Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tiring Drawing

I could never imagine drawing can be that tiring, at least when painting is not part of the requirement. Now I know it can!

Look at the above two pictures. Do you think they are drawn by primary school kids? Actually they were drawn by me! All these are part of my homework whereby I have to do blind contour drawing (that is, drawing without lifting the pencil off the paper or looking at what I had drawn). Sounds silly? Well that's a common technique used to train one to eye to hand co-ordination as well as to force oneself to draw what he/ she really see and not what he/ she assume to have seen. The pictures on the left are real blind contour drawings, while those to their right, well I don't know what to call them, are drawing using the same technique but looking at paper is allowed.

I've only finished 4 pictures, and there are still 4 more to go. That is excluding another 8 more for another drawing module which I had to do the same thing! I don't think I can carry on drawing, at least not before afternoon as my right wrist is sore now; this is much more tiring than acting "The Teacher, The Thief" (三家福) or "Matchmake in the Cabinet" (柜中缘) combined!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Going to school is like going to war. Not only do i have to fight for parking space (until season parking for motorcycles are introduced), I have to fight over 600 other fellow foundation year students in getting my hands on my project materials at Artfriend. That figure does not include students from other faculties or schools! Like for example, yesterday afternoon I still saw a stack of A2 art card for sale, but today they were all gone. what's worse is that the art card will only come in next week but I had to submit by next week too; Arrgghh!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

First Lesson @ Lasalle

I had my first lesson at Lasalle finally yesterday morning (Friday). The only lesson for the day was 2D project, which involves 2D drawing and related assignments. What we were told to do today was to reinterprete our own photograph into an artwork of A5 size by using dots, ink strokes, straight lines or continuous lines etc. Below here are what I had drawn in class:

My self portrait and subject for my 2D project; a colleague of mine actually couldn't recognise this is me, and even thought this was taken in my teenage years!

Artwork done using different strengths of ink strokes; a lecturer from my faculty commented it looked nice, but I thought it looked too flat and uninteresting. Bleah!

Artwork done using cross-hatching patterns; this is something I'm more familiar as I'd drawn my "Mona Lisa Goes China" using such techniques

Artwork done with random dots; this is something relatively new but I got the hang of it pretty fast

They may not look that fantastic, but I think it still looked pretty decent, at least much better than when I paint! However, doing all these was not an easy task for me even though I had been drawing quite a fair bit since young, so much so that I got a bit dizzy after lesson ended. But it was still an interesting module for me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Second Orientation in Lasalle

Today I went for my second orientation for my current academic year. Why second, you may ask; well today's orientation is unlike the first on Monday. The orientation on Monday was focused on introducing us to the institute and it's academic structure, whereas today's one is mainly an ice-breaking session to let us familiarise with one another.

For today's orientation, we had been asked prehand to bring a number of items, including sketching and drawing materials, digital cameras and our sketchbook. There was also a nother requirement, and that is we were to come in black top. It was like kind of strange, because we had to walk around under the hot blazing sun, and wearing dark-coloured clothes seemed to be a contradiction. Perhaps the management wanted us to dress up to look like our institute?

After we were all gathered in school, we were then split up into groups of five. However, due to some reasons, many groups actually have 6 or more members. I believe ours was the most exaggerating one for having 8 members in total! The project was as such: all the various groups of each class would go explore a sector around our campus while paying attention to whatever we see, hear and smell. After gathering all our data, we would then return to campus, get together with other groups of the same class, and then translate our data into a single piece of artwork. Of course, the second part of the project was only disclosed to us after we returned from our research. As everyone of us was unfamilar one another, especially members of other groups, there were hiccups along the way. But nevertheless we managed to finish our artwork on time, just as as compared to other classes, ours seemed a bit too plain and uninteresting.

Though not really very pleased with our final artwork, I still feel this is quite a good attempt, as we did put our fullest effort into the project. As a consolation, I told one of my groupmates that if we were able to do something very artistic and professional at our level, then we wouldn't be in Foundation year already! Hopefully our class spirit will remain for the remaining year...

My group members roaming Kelantan Street

Along the way, we kept hearing something like Hindi music trailing us; in turned out that one of our members, Veronica, was listening to some indie music on her handphone!

Counting money spent at a coffeeshop near Kelantan Lane where we took a short break. Notice the colourful sketchbook on the table? Almost every other student in Foundation year is using this! (Damned, maybe I should change the "skin" of my sketchbook...)

Our artwork. Notice the "Citroen" signboard on the top left-hand side? We found it on the streets in Desker Road. It generated quite a bit of curiosity among our tutors; they thought we'd ripped them off some cars!

Hello, Lasalle

It is the middle of the week, and I have yet posted anything about starting of my new semester term yet. Well, I had intended to do so on Monday evening, but due to a last minute assignment which held me busy till yesterday evening, I wasn't quite able to do so. You must be wonder how come I already have had assignments when my lesson proper's supposed to commence only on Friday (These few days are just for orientation); well, it's not actually a school assignment, but a personal one. The grandmother for one of my friends passed away not long ago, and I was asked to do a short momento video on her. Since I was only given about 24 hours to finish, I have no time to update my blog until today. So here goes...

My school term starts on 13th August, which very coincidentally, falls on the first day of the Hungry Ghost Festival. And guess what greeted me the first thing when I stepped out of the lift in the morning? Yes, ashes of burnt incense paper! In fact, as I walked out of the lift, I could still some people burning incense paper at the far end of my block. Well this is still okay as compared to Qing Ming earlier this year. At that time, the moment I stepped out of the lift, a strong gust of wind suddenly blew through, and the ashes were flying around like dancing black moths.

I arrived at the institute quite early, about an hour ahead of schedule, so I sitted outside the campus, taking pictures of the new campus' exterior. I think the new campus looks cool, as not many educational institutes I've came across are painted in black. Or maybe there ARE but my exposure was limited. However, in a country with such a humid climate, I wonder how much money will be wasted on air-conditioning. That's something to ponder over!

After idling outside for a while, I decided to just go into the school, and I realised that there were already lots of people around. I initially thought the orientation had been brought forward, but later I realised that these people were the Year 1 students, which were my seniors. Everything was new, and everyone was alien to me. Until I saw Miss M. She was a polytechnic transfer student who was in the same interview group as me previously. Well she was fortunate for she had secured herself a place in Year 1, whereby I had to start from Foundation year. Well, although it meant I'll have to spend an extra year and additional money to complete my degree, but I guess having a solid foundation will be better for me in the long run.

There wasn't any lessons on this first day of school. It was just orientation whereby the various core personnel of the institute and faculty gave us briefings on what to expect and so on. Fortunate, these talks aren't about to make me fall asleep, except for one which I do not want to elaborate further. One unforgettable statement made by the CEO of the institute was to try fail as much as we can, except towards the assessment period. That may sound absurd, but the logic behind is that if you're too afraid to fail, you'd probably not dare to be creative as well, but by failing, you'd learn what can be done and what not, and from there learn from mistake and move on. I have had my first hand experience in it within my opera troupe as a scenic designer, so I totally believed in him. There was also a tour session to allow us get orientated to our new campus, but I felt this was one of the worst orientation tours I've ever been to; the guides in charged of our group were simply too irreponsible, they didn't bother to call out to us when we were frantically searching for them (because we don't know who our guides are), and they simply dump us at the main gate after the tour without telling us what's installed for us after that.

Our orientation ended at around 4.30pm, and initially I had thought of popping by Artfriend just around the corner to raid their inventory stocks. However, on thinking that the poor shop must have been invaded by my fellow schoolmates already, I decided not to in the end. It's always better to shop when the place's not too crowded, for I can't concentrate on my hunt for what I want to get!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Burmese Craze

These few days, there was some sort of a "Burmese Craze" blowing through our branch office, and some of the staff members there, including my ex-supervisor, were learning some simple phrases of the Burmese language. Why so? Because our branch office would be expecting a new Burmese-Chinese colleague soon.

I haven't caught up with the craze, but starting learning anyway. Not because I want to join in the fun, but I'm starting to go "regional", instead of just sticking to learning Thai. The only thing is, this is not my first time trying to step out of my Thai-learning boundaries. In fact, previously I had tried learning Tamil, Khmer, Burmese, Vietnamese, Hindi and Spanish, but results hadn't been rather successful. Take for example Tamil, up till now all I can say is "Epadi Irukienga", which means "How are you". Other than that, I can only see and produce stars. Same goes for Khmer as well, and for Vietnamese, all I know is how to call my parents with it! The only language with a bit more results is perhaps Spanish, but just slightly more only.

Well, I shall see how far I can go this time round with my Burmese learning. Hopefully it'll be better than last time, as I've heard that Burmese is actually not quite difficult (it depends on individual, anyway), but my main interest will be still in Thai. Oh yes, I've been making slightly more progress in Thai lately, and perhaps that marks the end of my bottleneck situation with the language!

Metta Chant

I happened to find these 2 clips over Youtube, and thought of sharing with you all. These 2 clips are actually the same song, but one is captioned with English transaltion and the other, Burmese. This song is performed by Imee Ooi, a Malaysian musician who is a Buddhist. Believe it or not, during the time when I just got my driving lessons, listening to this song while driving to work seemed to make me less proned to being horned at by other drivers!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Received My Timetable - Finally!

I've finally downloaded my timetable from Lasalle's student portal this evening, after a long agonising wait.

Lasalle has actually sent me a letter previously telling me my timetable would be available for download from Monday, but it was still offline when I checked yesterday evening. I was getting restless, not because I'm anxious to start school (actually I do!), but I need to know how my school schedule is like in order for me to start looking for part-time job. Luckily, the timetable was finally up this evening at around 9pm. My ex-supervisor was particularly interested in my schedule, and after taking a look at it, she excited told me on which day I can come back and work at the counter and for which shift. I haven't even said I want to come back as a part-time staff! But then again, I can understand her situation, for it's always better to get someone who is more or less familiar with how the business is run than to hire a freshie whose potential and ability to stay for long is a question mark. However, I'll have to see how things go first before I can really commit anything. For one thing, even though I can still earn a salary that is not lower than the minimum acceptable wage range if I work according to the duration my ex-supervisor had recommended, I'm still trying to see if I can find a job with a higher paying rate. Also, this timetable is still subjected to change, and if my timetable don't quite go well with my ex-supervisor's shift recommendation, I might get myself into financial difficulties.

Hence for now, all I can do is to wait and see. But one thing for sure, once my term starts, I'll be able to spend slightly more time in my opera, even though I'd most likely be busier than the bee!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Singtel's Blunder

I love collecting things with Thai words and captions, for I'm trying to learn the Thai language in whatever means I can find. Of course, I will only keep those which are small or compact enough to keep, like flyers and paper wrappers of tin cans.

My workplace is some sort of a "HQ" for Singtel, for every sunday they'll have a roadshow inside the complex itself, and there'll also be promoters giving out flyers promoting their services. I love to go up to these promoters to get a copy of the flyers, for every now and then, Singtel would have new designs for their flyers, even though the contents are more or less the same. However, for the latest edition, I realised a very big mistake in the wording:

Under the t-shirt, it bored the word "กระเป๋า" (Gra-pao), and under the backpack, it was captioned "เสื้อยืด"( Seua-Yeud). This is very very wrong, because "Gra-pao" means "bag" while "Seua-Yeud" means "t-shirt"! I wonder how come the relevant department in charged of the Thai translation can miss out on such a big blunder; if it was a spelling mistake, it may still be forgiven as being overlooked, but mixing up the translated words simply seemed a bit too much, I feel!

Monday, August 06, 2007

A.C. Speaks Thai

This is a short clip of me speaking Thai.

It's okay if you don't understand, just you let you guys have a listen as to how I sound like when speaking the language! (But I'm not good in Thai language, by the way)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Baybeats 2007

I just returned from Baybeats 2007, a three-day indie music festival which is held at the Esplanade. I know what some of you are thinking; you must be thinking whether or not I'm kidding by attending this kind of concert because it just doesn't seemed to be me. Now who says a person who is interested in Chinese opera do not know how to appreciate rock music?! But to be honest, this is my first time attending such concerts, although I do enjoy listening to some rock artistes, just that I don't follow up on the songs for most.

I arrived at the Esplanade rather early and the outdoor performances, which was held at both the Nokia Power House (Stage @ Powerhouse) and Nokia Arena (Stage @ Esplanade Park), had yet to commence. I took a stroll nearby and came back at around 6pm. The Sally's was the first band to perform. This band is a young local band formed in 2004 playing ska, indie and disco. I must have been a suaku, but this is the first time I've seen trumpet and trombone being used in a rock band. However, I have to say they do create a unique sound, and I think this is what makes this band special. The band performed a number of songs before a break was introduced.

The second act of this concert, which was scheduled to be performed by Intone from Australia was to commence at 7.15pm. There was still quite a bit of time left, so I left for a quick dinner before returning to the stage to catch them in performance. This rock band, which had been creating original rock music since 2001, really rocks, and I can see they have got a great following among the audience. The lead singer, Chris Harris, is really cool and he really know how to keep the temperature high.

The last act which I stayed for (NOT the last for the night, by the way), which followed after Intone, was presented by another local band called March Twelve. Their music was nice, but somehow I felt that was a lack of interaction between the lead singer and the audience, and I thought that is a pity; the bass guitarist was more showy than her, and I actually took more pictures of him rather than the lead singer (she has got a charming smile though).

After watching March Twelve's performance, I did not head straight home. Instead, I went up to The Village to buy some Baybeats merchandise, including Intone's EP and the event's t-shirt. After which, I went to this stationary bus beside the stage to wait for the autography session for Intone to start. The band came up the bus at around 9.30pm to start their autography session. The band members were really nice and friendly, and it's a pity I did not have much chance to talk to them (I didn't want to hog the queue). However, before I left the bus, I managed to take a photograph of them. Although I wished I was in the picture too, but it beats having taken none at all (I'm a pro Briton and Australians, by the way)!

Baybeats is indeed a very fun and eye-opening (ear-opening as well) event, and though I had missed it for the past 5 years, I'm glad I didn't miss it again this year. See you again next year, Baybeats!

The bass, trombone and trumpet players of The Sally's

The sun might be still hanging in the sky, but the audience were already high enough to "fly"!

Intone rocks!

Members of Intone packing up their stuffs after their performance; don't they have helpers?

Members of March Twelve taking pictures of the audience; now who's the star?!

"Stylo-mylo" bass guitarist of March Twelve

Lead singer of March Twelve

Bass guitarist and lead singer together

I just have to give credit to these security officers for keeping a vigilant eye over the audience for possible problems and troubles

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Accident Zone

I live by the side of the Pan Island Expressway, at one of its busiest sections. This part of the expressway is relatively busy and noisy, no thanks to the fact that Singapore’s three most congested roads outside the CBD area, namely Aljunied Road, Paya Lebar Road and Geylang Road, are just in the vicinity. This area has got a negative reputation as well, for being an accident-prone zone and seems like accidents or near-accidents are bound to take place almost on a daily basis. In fact, just yesterday morning, 4 vehicles collided into one another again.

What makes this stretch of expressway an accident zone is still a puzzle to me; the road here is quite straight, with no inconspicuous slip roads anywhere near here, which might cause drivers to brake suddenly or do abrupt lane changing. Perhaps just like what some people had told me, this stretch has been cursed by the paranormal beings, hence the high accident rate. Nevertheless, if you readers out there happened to read this and have any need to pass by this area, do take extra caution!