[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Friday, October 31, 2008

[Full Moon at Forest Adventure]
The first ever Nocturnal Tree Top aerial course at Bedok Reservoir Park is zipping to new heights. Yes! Bedok Reservoir Park Forest Adventure is gliding through trees and over reservoir waters under the light of the romantic full moon. The Forest Adventure aerial course, designed along the bank of Bedok reservoir, is a thoroughly fun and unique experience. Participants will have the opportunity to manoeuvre among the trees at a height of 5 metres using ladders, bridges, swings, nets, trapezes and slides.

The first full moon aerial course was launched on 15 October 08. Since then, participants have been looking forward to the next full moon! Now exclusively for NParks staff, Forest Adventure is offering a special Full Moon Experience on 12 November 08, limited to the first 20 participants (on a first-come first-serve basis). Please email Tamilselvi_Chakrapani@nparks.gov.sg by 3 November 08 to make your reservation.

Date : Wednesday, 12 November 08
Venue : Bedok Reservoir Park - Forest Adventure
Time : 6.30 pm
Price : $35 (instead of $38)

Zip over the reservoir waters

Manoeuvre up the net and among the trees

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

[Ong Kim Seng's Heartlands]
I hope Ong Kim Seng's Heartlands exhibition will spark off a new art movement in Singapore. As the great majority of Singaporeans live in HDB estates, there should be a greater artistic exploration of the physical and social enivonment where we live, work, study, play, eat and shop. Old shophouses, Singapore River scenes, the outer islands - these are traditional themes.

Eric Khoo's '12 Storeys' told a dark story about the goings-on of daily life in the flats. Each window is an icon which opens up a world of hope and despair, love and hate. There is so much to describe, so many different angles from which to view the daily lives of Singaporeans. I sometimes wonder how Wu Guanzhong would have treated the HDB landscape.

I love Ong Kim Seng's water colour paintings. He has achieved international fame having won many prestigeous awards. His reflection of the past in the present in some of the paintings gives them a special quality. It is a story about the remarkable transformation of Singapore in one generation. His paintings of Hougang and Punggol must surely resonate with those who live there.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

[Singapore Biennale 2008]
This year's Biennale is smaller than the last one but more focussed. Kee Hong and Ephraim brought me to all three locations at City Hall, the Central Promontory Site and South Beach. Kee Hong who led the team putting the Biennale together was very verbal which helped me appreciate some of the finer points of the exhibits. Ephraim helped produce the Guide as editorial assistant.

At City Hall, Zadok Ben David's 'Blackfield' was evocative. Depending on which direction you walk to see the trees, the future is either full of hope or filled with despair.

At the old Beach Road Army 'Drill Hall', Felice Varini played with perspectives, projecting a 2D image onto a 3D space. The viewer is irrisistably moved to the unmarked focal point of the rays.

I enjoyed Location (6) at Marina Bay the most. The cunning use of optical illusion gives a sense of great expanse in what are really limited confines.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

Thursday, October 30, 2008

[Sing To The Dawn]
I was delighted to be Guest-of-Honour at the premier of the animation movie "Sing To The Dawn" on Wednesday at VivoCity. It is Singapore's first animation movie based on Ho Min Fong's book. Daniel Yun of Raintree reminded me that I was the Guest-of-Honour at Raintree's first movie by Jack Neo "Liang Po Po" ten years ago. I was Minister for Information and the Arts then and told them that they could use some Hokkien.

For "Sing To The Dawn", much of the work was done in Batam where costs are lower. I thought the producer did a good job setting the movie in Southeast Asia. Ho Ming Fong gave the movie high marks, eleven out of ten, she said. Some ten years ago, I saw the stage production by Dick Lee. The movie industry in Singapore is promising. Chris Chia of MDA is an enthusiastic promoter. The animation industry is developing a critical mass. We had a breakthrough when Lucas Studios established a facility here which attracts talent from all over the region.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

[When I Grow Up - Tertiary]
The tertiary category is the last of all the categories for the First George Yeo Blogging Competition. This category received a lot of creative entries. Some used poems others used videos and graphics. I am impressed.

And perhaps this is why there is a change to the prizes. I am not going to reveal what change there is now. Maybe next week before the prize presentation ceremony at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Since there are not many entries in this category, I shall not reveal which I felt was interesting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

[Happy Deepavali]
Wishing all Indian readers a Happy Deepavali!

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

[The Cycles of Chinese History]
Studying the expressive faces of the terra cotta soldiers, I thought how contemporary they looked. While the wheels of civilization have moved us forward, there are aspects of the human condition which don't change. Xian or Chang'an, with its long history, is a story of both change and continuity.

It matters a lot when and where one is born. In the long cycles of Chinese history, to be born at the right period is crucial. Until Deng Xiaoping pushed China on the road of reform, the problems seemed unending. Entire lives were wasted in war and revolution. Young Chinese grow up today in a China my parents would not have recognised.

The re-emergence of China will affect all our lives in a profound way this century. Many people around the world were impressed by China's organisation of the Beijing Olympics. From 1949 to 2008 is 59 years. If we reel back to the Ming Dynasty, from Zhu Yuanzhang's triumph in 1368 to the voyage of the first Ming fleet to the Indian Ocean in 1405 was only 37 years. Those voyages had an impact on people then far greater than the recent Olympics. Imagine the impact on China's neighbours when it was unified under Qin, Han and Tang.

Singapore can't avoid being caught up in China's political developments. Because many Chinese in Singapore supported the Republican cause, so Dr Sun Yat-Sen made Singapore a base for his operations in the Nanyang. Because Singaporean Chinese opposed Japan's invasion of China, so the Japanese Army did terrible things in Singapore when it conquered Southeast Asia during the Second World War. The PAP's vision of an independent Singapore clashed with that of pro-China Communists and young Singaporeans were not allowed to visit China for many years. When I followed my parents to visit my grandparents in 1983, ISD interviewed me for an hour before and after the visit. When Deng opened up China, he saw Singapore as an interesting model for China to analyse. Lee Kuan Yew, from being an arch enemy became a respected old friend.

Our relations with China are now excellent. PM Wen Jiabao told PM Lee Hsien Loong a few days ago that bilateral relations should be characterised by six characters: 友好,合作,创新 (friendship, cooperation, innovation). Looking ahead, our links with China will broaden and deepen further. But so will our links to other parts of Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

Saturday, October 25, 2008

[The challenge]
One thing about volunteer work is the amount of enjoyment you get out of it - you enjoy it so you do it. And that is why I am back this year (also to initiate Kenneth) into the Standard Chartered Marathon force.

Last year I was a leader of a drinks station and this year my job is still related to drinks albeit on a different scale. This time round I will be a drinks stations manager for two sectors of the marathon route and this includes 10 sub-sectors. Two sectors is equivalent to almost half of the whole route.

It will be a total of 17 drinks stations that I have under my charge including three Drinks Sector Managers. That will mean having more than 500 volunteers under my care. I am looking forward to meeting them personally because it will be a whole load of fun.

I met a few of my Drinks Station Leaders today and there was a trip around our areas which started at the new Singapore Sports Council (SSC) building.

It's a nice place to be.

Well of course if you know, I started out volunteering first with SSC few years back.

Friday, October 24, 2008

In a bid to be on time for class yesterday I rushed. Rushing is not a good thing to do but when you need to be on time to the exact seconds, it may be the most plausible solution.

And wham. I end up injuring myself at home. At first I thought it was just a little bump but swelling started to occur and I ended up limping to class. My toe was bleeding too.

Thanks to Zhiyong who aided me to the school clinic to have my foot checked. I would not have been able to see the doctor if not for your help. Doctor suspected a hairline crack and advised me to get an X-ray.

The girls - Ramona and Eunice - who escorted me to have my X-ray taken. It was amazing. You get the X-ray on the spot and the nurse, possibly Filipino, explained that it could be a hairline crack. Something was there but she told me to wait for the doctor's diagnosis.

The most amazing thing was that the doctor called my handphone this morning and explained to me that it was a fracture and further advised on what immediate actions to take. He advised to use the adjoining toe to support the injured toe. What great service plus visiting the school doctor is free.

Lucky I still can walk if not I would have to miss many important meetings.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

[Blue Skies in Beijing]
It was a beautiful sunny Wednesday in Beijing with blue skies and a clear view of the Western Hills. At the welcoming ceremony for PM, a strong bracing breeze blew which caused the red flags above us to flutter audibly. It was an auspicious day for the bilateral visit and the signing of the China-Singapore FTA.

PM held a series of meetings with PM Wen Jiabao, President Hu Jintao and Chairman NPCC Wu Bangguo. Vice Premier Li Keqiang hosted lunch. Bilateral relations are excellent. Much of the discussion was about the global financial crisis.

In the evening, the ASEAN leaders had an informal working dinner with financial crisis as the sole agenda item. ASEAN financial institutions having suffered much ten years ago are less exposed today. But everyone agreed that it was best not to be over-confident. as the present crisis is far from over. Finance Ministers were asked to be on the alert, strengthen cooperation and work with China, Japan and South Korea.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

[Break from development paper]
I have been doing research on development in Thailand for the past three week. Yes, tell me about how much of a mugger I am but gotta do what you gotta do.

In between clearing my thoughts. Need I say more. Outing tomorrow with the girls.

9:46:05 PM Eunice: hello children. wads the agenda for tmr, esp . loy
9:47:11 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: haha
9:47:44 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: we shall makan somthing, then watch movie, then go for drink and food
9:48:01 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: loy, your input please
9:48:16 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: am i always the busy one?
9:48:17 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: lol
9:48:22 PM Eunice: DUH
9:48:27 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: oh no
9:48:40 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: form 3.15pm to 4pm i am free?
9:49:00 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: loy, i thought you said you can leave anytime
9:49:11 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: whats up with hits
9:49:13 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: this
9:49:14 PM Eunice: sads. u c loy. u heartbreaker
9:49:38 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: didnt you say you were free
9:50:04 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: ng, did he tell you that he needs to leave early...
9:50:12 PM Eunice: 1 hr ago yes
9:50:15 PM Eunice: pouts
9:50:27 PM Eunice: /rawr
9:50:28 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: i am so gonna strangle him
9:50:57 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: always breaking our hearts and dashing our hopes
9:51:08 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: that silly boy
9:51:23 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: wait
9:51:36 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: i will bring people to biennale till 5pm
9:51:41 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: then free from 5pm lah
9:51:44 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: :)
9:51:50 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: don't get a shock
9:51:51 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: lol
9:51:57 PM Eunice: rarrrrrrrrrrwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
9:51:59 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: so you guys have dinner?
9:52:08 PM Eunice: ok. u meet us at 5pmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
9:52:17 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: ng, what do you think
9:52:22 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: how long is the movie
9:53:08 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: we finish at 3.15. you wanna watch it with first or
9:53:15 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: fung is coming too
9:53:58 PM Eunice: GV MARINA
9:54:00 PM Eunice: Nights In Rodanthe (Sub: Chinese) PG SCENE OF INTIMACY 3:15PM 5:25PM 10:00PM
9:54:40 PM Eunice: loy u wan to watch w us? we meet u at GV MARINA 5.25pm show
9:54:48 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: ok
9:55:09 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: okie. then we shall makan first.
9:55:12 PM Eunice: rams tmr we go earlier after class to buy 4 tix
9:55:17 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: yup yup
9:55:19 PM Eunice: u me fung loy = 4 pax
9:55:26 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: must wait for fung
9:55:35 PM Eunice: den we stone n stone n stone n await king loy to appear
9:55:40 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: hahah
9:55:45 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: all loy's fault
9:55:52 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: always making the girls wait
9:55:56 PM Eunice: KING LOY: 5.25pm is the movie. b on time pls
9:56:12 PM Eunice: gv marina
9:56:49 PM Eunice: Whether it’s because its heart-breaking ending, or the film is targeted to those who are more than 25 and looking for a slow-moving romantic movie, Nights in Rodanthe is average-at-its-best. But the art direction and the score are impressive.
9:56:59 PM Eunice: Running Time:97 minutes
9:57:29 PM Eunice: so since it's 5.25pm movie, shd end say arnd 7+pm
9:57:43 PM Eunice: jst nice for dinners
9:57:52 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: oh no, it has a heart-breaking ending
9:57:56 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: ok
9:57:57 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: so saaaadsss
9:57:57 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: yeah
9:57:59 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: good
9:58:04 PM Eunice: hahah loy is sadistic
9:58:05 PM Eunice: hahahha
9:58:13 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: yeah, where is the love
9:58:16 PM Eunice: hhaaha rams u caught my 'so sads' lingo
9:58:21 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: haha
9:58:25 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: i did, didnt i
9:58:25 PM Eunice: i tnk loy meant jst nice for dinner
9:58:32 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: yup
9:58:33 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: you are rubbing off on me
9:58:33 PM Eunice: no because it's not the normal ending
9:58:35 PM Eunice: hahahahahahahhaah
9:58:40 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: so emo
9:58:47 PM Eunice: so u
9:59:03 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: haha
9:59:03 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: i am so not a sadist ok
9:59:13 PM Eunice: ok la. u're lovely king loy
9:59:13 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: we know
9:59:14 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: i am a nice dude
9:59:28 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: yeah, and thats why we hang out with you
9:59:33 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: satisfied,...
9:59:39 PM Eunice: HAHAHA.... rams oh rams
9:59:57 PM Eunice: children
9:59:58 PM Eunice: go here
9:59:59 PM Eunice: http://nightsinrodanthe.warnerbros.com/
10:01:11 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: ok lah
10:01:14 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: still can
10:01:25 PM Eunice: nvm we can cry tog if we emo
10:01:47 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: i will try not to cry
10:01:49 PM Eunice: i love the house by the sea
10:01:57 PM Eunice: nvm i can provide tissue. 3 ply
10:02:01 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: yesterday we had role play
10:02:05 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: i dont even think i will shed a tear
10:02:10 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: you twwooo
10:02:12 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: so eemooooooooo
10:02:17 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: supposed to act a scene
10:02:25 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: my father jump down the building
10:02:28 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: so i cried
10:02:36 PM Eunice: gt video anot
10:02:38 PM Eunice: tape it dwn
10:02:38 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: wowwwwww.
10:02:41 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: phone counselling lah
10:02:46 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: yeah, i wanna watch too
10:03:15 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: then in between got sobbing
10:03:22 PM Eunice: i cant imagine loy cry
10:03:23 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: real tears ok
10:04:47 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: wow. i cant imagine either
10:04:57 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: wonder what he was thinking when he cried
10:06:01 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: i was thinking of the scenario
10:06:08 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: the body in front of me
10:06:29 PM Eunice: i jst sent a email
10:06:34 PM Eunice: inviting the stressed ones
10:06:50 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: you have acting in your genes
10:06:59 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: anyway, gonna eat my dinner
10:07:05 PM Eunice: so LATE
10:07:06 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: talk to the both of you morrow
10:07:08 PM Eunice: okays
10:07:08 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: so late?
10:07:13 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: 10pm dinner?
10:07:13 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: i know, i know
10:07:13 PM Eunice: bon appetiteeeeee
10:07:14 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: haha
10:07:15 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: lol
10:07:16 PM Eunice: gogo
10:07:24 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: by kids
10:07:35 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: oops i mean byeeee
10:07:36 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: ....
10:07:42 PM [ephraim.blogspot.com]: i am a big kid then
10:07:49 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: okie loy
10:07:50 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: gotto go
10:07:54 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: morrow then
10:07:56 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: haha
10:07:56 PM Eunice: haha bye kiddy!!
10:07:58 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: so drama
10:07:58 PM Eunice: ntienties
10:08:12 PM God of Wonders Beyond our Galaxy: nightz

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

[When I Grow Up - Secondary]
Here's a combination of all the interesting quotes from the Secondary School students that I found interesting. These were part of the submissions for the First George Yeo Blogging Competition.

One thing to note: It does not mean that those entries which are not here did not win. Neither does it mean that the winners are among here. These are just what I felt were interesting.

We will be releasing the results on 5 November at a ceremony. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, here are the interesting ones.

Foreign talents (sic) can indeed help to develop our economy and allow Singapore to prosper. However, I am quite doubtful about certain foreigners that we ‘welcome’ to our country. Is prostitution or becoming the third party in a marriage considered a talent as well? Perhaps we should relook our foreign talent policy and list out stringent measures so that only the genuine talents are allowed into our gates.
Cheryl Thian, Bukit Panjang Government High School

I would want to see some of the teachers to be a robot which has a lot of function. Such as printing out the paper from the computer.

Our SWFs becoming more transparent. I know it is a rigid policy in the government, but since GIC and Temasek invest for the nation’s good, why isn’t it possible issue budget statements like the Finance Ministry.
Koh Kang Liang, Gan Eng Seng School

I hope students will be treated as human beings, not animals. No classifying them as gifted, express, normal academic, normal tech …… all should be treated equally. When we go out to work in society, there are all kinds of people. They don’t group themselves into Gifted, Normal, Express.

Home is where we mostly eat, drink, sleep and many more. The lights in the house must be on and switched off automatically when snapping the hand twice the living room must be big so that we no need to squeeze in.

There must also be one rule where all houses must have at least one plant because in the future there might be gobal (sic) warming. So to prevent it, every house must have at least one plant.
Koh Li Fang

There is no perfect world, and I believe Singapore would not be perfect twenty years later, but at least it would be a comfortable and pleasing one, where everyone has their own work to do, their own styles of life, their own pursuits of happiness. Would Singapore be as I wish it to be?
Wong Ji Inn, Nanyang Girls’ High School

I think the children should have more time to chat with their parents. I think the parent also should take their children for a trip to other country to have a better relationship. Parents also have to go home on time to have a dinner together everyday.
See Hiang

Other things I also hope to see as I grow would be, a lower in cabfare (sic) or perhaps a student price would also be nice as sometimes we have to rush to places and taking the bus is quite a slow journey,
Daryl Koh Chong Wei, Hwa Chong International School

There is so much in life, and it would be nothing but a mere waste of time if we just focus on the things that make us stressed and unhappy in life.
Jane, Bukit Panjang Government High

In case of threats of dangers such as alien invasions or war, more powerful and high-tech weapons such as rocket launchers, lasers, plasma rifle or plasma grenades can be created to protect us. However, we can also create spaceships to send us to find life on other places and make good relationships with aliens to prevent war from happening.
Ooi Jun Ming, Maris Stella High School

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

[When I Grow Up - Primary]
I spent almost the whole afternoon going through the entries from Primary School children in the First George Yeo Blogging Competition. There were a total of 180 entries and it was interesting to read all of them. I think it will be difficult to decide who eventually wins.

Here are some quotes that I felt were interesting out of all the entries.

There will be more and longer trains that go everywhere in Singapore. The rides will be free as the government will pay for it (provided the government can afford it).
Lee Jit Ping, Clementi Primary School

People always say “children are our future.” We are so important and so pressurized. But have they ever thought whether we can take it or not? One day, when I grow up, I want the children not to worry if their acadamic (sic) score is as expected, or if they are in branded schools. Their study program will be carefully designed to suit everyones’ (sic) need and ability.
Wang Yuting

In the future, I would like to behold the fact that the Moon, no, even planets like Venus or Mars will be made habitable, solving problem current and future problem of over-population.
Bryan Lee Guang Zhe, Jurong Primary School

There should also a homework limit, the teacher can only give the students two pieces of homework per day. However, the homework the teacher gives cannot be an essay.
Delphina Yu Lin Nordlund, Blangah Rise Primary School

Singapore is still a clean and green country. There will be no schools but students need to study at home using the computer. There will be no more maids, robots helping in our daily chores. The policemen will have an easy time catching the criminals as their police vehicles will be fitted with special gadgets. Transport will be flying cars, helicopter. Fashion will be different.
Tan Tammie, Blangah Rise Primary School

The pupils may go for a field trip each month, which means the pupils will go for nine field trips in a year. I would really love that!
Wai Zi Ying, Blangah Rise Primary School

I also hope that the police will capture the JI, Mas Selemat (sic), on the run soon for the safety of all the citizens.
Lee Yan Yi, Clementi Primary School

I do hope one day Singapore will be able to be the host of the Olympics games even though we will be hosting the Youth Olympics games.
Chng Yuqian, Gan Eng Seng Primary School

In the schools, there are countless bullies. According to investigations, more than half the schools in Singapore have bullies whose number counts up to 15.
Bryan Kng Tian Wen, Gan Eng Seng Primary School

I would also like citizens in Singapore to be more polite to the elderly. According to The New Paper of Thursday, August 8, 2008, and (sic) elderly Singaporean was mocked was saying please. “One coffee, please.”
Tan Hui Yi, Chua Chu Kang Primary School

When I grow up, people will be blogging, engaging one another, organising themselves online, and doing politics online. They will be using Facebook technology to link up, mobilise and organise supporters all over the country.
Abidah Woon

Finally, I wish Singapore will build more theme park liked (sic) the famous Disney Land. Therefore, all Singaporean will enjoy staying in this country not only for work but for funs (sic) as well.
Khor Huan Ni, Jurong Primary School

Although I am lazy and want Singapore to be a country full of technology, I still think that that is a ridiculous and not such a good dream anyway. I know that it would be very convenient whereby you press a button and the robot will do the thing (sic) that you want! To me, this is not healthy for us. At this rate, we would be exercising our fingers only which I don’t want. I don’t want to have no backbone and become a good–for–nothing in a sense that I have to depend on the robots.
Sebastian Koh, Gan Eng Seng Primary School

Children will stop thinking about their computer games and spent (sic) time with their loved ones. They will strive to be fit and strong both
physically and mentally, ready to face the many challenges in life.
Kieren Chua, Gan Eng Seng Primary School

As for the military side of Singapore, our small country will be able to chase invaders away due to the high technology equipment and defence systems. For example a global satellite radar that cannot be hacked into, laser guns, laser swords, force fields and impenetrable armour.
Nicholas Foo Chuan Le, Gan Eng Seng Primary School

As for now, I like the Singapore I’m living in.
Andrea Chiow, Gan Eng Seng Primary School

Many have asked me,” What does Singapore mean to you?” I would usually keep quiet and shrug my shoulders. But over the years of learning social studies in school, I finally achieved my answer.
Muhammad Nur Fadzilah, Clementi Primary School

When I grow up, I would like to see a good president and a trusted prime minister in the government leading the country with good, trusting citizens behind them, as such character in a person will definitely lead Singapore toward success and achieve world recognition.
Simon Huang, Clementi Primary School

I hope the Goods and Service Tax (GST) will not increase but decrease. Some citizens complain about the rising price of rice , oil and many other things but their salary did not rise.
Tang Yu Kuan, Clementi Primary School

When I grow up, I will be studying in Secondary School. There will be eight subjects so the books are getting more and more, schoolbags are heavier and heavier. We need to carry the heavy schoolbags and walk up the stairs arduously. So I hope that every school will install escalators instead of stairs for us.
Liang Yancheng, Clementi Primary School

In Singapore, there is a lack of oxygen, so I would want a shirt that can take in carbon dioxide and convert into oxygen to let us breathe, than (sic), the global warming will not affect the rate of the rate of oxygen.
Royston Koh Chun Chuan, Park View Primary School

I also wish to see companies giving ex-offenders a second chance to get them back working and earning money for their families. Companies reject them for making a mistake in their life but no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes so why not give them a second chance when many people have given it to us. They share the same fate as us; study, work, and earn money for their family for three meals.
Yeo Jie Han, Clementi Primary School

I wish Singapore will (sic) not sell any cigarettes any more. People will say what a hygienic place to live in. Everywhere I go, I see people smoking. It harms my life, others’ life and the smoker’s life.
Diya Srikanth, Clementi Primary School

National Day Parades will become more environmentally friendly. I know everyone loves fireworks but they are a major cause of air pollution. I believe in the future fireworks will become smoke free as well.
Chester How Yu Hin, Clementi Primary School

I want to see lesser people playing computers, PSP (play station portable), play stations and other more. If they keep playing all those, they might get addictive and land up in the mental hospital one day. They should never ever waste time on things like these, but focus on their studies and work. However, they can still play them occasionally, but, they must not play them for too long. They might spoil their eyesight too.
Kwa Fang Yin, Clementi Primary School

The government should also build more libraries more books, as books can improve one’s English. There is, however, one problem. Some children do not like to read books, so the libraries should have books that can interest the children who do not like to read books.
Nowel, Clementi Primary School

Animals cannot be restricted from being free and having fun. Of course, pet owners should have the responsibility to pick up their dogs’ excrements even in those places.
Siviana Sivam, Clementi Primary School

I would also want more and more people to help the needy people. They are very unfortunate and could really need some help. Everyone is the same. Whether they are poor, cripple and are disadvantaged, in one way or another they are still the same as us. So do not be unfair to them. If you are poor or crippled, what would it feel like? Would you want people to help you? If your answer is yes, start helping the needy people.
Muhammad Hafiz Bin Mohd Aziz, Clementi Primary School

I would like community centres to organise events for residents of different races and religion to get together and maybe community centres can be more pro-active to invite people to teach us the different cultures and etiquette. We will understand our friends of different races better that way.
Ng Chian Yee, Clementi Primary School

I wish I would win the iPod nano as I do not have my own MP3 player.
Melvin Oh, First Toa Payoh Primary School

I wish Singaporeans will be more vibrant and stop having glum faces when thinking of school and work anymore.
Wong Guo Xuan, Xinghua Primary School.

Name tags will be given to everyone and it is compulsory to wear it everyday.
Ooi Min Hui, Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School

When I grow up, I would like to see lesser criminals and accident in Singapore. One example is Mas Selamat from the JI network, why can’t we do what Stamford Raffles did in the past. He made all the criminals in the past to become useful citizens in Singapore.
Daniel, Blangah Rise Primary School

I want to see Singaporeans celebrating festivals happily in harmony. It will be great to see Indians visiting Chinese families during Chnese New Year, Chinese visiting Malays families so on and so forth.
Nur Diyana Bte Azmi

Monday, October 20, 2008

[Emergency Preparedness]
Last Sunday's emergency preparedness day between Blk 526 and 527 at Hougang Ave 10 was an interesting experience for me. I got to ride in the special CD vehicle and got hoisted up a rescue crane to a great height. Many residents waved from their flats, amused to see me peering into their units from mid-air.

Our Home Team does a wonderful job preparing Singaporeans for all kinds of emergencies. Of course no emergency will be exactly like the one we plan for but we are less likely to panic as a result. A number of residents felt reassured that they can be rescued from high floors in the event of fire.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I had an hour in between classes yesterday so I decided to check out the National Museum (one of the advantages of having a city campus as I always say).

There was a photography exhibition going on so I decided to check it out.

I am not sure if this was a retrospective. There were projects done over two years and another that took a decade to produce. Three works by Chang Chien-Chi were on display altogether.

Chang is a photographer and lives and works in Taipei and New York city. He is works for an agency, Magnum, that provides photographs to the press, publishers, advertising, television, galleries and museums across the world. It has four editorial offices in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo.

The exhibition called Doubleness is dialectic yet about repetition.

But Chang has a different way of interpreting that. As I approached the entrance a quote by Chang struck me.

"For me, repetition is not about repeating two identical things. It's about adding another layer to the theme, and using visual means, doubling and intensifying the viewer."

Quite apt for his ten year project, China Town. There must have been intense research and planning for a project of such a scale. He juxtaposes the bleak life of illegal immigrants to New York city in black and white tones, with coloured images of their families back at Fuzhou, China.

The video also had these elements. It was an ethnography - in between the photos, Chang, who has photojournalism background, interviewed individuals and asked them about the separation. There were lots of dialogue = the men who left were married yet single, familial yet appeared childless, Chinese but yet American.

Another project on show was The Chain - a take on mental patients at the Long Fa Tong temple in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. In this work, several black and white photos (set out in a square area) of men and women are chained to each other. Their facial expressions seemed to intrigue. Some were sad yet others were scary. It was odd to see them face-to-face.

The last, Double Happiness, was about marriage and Vietnamese brides. I think what Chang did was to show the entire process of getting a Vietnamese bride. An essay to describe the work mentioned that each Korean or Taiwanese man had paid about US$8000 to pick a bride. The photos and videos documented the initial phase of meeting, passing customs checks and finally scenes of mass weddings for the couples.

One could see the uncomfortable and tense reactions of such marriages - men and wife are alien to each other and they speak different languages. Yet, they are together as though they are one.

As a photographer, it is a challenge to come up with works with deep meanings. But I feel Chang has done it deftly and the photographs have reflected the notions of doubleness, of duality. Although the objects have two sides to it or two images, each reflects its own character and style. Same same but yet different?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

[HBS Summit Meetings]
Discussions at the HBS Centennial Summit in the last few days were interesting. The super-theme was of course the financial crisis. At my panel on globalisation and emerging markets, I talked about the crisis marking a shift of power, with Asia becoming a major pole in the world. Power has increasingly to be chaired and those sensitive to cultural differences will enjoy an advantage.

Special sessions were organised with Bill Gates and Larry Summers. Bill Gates work on his foundation is inspiring. It could not have been an easy decision for him to retire so young from Microsoft. With his mop of hair and nerdy glasses, he still looked like a kid.

Speaking with his usual monotone, Larry Summers was sombre in his assessment of the financial crisis. At the panel discussion with Michael Porter chairing, concerns were expressed that both in the US and Europe, the bailout of banks would lead to a political reaction against unfettered capitalism.

I took time off for a lunch hosted by Prof Amartya Sen and his wife, Emma. They are such a wonderful couple. We discussed the Nalanda project. There'll be another meeting of the Committee of Mentors in February in Singapore. It was a pleasure to learn that Dr Emma Rothschild is a good friend of Nobel laureate Dr Sydney Brenner whom I know well.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

[Damien Hirst at ARTSingapore 2008]
On Monday, our whole art class went on a second field trip. It was to ARTSingapore 2008 at Suntec City.

This sort of reminded me of the scene at Showcase Singapore, an up and coming local Art Fair. Although Showcase is a smaller version with only 23 galleries while ARTSingapore has over 100.

There were also two showcases of works from special collectors - works from Jogen Chowdhury and Nam June Paik. My lecturer, from the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, had said these works were on show to draw in the crowd as they are well-known artists.

This is the TV Repair Man (1992) by Nam June Paik and this has never been shown in public. How fortunate we are.

I also managed to see a print work by one of the world's most widely known and sell-out artist, Damien Hirst. He's most famous for his recent £10.3 million sale for The Golden Calf, an animal with 18-carat gold horns and hooves, preserved in formaldehyde (and has also sold preserved sharks). This is one of his spot paintings.

I read about his works recently in The Economist. He had said that these paintings were inspired by playing snooker. But the catch is that he does not do the painting himself - he has about 180 people at work for him. The article states that Hirst merely signs the works that are produced by "fabricators". And this piece sold for S$10,000 here!

There were many other big names like Andy Warhol. And Keith Haring. Looks familiar right?

Those who know me know I like toys and Stikfas figures. This work from Korea reminds me of toys.

And there was a cool condom - apparently filled with something. But it is not a real condom. It is a sculpture. The kids are oozing out.

These two other pieces are interesting too. They are made using t-shirt labels from the brand "Head". Each label is pieced together to form pictures of people.

The last photo. Notice the two on the extreme left. They look like exact opposites.

Provocative? That's ARTSingapore 2008 for you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

[Launch of Butter Loves at Containart Pavilion]
The Central Promontory Site was abuzz with activity last night. It was a party event at the Containart Pavilion to celebrate the launch of The Butter Factory's new range of merchandise - Butter Loves.

Doesn't the pavilion look nice at night with all the lighting?

It wasn't a large scale and crowded event but there was free flow of champagne, Asahi beer and Coke. Finger food included.

Butter Loves is the first collection of t-shirts since The Butter Factory opened two years ago. I just went clubbing there in August.

The first three t-shirts were launched and on sale last night. Guests at the party were also asked to vote for their favourite upcoming design from a range of new designs. The t-shirts were designed by artists Jon Burgerman, eBoy and Jeremyville.

eBoy and Jon Burgerman


These cool t-shirts are on sale at the Containart Pavilion until 16 November.