Friday, November 30, 2007

A Great Weekend Ahead

There are many exciting events happening in Singapore this weekend and throughout the month. First up is Nick's Talk this Sunday. Also, the Singapore Design Festival 2007 opened two days ago on the 28th of Nov and will be on till the 8th of Dec 07. Organised by the DesignSingapore Council, it is a biennial even to celebrate and promote design as a propeller of the new economy in Singapore. Many local and international creative personalities will be featured and this is the time to go catch all the interesting exhibits and talks. Especially if you are still a student on school holiday, make use of this wonderful opportunity!

Next up is what all bargain-hungry and tech savvy Singaporeans have been waiting for - SITEX 2007! And since the end of the year is approaching, it also means that for most of us, it is BONUS time! Well, if you have been waiting to get that 22-inch widescreen display monitor or that slim digital camera you have been eyeing, SITEX 2007 is the place for you to go this weekend. Except of course, be prepared to squeeze with more than the 600,000 people that are expected to throng Singapore Expo Halls 5-6 over the next few days. Well, what wouldn't Singaporeans do for a good bargain?


Photo Essay : "Blueprint of the future"


Friday, November 23, 2007

You Singaporean ah?

Is this what it means to be Singaporean? A light-hearted look at ourselves. :)


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Designed My Place

I just finished the Design My Place Urban Creativity Workshop over the weekend. It was nothing short of an amazing experience for the students, the facilitators, the organisers, and our supporters. It was very encouraging to see at the end how well received it was not just by the students, but also by our sponsors from URA, our supporters from Design Singapore and other guests that we invited as part of the jury panel.

My greatest thanks and appreciation certainly goes to Khoo Peng Beng, our Chief Facilitator/ instructor/ teacher/ Akido instructor, without whom, the whole workshop would have been less energetic, less inspiring, less passionate and less successful.

My greatest learning from this entire episode? It was heartwarming to see so many like-minded people coming together to support such an initiative to bring architecture to the people. More than that, it was our way of encouraging creativity and firing up passion within the hearts and minds of the next generation. At the closing of the entire workshop, I shared with the students the KEY to exploring and making good design. Read on.

Kreative - That's kreative with a capital K! Wouldn't it be boring if we always spelled creative with a C. The K symbolises the uniqueness that each of us embody. Recognise that you are unique and special. Contrary to what you may believe, you have something unique to offer creatively that nobody else in the whole wide world will be able to.

Excellence - In everything that you do, put your best foot forward. Live out a spirit of excellence not just in designing, but also in every area of your life. That's the only way you can live out your life to the fullest of its potential. That's the only way you can be the best designer that you were created to be.

You - This refers not to yourself but rather, to the people around you. Design is not just about achieving your creative vision. It is also about how your design influences the people around you. It is about how people use your design and experience it. It is also about giving back to society and to the community. It is about seeing things from other people's perspective and emphasizing, and meeting real needs.

I thought I'd end by saying this. Creativity is not the gifting of just the designer or the artist or the performer. We are all gifted with creativity and we use it and express it in different ways. Creativity is the domain of anybody who bothers to think differently, intelligently and beautifully. Do something creative today. Enjoy the pictures.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Photo Essay: "What Lurks in the Shadows"


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Make a date with Nick Vujicic

On the morning of 4th Dec 1982, something miraculous happened in Melbourne, Australia. Nick Vujicic was born into a Christian family, his father, a pastor of a local church. The only shock was this - he was born without limbs. The doctors had no explanation for this and did not even expect it. It was a trying time for Nick's parents. They asked God all the WHYs and HOWs and questioned if God was a loving God, how could he ever allow something like that to happen, especially to a couple who loved God deeply. Naturally, they didn't think their son would survive long, but here's where the miracle was only starting to unfold itself. Nick was a healthy baby despite the lack of his limbs.

In time, Nick's parents and Nick himself overcame the fear and anger in their lives. Today, Nick is a 25-year-old motivational speaker who speaks in both Christian and non-Christian venues. He has a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Financial Planning and Accounting and loves to swim, fish and play soccer.

I tell you seriously, I had goose bumps all the way reading his testimony which you can find here. So often, I question my purpose in this world. I wonder how in my weaknesses, God can use me. I grumble and complain - if only I was more like this or have more of that. I failed to realise that if God allowed things to happen, He only knew better. I failed to see that God was moulding me and preparing me so that he could use me in a way that only I could fulfill. I chose to see the humanly unsurmountable challenges in my life without knowing the reality of God's power and victory in overcoming them. As I read Nick's testimony, I knew in my heart - If God is able to use a person like Nick in such drastic circumstances, surely I am no exception.

I leave you with this excerpt from Nick's testimony that totally flamed my heart.

Romans 8:28 - "And we know that in all things God works for the best for those who love Him."

That verse spoke to my heart and convicted me to the point where that I know that there is no such thing as luck, chance or coincidence that these "bad" things happen in our life. In;

James 1:3&4 - "...know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

I had complete peace knowing that God won't let anything happen to us in our life unless He has a good purpose for it all. I completely gave my life to Christ at the age of fifteen after reading John 9. Jesus said that the reason the man was born blind was "so that the works of God may be revealed through Him." I truly believed that God would heal me so I could be a great testimony of His Awesome Power. Later on I was given the wisdom to understand that if we pray for something, if it's God's will, it'll happen in His time. If it's not God's will for it to happen, then I know that He has something better. I now see that Glory revealed as He is using me just the way I am and in ways others can't be used.

Nick will be coming to my church to speak at our Youth Service on 2 Dec 07. I believe his sharing will touch your life. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all of you who reads my blog to come and hear him. Even if you are not a Christian, I believe that listening to his sharing will change your perspective on life. Let me know if you can come!

Now seat back and watch this. May your heart be touched.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Really Tuckshop

Last night's design sharing was a blast in more ways than one! For one, we had to blast our voices over the mike so that everyone could hear us. It's tough trying to share amidst a crowd of hungry packers more interested in their calamari rings and crumb coated chickens. I felt like I was back in the classrooms of one of the sec schools I used to teach at as SH tried his best to get the attention of the audience yet trying hard not to sound offensive.


"Sorry, sorry..." (sounding desperately apologetic suddenly).

"THE PRESENTATION IS STARTING SO WE WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF WE COULD HAVE YOUR COOPERATION. Err... Sorry to disturb your dinner, really, sorry sorry!" (In his head thinking: rats, why everyone so noisy... should have brought a loud gong to get their attention. Perhaps I could do an impromptu lion dance?!)

Ha ha, so I digress. Find out some interesting bits on the presentations after the break. Oh, and there are pictures too!

In summary, the presentations were rather interesting. We had Dean sharing about some small projects in Jakarta; Sern Hong sharing his thesis project - the pirated city (no, not the pirated cd); Raymond redefining play for us; and Hsia Pin giving us his take on the anti-monument, which was based on the scenerio that if our beloved MM were to pass on, what kind of memorial would be fitting for him. I bet Hsia Pin went home a little worried that night. I remember him jumping ever so slightly each time his phone rang after the presentation. I thought I saw some bright red dots flying around, but then again, it could have just been the alcohol, or the fact that Mr Marshmallow Man was messing with my brain! (see pics later.)

Hsia Pin was sporting enough to bring his band down to play a short gig for us after the presentations. Achor's Door, fronted by Adrian (who didn't have an encore song) entertained us with songs from Lifehouse, Steven Curtis Chapman and the Smallville soundtrack.

Overall, we had a pretty good turnout today. It would have been great if there was a way of getting some discussion and interaction going between the presenters and the audience. But then again, who were we kidding fighting with the hungry growls of the dinner-time monster. Still, it was an interesting experiment and we thank God for Dean and his team who didn't mind us intruding that night. I pray we didn't scare away any of your regular customers!

Incidentally, I noticed that TUCKSHOP supports the Ice Cream Chefs! (I wrote about them here) I liked the way TUCKSHOP put it on their menu - "Because like us, they put in lots of love and passion into what they are doing." (paraphrased) That summed up the night for me. It didn't really matter much that the night was more of a blast than we could expect or plan for. What mattered was the spirit behind the whole sharing session - a gathering of passionate people coming together to make something meaningful happen. And that, I must say, produced the most beautiful symphony. Enjoy the pics.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

A stroke out of the ordinary

Layer Tennis is the designer's version of a heated match between 2 opponents where each takes turns to serve, volley, smash, hit home etc. in order to win the coveted prize of designer of the moment. Its beginnings are in photoshop tennis whereby over a fixed period of time, a person starts by submitting a digital drawing which then changes hands and evolves as different people apply their creative take on what they think the image should really look like. After about 5-6 rounds, the image is finally completed, often looking quite unlike how it started, but a lot more interesting.

Layer Tennis takes this to the next level whereby 2 accomplished designers each takes 15min turns to challenge each other to come up with a clever, witty reply to the previous picture. The key to winning is to have some connection with the previous picture, yet interpreting it in a fresh and critical yet witty way. The change of the word from photoshop to layer suggests the possibility of using other software like Illustrator and even Flash as deadly tools in this online digital bloodbath. Believe me, it's really great stuff to watch. And the live commentary is often a blast to read too. I wonder if this could work with architecture design, in which case, each person takes turns to sketch out his/her vision of a building according to a theme. You'll find an example of a Layer Tennis match after the break.

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6

Round 7

Round 8

Round 9

Round 10


DIY Rubik's Cube

Now, don't you think this will make a really cool Christmas present? You could mass make a couple and give it out to all your friends! It would be a great hands-on project to do with that special person of yours too... if you have one, that is. Ha ha. Aside from that, KS, Daniel, Narash, what say you??? Sounds fun doesn't it? which hosts the video above, is a relatively new portal that in my opinion has better quality videos than Youtube and the likes. Think of Youtube as the camera on your camera phone which you use to capture quick and spontaneous happenings, and will be more like a proper amateur mini DV camera with proper sound recording and smooth unpixelated video quality. Read on...

According to their makers,'s mission is to "make video creation easier by taking care of all the problems a budding videoblogger, podcaster or Internet TV producer would run into. (They'll) take care of the servers, the software, the workflow, the advertising and the distribution. Your focus should be on creativity."

So far, they seem to be delivering on that promise. What I like is that they actually have some really good episodes out there, made by budding film or tv show makers. Let's hope that as they grow bigger and more popular, the quality content still remains. Check it out for yourself.


Friday, October 26, 2007

re:act Design Sharing Session

Want to find out more about architecture and design? Or perhaps your idea of spending a good night out is listening to a bunch of passionate individuals talk about the "a" word? Look no further, wait no longer, hesitate no more! Come join us next Friday at this cool place called TUCKSHOP. I guarantee you will have an enjoyable time.

Poster design by yours truly.

*Update: I've included a photo and a map to TUCKSHOP for those who are interested. After the break.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Photo Essay: "No storm in this tea cup."


Friday, October 19, 2007

Nokia shows off

Here's one that is more credible. Nokia shows off their new S60 touch interface for mobile devices. It supports haptic feedback (physical response like a short vibration when you press a button), has a platform that enables impressive graphical effects and a support for flash video on internet browsers. Finger and stylus input capability is standard, together with built-in proximity and light sensors that will allow stunts like switching off the alarm just by turning the phone over. That can't be good for those of us who need at least 5 snoozes before we wake, can it? Perhaps the phone could be configured to give a small electric shock when you turn off the alarm. You'll never be late again.


An apple a day is here to stay

Just how much do the Chinese companies adore Apple and its iPhone? Well, let's just say it's enough to get many of them on the iPhone look-a-like bandwagon. They say that imitation is flattery. In the case of these China companies, imitation is an art. And one that they have perfected to a T. It makes one wonder, why can't they who invented paper and gunpowder put their creative juices to better use? If you ask me, with the number of people China has, they have enough geniuses to produce at least 10 companies that can rival Apple. Perhaps they choose not to. For now. But watch them in the next 10 years. You might find yourself in overnight queues to be the first to lay your hands on the latest 苹果 handheld personal communicator. Who knows? More pics after the break.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Design My Place

This is a poster that I did for one of the upcoming projects that I am involved in with re:act aka Really Architecture. This is a society that some of my friends and I set up to promote architecture that is socially conscious and relevant to Southeast Asia. We are sort of a group of people trying to do good with our experiences and skills. You can find out more at our blog and website (though the website hasn't been updated in a while). The workshop that we are doing this round is with AEP students from different JCs. It will be a 3 day non-residential workshop where we teach them to map out their neighbourhood in interesting yet relevant ways and to finally come up with a collective vision for the neighbourhood after making all their observations and studies.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Thiswassupposedtobeaseriousblog - The Youtube Update

2005 Miami U. Cheezies a cappella: Facebook Song

If you have been reading the papers recently, you would have noticed quite a few articles talking about how much time people at work waste on Facebook and other internet related sites (go read Sumiko Tan's column in the Sunday Times). Remember how on MSN, we used to spend time staring at the screen, waiting for the all too familiar ring which signalled a message by someone, (which we really liked because it meant we were important and people still remembered us). Well, now on Facebook, we have apparently discovered more ways to prop up our self-esteem by superpoking everyone in our friends list, sending people fish for their aquarium, giving our friends vampire bites (which is about the most irritating thing on Facebook), and drawing strange kiddish pictures on their superwalls, all for one insecure reason - that those people would kindly do the same for you and add to your online status. (See above Youtube video.)
(Read on for other more Youtube gems.)

I really do think that Facebook is a great online application to link up with old friends. But I draw the line when it starts making me feel jealous of the other person who has 200 more friends than me, or more posts on his/her superwall or more booze sent to him/her etc. Of course I have since repented and scrubbed my mind clean of any symptoms of Facebookjealousitis.

Just before writing this entry, I wandered into dangerous territory again by signing in to my Facebook account. In all, I had 10 vampire invites, 5 likeness requests and 3 zombie invites. Add to that 4 posts on my Funwall that consisted of one asking me to support the Action for Singapore Dogs society, one with a Carrie Underwood MTV and another which i deleted before bothering to read more. Lesson of the day: Like most online applications, Facebook is not immune to SPAM. Yes, even good intentioned spam by your friends IS considered spam! Here's to all my lovely friends (and I really do consider you my friends) who keep forwarding me stuff that other people have forwarded you: DO THINK TWICE before you press the send-application-to-all-friends button. I have absolutely NO APPRECIATION for all that. I have no intention of turning my profile page into one of those facebook accounts that look more like an advertisement board of spam rather than one that tells people what you are about. Oh wait, maybe that IS what you are about!

Ok now, I'm normally not so fed-up in my posts, but it's kind of frustrating to see Facebook turn into a spam generating machine when used irresponsibly. And I guess it shows too the insecurity of our inner souls and our constant desire to want to feel accepted. Resist it I say! Anyways, this was supposed to me a Youtube update, so enjoy these other gems I found recently.

Sony Bravia Bunnies

This is a great advertisement that is not just beautifully executed, but also managed to get the public involved in the process. In doing so, it become more than just a great ad. It became a wonderful experience for everyone who saw the giant rabbit take form in their city etc. Inspirational. Updated: Here are 2 pics I found that show a little of the process of making the ad.

To round up, an insightful interview with Mohammad Yunus who started the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, providing microcredit to the poor. A true groundbreaker.

Muhammad Yunus on poverty

Watch more on Muhammad Yunos who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year here and here.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Thiswassupposedtobeaseriousblog - The Extraordinary Discoveries Update

Every wondered how the world looked like from the inside of your mouth? Well, wonder no more. You can now do so yourself using 'The SmileyCam" made by Justin Quinnell. And if you are wondering, yes, that's the inside of his mouth you are staring at. The SmileyCam is really a pinhole camera small enough to put in your mouth. It is a 22 exposure colour negative pinhole camera which can be processed at processing laboratories. One more reason to keep those traditional film processing shops from shutting down. Justin has an entire book of 60 photographs taken this way which you can order from Amazon if you are that crazy about it. The pics are surreal, somewhat hilarious and wacky in a way that makes me want to just slap him on the head with a giant toothbrush. I can just imagine a new toothpaste ad. using this from-the-inside-perspective idea. More pics after the break.

Remember the show The Avatar? Well, Season 3 has finally arrived! In this latest installment, Aang wakes up on a Fire Nation ship spotting a good crop of hair. Find out what happened since his last fight in the season finale of Season 2. More after the break. Update: I had intended to embed the videos of episode 1 here. Sadly, they are no longer available due to copyright violations. Oh well.

Brushing my teeth with a dead spider

Louis (Getting to know Dad)