Monday, June 30, 2008

The Boy Who Asked Too Many Questions

Alec Tok, the Singaporean theatre'n'film director who's putting me up here, made this short film a few years ago:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Celebrate (bio)Diversity!!!

I'm gonna distract myself from my NYC gay drama for a while. Couple of weeks ago, I took my niece Kimberlyn to the Raffles Biodiversity Museum in NUS.

This is her at Compassvale Point with her cute little sister Kerrilyn. Kerrilyn has a bewitching smile and no sense of focus.

Kimberlyn can be focussed at times, but on that day she was just so thrilled by the phantasmagorical plethora of taxidermia that she was exhibiting the most darling of ADHD symptoms.

Lookit this stuff! Innit cool?

Li'l Miss Linnaeus and I were having fun, certainly.

She particularly loved this leopard cat, one of the last seen specimens in Singapore. It was run over by a car sometime in the '90s, so it's got a squashed face with pink squishy bits coming out. Somehow death and disembowelment (or defacement?) is not a disqualifying factor in kawaii-ness.

She also loved the stuffed tiger. She wants to own one when she's rich. Who knows?

And who wouldn't love a cuddly sun bear cub?

Or a mummified macaque?

I took a photo of this insect (among many) because it had Raffles' name in it.

As does this flower, the original Rafflesia. Ahhh, a thing of beauty is a joy forever.

In other news, have met with the siblings in New York. They can't wait to come home and take Kim on rock-climbing and book-hunting excursions. Woo-weet!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What makes this sorrow bearable

is the knowledge that I too
have caused him sorrow

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'll be in NYC from 23 June to 5 July.

In fact, I'm in Changi Airport Terminal 3 right now.

So don't call me, can? Waste phone money. :)

P.S. It's an early morning flight, so I'm camping out here all night. It's not bad.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This is how much I rule.

First off, I've actually completed one of those DIY wooden dinosaur skeleton models you can buy for $6 from the Science Centre. They always used to elude me when I was a kid, and I'd break the pieces. Now, I have matured:

Beaut, innit? This one's a dragon and a phoenix battling over the sun. Way cooler than a stegosaurus, huh?

And just as importantly, I've published my first novel, "Eating Air". It's already selling at Kinokuniya.

As noted before, it's actually a novelisation of the movie by Kelvin Tong and Jasmine Ng, which I lerrrrved when it came out in 1999. Last year I was commissioned to write it by National Library Board, and it's finally out, together with Dr Yeo Wei Wei's novelisation of Royston Tan's "4:30" and James Toh's rendition of Eric Khoo's "12 Storeys".

And damn, we had a pretty posh launch. It was held in The Pod @ the National Library (i.e. that weird bubble on the 17th floor). There was an absurdly theoretical moderator:

And an absurdly solipsistic question from the floor:

And, as you can see, hordes of library officials who had no idea what they were doing there.

Strangely enough, Royston, James and Eric failed to appear at this launch. Only the "Eating Air" folks came out in force: Kelvin, Jasmine and I more or less dominated the panel. Following which, we went over to VivoCity's Sushi Tei to get stoned on sake, soba and salmon sashimi. Sedap.

Here's me, Kelvin and Jasmine.

Here's (from left to right) publisher Enoch Ng, fellow writer Dr Yeo Wei Wei, a grinning Kelvin and a derisive Jasmine. Almost in the picture is Kat, Kelvin's assistant director at Boku films.

And I plunge back into obscurity. Just watch me. :)

UPDATE: Ooh ooh ooh! Channel News Asia has an article about the book! (But not, sadly, about my mad woodcraft skillz.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why on earth do I have photographs of the poet Jasmine Seah on my blog?

I've no idea. It's a mystery. :)

But we are curating ContraDiction IV together this year!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book launch for my first novel, Eating Air

How could I forget?

By the way, if anyone official asks, this is a film novelisation, so I'm still eligible for all those other first-novel grants and prizes when I finally compose an independent opus.

Anyway, details:

Friday 20 June
THE POD, Level 16
National Library, 100 Victoria Street
Dress code: business attire. (Yeah, right.)

The books being launched are 12 Storeys by Dr Yeo Wei Wei, 4:30 by James Toh, Eating Air by myself. Hope to seeya there!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles

by W!LD RICE, as part of the OCBC Singapore Theatre Festival

13 - 17 August 2008, Drama Centre Theatre @ National Library (Level 3)
(13 - 15 August, 8pm evening shows; 16 - 17 August, 3pm matinees and 8pm evening shows)

Early Bird Discount
(12 June - 11 July 2008)
20% Discount for OCBC Credit & Debit Cardholders
15% Discount for General Public
(Buy tickets from Sistic now. You know you want to.)

1826. Sir Stamford Raffles lies on his deathbed, delirious with dreams and hallucinations, whilst his wife Sophia frantically records his biography. A giant Rafflesia blossom invades his bedroom; he meets his deceased first wife Olivia, and encounters a talking statue who bears prophecies of greatness.

As his life flashes before him, we witness his birth at sea, his early voyages, his triumphant founding of Singapore, and his eventual tragic downfall—with his children dead of tropical diseases, his research destroyed in a burning ship, and himself bankrupted and diagnosed with syphilis.

The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles is written by multi-talented playwright and poet Ng Yi-Sheng, whose last play, 251, based on the life of Annabel Chong, played to packed houses. Directed by Christina Sergeant (Furthest North, Deepest South, The Hypochondriac), this is an unforgettable journey into the mind of a legend. Was Raffles a wily schemer or an enlightened reformer? What kind of legacy did he leave behind on an island he called the ‘child of my own’?

“251 is worth seeing not only for its success at putting Chong's dubious "achievements" in perspective as performance art, but also for pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable subject matter for a Singapore stage production.” TODAY

The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles was a finalist at ACTION Theatre’s ‘Theatre Idols’ festival in 2007.

Written by Ng Yi-Sheng
Directed by Christina Sergeant

Candice De Rozario
Claire Devine
Rehaan Engineer
Ian Tan
Jo Tan
Patricia Toh

Friday, June 13, 2008

Okay, Singapore Discovery Centre doesn't suck that hard.

I concede this because they searched for, found and responsibly returned my wallet last week.

The money was gone, but the cards were all still in there. Ras clart!

And in fact, there were a few cool things about the SDC that I didn't mention last time. For example, there's an audio station where you can hear interviews and podcasts from... Mr Brown.

The persistently non-political podcast at all! There's even some mock canteen conversations between kids about how their classmate Jeff Lopez got sent for detention because he never hand up his test paper. Don't know if can sit for exam again. ;)

Kimberlyn also had fun playing swingy-parabola with the headphone cord.

Also, there's Little George, the talking robot:

Kimberlyn seriously loved this hunka metal. He could recognise her voice and name (as long as you got back to him within 30 minutes to remind him) and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Row Row Row Your Boat... strangely, no Mari Kita. He got a little defensive when we quizzed him why.

Mostly, though, I'll reiterate: it was kitsch.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Have I ever mentioned that I'm an outdoor improv participant?

Get in on the action at Mission: Singapore. (No, they're not a Christian recruiting centre. The leader is an 18 year-old kid in the NJC Malay Dance Troupe.)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Indahu walidii kulaib jadid

Hathaa walidii ma'a al-kuleib.  Ismuhu Li Bai.

Wa hathaa al-kalb Qian Qiu ma'a Li Bai.

Wa hathaa al-kalb Shuai Ge ma'a Qian Qiu wa Li Bai.

Maa lahu min kulaib!

Friday, June 06, 2008

I win the five bucks.

Back during Chinese New Year, I bet my father $5 that Obama would win the Democratic Primaries.

And now it's final. Ka-ching ka-ching, mofo. (I can call him that because he technically does fo my mo.)

And for an extra coupla moments of Zen:

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sex and the City

Turns out that my big lesbian cartoonist idol Alison Bechdel is a fan, but my unfinished business boy in New York isn't.

Anyway, great quote from a Slate review full of spoilers:

"Someone told me that when she left New York and moved to Hong Kong she enjoyed the show much more than when she returned here. I think that's important. I just love this city too much to think the meatpacking district's crowd embodies it. Because it doesn't."

Anyway, I just saw the movie, and in spite of the blatant product placements, I still loved it.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

May 2008 texts

Australian poetry, Japanese drama, American iMax movies... but all in all, it's been a skinny month.

“Over There”, ed. John Kinsella and Alvin Pang
+John Jenkins’s “The Inland Sea”
+Dorothy Porter's "Crete"

+Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying”
+Jennifer Mills's "Look Down With Me and other stories"

Chikao Tanaka’s “The Head of Mary”
+Yukio Mishima's "Five Modern No Plays"
+Yasmina Reza's "Art"

+John Lie’s “Multiethnic Japan”
+National Museum of Singapore's "Vintage Singapore: Souvenirs from the Recent Past"
+Hong Zicheng's "Vegetable Roots Discourse"

+Johnny Lau and Yu Cheng’s ”Mr Kiasu: Everything Also Act Blur”


+Puppet Square’s “Death of a Hero”
+Young & W!LD's "The Hypochondriac"
+TTRP's "Hamletmachine"

+Singapore Science Centre
Fremantle History Museum
+Western Australia Museum, Perth
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Singapore Discovery Centre
Singapore Art Museum's "Seeing. Feeling. Being: Alberto Giacometti" and +"Post-Doi Moi: Vietnamese Art After the 1990s"

+Keith Melton's "Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs"
+The Wachowski Brothers’ “Speed Racer”
+Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg's "Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay"
+Stephen Low's "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag"