Thursday, November 30, 2006


My little brother Yi-Xian is studying at the University of Virginia (that's him after skydiving below). He recently went to his roommate's house for Thanksgiving. His blog is password-protected, so I had to re-post his latest entry (with permission of course). It says a lot about the way we were brought up, as well as our strange sense of meconnaissance towards American suburbia.

"Prosperity. Abundance. Affluence. Thats what strikes me about Fairfax, which is in itself representative of America itself. Upper middle class America.

I am under no illusions of my own upbringing in Singapore. King Albert Park is not the long kaw street which i pretend it to be. But the life that I've lived, as compared to the life that my room mate is used to has discrepancies which strike me. Dad is new money, mom is old money who struggled through the trails of new money with dad. I've grown up to look at price first before looking at quality when making purchases. I buy what i figure i need.

When i was in Singapore, i did splurge at times, but certainly not often. Necessity and cost benefit analysis have always been factors in making material decisions.

Its not like that in America. In a nation with abundant prosperity, and where even the poor and homeless receive benefits, the kids here grow up with things around them they don't really need, yet they don't realize it themselves.

Clothing. Fridges. The multiple TV's, the multiple game consoles they have, the den's they have, the indoor gym they forgot they had downstairs in the basement. They leave lights on, and waste and waste. Its part of their culture I guess. Part of the American dream is to have the ability to do so.

Casestudy: Bottled water. In Singapore we live on a stable supply of clean potable water from the taps at a reasonable price. Here in America that isn't always the case. Hell in the Bahamas when we were staying in the cheapo Towne Hotel, we had salt water streaming down from the taps. (which in itself wasn't all that bad given the cheap cheap cost) But the Harris family here drinks bottled water only. And their water supply is fine, just as good as Singapore water. Why waste money.

This just came back to me. In Tekong we had to drink crap water, not that that's anything in itself. But I guess the Singaporean male population learns to drink water from the tap there. But a vast majority of Singapore girls (generalisations, I concede) find that repulsive. But at least they don't drive down to NTUC and purchase 10 gallons worth of water!

America amazes me. The houses. The lifestyle. I understand why people immigrate here now, after seeing it for myself. And why people queue up in the embassies all over the world for the Visa's. For the green cards. I think I do. But I don't identify though. I liked my upbringing, and i'll be damn sure my kids grow up with one similar to that. With cram education, KAP Macdonalds, rice rice and more rice, tap water, heavy schoolbags, report cards, a cane (still debating about that one), a moody gloomy father, and a healthy sense of parental respect plus the army. I know i'm half spoilt. But i don't want them spoilt. And if they're ¾ spoilt, thats good enough for me."

Monday, November 27, 2006

If Zoe can do it, so I can I!

I remember a while ago someone noted on my blog that most intellectuals' blogs are chock-full of political views... mine, however, consists of stray odds and ends about sport, sex, books and trivia. Said reader called this "refreshing".

I however would like to reiterate that I am ultimately also a political animal. And in protest against the retention of Section 377A of the Penal Code, which forbids male-male sexual acts, I offer this graphic in tribute:

Rock never die, babe.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

We live in a dangerous world

I'm making a list of concepts I've been learning in Wikipedia when I should have been writing.

For instance,

1. Hammerspace: in cartoon physics, the mysterious dimension where large objects may be stored behind characters' backs.

2. Lithopedion: aka stone baby; a calcified foetus, the result of an ectopic pregnancy which cannot be reabsorbed by the body. In surgery, a 76 year-old woman had a stone baby removed that was over 50 years old.

3. Simlish : a nonsense language invented by voice actors of the popular computer game, the Sims. Despite its lack of organised grammar, players have attempted to crack this language and codify its laws. The Black-Eyed Peas have recorded songs in this language.

4. Moon Type: a writing system for the blind, an alternative to Braille, reportedly easier to learn for those blinded after birth. It is used by only 400 people, all of whom reside in England.

5. Heterochromia: a condition in which the colour of an individual's irises is different. This may be congenital or acquired, through injury, inflammation, tumours or misuse of eyedrops.

6. Lori and Reba Schapell: craniopagus conjoined twins from Pennsylvania. They share 30% of their brain matter and have distinct personalities: Reba is a trophy-winning bowler, country and western music player and wheelchair designer. Lori is a laundress, and holds Reba's mike.

7. Suncake: 太陽餅, a popular Taiwanese dessert from Taichung and an alternative to mooncakes.

8. Sky Kingdom: Kerajaan Langit, the infamous Teapot Cult of Trengganu. Founded by Ariffin Mohamed aka Ayah Pin in 1973, it emphasised ecumenical dialogue, inter-religious harmony, dream interpretation, and worship of its leader, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Shiva, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed. Designated as one of 22 heretical Islamic sects in Malaysia, its commune was demolished in July 2005.

9. Kanzi: a 26 year-old male bonobo ape from Des Moines, probably the non-human animal with the greatest command of human language. Kanzi has demonstrated understanding of over 3,000 human spoken words and communicates by typing via a system of 348 lexigrams. Efforts have been made to allow him to communicate with other linguistically talented apes such as the ASL-speaking gorrilla Koko and the orang-utan Chantek, via Internet chat.

10. Coulrophilia: Sexual attraction to clowns. Nuff said.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Texts 16 Oct 2006-15 Nov 2006

Well, I'm doing better on the numbers of books I'm reading... though this month I evidently cheated a bit by concentrating on poetry. Also, I'm definitely focussed on sex and gender in the non-fiction field.

Laurence Ferlinghetti's "Coney Island of the Mind"
Yeow Kai Chai's "Secret Manta"
Tony Harrison's "Under the Clock"
Dante Alighieri's "Purgatorio"

Pedro Calderon de la Barca's "Life is a Dream"

Hitomi Kanehara's "Snakes and Earrings"
Muriel Spark's "The Snobs"

Gerrie Lim's "Idol to Icon: The Making of Celebrity Brands"
Laurence O'Toole's "Pornocopia"
Michel Foucault's "Birth of the Clinic"
Xinran's "The Good Women of China"

*Graphic Texts*
Paul Di Filippo's "Top Ten: Beyond the Farthest Precinct"
Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home: A Tragicomic"
Design Singapore's "20/20 Movement: Singapore Design Tour"
Edward Monkton's "A Lovely Love Story"
Doreen Cronin's "Vote for Goat"
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's "The Gruffalo" and "The Gruffalo's Child"
(admittedly, the last few are children's books)

ETC's "Horseface"
Cake Theatre's "Cheek"
Eleanor Wong's "Jackson on a Jaunt"
Muna Tseng's "Stella's Room"
The Fun Stage's "Initiation International" (second night)
Joshua Greene's "Esther" (live reading of musical script-in-progress)

Asia Carrera's "Appassionata"
Annabel Chong's "Pornomancer"
"Akeelah and the Bee"
"DOA: Dead or Alive"
Kim Ki-Duk's "Time"
Davis Guggenheim's "An Inconvenient Truth
Martin Campbell's "Casino Royale"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Did I mention I'm also a performance artist?

Title: Coverage
Materials: 92 Biennale badges, black tights, Biennale tote bag, names of Singapore artists not included in the Biennale scribbled all over my body.
Location: Biennale closing events.
Purpose: To raise consciousness of the lack of coverage of non-Biennale local artists.
Reactions: Generally positive, even from NAC staff. Biennale director Low Kee Hong was especially appreciative that I'd placed Tan Swie Hian on my crotch.

At LaSalle-SIA School for the Arts.

With a lovely young man in Tan Kai Syng's video art class.

Washing off the words. It was a rainy day and I was meeting a young man in the evening.
That being said, come to my poetry book promotion at Books Actually on Thursday, y'all. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bye-bye Biennale

Yeah, I know I've been a Biennale bitch for all this time, but I'm sentimental about having been part of a seminal, I dunno, history-making cultural event. It's like the time I was in ACPS and we broke the World Record for the longest consecutive game of musical chairs.

Anyway, given that the Biennale's over, I figured I might as well upload a few last graphics of the Biennale site hardly anyone went to see - the heartland HDB flat, Block 79, Indus Road!

Below are two K2 boys who actually live in the flat and attend the mushroom-growing kindergarten and torment cats in the neighbourhood. They talked to me about the event when I got there just after the door had closed for the interior exhibition. And yes, the one on the left is holding a Biennale brochure.

The second time I went, I managed to view Santiago Cucullu's "Come to Me". It's right there, below - it's the stuff that looks like colourful laundry going down the line of the flat. Sometimes art is a little too well camouflaged.
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And as we approached, a signboard. And a cat. Loads of sleeping cats in this district.

I got to Learning Site's "Underground Mushroom Farm" late, but the ESO let me in anyway. They've taught Singapore kindergarten kids to grow oyster mushrooms in this giant truncated cuboctahedron. There's photos on the walls showing how the kids learn to cook this stuff too... breaking out of the commonplace capitalist cycle.

Unfortunately, the mushrooms need cold temperatures to grow. When the air-con broke down, the bags of shitake died. They ended up as these giant heaps of compost, like mutant pigeon turds.

And here's a man interacted with Nakhee Sung'smural, "Passage"! It turned out much better than her Tanglin Camp installation, "Radar", which was fugly.
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And here's the two tykes interacting with Takafumi Hara's "Signs of Memory: HDB Spaces". He interviewed various senior citizens who lived in the flats about their memories of the spaces. One woman remembered the Bukit Ho Swee fires. Residents were involved in the colouring in of these pictures later.

And just on the left - some found art! Two paper cranes left sitting on the chess table. I would have got a better picture, but it felt uncircumspect to touch them.

But of course, the gallery space must return to its inhabitants.
And what's up next? The National Museum opening! I'm pumped. Yea, state-sponsored couture! I'd hit it.
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I'm experiencing a fit of nostalgia for 2005. God, those were the days. New York, my thesis on Garcia Marquez and Mo Yan, a creative writing chapbook in the works and sex with boys all colours of the rainbow.

This is my ex, Chuck Alvarez. He is pretty.

This is my creative writing partner, Courtney Aja Barton. She's also pretty.

This is my sister, E-Ching. She can look pretty with a Viking hat on.

I, however, resemble a human turd.
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