Friday, 18 December 2009

Desert Rose

A small cloud of sand arose as I bore my entire weight down upon the ground beneath my feet with each step I took.

The sun scorching and the winds dry, as it slashed almost viciously across my face; each step I took treacherous to my body and arduous to my soul. Was not the promise of the oasis only 4 miles away as the sign had earlier read, but yet, 4 miles have never felt so long and so far.

I reached for the bottle hanging off my belt in hope of finding something to rejuvenate my soul - water, the source of life And yet, as I grasped the bottle firmly with both of my hands, I knew that I had to ration myself properly if I wanted to make it to the next oasis, before I could refill my bottle.

And as difficult as it was, I knew that this was necessary; necessary if I wanted any chance of finding the coveted Desert Rose.

"4.......3......2......1", the markers read, as I bypassed them one by one, with the water in my bottle reducing in a disciplinary fashion with each milestone. Mind over matter perhaps, but it sure took a lot of mind to overcome the matter of thirst, a strain in willpower to limit myself to so little at a time, when I felt like the desire for so much more, but knew that it was a necessity for survival to stick to the regime if I wanted any chance of making it.

Too many have perished along the way, evident from the dried bones that reflected the light of the scorching sun, as I used that as a warning and a deterrent to not allow myself to overindulge in what I had left, reminding myself that I was better than them. Yet subconsciously, I knew that the shadows of Doubt were dancing around at the back of my mind, as questions lingered on whether it was all worth it, whether the Desert Rose was worth risking all for.

These little whispers of doubt grew louder and louder in my head with as I felt the strength sapping from me with each step I took. I raised my bottle to my mouth, and used my remaining strength to attempt to shake out whatever I could from the bottle, but not a single drop was left.

Step after step, I willed myself forward, as I saw the oasis at the horizon, but my legs could bear it no longer, and I collapsed unto the burning sands. Still, I crawled and I inched towards my target, my goal; desperate to get there one way or another.

Unaware of how long I had actually been inching my way one elbow and knee movement at a time, my vision gradually faded and blurred. Skulls and bones littered my left and my right, as I sensed the close proximity between me and them, literally and metaphorically. With a final blurred vision of the oasis still lying near the horizon, I shut my eyes, ready to join my neighbours.

Just as I thought that I felt that my senses were leaving me, something streaked down my face, a familiar feeling of cold and wet. Before I could fully decipher that feeling, I felt another of the same on my back, and then another, and another.

Instinctively, I stuck out my tongue, as I felt the drops gently fall on my tongue and spreading over and trickling down it, each drop rejuvenating my soul little by little. My body had cooled, as I started to find the strength to bring myself back unto my knees, and then gradually to my feet.

By some miracle, I had been saved by the sudden desert rain. And despite my typical unreligious-ness, I couldn't help but feel that perhaps I was indeed under the watchful eye and the guiding hand of a Higher Power, one that was willing to provide a sort of divine intervention when my mortal limits had been reached.

Under the cool of the miraculous rain, the oasis grew ever closer with each step I took - my steps light and renewed, but my mind heavy and pondering.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Leonid Meteor Shower: Wishing on the Same Star

17th - 18th November 2009

Hand in hand, we strolled slowly along the winding path. The silence of the dead of the night, with only the sounds of the waves crashing in the distance to be heard other them our gently footsteps... a feeling so familair, yet so distant at the same time.

It's been a long time since we've been to this place, too long perhaps.

Memories flooded our minds as we made our way to one of the benches, one of the benches where we used to sit and watch planes go by in the dead of the night, one of the benches that we sat staring out at the changing tide; one of the benches that we built our foundational months upon.

Still in a semi-sleepy stupor, I was more than relieved to find a place to settle down, wondering if the 3-hour nap at the end of an exhausting day did more harm than good in helping me stay awake. But still, it was a decision that I had made, one that I was sure she would relish and cherish, if it came together properly, and that was one big if.

I looked at my watch and saw the hands positioned themselves at  "3.30 a.m.", and then looked towards the sky, not saying a word to her.

"Asia has the best seats." "The peak of the show is between 3 to 5 a.m." were the words that I had read earlier in the day, and she had read them too, which probably did much to contribute to her excitement and anticipation.

Yet, all I saw above me were clouds, thick clouds that filled the moonless sky. In my mind, I was already forming words of consolation to say to her to ease her disappointment. The chances of anything happening looked pretty slim, as I stared on at the clouds through my half-batted eyelids for a while before shutting them completely.

Hoping to feel the wind on my cheeks, I felt nothing but stillness, and perhaps in an act of desperation, I said a little prayer, as I heard her say the words, "Just let me see one and I'll be happy."

"Do you know where Mars is?" she asked. "They said that it will look like they are shooting out from Mars."

I looked up at the sky, looking for a red, non-flickering speck in the sky, not finding anything.

"Or would you be able to tell which one is Leo? They said that it will fly towards the direction of Leo," she asked, equally earnestly.

Without saying a word, I walked out to the seaside, as far as I could and looked upwards, rotating a full 360 degrees to try to find what she desired.

Seeing nothing but clouds, I walked back to her. "Let's go to our favourite spot. I think it's darker there and we have a better chance of seeing it," I said, believing in increasing our chances in whatever way we could.

Through the long, wet grass to a bench that strayed rather far out from the pathway, we planted ourselves on the table and placed our necks in a strained position in hopes of getting the widest perspective of the sky above us.

We spoke about the past, we spoke about the present, and we spoke of the near future as we kept our necks tilted upwards. The sky had cleared two little openings by now, one that was around a little reddish speck that we weren't sure of whether it was Mars, and another around Orion's Belt.

Like vigilant watchmen, each of us kept our eyes fixated on one of these openings.

Sitting in silence as we watched, I hesitantly broke the silence. "I think I saw one."

"Where?" she said.

"I think I just saw this really quick streak then went by on my side, like a shooting star." I said, using my finger to gesture its movement path.

Indeed, I had caught something quick flash by at the corner of my eye, so fast, that I couldn't really be sure if I was just hallucinating.

Sensing the anticipation and hope swelling up inside her, I again rehearsed the lines of consolation in my head, almost in a meditative fashion.

"I saw it!" she exclaimed, breaking the silence, and probably shattering it to pieces beyond that, with a shrill of uncontrollable excitement in her voice.

"Where?" I said, turning to look at her side.

"It just went by there," she replied, pointing next to the odd red, little speck.

And indeed, there was an odd trail still left in the sky, slowly dissipating as I continued to stare at it, at the same time leaving me wondering if I had seen the right thing previously.

Beaming with joy and excitement, I felt a sense of relief as I looked at the smile on her face, knowing that it would suffice for the night even if I had not seen one.

Perhaps God chooses to reward those who don't question but simply believe, or perhaps she just has a aura of fortune that shadows her, almost miraculously, the skies had cleared up over the last hour or so, and by now, we had a full view of the night sky, as I could gaze at the stars and call out the constellations.

Just as I was pointing out what I thought was Libra, I saw another streak go by right through the middle of the 4 stars, rather similar to what I thought I had seen.

"I saw it!" we both exclaimed together, she a lot more excited than I, but I too couldn't help but feel a rush flowing through my mind and body as well, knowing that I had just caught a Shooting Star.

Commonly an object of fascination in dramas, there is just this general sense of romance that comes with being able to catch one of these with a lover. Perhaps the magic lies very much in the rarity and brevity of it, that many would account it to a sign of Destiny, Fate of Chance if 2 people are at the right place at the right time to catch one.

But Destiny was definitely smiling rather warmly at us, as it didn't stop at one.

"I saw one!" came over and over, sometimes in unison, and occasionally from the Lady herself; the excitement and joy in her voice never diminishing with each one that she spotted, but rather, showing a renewed fascination with each new one.

Every time after I heard those words and looked up at the sky to see if I could catch the remaining glimpses of it, the next thing I would do would be to look down and steal at glance at her face, warming my heart to see the pure joy in her face, and feeling thankful that we made an effort and try to catch this perhaps once-in-a-lifetime experience in each other's company.

By 5.15 a.m., she had already caught 6 and I had caught 4 as we were massaging our strained necks.

"If there ever is a next time, I think we should bring a mat and lie down," she said. "Shall we go?"

I kept quiet, still looking up into the sky at Leo, where most of our catches were from.

"You know, I just realised something. I was so excited everytime I saw one, that I forgot to make a wish," she said.

I looked at her and smiled without saying a word, and then patted her on her head, amused by her silliness and naivity.

"Let's leave at 5.30," I said, and reverted to the straining position, as I saw her scratching her mosquito bites frantically at the corner of my eye as her head tilted upwards too.

A speck darted across the sky above Leo, lighting up a fragment of the sky in the darkest hours before dawn, leaving a streak that only lasted a second before it all faded away- ephemeral perhaps, yet still so beautiful.

"I sa-" she started.

"Quick! Make a wish!" I exclaimed, interrupting her, as I saw her instantaneously closing her eyes and bowing her head.

I followed suit and wished upon the same star, wondering if our wishes were even remotely similar.

"All of the Stars have Faded away; Try not to Worry you'll See them Someday."

Sunday, 8 November 2009

November Rain

Drops of water trickled down my brow as I kept my head above the surface, but something was amiss. Certain drops felt like they bore a greater velocity than the others, as I turned my face skyward in question, only to be answerd by the gentle drops of water that fell upon my cheeks.

I smiled silently to myself, wondering when was the last time I felt like this - the last time that I could stand in the rain, with a sense of reckless abandon, not caring if I had to get my clothes dry, or if I would catch a cold or the like. And yet, the situation I was in naturally lent itself to me being able to afford such recklessness... if only for a while.

The drizzle slowly started to intensify, as I submerged more of my body below the water's surface, minimizing the contact from the droplets that rained from above. At the new level of sight that I had obtained, I saw a slightly captivating sight, as each rain drop that hit the water's surface caused a ripple in its wake and bounced off in arcs in 4 different directions, causing subsequent ripples and multiplying themselves into another 4 after that.

I kept my gaze fixated on the water's surface, enjoying the nimble movements of nature's dance that played out before me, but in truth, I was probably staring harder into the void that laid beyond these dancers. It had been too long since I could afford to feel this way, to just take some time off and enjoy the littler things, to be able to cast my mind into the open sea and simply allow it to drift, not having to worry about the next thing to do, the next problem to be fixed, or the next task at hand... it had been too long since I'd given myself anytime to breathe, in fact.

I propelled myself forward and dived towards the surface of the pool, keeping my entire body sheltered from the ever-increasing velocity of the raindrops that fell from above. The sounds of raindrops heard through the distortion of the medium resulted in an oddly rhythmic and soothing tune, as I continued to hide myself from the rain.

I emerged near her feet, and took a glance at her face, only to see that she had similar thoughts on her mind.

"Don't you just love this feeling?" I asked her.

"Yes," she said, "I used to enjoy walking home in the rain in the past."

I smiled as I bent over to kiss her, but just as my lips were almost upon her's, a bright flash filled the sky, cutting short our little act of romance.

"I think that's our cue to get out of here," I told her, as I hurried her to the edge of the pool.

Ephemeral perhaps, but liberating nonetheless.

- When was the Last Time you Walked in the Rain? -

Friday, 9 October 2009

Consumed by that which Burns within You...

Earlier in the week, my posted Facebook status was:

"Jeremy Kang finds it a tad ironic that working in the Games Industry curbs his gaming addiction."

And this has probably got to be the oddest thing, as while I used to HAVE to play once at least every 48 hours (most of the time it was 24), these days I only find myself doing nothing save for work and sleep.

While of course, it is debatable that my work is play (my own game at least), but there's a different between playtest and simply just play, and little by little, I cannot help but feel that the fire that burns within me is slowly consuming me, for better or worse, very probably worse.

It's quite a bit of a contradiction, as I don't think I've ever felt so *ahem* efficient, and I am somewhat amazed at how much discipline I have inculcated myself over the last few weeks / months. I remember when I first started this entire "work from home" thing, I probably lied to myself along with my boss on how much work I was doing every day, justifying to myself the amount of work done purely measured by its "quality", and I felt that I could rest on my laurels after simply finishing up after 4 hours of work.

It's a bit strange how I got from there to now, where I don't think I should be working so hard, but somehow I am. In the last 3 weeks, I have become Producer, Designer, QA, part-time Programmer, part-time Artist and most recently, even part-time Audio person in my current project, very much not by choice, but by necessity.

On that note, it is also quite a pity that one man's effort is not enough to carry a 4-man project through, no matter how much that one man stretches himself, and on a certain note, I've given up trying and hoping for a four-fold multiplication of my commitment and effort, but that is a different matter altogether.

Couple that with my immortal body, and I somehow I've become a endless workhorse, able to put in pure 14-16 work days for a straight days, weekdays and weekends, almost to the point that I don't even feel at ease just sitting there and just... playing.

I don't think I am going to lose my first love that is gaming, and of course, that comes from the fun in the actual playing first, but little by little, I'm starting to wonder why is it that I only feel the urge to work, and not play, and to the point that I only stop when my body shuts down on me.

Of course, things aren't getting any better as school has just restarted, and I am on a heavier load this semester, but still, my heart still very much goes into working on the game whenever I can dig out any pockets of time, to the point that I wonder if I am already immune to my bodily alerts of knowing when to stop.

Working too hard? Perhaps. But perhaps, this is what it is really like to be an indie-game developer, without the safety welfare umbrella of a larger studio.

I haven't had very much time for anything else, be it wanting to blog about some overdue events for the longest time, or really just spend some quiet time with those that I love; but something at the back of my mind just tells me that: "I only have these remaining days to work on this, after that, it's pointless even if I want to."

Sometimes, I feel like I'm the only one that feels this way at all, or the only one that is taking it so seriously, and I can just be like anyone else, and just take it "as a job", "as a sideline" or something and just hands-off whenever I think I am "suitably worked".

But of course, those that know me any better know that I have the worst sense of balance and moderation in life, and only seem to live on extremes. Of course, those same people also probably know that if I believe in something, I will stop at nothing to work towards it.

And no matter how lost the cause it might be, I just want to follow-through and give a good finish to what I am doing now. Whether it will be enough in the end or not, I just want to know that I did everything I humanly could, and perhaps even more beyond that.

Of course, I know that things are only going to pile up on some ends, and can sense that they are going to fall apart on others; but something just pushes me to just keep moving forward.

"Drive" is probably the most suitable of terms here, and I can assuredly say, that I have in spades; spades big enough to dig my own grave perhaps.

They say: "It is always darkest before dawn", and I cannot think of anything better to believe in as I sit staring and getting lost in the Fire of my own Passion, waiting for that much-awaited sunrise.

Friday, 25 September 2009

30 Seconds of Fame

Lighting strikes at the same place twice.

Don't think I am eligible to win a subscription for my next lifetime, though.

And, make that trice. Funny how the same post gets featured for 2 weeks straight...

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

15 Seconds of Fame

It may not be the lottery, but winning something sure feels good  - not to mention the validation that comes along with it.

Featured in Gamasutra:

Friday, 11 September 2009

Crowne Plaza: Bubbles in Time

11th July 2009

I stood there, looking out the window, squinting through the reflected images at the lights that lined the runway. Little taps were heard on my glass window - taps that accompanied each and every little droplet that fell, playing a soothing tune of harmony to the jazzy sounds of Michael Buble.

I watched a little droplet slowly trickle down the window, as my mind wandered...



Water trickled down my brow as I rose, my body still shivering from the initial plunge.

The pool was unusually cold, just as she had forewarned, perhaps due to it's marble floor, unique layout or simply just due to the fact that it was on the 3rd floor and located around an airport where we were left virtually naked to the powers of the wind; one way or another, that didn't stop the eyes from widening as the arms tightened themselves to the body in an attempt to trap heat.

Architecturally designed to be contained within the distinctive "Cat's Eye" of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the eye provided a poolside view that included the distinctive Control Tower as part of it's backdrop, providing swimmers and poolside-loungers alike with an instantly identifiable landscape.

Inside the Cat's Eye

A graceful backstroke allowed one to peer through another rooftop "Cat's Eye", but this time with the gently floating clouds providing the hypnotic backdrop that fed the eyes with each graceful stroke of the arms.


Due to the different medium, movement slows in water; and perhaps as a figurative parallel, I had found a moment that time slowed down for me, a moment of respite amidst a chokingly-busy schedule, allowing me to take both my mind and body off the drowning workload, giving me the first full 2-day weekend that I've had in the last 4 months.


Uniquely designed with tropical trees and plants littering the landscape of the pool, little and disparate cosy jacuzzi corners were well-camouflaged under the trees and behind the plants. To a passer-by perhaps only the sound of crackling laughter could be heard coming from behind the bushes, as we shifted along the stone slabs, in an attempt to find the strongest jet to massage our (my more than hers) aching backs.

sweeet. bon bonPhotobucket

Adjusting myself to an ideal position to get a automated massage, I saw the bubbles rise from the 2 jets adjacent to mine, little bubbles rising to the water's surface and dissipating as the came into contact with the air. And while I knew that my little Bubble in Time would soon burst in the coming of reality, all the more I was determined to enjoy every little moment of rest that I could muster out of this little bubble endowed upon me by my lovely host.

Illusion of Time

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Closure: 1 / 5

He pressed the bottle to his lips, tilting it upwards to gulp what was left in the half-filled bottle. Looking at the camera satisfied, he said with a smile on his face, "Ice Lemon Tea. Be gay, be Jeremy Kang."

Laughter naturally ensued, as I stood there baffled at the audacity of it all, and yet, couldn't help but find it amusing to a great degree. Little did I know, the next presentation that followed was going to outdo that.

Yes, it was another Monday, and somehow, when your day, or week in fact, starts with some people parading around the classroom with their t-shirts lifted up, a little bit of male-hoola dancing and a tinge of not-so-hot faux guy-on-guy action, you know that your Mondays will never be the same again.

Yes, this class was "different" alright, in perhaps the best and worst possible kind of way. It is not uncommon that every week saw a couple of presentations that were technically very sound, but with a great extent of liberties taken on the artistic direction, or even the academic value of the works.

"You know, technically, the work is actually quite good. But I seriously wonder, how am I EVER going to show this to my boss," I remember telling them on more than one occasion.

Like almost a comedic slap in the face, it was rather amusing in a semi-masochistic kind of way to see how they would take the skills you had taught them, and totally used (abused) it to achieve something technically sound but totally inappropriate, and striving to outdo themselves week after week.

Naturally, the dynamics between mentor and apprentice(s) would vary from class to class, but considering how different this bunch were, the line was thin with them, and only grew thinner with the weeks.

Yet sometimes, it's funny, how pushing the "wrong" buttons actually end up being more right, as I saw a class that had me worried on first impression, transform into a group that pursued the daily lessons with a twisted fervour.

But perhaps this echoes what I always tell them, and others who have enquired about my teaching experience, that "Teaching at this level is not so much about imparting your knowledge, but it's actually more of a people skill. Learning how to read the students and communicating the lesson across in the best possible way to each individual."

Yet, it's not all a bed of roses, as I definitely gained and lost over the course of the semester.

"I want to ensure that everyone learns to the best of his / her ability" was the ideal that I started my academic career with. And yet, as the weeks went by, I only saw this slowly wither away - enforcement of certain rules became harder, behaviours became more blatant, and distraction was abundant.

In Guns 'n' Roses words, "there are some men you just can't reach", and perhaps this is true as well, and something all mentor-figures have to learn eventually. Learning is a 2-way thing for sure, but at an intermediate-tetiary level such as this, the roles of mentor, facilitator, disciplinarian and friend is a hard hand to juggle.

In the end, most mentor-figures tend to skew towards one or the another, and the impression that you leave on them tends to settle mostly on 1 conclusive point. Perhaps, in that sense, I'm glad that I probably left the building as a "friend", or at least I hope that I did.


Back from my meeting, I made my way back to the classroom, my usual abode where I would spend my 5 to 7s, waiting for my car to become mobile again. Some days, it was having a discussion with a select few on Game Design, some days it was imparting some aspects of my extremely skewed world-wisdom, and yet other days, it was just sitting in and listening to their idle conversations - feeling young and stupid all over again.

But today, it was different.

I walked into the classroom, she screamed, they looked shocked.

"Uh, can you come back later, Faci?" he said to me.

After the longer-than-usual discussion, he said, "Uh, can you follow us for a while?"

With an eyebrow raised, I did so; only to walk into a not-so-surprising surprise party with pizzas and cake to boot.

Of course, all this was quite obvious from a mile away, but the real surprise came in the form of a little (ok, not that little maybe) silver book, reminiscent of one of those student autography books kinda thing that captured everyone's well-wishes.

Of course, I remained unfazed throughout, as I almost always am, prompting them to ask, after blowing out the candles, "Faci, why are you not surprised at all?"

"Hmm. How do you expect me to be surprise when in the morning, you ask me if I like Mango Cake?" I replied, with a deadpan look.

Still, not bad for a bunch of "gays and retards."


Someone once told me that in teaching, "For every 5 students you teach, if 1 of them learns; it's already considered a success."

Well, if put that way, than I guess that I probably can live with a shattered ideal. As not only do I think that I have more than 1 successful student in every 5, I have 4 friends as well.

"Thanks you for putting up with me throughout the semester. I think that teaching you people has made me gained a lot more patience. So much so that I think I'm ready for Fatherhood."

The class chuckled, and with these words, I closed my first semester.

To the "Gays and Retards" from my "other class", thanks for the friendship and the memories...


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The End of the Beginning...

"My name is Jeremy Kang, and 2 days a week, I am a Facilitator. For the other 5 days, I'm a Game Designer, and that automatically makes cool."

And with these words, I began my first term into the World of Academia; a world riddled with uncertainty, a world shrouded in mystery; one that placed me on the other side of the table from where I was not too long ago, and one that I was hardly sure of whether I was ready for or not.

One way or another, I walked out of the first semester alive, and it has indeed been a very different 17 weeks, walking out with a lot less questions and a bit more answers.

"I'm simply here to impart my knowledge to you, not here to be your damn Role Model."

And indeed, these words rang true throughout the classes.

Irony is a bitch, no qualms about that. I remembered how I used to tell people that teaching was the last thing on my mind; and yet, the Fates just have a nice way of blind-siding you and pinching you in the ass for making such comments - and I must have one helluva ass to them.

But upon reflection, perhaps the main point leading to such a career being so unimaginable to me was perhaps largely due to my impatience and dislike for nonsense, not to mention my disrespect for ideals and self-righteous beliefs of "moulding future generations" and all that bull.

Fortunately, I didn't have to show any of the above-mentioned qualities, and could retain my characteristical -self throughout most of the lessons - minus the profuse swearing maybe.

I remember the question posed to be during my interview:

"You look really young. Is respect important to you? How would you get your students to respect you?"

Yes, perhaps age was my biggest worry walking into the class, and getting the students to listen to me in the first place. But at the same time, over the course of the semester, I think it has probably proven to be my greatest asset as well, as the relatively lesser age-gap allowed me to better relate to the students on a more personal level, sharing in their ridiculous jokes and whatnot.

And yet, when it was time to for work, my answer probably rang true, that:

"Respect is irrelevant of age; it is more of a matter of establishing a point of relation and being able to get your points across."

"9 to 4.30, I'm your Facilitator, after 4.30, we're friends."

Perhaps "Respect" is a bit overrated when you consider the context, as the environment lends itself a lot more towards an informal learning experience, than trying to impose a hard-and-fast one.

And indeed, knowing when to play the "Respect" and "Friendship" cards went a long way towards establishing the classroom dynamics, and I think it's a lot better this way, no matter how frowned upon it might be by some more conventional minds.

"So what makes you think you are ready to teach?"

This was one of the most stifling questions shot at me during the interview. And honestly, after 17 weeks, I can't really say that I'm any wiser towards answering that question, and maybe I will never be.

But honestly, that's ok. Because for every doubt raised, at least now I know that there are at least some answers that would justify otherwise; and that alone would allow me to sleep better at night, knowing that I at least did some semblance of my designated job.

To my first class, thanks for the hardwork, tolerance, birthdays, photo-whoring, jokes, laughter and memories...


Thursday, 13 August 2009

Art is never Finished...

A visit to the "Da Vinci - The Genius" Exhibition at the Science Centre proved to be a rather fruitful one over the Public Holiday.

Fascinating was how the mind of 1 man could actually be divided into so many sections for exhibition, ranging across both left and right brain-domained subjects, from physics to art; truly earning Da Vinci the rights to his exhibition's moniker.

I found both disciplines almost equally fascinating, but the Lady enjoyed the "Art" section a lot more, especially the "Mona Lisa" segment. More than that though, was I amazed at how Da Vinci viewed Art and Science holistically, and pursued both disciplines in a harmonious tandem.

Perhaps not fun in the "fun" sense, as we left the exhibition with a weary back and aching feet, but definitely a feast for the mind, and with just enough take-outs to ponder about and to be inspired by.

The biggest take-away for the day?

"Art is never Finished, Only Abandoned."

- Leonardo Da Vinci

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Road to Ruin

- "You can sleep when you're dead." -

But Death only seems to be creeping up on me sooner at this rate.

40 hours to Judgment and the Restoration of Life as I know it.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Crowne Plaza: Runaway by the Runway

11th July 2009

Light and Shadow


"Just let me take this photo," I said, sensing her looming behind me and with a slight sense of beckon.

It was obvious she was planning something, as she had urged me to take a seat amidst the vibrant colours of the hotel lobby a little earlier, while she went to check us in and perhaps attend to the said surprise. Surely I had my guesses, but the better part of me emptied my mind to the environment around me, to subject myself to a potentially greater sense of surprise for whatever was in store.

Surrounded by vibrant colours of the furnishing with a strong emphasis on contemporary shapes and curves, the furnishing of the Hotel Lobby well-complemented the modern architecture of the building.



Technicolour World

While the theme on the lobby played heavily on colours, the corridors that had led us there earlier played on another aspect, that of lighting, and how it strived to create a sense of rhythm. Streaks of sunlight streamed into the winding corridors on alternating bands, as the Lady and I had earlier traversed, moving through the light and shadow at a steady pace, with an almost parallel swirl of emotions, alternating between the darkness of the unknown that we were walking into and the warmth of the excitement that filled our hearts.


Shadow / Light

All these emotions were about to culminate into a climax that awaited us 9 storeys up. I braced myself and rose from my seat, lifting my bag, and taking her hand and with a warm smile, taking slow and heavy strides across the lobby and through the lift doors.


Runaway by the Runway

A beep, a click and the swinging of the door marked the prelude to our little weekend hideaway. Anticipation ran through my soul as I put my first foot forward, walking through the narrow doorway until I came into full view of the room, and much beyond that.

"Wow!", I squealed, ruining my composure there and then, as I let out my first sign of visible excitement since we embarked on our little "runaway."

Warmly lit and equipped with a sofa area, a large double bed, a flat screen wall-hung TV, and even an iPod dock; these extravagant features seemed secondary compared to the 2 bigger fishes. A luxurious bathroom with a unique glass wall that looked into and subsequently out of the room, decorated with flower petal decals, gave the room a more spacious and definitely more unique feel of openness and transparency, in additional to serving it's decorative purpose.



She's Everywhere

But definitely the biggest draw lay behind the white satin curtains. I approached it slowly; first grabbing a Dark Chocolate off the specially-prepared Birthday Treat laid out on the desk, and as the outer shell started to melt in my mouth, the sweet warm chocolate fudge at its centre rushed out and unto my tongue.


"Oh, you actually noticed the chocolates? It was specially prepared for you, you know?" she said, with a hint of pride in her voice.

"Yeah, I know," I said naturally, always self-believing that I knew more than I did.

Approaching the curtains, I drew it slightly to take a garner at the view that lay before my shade-covered eyes.




A giant Singapore Airlines carrier was full-frontal, staring right at me and slowly making her way towards me, definitely in hopes of getting a bit more upclose and personal with the Birthday Boy, as she inched slowly towards my position and then took a turn to the right. In the background, on the runway, another one of her sisters was preparing to take flight, while on the parallel runway a Qatar Airline's carrier raced her to the skies.


Racing Queens

I pressed my ears to the glass, straining to listen to the sounds I remembered from the numerous occasions to the Viewing Gallery in my youth, as a Turkish Airline's carrier was greeted by the warm tarmac of our sunny island. Indeed, it felt like we had our own little personal viewing gallery, just for the Lady and I.

I drew the curtains wide, to share the view with the Lady who made it possible and we stood there in silence, just watching the activities on the runway for a little while.



For Your Eyes Only

"Thank you, Darling," I turned to her and said, breaking the silence.

She looked back at me with her large, round eyes and smile, one that showed a thorough sense of joy, and yet conveyed a sense of suppression - perhaps towards the things that were yet to come...


Friday, 3 July 2009

Changi Broadwalk: Over the Broadwalk, Under the Sun

20th June 2009

"We're at the wrong place," I exclaimed, with a sudden realization upon looking at the map. In fact, we were on the totally opposite end of the beach.

Rushing back to the car, I sped down the driveway, in a race against the setting sun. Indeed, procrastination in itself was already a nasty beast, add the weather-jinx and ill-luck (with carpark and navigation problems) into the mix, and the realization of our long-planned photo-expedition seemed so close and yet so far.

Man is the master of his own destiny, and Immortals... well, a little more than that - making it to the broadwalk just as the Sun drew her last breaths along the horizon. But this was what we were here for, to capture her dying moments.

The competition was on, with the Lady pitting her (relatively) newly-acquired camera against my (relatively) newly-acquired photo-theory.

We strolled down the walkway, heads turning from side to side, trying to see the world around us in frames, trying to find the right composition, trying to find our perfect pictures.

Identifying my first frame, I clicked and shot, but was far from happy with the results. Thus, in turn, tinkered with the settings till I found what I wanted. Lighting is always a bitch when it comes to photography, but sunset lighting is even harder to depict. In the end, I decided to go with a slightly-warmer feel for my photos.

First Frames

Down the bridge and along the coast, we continued down the well-laid paths in somewhat erratic rotations; her focus was mostly on objects while I tried to look for a bit more landscape. Being more of an artist than a techie, composition often plays a bigger part for me, and I have an incline towards looking for slightly more abstract and interesting shapes.


A well-hidden bridge along the seaside gave rise to the inspiration of some peak-a-boo shots (according to the Lady), shots that seemingly focused on one thing, but were actually meant to showcase something else in the background. A pity that I couldn't create a Depth of Field effect with my Nikon though.


The sky started to spread a warm blanket of pink over us, as we made it to arguably the most distinct spot along the broadwalk, an isolated little pavilion that overlooked the sea.


Perhaps as distinct as the pavilion itself is the lone withered tree that resides beside it. Branches bare and outstretched in agony, the singular tree stands alone, enduring the perpetual torment of the waves beating again her trunk as she looks out towards the open sea, longingly perhaps, for an escape from this loneliness.


Inspired by my interpreted-plight of the poor entity, I decided to try to creatively shift my White Balance to provide a slightly more fitting landscape - not to mention partially inspired by my current work as well.

Before: Present Day

After: Post-Apocalyptic

"Dude, there's an Iguana on the tree, you might wanna shoot it," a friendly fisherman in the pavilion said to me, as I was shooting my creative close-ups of the tree. As I tried to place my focus on the beast, the slippery reptile had already slipped beyond my sight and into the water. Little did I know however, I had actually already captured it in my close-ups.


"1, 2, 3...." I counted, as I pressed the shutter, as she almost immediately came over to my side to see how the photos turned out.

"Crap, it's over-exposed" I told her. "But you know what, it's kinda cool, haha."

Obviously, she had no choice but to agree.

Accidental Beauty

Strolling down a winding path under the resorts had us bombarded with shouts of excitement and the smokes of barbeque from the chalets above.

Attempting to do an artistic shot, the Lady accidentally stumbled upon a surprisingly cool effect, taking the shot through the lens of our shades.

Through the Lens

We walked a little more, under the shade of palm trees that we already mostly unnecessary as the sun was already in her final moments and the only remnants of her glory were streaks on a distant horizon.

The Unnecessary Shade

Dark clouds and flashes of lighting beckoned us to turn around as we approached the sailing club, and perhaps more than fitting, as night had already fallen and the scenery beyond was much less captivating than what we had transcended before. Familiarity hardly bred contempt, as the once-familiar path had taken on a whole new light.

One for the Road

As we reached our point of origin, I could not help but use the metaphor of "Reflection" as the final frame to bring closure to our more than fulfilling journey.


It's funny how things work out sometimes. If you had asked me to go on a photo-trip a few months back, I would have scorned at the very thought of it. Yet, since I started to better embrace photo-theory, a new-found interest seems to have been kindled in me to put this theory into practice. Of course, having good company doesn't hurt either.

Oh, and about the verdict of the competition, of course I believe that I won hands down. But don't take my word for it, see it for yourself here.