Category Archives: the arts

《天冷就回来》If There’re Seasons

If Therere Seasons
If There're Seasons

If There’re Seasons《天冷就回来》is a home grown musical by The Theatre Practice (实践剧场) which will ends it’s run tomorrow (10 May). I watched it with Rachel two weeks ago on a Tuesday night.

Here’s a behind-the-scene video of the rehearsal:

It was a wonderful experience for us, listening again to the nostalgic xinyao (新谣) songs of Dr. Liang Wern Fook (梁文福). We enjoyed the musical so much that we bought the CD during the intermission and had been listening to it for the past few days.

The songs were cleverly woven into a narrative about Singaporeans chasing their dreams oversea, only to come back to Singapore where they belong after one big circle.

For just that one night, I paused for a moment and reflected about the wonderful things I love about this country where I am born. For that one night, I felt proud to be a Singaporean, something I had not felt in many years, irritated by the high cost of living here; the severe overcrowding; the compulsory conscription of all Singaporean-born males and the accompanying ten years of reservist; the lack of free speech and expression; the insanely hot weather; rude and kiasu Singaporeans; the list goes on.

There was a time when Singaporeans were proud of our language, heritage and culture. What happened to us now? Chinese Singaporeans who can barely speak Chinese and proud to be so; a country concerned only about economic growth and nothing else.

This musical set me thinking about Singapore much more than any extravagance National Day Parade which do not mean anything to me beyond showing off our military and economic prowess.

Go watch it if you can next year. Remember to book your tickets early. The musical had a sold-out performance last year and repeated the feat again this year. 🙂

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Noise Singapore: Cast your vote for Alvinology

Dive in!
Dive in!

I submitted the artwork I did for my blog masthead as a visual showcase under Noise Singapore some time back, for the fun of it.

Guess what? I received an email from the organiser saying that it has been selected as one of 120 works for public voting out of 7000 submissions. Not bad hor? 🙂

The other artworks showcased there are really great; but please go vote for me if you enjoy reading this blog k?

I am not very good at rallying votes… so if you can, please help me paste on your blog, facebook, MSN handler, etc and help me pull for votes too.

Thank you very much!

According to the organiser’s email,  prizes like iPod Nanos are waiting to be won by popular Noise artists and lucky voters – hence if you vote for me, you can stand to win something too.

Frankly speaking, I have not done any new artwork for quite awhile because of work commitment and other lifestyle changes. This Noise thing is actually a good platform to get my creative juices flowing and start picking my paper and pencil again.

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Yasmin Ahmad’s Muallaf (2008)

Muallaf, the latest production by one of my favourite filmmakers, Yasmin Ahmad, has hit The Picturehouse. After watching two of her previous films, Sepet (2004) and Gubra (2006), I was immensely impressed with her ability to tackle heavy topics like race and religion in a light-hearted, heart-warming manner.

Yasmin’s films are not tacky like Jack Neo, yet not self-indulgent like most art-house crap. They straddle a fine balance between commercial and art-house: “chim” yet not too “chim”. The kind of film I like.

If you are unfamiliar with who Yasmin Ahmad is, you can read more about her HERE. In summary, she is a Malaysian filmmaker whose films have won many international awards. Yasmin began her career in advertising as a copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather, eventually rising to creative director at Leo Burnett Kuala Lumpur. Her TVCs are well-known in Malaysia – particularly her ads for PETRONAS. Singaporeans may recall the TVC she did for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) depicting a father’s love for her daughter. Here are some samples:

Yasmin tends to draw a lot from her personal experiences for her films. As a result, her films exude a raw sincerity that touches her audiences. Yasmin’s first husband was an Indian man. After divorcing him, she married a Chinese man. This explains why love intertwined with racial and religious conflicts are often pet subject matters in her films.

Sepet was the love story of a rich Malay girl and a poor Chinese boy. Gubra deals with love, divorce and betrayal. Muallaf is a love story of a Chinese Catholic boy and a devout Malay Muslim girl.

Rachel and I went to watch Muallaf last Thursday at The Picturehouse. We were expecting an empty cinema which usually was the case for films screened there; alas, the cinema was packed! We could only get front row seats. Nonetheless, I am glad local cinema-goers have matured and able to accept more serious fare like Muallaf, as opposed to the usual Hollywood offerings of big boobs and guns.

The synopsis of Muallaf is as below:

20-year old Rohani and her 14-year old sister Rohana are two Malay girls on the run from their wealthy, abusive father. Finding refuge in a smaller town, their secret little world collides with that of Brian Ng, a 30-year old Catholic school teacher. The young man finds himself irresistibly drawn towards the sisters, and the extraordinary courage with which they face adversity, in a relationship that inevitably forces Brian to confront a haunting memory of his own troubled childhood. In this story of lost souls who find comfort in each other, friendship opens the window to forgiveness and a reconciliation with the past.

Here’s the movie trailer:

When Rachel and I walked out of the cinema, a profound sense of shame enveloped us – the characters in the film made us feel small, as we tend to hold grudges against others for the smallest things. Muallaf is essentially a film about forgiveness and there’s certainly a lot we can learn from all the three key characters.

I would give the film a rating of 5 stars out of 5. Go catch the film if you have the time. It is now showing at The Picturehouse. 🙂

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NHB’s Explore Singapore! 2008

Spunky group photo
Spunky group photo

I was invited to the media preview of the National Heritage Board (NHB)‘s Explore Singapore! campaign for 2008 by the nice folks at NHB last Tuesday.

Running for the third successive year, Explore Singapore! is an iconic museum event which seeks to show Singaporeans a whole new side to museums and our heritage, beyond the usual stiff and formal outlook.

Below are some photos I took at the media preview last week:

Show hosts and singers, Jack and Rai
Show hosts and singers, Jack and Rai
All-girls performing troupe from Andrew and Grace Home
All-girls performing troupe from Andrew and Grace Home
My colleague, Seong Taik at work
My colleague, Seong Taik at work
LIVE cooking demo by Chef Khaled
LIVE cooking demo by Chef Khaled
The Dim Sum Dollies
The Dim Sum Dollies
Another group photo
Another group photo

Between 20 Nov and 7 Dec 2008, Singaporeans can get to hop on board Explore Singapore! and indulge in over 70 activities at more than 27 museums around the island. Covering familiar lifestyle themes like love, food, music, martial arts, entertainment and even toys, the events seek to reach out to all ages.

The celebrities line-up for the events include Singapore’s well-loved theatrical trio, the Dim Sum Dollies; funnyman Mark Lee (李国煌); actress Vernetta Lopez and Wushu heartthrob Vincent Ng (翁清海), among many more.

You can find out more about Explore Singapore! via the official website HERE or watch the vodcast on omy HERE. 🙂

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Impossibility of the Superstring Theory

Extreme graffiti
Extreme graffiti

This should be the biggest drawing installation for the Singapore Biennale 2008. It covers the walls, ceiling and floor of a entire block in South Beach Development.

The drawing is done by Joshua Yang, a Malaysian artist who lives and works in Singapore. Joshua begins his drawings as the exploration of an area to be covered by his linear meanderings. Layered with the scientific conundrum of the “Superstring Theory” – Joshua’s method of working is based on a strict system:

1. The line must not intersect itself at any point

2. The line must be continuous and no breaks

Here are some photos of his artwork:

The start line
The start line
Lines in the attic
Lines in the attic
A perfect loop
A perfect loop

How much space can a single line occupy? Apparently, an entire building block in Joshua’s drawing as seen above! 🙂

Read the rest of my Singapore Biennale 2008 entries:

Through the Looking Glass

Address (Project: Another Country)

Cermelang, Gemilang, Terbilang (Excellence, Glory, Distinction)

Private Moon

Real-life Google Earth


Operation Supermarket

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