August 29, 2006

past/present tense

Nothing spectacular today. Just a simple picture. A scooter and a bicycle that's as old, or older, than my mother. Thoughts and images playing in the movie in my head. In 2 days, Malaysia celebrates 49 years of independence. Yup, not too long ago, we were gardeners and servants to people who managed plantations and sipped tea, ate cucumber sandwiches while listening to the click of croquette balls coming from the lawn. We were once called Malaya. August 31, 1957 we shouted, with fists held high, the words 'Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!'

9 years later, an island broke away from us and today known as Singapore.

49 years isn't very long. We're still a young nation. But our history books tell a different story. A history whose stories are in constant debate, some even lost. The present need to have the biggest, brightest, newest, longest has caused many of us to forget what is important and discard the disposable. The word 'Archive' is as new as our nation. We are slowly beginning to appreciate what was left to us way before '57. For some things, it's too late. The debate about our foolish carelessness continues.

Once a year, we group together and celebrate our independence. My question is: What are we free of/from?

Once a year, I sit home and wonder what the future holds for my independence.

Once a year, I celebrate. I celebrate that I have a home to come back to.

August 28, 2006

supernaturally tall

No effects, no PS tweaking. I was fooling about with exposure, aperture and shutter speed settings. I wanted to take a picture of the view I get from my house. It was late at night and restless, as one usually is when insomnia is a good buddy. Yup, that's the Twin Towers. Strange glow. You know, there's a story about how there's a 88th floor that humans can't access. It was built to appease the spirits that used to rest on the land it was built on. Then I see this shot and I go oooohhhhh.

August 27, 2006

virtually monitored

It's Sunday and I thought I'd post something fun. Can you spot the Edwin?

I think it's fantastic that I've recently struck up some new friendships with people I've only ever seen via DP photos and a tiny little profile picture. You know I 'see' more of you guys than I do my 'real' friends? It's funny how the world works. As a race, we're conquering a lot of space, even going upwards to accommodate the population growth. Colonials of a different era, driven by cheap, accessible technology. We've taken over virtual space too. Dot Com bust? Today tells a story of how dependent we have become to the word 'Enter.'

DP has given us this entrance into each other's worlds and for that, I thank everyone for giving me over 100 scenic escapes. But having said that, I'd like to say goodbye to Akita DP. Midnitebara has decided to move on. We can still visit her, just not on a daily basis. Go over and say hi.

The pressures of posting daily gets to the best of us. Here's a quote I found that expresses how I sometimes feel about it.

"Photography is 90% sheer, brutal drudgery. The other 10% is inspiration."
-Brett Weston, brother of Edward (1911-1993)

90% eh? I'm hanging on to the 10% as if my life depended on it!

August 26, 2006

backstage: another actor prepares...

What a day it has been! The electricity in my area was out the whole day and only just came back on 10 minutes ago. Usually I would be screaming with annoyance over the inability of the Electric Company of sorting it out quickly. Today, however, I took this time to begin reading a book I just bought. I was also under house-arrest. My electric gate couldn't open and the key to open it manually refused to fit in the keyhole. Who cares really? 5 gas boiled water cups of coffee and 3 chapters into Susan Sontag's On Photography has left me quite a contented man.

Now that I have current running through the lines, I'm able to post today's picture. The companion shot to Anne's picture. This is Karen, our Singaporean counterpart. One helluva an actor I tell you. When I first met her last year, I was blown away by her sheer centeredness in tackling characters. At first glance, carrying her multi-coloured PVC handbag and Havaianas slippers, you could hardly tell that this was an actor in full control of her talent (yes, Karen. I am in awe of you. Couldn't tell, could you?)

I managed to capture this shot without looking through the viewfinder. It was about 5 minutes before she had to get on stage. I just held it at my chest and clicked. Oh, the Singaporeans arrive tomorrow to continue our journey on the KL stage. Karen has already expressed that we're all going to pig-out on local food the moment they arrive. Can't wait!

August 25, 2006

backstage: an actor prepares...

Hope you guys don't mind if I post a shot or two from the festival. Of course, my camera clicked when it had the time. 2 pictures stood out in particular. Here's Anne, my fellow Malaysian actor who was getting some make-up tips from our wardrobe mistress. We thought it was funny that she needed tips having been an actor for what seems like a century but the moment we heard Anne was getting tips from Pauline, all of us ran into the women's dressing room and started teasing Anne about it.

We really had some precious moments backstage. Thank heavens for the architects and contractors who had the common sense of having thick walls put up. The audience would've wondered where the sound of cackling was coming from every night. We were great onstage. However, we were a hooting riot off it!

August 24, 2006

smiling return

I'm back! Had the most tiring but most satisfying experience at the Singapore Theatre Festival. Days and nights breathing theatre at it's most exhilarating. We closed the festival to astounding success and now I'm back home ready for the show to return to Malaysia. It opens next week. Can't wait!

Sorry it took me this long to post KLDP. I came back yesterday only to find that my broadband service was down. It only just came back. A blessing in disguise I think. The moment I arrived home, I had to tend to the projects that I'd neglegted while I was away. The past 24 hours have been gruelling and the week doesn't end till November, I think.

I've missed so many of you and now I have to acquaint myself with the new DP members. Not sleeping tonight I guess. It's so good to be back home. Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes.

August 10, 2006

fire in the sky

I'm off everyone! For the next 2 weeks, I'll be unable to post or make any comments on your wonderful pictures. I will miss you. Not too much I hope or it might just turn me insane from the withdrawal symptoms. Singapore's broadband services are quite expensive. However, seeing that I still need to check the odd email now and then, I'll sacrifice a couple of body nourishing meals and travel the world. Maybe I'll post something from my stock photos. Who knows?

This picture was taken yesterday. I amazed myself even that it came out looking like this. The is the perfect picture to express how inflamed with passion I am about this trip, about life and how KLDP has given me a new point of view. All this goes into my actor's bag and will give me solace when I need to draw inspiration to create.

I'll see you when I'm back home. The 22nd of August. Pencil the date in your calendars.

Oh, and modesty is not in my vocabulary. Tomorrow is my 32rd birthday!

August 9, 2006

dive right in!

One day more and I'll be riding the bus down to the Lion City. The packing continues as I battle with what is sensible and necessary versus everything in my wardrobe. You know, when I go on holidays I never have to worry like this. However, all these trivial worries of mine are nothing compared to the excitement that's building in me. I'm performing in the inaugural Singapore Theatre Festival!!!

So, here's a cool refreshing pool. See how the boy is enjoying himself? That's going to be me when I dive into the arms of the festival. Feeling it wash all over me. Wooooohooooooo!

August 8, 2006

on the rails

It was late at night, I was driving home after our final rehearsal before we leave for Singapore. So many thoughts swirled in my head. What do I pack? What didn't I need to bring? Oh f**k, how on earth am I suppossed to minimize my packing? How much money should I bring? This time I had to be frugal. Can't turn into a shopping fiend. Blah blah blah...

Because of everything I needed to think through, I took the longer route home, just so I could make a little room in my head before I put it down on my pillow. Then I saw this. One of the domes on top of the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) main office building. KTM is the national railway administration. I had always wanted to take a daytime shot of it, so why not a night one seeing I never went by that way otherwise?

A quick slam on the brakes, and a tripod setup, a couple of adjustments, click click and back in the car to the unanswered questions. My suitcase is staring hungrily at me. It's just swallowed 15 t-shirts!

August 7, 2006

it's only natural

Hello everyone! It's Monday and another thrilling week begins. Who knows what will happen globally and personally? I know I'll be going to Singapore for the festival in a couple of days. How about you? For those of you who have the joy of the seasons, Summer is ending and the leaves will soon turn russet and gold. For me, it's a most remarkable time watching nature age yet again. To contemplate and wonder the strength of Gaia that we have the nerve to mess up. She will one day spread her roots to rejuvenate when we are dead and gone. And the seasons keep changing. Those of us in the tropics sit in air-conditioned rooms oblivious to it all. The image in my head is straight out of a Manga/Anime movie.

This is a picture taken in my garden (again) and it's from the Jambu Air tree. Don't ask what it is in English. I've asked everyone I know. Nobody knows. This is the flower that eventually turns into a fruit. No such luck in my garden. The birds and the bees get to them before they have that chance. But knowing the creatures, they go off and pollinate elsewhere. Which means there's more growing somewhere. You see, Gaia. Don't mess with the b***h!

August 6, 2006

just can it!

I've always been an advocate of the saying "Say It, Don't Spray It!" only because here in KL, grafitti is usually an act of vandalism more than an expression of creativity and art unlike in other countries where I've stood admiring walls of spray-can art. This is a clarion call to Malaysian owners of spray paint. Invest some time in your art and create something that's worthy getting the authorities's knickers in a twist for. No, no, I'm not encouraging vandalism. It's creativity that I'm committed to. If you want to do it, go for it and do it right. That goes for everything in life really. No worries, no insecurities. Leave all that at the door. Believe in what you can achieve, keep breathing and leap... the net will appear.

August 5, 2006

a time supreme

You know, sometimes we make promises to people, as much as possible we keep them. However, with all the stuff that piles on our platter, only a handful of promises ever make it. We still try not to disappoint anyone.

Anyone remember my post A Love Supreme? I hope so. Kate wanted to see more of the courthouse and I promised I'd show her more. So, in B+W, is the clock from the courthouse.

Hope you like it Kate. Have a great weekend everyone.

ps. here is the actual shot. pure and unadulterated.
click to see the larger image. it took over an hour to post this.
sort it out Blogger!

August 4, 2006

that's what friends are for

An abandoned police shelter, in the middle of the city. Rakan (Buddy) Cop. It's the same everywhere in the world, innit? Ain't no buddy of mine. The police force in Malaysia isn't well respected. They've even gone as far as start a "No Bribes" campaign to help clean up their image. And I should stop here. The government recently said that Malaysian bloggers face a criminal charge if 'unhealthy' things are posted regarding our nation. Also we talk 'bollocks' said one newspaper. Okay then.

I love the Police. Especially Roxanne. Great song.

August 3, 2006

on a pedestal

It's time to lighten up.

I'm a tall person so 98% of the world is shorter than me. Most everyone I know I've nicknamed 'midget.' However, I've always wondered why women had a thing for platform pumps like the ones in this picture. Word of advice ladies: Men want you to look up at them, not the other way around.

August 2, 2006

empty chairs at empty tables

I had wanted to post something bright and cheerful today, but certain circumstances have led me to this image. Those of you familiar with the musical Les Miserablé will recognise the title I used for this post. It is the song Marius sings when he thinks of his friends and family who became victims and have since become a sad memory.

I think I commented on nearly every DP blog yesterday out of sheer restlessness and because I needed to get away from tagging my photos. There were some fabulous pictures yesterday. The last 2 DPs I hit were Beirut, which I hadn't visited for weeks, and Montchauvet. Please visit them if you haven't.

As much as the work I do is political and satirical which aims to create some level of awareness, I can't help but feel how trivial it all is. Helpless, sitting here typing these words, practically doing nothing but complaining to a friendly ear about the folly of humanity, joining the odd protest now and then... helpless and I'm feeling useless. The daily news coverage is bloody frustrating and depressing. It's days like this I look to my mother for support and I remember my late father.

Sorry for being this melancholic. I've convinced myself that current events have something to do with Mars being the closest it'll ever be to Earth. If so, then the next decade will bring some peace of mind as Mars retracts and loosens it's grip. I hope (as usual). You know what? I'll still be alive then.

August 1, 2006

DP Theme Day: Self-Portrait In My Favourite Place a.k.a. the journey with my vanity and ego continues

For the past month, since the theme was announced, I struggled to find the one singular picture that would best describe the place where I was most satisfied and fulfilled. My favourite watering hole, café, road side food stall, restaurant, all the rooms in my house, with my friends, on a plane even. I have pictures of myself in all these places and more. Each one with it's own reason to why it's my favourite. It took me close to 10 hours to narrow down my choice to 2. Then I went to bed.

Today, I chose this one. This was taken about 2 years ago when I performed, designed, directed and produced my company's inaugural production, in K.L. of course. A first child of sorts and it made me proud that I finally began my life's journey. There's nothing quite like the adrenaline rush that comes at the end of any performance. When the audience applauds and it is that moment you see how months of passionate work come to fruition, knowing that you did something right. Really, there aren't any words to truly describe the sensation. My work means the world to me. To top that off, it became the biggest winner in the Theatre category at last year's Arts Awards. My ego was humbled.

On stage (and off) is my most favourite of places.

Phew. Theme day accomplished. Now, wander to these other cities and have a look at more self-portraits.
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