Singapore Snapshots (Eunos, Geylang)

While I procrastinate on writing about our rather awesome orangutan odyssey in Sabah, I thought I might as well share some photos I took a while back during various explorations of Eunos and Geylang and never ended up posting. There’s nothing in these photos quite as exciting as trekking through leech-infested Bornean jungles, but I like them because they are souvenirs from sleepy weekend afternoons spent walking around quiet neighbourhoods near our home, doing nothing exciting but happy nonetheless.

A bird shop in Eunos:

Bird Watcher

We ventured deep into the Eunos warehouse district in search of dining chairs to match a $100 dining table we scored off Craigslist. Although we did end up buying conventional chairs, for a moment the idea of dining horses was rather tempting:

Random model horses

You can pay $8 (or more, not sure what the price is now since I haven’t gone there in a while) for Penang assam laksa at Penang Kitchen on Tanjong Katong Road, or you can go two or three bus stops down the road to the food court at the top of City Plaza and enjoy this one, just as good, for $3:

$3 laksa at City Plaza

Anthony Bourdain listed Sin Huat as one of his 13 Places To Eat Before You Die, but he probably didn’t mean from splinters:

Decrepit tables at the famous Sin Huat

I am rather fond of roadside altars. Not sure why. It might be bundled up in that somewhat trite tendency of modern yuppie Singaporeans to celebrate the preservation of traditional practices they have no intention of really perpetuating themselves.

Roadside Altar, Geylang Road

Durians. What to say about durians? I’m actually fairly indifferent to durians, although I do like photographing them. I still think Andrew Zimmern is a fucking wuss though.

Durian stall, Geylang Road

The Old Kallang Airport

The Singapore Biennale is one of those things that can, for a day or two at least, make me feel unequivocally happy about living in Singapore. I usually find a fairly good proportion of the art engaging (though I am admittedly quite a pleb), but what I enjoy most is how each Biennale takes one old, hitherto forgotten building from Singapore’s past and re-opens it for the display of art, often commissioning very cool site-specific installations which make the most out of the particular building’s unique features. I took lots of photographs of the Tanglin Camp barracks at the first Biennale and the old Beach Road Camp buildings at the second Biennale, but in usual fashion I never got round to writing any blog entries and they languished in my hard drive. However, after all these years of failure, I have finally managed to do something for this third Biennale!

The photos in this post are purely of this Biennale’s re-opened building, the Old Kallang Airport. While I have lots of photos of the particular works of art I enjoyed, there’s a certain joy to be had simply from walking around the building which is completely separate from the art you’re ostensibly there to see, and I want to focus on that first. Here’s a thumbnail gallery for anyone who prefers that, but you can also continue reading to get all the photos on one page.

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Mario

Hi, I’m Mario.

Mario

Much like Uncle Orlando, I was found in Michelle’s family’s driveway. It’s tough sometimes to photograph me well because I insist on moving rapidly around a dimly lit kitchen.

I find myself irresistable

Even when someone’s trying to cuddle me, I get all squirmy because the world is awesome and I want to explore it!

Squirmy

Nonetheless, I think it’s clear that I’m adorable.

Meet Mario

I am very small.

Potful

I’m also very hungry. I keep trying to eat the food lying around for the three other Uncle Cats, but I’m really too young for that right now.

Big boys' food

The big boys’ water dish is also too high for me. What shall I do?

Big Gulp?

Kitten milk in a syringe! I can totally handle this! Om nom nom.

Feeding time

I miss my mom. :( But I guess I could get used to cuddles from someone else.

Snooze

Michelle’s family is taking good care of me because I need so much help right now. But with Uncles Orlando, Dinky and Winky, and Aunty Casey, they’ve already got four house cats. Together with Paddy, Mickey, Molly and MC who live outside, that’s eight cats they’re already supporting. Will someone kind, loving and responsible please adopt me? I really like napping on a warm human instead of in the drain.

Snooze

If you think you can give little Mario a good home, please contact me! I’m glad to say that we’ve found Mario a well cat-proofed home with new owners who share my family’s zeal for feeding and neutering strays. He’ll even have a friend to play with! Thank you so much to everyone who expressed interest and passed on the message.

Jamie Lidell (Esplanade, 18 March 2011)

The only thing worse than being late for a gig at the Esplanade the one time you’ve managed to get tickets in the front row is keeping three other people waiting for you, unable to go in, because you’re the one with the tickets. But soon after we finally got in there, Jamie launched into Multiply and I felt most of my frustration with Friday evening traffic and my own crapness rapidly ebb away. I’m a little burned out on writing about music since the 2010 album list so I won’t write a proper review, but he was immensely endearing, ebullient despite a turnout that I found disappointing, and his band were just as fun to watch as he was. Also, he wore the best jacket ever. 

Jamie Lidell (18 Mar 11, Singapore)

Jamie Lidell (18 Mar 11, Singapore)

Jamie Lidell (18 Mar 11, Singapore)

DIY CD Jewel Case Calendar

With most creative projects I start, I either don’t finish them or finish them months or years after a normal person would have. But thankfully, it turns out that even I am not so crap as to postpone finishing a 2011 photo calendar much later than the commencement of the year in question.

I used these templates to make the calendar (they are from a Photoshop Elements site but I can’t imagine they’d be a problem to use with full Photoshop) and followed the easy instructions in this article (direct link to pdf here) to produce a calendar image for each month. Although they recommend you print the photos with 4.75” width for ideal fit in a CD case, it cost me half as much to print them in 6” x 4.5” and accept a slightly looser fit. My office paper slicer came in handy for trimming the long end of the prints off.

Calendar Sheets

I then used these instructions as a reference point for dissembling and reassembling a CD jewel case (sorry to The Donnas’ Spend The Night album, I was just not that into you) into a display rack for the calendar sheets. I’ll use the base of the rack for keeping the sheets for months that have passed.

CD jewel case calendar (side view)

Here it is on my desk at work. The other things there are a photo I took of an industrial machinery “start” button in The Wapping Project (yes, it’s meant to motivate me to start work), and a wind-up Totoro who goes zipping across my desk whenever I get tired of reading shareholder agreements.

CD case calendar on my desk

Tiong Bahru Uncle-Chic

Tan Shzr Ee recently wrote a column for the Straits Times about Tiong Bahru being “uncle-chic”. The article itself is rather mediocre, but it gives me as good enough an excuse as any to share two Tiong Bahru uncles I photographed when we did an anniversary staycation at the Wangz Hotel last November.

Provision shop, Tiong Bahru

Egg Uncle, Tiong Bahru Market

Weekend Snapshots 26-29 November

Koflow, my scratch sensei, at his album launch gig:

Koflow at his album launch gig

Just to mix things up, here’s a video:

After we got back from Koflow’s gig, the Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 lens I’d ordered off ebay was in the mailbox. I had never used a manual focus lens in my life, but was emboldened by what people had said on various photography forums about how easy it was to use old manual focus lenses on the Nex cameras. Here are some of my fledgling efforts with the lens – I’m quite happy with them, but given that these were literally among the first 20 pictures I had ever taken with manual focus, I’m guessing I could get better with practice.

My friend Yi-Sheng at his 30th birthday party (yes, he’s doing the Mentos and Coke thing):

Yish at 30

After dropping friends off in Balestier around 2 a.m., we went to the bakery. That’s how Alec rolls.

Bakery, 2 a.m. Bakery, 2 a.m.

The last photo is only visible to Facebook friends or Flickr friends, but it’s my favourite one of the weekend. One week before, my mother had gallbladder surgery. It’s keyhole surgery which a sensible person wouldn’t have worried unduly about, but when it’s your beloved mother, even the most miniscule possibility of things not going well can be terrifying. So here is my mother (on Facebook / on Flickr) one week after her surgery – healthy, pain-free, and the best reminder I could ever get that one of the most wonderful things about photography is capturing the beauty of someone you love.

Weekend Snapshots 30-31 October

Due to my blog redesigning efforts I spent a couple weekends in a PHP/CSS fog, but I’m out now and trying to catch up. I am, however, still tinkering with various shiny new WordPress toys, like this way of displaying photos. What do you think? (If you prefer to page-down through bigger versions of the photos the usual way, just follow the “Continue reading” link under the gallery.)

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