Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dolly Craze

Lately I'm crazy over 1/6-scale dolls. You know, Barbie dolls and similar. Not in the sense that I like playing with them, but more related to my interest in costume design.

It all started years ago when I saw some OOAK (One Of A Kind) dolls in Chinese wuxia styled costumes being auctioned on Ebay and I thought they looked absolutely fabulous. At that point of time I had the thought of doing the same myself, by repainting, rerooting and creating costumes for these dolls, just that it remained only as a thought. It was only recently, when I had to do costume design for "Medea" as a school assignment that the thought came to my mind again. The difference is that this time round, I really put that into action. Here are 2 costumes I had designed for the title role of Medea.

Medea in opening of play (top) and during the finale (bottom) when she was dressed similar to that of Goddess Kali. Model is a Volks Dollfie 27cm doll.

I still have 7 roles in which I had to design costumes for, and I'm not sure if I can finish them by the start of next semester! One thing I can be sure of, is I'd certainly be blamed for "spoiling the market", because doing mock-up costumes is not part of the assignment's requirement, but I did it anyway because I felt it can better aid me convey the kind of costume I wanted to create. Having said that, I don't think I'll do that again, if there's another costume design assignment in future for class, because it's simply too time and energy consuming!

Not forgetting making Chinese opera costume for my doll as well!

Monday, December 01, 2008

"Adiós" to Long Hair

I had not had my hair snipped for almost a year, and I finally had it cut yesterday. It was a very tough struggle for me; I always wanted to have long hair, but it is very hard to make the hair dry after washing, and the increased frequency of hair dropping made me having to constantly sweep the floor under my computer desk at home. Hence, after weighing various factors, I decided to have it snipped. Not without a big change, that is! Some of my friends will know that I visit the hair salon at least once in a few months, and everytime I leave the salon I'll usually spot a very big change in hairstyle, and this time is no exception too. Not only did I had my hair cut short, I also did a twist perm as well. However, I don't quite like the results; it wasn't as nice as what I had done before 2 years back, although it was done in the same salon. But, I think I will just have to stay with it for a few more months before I change my hairstyle again; I don't wish to visit the salon again and have all my hair shaved off!
One last look before snipping; I may not have a chance to grow hair this long again!

Intricate steps to prepare the hair for twist perm (they call it the "caterpillars"!); it is very painful!

Resulting effect

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Over The Top Makeup Box

It's the end of the school term and finally I can have my long deserved break. Although it's just one month, it is better than having none! I'm looking forward to it, as I can finally indulge myself in some Chinese opera, for I had totally no time to perform or even rehearse, and therefore a lot of performing opportunies had to be sacrificed for school.

Anyway, I've talked quite a fair bit about my Chinese opera craze before in my blog, but have never discussed any other related issues, so now I shall share with everyone my makeup box!

If you think this is a plumber or mechanic's tool box, then you're wrong...

It's my makeup box!

I have 2 pairs of eyelashes in my makeup box; the left pair is for younger roles while the right is for more matured/ older roles.

8 different shades of eye shadow! To be honest I seldom have the chance to use ALL, but one never know when the chance will arise to use them...

4 different shades of lipstick too! But I do use ALL of them, but of course not ALL at the same time, the most I'd do is to blend 2 tones to achieve the desired colour to suit a particular character.

Bottom compartment of the box: it's a mess and I don't know how to clean up!

Different kinds of brushes and eyeliners

I know some people might find my makeup box a bit over the top, considering the fact that I'm just an amatuer Chinese opera performer (to put it bluntly, a hobbyist), but then again this is an investment which I think one have to make if he really has got the passion in it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lucky Stiff Opened!

"Lucky Stiff" opened at Lasalle's Creative Cube this evening, and I only realised that minutes before the show opened! Well, I guess I have had been to busy to know that, or that it has been ages since I last look at our production schedule.

Today's show was not bad, including my sound effects playback. It wasn't as smooth during the last few rehearsals, as the original laptop I had used for the sound effect playback was down, and had to switch to another laptop last minute. This new laptop, however, had got a problem of being a bit lagging, and almost all sound cues only went off about a second after I hit the spacebar. Luckily for me I somehow managed to get round the problem by anticipating the sound cues a little and play just before my stage manager asked me to go. Of course, by right that shouldn't happen, but I had no choice!

On a side note, I have got 2 complimentary tickets for this Friday's show. I guess I won't be needing them, and if anyone wants to watch the show, please contact me. If you're into comedies or shows featuring good laughs without any plot that requires a lot of brain power to analyse and comprehend, this is the show to catch!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Upcoming Musical Productions

Previously I had posted that our whole class was involved in various musical productions this month, and now the tickets are available for sale at Gatecrash!

The production I am in is "Lucky Stiff", a whimsical musical about an Englishman who inherited his uncle's money after his death, with 2 other people after him trying to ruin his plan. It will be performing from 26 to 29 November, with a matinee on the last day, at Lasalle's Creative Cube.

The other 2 productions are "Nunsense" from 13 to 15 November at the Creative Cube as well, and "The Life of Galileo" from 27 to 29 November at Lasalle's Flexible Performance Space.

Do come and support if you can!

PS: For those who can't remember, I am doing sound op., not part of the cast.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mamma Mania

No you didn't see wrongly, and neither is that a typo error on my part for the title. It was actually a combination of "Mamma Mia!" and "Abba Mania", the 2 ABBA-inspired events which I had attended lately. "Mamma Mia!" is a movie adapted from the West End musical of the same name, which was in turn inspired and consists entirely of ABBA's songs, whereas "Abba Mania" is a concert by Abba Mania, a cover band of ABBA, trying to recreate the visual and acoustic atmosphere of an authentic ABBA performance.

I watched "Mamma Mia!" last Saturday, and although I was very much looking forward to its opening in Singapore, I know I shouldn't expect much, since not everyone in the movie is known for their singing. Furthermore, as I've not watched the musical itself, I'm not even sure if the songs of ABBA can really fit well into the movie, especially when the lyrics were all left untouched. Surprisingly, everything gels pretty well together and if I had not listened to ABBA's songs before, I'd have thought that the songs were all written for the musical/ movie itself. It was a rather entertaining movie with lots of laughs, and many a times it's the ensemble, in the form of hotel workers and fellow islanders, who spiced up the various song segments a lot. One major letdown was, however, the singing ability (or lack of to be honest) of Pierce Brosnan. Meryl Streep, who wasn't known to be able to sing previously, sounded much better than him on the contrary. However, I thought the acoustics for the songs in the movie (or whatever you call it) sounded rather strange; the vocals and the music doesn't quite seem to blend nicely, and sounded as if they were recorded separately and then superimposed onto one another. Or maybe they really did that, but they should have tweaked it to make it sound more "realistic".

As for "Abba Mania", I watched it this afternoon, exactly a week apart. The feel of this 2 events are totally different; the former used the songs of ABBA in totally different contexts, whereas the latter tried to make the audience feel as if they're going back in time and watching a real ABBA concert. Consisting of Mark Thomas, Philip David Hawkes, Lydia Griffiths and Carley Broom taking on the roles of Bjorn, Benny, Anni-Frid and Agnetha respectively, they churned out classic after classic. Not only did they sing, but also speak and behave as if they were their characters, making this events less like an imitation performance, but more like a concert. The audience were initially shy about doing anything else other than sitting rooted in their seats and watch actions unfold on stage, but with the catchy music and the ability of the band to create the right atmosphere, in no time many people started standing up, singing and clapping to the songs. It's a pity that the Esplanade Theatre is afterall meant for theatrical performances and not so much for such concerts, hence it is hard for the audience to really get up to dance and jive. Like I was sitting in Circle 2 on the front-most row, and I was afraid that if I were to stand up, I might be blocking the view of people sitting behind me who couldn't stand up like me due to the miserably small floor space they had. However, by the second half of Act 2, I guessed many people dismissed the venue's restrictions and started to stand up as if watching a concert by the Esplanade waterfront or at Singapore Indoor Stadium. "Abba Mania" was a big success, as I can see from the turnout and the response by the majority of the audience. Overall I find that although the band's nowhere near the original ABBA, they performed quite well. However, I just felt that Carley Broom's voice sounded a bit strained and tired at some points of the concert whereby she was supposed to sing solo. It was a small pity, but overall the concert was great, and I should really sing "Thank You For The Music" to them!

Funny Mamma Mia!

So I just returned from Abbamania, but before I think of what to write about it, let me put a clip of Mamma Mia! the musical, not the "original" version, but a hilarious skit based on the original, done by the original Broadway cast. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

3 Funny Thai Health Commercials

Here are three funny Thai commercials found on Youtube. How I love Thai commercials!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's a Wrap! End of "The Odd Couples"

So yesteday was the final performance for "The Odd Couple", and how time flies! It was a really fun experience working in this production, although I did not have the chance to interact with many people, especially the cast. My next production will be in November, and I believe it would be with the same class again. Really looking forward to it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Preview for "The Odd Couple"

Today is the preview for "The Odd Couple" and I was shocked. I was shocked because I only realised that last evening. Or rather I had thought it was supposed to be a few days later. But since my job as the lighting op for this show is relatively easy, it didn't quite bother me.

The audience today was very receptive of the performance, and they were cheering and laughing loudly, and from my position on the control tower at the back of the auditorium, I thought I was watching an American sitcom. I never expected the audience's response to be so positive in the first place, and the atmosphere is entirely different then when watching even the last dress rehearsal.

One day down, and four more days to go; hopefully every other performance will be as smooth-running too, and I'm looking forward to my next production, doing sound op for a musical...

I have actually taken a few video clips of the drama during it's final dress rehearsal in the daytime, but until I know for certain I'm allowed to upload them onto any video servers, I am not in liberty to show them here. However, those who are on facebook can see one of the clips on "The Odd Couple" events page.

Friday, September 12, 2008

LASALLE's Performance Season Starting Soon

Although I'm just a mere lighting operator for one of the shows in the upcoming performance season of my school, I thought why not advertise them on my blog!

So altogether, there will be 4 shows being staged from 18th September to 11th October at the Flexible Space and Creative Cube within our campus compound. The 4 shows are: "5 Women Wearing the Same Dress" (18 - 20 Sep.), "The Odd Couple" (24 - 27 Sep.), "A Dream Play" (26 - 27 Sep.) and "Fever" (9 - 11 Oct.). Tickets are on sale now at Gatecrash (just follow the respective links above).

Please come support us!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Start of Production Period: The Odd Couple

So I had started attending rehearsals for "The Odd Couple", a drama production which would be held somewhere this month (I still have no idea when it would be held, although I knew my production period is from 16th to 27th this month!). I am the lighting op., and am really looking forward to it.

I have been very anxious when I first got the brief production schedule early last month, and being a bit kiasu, I actually went to get a zapped copy of the script, only to realised lately that we were producing the "female version" of the Neil Simon play and not the original male version which I had originally conveniently assumed. What a waste of money, but anyway both versions are more or less the same in terms of concept, so although I joined in the rehearsals much later than my other classmate who's doing the sound op., at least I know roughly the gist of the plot.

I thought "The Odd Couple" was really an interesting play, and I actually enjoyed sitting in for the rehearsals. I'll try to see if I can do a bit of video recording of the rehearsal next time round during rehearsal.

I was taking snapshots of the set before rehearsal commenced and I saw a shadow zoomed past; it was my SM Caleb trying to get all the props ready. I think my troupe's "SMs" should consider themselves very, very lucky and pampered to only turn up on performance day without knowing a single thing about the plot!

My LD Wang Meng with 1/3 of the cast in the background

The temporary "dressing room" for our cast; I can't imagine myself doing costume changes in such a chaotic place!


I had been feeling giddy on and off since yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon while at Artfriend near my school, I was shopping for some stuffs when I suddenly felt my body swaying to one side as if I was intoxicated by alcohol. It was really strange why I just felt giddy all of a sudden; I had a decent lunch, I didn't have any headache, and neither did I felt any other weakness in my body. Later on in class during technical drawing I felt the giddiness again while sitting on my chair, and also in the evening while on my way walking to DBS Arts Centre (I suddenly just couldn't walk straight for a few seconds).

I thought I'd be okay today, but apparently I wasn't. At times when I walked fast or turn my head quick, I'd feel like being swept off my feet by some typhoon. Hence despite I have had a production meeting and a production rehearsal to attend in the afternoon, I had no choice but to skip all of that to rest at home.

What the hell was wrong with me? I certainly have got no idea...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mamma Mia!

I just can't wait for Mamma Mia! to hit the silverscreens, although it is said that it would be shown "in cinemas September 18". Having missed Mamma Mia! when the musical came to Singapore years ago, I'm determined not to miss the movie version again. How great it is, with two ABBA-inspired shows coming to Singapore one after another!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Respect and Professionalism

Lately an incident in the arts community here has become a topic of discussion. A Straits Times reporter, having sat through only 10 minutes into a performance for the Singapore Theatre Festival, wrote a review on that performance which was filled with inaccuracies and misleading information. This sparked some unhappiness among some local theatre practitioners, and I felt equally upset. Where has the professionalism of this reporter went to? I'm sure he should have learnt at some point of his academic life that one need to have thorough research before he even write a thesis, report, review, whatever, and in this case, shouldn't he write only after he had finished the show? It is downright disrespectful of the performance and its production crew to write a review based on simply assumption of what would happen for the next 9/10 of the performance which the reporter had missed. To put it on an even simpler term, I'm sure at least he's heard of the phrase "do not judge a book by his cover", and sadly, this was what he did. The more disappointing fact was that the Straits Times weren't even a single bit apologetic towards this incident; all they did was to put a small disclaimer in the papers stating that the review was not "incomplete" as the reviewer did not finish the show. Is that all the Straits Times have to say to this incident? What about the discourse of professional ethics which was obviously left out? A lecturer of mine once told my class that sometimes she got upset when she reads the Life! section of the Straits Times because of the shallowness of the contents, and now I can understand (I haven't read the local papers for ages since I do not like the style of it). At this point of writing, I understand some theatre practitioners have started sending letters to the press to voice their unhappiness (sadly I didn't, as I know well enough my linguistic power only allows me to diss in my own blog), and I believe as usual, the management of the Straits Times will jump up from their cosy armchairs to react accordingly, as what has been done before for other similar and/ or not-so-similar happenings. Or will they not do anything? We shall see...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's a Small World!

I just got an updated production schedule for this term this morning. So here I am, going to be a lighting op. for "The Odd Couple", which will be held towards the later half of next month. I saw a familiar name in the lighting designer section, and a check with Shao Ann confirmed that this lighting designer was someone I knew; he was my lighting op. when I was doing lighting design for my troupe's performance at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Well I'm glad that I did not ill-treat him nor the rest of the lighting team the previous round, or else I'm not sure what will happen during production, when our roles are switched! Nevertheless, it still feel great to work with someone I know, although I'm not sure if he still remembers me. At the very least, I can be sure I will be able to work well with him, and that is a very big relief for me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beckham the Musical?

So, the next new theme to be brought onto the stage of musicals is the life of David Beckham, and somemore on London's West End! It's still rather vague as to what will be featured in this musical, but it is said that David Beckham: The Theatre of Dreams, "is a modern-day fairytale of heroes, villains, love, Manchester United and what it means to lead your country" as quoted off from Mark Archer, the producer of this musical. Although I may not have interest in soccer, I'm quite interested to see how this musical is like, somemore it's based on the life story of a living, white male!

Charlie Brown Musical

"Peanuts" has been my all-time favourite comic strip since young, and believe it or not, it as watching the cartoon version of "Peanuts" that make me interested in Jazz (Jazz music has been used extensively in almost all episodes, if not all).

There's also a musical version of "Peanuts" titled "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", and if not wrong it was performed in Singapore a few years ago. It's rather interesting to have a comic strip being brought to stage, because the characters no longer look like what you used to remember; like Charlie Brown no longer is a small boy with big head and a bit of curly hair, and Snoppy now has "hair" and looks more like "human". However it's still not hard to tell who is who from some clues embedded in their costumes, which makes it even more fun. Of course, other than these elements, I thought the music and lyrics to this musical are good also. Hopefully I'll be able to catch them in action again, although I know well that it has been closed for a few years now.

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"


Are you able to tell who is who from the 2 clips above?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finally Found: "William Teo: His Work in Theatre"

There's this particular book on the late local theatre practitioner William Teo which I had been searching high and low for months, and I finally found it at Earshot Cafe at the Artshouse.

Actually, I've seen this book before a few years back at the Esplanade gift shop (or whatever you call it), but I didn't buy at that point of time. I did browse through the book briefly, though, and I thought his works seemed interesting to me. However, I soon forgot about the book, its contents, and even the subject matter after some time. It was only during my interview for admission into TTA that William Teo's name resurfaced again, when my programme leader Shao Ann commented that my design for my specialism project gave him the impression of how William Teo would have done in my place. Therefore, I began hunting for the book, but alas, Esplanade gift shop do not carry it already. I went to a few major bookstores too, but neither do they have it. Even Select Books, a local bookstore which carries lots of rare southeast Asian publications, no longer have it in their stocks. "Our supplier said that this book is too old and has been out-of-print already!", the lady over the counter told me after checking with their supplier. Luckily for me, I stumbled upon Earshot Cafe's website by chance and realised that they still have it, and hence decided to head down to the cafe to get it.

I'm still very excited now, at being able to get my hands on the book. I think I'm going to frame it up, or even lock it up in a metal box under layers of chains and padlocks!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Going First Aid Course 2

3 more photos from my first aid course taken today. Please do note that the superimposed thought bubbles in the following pictures are purely fictional and do not represent what the involved personnel had in mind at the point of photo taking!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Going First Aid Course

Today is Saturday, but I had to go for lessons too. However, it wasn't in school that I had my lesson in, but at the Red Cross Training Centre. It was part of our faculty's requirement for us newbies to be trained (and pass) in first aid, and today's the first day of the three day course.

In the past when I attend such training lessons with lots of dry "try-to-absorb-as-much-as-you-can" information, I'd simply doze off within half an hour. I thought this would be no different, but luckily it wasn't that bad. In fact it was rather interesting. However, lessons are after all lessons; when faced with a real first aid situation, I'm not sure if I can really handle it at all!
The "posey" casualty

TTA's version of the "Three Wise Monkeys"

The "Ice Hockey Casualty"

It seems like a wrong bandage; the lips are "swollen", so should put a donut over it and wrap it up!

Another "posey" casualty

Monday, August 11, 2008

1-month Anniversary of my last post

It's been exactly a month (less 1 day) since I last blogged. What happened to me, you might ask. Well, a lot!

First, school term had just begun, and I was as busy as hell. Ironically, it was still "honeymoon" period of school, so why am I so busy? I don't know, but maybe when faced with subjects I like (technical theatre arts, of course!), I can just do research non-stop. Can you believe it, it was just 1 week of school and my journal is like 1/2 full!

Second reason why I went "missing" on the blogsphere was a more "tragic" one: my laptop failed on me! I didn't know what happened, but on my first day of school, my keypad and mousepad suddenly failed on me. In desperation, I had to send my Macbook Pro for servicing, and I was "handicapped" for 7 days without a laptop to use: it affected my school work, freelance design work, and ability to surf the net as and when I want!

So now I'm back, and hopefully I'll be able to update my blog more often; I hope...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Abba Mania!

I was at the Esplanade last night when I saw this big standing poster promoting "ABBA Mania", a tribute concert to ABBA. I am very excited over this event; after missing "Mama Mia!" and "We Will Rock You", I swear that I'm not going to miss it this time round.

Yes you're right, I'm an ABBA fan. In fact, ABBA's my most favourite band after Beatles (all seemed beyond my time right?). I'm not being retro, but I think I just find Europop and Britrock more appealing. Having said that, I have to admit I have not listened extensively to Europop nor Britrock. It just happened that I listened to their songs more, as compared to other bands of the same genre.

The most expensive tickets for this event was priced at $95, a bit expensive for a poor student like me, but there's still quite some time away from the event, and hopefully I can save up that amount soon, before the tickets got sold out!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Photographs, Photographs and More Photographs!

I was clearing out my photo albums to make way for new books when I realised that I have a lot of hard copy photographs of Zhangzhou City Xiangju Opera Troupe's performances; one big stack as shown here:

That's horribly a lot, considering that those were just for about 10-odd performances which I had watched, and this stack here only comprises of selected shots which I feel is good enough for print. Imagine how many photographs were there for Xiamen Municipality Opera Troupe, which had performed 3 times at Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple!
My shelf of photo albums; more than half of which are Chinese opera performance shots!

It's no doubt I love photography, though not exclusively for Chinese opera performance. My passion for photography became so intense that I just bring my digital camera along whenever I go out. And it's not that slim-body type, but those bulky digital EOS kind! Basically I'd take pictures of whatever I find interesting. (Luckily, I didn't develop them into physical photographs as I was too lazy to organise them into different albums.) Of course, my notion of "interesting" may not be interesting enough for the average people; I like scenes with strong sense of lines or repeated patterns (for those who're into art or design, does that remind you of EPAD: Elements and Principles of Art and Design?), or anything that has a rich history and is hard to find in present urban Singapore. However, as my photo-taking are rather impromptu, hence many of them do not have the feel and mood like those professional or artistic photographs. I do wish, though, that one day I can have my own artistic photography portfolio, provided I have the time and energy to do so!
A shot of a stairwell at Raffles Place over a decade ago; I just find the repetition of lines in this shot interesting (though not technically nice enough)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Performance After-thoughts: "The Teacher, The Thief" at Tampines East C.C.

I just returned from my troupe's performance at Tampines East Community Club, and am too tired to do anything. Today we performed "The Teacher, The Thief", our most well-loved show by our audience. It is actually quite unusual for us to perform this show today, because the last time we performed this show at this same community club was just less than 2 years ago. Previously, we were not allowed to repeat the same show in the same venue again, unless after a lapse of at least 5 years.

So, how do we fare in our performance today? Well, it depends whether if one's looking at the narrow perspective or wide perspective. If wide perspective, that is, the show on the whole, it was a success; our audience loved it, and were totally engrossed in our acting. However, from the narrow perspective view, our actors had hiccups here and there. So far we have not had so much hiccups in a single night before during all our previous runs of this same show. Why did we have so much hiccups? Did we have too little time to rehearse before the actual performance? Or that we had not prayed to our "Gods" before the show commence? Well I won't want to conclude anything for now, but I just can't help wondering...
My self-made beard; how do you find it? Our troupe has got no beard which I think is suitable for my role, so I had no choice but to make one on my own.

Is this a lady from the ancient world brought to modern time, or a lady from modern time brought back to ancient world?

Show me your hand only when you have got gold or diamonds!

My makeup today, in "pseudo Yueju" style; lately our troupe members started to shift from Taiwanese style of makeup to the more softer Yueju style, which is similar to what I had always put on for the past few years

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Current Top Must-watch Serial

Lately I was very into this particular 32-episode drama serial from China, titled "旗舰" ("Qi Jian", or "The Flagship" when translated into English). What makes me intersted in this drama is due to 2 factors: it features a naval-theme which I can somewhat still relate to, and that it stars one of my favourite China actor Jia Yiping.

I know it would cause some people to raise their eyebrows when I say I like this drama, for even some of my China friends do not even watch the shows from their own country, and some simply don't support their national CCTV network of channels. Actually, I only watch selected China-produced serials too. Many serials, alas, were major disappointments.

From what I can tell, it tells the story of an ambitious university graduate who started as off as a fresh naval recruit and climbed his way up to become the captain of his own vessel. In someway, I could see similiarities between the title character and me. The only differences were that I was only a naval specialist and not an officer, and that the system of military training shown in the serial was very much different from what I had experienced before, but of course that's nothing unusual! That was so much I could say about this serial for I only managed to catch just 2 episodes of it on TV, but the first episode was still not that bad in my opinion. Hopefully it shall remain that way till I finish the last episode!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Inaccurate Portrayal of "Oriental" People

I seldom watch Channel 5, but this morning I decided to switch to that channel, after getting sick of the constant recycling of kids' drama serials over at Channel 8. So there on Channel 5 was this drama serial titled "The New Adventures of Robin Hood II" which featured some Japanese people. There was one particular character, a Japanese woman to be exact, which I felt was a disaster in character appearance.

If you could not tell what was wrong with her appearance, let me shed some light. First, her makeup was not what a typical Japanese woman in that era put on. I personally felt it was more like what Peking opera actors would wear on stage. As for her kimono, I've never heard of kimonos that is fastened right centre on one's body; only the ancient Chinese wear their dress that way! So you see, the character portrayal is a total flop, with the exception of the hair. But then again, thinking on the logical side, if a woman is constantly on the travel like this character does, it doesn't seem feasible for her to comb this hard-to-maintain hairstyle and makeup.

It is very ironic that such big mistakes can take place in American productions, whereby stylistic realism plays a very important part. Perhaps the designers for this show felt that the western audiences won't be able to tell the difference anyway, but then again it just reflect how badly their research was carried out.

Backdrop for my Paper Theatre

I've just made a backdrop for my paper theatre. It has been ages since I last paint, and I seemed to have deteriorated. Either that, or the material was too small for me to handle (25cm x 12.5cm using acrylic). Anyway why did I do this "backdrop", you may ask. It was actually a draft of some kind, which I intend to make into a real backdrop of size 10m by 5m for my Chinese opera troupe. However, I don't think I can handle a painting that big on my own (I don't even have such a big uninterrupted floor space to start with), and outsourcing to scenic backdrop painting companies locally could be costly too, I guess. What's more I'm doing not just one, but 3, or even up to 9 if budget allows. Maybe I'll have to look for such companies in China, but then again when the outsourcing company is far away, it is hard for one to supervise the progress. If anyone out there has got any recommendation on cheap and reliable scenic backdrop painting companies, do drop me a message!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ineffective Workers

It is not my style to whine about work, although I do sometimes comment about how tiring or stressful these works could be. Well, not unless I have to work with "undesirable" people. What I mean by undesirable people are those who spend half of their working time, or more, on self-declared breaks while leaving all unfinished work to the rest of the team who do not share their concept of loafing.

Today I went to help out in a school event, and I got a chance to work with such people. Altogether, including me, my faculty engaged 8 physical helpers to do some painting job. However, it didn't take long for this number to drop down to just 3. Where did the other 5 went to? Two of them disappeared from time to time, and another 3 just sit at a corner chit-chatting away. At least the first 2 helpers did do quite a bit of work, but the latter 3 simply laze around, and I even heard one of them commenting how tiring this job was. If such little painting job can tire them, what about the 3 of us who only stop for a sip of coffee throughout? I believe it makes sense that by chipping in effort to finish the job once and for all, all of us can leave earlier, but obviously these people don't think the same; they'd rather waste their time sitting at a corner doing nothing. The only thing they "helped" was to comment that one area was not well-painted, after we'd decided to pack up. Such people are damn annoying! On top of that, these people were the first to leave when the whole group was dismissed.

So you see the irony: people who worked less get to leave early, while people who worked more had to stay behind clearing up. Illogical right?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chinese Opera on National TV During Peak Hours

Tonight was the first episode of the 3rd season of a very popular game show sponsored by a very big supermarket. On this first episode, a few children were featured performing Teochew opera at the end of the show, and that made me very upset. Not that their performance were not good, and neither am I anti-Teochew opera. What I wasn't happy about was that they were actually performing in dialect on national TV during prime time airing slots, something our opera troupe was denied of years ago.

You see, years ago, our opera troupe was invited to take part in an episode of a local variety show (the show was to be aired on a Monday night). In this variety show, there was a singing competition, and weekly during the competition, the contestants had to go through a "test of the week", which could be anything from doing stunts or performing tasks which was out of the singing scope, depending who the "master of the week" was. So our role in this episode of the variety show was to have someone within our troupe to be the "master" and sing a segment of our Hokkien opera, and have the contestants sing like how our "master" did. We spent the whole evening recording the episode, and our involvement was even included in the TV trailer (showing one contestant singing beside our "master"). However at the last minute, all footages showing our "master" were deleted, on grounds that showing materials with dialect elements on national TV during prime time airing slots is against the higher authorities' regulations. We were all very unhappy, because we had informed everyone around us about the airing, but since that was something which could go against the regulations, we just have to accept that decision. So since the relevant authorities ruled that dialect elements should not be aired during prime time slots, why now this variety show, also on a prime time airing slot (and some more on a weekend), can feature Teochew opera performance? Not just that, many a times in charity gala shows, which are always aired on weekend prime time slots as well, there'd be guest stars singing Hokkien/ Cantonese songs or perform Teochew/ Cantonese opera. So why are these acts allowed too? On a side note, there're several occasions on weekend afternoons, segments featuring artistes singing Hokkien songs in Taiwanese variety shows were censored. Aren't weekend evenings more "prime" than weekend afternoons? Why are dialect elements in less "prime" slots censored while similar stuffs in more "prime" slots allowed to be aired?

I'm really confused with the stand of the relevant authority regarding this matter. I just don't think all these make any sense, but since my troupe leader did not pursue the matter back then, I didn't want to make a fuss too, and I was in no position to anyway. However, everytime I see Chinese opera acts during prime time slots on our national TV, I just get upset. Isn't that an irony, that a Chinese opera practitioner gets upset over Chinese opera act on TV?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Hospital Woes

My father has been discharged from hospital yesterday. And he's not cured yet.

I am surprised by how inefficient the hospital is, not by their medical skills, but their administrative work. You see, my father was admitted to hospital on the 28th, after being going there for x-ray. The reason for the admission was to let the doctors do a thorough scan on my father's leg to determine where the fault is. My father was told the scan would be done the following day, but it wasn't carried out as promised, due to "too many patients on the waiting list". It was done, however, the day after, which meant 1 night was wasted away in the hospital. The report was out on 1st of May, and it was said that blood in 3 of his veins or arteries were not flowing well and need to "unblock" them. Therefore, my father was scheduled for that the following day, but when on the next day, after fasting the whole day and on drip, he was once again told that there were "too many patients on the waiting list", and that he would have to wait until Thursday. They then told my father that he could be discharged already and re-admit again on Wednesday night.

What kind of service is this? How can a big hospital like this not able to check their scheduling beforehand and make empty promises? What if on Thursday morning they "found out" that there're still "too many patients on the waiting list"? Is that how the hospital is making money, by making patients stay-in for nothing? If that's the case, I'd rather my father go seek medical treatment in a more expensive hospital that do not let their patients waste their precious money unnecessarily! It's such a shame that such a hospital can even be considered a "government hospital"!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Painful Lesson

My father had been admitted to the hospital this evening. I don't know how to say what happened to him; it's a long story, and it all started because of a numbness on his toe.

You see, my father has got a very bad habit of using his own methods to cure himself of illnesses. Many a times, these so-called "methods" are just what he think will work and had never been proven to work, like purposely taking twice the dosage of medication prescribed by the doctor, claiming that it would speed up the process of recovery. Anyway this time round, when he got a numb toe, he didn't visit any doctor, but got himself some plasters. Not only did these plasters not work, but he got a "hole" in his toe, and that made him in bad pain for a long time. It was so bad that he couldn't sleep at night. He then went to visit those regular clinics and tradition Chinese medical practitioners, and none of the medication worked for him. Instead, it only made the condition worse, and all in all he'd already spent hundreds for the past weeks on his toe. I persuaded him to go and see a specialist at the hospital, but he simply refused. "What use can an x-ray do for my numb toe?" was his reply. His stubborness is frustrating, but I can understand his situation. He has got diabetes, and he's afraid that if he were to go to the hospital, the doctors there would certainly want to amputate his toe. But then again, visiting the "wrong" doctors is not going to make his condition improve, and as proven, it only made his toe even worse, and now had to be hospitalised for further checkup. If he had gone to the hospital for checkup earlier, maybe he won't have to be hospitalised already.

Although now my father's been hospitalised, I believe his condition is still not very bad. The initial examinations at the hospital showed that his blood circulation around his toe is not good, but since he could still feel pain in his toe, it means that his toe is still not totally beyond cure yet. I just hope that after this painful lesson my father will stop trying to use his own ways to cure himself. He is no doctor, and life is not a playing matter either!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ten Years

Lately I have been taking a lot of photos, not so because I had a photography project to do, but because I had to do site recci and project documentation for my technical theatre project.

A few weeks ago I was passing by Ann Siang Hill area in the afternoon and decided to snap some pictures, and I just realised that I had taken some shots of that area as well about a decade ago. Here are 2 shots of Ann Siang Hill a decade ago, and a decade later:

Not bad as a form of visual historical documentation I supposed? Now I'm inspired to do more of such historical archiving photography works..

My Work For Exhibition

I haven't been logging in into our institute's Learning Portal for quite some time, and today I went in to check for any new updates, and received a good news: my 3D head structure had been selected to be displayed at the National Library for the Singapore Arts Festival from 21st to 27th May! This was really something very unexpected, and I don't wish to repeat why. I just hope that my work won't get spat at during the exhibition!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Songkran in Singapore

Just not long ago I was unhappy at not being able to make it to Thailand for Songkran festival due to time schedule, although I had booked the air tickets not long after I returned from Nakhon Nayok last year. Today, however, I had a short taste of being in the festive mood again locally.

This afternoon, after buying some art material at Bras Basah Complex, I decided to take a detour to Golden Mile Complex for a while before going back. Being the "Little Thailand" of Singapore, I thought there would be some sort of celebration going on. And indeed there is. The moment I reached the area, even before I stepped into the complex itself, I already saw many Thai people with their face powdered; a sign that there was water splashing activities going on.

The main water splashing "zone" was inside Golden Mile Complex itself. I was surprised when I see that the floors of the first and second stories totally wet due to all the water splashing going on. I don't even remember seeing people splashing water in shopping malls or commercial buildings in Bangkok! Anyway the floor of the first storey is so wet that almost half of my feet were submerged in water.

This is the first time I saw so many Thais in Golden Mile Complex and its surrounding areas, so much so that I almost thought I was in Hat Yai or Phuket. The festive spirit was strong, but relatively milder than in Thailand. For one thing, the celebration of Songkran is only restricted to the Thais and those who like Thai culture, hence the "water splashing troops" do not simply splash at anyone, but only at those who showed interest in their activity. When I initially arrive at the mall, nobody "disturbed" me even though I walked among them, but the moment I started taking pictures of these people in action, I got splashed and powdered.

Now, having had a mini Songkran celebration locally already, I felt much better. But even then, I am still not quite happy that my air ticket was wasted. Hopefully next year I'd have the chance to go again!