Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Of "Feels" and Bloggery

The reason why I can carry on blogging for all this while - and by that I mean actually expressing opinions (and sharing long-winded "uncle-experiences") rather than be just a bulletin-board at a supermarket selling goods - is perhaps that I have lots of "feels" … or so I suspect.

And by "feels", perhaps I am more emotional than I should, at my stage in life (noticed I never mentioned "age" haha). At the end of the day, I go where my heart points me to, even when there are times my head nudges me elsewhere otherwise. Perhaps that's why I am not a "success" in my financial life thus far haha

Tried the notion before - think with brains not with heart - and it didn't really agree with me. Frankly, it has been so long, I no longer know how to survive otherwise.

But on the same token, I am not a huge conversationalist, or have the/a need nor desire to have meaningful and long in-depth discussions with folks, online or otherwise.

I reckon I spend more time talking to myself than to person-to-person (folks who are the end of my long-windedness might insist otherwise muahahaha), and the funny thing is, writing a blog is somewhat an extension of that.

On the other hand, as much as I enjoy having a good geekout with folks and friends online, I would rather have a meaningful and in-depth conversation person-to-person, than have a diatribe of dialog needing to be scrolled-n-rolled up or down in chronological order, to make any sense (obvious I was never an ICQ-sorta-person lol). Perhaps it helps the situation that I am not an "intellectual" person in the first place, I dare admit.

Whatever "depth of thought" i might have had experienced or exuded thru my pores (as much as folks and friends might have exhorted before…) in the past, has since been left in the said-past, in what seemed to be a lifetime ago … as being engulfed in it for years of my earlier adult-life, did not really help me move forward mentally as much as i expected / hoped it would. or so my thoughts on the matter are, these days.

And so my bloggery consists of impressions rather than deep-discourse … more about "feels", rather than "journalistic aplomb" - because simply, I am not blogging as a "journalist", am I? And neither do I, or would I, claim to be haha!

But can "feels" fuel a blog? I can't answer that, nor do I intend to. The one would need to go in-depth in determining the success of a blog, whether it is determined by the value or it's writing, or the amount of statistical blog-hits, isn't it? And that is something I am not prepared nor interested to get into hahaha

Not too long ago I read online a comment where someone who blogged, call themselves a "bonafide blogger", and I struggle to quantify what it means to have that self-claim .... on the same token, I dare not even claim I blog "well", only just that I enjoy the act of "blogging" and of expressing my "feels" hahaha oh such self-serving activities indeed hahaha

But on official forms (both online and offline), I do state my job to be "Blogger", even though there are never fields to fill in my URL hahahaha

"Emotional Expression", without the glossing of poetry nor word-smithing, which essentially leaves me sharing my "musings" and "ramblings", innit? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Cheers
Andy

Riot Riot

"An estimated 400 people rioted in Little India late Sunday night after an accident with a bus led to one person's death, according to the police.

The riot saw ten officers injured, and damage to five police vehicles, one ambulance and several private vehicles, said police in a statement in the wee hours of the morning Monday. 27 subjects have reportedly been arrested, with police appealing for more information from eyewitnesses."
- reported sg.news.yahoo.com (above image via)

I have been reading about "racist remarks" being made with regards to the rioting at Little India late last night, but thankfully I did not manage to read any on my feeds, and frankly do not intend to look for them, as they are hardly constructive and do not help matters. Like adding fuel to the fires set aflame on the downed vehicles. Why does this venom and bile exist in Singapore? Are "we" so self indulgent and full of faux virtue we imagine ourselves to be "better" than others?

"Why" the riot started is as important as "how" it started, yes - but the end of the day, are "we", is Singapore, able to face the problem at hand, and quell the situation as it happens?


In a given situation such as this, after the incident reached it's physical boil the night prior, perhaps folks could descend unto the location, to see to the well being of folks? Without the notion of morbid curiosity disguised as "care and concern for fellow human beings", right? But of course we let the authorities handle the situation first, after running away from the incoming crowd and burning cars, and frankly, I do not blame them at all.

I blame the people teaching them how to react in situations like this.

I blame the country and the government, who has provided everyone an over-powering sense of entitlement and self-preservation, that in the face of adversity, we could only choose to run away. "Strength in numbers" is an undeniable crutch folks in Singapore hide behind, least someone steps up from amongst the crowd to right wrongs - like the mention of a sole person amongst the rioting crowd, who tried to stop the people from burning cars, so I read on Facebook commentary (and not see for myself).


Instead folks hide behind their collective computer keyboards, and foist their feelings online, as I am doing now typing my Monday morning away, guilty as charged, I will not lie.

As far as I am concerned, what had happened was an eventuality, as Singapore itself is a time-bomb by itself, ever ready to implode, and the stick of dynamite or a slab of C4 is in each and every one living on this little red dot, shaped like a "heart" or moulded like a "brain". Anything could be the trigger, such as "unhappiness" with their own lot in life, or even as uneasiness with their status quo. The "blast" could range from a smoke-puff of resentment, or a megaton-meltdown.

Each and everyone has their breaking point, I suppose. The death of the pedestrian might have been the trigger, the alcohol being the escape-route to the barricade of conscience, perhaps?

What will happen in this instance? Is reprisal the answer? What is actually the reason why the last riot was in the late 60s? Is this the wake-up call people in Singapore need?

This day/night, generations of Singaporeans and the world, saw something they have never seen in their own country - something the earlier generation, their grandparents might have seen before … this night, Singapore lost it's sheen of safety and status, and joined the rest of the world.

I do not enjoy the chaos, but perhaps this itself is a trigger to being exposed in a cocoon of callousness.

I don't have an answer for others. I only have my own realization of myself, and of my own actions/inactions, to live with.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

perish

the only thing stopping me from absolutely leaving bloggery behind me now, is the fear i would be giving up on what i have worked so hard and so far for … but something will have to give, if i am to properly take care of dad, and it sure as heck it's not going to be dad's well-being to be sacrificed here. TOYSREVIL needs to evolve, or it will perish amongst the forgotten, regardless.

Things I Did In Life Before Blogging: Designed for Television


I had worked for over four years in a local broadcasting station (which meant the ONLY broadcast station in Singapore LOL) during the mid-1990s to end-90s. I had seen the transformation of SBC to TCS, and left the place before it became MCS. I had no television training before this, but knowing Interior Design helped me navigate the waters, so to speak

I was in the 'Production Services' Department, and did primarily Stage Design (what we called "Sets") for Television, in both Short and Long form. Variety Shows were my forte, and I even had a dream to design the MTV Awards!

What i/we did: Conceptualize and designed scenes/sets. Did construction drawings and documentation. Liaise with both in-house and external builders and contractors to make the set. Liaise with show producers for props and set changes. Liaise with stagehands to get the set up and running. Liaise with Lighting Designers to light up the set. Heck, we did all of that, and were credited as "Set Designers" LOL

The job suited me to a T tho - with quick turnaround times (I get bored pretty quickly and easily ;p) and even shorter time-frames (I used to thrive on short deadlines - key words being "used to" ;p), I excelled in my job, and got promoted to being a Senior Set Designer in my second year, for which another long-time serving senior lamented to me; "You know, it took me 8 years working here before I got promoted to 'Senior'…" - which essentially dictated how the working environment was for me then LOL

I learnt designing for tv the "hard way". Fellow colleagues were not exactly forthcoming with teaching me the ropes (most of them anyways = welcome to the reality of working in Singapore, folks!) and I literally learnt everything else (besides 'design') from my crew - folks who transported my set from warehouse to recording studios, folks who carried props for me, folks who used hammer and nails to build sets, and lighting designers who understood and appreciated the fact that I would sit in with them to meet about shows we were doing, and actually discussed with them the moods we would like to do (apparently something not that often a happening with many a designers? wow).

I did not learn much from my peers, but instead from the folks I had depended on to make the sets work, and I am always grateful for their time and patience. The "value" in the value-chain only applies to your pay-grade at the end of the month, but the experience grasped from these "lower-end of the spectrum" workers in the big company, was invaluable to me.

I left because the management would not let me take another 'unpaid leave of absence' to do my third local feature film. Such arrogance of me, right? LOL

I had continued to design for television for the remainder of my decade in the local media industry, but the support structure was no longer the same.

I remember the euphoria for the work done was what I term the "5-minute thrill" - you spend an exhausting time designing and making sure the set goes up, and that moment before the finished set is handed over to the producers of the show, for rehearsals, is the only time you could stand in the middle of the stage, look up at it, and enjoy the full-scene in front of you, even though it was only 5 minutes worth of time spent

That exhalation of breathe, and the joy of it, is harder to grasp and find these days, for me.

Shown here is a just a little montage of the sets I have done in my time, the ones I'm proud of showcasing anyways LOL

But I am always grateful for the chance to design stuff which I am both proud of and ashamed of thru the years, and the chance to see your works being interacted with other folks, is something to be relished.

Design and art is not necessarily a 'one-way-street', otherwise it would only be just "work".

Cheers
Andy

Friday, September 6, 2013

An Ode To Teachers


My utmost mostest memorablest teacher of all time, has to be "Mr Bell" from my Secondary school. An English gentleman, who taught me "Literature", and as well was my form teacher in for two years (secondary 3 & 4 - which meant he saw me at my worst ;p).

I hated Lit, and could not fathom the intricacies and nuances of the language (aka "don't understand fuq all the cock-talked"). And I could see Mr Bell had trouble getting it thru to my stubborn head.

Finding out I liked comicbooks, Mr Bell then taught me how to relate to the story and characters in Literature books ("Merchant of Venice", "Hard Times" blahblahblah hahaha), as if I would comicbook superheroes and villains, and that simple parallel helped me not just understand the books, but widened my narrow perceptions (not the "love-love"-kind, but others in general lol).

Even though I failed Literature in my 'O' Levels still (Scored in my English language tho lol), it was not the result of my exams' marks that proved the worth of Mr Bell's teachings, but of the horizons and possibilities he opened for me, years ago, which has lasted till this day and age, decades later.

But I have to say though, it was not as if I turned out to be a good student too, as my educational results were pretty effin' dismal, no doubt to the dismay of my parents' expectations haha

The role of a teacher is more important than anyone suspects, not just because he/she helps you memorize the textbooks, so that you could regurgitate it later in tests and exams, but because a good teacher can help mold you to be the person you will grow to be, or not to be.

A teacher might not give you "dreams", but they can help provide you with tools, to help you make your dreams a reality, eventually in life.

Help make dreams come true, do not crush them.

Ironically, years later I became an educator at LaSalle for a short few years, but perhaps I was not as effective or inspirational enough to even enjoy being wished "Happy Teachers' Day" hahaha .. but nevertheless, I wish all you educators out there, a very HAPPY TEACHERS DAY!

Cheers
Andy

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thumbs Up for Singapore


Was chatting up a storm in a taxi ride just, about the "real" history of Singapore, which is actively quelled in SG, understandably so, with instead our current headlines scream "People Fight Over Hello Kitty Dolls" = making Singaporeans seem "shallow" in some quarters, and who can blame people's perception of us? LOL

Sometimes I wonder - regardless of the country's shared past ("unglorified or otherwise), without it being taught or known beyond our parent's generation - the sense of our collective self-worth has become so diminished now, it is small wonder why we/Singaporeans look outwards to foreign countries instead to celebrate their victories and value them/theirs, than to embrace and be proud of our own fellow countryman's triumphs.

And "we" only trumpet the triumphs of fellow Singaporeans, only after they have been lauded overseas first, isn't it? Recognized internationally, then worth mentioning locally. Only then will you be welcomed with open arms as "Singapore's Son / Daughter Made Good" … *facepalm*

Of course that's not always the case, as the notion of "heartlands" continues to rule internal triumphs and victories, at the very least, right? LOL

Kudos for fellow Singaporeans who get the accolades! But this is not about you

I am sure this happenstance is not isolated to only Singapore, such irony, right? Haha

In this day and age, it is not about pointing fingers at the past and people and actions, but for the ability to change accusatory fingers into a "thumbs up" instead to ourselves, that seem a far more unachievable effort, sadly so.

Thank goodness I don't let my own "worth" be determined by my own country, frankly speaking. The hustle and hardwork continues, not for "respect" from my fellow countrymen - because that seems a lost cause (besides the awesome folks who do, you know who you are!), at least for my time in this mortal coil - but for my own sense of self-worth, within my own current limited abilities.

It is not "self-arrogance" nor "bitter hatred of society" that fuels me, but the sadness of the situation, and what we can do, but to better ourselves otherwise? *air-punch*

Until the day we give a hearty Thumbs Up for Fellow Singaporeans and their achievements - regardless how earth-altering or personal-life-changing - Shine Bright, if not to light our own path to achievement, and one day, "greatness"!

A Personal Observation,
Andy.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Underground / Overground


The notion of "underground" is such an alien notion in this tiny land of Singapore, but on essence it might well mean "the existence of, but for the welcome of mainstream". As much as I think of myself as "unique" and "special" but for escaping my cocoon of self-doubt (heh) since my foolish youth, I think I've always been "mainstream", or at the very least skirting the edges of the masses.

Ironically, it was only shortly after I had decided to go full-on into blogging, when i truly felt alone and shut out from the culture in Singapore. Amidst the sea of bloggery about the "way of life", "life in Singapore", "my life" etc, me blogging about other folks' news and toys, bordered on gossip not amounting to "serious news" (not in the local context anyways) more possibly bring me nowhere, at least no where I want to be.

Sure, I have my fair share of support, and as well fair share of opportunities, but at the end of the day, it has become a solidary affair, being shunned by fellow bloggers who perhaps live a life more robust or fruitful than I hope to have myself, with pointing fingers at my Stroke being a truly tiring situation, after a while…

But hey, tis not about "walking in each other's shoes", as everyone has their own paths to tread, and lives to lead, innit?

Be that as it may, be it a self-induced or welcomed wallowing in my self-state of being, all I can do at the moment is to push on and blog on, for folks who bother to read my blog in the first place, because that's all that matters, isn't it?

Make music for those who want to listen to it.
Write words which people who choose to want to read.

It's not about finding shoes that fit, but rather opening up your choices and possibly embrace (or not) the possibilities.

"Underground" for me, is likened to the ostrich's head, as it buried itself deep in the soil, unable to accept what exists above / overground and out in this world.

Cheers
Andy

Hello, Singapore!

I love my country, let there be no mistake about it. But it does not mean I love EVERYTHING about it, and two videos popped unto my radar that makes me both smile a wry smile and whimper away in shame.


Above are the actors from "Fast & Furious 6" reacting to the cost of vehicles in Singapore (which I have zero problems with, as I do not drive and have no driving license to worry about such situations in my life in SG), "chewing gum" bans and "caning for graffiti" is so last decade, folks!

and the below embarrassing video for "Water Wally Shower Dance" - a commissioned project by The Public Utilities Board of Singapore, telling kids to spend 5 minutes in the shower. This is how we run national campaigns, people. am ashamed indeed.

Now I need to go scrub myself off this lame video scarring my psyche, BRB.

Wading Thru The Waters of Time

The "highlight" of my trip to Jakarta the past weekend, was of an incident not too soon forgotten, and I have no pictures to prove it!

The day was Sunday night. There was pouring rain, and I was in the Star Wars Day Jakarta venue at Balai Kartini, literally a stone's throw away from my hotel Puri Dempasar - so close, that even in my diminished physical ability, I could still walk to and access! Back to the rain … which had since stopped, about 10-ish minutes to 9pm.

Now, I was to speed it back to my hotel room, for which my receipts were kept, for which I was to inform Yudi, for which to claim cash. And of course he was scheduled to board a bus heading back to Bandung by 9:30pm. I could hop back to my room within 10mins tops, so no problem!

But of course there had to be a mini flood between Balai and Puri, caused by the downpour prior!

I estimate the height of the water to be about one feet deep. And there was still traffic at the road turning where the flood was. Not a whole lot of lights, save for the car-headlights and some spill from the hotel.

Standing at the edge of the water, I was flabbergasted as to what to do. I am not all-Mr.Agile to skip and hop thru the water, and I had a plush in one hand and my bag filled with tees, in the other.

I zoned out for minutes, until I realized the water is not gonna subside anytime soon, and I had no choice but to somehow wade thru the water to reach "the other side"…

Took off my socks and shoes in one hand, while I tucked the plush under my shirt (which I thought was hilarious then) and step-by-agonizing-step, i waded thru the water (or "ponding", as Singapore has come to call it) … the fear was heightened as the road was darkened, and I did not want to drop into a gap or sumach nonsense, so each step was made with concern. So slow was I, that the uncles behind me and before surely would have thought I was a wussy!

My walking these days has not been the most agile, let me put it this way. Most times I shuffle, although when I catch myself doing that, I try to take note of my steps and walking stance … but in near-darkness and in water? Hell it was memorable alright.

But I made the dry land beyond, a mere 8 meters away, and lived to tell the tale. I could come up with a veiled metaphor for how that act impacted my life, but hell, I was just relieved I made it, and I was as proud of myself for making the trip hahaha

Made it back to the hotel room, and managed to SMS the info back to Yudi well before 930… which of course he did not receive until i received a message from him an hour later! *facepalm*

The Power of "Thank Yous"

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I didn't notice the mention on the "thank you" page of Clogtwo's recently released Machine Mouth artbook before, and I am humbled and honored ... I did not go specifically looking for the page, at the back of the book, as I very seldom receive "thanks", so this was completely unexpected.

I've been thinking back, to the times when folks have actually thanked me, in print, and realized that they do not happen that often at all, if any. Perhaps I have not done much to warrant thusly … and as for receiving thanks in person? Well, perhaps they might have missed my earshot ... Or perhaps I might have taken them for granted, as I might have thought that of other folks - of me - as well.

Be that as it may, a simple appreciation and gratitude for someone else who had done right by you, is more powerful a subtle notion, than one may realize or give credit to. A verbal or a written "thank you" is such a positive thing, isn't it?

It might brighten up someone else's day.
It might lightup someone's world, even if only for a moment.
It might bring spirit to someone who's own has been dwindling.

Say thanks.
Be thankful.

I would like to Thank YOU for the "thank you", Eman. :)

Cheers
Andy

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cupcake and Milo Breakfast #eatlife and Friday will 'begin' soon! Good morning, Singapore!


Yes, I actually still read the newspapers, but most times exclusively the "Life" section = shorter reads and more frivolous ... I get my "news" daily online anyways lol

Hating On Chinese Dramas

I have so much hatred and scorn for Chinese television dramas, on Cable. In any and all genres and time periods which they choose to portray. And by that, I met Chinese language dramas from China, not dubbed Taiwan or Hong Kong or Korean or Japanese offerings (They have another place of scorn all by themselves).

This all stems from Dad - who is now retired and staying at home - who constantly watches Chinese language programs. From the morning, to the last channel at night. Sure, in-between there might be other channels and languages, and I even manage to slip in some DVD-movies once in a while when Dad goes out, but generally I listen to more Chinese than I ever had in my entire life, adult or otherwise.

It's not that I dislike the Chinese language - I speak it myself at home, and sometimes with friends. And while my command of Mandarin is pedestrian and simply at best, and mainly orally (can't write for poop and can hardly read it, to the dismay of my Chinese Educated Parents, perhaps ;p), it is still "Singapore-Mandarin", which essentially means it is halfassed but somehow mild and monotonous, which admittedly, is fine by me and my standard of conversation, anyways.

Ironically, as a Chinese first born in Singapore, I literally think in English and am more comfortable speaking in English (NOT spectacular English, I might add lol), and am constantly frustrated by my lack of ability to speak or write or read Chinese hahahaha

The thing about Chinese Dramas from China, are that the actors/actresses EMOTE to the EXTREME. When they cry, the tears are torrential with agony on their faces, it looks as if life on Earth is at an end … and when they argue, they shout with such intensity, my eardrums vibrate. When they fight, is is likened to two wild animals screaming at each other, and the face-slaps are so visceral, it literally "hurts" from where I am sitting, I shit you not.

And this happens with such ridiculous regularity, it has become a bane to my existence. Even right now - as I am typing this - two "soldiers" in a period drama, are cussing at each other with so much venom, it's like stabbing butter-knives down my spine.

Imagine "Stage Drama", where actors emote with more intensity than whispers in feature films - to compensate the distance and sensory absorption of the audience - and now have a camera doing a close-up of their actions and audio. Dammit I can feel their spit on my face.

And while I cannot fault them for being totally absorbed in their roles - they are after all acting their guts out instead of phoning it in - the negative energy I receive, is unnerving. Somedays they really screw up my temperament for the day, somedays, they take away the smile from a decent nights' sleep.

I blog a mere distance away from the telly. Not more than 10 meters apart, and buffered by a pair of earphones, in an attempt to help keep my sanity at bay. I do not always like to have a pair of earphones on. I value silence more than anyone suspects, especially in the mornings. Personal-quirks aside, I really do not have much of a reprieve nor ability to change my lot in life right now.

Moving into my bedroom to work is not a real option for the time being, and having my own office space away from home, has become such a pipe-dream of immense proportions, it is tragic, comparable to me falling victim to Stroke (...okay, I exaggerate a bit here ;p).

Having this much scorn for the first entry in this new personal blog of mine, was never the intention. But then again, the intention was to blog about my life - the good and bad - so this'll work as good as any a first post, I reckon.

Now to go put on my earphones, and listen to Journey's Greatest Hits again for the umpteenth time, and hoping my Friday can cruise to a better calm sometime soon…