange, where an equal ground is established whatever school or place you come from. In fact, it is vital to have such platforms where diversity could be beneficial. Such opportunities come with the NCCA CVA's Sungdu-an, now on the way to its 5th installment.

Karen Flores with Portrait of H.R. Ocampo by Alan Cosio, Met 2007

How can we democratize the process in order for nominees are well represented from the provinces Visayas and Mindanao ?

Yes, beyond the Thirteen Artists Award, there's a need for us to seek ways to connect strongly with the regions. We need to call actively for proposals and to be active in outreach and exchange projects with regional organizations and individual artists. We need to establish these thrusts in our upcoming programs.

Do you still have time to paint aside from teaching and this new administrative work you have?

The opportunity to make art is not just about painting or other conventional modes of 'making.' Everything I do is about the making of art. Craft, skills and aesthetics are still part of the administrative work.

Thank you, Jay.

Entries (a mother, a daughter & her husband) to Hall of Shame of those who abuse their maid: Teng Chen Lian, Loke Phooi Ling & Stanley Kuah Kian Chong

Two different sources of news & both emphasized the female antagonists in their titles of the articles! To be fair both female culprits did have the most counts of offenses compared to that of the male bad, uhm, guy.

Still...I can't help but wonder perhaps, just perhaps, it's not the quantity of the horrible acts of abuse which should matter, but the gravity of the crime which should have more influence in how the penalty to be given.

A Malaysian mother and daughter pleaded guilty Friday to maid abuse in Singapore as their trial was under way, a newspaper reported.

Housewife Loke Phooi Ling, 38, was charged with 32 counts and Teng Chen Lian, 67, with six counts of abusing their 23-year-old Indonesian maid from March to July 2007. They pleaded guilty after nine days of testimony in their trial in Singapore District Court, the Straits Times said.

Loke confessed to grabbing the maid's hair and banging her head against the wall, hitting her in the eye, stamping on her feet and using household implements to hit her.

Teng pleaded guilty to stamping the maid on her thighs, slapping her in the face, hitting her on the head and pushing the maid, causing her to fall.

The family also did not allow the maid enough rest or food, and she lost nearly 13 kilograms over the four months she was with the family, the court heard.

The maid escaped by climbing out a kitchen window. She then went to a mosque from which people took her to the Indonesian embassy, where she made a complaint.

Also charged with three counts in the case was Loke's husband, banking executive Stanley Kuah Kian Chong, 38.

Singapore's government has been getting tough on people abusing foreign workers and maids after an increasing number of complaints about mistreatment by their employers.

From TopNews.in, "Malaysian mother, daughter plead guilty to maid abuse in Singapore".

Also from Straits Times, "Mum, daughter hit maid":
A HOUSEWIFE and her mother who initially went on trial for maid abuse changed their pleas to guilty on Friday.

Loke Phooi Ling, 38, Teng Chen Lian, 67, both Malaysians, and Loke's husband, Stanley Kuah Kian Chong, 38, also a Malaysian bank executive, had claimed trial to 32, six and three charges respectively, of causing hurt to their Indonesian maid.

The prosecution had not closed its case when the defence made an offer to the former earlier this week.

Four prosecution witnesses had testified so far over nine days of hearing before District Judge Jill Tan.

Loke admitted grabbing Ms Susilawati Kusnata's hair and banging her head against the wall, punching her in the left eye, stamping on her feet and using household implements to hit the 23-year-old, among the 10 charges.

The abuses took place at their Pasir Ris flat between March and July 2007. Another 19 charges were taken into consideration.

Teng pleaded guilty to stamping Ms Susilawati on her thighs, slapping her cheeks and hitting her on the head on July 5 the same year. She also admitted to pushing the maid, causing her to fall.

Another charge was taken into consideration.

The court heard that from end-March to July 4, 2007, the maid was physically abused over numerous times by Loke and other household members.

The victim also did not get enough rest and food and lost nearly 13kg over the four months she was with the family.

Update on 31/03: the verdict is out! The older woman slapped with a 4-week jail term whereas the daughter sent to jail for 8 months & 2 week. The husband? He was free by paying a compensation of $5,000. Is that even allowed?!

A housewife and her mother were sentenced to jail on Tuesday for maid abuse after pleading guilty midway during their trial in a district court.

Loke Phooi Ling, 38, a permanent resident, will begin her eight-month and two-week sentence on April 30 while her mother, Teng Chen Lian, 67, will begin her four-week sentence first.

The two women, together with Loke's husband, bank executive Stanley Kuah Kian Chong, 38, had been tried on 32 and six charges respectively, while Kuah had three charges levelled against him.

Mr Kuah was acquitted earlier on Tuesday by District Judge Jill Tan after he paid a compensation of $5,000 to the victim, Miss Susilawati Kusnata, 23, to compound the case.

Last week, both women changed their pleas to guilty after nine days of hearing, when though the prosecuiton had not closed its case then.

Among the 10 charges, Loke admitted to grabbing the maid's hair and banging her head against the wall, punching her in the left eye, and using implements to hit her between end-March and July 4, 2007.

Teng, a Malaysian, stamped on the victim's thighs, slapped her and hit her on the head after chiding her for dozing off while wiping the floor in the living room on July 5 that year. Half an hour later when she emerged from her bedroom, she again claimed that the maid had dozed off while working and pushed her body, causing her to fall.

Miss Susilatawati, who suffered repeated abuses during her four-month employment, decided to run away after that. She climbed out of the fifth-floor Pasir Ris kitchen window and made her way across a ledge to the staircase landing. She found her way to a mosque and some people took her to the Indonesian embassy. A police report was made.

The court heard that she lost about 14kg while working for the family.

Loke, who has three children, was cleared of three charges after the prosecution withdrew them. Nineteen other charges were considered. Teng was acquitted of three counts of maid abuse after they were withdrawn, with one other charge being taken into consideration during her sentencing.

Both women could have been jailed for up to 18 months and/or fined up to $1,500 on each charge of voluntarily causing hurt. Teng could have been jailed for up to three months or fined up to $500, or both, for using criminal force on the victim.

From Straits Times, "Jailed for maid abuse".

Just Espresso-ing . . .

GOT myself a new Starbucks tumbler today. Yay! Not for anything else (okay, perhaps because it's also in my alma mater's colour), but I just got encouraged by Hiro's infomercial about going green by doing a simple act of keeping tumblers and mugs instead of buying mineral water and coffee in styros all the time. For most of us, coffee is already a part of our everyday lives, but have we stopped for a while and thought about whatever happens to those thrown cups at the end of the day? I bet not.

I want to encourage all of us to bring water bottles along whenever we're out and keep coffee mugs or tumblers in your cars. This way, we can ask our baristas/drink makers to fill them up with our coffee or drinks and not use those plastic cups that are non-degradable. With this, resources of both ends are being saved. :)

I'm not a superhero (if ever I could become one, I would want to be impenetrable but in jelly form hihi), but I am strongly convicted not to antagonize the Earth even more (or the Watchmen for that matter).

First it was Winter Sonata, now it's Tokyo Sonata

Note the difference, though, Winter Sonata is a TV series whereas Tokyo Sonata is a film. I didn't watch the former, but I'd definitely give a try for the latter.

"Tokyo Sonata" is set in Japan's capital and brim-full of the city's culture, but director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's tale of unemployed misery has also captured the zeitgeist of the US economic crisis.

Visiting Los Angeles to promote the film now rolling out across America, the award-winning Kurosawa said he was just interested in making a film dealing with modern life.

"The theme I am most concerned with right now is what kind of generation the 21st century truly is," he told a roundtable on Thursday.

"Why is it so muddled and confused? Why is it so vastly different from the vision of the future we had in the previous century? Who is responsible for the way things turned out?"

The answer, the 53-year-old conceded, "is difficult to find".

Set in modern-day Tokyo, "Sonata" chronicles the quiet unravelling of an ordinary family of four.

The family's patriarch unexpectedly loses his job, but instead of telling his wife and children, he decides to enter "a lonely sojourn into the world of the secretly unemployed," Kurosawa said.

"I started from a point where lies, suspicion and a complete breakdown of communication already have established themselves within the family," he added.

"Without a doubt, this is 'modern' and this is also 'Japan'."

But the Kobe-born director said he also "would like to show a glimmer of hope in the end. Can I do that? Even if I could do so, would that be something that saves a conventional family?"

He will soon find out how deeply that angst resonates on this side of the Pacific.

The film will open in select theatres starting Friday, hoping to make good on the success of other Japanese cinema.

"Okuribito" (Departures) won the a best foreign film award at this year's Oscars and another Japanese film, "Aruitemo Aruitemo" (Still Walking) has been praised for its exploration of inter-generational tensions.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Japanese flick hits on global unemployment woes".

a nooka on style dot com

a nooka on style dot com. original post here. click through all the watches in the feature to get to ours.

nooka featured available at fine stores in your town and here. join nooka and love nooka on facebook and nooka_ on twitter.

nooka creative x-change: james liu

recognizing that creative people find inspiration from multiple sources, matthew waldman conducts mini interviews to hopefully gain insight into the creative processes of the artists he meets.

this installment is with james liu of veggiesomething! thanks james!

please provide a small bio on yourself?
Born in Pingtung, Taiwan and based out of Chicago, Illinois, Veggiesomething has loved art and design for as long as he can remember. His artworks have been seen throughout the world via numerous art shows and exhibits and have been featured in various publications and media outlets.

Thus far, Veggiesomething has created four character lines (FIZZIEFUZZIE, House of Liu, United by Destruction!, and Sugar Bandits) and one lifestyle concept label (Killerslayer). These creative endeavors often highlight his love for modular designs that are bold, clean, clear, and concise.

can you tell me what motivates you to create your products?
Like other designers, my initial motivation for creating a product is to solve a problem. The problem can be big, or it can be small. Regardless, there is usually at least a general purpose to what we do. And in the process of that problem solving, challenges will pop up. The potential of overcoming those challenges and seeing the final product in use are usually my biggest motivators.

what are some of your influences and inspirations?
I'm heavily influenced and inspired by everyday life. There are a lot of different "scenes" that I'm interested in, and I love to take elements of inspiration from one scene and apply them to another scene. For instance, I'm heavily influenced by the punk scene after having been involved in it via things like doing a zine, being in bands, etc. for so many years. I carried that punk DIY ethic and that energy into almost every design that I do. The influence may not be prominent due to the demands of the design, but it's always there.

what does nooka mean to you?
To me, Nooka means living the independent spirit. Everything from the design to the concept to the entrepreneurship of the watch exemplify that spirit. Every time that I look down at my Nooka watch, I'm reminded of that spirit and it makes me want to pursue it in my own way.

the nooka james is wearing in this foto available at fine stores and here. join "nooka" and "love nooka" on facebook. nooka_ on twitter.

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