Friday, November 30, 2007

Texts November 2007

Crikey; a very well-balanced month in terms of genre, but I've been reading way too many munjen men. Also, not much good drama or art exhibited this time round.

+Danton Remoto’s “Black Silk Pajamas”
Koh Buck Song’s “The Worth of Wonder”
+Cyril Wong’s “tilting their plates to catch the light”

+Daren Shiau’s “Velouria”
+Anaïs Nin’s “Eros Unbound”
+Tash Aw’s “The Harmony Silk Factory”

+Frank Chin’s “The Chickencoop Chinaman/The Year of the Dragon”
+Tony Harrison’s “The Trackers of Oxyrhyncus”

+Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow’s “A Briefer History of Time”
+Peter Brook’s “The Open Door”
+Carl Honoré’s “In Praise of Slow”

+Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s “DMZ Vol. 1: On the Ground”
+Neil Gaiman’s “Heliogabalus”
+Howard Cruse’s “Stuck Rubber Baby”

+The Flying Circus Project’s “Superintense”
+The Necessary Stage’s “Good People”
Action Theatre’s “Postcards From Rosa”
LaSalle's "The Good Person of Sichuan"

+Charles Lim's "Wrong Turn"
Friedrich Dalsheim's "The Island of Demons"
+Joris Ivens's "Indonesia Calling"
most of Wong Kar Wai's "2046" until the DVD failed
+Lee Ang's "Lust, Caution"
+Michael Arias's "Tekkonkinkreet"

San Art’s “City Panoramic”
Palani Mohan’s “Vanishing Giants: Elephants of Asia”
Gaffer Studios and Starcap Galleries’ “Mastery in Contemporary Glass”
+Singapore Art Museum’s “From the Everyday to the Imagined: An Exhibition of Indian Art”
Chua Ek Kay’s “Along the River Banks”

Singapore Writers Festival + A Curious Stranger

Next few days I'll be ankle-deep in the:

Not that I'm an invited writer, but Chris Mooney-Singh's roped me in to help out with the poetry slam activities. Will be slamming alongside him, Bani Haykal and Charlie Dark of the UK, plus hopefully Sharanya Maivannan of Malaysia and some Taipei poets. Now if only I really had a repertoire of slam, that'd be nice.

Oh, I'm a fraud of a poet, I am. But that doesn't mean that odd little incidences don't happen as a result.

Meet Jens Grunwald, f'rinstance. He e-mailed me a coupla days ago saying he was a fan of mine who'd tried to buy last boy in Singapore last time he'd come, but hadn't succeeded. I arranged to meet him in BooksActually on their 2nd birthday to push my favourite indie bookstore onto a 1st world economy bibliophile; we met up and he told me the whole story: he'd been fired from his old job, gone moping off to Singapore, wandered into Borders because he just luvs being surrounded by books, picked up last boy by chance, loved one particular Wilfred Owen line I used in my cento, then found out at the cash register that the sonofabitches at his company had cancelled his credit card, null and void; he had to bum a ride off a friend to get back to the airport, he was that cashless.

And thus he vowed that he would, some day, return to Singapore and contact the author of last boy and tell him of that black day when he was reduced to abject poverty in Orchard Road. Crikey.

Anyway, now he's salesman for some MNC that peddles paraphernalia to Central Asia and Europe and Chile and now wow Singapore, so he took a break from the Singapore Design Festival setup to eat muffins and tea with me at 125A Telok Ayer Street, where I was sure to push as many Cyril Wong books on him as poss (as well as peddling a copy of SQ21). Everyone was there, so it was pretty chummy:

From left to right: me, Jason Wee, Jens and Michelle Quah, who proudly told Jens that she was one of the named few I dedicated last boy to in the first place. I drew Jens a smiley-sun on the title page with a doggie and pussycat bearing flowers in their teeth. He'll be back again. Incidentally, he's the spitting image of a blond version of my friend Dylan Stillwood from New York.

Anyhoo, on Sat 1 December I'll be hosting a Poetry Slam at 1pm at the National Museum, then attending a poetry workshop from 4-5pm, after which I'll attend the Word Forward book launch and rush off for Eeshaun's wedding and hop over for Rojak 10. On Sun 2 December a 1-5pm workshop at the British Council; then on Monday night 7pm a slam at the Arts House, then on Sunday 9 Dec I'll be in KL doing an international slam, wah lau.

Plus I have the ACS commemorative book to brush up and a semi-pornographic AIDS awareness pamphlet to copywrite. In addition, I am growing a moustache. More on that later.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

ROJAK 10: The Collaborative Edition

My art collective VISTA Lab is gonna be featured in the next edition of ROJAK this Saturday night:

Dear friends,

Welcome to ROJAK 10: The Collaborative Edition! (in conjunction with the Singapore Design Festival 2007 and the inaugural ArchiFest 2007)

Head down to the historic City Hall Building (Level 3: Chamber) this coming Saturday, 1 December at 8pm. The venue is kindly hosted by Singapore Institute of Architects.

This special edition of ROJAK will feature 5 works of a collaborative nature spanning the fields of architecture, product design, film, theatre, performance art and multimedia.

And they are Magical Spaces: Adib J, Yeo Jia-Jun, Rofan Teo, outofstock: Wendy Chua & Gabriel Tan, V.I.S.T.A. Lab: Ka Fai with various artists, Loo Zihan & Ruby Pan and syntfarm: Vladimir Todorovic & Andreas Schlegel.

The uber-cool invite artwork is by JUN from UFHO.

Like always, please bring drinks to share for the ROJAK dingy and spread the ROJAK sharing spirit :)

See you there! :)

Thanks for reading :)

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that grows systems for the Singaporean creative community.
Visit FARM today!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

La verkistoj de Singapuro estas internacia!

Did you know that Alfian Sa'at and Cyril Wong not only have Wikipedia entires in English, but also French, Spanish, Portugese, German, Italian and Esperanto? Alfie additionally has entries in Catalan and Galician.

Other notable inequalities:

1) The Old Guard, i.e. Edwin Thumboo and Arthur Yap, have only English entries.

2) No-one I've mentioned has entries in our other National Languages of Chinese, Malay or Tamil.

Information correct as of the date given above, of course. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gua berumur 27 tahun.

Thanks for the birthday wishes guys! (Who knew the Facebook revolution would have this effect? I was able to turn 26 in perfect seclusion in contrast to this.)

Best gift of the day (considering my parents were out of town): a special birthday roda, in which I got my ass thoroughly whupped by everyone attending Sunday's capoeira class.

'I didn't know 27 felt so old!'

Standing in the background you will see evidence of why I put up with the physical trauma. Yowza. (Kidding: Heng Boon isn't really my type. Chew on the other hand...)

Just got back from celebrations of my godma's 60th birthday. She's born on 29 November, but she decided to have a big ol' abalone chowdown at Allson hotel tonight, and I got to cut the cake with her.

Yes, that is Mediacorp TV playing in the background. Channel News Asia came on during the noodle course and announced that the body of Reuben Kee had been found. I'm his friend on Facebook but I have no idea who he is. Was. Urk.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Suicide and Cookies

Read Megan Seiling's essay in The Stranger. Go on, read it.

One of the several reasons I didn't stay on in New York.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"The Intern"

Lucas Entertainment's latest porn comedy, starring Ben Andrews as "Ugly Benny".

More (including the XXX trailer) here.

On the theme of perverse videography, is there actually any connection between ASEAN and the music video for Stephanie Sun ASEAN song? It's just a National Day Parade rip-off. Couldn't they have several different singers from different countries performing it? Or at least kids wearing something more obviously Southeast Asian than Giordano?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Too Much Information

I have a terrible habit, when a writing deadline is due, to surf Wikipedia for trivia.

I just handed in Chaps 3 and 4 of "On His Wings: Soaring" for ACS (Independent), and in process I have also learned:

1) That there is a soul food item named the Luther Burger, which consists of "a full pound of ground beef, cheese, grilled onion, five strips of bacon, and two Krispy Kreme donuts in place of the buns".

2) That Pussy Galore was a lesbian cat burglar and acrobat with a history of sexual abuse in the original text of Ian Fleming's Goldfinger, and that Honor Blackman, at 37 years of age, was the oldest actress to ever play a Bond girl (right next to a 34 year-old Sean Connery).

3) That in the early days of the Muppets, Jim Henson created a Kafkaesque existentialist teleplay entitled The Cube, with a premise that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Canadian cult horror movie of the same name.

4) That a new species of glassfrog, a creature whose heart, liver and digestive tract are visible through its skin, has been named after Amélie Poulain.

5) That creme de papaya, a blend of papaya and vanilla ice cream topped with creme de cassis, was a big fad in 1990s Brazil. (Other Brazilian desserts include the brigadeiro, the quindim and the açaí na tigela.)

Okay, can't really remember much more. Will close with a fake trailer made by Robert Rodriguez as part of the never-realised mexploitation genre, screened during the doublebill of Grindhouse.

The lead actor, Danny Trejo, is 63 years old and played the mad professor in Spy Kids. It's been greenlighted for a full feature production!

Monday, November 12, 2007

¿Y sí olvidaras suicidarte a mitad de la historia?

¡Caramba! ¡I’ve been translated into Spanish!

My poem "Ne Zha", to be precise, by the Mexican undergrad blogger/Oriental scholar Feliciano Omar, who seems to dig Asian culture in general. I wrote to him and he was suitably impressed that I speak Spanish (he can translate written Chinese and Japanese, but can't speak it too fluently, he says, which is understandable). He's the young Latino guy being sandwiched by the gringos and japonesas here:

And he wants to embark on monumental translations of texts in classical Chinese, such as the palindromic 回文 and the labyrinthine 璇璣圖 as reproduced here:

If it weren't for the photo, I'd think he was a character from a Borges story.

(Incidentally, my publisher Enoch says he's translated me into Chinese too, but he never gets round to uploading those pieces. Puta de madre.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Toi la mot Whore For Art

...Just to let everyone know, the pho did help. I was cheered up for a lot of Saigon, and the FCP artists rock.

Of course, I was terribly mercenary at the event - I gave away copies of "last boy" to everyone (and to all the writers in Saigon I met who could speak English) on the assumption that it'll somehow work to extend the influence of my words across the nations, nyahahahaha.

Also did a reading of "The Right Hand" from "Impetus" at the presentations at Galerie Quynh, which was well received. They all really liked Brian Gothong Tan's video art of me as well!

Yes, the image of my naked body has been projected across a wall in Vietnam. Someday the world!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Crying Circus

Flying off for Vietnam tomorrow, for the second leg of the Flying Circus Project. I know I oughta be psyched, but I'm slipping into depression: partly the nobody-loves-me variety and partly the my-god-I-can't-communicate-properly variety, with just a hint of these-are-such-beautiful-fabulous-people-I-can-never-aspire-to-become-oh-wait-what's-the-point.

Maybe some pho will help.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Texts October 2007

I seem to have consumed a surprising amount of Southeast Asian writing this month. Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia (well, an Australian play set there anyway), together with a spattering of African-American feminists, Lebanese art theorists, French cartoonists and mad German philosophers. Anyhoo, 27 books in total - not bad at all.

+Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Poetry as Insurgent Art”
+Annie Freud’s “The Best Man That Ever Was”
+Audre Lorde’s “The Black Unicorn”
Madeleine Lee’s “A Single Headlamp”
Goh Poh Seng’s “As If the Gods Love Us”

Michelle Ha’s “Vanished”
+Tan Twan Eng’s “The Gift of Rain”
+Johann S. Lee’s “To Know Where I’m Coming From”
+Toni Morrison’s “Love”
+Duong Thu Huong’s “Novel Without a Name”

Stella Kon’s “Prize-Winning Plays”
+John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation”
+Peter Shaffer’s “Equus”
Tom Stoppard’s “Jumpers”
Graham Shell’s “Bali: Adat”

+Ray Huang’s “1587: A Year of No Significance”
+Leona Lo’s “From Leonard to Leona”
Richard E. Nisbett’s “The Geography of Thought”
+Arthur Schopenhauer’s “On the Suffering of the World”
+Martin Buber’s “The Way of Man”

Mr Miyagi’s “In My Time”
+Jean-Jacques Sempé’s “Everything is Complicated”

Lee Wen’s “The Republic of Daydreams”
+Tony Chakar’s “The Eyeless Map”
+Bilal Khbeiz’s “Globalization and the Manufacture of Transient Events”
Stephanie Cheng’s “The First Lady on the Moon”
Sha Najak’s “Juliet: That Stupid Bitch #2”

+Theatreworks’s “120”
Buds Theatre Company’s “Essential Framing”
+Pichet Klunchun and Jerome Bel’s “About Khon”
+Opera Studio’s “Alcis and Galatea”
+Zai Kuning, Yuen Chee Wai and Leslie Low's “Tom Waits for Nobody”

+Michael Moore’s “Sicko”
Timur Bekmambetov's “Day Watch”
+Selections of the Cal Arts 2006 Animation Final Year Projects
+Ekachai Uekrongtham’s “Pleasure Factory”
+Jasmine Ng’s “Pink Paddlers”

+Haji Widayat's "Widayat Between Worlds: A Retrospective"
+Singapore Art Museum's “Big Picture Show”
Chu Yuan’s “Relentless”
The Esplanade's “Artventure”
J. Henry Fair’s “Industrial Scars”
+Chinese Heritage Centre’s “Nantah Pictorial Exhibition” and “Chinese More or Less: An Exhibition on Overseas Chinese Identity”
+Jurong Regional Library’s ”Sacred Legacy: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian”
+Cheng Guang Feng’s “The Traveller”
+Maica Delfino, +Farhan Razak, Sha Najak. Jason Lee and Mohammed Faizal’s “We Don’t Need No Education”