Slow trek

May 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

“A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”

Albert Camus

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The Architect’s medium

May 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

The architectural artist’s fundamental medium is not buildings, nor its forms and masses, but nor is it space, nor light, nor materials, nor any other of the thematic preoccupations of contemporary modernism. As simply as we can say that the plastic artist’s medium is imagery, and the writer’s medium is language, we can simply say that the architectural artist’s medium is activity. “Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of human interaction and movement,” to paraphrase Le Corbusier.

– Quoted from The Diagram of Everything

Rome, Italy | Spring, 2011

 

 

 

You think you’re safe here

April 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

If I were content, I would not move. If I were reconciled, I would not have come back.

Instead, I find the lies offensive, baiting. I cannot believe them, the ones you make to yourself and to the people around you. I cannot shield myself with the same veil that you drag across your eyes as you shuttle your toddlers back and forth, making cheery small talk with people you would never let into your home.

How do you ignore the rotten core? The fakery, the leers, the forgetting pills and powders, the rape, the murder? How did you become a part of it?

All hidden away behind the waterfront property, the candy coloured town. What a great place to raise your kids – the collective moan.

I came back to find the place that formed me. I came back to touch the artifice again, the warm, crushing boredom, mindless wandering and suppressed violence in a place that looks right but feels so wrong. This place brought me to my knees and kept smiling as she did it, twisting, asphyxiating. My demons live here, camouflaged within the pastel landscapes. And when I return, I am the mad one. I am the one who points at nothing, shies away from imaginary things and speaks of a world that apparently died in our younger years. The white-veneered, red-gummed mouths tell me that I over-react, I should let go, I speak of a wound-like corruption where there is none.

I smile a mad smile and think I know better.

(You think you’re safe here)


Roots

December 14, 2010 § 5 Comments

My father. All he did was work. Work and spend time with us. I didn’t have him around for half of my childhood, lost to the office in another country, the office that was a home, where he worked, slept, ate. Those long weeks where I cried myself to sleep every time I got scared that he wasn’t coming back. He built for me here. Everything I have.

A shophouse near Clarke Quay | Singapore

Homelanding

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Where should I begin? After all, you have never been there; or if you have, you may not have understood the significance of what you saw, or thought you saw. A window is a window, but there is looking out and looking in. The native you glimpsed, disappearing behind the curtain, or into the bushes, or down the manhole in the main street – my people are shy – may have been only your reflection in the glass. My country specialises in such illusions.

In summer we lie about in the blazing sun, almost naked, covering our skins with fat and attempting to turn red. But when the sun is low in the sky and faint, even at noon, the water we are so fond of changes to something hard and white and cold and covers up the ground. Then we cocoon ourselves, become lethargic, and spend much of our time hiding in crevices. Our mouths shrink and we say little.

By now you must have guessed: I come from another planet. But I will never say to you, take me to your leaders. Even I – unused to your ways though I am – would never make that mistake. We ourselves have such beings amongst us, made of cogs, pieces of paper, small disks of shiny metal, scraps of coloured cloth. I do not need to encounter more of them.

Instead I will say, take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes, your nouns. Take me to your fingers; take me to your deaths.

These are worth it. There are what I have come for.

~ Excerpts taken from Homelanding, in the book “Good Bones” by Margaret Atwood

Succour and relief

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Founded in 1682 by King Charles II and intended for the ‘succour and relief of veterans broken by age and war’. I walked amongst the cultivated roses, grapevines carefully nudged to life by veterans from the first world war. Listening to stories from another life, brought out and dusted off in a perfect English garden. He cut me down a peony, presented it with a flourish.

“The Royal Hospital Chelsea will be here for todays young soldiers on the front line when they retire.”

The Royal Hospital Chelsea
London, England

Body from the reservoir

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

He told me that he had to pull a body from the reservoir the other day. Bloated, afloat, stagnant water and the tropical green, almost visceral. A concerted effort to remain stoic. It’s all part of the service apparently. Ruff, Shaf and Nat – halfway through their mandatory term in the army.

National Service, Singapore.

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