Trailing their 48 hours this weekend

This is indeed a week of manic video-making efforts and panic in some cases. With both the Great Gatsby Video Challenge and the 48 Hour Film Competition going on at the same time, lots of people will be surviving on inadequate sleep. We picked one team from the 48 hour Film Competition to follow. So follow our footsteps into the den of the team 'Outside the Lines'. This team is headed by John Winski, a lawyer who is veteran of the 48 Hour Film Challenge right from the days when he was still in his home country the US. This marks the 6th year he is taking part.

Friday 30 April 22:30
Four Seasons Park

A view from the moment we entered the house
So many chefs!
Screenwriting in progress
Mmm..... the DIY dolly
Conferences notes
It really helps that John (Winski)'s professional background is used in the seamless planning of this tea's production
This is apparently their 'music' department....already at work before shooting's started.

It's just hilarious when you see so many people in discussion and each wanting a hand in the screenplay!

Time left 22:50

vans pro team in guam

on april 29th, the vans skate and bmx team went down to tumon bay guam to sign autographs and put on a "jam session" demo in front of dna evolution and kicks/hi guam. dna of evolution and kicks/hi guam invited the public, especially skaters and action sports enthusiasts to come down and witness the occasion. the long live crew also released their long awaited skate deck/ tee pack and a preview of the long live skate video at the gathering. from the looks of it, this was an epic event!

our sales rep gifted kristy van doren, colin mackay and some other from vans pro team some watches. be sure to check out the great photos!

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Walking on the Cloud by Wanlop Han-San-Thia

Exhibition : Walking on the Cloud
by Wanlop Han-San-Thia
on May 1 - 30, 2010
at The Rotunda Gallery, Bangkok

The thriving view of art in "Walking on the Cloud" Art Exhibition.

Wanlop Han-Sen-Thia, Lanna artist, is proud to present his two-dimensional semi-abstract paintings. This is his first solo exhibition and it features exceptional art pieces. They express the beauty inspired by his daily surroundings and also his travel experiences which have brought him peace and happiness. Wanlop is renowned for these inspiring and positive artworks. Wanlop expertly uses an acrylic colour-dotting on canvas technique to create the 2-dimensional paintings, which illustrate his feeling and attitude towards nature, such as forest, flowers, mountains and impressive architecture. Putting the small coloured dots together creates a soft and beautiful movement of colours and a positive feeling of peace and serene happiness which this good-natured artist hopes to share with interested members of the public.

Rotunda and Garden Galleries, Neilson Hays Gallery
195 Suriwongse Road, Bangkok,10500 Thailand
Open Tue / Thu / Sat 9.30-16.00
Wed 9.30-19.00 / Sun 9.30-14.00
Tel. (662)233 1731
Contact: 02 233-1731

The opening of the Thai contemporary art exhibition "Be Skeptical"

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre cordially invite you to the opening of the Thai contemporary art exhibition "Be Skeptical" Friday 7 May 2010, 7th floor, Art Tour : 4.30 pm and Opening Reception : 6.30 pm, by Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture

The murder that freaked my brother and me out.

While my brother and I were growing up during our pre-teen phase, we were very much left to the care of our paternal grandma who lived at Block 53 Tiong Bahru Road.

Block 53 Tiong Bahru Road was also the block where the famous bird corner was located.

It was also at this block that I discovered I had a Chinese Name when I was sent to the PAP-run kindergarten which was located directly below my grandma's apartment.

The teacher kept yelling my Chinese name and I just stared blankly at her.

She finally figured it out when all my classmates were accounted for and she conveniently tagged me with the leftover name.

How would a 5 year know his Chinese name when no one else had told him so.

I only responded to "Alvin" or "Ah Meng". (Ah Meng was what my grandma called me while my brother was Ah Kwang!)

It was here at Block 53 that I learnt how to ride my tricycle and eventually a bicycle. It was also here where I crashed badly because I was trying to cycle without holding onto the handles of my bike.

It was also here where I had many hours of crazy badminton session with my brother.

It was also here where I got a scar on my left eyebrow because I was playing football in my grandma's place and my brother decided to trip me, causing me to hit my forehead on the sofa's corner and making my grandma panicked because my blood just wouldn't stopped flowing.

It was here that my dad and his nine other siblings were raised by my grandparents.

Believe it or not, it was also here where I managed to raised some chicks and eventually was forced to eat them when they grew up! Barf!

One of my uncle even managed to get himself a girlfriend who eventually became his wife when he smooth talked a pretty parking warden who was sitting in one of those wooden booths behind Block 53. (Those booth were common feature at all HDB carparks before parking coupons were introduced)

Then one day, something changed all that!

For a few weeks around November 1982, there was a horrible stench and I was told that a cat or dog probably died on the roof.

The stench seems to come after a mysterious blackout that happened during one of the nights.

We all concluded later that the murderer must have caused the blackout so that he could move the body up in stealth.

Eventually the body of an old lady was found on the roof of block 53 and since that was the only stairscase with roof access, the murderer must have used the same staircase that I used to access my grandma's place.

From that time onwards, my relationship with my younger brother was especially strong when we needed to walk up the stairs to my grandma's place! We never walked alone.

I was never given a full picture of what actually happened as the details from my uncle was sketchy.  Basically it was someone who killed his own mum and was found out when he tried to report his mother missing as soon as the body was found on the roof of block 53.

So I was kind of glad that I found this newspaper article that clarified everything.

Click here for the link : Full newspaper story 

I cannot believe this!

How could anyone try to conceal a murder, especially when the victim is your own family member?

Did they think that the bad dream will go away after sometime?

Today, Block 53 has morphed into a part of the Link Hotel and the roof top has been transformed into a beer garden.

Even the staircase to "heaven" has been removed when the building was refurbished to accomodate more rooms.

So in a way, the bad dream has been "moved"out and I guess I can move on and remember ONLY THE GOOD STUFF now.


matthew waldman in yrb

matthew waldman and the nooka brand were featured in design @ work, an article focusing on 7 different brands with 7 unique aesthetics in the latest yrb magazine. be sure to check out the great photo courtesy of esteban aladro!

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"I'll just smile. No comment".

Cute. That's the last quoted remark by one of the 'cowboy' in YouTube, "Cowboys in Paradise Bali". It's kind of opposite of the grim news about how the police on Bali caught 28 people as part of their manhunt, or gigolo hunt...whatever.

Police on Indonesia's resort island of Bali detained 28 people this week in a crackdown on "beach gigolos," who scout for foreign female tourists, officials said on Tuesday.

The raids began on Monday after the release of a trailer for a documentary on Bali's 'Kuta cowboys', the muscular and tanned Kuta beach surfers who develop short-term romantic relationships with foreign women in return for gifts.

'Cowboys in Paradise' follows the trials and tribulations of several beach boys, their families and their female patrons.

The documentary's Singapore-based director, Amit Virmani, said he found the arrests deplorable.

"A witch hunt for men with tanned and muscular bodies on the beach is the last thing anybody wants," he said.

"The film is about one small aspect of life in a holiday destination. It does not suggest that the cowboys are all that Bali has to offer."

Gede Wijaya, a spokesman for the local council area which includes Kuta beach, said that 28 people had been detained for not having proper identification or "for disturbing the peace or security of our beaches."

Wijaya said the raids were part of routine checks and not linked to the documentary, but local media reported that security officials were targeting tanned and muscular men.

"As has been reported, gigolos have indeed been rounded up," Putu Suardika, a spokesman for the governor of Bali, said in a telephone text message to Reuters. Virmani said he believed the beach gigolo phenomena was not unique to Bali, which is also known for its Hindu temples, volcanoes, and terraced rice fields.

"Moreover, the cowboys do not pose a threat to tourists. What happens between consenting adults is their own business," he said.

"I am genuinely worried for the safety of the people in the film and the boys on the beach."

From Yahoo! News, "28 detained in beach "gigolo" raid".

The Straits Times : Tiong Bahru, the movie

The Straits Times
Apr 29, 2010
By Magdalen Ng

London-based film-makers Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy were shocked during their first visit to Tiong Bahru Market when their order of carrot cake arrived.

Lawlor and Molloy decided on Tiong Bahru for their film project as it was one of the oldest Housing Board (sic) estates. They are now familiar with the popular food stalls at the market. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

'It looked nothing like the carrot cake that we were used to. But it's quite good, actually,' says Lawlor in a recent interview with Life! at the Tiong Bahru Market.

Now he and his wife are no longer strangers to the market and even know which hawker stalls are the most popular.

They have been speaking to store owners and visitors to the area as part of their research for the next short film that they are making.

Set in and around the Tiong Bahru estate, the movie is part of Civic Life: Tiong Bahru, a community arts project exploring identity, memory, architecture, a sense of place and civic space that will take place in the second half of this year.

The project is a collaboration between the British Council and the National Museum of Singapore with support from the Singapore International Foundation. There will also be an online film competition for Singaporeans.

'The British Council is a cultural relations agency whose aim is to create meaningful discussions around the ideas of creativity, culture and education. This project involves close collaboration with our Singaporean partners and a rich engagement between Singaporean and British artists,' says Mr Dan Prichard, director of programmes of the British Council in Singapore.

He adds: 'Joe and Christine's films are beautiful, but it is their commitment to the community and their engagement with the community at all levels in the project that make the Civic Life films so special.'

Lawlor and Molloy's movie, as yet untitled, is the third in a series of short films involving communities that they are making.

The first two Civic Life films were set in Dublin, Ireland, the duo's hometown. Moore Street was filmed along the iconic street where many migrant communities settle, while Leisure Centre focused on the leisure centre situated on Main Street Ballymun, which has long been associated with crime and poverty in the media. Both films were praised at various international film festivals.

For their Singapore film, they surveyed other places including Bedok before deciding on Tiong Bahru, because it is one of the oldest estates in Singapore, and is a place rich with history and culture. Also, almost every Singaporean they encountered seemed to have an opinion about Tiong Bahru Market.

'Some of the people we spoke to used to live here and have since moved away. But they still come back week after week to eat their favourite food,' says Lawlor.

Molloy adds: 'But there are others who refuse to come back after the refurbishment of the market, because they feel it's no longer the same place they remember.'

While filming is slated to take place in June, they are still working on the plot and script after three visits to Singapore. They plan to develop the script gleaned from conversations with residents and visitors in the area.

They are also inviting people to contribute their memories of the place to the project at the website,

'There are certain things that we will definitely include, but we don't know exactly what we want to do yet,' says Lawlor.

Submit your memories of Tiong Bahru for this project at

The Great Gatsby Video Challenge

Held in conjunction with the Singapore Arts Festival 2010, The Great Gatsby Video Challenge draws its inspiration from the great literary classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

"It tells a cautionary tale of love, lust and obsession... Budding filmmakers are encouraged to relocate The Great Gatsby to Singapore. Be inspired!

Create a short video and stand to win some amazing prizes. The judges are looking for innovation, wit and creativity. Can you meet the challenge?"

The event takes place from 23 April – 3 May 2010. The theme will be announced at 5pm on 23 April via email.

Registration closes 3 May 2010, noon sharp.

Please email or call 6293 9782 for more information.

The Singapore 48 Hour Film Project

Taken from their website:

"The 48 Hour Film Project comes to Singapore on the weekend of April 30th. Filmmakers from all over the country of Singapore will compete to see who can make the best short film in only 48 hours. The winning film will go up against films from around the world.

Enter today! Space is limited.

This year, teams will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Once the initial registration is complete, we will accept teams for the Waiting List. If a registered team must drop out, we will go to the Waiting List. If there is enough interest, and we can secure additional theater time, we may be able to add more teams from the list.

Early Bird Registration is 120 SGD. Teams must register on or before Monday, April 19, to get this special rate. Afterwards, registration is 140 SGD."

Register for Singapore now!

Submissions Wanted : 3rd Annual Vancouver Singapore Film Festival

The 3rd Annual Vancouver Singapore Film Festival is here! They are currently accepting film submissions.

Festival dates: September 17 & 18, 2010

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia - Canada

Submissions deadline: July 15, 2010 (entries must arrive in Vancouver by this date)

More information on the Vancouver Singapore Film Festival at:

Entry Form and Submissions Guidelines available at:

For enquiries, please contact them at:

Boat Quay - a shot of many colors

Just a shot taken at Boat Quay. Sigh. Love the colors. Love the ambience...

Shutter Island - give me the book, please!

Shutter Island - The Movie

Shutter Island - The Book

Yeah, do let me read the book, Shutter Island. The movie is fantastic, alright. Gripping. But I don't get it about 'the law of four'. A quick check on the Net shows that I'm not alone. Check out Yahoo! Answer, "What is the Law of 4 in Shutter Island?".

Churamane in Missing the Boat...literally and figuratively speaking

Currently reading "Missing the Boat". Heh.

You've probably never heard of the Churamane, have you? They were a particularly lazy and not terribly bright species that lived a long time ago and vanished without a trace.

They were invited by God to be the chosen two to continue their race after the great flood. The story follows them from the time they get invited aboard Noah's Ark, all the way up to the moment they finally arrive at the boat... only to realize that they're late and have been locked out!

When it starts to rain, they are left to realize that they've literally missed the boat on survival, and have doomed their entire species to extinction!

Engagingly written with wonderfully vibrant art, this story will delight readers of all ages and, if you're not looking, may even teach a lesson about procrastination and slothfulness.

From Product Description, "Missing the Boat".

No, these two are not Churamane...

Calvin Cheng...what were you thinking about?!

I do like the point brought up by Mr. K Shanmugam. He noted that "some would say that NMPs, who do not contest elections, should also not enter Parliament". At the very least, NCMP-s have joined the battle of election. Sure, they lost. But to compare to those (read: NMP-s) who did not even participate in the election?!

Nominated Member of Parliament Calvin Cheng's passionate opposition against more Non-Constituency MPs - a day after the Constitution was amended to allow more into Parliament - was greeted with some surprise yesterday.

Mr Cheng said the move to allow losing Opposition candidates into Parliament, at best "flies in the face of the logic of democratic elections". "At worst, it's a slap in the face to the people who had voted," he added.

Mr Cheng, a former People's Action Party youth wing member, applauded "the ruling party for allowing their vanquished opponents through the backdoor of Parliament".

While he acknowledged Mr Cheng's point, Law Minister K Shanmugam pointed out that some would say that NMPs, who do not contest elections, should also not enter Parliament.

NCMP Sylvia Lim also quipped: "I find it quite ironic that someone who came into this august chamber through an interview could attack the NCMP scheme in such strong terms."

Mr Shanmugam reiterated that the Government is increasing the number of NCMPs "because we believe strongly in doing what is right for Singapore".

"Singaporeans will know that alternative views are not shut out ... The changes are not being made based on cynical, tactical, short-term calculations - which won't work anyway," he added.

From TODAY, "NMP argues against NCMP scheme".

hong kong update and a small rant or two

i used to go to hong kong once or twice a year when i started nooka, but due to frustrations with dealing with the first factory we contracted, i began to send other staff members to do the factory visits. though things have improved on all fronts, and communication being the main ongoing issue, it is yet again necessary for me to shepherd the process directly. so after an absence of 2 years, i went to hong kong. so even though it is late april, and i packed not much of warm clothes, i was shocked with cool weather [snow in tokyo, freezing smog in beijing, but cold in hong kong?!?]. this actually worked to my advantage as i don't do well in hot sweaty weather – my hong kong productivity doubled!

since it was a short trip, i planned all the meetings to be in the HK offices of the factories we use. without going into minutia, the outcome i have been feeling mount, is that a company like nooka needs to have it's design office in hong kong or at least closer than a 14 hour plane ride. the iceland volcano put a stop to fedex up until a few days before my meetings, so my timing couldn't have been better. moreover, being able to discuss design changes face to face is by far the most efficient way to produce things. i really need to think this through: can i live in HK 6 months of the year? is tokyo close enough to base the design lab there? i was impressed with the energy and people of beijing, but the pollution there would kill me. how do other small independent design brands handle these issues? remember, i sort of fell into product design! still figuring this stuff out...

<volcano: if my anti-gravity drive transport was developed we wouldn't see the huge disruptions caused by this event. am i the only one consistently ranting about the lack of technological progress in air travel? this is the same technology in use since the 1960s...just sayin...>

i got to meet the great people at victionary publishing, the incredible chris ng of idn magazine, and arnault, proprietor of kapok, your place for nooka products in hong kong! his combination cafe, shoppe and gallery on a cute hidden street in wanchai is a great place for a coffee and nooka any day of the week. check it out; G/F 5 saint francis yard, wanchai.

aside from work, caught up with mark landwehr of coarse toys – had a IKEA swedish meatballs at his apt with some of his friends and coworkers. my friends andrew and marco actually live 3 floors below him in the same building, so i invited them to meet their neighbors. a friend from when i was a young adult in tokyo has been living on lamma island for 14 years, and we had a lovely seafood meal there, my first time on lamma island. for one of the last surviving international design magazines, produced out of hong kong. for victionary design publishing, also out of hong kong. support independent design, buy their products as well as mine.

business travel notes:
do not get brainwashed like i did and get an american express platinum card. you do not receive any better service from the airlines than if you were to book all your flights on kayak, nor does it get you access into any of the airport lounges in tokyo narita or beijing international. they booked me on air china for 2 legs of my flight, and this is an airline to avoid – unresponsive counter people who just stare at you when they don't want to answer a question and the interior of their planes are old and quite smelly. luckily i always have a muji moisture mist and travel sizes of nooka fragrance to keep me from not breathing. i have to say, american express marketing is certainly successful enough to get me to pay the $750 annual fee which will be contested when i cancel this card on my return to NYC.

put hungary on your list of countries where google sites do not work. they are not blocked but i can't get gmail or blogger to work at all – times out. search is fine but painfully slow. so if you are like me and do cloud computing, make sure you have back ups to download from other servers and POP/IMAP set up on your laptop for your email. i am writing this [and updating the blog via email, not the website] in sunny budapest where we are having a nooka dj event with larry tee this friday! i haven't seen larry since he moved to london so this will be a cool environment to catch up. let me know if you're in buda or pest this week. also, if you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, bring a huge supply of lactase or soy milk with you.

nooka x ddg

text by michael a. traverzo

nooka and luxury jewlery designer, deviant design group, have combined their collective views of unconventional design to create custom high value nooka watches for an exclusive clientele. check out the "blinged" out nooka zot classic that features a 14k gold face plate inscribed with the nooka and ddg logo as well as an exterior watch case adorned with over 4 carats of si1 f-g colored diamonds. similar upgrades and customizations will now be available starting at $2,500.

ddg offers a variety of customization options ranging from precious stones and diamonds, gold plating, inscription, unique straps and special requests to add your personal "swag" to a nooka.

email for more information or a price quote.

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1 MAY 2010, 9PM-12PM, FREE ENTRY
KIJJAZ with guest

Nospace Gallery
21/108 Block D, Royal City Avenue (RCA)
Bangkok Thailand 10320
084-1341184, 02-6414040

From son to daughter: A Singaporean family's transformation

“When you walk out on the street you have to face the cold hard facts, the world, and the way people look at’s hard. Home is supposed to be the safe place where you can go to for warmth and love, and at the end of the day it’s good to know that there’s somebody you can go home to, who doesn’t judge you, who loves you for who you are.”
- Jamie Yee

Jamie Yee, 36, is a post-op transgender person. With the love and support of her family, Jamie, at the age of 24, underwent an operation to become what she had always felt she was: a girl.

From the age of five, Jamie knew she wasn’t quite like the other boys. Rather than sharing in the rough-and-tumble activities with them, she found herself gravitating towards girls’ toys, like cooking sets and dolls. One of her earliest recollections was when she was asked to colour a cow, and she did so – in purple – and all the time insisting that such an animal existed, despite everyone telling her it wasn’t the norm.

Jamie’s Mother, Mrs Yee Yoke Lan, 58, had also known early on that her child was special. “As she grew up – I think it was mother’s intuition – you get to see that she was very different. Although she was born a boy, she was very gentle. And when her sister was born – Jamie was 6-plus at the time – she also played with her sister’s toys.”

Awareness did not lead to acceptance though. Mrs Yee spent years in denial, in the face of increasing evidence of her daughter’s identified gender. During her medical check-up at secondary four, Jamie’s school doctor had called Mrs Yee in to tell her that Jamie was “special” , and although she was taking her ‘O’ Levels at the time, she should not be stressed.

“The doctor didn’t tell me exactly why at the time, why she was special. But in my own heart, I knew.”

It was not a feeling that Mrs Yee was ready to acknowledge, however.

“I was actually trying to deny (knowing) and hope that it will not be what I thought. As her mother I would always go to her room to tidy up and check (on her). And I would find traces of her cross-dressing – but I did not question her. Maybe I was afraid to face the truth.”

To make matters worse, work stress added further to the confusion arising from having to bring up a child like Jamie. They were taking their toll on Mrs Yee and she started contemplating suicide - a thought that she kept from everyone, including her husband.

Communication between Jamie and her father fared no better. Her father, Yee Chang Kim, 70, had little awareness of events at home; Mrs Yee had not shared her feelings with him.

“At the time, my working hours were very long, so I did not think very much of it. As her father, I found it very difficult to express my concern for her,” he said in Mandarin.

Through her teenage years, Jamie struggled to come to terms with her identity, and how she was going to break the news to her parents. Jamie tried to distance herself from them as much as she could, she would come home late to make sure no one would see her at night, and would sleep in late to make sure no one saw her in the morning when they went to work.

Her parents eventually found out when Jamie was called up for National Service.

When she went in for the routine medical, she confessed to the medical officer that she was transgendered. Her parents were subsequently asked to attend a meeting with the psychologist.

“I think it was a case of either denial or don’t-ask-don’t-tell. Sort of ‘maybe he’s going through a phase, he’ll get over it’ sort of thing. But they went ahead with it and I had to do the whole two years of National Service,” Jamie said.

“What the psychiatrist said was that maybe it’ll make me more of a man after it - but apparently not.”

Crucially, however, Jamie’s mother was opening to the idea that her son was really her daughter. Through her own very difficult period, while wrestling with thoughts of suicide, Mrs Yee went for counselling courses. It was there that she began to open up and learn more about diversity in human sexuality.

Transgendered people are individuals who express their gender in a non traditional manner. In Jamie’s case, she was born physically as a man, but sees and expresses herself completely as a woman. In practical terms, she has always been a female, but requires gender reassignment to fully express it.

Mrs Yee knew this. She knew that gender identity issues aren’t easy to deal with, and that family support can help her daughter. “I don’t think they have a choice”, she said, “sometimes they are born in this way, so they need the help and understanding from their family to help them and to believe in them.”

After NS, Jamie started to transition. “I read from a lot of books that it’s actually better to try and live your life as a full time girl to see how would blend in and cope with that.” During this period, Jamie worked at a restaurant, dressed up as a girl, to save up money to go for a gender reassignment operation in Thailand. But she was faced with a painful choice.

Her mother had cautioned her not to “do anything drastic” until after her father had passed on, given how conservative he was. But deep inside, Jamie was torn.

“It kept going on in my head that it’s not fair of me wishing that my Dad would pass on so that I can do what I want to do. It was a choice between going ahead and doing the surgery without their blessing in Thailand, or coming straight out and getting their blessing – which would be a lot better for me as well,” she said.

So Jamie approached her mother about the gender reassignment surgery, knowing that her mother was not closed to the idea.

Mrs Yee listened, then promised to talk to her husband on Jamie’s behalf. For them, choosing to give Jamie their blessing, or not, represented the choice between supporting their daughter through a major turning point in her life and keeping her, or further estranging their daughter and themselves, while leaving their daughter to an uncertain fate.

It was a very difficult choice for Mr Yee.

“Jamie’s my child. When she said that she wanted to go for the operation, my heart ached quite badly. It was a very difficult time for me. I kept asking myself: how is it possible that a child of mine could turn out like that? I found it so difficult to accept the reality”, he said, “but I thought, If I try to stop her, what will be the consequences? So I thought that the best thing for me to do, as her father, was to let Jamie decide for herself. This is something that she's been wishing for, for a long time, and I want her to be happy. I feel that if I had tried to stop her, she might have a very different outlook on life and I feared that something bad might happen to her. So in the end, I gave her my blessing to go for the operation.”

“The decision was made because we don’t want her to, because we already know that she has decided to go ahead, we don’t want her to go to a foreign land to take the operation where her family were not around. So we decided to let her go ahead and do it in Singapore where we feel that with us around giving her the support it would be much safer, we would feel better, and also in our heart we were thinking at least we have a child”, said Mrs Yee, “because we don’t want to lose a child, that’s the main thing.”

Mr Yee agreed, “I'm her parent, so it's my responsibility to see that she lives and grows as a healthy and happy individual no matter what she may be like. I cannot abandon her.”

In fact, Mr and Mrs Yee not only supported Jamie’s decision, but also arranged for her to have it done in Singapore, at a cost of more than $10,000.

“We used our Medisave and our savings to help her, to help pay for the operation. Because she had to stay in an ‘A’ Class ward, it was very costly, but we think it was worth it. We would be around in case of any complications,” said Mrs Yee.

Additionally, it was also Jamie’s mother who helped her inform the rest of the extended family, seeking their support as well.

“It was very difficult to break the news to the family but I have to do that because I want them to accept”, said Mrs Yee, “it’s Jamie’s choice and we have to respect her decision.”

And to Jamie’s amazement, when she awoke, she saw not only her own parents smiling back at her, but also her entire extended family, their support and understanding made real.

Sharing the moment, Jamie’s mother said, “We felt happy that she had woken up from the operation, that’s the most important part... the priority was that she’s safe and healthy after that.”

Twelve years later, Jamie is a successful post-op transgender female. She is now a registered nurse, and is no longer afraid of showing herself to her family. She attends family gatherings, and readily shares her problems with her parents, who go on to support her in whatever way they can.

Jamie’s mother said, “Jamie has to face the world bravely and understand that there will be many who will look at her with different feelings and different thoughts... She has to know that her family understands and wants to help to continue her life and to live happily.”

And how does Jamie feel? “I am very lucky in the sense that I’ve got great parents who are supportive and it’s like now when I go out with them and they introduce me as their daughter, as their eldest daughter... It’s little things like that which I feel I’m thankful”, she smiles, “Although sometimes, my Mum still forgets and calls me by my boy’s name. But that’s fine.”

matthew waldman x graniph t shirt

graniph recently teamed up with matthew waldman for a special limited edition collaboration t shirt. this exclusive to graniph shirt features the nooka creatures of the night patter in a star shaped design. be sure to visit here to a get a closer look at the design.

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nooka night in budapest

for those of you lucky enough to be in budapest, you will have the esteemed pleasure of being able to stop by merlin and join the 'andy warhol of dance music', electro dj larry tee, while he hosts nooka night. get the chance to chat with the man behind nooka, matthew waldman while there. this event is april 30th, so be sure to mark it in your calendars!

for information: +36 1 317 93 38/107

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100 Tonson Gallery 's Programs in May 2010

While the domestic political turmoil is boiling hot to the point where the gallery has to temporary halt its operation in April, 100 Tonson Gallery has active programs in the month of May.

17th Sydney Biennale (12 May – August 1, 2010): Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, the outstanding Thai artist’s “Two Planets” is selected to be the highlight of this important event by world-renowned Artistic Director David Elliott. The work will be featured as multi screened video at Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

In Bangkok at 100 Tonson Gallery: Utai Nopsiri will launch his second solo exhibition after the eye-opening show for domestic and international audience alike. LIBERATION will be on view for 6 weeks, starting May 6th. The opening reception will later be informed.

Hong Kong international art fair 2010 (ART HK 10) : (May 26-30, 2010) Once again, 100 Tonson is the first and only Thai gallery selected to partake in outstanding art fairs, after Dubai, Shanghai, Basel and many high profile venues, we will feature the works by top Thai artists: Chatchai Puipia and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook at booth D05 in ART HK, along side major galleries from around the world. Paintings and sculptures by Puipia as well as photos from the Two Planets series by Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook will be on display. Visitors who are interested in getting VIP pass are welcome to contact us in advance.

We hope to welcome you all in respective venues.

For more information, please contact us at +6681 910 9440 or

The Straits Times : El Bulli chef goes local

The Straits Times
Apr 26, 2010
By rebecca lynne tan

Three-Michelin-starred chef Ferran Adria eats hawker food here for the first time at Tiong Bahru and declares it unique

Weaving through the wet market in Tiong Bahru last Saturday, Ferran Adria suddenly stops in his tracks at a fruit shop. Packets of salted plum powder catch his eye.

His brows furrow as he looks intently at the fine brown powder. Life! explains to him that the tart and salty powder is usually sprinkled on sliced guava for dessert.

He buys a packet for $1.

'You might see 40 different products but there will always be one that is magical,' says the 47-year-old Spaniard, chef and co-owner of three-Michelin-starred restaurant El Bulli on Spain's north-east Catalan coast.

He plans to explore how it can be translated and used in high-end gastronomy. He is not sure if he has analysed salted plum powder in a creative context before, but says 'his guys will know'.

His travels throughout the world, he says, inspire him to create dishes.

Walking past a display of century eggs at another stall in the wet market, he pauses and turns to tell Life! that those eggs had once spawned the idea to create something new - the Golden Egg.

He created the dish of quail egg yolk encased in a thin film and topped with flakes of sea salt, which oozes a warm liquid when bitten into, after coming across the century egg during his first visit to China in 2004.

He made his first trip to Asia in 2000, starting with Thailand, followed by Japan in 2002. This is his first trip to Singapore. And, as with any first-time visitor to the island, it is only customary to welcome him with a varied spread of local fare.

His collective verdict after sampling myriad dishes, including salted egg crab, nasi lemak (coconut rice), ayam buah keluak (a Peranakan dish of black nuts and chicken), chicken rice, pig's organ soup, chwee kueh (radish served atop round rice-flour cakes), a stuffed glutinous rice roll, soya bean milk with chin chow (grass jelly) and sugarcane juice with lemon: 'I have not seen anything like this in the world - the combination of the food and the atmosphere - it is very unique.

'Singapore is gastronomically very exciting. Professionals in the food world should come here and see what's going on.'

While he was clearly passionate at his World Gourmet Summit presentations about his cooking rationale and food philosophy, his encounter with hawker food took on a decidedly cerebral timbre. Indeed, he was not given to oohing and aahing, though this did not mean he was creating dishes in his mind as he ate. After all, he did say that he had to be alone, away from the attention of the media, to be in the creative frame of mind.

He obligingly samples all the dishes, one at a time, listening to his translator, Ms Lucy Garcia, explain each dish to him as it is explained to her. Nothing is too exotic or spicy for him. He moves from one item to the next, without even a sip of water between mouthfuls.

He is quiet initially, maybe because he is busy soaking in the mish-mash of flavours. His facial expressions say nothing about what could be going through his head as he sucks on a buah keluak nut and dips the glutinous rice roll in the sweet dark caramel sauce.

He tastes the ginger sauce that is served with the chicken rice, twice, and gives it a nod of interest.

Then, he stirs the cup of soya bean milk with chin chow and slurps up strands of jelly.

'What is this?'

He takes out a few more strands of the herbal grass jelly and touches them with his fingers but does not reveal any thoughts when asked.

As he sips the freshly pressed sugarcane juice, he is reminded of the foam often used in his creations.

The idea to create foam came about in 1992 after he drank a glass of fresh fruit juice, which came with a thick foamy layer. The foam from the juice, he says, was 'the most amazing mousse'. It had no milk and no egg, and he wanted to create a mousse that was as light as the fruit juice foam, but with the ability to retain strong flavours.

Thus was the idea for espuma born.

Adria points to the dishes, saying the cuisine here is very much product-based, with a few elaborations, such as the soup.

Product-based refers to dishes which are based on the use of distinct items such as chicken and rice.

An elaboration is an outcome of a preparation, where products are used to create a secondary dish.

'In contemporary cuisine, you will always find examples like these. You find examples (of products and elaborations) in all cuisines around the world.'

Pointing to the crab and the soup, he says: 'It is not a good idea to just have this or that, you have to find a balance.' 

' I have not seen anything like this in the world - the combination of the food and the atmosphere - it is very unique. Singapore is gastronomically very exciting. Professionals in the food world should come here and see what's going on

Ferran Adria at Tiong Bahru hawker centre

After his talks at the World Gourmet Summit, Adria samples the offerings at Tiong Bahru hawker centre while at the wet market, he is intrigued by salted plum powder at a fruit stall (above) and buys a packet to take home. -- ST PHOTOS: SAMUEL HE


Adria fans fly in

Three-Michelin-starred Ferran Adria is something of a rock star in the culinary world.

Last week, when he was in town to give two presentations during the World Gourmet Summit, he was mobbed by fans, some of whom had flown in from places such as the Philippines just for him.

All wanted to see and take pictures of the man who has revolutionised the culinary scene with his deconstructivist and molecular cuisine at Spain's famous El Bulli restaurant. They queued for more than an hour to get their books signed. Some ran after him, waving their arms, begging him to stop and pose for photographs. He, of course, kindly obliged.

El Bulli, near Barcelona, was named the world's Best Restaurant for five years by UK publication Restaurant magazine in 2002 and from 2006 to 2009.

It was a full house of more than 400 people at each of Adria's presentations. His events were among the highlights of the summit, an annual two-week gastronomic extravaganza that ended last Saturday.

At the first talk, held at the ballroom of the Capella Singapore hotel on Sentosa last Thursday evening, the audiences watched the 55-minute documentary, A Day At El Bulli, directed by Adria's brother, Albert. The documentary gave insights into how the El Bulli team of seven pastry chefs, 33 cooks, four sommeliers, 16 waitstaff and several dishwashers prepares dinner for 50 people a night, each tucking into 35 courses. A half-hour question-and-answer session followed.

The second talk, at The Singapore Repertory Theatre in Robertson Quay on Friday afternoon, saw Adria delving further into his philosophy: His rationale is that cooking is a language and has a discourse of its own. He believes that cooking and cuisine create a dialogue between cultures.

El Bulli opens only six months of the year and it receives 300,000 to one million e-mail requests for 8,000 seats each year. A meal there costs about €250 euros (S$460) a person. Complex deconstructed dishes on the menu have included air of honey with flowers and pistachios, alphabet soup, carrot air with bitter coconut, and Parmesan spaghetto.

Speaking in Spanish, Adria says: 'For us, the most important aspect of being chefs is that we ourselves are happy with what we do. You have to be an egoist. If you are not happy with what you do, you won't cook well and you won't make other people happy.'

He emphasises that creativity and reproduction of that creativity in cooking are two different aspects.

He and his team have spent the past 25 years creating something new every year. During the six months when the eatery is closed, his core team of five people creates new dishes for four months.

But these days, he says, the demands of such creativity are so high, that even four straight months of focus on creativity are no longer enough.

This is the reason El Bulli will be converted into a think tank in 2014 after closing for two years from 2012. 'There's nothing like it in the world. There are no other references and I think this is the magical part of it. This is the challenge for me,' he says.

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Production Talk-'24 Hours of Anger' by TT Dhavamani

A flood of congratulations and several good reviews since its opening, 'Gurushetram' or '24 Hours of Anger' has remained steady at 8th position for 2 weeks in the Singapore box office since its opening. Can't get enough of it? Here's more.... an in-depth chat with the director TT Dhavamani about the film and what's behind it!


Set in contemporary Singapore, Gurushetram - 24 Hours of Anger, is a sinuously provocative, edge-of-your-seat thriller about Prakash who is brought up in a particular s
egment of the working-class Indian society lined with the wreckage of broken families and dreams. Prakash, a 17 year old teenager, losing his family, seeks shelter with his uncle Vinod, the head of a drug ring, with his mentally challenged younger brother. The two teenagers emerge as pivotal accomplices in Vinod’s clandestine drug operations.

Unbeknownst to Vinod, an adamant narcotics police superintendent is hot on their heels after receiving a string of tips offs from an anonymous informant. An earnest social counsellor tries to reach out to Prakash and his brother but meets resistance from those within and outside the law. Both the law enforcers and Vinod want a piece of Prakash and his defenseless sibling in a world fraught with peril, double-crossings and deceits. Prakash has no choice but play his final card to salvage the situation and protect his brother once and for all.

I read that you and Tze Chien have been incubating this story for a long time.

To be exact we devoted three years to the tasks of reading, researching, discussing, writing and then refining! Considering the amount of money one spends on making a movie; the amount of dedicated work one puts into making a movie; and, then the number of lives it touches and transforms … three years I believe is not really a long of time for developing a script!

Why is this story so special to you that you want to tell it in your first feature film?

Well, I strongly felt that in a race towards attaining economic security we have, without our conscious knowledge, left a generation of Singaporeans who have difficulty both competing and completing the race. Unable to cope with the pace and numerous changes they have fallen wayward out of the social context. Inevitably they are part of us and this is a story about them and thus us! What is more important than a story about us in my first feature film work?

"the street scripts the screen" - could you elaborate further?

A line I borrowed from a well know film critic that best sums up my work till far. A reflection of what we see and feel around us that eventually shape your thoughts and become part of the process of your work.

Is this really the first Singapore Tamil feature to be made in a long time, what were your predecessors?

We do not have a history of Singapore-made Tamil films. At least not in the same league as the Malay industry who has seen the golden age during P Ramlee’s era. Yet we do have a rich cultural tradition of story-telling in Singapore. The Tamil theatre has seen a collection of works that will certainly stand as testimony to this. Short story collections and local literary works have a special place in our very own history. They are my predecessors!

I am influenced by P Krishnan, a legendary writer in the Singapore Tamil literary fraternity as much as Kuo Pao Kun, the theatre practice veteran whose many works have deeply influenced in my formative years.

How is it different from other TV drama programmes which you have directed before?

I treat all work, be it theatre plays, television dramas or made for television movies and the feature films the same. Careful consideration is given to the “process”. To me the process (experimentation) which takes us, the practitioners, to the final destination or the final outcome is very important.

The difference may be the bigger platform, the medium, the budget, the bigger pool of crew and actors to manage, and of course the business sense of movie-making … something that I am still figuring out!

How long did you take to make this film from the time pre-production started?

Three months of solid pre-production was very essential for the whole process. The locations needed careful selection; the Art Direction needed careful planning; the rehearsal process needed careful attention as I was concurrently finalising the dialogues; endless discussion with the key personnel be it the Production Designer, Cinematographer, Actors and Production crew took place just to ensure the details that we wanted were worked into the story at every stage! The shoot was planned for 30 days and executed within that planned period. The editing, music, sound design, mixing, grading and final print out were all done within another 40 days.

How did you go about casting?

Casting was a joyful process as far as this feature film was concerned. Many of the actors who acted in the feature film have collaborated with me at various stages of their career. Many of them were from my acting workshops conducted long ago when I was diligently doing theatre and acting workshops for television. Many of them have done various television dramas with me. It was more like a home coming. I knew exactly the actor who is going to play the characters while I was fine tuning the script at the final stages. To a certain extent I wrote the dialogues to the tune of the actor’s breathing pattern … assembling the puzzle one by one!

What were your biggest challenges in making this film?

Film making in itself in Singapore is a big challenge! The lack of physical space for filming is a challenge! Making the budget work for the film is a challenge! Filming live sound at its best in the hustle and bustle of Singapore is a challenge! Convincing people to watch a local work is a challenge! Dealing with the press, critics, and distributors is a challenge! Understanding the concept of film business itself is a challenge! Amidst all these challenges the pure passion of telling a story sincerely and truthfully keeps one going crossing one obstacle after another...

Any interesting anecdotes to share about the production?

Although the film is classified as a Tamil movie, it is truly made by multi-cultural Singaporeans! The cinematographer is a Belgian, the co-writer, gaffer to grip to sound recordist were all Chinese, the sound designer was a Malay, the Director, Musician, Editor a Tamil, Actors boast a combination of all races!

I am very gripped and moved by the film. What kind of impact do you hope this film will have on the Singapore audience and the industry?

Channel News Asia reviewer gave it 4 pop-corn (must watch) and reviewed it as a World Class performance and add that the cinematography can rival any Hollywood Movie! It is gripping and creating sensations among the Singaporean Indians as well. Face book and emails is seeing a lot of good reviews, and the movie is quietly running successfully into its third week at the cinemas (limited screening yet we will reach 100k box office taking soon). I did not have many funds to publicise the movie except through the internet and quietly relying on word of mouth! It is working as the box office takings look good and I am hoping it engages the non-Tamil speaking Singaporeans as well soon because it is really a story about us.

With My Magic, I think a lot more Singaporeans are starting to gain interest into the lives of the Indian community here. But of course, that story was told through the eyes of a Chinese. What kind of other stories about your community do you think need to be told?

There are stories at every corner of Singapore! It has to be told honestly, sincerely, truthfully and creatively (engagingly)! It could be fiction, non-fiction; drama, comedy, thriller and whatever the genre is! The characters could belong to Indian, Chinese or Malay ethnic groups! Whatever it is, it should strike a chord with the audience! It should make them laugh, cry, think and bring them on an unforgettable journey!

These are characteristics of a good story and we should strive to do just that!

What are your views on the film industry here in Singapore?

The film industry here is trying to find its rightful place! The film makers are trying to find their feet here! The industry has not picked up the pace as it should and it requires the support of each and every individual to make it happen! There is no place for complacency nor is there place for healthy experiment. Everything has a price and until the risk takings are reduced sincere practitioners will find it hard to practice their craft!

Give us more insight to your upcoming works.

Film making has taken a toll on me and the work is not yet over till one market his film at the various venues. Currently, I have returned to my day job as a television producer … producing a programme on puppetry and Muppets! Storytelling in a different platform to a different audience!

Check out the official movie website here.

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