Friday, 31 August 2007

Getai Galore


in 8 hours time, i may be off to catch another "getai" (translated as song-stage), a makeshift street cabaret of song and raunchy jokes that takes place every 7th lunar month. its a Chinese belief that in this lunar month, the gate of hell will open and spirits are allowed to roam the mortal world. to appease these wandering spirits, prayers and offerings are made at temples and homes while traditional opera would be staged. in the mid 20th century, the tradition opera gave way to more contemporary song and dance numbers with gawdy cabaret costumes. the first role seats will be deliberately left empty - 'reserved for the invisible brothers'.

they would be performed in local dialects like hokkien and it's quite popular with the blue-collar folks. in the heyday, performers will be invited as far as Taiwan and Malaysia, even singers from other races will to make a buck or two by dishing out a few hokkien numbers. performers will move quickly from location to location, as they are paid by performance. each performer may be paid $200-$400 for his/her 5 song routine at every "tai" (stage/location). a hardworking performer may pack in some 8-10 "tai"s in a night.

however in recent decade, with the advent of the loss of use of dialects, these performance have been staged in lesser numbers and the crowds dwindled to tens rather than the hundreds that used to flock to catch them.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

8 days....previously

it was Singapore's National Day on 9 August.
this was the meal i'd in office with some of my colleagues then. we'd returned from the mass celebrations in the podium downstairs and decided to order in the ubiquitous fried chicken.
only did i realise the matching colour scheme that my national flag has in common with the packaging. while we aint quite there as a fast food nation, i once remarked that there are more McDonalds outlets in my housing estate than what you get from one end of New Oxford Str to Marble Arch in Central London.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Multi- tasking Craft

All day today I have been using a computer to word process a guidebook about Virtual Learning Environments.

At times like this, I ‘multi-task’, because when repetitive tasks are being accomplished, new thoughts magically materialise to distract or entertain.
My new thought was - What value do we place today on past experiences and skill sets?

My example was - In art and design terms, there are many? pre – digital ‘revolution’ professionals / artists, still using cine film and chemical photography who are experimenting and developing their use of the medium in new ways.

My second level thoughts / questions were: Are there still new?? – techniques, creative outcomes waiting to be found in pre – digital media?
Lost opportunities…

I think that hand based skills are disappearing in some parts of the world, due to computer based methods..... so we should develop strategies to develop the interface between past experiences and skills with new media.

New task - try writing a letter on a plain white piece of paper with an ink pen…
I can't do this anymore

Sunday, 5 August 2007


This morning around 11am, I recorded and uploaded this soft toy composition on the grass from my new phone to Flickr, just to test its capability. The birds were selected from a bigger collection for their different body, beak, wing and feet sizes.
Their names as indicated on their labels are:

Squeeze Me, Russko. Happy Horse and Super Drug.

I have had many ideas about using the birds as an art installation or as an animated cartoon strip.

Interestingly these sort of toys have a short lived existence as childrens toys and their body parts bear little or no resemblance to real birds.

Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species and organising them into systems of classification. I think there are possibilities for an art project here.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

The Curse of Connectivity

UK Time 22.18

Well this post takes a journey from my new mobile phone, (received today) - to trying to use infrared, bluetooth and email to extract visual data from my old mobile phone to my new one and then on to my laptop. This should have been eeeasy but...
However I did eventually dig into my old mobile phone database and extract an important (to me) screensaver I used for ages.... its a section from a political poster recorded on a wall in Amsterdam , but makes me smile everytime I see it - a 21st century ideological dustbin

Bubbling epoxy

in 8 hours time, i wish the floor will stop bubbling. i have no idea what's happening to this epoxy coat...kept having pockets of bubbles appearing. the renovation contractor had to rework the floor cos the problem surfaced 2 weeks ago but till today the problem persisted. when punctured, blackish liquid oozes out. perhaps there'd been a problem with the cement flooring underneath or the paint itself.

yes in 8 hours time, i wish i'd have a clue what else i could do. so that i can then plan on when to finish off the rest of the apartment, fix up the furniture, install my 42" plasma tv and move in. maybe its a crazy Singaporean thing where 'ownership' of a roof over our heads are regarded to be extremely important particularly after marriage. a sense of pride and security i guess but at a cost. a cost that sometimes hurt my pockets dearly.

so yah i guess i won't be watching programmes on my plasma in the next 8 hours.....