Sculpture Wrapped Memory by Seiji Kunishima


“Seiji Kunishima: Sculpture Wrapped Memory”
By Seiji Kunishima
From February 9th to March 14th, 2010
At ARDEL’s Third Place Gallery, Sukhumvit 55, Thonglor soi 10

     ARDEL’s Third Place Gallery presents the first exhibition of 2010 by Seiji Kunishima a world renowned sculptor whose art works have been represented in the collection of museums and other famous places around the world.

     “Seiji Kunishima: Sculpture Wrapped Memory” exhibition showcases several sculptures created by A Nagoya-born sculptor who for this exhibition has worked mostly with metal, stones and things that can be found in everyday life. The combination of the man-made metal and natural stones shows the use of materials that are of different type of object. Nails, light bulbs, newspaper, clothes hangers and so on are wrapped in which some pieces are dated as if to be a reminder and as evidently stated as in the title, the record of the artist’s memory. Seiji Kunishima creates work of art that not only fascinates viewers with his expertise but also let them be part of his memorable experiences. 

     ARDEL's Third Place Gallery requests for your support to kindly promote the upcoming exhibition.
For further information, kindly contact ARDEL Gallery at: 02-422-2092, 084-772-2887 Fax: 02-422-2091
Tuesday-Saturday: 10:30~19:00 hrs., Sunday: 10:30~17:30 hrs. (Closed on Monday)  




Can it happen here?

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Straits Times reported about a rundown five-storey housing block that collapsed in Hung Hom, a district of Kowloon in Hong Kong, yesterday.

Two people have been confirmed dead while at least four others are missing. The residential block is more than 50 years old.

I would have just skimmed through the report if not for the pictures!

I thought the building resembles those privately owned and maintained buildings along Yong Siak Street.




That area is an eye sore of the Tiong Bahru Estate.

The facade is in need of a long overdue repainting job.

There are many electrical wires dangling everywhere ON THE OUTSIDE of the building!

Aren't electrical wires supposed to be keep away from the elements?

And rubbish is not kept in the bins but is left all over the place by some migrant scavenger.

There is this guy with grubby long hair who comes with a lady in a wheelchair in the evenings to scavenge.

I've no problem with the scavenging but am upset with the mess these people leave behind.


I really hope the recent fire along this street will not be forgotten but will be the catalyst for this street to be cleaned up ONCE AND FOR ALL.


Pictures contributed by Jo Turner

I've found a new home!


How my life has changed for the better in a matter of a few days!

On Tuesday, I was abandoned and left to fend for myself along the pathway of Kim Cheng Street and my future looked so hopeless.

Being a kitten and without my mom’s milk, I would have died of dehydration.

Even if I do survive that, I would have been killed by those territorial tom cats in the vicinity.

Thank you Resident Rosemary for going the extra mile of protecting me and making sure I’m well fed and cared for.

You and your family gave me lots of love and care for four wonderful days before passing me over to my new owner on Friday.

I’m happy to have found a new home with 2 other cats to keep me company.

My new owner even brought me to the Vet to get me checked and make sure I’m alright.

Dr Vet told him my blue eyes may even change but my owner loves me just the same.

In fact, he even brainstormed the whole night just to give me a “nicer” name than Ang Moh or Avatar. (Not that I’m upset with that queer name)

If my hearing did not fail me, I’m now known as REI-NA REI-A.

That is such a Purrrrfect name for me.

Okay, a kitten needs many hours of sleep to grow up big strong and healthy.

Good Night & God Bless.

Business Times : In with the old

I thought you might be interested to find out about the 2 Tiong Bahru Hotels that were mentioned in the Business Times Weekend edition today.
________________________________________
Business Times
30 Jan 2010
DESIGN

In with the old
The charm of Singapore's old buildings is attracting more hoteliers to refurbish these premises and give them a new lease on life as boutique accommodation. By Audrey Phoon

IT is ghosts of the past that worry hoteliers most when they convert old buildings into new lodgings - and not the supernatural kind. 'With old buildings, you never know what you are getting into. You find faults you didn't see before, once you start work on them,' says Loh Lik Peng, who owns Hotel 1929 and New Majestic Hotel in the Chinatown area, both of which occupy pre-war structures. On top of that, he adds, engineering is costly and 'a pain', because such buildings have no grid; as a result, there can be no replication in design as every room has different dimensions.

Then there are restrictions on the extent to which the original structures may be modified. Take Wangz Hotel, for instance: the month-old hotel, which occupies a 20-year-old building at Outram Road, is located near an MRT tunnel, so it had to work around a structural load constraint. Says its director, Wang Chang Yuin: 'Our structural engineer had to perform meticulous calculations on both internal and external loading to ensure that we didn't put additional load on the building. The existing facade tiles and internal walls were removed, and lightweight materials, such as the external perforated aluminium cladding, were used instead.'

Still, such hurdles have not stunted the growth of a new boutique-hotel culture - crafted out of mature buildings - here. Over the past few months, several such lodgings have sprung up and more will open within the first half of this year, including a new venture by Mr Loh.

 
The magnetic appeal of these projects, which are generally more costly than constructing something from scratch, lies in the fact that they are rich in history, local flavour and charm, says the hotelier. 'There's something about old buildings that really captures my interest. There are layers of history imbued in them, and it's like you're peeling them back when you do your renovations and incorporating them with a new interpretation. I would never look at an empty plot of land and say that,' he says.

 
Adds James Ting, general manager of Nostalgia Hotel, a six-month-old business that takes up two heritage shophouses in Tiong Bahru: 'These buildings possess rich historical value. In converting them into new premises, we can preserve a part of Singapore's history, perhaps for the younger generation to appreciate in future. Additionally, through the hotel's architecture and retelling of its history, guests can get an insight into Singapore's story and have a unique experience that is different from the monotony of chain hotels.'

 
BT Weekend takes a look at four new-old hotels that form part of the burgeoning boutique accommodation culture here.

 
Wanderlust
2 Dickson Road
To open by mid-year

Loh Lik Peng's newest venture Wanderlust combines cutting edge design with fun
 
DICKSON Road is a pretty offbeat location for a trendy hotel, what with the motor workshops, Chinese-style 'beer garden' and coffee shops that line it. But then, owner and lawyer-turned-hotelier Loh Lik Peng has never been one to follow convention. 'Very often, a project is not about the location,' he says. 'It's about falling in love with the building; looking at it and seeing a little gem there. It's not about being near an MRT station; I never look at projects that way.'

 
His latest hotel, then, takes up a charming, tiled-front building that was constructed in the 1920s. 'This was the Hong Wen School until the Buddhist Welfare Association took over in the 1970s, when Hong Wen moved to bigger premises,' says Mr Loh. 'Now I guess the association has outgrown it too - they've moved to Toa Payoh.'

 
To be called Wanderlust, the 29-room, four-storey establishment will be 'something a little more sophisticated and fun' than the other hotels in the neighbourhood, and it's being designed by cutting-edge creative agencies Phunk Studio, Asylum and fFurious, along with architects DP Architects. Each company is responsible for one floor.

 
On the hotel's positioning, Mr Loh says: 'There are very few nice, interesting hotels in Little India, nothing like what we're doing. They're all the budget sort, lacking in imagination and not leveraging on the uniqueness of the area. This is a really authentic part of Singapore, so I thought it'd be nice to do something special.'

 
No surprise then, that Wanderlust aims to bat creativity out of the park with visual treats like Asylum-designed bespoke wallpaper printed with modern images of Little India; neon lighting; and heavy play on light and shadow on the various floors. The rooms, to be priced from around $200 to $250 a night, promise to be 'almost like a playground designed as furniture': there's a 'monster room', a 'tree room' and one with a spaceship concept, and all fittings are being custom-made because of the complex shapes needed.Says Mr Loh: 'We're using fibreglass, concrete, steel, plywood ... everything. It's going to be the first hotel of this sort that I'm doing, as in working with this level of complexity.'

 
Additionally, the building will house a cantilevered pool on the second storey, as well as a small ground-floor bar and a casual French restaurant helmed by Anthony Yeoh of the Funky Chefs, who does 'good, solid flavours', proclaims Mr Loh.

 
Wanderlust's site, says the hotelier, reminds him of Keong Saik, where he opened his first hotel, Hotel 1929, in 2003. 'It was all hotels with hourly rates and brothels back then. In many ways, this area reminds me of that; it's really local and I like that,' he explains. As he sees it, going in early - wedged among those motor workshops and coffee shops - is a good thing. 'You can't help other people coming in and diluting the flavour,' says Mr Loh, 'but for a while, at least, you can capture the magic of an area.'

 
The Club 28
Ann Siang Road
To open in April

MORE THAN A BED AND BREAKFAST

The Club, by Harry's Hospitality, takes a historic shophouse that used to house Batey Ads and turns it into a natural extension of Mohan Mulani's core F&B business. 

THOSE not content with just dinner and drinks at Harry's will be glad to know that they can soon do bed and breakfast there as well: come April, the group behind the Harry's chain of restaurant-bars will open a hotel under the newly-established Harry's Hospitality umbrella.

 
To be called The Club, the 22-room establishment (rack rate: $400 a night) will also house function rooms plus a couple of F&B outlets that include a tapas restaurant, an outdoor terrace and a rooftop bar - necessary revenue-generating elements in such a small project, says Mohan Mulani, chief executive officer of Harry's Holdings. 'With a boutique hotel of this size, F&B is quite a key component in the business plan. You can't just operate it on room sales alone,' he says, adding that The Club plans to draw 'a good 60 per cent' of its revenue from that channel.

 
The project is a natural extension of his core business, he adds. 'While it is a bit of a deviation from opening bars, it really isn't that large of a deviation. And it gives the company a lot more depth also, plus more offerings for the customer.'

 
Bed and breakfast aside, what those customers will get is the opportunity to experience a bit of Singapore's history too - The Club will be located in a historic shophouse that, most recently, used to be home to advertising agency Batey. 'It's where the Singapore Girl was born,' says Mr Mulani, referring to the well-known Singapore Airlines campaigns that Batey produced. The area also used to house many remittance centres for the early Chinese immigrants, a fact that the architect Colin Seah of Ministry of Design, which worked on the hotel, played on.

 
The entrance, for example, will showcase murals that give a sense of what the place was in the past; there will also be features that hint of this history in the rooms, where the 'modern day nomad and the nomad of yesterday cross paths for a moment'. The other key inspiration in The Club's design is Singapore's colonial past, which in one instance takes shape in the form of a larger-than-life Raffles statue standing with his head in the clouds.Artists who have been involved in other Harry's projects have also been tapped to contribute to the hotel - artworks from Romanian Valeriu Sepi (who did a mural in Harry's Boat Quay outlet) and Singaporean Wyn-Lyn Tan, to name a couple, will decorate The Club.

 
The hotel's site was selected for two reasons, says Mr Mulani. One, he has a 'soft spot' for the area as he owned a wine bar there for more than a decade, which he had to give up three years ago when the building it was in was bought over. And two, 'I hang around here a lot and I think Ann Siang Road is really heaving and happening again'. Even taking into account competition from the other boutique hotels in the Chinatown area, he is upbeat about the success of The Club. 'With the product that we're creating, I don't think we have a very uphill task, in my humble opinion,' he says.

 
Wangz Hotel
231 Outram Road
Tel 6595-1388
http://www.wangzhotel.com/

NEW WORLD, OLD WORLD
The futuristic Wangz Hotel has emerged out of a 20-year-old building on Outram Road, with modern furnishings, a stunning rooftop lounge, spacious rooms and a gleaming aluminium facade. 


AS the saying goes, third time lucky - and so's the case with the 20-year-old building that Wangz Hotel is located in. Originally called Tarng Chern Building, the unique barrel-shaped structure used to house offices and a jewellery shop. Some years later, it was renamed Hope Centre and became home to a student hostel and several non-profit organisations. But it is with its third and latest reincarnation that the building has really been revitalised with a fresh new look and a more permanent purpose.

The 41-room, six-storey hotel is owned by the Wang family, who have been involved in property development (including serviced offices) since the 1990s but had not previously done a hotel before Wangz. 'The idea of opening a boutique hotel had been at the back of our minds, but we hadn't found a suitable property,' says director Wang Chang Yuin.

 
When the family was approached about the Outram Road building, however, they took to it immediately. 'We were drawn to the strategic location of the building,' says Mr Wang. 'It is close to the CBD and Orchard Road, and we like its prominent location. We also like the charm of the art deco buildings in the area.' In addition, he adds, the hotel is the tallest building in the immediate vicinity and offers great views of the city skyline, particularly from its rooftop.The decision to develop the site and create 'a modern hotel that would stand out from the nearby art deco buildings' was made in 2007; some two years and $8 million later, Wangz Hotel has emerged from its chrysalis of scaffolding. And what a transformation it has undergone: the original dull tiled facade is now all gleaming perforated aluminium, teased by local architects CPG Consultants into a three-way curve to give the building a 'bulging' effect and a futuristic look, and its interiors are a cocoon for culture. The spacious rooms - priced from about $228 a night, and stuffed with creature comforts such as pillow-top mattresses, iPod docking stations, goosedown duvets and Molton Brown bath amenities - feature artworks by artists such as Hijran Seyidov, a Dubai resident who counts royalty among his clients; Singaporean Anthony Tan, who is known for his nature-themed abstracts; and contemporary South Indian artist P Gnana, whose works are in the Singapore Art Museum collection.

 
Apart from studying these aesthetic treats, guests can also have drinks at Halo, the rooftop lounge, dine at in-house restaurant Nectar, or work out in the fully-equipped gym.
Already, the hotel is reporting a 55 to 80 per cent occupancy rate, with most guests coming from Europe, the United States and Australia.'There is a growing market for tourists who specifically go to boutique hotels because of the cosy environment and personalised service they offer,' says Mr Wang. 'Because of this, and given the usually small number of rooms each boutique hotel has, we think demand for such hotels will remain high.'


Nostalgia Hotel
77 Tiong Bahru Road
Tel 6808-1818www.hotelnostalgia.com.sg
A perfectly preserved shophouse forms part of the Nostalgia Hotel on Tiong Bahru Road, decorated with contemporary artwork and old world charm

WITH the warm lighting that spills out of its wooden shutters in the evenings and the comfortable, lived-in buzz that radiates from it, one can easily imagine No 77 Tiong Bahru Road to be a home straight out of the pre-war era. Step inside the perfectly preserved shophouse, however, and a reception area will reveal the truth: the more-than-half-a-century-old building actually forms part of a hotel.

 
That homely feel is exactly what owner Cornerstone Link, a mining company based in Indonesia, was looking for when it bought the property from developer Lion Properties Group in September, says the hotel's general manager, James Ting.

 
He adds that Nostalgia is positioned to feed the growing demand for such boutique accommodation.

 
'Travellers are becoming more savvy and most are looking for a unique experience,' he explains. 'They no longer crave the monotony of luxury chain hotels but are looking for a different environment with character and charm.'The appropriately-named Nostalgia Hotel, then, has 50 rooms (some of which are housed in the heritage shophouse and others in a new extension built over what used to be a bird singing corner) and features design and decor inspired both by Singapore's colonial years as well as the romantic history of the neighbourhood - Tiong Bahru in the past was known as an area where the well-heeled kept their mistresses. It's 'old-world charm with a dash of modernism', as Mr Ting puts it, which translates to lush fabrics, furniture in warm colours, gilded mirrors and chandeliers, set against a backdrop of specially commissioned contemporary artwork by a local artist and other modern touches.

 
The rooms, which are priced from about $215 per night, are equipped with cutting-edge conveniences like LCD TVs and iPod docking stations, as well as bath amenities by French designer Pascal Morabito or Chopard, depending on the category of room. Meanwhile, in the Balcony rooms, which are situated in the heritage bit of the hotel and overlook the junction of Tiong Bahru Road and Seng Poh Road, architects AMC Architects International have preserved the original louvered windows, wooden panels and wall artifacts of the original structure.

 
The new-old juxtaposition is intended to 'reflect the existent community of Tiong Bahru', a mature estate in a modern age, says Mr Ting. 'We want to echo the cultural and historical values of the area and allow guests to experience the Singapore of yesteryear comfortably; as such, Nostalgia provides accommodation that reflects the essence of Singapore in a luxurious environment.'

 
aphoon@sph.com.sg
Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

Singapore Short Film Awards - Brazil by Philothea Liau

"Doesn't the synopsis for Brazil give away the whole story?" asked a friend. Yes, it does, but that's not the point to the 5-min short. See, Brazil opens with a close-up on a boy's face as his tears well up and begin to fall, but the film doesn't use this arresting image to throw us into the thick of its plot. Rather, it cuts away to a huddle of schoolboys plowing their hands through a box of erasers at a stationery shop, leaving us wondering whether we've been flashed foward or back in the storyline, and wondering how this relates to whatever incident it was that could bring a boy to tears.

The erasers being fought over are the familiar rectangular ones with country flag designs; I felt a pang of nostalgia upon seeing them, recalling the flipping games my classmates used them to play back in primary school. The best moments of Brazil stick to this register, relying on our memories of what it felt to think like a schoolkid. Indeed, the boys aren't digging for just any eraser but for one design in particular, the one that gives the film its title. When one boy has found the prize, the rest stop searching and watch glumly as he pays for it and leaves. The film choreographs that the Brazil eraser is most valued, but it doesn't matter why; the point here is that our emotional investments as kids are quite overblown. The film's final shot loops back to its first, so that we discover the cosmic joke being played on the boy's feelings, and on our expectations for what that involves.

Since the time I last saw Brazil, I have become far more convinced that its basic strength lies in the intrigue and humour of these shots that bookend the film: a testament more to the writing than to actor Damus Lim, nominated for his expert crying performance at the S'pore Short Film Awards. The scenes in the film's middle don't demand much from Damus, though he acquits himself far better than his stilted schoolmates. This ungenerous label applies more to the throng of prospective buyers after his Brazil eraser, and less to the two chubby bullies that block his path. A single take alternates between the bullies' faces as they shout unmenacing threats in their kiddy voices ("You blind ah!"), and helps rather than harms this enjoyable lark of a schoolkid's world writ large.


This review was originally written in Dec '09; it has been edited and expanded for the Singapore Short Film Awards in Jan '10.

Singapore Short Film Awards - Swimming Lesson by Kat Goh

How often do we find local films shot as confidently as Swimming Lesson? The whole film is composed almost entirely out of breathless long takes—one take per scene—thus trapping us in the drama of a family sending a girl off to study overseas. We kick off at home, where grandpa watches a televised swimming match. Behind him, in a flurry of well-blocked activity, a mother fusses to her daughter over the travel adaptors she needs to pack, and to her husband over the time they must leave the house, while the targets of her fussing themselves shuffle around the living room with muffled exasperation. In this take alone, we get to know what everyone feels about the trip at hand (in descending order of worry: mother, father, daughter, grandpa). We can predict, then, that the mother's nagging will persist through the following scenes, pushing tensions to a threshold. We even bump into clichés like "we're wasting time" blame-shifting, and painstakingly prepared bottles of bird's nest soup.

For me, Swimming Lesson handily defeats these obstacles by offering a few striking moments of respite. First, the film scatters bouts of humour within its scenes. Script-wise: Mum explains how to sneak liquids aboard the plane, and dad gets in a punchline on her deftness. Direction-wise: Dad gets into a slapstick scenario in the background of a sustained shot at a coffeeshop (he needs to manoeuvre around a queue), while the rest of the family holds a separate conversation in the foreground. It even comes down to details like Mum re-ordering one less coffee because "girl needs to sleep on the plane"—until we note how the drinks are finally distributed.

Second, Kee Chiew Hiang's shrill characterisation of Mum turns out to be vital to a late-breaking decision by the character. The film even doles the mother a generous close-up as we watch her anxieties preying on her, playing out on her face, and she utters a line in dialect that made the audience gasp with disbelief, not because we didn't believe the character would say such a thing, but because we'd bought wholly into her motivations for such a choice.

Finally, the film takes its time to unfold why it chose its title. For a long time, we wonder if Grandpa's swimming match, lasting through home and car and coffeeshop, is the film's only tenuous link to a "swimming lesson", until it intersperses brief shots of an unidentified girl floating serenely in a swimming pool. The relationship between these meditative shots and the storyline remains a mystery, until a frightful action by Grandpa, a cutaway to the floating girl, and our memory of subtle hints sprinkled earlier in the story tie it all together. I still catch my breath when I think about that finale, and wonder how the filmmakers captured these authentic long-take driving scenes on the roads by the Esplanade. A masterclass.

Can we afford to lose more of these buildings?

This building once stood next to Block 28 Tiong Bahru Road (The one with a Post Office). It was demolished a long time ago.

Can we afford to sacrifice more of such buildings in Tiong Bahru?

Are the Tiong Bahru Post War S.I.T. flats worth conserving or should they bow out and make way for modern skyscrapers?

Share your views with us at the following discussion:

SHOULD THE POST WAR S.I.T. flats be CONSERVED or EN-BLOC?

nooka lab studio visit: ryan brett grant


ryan grant of the green bay packers stopped by the nooka lab this afternoon and left with a grey nooka strip [belt] and a gorgeous black zem with metal bracelet. ryan's a real nice guy! his profile on nfl.com here. i kinda like the candid shot i got in my camera. will post some of him rocking our wares when his agent send them our way. i'd love to write that we chatted about the superbowl, but i'd sound like an idiot if i tried to make-believe i know anything about football.

also, let's not forget about rebuilding haiti! In response to the tragic events in Haiti, Nooka Inc. will donate 10% of all online purchases* between January 21st and February 21st to Architecture for Humanity. Although food aid is important, it is a temporary solution. A better Haiti must be structurally prepared to weather another earthquake or hurricane.

Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999. They are building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. Recently, Architecture for Humanity launched a fund-raising appeal to support long term reconstruction efforts in Haiti. learn more about them or make a direct donation here.

Singapore Short Film Awards - Did you see what I see? by Soon Zhan Hui

Apparently, the spirit of the Mandarin voiceover on emo music is hard to exorcise. Royston Tan has a lot of cleaning up to do. To give this film credit, the narration is on English. But the narrator (no better way to put this linguistically) really cannot make it one lor. To be fair, like my own first films too. 

In 'Did you see what I see?', we amble through a black and white montage of bleak scenes of life. In the director's own words, the montage reflects reality, one that is not meant to be beautified by shooting in colour. One that has to remain as sombre as the real life. My heart sank as I followed the train of thought, which echoed some real personal pain. But soon, my brain sank too and got left behind somewhere in the black and white streets.
p.s. I am not sure if the filmmaker saw some light at the end of the tunnel because the last scene came into full colour.

Singapore Short Film Awards - Death Chess by Ng Guo Rong

Yet another tale about revenge, with a suggestion of violence. The coupling of that with it being a  'first film' usually offers a jarring visual experience for the audience. I may be wrong in saying that it is a first film but its whole 'fan-boy' feel about it from its visual cliches to the 'seen-it-somewhere-before' title (Sounds like 'Death Note') seems to suggest it. It centres around a 'life-and-death' chess game between a tormentor and his captive. The is a act of revenge by the tormentor for losing out to his victim years ago in school. Most of the mise-en-scene is a yawn, all attention is focussed on the electric drill that is driven closer and closer to the victim as the game progresses. But that is all before we turned our eyes to the tormentor. It a while to confirm an initial suspicion that the tormentor is really quite a camp queen - the exaggerated chin lifts and the poses, nevermind the fact that he had been mentally debilitated by past events. So distracting was his theatrics that it was easy to lose the storyline.

Perhaps its website will speak more fairly for the film. Check out Death Chess at www.deathchess.webs.com 

Singapore Short Film Awards - The Tibetan Mastiffs by Danny Lim


Easily one of the most forgettable films of the night but the most polished. Comparing his 'My Underwear, My World' to this, this is a big leap in terms of style and professionalism. The seamless documentary would fit in nicely into a Channel News Asia slot except that it had a bit more narrative wit than many of the news channel's programmes. The aesthetics and choice of shots also mirror a lot of the documentary films that came out of Oak 3 Films like 'Veil of Dreams' and 'Brother No.2'. Both seem to come from the same cookie-cutter. The only difference is it had a more refreshing narrator voice.

I must add that it was a gratifying experience watching 'The Tibetan Mastiffs' despite the predictability of it. Abundant in its images of our endearing furry friends, the satisfaction is akin to being fed a dose of National Geographic. And for the dog-lovers, dog porn perhaps. These dogs are so robust and stout yet helplessly loveable that you even feel like touching them. But don't risk your hand, the owner's already said they are only used to 'zi ji ren' (their own people).  A point of pondering there for me about dogs' ability to bond with humans and live side by side.

This brings me to the way the subject of the people of Tibet was introduced. To paraphrase, the Tibetan Mastiffs are strong and resilient to challenges and obstacles, like the people of Tibet. Certainly, the opening up of this narrative window was very clever. But it stopped right at the surface, giving the audience only a partial scent of Tibet's tumultuous historical experience, missing out on the chance to give the film a few more inches of depth. But of course, it's about our furry friends, which my work-beaten eyes could not complain about.

Singapore Short Film Awards - The Rescuer Hero by Christopher Broe

Ang Moh love story by the HDB long kang (drain) with furry Ang Kong (toy)

A simple flavourful sentence like this can be used to sum up Christopher Broe's short Rescuer Hero. I don't quite get its point but its got its innocent sweet charms. A young man, contorts himself, risking dislocation to retrieve his monkey soft toy... but only to torment it in various ways again, and to rescue it again after that. So you know the cycle. This catches the attention of the blonde girl who appears at the playground. No prizes for guessing that she secretly digs the his lamely heroic ways. 

Sitting through a number of films from the TISCH students often puts me in a ambiguous state between appreciating the American pizzazz in storytelling and production and squirming at the sense of incongruity in character, situation and space. Think savvy robbers in HDB heartland (I made that up). But it is easy to forgive given their circumsta
nces. I think Wong Kar Wai made an absolute mess out of 'Blueberry Nights' but we know 'where he was coming from'. 

All in all, 'Rescuer's Hero' was weak in its point but sweet in its aftertaste, mostly from the man's silliness. 

China Hu An Cable IPO

Interesting? More study needed. Considering the company "China Hu An Cable Holdings" had made its intention to list here known quite some time ago. Well about 1 month ago, to be rather specific.

But the timing of the IPO launch is quite gloomy, I'd say. Let's just take a look at the recent Tiger Airways IPO. Today it's closed at $1.46 (down from the IPO offer price of $1.50 & its first day trading's closing price of $1.58).

So very likely I'll give this counter a miss. (And still considering Sin Heng Heavy Machinery IPO, instead.)

China Hu An Cable Holdings has applied to list on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Mainboard.

The China-based integrated wire and cable manufacturer lodged its preliminary prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Thursday.

In the document, the firm said it intends to channel S$28 million of the net proceeds from the listing and/or bank borrowings to the construction of new workshops, production lines and acquisition of new production machinery.

These expansion plans are expected to commence six months after listing.

Another S$1 million from the net proceeds will be used to strengthen its research and development capabilities in order to broaden its product range.

China Hu An Cable said its order book stands at about RMB173 million of unfulfilled secured contracts, which it expects to deliver in the next six months.

From Channel NewsAsia, "China Hu An Cable applies to list on SGX Mainboard". (31/12/09)
CHINA Hu An Cable Holdings Ltd, an integrated wire and cable manufacturer, has launched its initial public offering (IPO) for a Singapore Exchange mainboard listing.

The China-based company's offering comprises 118 million new shares and 58 million vendor shares, of which five million are public-offer shares and 171 million placement shares. Each share is priced at 42 cents. The offer opens today and closes on Feb 4. Trading of the shares is expected to begin on Feb 8.

The company aims to raise about $44.6 million in net proceeds to help expand and enhance its manufacturing facilities to better cater to the high-end cable market.

CIMB Bank, Singapore branch, is the manager and CIMB-GK Securities Pte Ltd is the underwriter and placement agent.

According to executive chairman and chief executive officer Dai Zhi Xiang, the IPO will place Hu An Cable in closer access to international markets, and allow it to better tap growing demand from sustained infrastructure spending, nationwide power infrastructure upgrades, and niche but promising sectors such as the mining and ship-building industries.

The company said it has developed a strong brand reputation in its 11 years of establishment. It is situated in the wire and cable hub of Yixing in Jiangsu Province and is said to have a strong focus on research and development.

Hu An Cable is supplier to companies such as State Grid Corporation of China and China Huadian Group. It has also participated in state projects such as the Beijing Workers' Stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, 2009, the group recorded 103 million yuan (S$21 million) in net profit on revenue of 943.5 million yuan.

From Business Times, "China Hu An Cable launches mainboard IPO". (29/01/10)

Kingdom Come | Kingdom Comedy


Currently re-reading DC graphic novel "Kingdom Come". Used to find the story unbearably dull with Alex Ross' gouache style of painting pretentious. (Really, it's much an ache to see not only the cover page, but also the whole content of the book drawn that way.)

Used to.

But after having chanced to read "Thy Kingdom Come" (which by the way is also a graphic novel), I came to appreciate Alex Ross' technique of drawing (See, he drew the cover page for the series) & made me want to give a previously scorned "Kingdom Come" a second chance.


Well, I still hate "Kingdom Come". Then again I'm grateful that it gave me enough reason to try to dedicate a post for this "Kingdom Come" which led me to the discovery of this hilarious redrawn of the cover. Featuring the almost forgotten DC character, "Captain Carrot"! Heh.

The good old days when Life can be so bright with a simple comic book. Sigh.

The GO-SEE for ARTISTS


To borrow from America’s Next Top Model, recently I went on gallery 'go-sees' in Kyoto. With my travel-size portfolio in hand and some long-overdue courage, I set out to find a gallery. The courage was needed as this experience was not one I ever really had to do before in Kingston. In Kingston, the art world is interconnected and every one knows or knows of somebody and their work. Gallery owners or curators are not too far away or out of your reach. This may sometimes be a benefit to the art scene or cause its own set of problems however the gallery portfolio visit was something I managed to avoid. Japan with its specific hierarchical systems and stress on good manner was an interesting start. An artist could be in the process of being rejected and never even know it or better yet, walk away feeling good about their rejection.



Once again this feeling was slightly unfamiliar as my image of portfolio-showing gallery visits was for a long time tied up with memories of the many miserable critiques of art school. Its as though once escaping that system I subconsciously decided never to experience anything similar to that again. I did seem to forget though that they were a necessary part of learning about artistic life. Just as the ‘gallery go-see’ is an important step in introducing yourself to the art community though I only fully realized, this way after school ended. The gallery go-see can be seen in the same way that aspiring models stomp concrete to find their next opportunity and to network. As the world becomes smaller it is equally important in smaller more connected art communities, as in larger metropolises in order to become an art world debutant.


The process of organizing one’s work into coherent story, writing a statement or at least being able to vocalize it clearly is as important as the studio work itself. Yet somehow I allowed myself to slink away from it. Thankfully I decided years ago to channel my energy into entering group shows and applying for grants and awards, and these certainly do their share of developing the administrative muscle. The part that is daunting however is having to constantly face the question of the value placed on your own very personal work. Once you are honest about it however and take a well-considered objective look at the kind of work in the top celebrity gallery’s of New York, London, Tokyo etc. and compare your work, it should prove less intimidating. You may possibly realize that there is some element which needs more work or you will realize that your work is no different or perhaps better on certain levels. The most that will happen is you will gain inspiration to ‘develop your craft’ or gain confidence to go forward.



I will add that before my face to face go-see, I mustered up the courage to send my portfolio out to a few carefully selected galleries in various parts of the world. Interestingly enough, I received kinder responses from New York and London galleries than some other contacts close to home. The perception of what it means to be a curator, dealer, artist may sometime be tied up in the spirit of elitism but that perhaps is an issue for another post. Nevertheless there is no better time to start than now.


Suggested Tools for a gallery go-see:

  1. Copies of your Artists Statement
  2. A portable portfolio with between 12-20 images of a coherent developed recent body of work
  3. A clear idea of what you want to achieve from the go-see (this will help in asking certain questions etc.)
  4. Copies of your artists cv
  5. Business cards (it could be a good idea to use the front of your business card as a space to show an example of your work)


Note: You may choose to go to galleries impromptu and leaving copies of your portfolio and business card or if you would like to speak specifically with the gallerist then an appointment may be appreciated.


Images are stills from Vernissage TV's coverage of Art Basel Miami Beach 2009. In your experience is this an accurate reflection of the artworld?. Watch the whole video here.

Singapore Short Film Awards - It's Magic by Shilpa Krishnan Shukla

I wonder what's the point of making a film when it illustrates a situation that has been played out to tedium and clicheness in TV soaps. Unless of course, the director has been quite starved of TV fare. In 'It's Magic', a man, a tad remorseful for his affairs, returns to his former love. But she is not appeased with just a make-up gesture. She needs vengeance for the hurt and lures him into a lethal trap. The generous peppering of her lines with cliches like 'now you see it now you don't', reinforces the feeling that you have watched this to the accompaniement of countless bedtime snacks. So my guess is the point of making this film could be simply a directorial exercise. Or is it a 'Girl Power' message? This is where Shipla's casting of the Indian lady here makes a strong point. With her hair rebonded, dressed in a chic modern outfit and hands gracefully balancing 2 glasses of wine, she cuts a figure seldom represented in local movies - the modern suave Indian woman. The closest to that was last seen in 1979 in Saint Jack (especially when Monica Subramaniam untwirled her sari...).

SHOULD THE POST WAR S.I.T. flats be CONSERVED or EN-BLOC?

I've started a discussion at the FACEBOOK site.  Please click here to share your opinions with everyone. Thank you.

High Quality Japanese Tattoo


G.A.S.P.


Yesterday evening, while I was walking around Tiong Bahru with a tenant, I spotted a pair of ORIGINAL 1930's metal door with the ORIGINAL green stained glass!

It was left along the walkways of Block 57 Eng Hoon Street.

I have cleaned forgotten about it until about 1 hour ago when I spotted it again, still at the same location.

I wonder if the owners are waiting for someone to pick it up to restore or G.A.S.P., throw 'em away.

Mr Owner, if you are reading this and you are gonna throw it away, please GIVE IT TO ME instead.

Thank you.

AVATAR DVADAS PART FIVE by Bruce Gaston and Somtow Sucharitkul


AVATAR DVADAS PART FIVE a meta-symphony in twelve monthly installments
by Bruce Gaston and Somtow Sucharitkul
Capricorn: Microcosm of the Mind

Sunday, 31 January, 4 pm
Floor 1, Bangkok Art and Culture Center

     In the fifth installment of this year-long symphony in time and space, the vast spaces and colours of the preceding four movements are temporarily set aside in order to explore an inner landscape of the mind.

     Somtow Sucharitkul and Bruce Gaston are pitted against each other on simple keyboards.  Each is trapped in a labyrinth of notes, and must play elaborate musical games in order to escape.

    Is it fugue or fugue state?  Inversion or perversion?  Retrograde or retroflex?  Join composers Somtow and Bruce on an improvised journey through madness into light.

    The first three episodes of AVATAR DVADAS are now available on a DVD and will be available for sale at the event.



admission free (donations gratefully accepted for Bangkok Opera's youth programmes)
Information: (02) 231-5273 Bangkok Opera

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Notice : Junk Removal Day


Saw this pasted next to my letterbox today and I thought I do some community work tonight.

Here's what the letter is about (With some my own comments in red, LOL):

Dear Residents,

In conjunction with the coming festive season, (Why cannot mention Chinese New Year Hah?  Is this another McDonald's wannabe?) the Town Council will be providing a one-time free bulky items removal services on 30/01/10-31/01/10.

If you need to discard bulky items such as furniture, mattresses or home appliances, please place them at ground floor/void deck (Do we have void decks in Tiong Bahru?) before 4pm of the days.

Our conservancy contractors will dispose them for you.

Thank you.

Wallpaper Magazine (Issue : Nov 08) : Up and Coming



I got this Tiong Bahru story from Sylvia Tan today.

She spotted this story in the Wallpaper Magazine (November 2009 issue)

A
s the file came in a PDF version and I do not know how to convert PDF files to JPEG files, I'm reproducing the entire article for your reading pleasure.

Here is the excerpts:

By Singaporean standards, the Tiong Bahru estate is an odd duck.

On the surface, the quarter is a charming mix of well-preserved mid-1930s, three-storey buildings and a string of early 1950s art deco-styled flats.

A fading Buddhist temple hugs a street corner, while across the road, raucous hawker stalls dish out succulent roast duck rice and flourescent-lit convenience stalls sell bicycle parts.

Squint a little and this could easily be Singapore 30 years ago, even though the skyscrapers of Raffles Place are just minutes away.

But over the past few years, the quarter's ageing residents and nuclear families have seen an influx of 30-somethings - among them a sizeable gay community.

Attracted by the relatively low property prices and period architecture, architect Ken Wong and his journalist boyfried moved into the estate two years ago.

"This is the only area where heritage apartments don't have purchase restrictions," says Wong, referring to government regulations that usually limit purchases of property to married couples or singletons over 35.

Savvy businesses are responding to this new demographic.

Organic store Yes Natural (#01-27, 58 Seng Poh Road, tel:+65 6227 3280) offers organic treats; while Rice Fields (#01-06, 66 Eng Watt Street, tel:+65 6227 3456) stocks imported European stone, and swanky bathroom sinks and tiles.

At night, Wine Wise (#01-86, 57 Eng Hoon Street, tel:+65 6227 2118) pulls in oenophiles, while Persimmon (#01-07, 50 Tiong Bahru Road, tel: +65 6227 2271) does a mean East-meets-West menu.

"This area is a modern urban village," says local health-care worker Tristan Lim.

"There's a party at someone's place every other weekend."

Welcome to the new Singapore.

Daven Wu.

Tattoo Letter Designs

Tattoo Letter Designs


Tattoo Letter Designs


The Two Different Types - And Their Importance

When people search for tattoo letter designs, they are usually searching for one of two things:

1) English lettering that is curvy and artistic.
2) Chinese lettering that is accurate.

With regards to English lettering, finding the right tattoo letter designs can be tricky. Unlike some types of artwork, lettering is like handwriting - it is easier to do forge if it is something you are familiar with. As a result, it is a good idea to go directly to your favorite parlor and see what lettering they have available. This gives you an opportunity to see the types of letters they are familiar with, so that you can be more confident that they are able to correctly create the look you are looking for. If not, go to another parlor.
Tattoo Letter Designs
Chinese lettering can be tricky. The meaning of the tattoo letter designs changes based on the accuracy of the writing. Far too many artists unfamiliar with Chinese leave off an important line or mark, drastically changing the meaning of the word - or giving the word no meaning at all.

The best way to remedy this is to send the letters to a tattoo artist that is fluent in Chinese writing. This way they can send you back an accurate draft of the word that is designed like a beautiful tattoo but also is correct in both meaning and intention.

Heart Core by Narissara Pianwimungsa





Heart Core by  Narissara Pianwimungsa 
   
     Clothes and accessories are not only used for protecting the human body from the environment, but they also reflect the identitly and social status of those who wear them. Today, the fashion industry works very hard to increase their creativity to supply the demands of capitalism. Yet, the trendy set look somehow more mysterious and confused.

     I've questioned about the things beneath their clothes, since I found out that I can touch only their outer wrappings. Are the wearers aware, that when all is said and done, actually, the clothes speak only for themselves.

     All these feelings have been conveyed into this latest exhibition of drawings and paintings.


On 11st February 2010 until 13rd March 2010

At   ART REPUBLIC, 3rd Floor, Peninsula Plaza,
153 Rajadamri Rd., Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok, 10330
Tel. 02- 652-1801
 
Tuesdays - Saturdays from 11.00 - 19.00
Closed Sundays and Mondays www.artrepublicbkk.com




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