Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Embarrassing Budget Terminal

I just came back from a trip from Phuket and this is the first time I've tried a budget flight. It was a last minute trip and to book a ticket to Phuket on Silkair on the desired dates, it cost roughly about S$1200 round trip, a price i could fly to Europe in less desirable dates. It is very complex how they calculate these fares, a day can make a difference of a few hundred dollars, and booking a day after you consider can see a sudden rise in the fares, and you can hardly even try to conclude any certain trends, studying these fares and strategising when to buy your ticket makes watching the stock market feels as relaxing as having an ice cream with my little nephew. At this time of the year, to book a flight, it is a profound decision to decide how much you want to be chopped - with a small, medium or big parang (huge meat-cutting knife, if you wonder what parang means). One way or another it is going to be painful. 

Anyways, so i got a reasonably humanely priced ticket from Tiger Airways and nervously i told the Taxi driver to go to the Budget Terminal. My nightmare hence began. The Taxi Driver started to ask me how much i pay and if the budget planes are safe to travel in. I really want to know too. He made me really nervous, reminding me of a few plane crashes with various foreign budget air. The part where i was close to asking him to turn back and take me to the warm comforts of my home with no life-threatening vacations and the warm fake furs of my teddy bears as when taxi uncle said, "I think their engine not so good hor!!" i had a nauseating feeling which was positively not from his 60km/hr driving. It was from the brainwashing. When we were approaching the terminal, the bright-red handwritten-type font that screamed "BUDGET TERMINAL" aggravated my nausea. I felt a sense of panic. 

I came out a nervous wreck from the Taxi, and upon first sight when i stepped out into the Budget Terminal, i thought i had arrived in the Phuket Airport. As if i had a hallucination, the world's best airport (in most years) boast of such a sparse shoddy architecture. 

To my horror, when i stepped into the check-in hall, i thought that i just stepped into a foodcourt, horrible lighting, bad details, bad materials, all bad. The lines of people at the check-in counters is reminiscent of people Q-ing for Cha-Kway-Keows or Carrot Cakes in a hawker centres. I want to be clear - I am all for budget airlines that make us so much more mobile, but this airport architecture is excruciating. Why is it that low-budget must mean no design? Does the design have to reflect the word "Budget Terminal"? There are so many bright young designers in Singapore who will be able to make this a bit more presentable. There as as much thoughts put into this as designing a foodcourt. How many young designers would kill to have the challenge of making a budget terminal look cool? Many. 

The nightmare continued when i stepped past the passport checks and i felt nothing less than stepping into a JB Mall shopping for cheap Attack washing powders or Head & Shoulders Shampoo. As i was having a panic attack and looking for the washroom, it is time to board. You know, there is this feeling when you are really high tide and when you stepped into a toilet, it heightens that urge to pee.. When i got into the gate area, i had that terrible urge-to-pee feeling because i thought that i just stepped into a huge public toilet and lines of people Q-ing at different "cubicles" (the gates, really). The 20by20 homogeneous tiles a bit beige-y, a bit brownish, you can only find in all public toilets in Singapore - it is all over. Complete with uneven grouting lines, it was hard-core public toilet aesthetics. 

When i finally got to the Phuket Airport, it was actually a relief. At least i feel more at home with that, feasting on the food of the push-cart hawker food. There is at least no pretensions to be first-class in everything, it is consistent and consistency is important to keep an individual or a nation sane. 

I flew back to tonight and as i boarded a taxi to get home, the very good natured taxi driver told me that he just dropped an Aussie traveller who asked to take a taxi from terminal 1 to the budget terminal. Very little money and he said some taxi drivers would complain but he said, we all just have to do our job. Very nice guy but really very bad budget terminal.  

Chanel could rock

I am recently recruiting and suddenly i remember an interview i once had with a candidate (not very potential one).

She came for the position of assistant editor. we stated that a knowledge in design and architecture is essential and we were honest enough to state that we are a publisher of that nature. And yes we do state our company name. Unlike some ads that vaguely and almost always Urgently seeks certain positions e.g. "Waitresses with customer experience needed. Able to work late hours. Commissions." Hardly a Crystal Jade or a school cafe position. They are really either seeking a Tiger auntie in Ang Mo Kio or a Tigress in Orchard Towers, or possibly a new position for one of our upcoming integrated resorts.

So back to this little Arts and Social Science grad with a little literary ambition. Wide-eyed and narrowed-brained, she might actually be more suited for the late hours with commissions position. After some small talk of her hobbies and family background checks, just to be sure in case she is going to ask me for contacts for Orchard Towers, I asked her, "So you like design?"

"Yes..." the tone a bit unsure..
Technically a must-have for this position.
"So can you name a few of your favourite designers?"
"ERm.. i don't really have any favourite designers..."
Hmmm.. ok not very boomz .. but i've decided to be kind and try again.
"Any designer - product, graphic, fashion....?" I've decided to leave out architects, the most misunderstood design profession.. when i once did a vacation stint for quick money in a not-so-design-driven firm to do quick designs, I handled many confident tow-kays and rich aunties who pointed enthusiastically to the neighbour's multi-cultural pediments and bastardised corinthian columns complete with boy statues peeing and told me that is their dream home. And it was not uncommon that we have requests for "country style" which is their dream home. The term dream home was at one point a nightmare term to me. Why would you want a bloody country style home when you can't really keep cows and horses in your 1500 sqm semi-detached house? And i don't really know how to handle that fireplace. We do not study that in architecture schools in Singapore, for reasons that are very hard to explained to these country-loving aunties. Really, our country-house equivalent in this part of the world will be the attap house in Chua Chu Kang, if they still keep pigs. 

So back to Miss Not-very-Boomz, she was really tensed when i apparently pressed her for an answer. She asked for 5 minutes to think. I obliged and in the 5 minutes, i cut and filed my nails like any bored secretary should do to kill time. It felt like 30 minutes and i hope i had more nails. 

Finally, she said hesistantly, "Chanel...?"
Before i could say "Next!" like any impatient Polyclinic doctor in Tiong Bahru, she saw a drop of blood dripping from my left eye. But i am no miracle Mother Mary statue. I am her nightmare, and she declined the position before i even offered. I could have, if i was working on a movie script about how i picked the most unlikely candidate in a highly competitive interview (as we set it up like it was) and train her into a rock star editor. She didn't give me the chance. We could be famous for different things. And maybe i could evolve my publishing business into the movie world, very much in line with the MDA's crossing platform initiative.

If the movie "Coco before Chanel" came before her interview, she might have uttered that name with much more confidence, and actually Chanel is cool about 80 years ago (now maybe she really meant Karl Lagerfeld..), and if she could really sell me that how she admired Chanel (and not Karl Lagerfeld), she could be truly unique above all the rest of the candidates who threw out the name "Philippe Starck" as if they were throwing out an amah-bra (aka granny's size 48DD bra) at me - a big gift on their part, but on my part, a bit embarrassing, a bit dated and just doesn't turn me on too much.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

editing everything except life

everyday i am editing stuff.. edit edit edit.. and sometimes it feels like a job sometimes it feels strange because i am empowered to edit everybody's text, which consists on thoughts, which is based on life. very important job to not undermine anyone's text nor life, and at the same time not to let it look bad.

when will i find time to edit my own life...? My house is a perpetual mess with piles of books, magazines, documents to read, letters to open, bills to pay, laundry to wash, floor to mop, shelves to clean...my personal life is in a perpetual last-minute get-togethers, not wanting to dismiss any of my friend's special occasions and invitations, every waking minute is about delivering every job we have to the best we know, dealing with clients' requests and wishes, thank god to a dream team who sensitively try to ease my burden in whatever ways they can.

If only i could edit my life, so many things could be better, just like most of the text that i edited. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

how does it feel to wait to die?

My grandma had a stroke 2 years ago, which rendered her in a invalid state, she could hardly speak nor move any more. Before the stroke, she was already quite sickly, so the family hired a maid to take care of her every move. Thank god for Lily, she is a friendly, optimistic and hardworking maid. Over the years, she became the lifeline of grandma, because most of us are always busy working. She was our interpreter because she could read grandma's every whimper and every twitch of her left hand. Unlike The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, we didn't gp as far as to devise a communication system for grandma, much less to write a book. We should be ashamed. 

It is a lonely state as a stroke patient. Your mind is aware of everything, but you are trapped in your own thoughts without any means of expression. To me, it is a state worse than death. I would choose euthanasia, and this is scary because it is illegal in Singapore, and i would have chosen that.

Last week, grandma took a turn for the worse. She had a blood clog in one of her artilleries, which is life-threatening. And the doctor advised against any surgery as it would be too much for her to take. They can only prescribe medicine to ease her pain. 

We took turns to visit grandma at the hospital, and all we could do is to stand around and everyone is silent except Lily who will be updating us on what grandma did that day, or how she is feeling. Occasionally we took turns to hold grandma's hand, and she would just look at you. Those eyes were calm but sad. I held back my tears and as i listened to Lily in the background talking jovially that grandma is happy to see us and she is in good spirits today, it made me want to hit myself with a brick. 

When we were young, we used to stay over every weekend at grandma's place, and she would take us out for walks, buy us any tidbits we want, cooked dinner for us, occasionally teaching us a few words in Thai and laughing at us when we pronounced badly.

Grandma came from a family of goldsmiths in Thailand, a pretty wealthy family. She was the youngest of 3 sisters, but she left the family for love. I was told that she eloped with Grandpa, who was a sailor from China. The family was so angry they apparently disowned her for a while, so my mum told me. She was a tyrant mum, as my mum described, because she wasn't used to doing housework, so my mum and my 2nd auntie became the housekeepers since they were young. But grandma always pampered us, all her grandchildren. A weekend at grandma's place was always like a holiday. She would cook us the best food she can and allow us to watch video tapes all night long, something we don't get to do at home .. much, except for term breaks.

My mum and all my aunties and uncles still addressed her as "mek", which is "mother" in Thai. My generation almost completely lost touch with our Thai relatives. Sometimes i wonder who these aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews that I have in Bangkok whom i will never meet. Sometimes i hope that one day I will meet them all. It is a sad cliche, but if i run into one of them on the street, i really wouldn't even know.

Grandma lies there, occasionally falling asleep probably due to the strong painkillers. But when she opens her eyes she will stare intently at each of us, intermittently, as we stand helpless and useless in front of her. She can never ever tell her story again. And we will live, wondering about the story of grandma. 

Grandma lies there, her eyes tell us that she knows that she is dying. And we stand helpless and useless in front of her. She tells us it is ok. And i hit myself with a brick. I still cannot feel her real pain.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Gay Confrontation

A close friend of mine, who is completely gay, but looks and acts completely straight, as in, you will not for a minute suspect that she is gay if you do not know her, and who is a teacher in a primary school, told me something really funny.

There was a new American teacher who just joined the school and as with most Americans, are enthusiastic and friendly, came up to her on the first day and said:

"Hi! I'm your new colleague! I'm Gaye, you are?"

My friend was really shocked and she wondered who leaked that information about her because she has not told anyone in school. In her panic, she said:

"ERM, let me think...."

Gaye was puzzled, "What?" she questioned.

Concluding very quickly that even if a colleague came out to her on her first day of work, even if she had exude any vague gay vibes, my dear friend decided to stick to her grounds of being in the closet as far as school is concerned, so she thought she cleverly said:

"I'm NOT!" 

Her guilty conscious had unfortunately turned against her when Gaye asked:

"Your name is Nought...?"

My friend, in a matter of 2 minutes, digged a 5-metre deep hole and plunge herself into endless embarrasement. 

Duty Free Blues

I just came back from a pretty tiring trip from HK, and after alighting the plane, as always, i proceeded urgently to the Duty Free Shop to get my legalised amount of duty free alcohol, often the only perks of any tiring work trip. after i grabbed i Macallan Whiskey, a random bottle of wine and that nicely packaged 3-bottles-beer-package, i joined the long painful line to pay. Aching to rest, i stood in the long queue and suddenly someone from behind me started speaking:

Girl A: "What's that?"
Girl B: "Campari."
Girl A: "How do you drink that?"
Girl B: "Oh.. usually with some soda..."

Makes sense so far.. At this point, I pretend to turn back and check how long the line was, but really instinctively to check what they are purchasing. Girl A has a bottle of red wine and Girl B, yes a bottle of Campari. I turned back and concluded that behind me are 2 amateurish alcoholics-wannabe. What stressed me out was the conversation that continued, and i swear from the bottom of my heart I did not make this up:

Girl A: "You know, the other day, i went to this party and they were serving Sangria, and they told me they made that with Vodka and Gin.. that's weird right? because i thought they make Sangria with Whiskey.."

It was a bit traumatising for a bar-owner to hear that, i was very tempted to turn around and told her whoever made that was really fucked-up.

Girl B: " Hmm... that doesn't sound right... i'm pretty sure they make it with Contreau and Whiskey.. You know, Contreau is an orange liquor and they are supposed to soak all these fruits like oranges in it before they make the Sangria.."

At this point, i was really in spasm, itching to turn around and tell them it's really red wine and brandy.. and you sort of infused the citrus fruits in the red wine... erm not Contreau.. gosh, where in the world did they get all these information...?

Girl A: "By the way, where do you work?"

Tour group friendsters i guess... i just urgently wait for my turn to pay so I can go home and gulp my Macallan...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Daiso Wisdom

After my super blur partner discovered a new-found shopping place at Daiso, apparently she had been fine-combing through the shelves to make up for lost time.

She came back with a theory one day, "You don't think Daiso everything S$2 is very cheap, some of the things are 50cents, but because you get distracted buying the S$2-things, when you see the 50cents things, you think it's very cheap!"

Daiso needs to employ her as the new business strategist, because she sees right through them, unlike the rest of us, who sweeps down shelves of 50cents-things gleefully with a sense of economic achievement.

No Anybody there!

today i brought my 4-year-old nephew to watch a kids' dance in the theatre and he was absolutely thrilled, making it very vocal throughout the whole show, thank god it was like a market place for kids, all asking difficult questions to their senior, who mostly, do not really know the true meaning of the dance but every senior was as busy as me making up stories as fast as we can. As far as i know, the show is about fireflies in the city, and disappearing because of the concrete jungle we are building, a show with a green theme, something like that. 

There were these dancers dressed in green fluttering around and a white dancer weaving amongst them. "What is that?! What is that?!" my little nephew asked. "Erm, those are, like plants.. and erm the white one.. she is the queen bee, she can't find her hive.." My nephew was thrilled, "Oooooo orhhhhhh...."

There were 2 girls dressed in fancy costumes prancing on stage and my little nephew asked "What is that?! What is that?!" I wasn't really sure, "They are bees trying to look for flowers, which were killed by global warming..." My nephew had a dazed look. He asked, "Haaah?" I whispered, "You know, the sun very hot, flowers all dies, so later the bees will also die." He was enlightened, "Ooooooo ORhhhhh...!"

Then came a character dressed like a plumber in white overall, who came out in between scenes.."Who is that?! Who is that?!" Nephew really pushing my imagination.. i mean, yah, who is that, man? Shit... "That's the guy who cleans up the shit that we are doing to the environment, you know..?" Nephew looked troubled.. "You mean like the dog shit from the dogs?" To give my imagination a break," Yea.. that's right, that kind of smelly shit. So you shouldn't shit on the streets." As with all kids, he is easily tickled and he found that very funny. If only he knew the deeper metaphorical dog-shit meaning ...

A dancer dressed in what looked like mongolian costume skipped and pirouetted on stage. "What is that?! What is that?!" Gosh, beats me! "That's a chick who makes the show looks good." Nephew's eyes widened, "You mean like chicken??!!" Didn't sound quite right.. "Erm, no, is she pretty?" Nephew giggled and blushed and buried his face in my skinny left arm which he has been shaking, pinching, beating, and torturing. Ok at least i know he is not gay. 

Finally the show ends, and the lights went off, nephew exclaimed, "No anybody there!!!!" All the pain of taking him out all worth it.. yes, that's my boy... poetic licence well-used at a very young age. "That's right, aint's no anybody there.. ain't no anybody there my boy.." He beamed. For the 1st time in the show, he got it right without my crappy stories.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Daiso means S$2/each

this is quite funny and everytime i relate this Daiso story it makes me laugh, and it is so causal i often forget until something silly happens like when we decided the best investment by far to our little studio is a 6-socket extension cord (is there another name to this?) followed closely by the relatively more expensive 500GB external hard disk. Less funny is having to mop and clean the office after all my staff of the same little studio leaves for the night. But i am completely enthusiastic about building up my company after a 8-year stint with a big company. it is always good to really touch and feel the ground you walk on. I've never been happier, i feel alive all over again.

anyways, back to the Daiso story - my partner, who is from HK, for strange reasons, has never really stepped into Daiso or bothered about it. So, one day, me the hoarder, who would buy a dozen of useless things from Daiso without thinking because they are so cheap, happily strolled into Daiso with enthusiasm alongside my (damn blur) partner. After a shopping "spree", i emerged with another dozen of useless things, and to my surprise - knowing that few people would leave Daiso empty-handed - my partner emerged empty-handed. So i asked why there was no loot and to this super blur person, the answer was - "i wanted to buy some stuff, but i look up and down and left and right the items, this shop is strange, they have no pricetags, so I don't dare to buy."

All i can say is, innocence can be a very lovable trait, especially when in a Daiso shop.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Neil Found Respect for Gaiman, and what's with all these other creative people who imagines themselves as "stars"?

guilty of very bad pun - years of journalism takes a toll on you and you have this immediate knee-jerk reaction to come up with bad puns for titles.. really i want to say New Found Respect for Gaiman

I went for the Neil Gaiman talk at the Victoria Theatre in conjunction with the Spore Writers' Fest today. I thought it is a talk, but it's a really Q&A session with a moderator asking a few questions and subsequently opening it up to the floor. All in all, it was about an hour. All the questions, from moderator and the floor, didn't allow the man to be very inspiring, but they sure give him space to be extremely charming. In the short time, he sure showed why he is a master-storyteller. Every question was answered with a casually engaging story, which Gaiman crafted them instantaneously to be funny - perfect for a thousand people who pulled themselves out of bed on a Sunday afternoon to listen to him. In fact, the literary superstar started by cutting in before any questions to thank all the attendees for coming out on a Sunday. 

Most of the questions were simple, but Gaiman turned them into interesting ones with his story-telling answers. The last from the audience, which was so lame that I didn't even remember - provoked a comment from my friend Fang Wei who sarcastically whispered to me "Is Ris Lim in the house?" - was equally enthusiastically answered by Gaiman who turned it into something fun enough for everyone to enjoy. It brought to mind a talk i attended quite a while ago by Karim Rashid, and when someone from the audience asked about his design process, he impatiently replied "What kind of a question is that?" Given that he did shared his concepts about his works during the talk, but still...

But what was really impressive and gained my new-found respect for Gaiman is that, after the 1-hour session, me and Fang Wei decided to go for a drink nearby and 3 hours later and 6pm, I walked past The Arts House and Gaiman was still at the same table patiently signing all the autographs from his 1000 fans with a good 20 meter-queue still in sight. I walked near his table just to checked it out and he was bantering with every star-struck fan with absolutely no sign of losing his patience. That was the moment that convinced me that he is truly a writer and not one who loses his mind with all the fame and thinks he is a "star". 

For every creative person who ever had an opportunity to share your thoughts and works with an audience who have supported you, you know how precious it is and you treasure every single moment of knowing these people who were reading or looking at your works - i mean, you will be curious who they are and what is it that they like about your works. It is such a rare opportunity. Recently, i was invited to give a talk about publishing in Hong Kong at a 7pm slot on a Friday night, and much to my surprise, i was greeted with a full house , cos i thought everyone would be hungry at that time and would be having their dinner. Of course it motivated me to give my best and try to keep them entertained amidst all the hardcore information that I was supposed to present.. and what a joy that a huge bunch of people gathered around me after the talk and asked me more questions and for my contacts and yes a few little autographs and a few media interview requests.. we stayed for another almost 2 hours and i was starving to death but I really treasured every moment. 

Just not too long ago, we had a foreign architect, or starchitect in town to give a talk, and to get an interview with him, you were given a list of "what-not-to-ask" and you have to submit your questions in advance, and during the interview/photo session, he asked to choose the pictures that would appear, requesting you to delete the rest. It was the ultimate disgust. 

As creative people, first and foremost, we are doing what we do because we didn't sign on to become Brad Pitt or Faye Wong. We neither act now sing. We have a bigger responsibility of providing a service - social or cultural, we are not entertainers. And i choose to believe, for most of us, we don't expect to be treated like one. We want to be respected for the work we do, not for how good we look, or how well we can exercise certain body parts or functions like the vocal chords. Our works should benefit the society in one way or another, and we should be grateful that in rare occasions, we get to meet the people who have benefitted from our works, whether it inspired them, or it worked for them. And if someone should hold you in high regard, you treat them with equal respects, the way that Gaiman had done with even every Ris Lim who lined up to just get his autograph or asked a stupid question.  

The first question that was asked to Gaiman by the moderator was, "You are turning 50 next year, how do you feel?" And to paraphrase his answers, he said he felt that he had pretty much done all the things that he had set out to do, and if he were to die in a plane crash tomorrow, he would not regret. 

Just looking at the way he has treated his fans, i can see that he will die a happy man with no regrets and no guilt. I would want to die the same way. And one day, if i should need to sign autographs for 3 hours or more, i promise myself i would do it in the same way that Gaiman has done. That is a true superstar. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Julie & Julia and the meaning of life

I have a friend, who has been with this guy forever, but each time I look at them, it is just rather unconvincing to me that they should really be together forever, or that they should really be a couple, because when i look at them, I think of some strange people I heard of, who put durian on rice. Durian and rice has no chemistry at all. 

Watching Julie & Julia, after half an hour is not just like watching someone putting durian on rice, but is rather much like being forced to eat durian and rice. The disparity in the acting between the 2 couples in 2 different time zones - Julia and Paul, and Julie and what's-his-name, - is just really painful. 

Julia and Paul had such natural chemistry and the acting, needless to say, is flawless. Meryl Streep, as usual, never fail to disappoint. Her XXL-Americal-frame, with pants pulled so high to cover her tummy just below her breasts, and a distinct high-pitched voice, happy-go-lucky personality is so lovable and the poignant moment of a childless couple with no option of artificial insemination at that time was fully conveyed in a 3-minute scene when she received a letter from her newly-wed sister Dorothy announcing her pregnancy. Her excitement of receiving a mail from her sister in an internet-less age turned into a confused mixture of joy, jealousy and sadness - that transformation of emotions in 3 minutes was as real as it could get and with her masterful acting made it seemed so easy and so natural and so believable. Lucky Paul didn't really have to do much.

But whenever the scene cuts to Julie and her what's-his-name husband.. gosh.. it just made me want to take a nap. The guy was so bad it was a pain to watch him, first i kept thinking he is the boyfriend, because even as a boyfriend it wasn't convincing and it is so easy to forget that he is The Husband. His "loving acts" to Julie was completely cringe-worthy and when he tries to "act cute" it just makes me feel instantly nauseous. His bad-acting constantly reminds me he is acting. And that Julie, an underdog character who is miserable and trying to find some focus in life reminds me of Bridget Jones but Renee Zellweger was so much more pitiful and lovable, and you just naturally root for her. For Julie, you just hope she fails because she is so annoying. And when she gets a call in the end that Julia Child hates her, instantaneously you thought to yourself - serve you right, you annoying little bitch. Anyway, i read that her latest book, about her new-found passion in butchery and another man, is truly done in bad taste, in more ways than one. If the movie is any reflection of her as a person, then she truly deserves all these. Or maybe that actress* who starred as Julie is simply to blame for all these bad feelings people have for her. 

The good message that you might have missed in the movie - being constantly distracted by Julie and what's-his-name's bad acting - is when Julia and Paul lay in bed one night after news of his new posting to yet another country came, he lamented something like "sometimes i wondered what this is all for.... blah blah blah blah... at least you have a book..." It really reminds me of some of my friends who earn crazy sums of money and enjoy all the luxuries of life, but on very rare occasions such as when their weekend Ferrari breaks down, tries to find an alternative direction in life. It also reminds me of people like me, who lives with little material pursuits in life to idealistically create an alternative world which is fuelled by that daily search for something a little more intangible - a way to change certain things. Not all things, but little things within our reach. Then of course, while my directionless rich friends savour their pan-fried fois gras, i slurp grouchily my porridge with soya sauce.

My mission for Well (meaning) Design is continuing and my principle remains that if as designers we believe that design can change the world - we should never turn down any jobs - no money, little bit of money, some money, a lot of money - i want to do them all. If all good designers want to charge a bomb, then many jobs will go to bad "designers" (printers who want to be designers, contractors who want to be architects) who can do it cheap, because you are not giving options to people who can't afford it, especially non-profit organisations or people with no money.  

Today, i went for a shoot with a photographer, and we saw a caterpillar on the pavement. I literally screamed and jumped, but he very calmly caught the caterpillar in his hands and put it onto the grass patch, he didn't say anything, but i knew he was afraid someone would step on it. I was very touched by his act, and i realised i was far from being that Well (Meaning) Person which he already is. 

True Compassion in people, is what i really admire and True Compassion is what i strive to achieve. Design - done in the spirit of true compassion - can really change the world. There is a Chinese martial arts saying that says - if you truly want to learn a skill, you have to learn how to be a human being first. I still have way to go to learn how to be a truly compassionate human being. I promise myself that the next time I see a caterpillar on a pavement, i will attempt to scoop it up with a leaf and free it onto the grass patch.

* yes i know the bad actress' name is Amy Adams, i just don't feel much like saying her name and that husband who can't bloody act, his name is eric and the actor's name, if you really have to know, go google.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

500 Days of Summer

500 days of Summer is very good for junkies of romantic comedies such as me. I've always been a romantic-at-heart and probably thanks to all these romantic comedies. You name it, i've probably watched every single one of them, and re-watched many - and i credit them for having fucked up my love lives. All these fairy tales about meeting the "right one", how you know it the moment you met that person, fireworks and all, is often your own one-sided fantasy world in real life - they often do not resonate with the other. People like me are just deluded and destined for heartaches like Tom. These fantasy "dream girls" often have their own dream boys, who is not you. 

Stupid love-fools like Tom and myself, who crave for consistencies in someone who has someone else in mind, and living in our own dream worlds even after the affair is over, are really silly and as Tom's little sister wisely advised, to paraphrase, that we are just remembering the nice moments, but if we were to look back and look again, there were always the signs, that their minds or hearts are somewhere else with someone else. We were just blinded by our own delusions.

Tom and me were just refusing to accept those signs and pushing ahead, thinking that at some point, love will conquere all, even subjecting ourselves to being the "invisible" companion, and against our will, accepting that some people do not like "labels". Meantime, all your friends around you would remind you how stupid you are, and that if someone truly loves you, why would they be so concerned about being seen with you, or as being with you. Tom should have seen earlier that there was someone else in Summer's life and hence she was just killing time with him until the other guy affirmed his love. 

We have all been vehicles at some points of our lives, to help someone else get to their destination. Just that sometimes, it is more painful to be driven around without a destination and in the end, realising that there was never a destination when the passenger boarded. She was eyeing the aeroplane in the car. 

Summer is always full of heat and excitement, but luckily for some of us, Autumn arrives with the leaves falling, a cooler weather, a little less colourful than Summer, but more calming and more beautiful.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Encan Tado

i was at a DVD shop browsing and found this cover with a naked woman's torso, the title said Encan Tado and in small words in Chinese it stated "62nd Venice Film Festival Opening Show", in even smaller words in said, "Uncensored Version" and a white sticker warned "Consumer Advise - Sexual References". I turned to the back for the summary and it read like that:

"Italian Nicole dies in a Cuba air disaster, his younger brother Andrea arrives has an accident the island to trace the reason, at the same time, he meet his brother's wife Alma, and make a not raentgen loving with this sex appeal. Because Alma so attractive and hot. However along with investigation thorough, Andrea discovered Alma who make sexual relationship to many guys, is like a immoral woman. And the discovery air disaster pilot has nor certainly died, original behind has very many secretive secrets. Many people are done by Alma the self-satisfied chaotic sentiment to confuse, behind the dissolute passion has more the murderous intention."

Oh boy that sure intrigued me! Yes i bought Encan Tado.

p.s. the word Encan Tado does not exist isolatedly, they come from the word Encantado, which in Spanish, can be used as a form of greeting as it translates as "enchanted to meet you". The Brazilian term, is more interesting, and is probably used as the metaphor for title of the movie. Encantado is a sea creature who comes from a underwater paradise known as Encante. The 3 key characteristics of the Encantado is its gift in musical abilities, love for parties, and their love of sex  - there you go. That's Alma.

See, you learn something new everyday, sometimes from soft porn movies' DVD covers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Inspiration from a Penguin

Now that i have so much time to read and surf the net (how wonderful! i feel so enriched), inspired by the excellent cover designs of their recent Great Ideas series, I googled Penguin, and found a treasure trove of covers and concepts behind them.. for a bookmaker, this is heaven! check it out:


My Favourite Things

i always remember my friend Reddot once told me, if you want to quit your job and do your own stuff, you have to be mentally prepared. He said, sometimes, you are really busy, sometimes you go for a swim and then you go to the supermarket to buy some daily provisions. And as i noticed, most of the time, he is in front of the internet, but ok, he is a web designer you see. Anyways, he is reading this right now cos he follows my blog haha and he lives up to his mentally prepared free wheeling life. 

i now joined him in this free wheeling life, and true enough, I now have time to go swimming and go buy daily provisions while most of my friends are slogging in the office. I am very mentally prepared for this good life, i must say. 

Apart from not having an employer breathing down my neck (not a very nice visual literally), I have so much more time for myself, to do the silly things that are pretty joyful. For example, i never bother to fill those detailed personal items in Facebook, which i thought was a silly waste of time,  but with extra time on my hands, and also spending as much time as Reddot in front of the internet, i finally filled up those silly items in a silly way. Favourite music, favourite movies, activities blah blah blah - don't they change all the time? I guess i have the time to keep changing it now haha. The permanence of it has made me resisted it. Now it can be rather fluid, so to speak, as long as i have the time to update My Favourite Things. 

C'est la Vie, Reddot! :)

Life Endangering Mini Buses in HK

Recently, my partner's sister, who was innocently waiting at a bus stop in HK, got ran down by a mini bus, alongside many other innocent victims. This has caused a pretty serious injury which called for an operation, and she wasn't the only one in this predicament. 

Talking to other HK friends about this incident, they started asking was it this incident or was it that and the list seemed to be endless. The conclusion was that HK mini bus accidents happened on a daily basis, a few times a day, and in their words, even if you were the only one in the bus, the driver seemed to be always in a hurry and driving at Ferrari speed mindlessly, but seemingly with a mission in mind.

These drivers, who are putting passengers' and passers-by's lives at risk with their perpetual impatience and big hurry - perhaps the angst of their lives leading nowhere has caused them to wanna rushed through it. But not at other people's expense please. The suffering sticks with them for life. 

Recently, a reckless drunken driver in Singapore, who sped into a bus stop, has similarly hurt a few people, and one of which, an old lady, who at her age still had to work for a living, is now permanently confined to the wheelchair. Probably with no money for life insurance, what is going to happen to her? The jail term the drunken guy is to serve will never lessen any of her pain nor bring back her mobility nor compensate her for the rest of her suffering life.

For those of us who complained that even after one drink we are at risk of being caught by the traffic police, this is a small part we can play in helping the traffic police nab these irresponsible drunks. So help the poor old people who are still struggling to work in their old age, for their safety - do not drink and drive.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bliss over Money

You wouldn't believe it, i am working on 4 pro bono jobs right now, which is taking up quite a substantial amount of time, and i really love to sleep and swim, like a lot. But anyways, if you can't find money you should find bliss. I must say it is rather rewarding. And maybe good vibes of bliss will attract money. It's all about good vibes, right? Yes, good :)

In the middle of it all

To my surprise, i won the title of Great Women of Our Time recently, and while i was very honoured and very happy to receive my title, i do find myself in the middle of every word of the title itself.

Michael Jackson's dilemma

I was in a club in Hong Kong recently, and as what most DJs are doing now, they will weave in a segment of tribute to the King of Pop, all of a sudden the dancing crowd went into a frenzy of imitating his dance moves. There were people doing dangerous renditions of the Moonwalk which looked nothing more like drunken people on the verge of falling backwards, many erm not-shy and erm not-very-sexy acts of crotch-grabbing, and amidst all these fanatic acts, there were masses of people everywhere doing the Thriller Zombie moves and it felt a bit like i was in the Night of the Living Dead.. if Michael was looking down from above, he would have mixed feelings about being a legend and being dead.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Spore idol - of Hopes & & Guts & Reality

I have to confess - i really enjoy watching American Idol and yes, Singapore Idol as well. I enjoy the Hopes, the Guts, and the Reality. Like the Susan Boyle story, it often makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time, and sometimes simply applaud the guts and relish in the hopes of the contestants. 

Tonight is the 1st of the new season of Spore Idol, and we are off to a good start. The 2nd (or was it 3rd) featured contestants sand really badly, but she described her ambitions as wanting to be Singapore's Avril Lavigne. Ken, who is expected to deliver the mean lines like Simon Cowell, asked her flatly (rhetorically) - "Are you living in this world? You can't sing."

There were some beeps in the post-audition interview with Spore's Avril Lavigne.

Krauser, that guy who dressed like a Japanese version of Kiss, with the Chinese word "Kill" written on his forehead, who went on to sing John Lennon's "Imagine"... we do have strange people in Singapore and it is all good. Dick Lee politely commented that he looked like Cher.. ? Unfortunately he can't sing. 

That girl who went in with the Lady Gaga Mask- she can really sing! - Gosh she could be our answer to Susan Boyle. The mask is a bad idea. 

Riding on "UP" the Pixar cartoon with an old man as the protagonist, that girl who brought her grandma in and sang to her "Ain't no Mountain High enough.." - very moving indeed. Luckily she can sing.

And now i have to wait a week for my fix of Spore Idol!!! 

National Day Parade Heroes!

For the 1st time in my life, i went for the National Day Parade Final Rehersal, which is more or less the same as what we watched on TV tonight. I confess.. i was tearing when i was there watching it live. It was really spectacular and it made me very proud to be a Singaporean. Ok, a bit over-sentimental but trust me, the energy of actually feeling that you are a part of a successful small nation is overwhelming. During the rehersal, it was pouring badly, we all whipped out the raincoats in the goody bag and we hung on and eventually, everybody all equally drenched made our way out in a very giving and orderly manner, paddling in ankle high waters, and left the emotional scene. It was beyond words. It makes you want to contribute your part to make our nation a even better one. 

I think it is overall excellently conceptualised, completed with a fantastic stage set.

I'm so proud of my buddies Randy Chan, who designed the stage (and gave me the tickets without Q-ing haha) and Ivan Heng, the overall Creative Director, who clearly has put in an enormous effort to make a difference to our usually boring National Day Parade. Of course, not forgetting Ah Hock, who did the beautiful dance choreography. 

Such a great job that Singaporeans can be proud of! We are Singapore!

Merce Cunningham & John Cage finally together again

The world lost yet another legendary dancer/choreographer after the sudden death of Pina Baucsh - Merce Cunningham. 

Partner of the late John Cage, who is a legend himself in conceptual music, Cunningham is known for his avant garde approach combining music, technology. movements - and as with all dances - in time and space. Both Cunningham and Cage were alumni of the radical Black Mountain College, though they met earlier in 1944 when they first collaborated and the partnership extended beyond work and into their lives, and the two collaborated frequently till the death of Cage in 1992.

I think it is often the dream of all artists to be able to share a connection beyond the bed with their partners. It is already difficult for 2 partners who live together to see eye-to-eye day in day out on mundane everyday life matters, much less to compromise on a artistic level, where the ego gets in the way all the time. But it seems - from the partnership of Cunningham and Cage - finding Mr Right in life, for some lucky people - is absolutely possible and beautiful.

Cunningham & Cage Collaboration




Saturday, August 8, 2009

Nerdy Nation Happy Birthday!

It's National Day today.. I was watching Travel & Living Channel's Lonely Planets Six Degress hosted by Asha Gill and Singapore is on today, probably in conjunction with the National Day. Most parts were touristy and predictable, like Kumar showing Asha Little India, Dr Wei (the sex doctor) and KF Seetoh showing her Geylang; interesting part when Asha was arranged to perform as a getai singer in a real hungry ghost festival celebration; then the nerdy part came - do you know Singapore has a "Happy Toilet" Award? It's organised by the Restroom Association of Singapore.. so they went on to show the awarding of the Happy Toilet Award to the Night Safari, where the each of cleaners won a "Golden Plunger" and the finale - all of them, toilet cleaners to Restroom Association stood around and sang - gasp - the Happy Toilet song.

Some Kind of Sad

I was in my teens when John Hughes was making all these great movies that define us - growing up in the 80s. The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Pretty in Pink, and my favourite - Some Kind of Wonderful, which he didn't direct but wrote the script. 

Are the teenagers today so different from us that movies about teenagers are so different today. Running out of things to watch, and unable to sleep on a long flight recently, i watched 17 again, and High School Musical, and i just can't connect, and they are not half as good as The Breakfast Club or Some Kind of Wonderful. Maybe you will say that because i am too old for teenagers' movies like 17 again.. but i can watch a John Hughes movie again any time even now. Maybe you say it is nostalgia. Ok maybe maybe.

Whatever it is, I'm some kind of sad that John Hughes has died. His movies brings back so much memories. And i still want to be Mary Stuart Masterson sometimes.

The Quotable John Hughes

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lady GaGa & Andy Warhol

Tonite, i was hanging out with my friends at 15 minutes for Lisa's DJ-ing, and as everybody was jiving to the superb music, suddenly a seemingly decent girl in specs started talking to us. She speaks with a Chinese-sy accent and we asked if she is from China, but she insisted she is from S'pore, so we took it as it is. And she started asking us about the dishes we ordered and took out a pen and pad to write down. We started to feel a bit uncomfortable, and funnily when we ask if she wants to try the food, she "shamelessly" (for lack of a better word) went to ask for an empty plate and joined our table... we were a bit amused, but nevertheless we shared our food with her, which she ate with relish. Then she started asking about why the name 15 minutes, and we explained to her it is a quote from Andy Warhol about 15 minutes of fame, and she said, "Oh yes I know Andy Warhol, he is doing a song with Lady Gaga!" At that point, we corrected her and explained that Warhol is actually dead. She changed the topic abruptly and asked if we wanted to dance. That was when we all shook our heads in unison and the next thing, we saw her jiving away with another group of strangers, who kind of kept an arm's length from her. 

Warhol, when living, had always attracted the weird people around him in his Factory. He might be glad to know, today, he still appeals to the weird.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Buy Tissue Paper from Poor People

It took us a long time to have patrons in art. People who are willing to sponsor art events, art exhibitions, commissioned artworks or simply just buying artworks.

How about design? Design is often seen as a service, first and foremost. So putting aside design exhibitions or events, whenever we as designers are required to go pitch for a job, we are expected already to put in a proposal, visuals and great concepts. And the client will usually tell us how big their company is, how much they have accomplished, how big they see themselves in 5 years 10 years, and how great it would be if you are associated with them if you design their stuff. And then you give them a decent quotation and they either disappeared, say they will do it in-house, or go to some big firms where they feel assured they can secure a funding from the government to "re-brand" themselves. What went wrong? - The clients' perception of small design firms or the government's message on funding design? 

How are we ever going to generate jobs for the new players who are possibly talented in the design industry if all the MNCs are eyeing the funding from the government who needs the optimistic bank statements, company profile, long job lists, blah blah blah? 

How are designers supposed to make money if nobody is willing to pay for "good design"? People settle for so-so design because they have a low ceiling for design fees. Irony is, they pay for the stars if you are a so-called world-class designer. Local designers should start from where?

After having started my design publishing outfit when was 27, sold it, worked for 8 years under a corporate environment and finally coming out on my own again, I am content with small jobs and when i feel good, i will go pro bono for jobs i believe will benefit the people who deserved it. I believe design can change the world, and i will do design for free for anyone who truly can't afford it, and make this world a more beautiful place to live in. It comes down to my daily philosophy of buying tissue paper fr any old aunty or uncle or handicapped people on the streets whenever i come across one. If i have 10 dollars in my pocket, it is so easy to share just one dollar with someone who needs it. It is not a lot but it is what i can comfortably do. And this money that i earn from design assignments, is the 1st step to using design to change the world, in whatever ways, buying tissue paper from the needy included. 

Times are hard, let's help the poor if you can.

Friends for Dinner - Dream Again

i was listening to Franz Ferdinand's beautiful song "Dream Again", and remembered this silly episode where i was first introduced to this band. 

Backtrack to many years back - It was this work trip we made to Beijing, and a colleague of mine was sweeping down bags of pirated CDs from this auntie by the roadside and when we got into the taxi, I asked her what she bought, she rattled off a whole list of stuff she bought, all of which i have heard of, then she came to this one that she said "Franz Ferdinand" and I was a little shocked, repeating, "What? Friends for Dinner?" And perhaps it was the traffic noise in Beijing, she answered (without a blink), "Yah, Franz Ferdinand." I thought, what a terrible name for a band! - Friends for Dinner?! i love my friends.

Silly me, of course, subsequently i realised the real name for the band ;) ok cool stuff and here is one track i liked "Dream Again" 

here is the video

and here is the lyrics of Dream Again

Don´t be afraid if
you hear voices
Or feel the sweet air
Spoken upon you
Sometimes the sound
Of a thousand
Whispering words
Of Hope will reassure
Show me the future
Will see us join together
If the oceans split
Or the mountains sigh Then I
Will keep on dreaming
I live to dream again

Don´t be afraid if
you´re descending
The deepest despairs
Without a handrail
to guide you
Sometimes the sound
Of a thousand
Whispering words
Can confuse
But when you´re sleeping
They shift and
slide together
Bring meaning
To the canyon's cry So I
I keep on dreaming
I live to dream again

Sometimes the sound
Of a thousand
Whispers are where
You live a little fear
But feel the pressure

I feel us dream together
I feel no fear
I feel no fire Oh I
I keep on dreaming
I live to dream again 

I will have Friends OVER for Dinner and we can listen to this nice song :)

Great Women of Our Time & Hot Pants

To my surprise, i was nominated for the Great Women of Our Time Award organised by Women's Weekly and during the photo shoot, the young edgy stylists - thinking that i look "young" (he doesn't know my real age thanks to my "youthful" demeanor) whipped out a pair of hot pants, like very short shorts in pastel shade and i almost fainted. I had to tell him, "Darling that is very nice, but the only kind of shorts i ever wore is PE shorts."

They were kind enough to prepare a black suit for me.. phew. 

Monday, August 3, 2009

Peter Pan & Robin Hood

When i was little, i love Walt Disney movies and i collect all these small Walt Disney paperbag novels based on the movies. Robin Hood was actually a fox in the original Walt Disney movies.. cunning yes! but in a good way.

everybody wants to be Peter Pan because we all want to be young. But apart from trying to look young, do we retain the heart of a young kid? where good people will end well and bad people go to hell. I just watched Walt Disney's Bedtime Stories starring Adam Sandler and i love it. it reminds me of the youthful good values we should have no matter how old we are. 

to be Peter Pan and Robin Hood all at once - is what i strive to be.

So, to walk the talk, lately i have been working extremely hard. On one hand, i am working on my F&B outlets and my new publishing business, which i am so thankful that due to the support of so many friends - both in life and business - that they have been doing well. So i suddenly decide to provide my design service to people who need it but have no budget. So on a voluntary basis, i have been taking up a few pro bono jobs that i think will do some good to people who need it. It has been tiring but somehow - as i have expected - extremely rewarding simply because people really appreciate it. and that is a good feeling. 

my new resolution for this year - to spread this message of Well (Meaning) Design. To explain this simply - designs that do not compromise in integrity, but in budget, that will bring a greater cause to all. And thanks to my speaking engagements, hopefully the 1st lecture on Well (Meaning) design will happen in Hong Kong this September. i am looking forward to it. I hate powerpoints, i hope i will find a better way to deliver the speech. 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

More pictures: Rem Koolhaas' entrance architectural addition to Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen - World Heritage Site

Rem Koolhaas' entrance architectural addition to Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen - World Heritage Site


I was in Essen, Germany recently to serve as a jury for the Communications section at Red Dot Museum, which was situated right next to the Zollverein Coal Museum, in fact the Red Dot Museum is part of this Unesco World Heritage Site. The architecture is spectacular and is conserved diligently. Rem Koolhaas was invited to do a entrance to mark the entrance to the museum. He added a metal structure that encased a long escalator leading up to the museum. i was told by the museum guide that the authorities and the public were so afraid that he would do any irreversible "damage" to this precious architecture that what he built is completely "detachable" in the event they decide to return in to its original state. This is perhaps an important lesson for Singapore to learn in conservation, which is often more concerned about preserving the "shelf" and paying little attention to the soul of the old building, hence often destroying the original intent of old building in the end. In a (what i read as) humourous attempt, Rem marked everything new he added with a bright orange as if to facilitate the ease of taking down the new bits he added in the event the authorities decide to return the architecture to its original state.

nothing to build? Fret not

architects are complaining there aren't so much work with the recession, but fret not, even Richard Meier is not spared and he is focusing on enjoying a few more golf games and implemented a 4-day work week for his staff until work comes in... read on

Richard Meier: ‘We Don’t Have So Much Work’

Why the Arts Don't Pay for themselves

support the arts in ways you can - a small donation, or volunteer your time...

an article by

Michael Kaiser

Posted: July 20, 2009 10:13 AM


in transit

in transit

finally we have decided to close ish after a 10-year-run. i am not extremely sad, in fact i am quite proud that as an independent print magazine, it actually survived for a decade, quite a feat in this internet age, not to mention the competitive advertising conditions in the print magazine industry. it is also extremely timely that just before we packed our bags, ish won its 3rd SOPA (Society of Publishers in Asia) Award for Design Excellence. In fact, on the same day 12th June 2009, as the results was announced, a decision was concurrently made to stop the magazine.

quick update on what i’m doing now:

1. 21st May 2009, my second F&B venture “15 Minutes” opened at LaSalle College of the Arts (Check it out - it is on the 1st floor of Blk D, and the school is situated on 1 McNally Road, it is also enveloped by Prinsep Street next to Sim Lim Square)

2. Still running Night & Day - bar+gallery+friends, which is almost 2 years old now. Finally after two years the business is starting to stabilise. We have built up a loyal following of party-goers who attend our monthly underground parties. I’m still toiling for the gallery though, organising exhibitions for young or new artists - it is a lot of work but not much money to be earned, at least for now. But overall, i think the mission of what we are trying to do - of promoting Singapore art & design is more important than the money, as i always believe that those who can, should try to give back - to the society, or in this case, the industry - in some ways. 

3. Stubbornly, i’m not stopping print publishing anytime soon, as i find a lot of joy and satisfaction in making a book or a magazine. In terms of continuing my magazine work, i’ve assumed the post of Editor-in-Chief for the Singapore Architect (SA), it’s a bit of a grown-up version of ish magazine. ish is visually driven, while SA is content-driven, though a lot of efforts has been put into the creative direction and design as well, so you should check it out, it is available in all good bookshops in Singapore. We will try to get it more widely distributed in the region soon. In terms of books, i’m working on various projects now, so hopefully, there will be something exciting out by next year.

4. doing some random design projects that are fun, some for very little money and some are pro bono. This is the only time i can say - i pick and choose my jobs haha. so i make sure these are fun jobs, then i wouldn’t mind doing. there’s a book, a couple of small design/branding jobs and a couple of interior jobs for friends.

5. lastly, this blog of course. Had been wanting to do this since ish days, as a small attempt to connect with my readers on the internet (blog as opposed to website as it is more personal and less work and more immediate). So finally i got off my lazy ass to start this blog, which i hope to share design news/information and thoughts about design, travel, culture and random random things in life.

anyways, back to the current moment. i spent this weekend watching an 11-part series on Michael Jackson’s home videos on youtube, and was actually very moved by the amount of charity work he does, one of which involved searching for a liver donor for a extremely poor 4-year-old boy Farkas in Hungary waiting to die in the hospital. And in a passing moment, he mentioned that the press only likes to report bad things and not good things. So out of curiosity, i googled the details of Jackson’s charity legacy and found a link that documents the amount of work he did and huge sums of money he gave to various charity all over the world (www.jacksonaction.com). I can’t help but think that he is actually a pretty decent and extremely generous guy. It is very sad that he died so suddenly.

i also googled the MDA (Media Development Authority) website and was quite disappointed to see the amount of funding that is available to all things digital and almost nothing attractive for print publishing. this is really sad, looks like MDA is already getting ready to eliminate print out of Singaporean’s lives. This is the time when print publishing needs a helping hand and yet no help is available. There is still so much potential and hope in print publishing as ultimately it is about content creation and management. and more importantly, we should uphold it as a form of art. Traditional forms of art, somehow, always have no place in Singapore, and it is no wonder so if the government, which plays a big role in preserving art forms and culture, is always too fast to throw away all things all.

But - as Gandhi said, Be the change you want to see in the world - i will find a way to do good works in publishing and i am inspired by great publishers such as Taschen and Chronicle books. 



Even if i will not be as big as them one day, I will start one book, one magazine at a time, and each will have to be made in the best way i know.