Tuesday Fun Day

It’s Tuesday fun day today as it is a public holiday. (All photos taken with the Leica M9 / 35mm f/2 Summicron lens.)

Clare

Clare

Clare

I can’t believe how fast this girl is growing right before my very own eyes. She thinks and behaves far beyond her years. And she has a gorgeous personality that I am so proud of. 7.5 years on, I still can’t believe I got this lucky.

A Mighty Girl

Sometime ago, my friend Bridgit recommended this website to me – A Mighty Girl. The website touts itself as “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls”. I love what this site has to offer, and especially so, being a mother of a little girl. While I don’t know what it is like to raise boys or grow up with boys (I have four sisters!), I have never thought so much about about the image I portray as a woman until I had my little girl.

Unconsciously, I tried emulating my parents. I wanted my child to be always feel safe and protected by me. I sometimes slip up and she does see me hurt by other factors in life. But I aways want to be the super parent to her and I try very hard to live by a set of principles that hopefully will pass down to her and guide her through life.

One of the things most important to me is to cultivate in my child a sense of courage. Courage to face her fears. Courage to take the unknown path. Courage to pursue her dreams. Courage to make mistakes. Courage to pick herself up and be better and stronger than before. Courage to be herself.

I love that the website has resources, especially with books on women who made a difference. The first book I picked out from a local bookstore, based on their recommendation, was on Amelia Earhart. The one I managed to find was slightly junior to Clare’s level, but it was a simple and easy read for her to learn a bit more about the flying legend. Clare loved the book and loved the way Amelia Earhart lived her life. She actually said that she wished she could be like her.

@bridgitod recommended this website - almightygirl.com the other day. Through it, I got the idea to get C this book, which turned out to be a great hit! C was inspired by Amelia's bravery and brains and hopes to be like here.

I also liked that we expanded the activity in which I explained a little more to her about Amelia’s life and how she actually got lost eventually. And we got into talking about her and discussing what she did.

I am definitely looking forward to more bonding with Clare through these stories, and hopefully, one day, Clare would regard me as one of those heroes that made a difference too.

Dog Run

One of my resolutions for 2014, is about focus more on well-being – mention, emotional and physical. Amongst the practices I’ve gotten into: using therapeutic grade essential oils (more about that later), learning to take a step back when needed, reprogramme my mind and being more conscious towards changing past habits that will encourage (and not hinder) growth and happiness.

It’s only February and I am already starting to feel massively overwhelmed with work (our calendar is bursting – but it’s a happy problem!). On the even of me turning 34, I decided to just stop for a bit (so that I do not go into spinning mode) and took the dogs to the dog run. I haven’t been there in years and it has always been one of my happy places. One of the greatest joys in life is watching dogs run off leash.

Unfortunately, the side effect of not doing this enough, is breeding dogs who prefer humans to their fellow furry friends. Sweet, docile Dinky was actually snarling at any dog who came close to her. Of course, it didn’t help that all the other dogs descended on her with much curiosity. I think it’s her beguiling charm.

Jaws doesn’t know how to play with other dogs. She approached other dogs with some curiosity but when the other dogs start paying attention, she comes running back to me.

All in all, it was great. I got to meet a lady who was with her child and their service dog. Being exposed to that, only highlights how much this is overlooked in Singapore. Already, dogs aren’t welcomed in many establishments. People are not used to seeing dogs around, and it really takes a lot of education for the general public to understand the work these service dogs use, which is nothing short of amazing.

Anyway, of course I took pictures with my Leica X2. Here are some. I particularly enjoyed the morning sun today. It was the icing on the cake.

At The Dog Run
Dinky and her suitors.

At The Dog Run

At The Dog Run

At The Dog Run

At The Dog Run

At The Dog Run

Taiwan, July 2013

Am slowly catching up with years of photo backlog. Was producing in Taiwan mid this year. I never thought I’d enjoy Taiwan this much, and going through these photos brings back somewhat fond memories. All photos below are taken on my trusty Leica X2.

Highlights below, full set here.

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013
Chiang Kai Shek memorial.

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013
The famous Taipei 101. Once the tallest building in the world.

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013
Staring up Taipei 101

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013
I really like this photo.

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013
Testing a game.

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Taipei, Taiwan, July 2013

Leica M-E

I was very honoured, to be asked by Leica, to photograph an event for them recently – the opening reception of REDred Photography Exhibition. The photographs were taken by Geoff Ang (one of Singapore’s top fashion photographer, who is also a really lovely chap all round), which were up for sale. It is Leica’s efforts, together with ERCO Lighting, to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Haiyen.

In the spirit of charity, Joan Leong Photography donated our fee for the night to the cause too. (Yes, I still take on limited photography work. Write to me, if you want something done – would love to work something out!) Photos from the night will be up in a later post, after Leica has put up the photos on their Facebook page.

In doing so, I got to use the Leica M-E together with the Summicron 35mm lens. Anyone would know about my love for the Leica X2. Getting to work with the M-E has only brought my love for them to a whole new level. Like seriously. I have no idea how, but yes it has.

While chatting with other Leica enthusiasts that evening, I’ve come to realise that the people who use a Leica, are those who really and truly love the camera with a passion. Of course, we like our cameras like the Canons and the Nikons – I’ve always been a die-hard Canon user – but with Leica, it’s so much more emotional than that. The cameras stand on their own right, and are comparable to none. They feel so good in our hands, look damn sexy, and most importantly, churn out drop dead sexy images.

Here are some shots that I randomly shot (to get used to the rangefinder focussing) while walking around my neighbourhood. More of my Leica photos can be seen here.

Testing the Leica M-E

Testing the Leica M-E

Testing the Leica M-E

Testing the Leica M-E

Testing the Leica M-E

Testing the Leica M-E

The Dogs Hoping To Get Food

The Dogs Hoping To Get Food

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

Aide De Camp

I’ve always admired people who chased their dreams and accomplish them (and more!), and have always tried my best to show some support along their journey.

Please support my friend, Michele, in her latest venture. www.acdbags.com These bags aim to bring function and style to camera bags. Who says that women photographers have to dress and accessorise like men? Get your bag today! And enjoy the launch discoun

I met Michele through a work thing years ago, just as she was leaving her corporate job to pursue fashion design. She’s recently launched her line of camera bags, that are meant to be stylish and pave the way for fashionable and functional workhorses. Yes, functional in the fashion world means dowdy. But, who says we can’t combine both to bring out the best of both worlds?

I put in an order for the Rei Camera bag, pictured above. I chose that one because it looks least like a bag for tech accessories. I love that she’s patching that hole in the market. I’ve always felt that female photographers shouldn’t always have to dress and accessorise like a man, but our chooses are so limited, if we want to work comfortably.

Can’t wait to get my hands on it. Am already thinking of getting the Leyden next!

Shattered

Shattered

I’ve been busy. Spent a good one month straight in Malaysia making a television show. (Where I got to push my photography boundaries again – a mental and emotional lifesaver!) I’m still commuting every few days, … still busy … story of my life.

Am really happy to have gotten back in touch with my camera gear again. I used the Leica X2 mainly and produced images like this:

The gorgeous Joey Mead King.

Can’t believe that we are already mid-way through October. Seriously can’t wait for 2013 to be over. I feel like I’ve spent a large part of 2013 fixing me and recovering from all sorts of issues that blow up around/at me. I take credit for some, I wish others would take credit when their turn is due.

Like the shattered glass above (taken with the iPhone 5s), I’m still holding together. After much reflecting/medicating/libating/talking/shopping/tv watching, I’ve now strengthened my resolve and have vowed to never let this happen to me again. I miss the me from 20 years ago. Reconnected with an old friend recently who reminded me of that. I didn’t care about what the world thought. I was just me. And I did not allow others to try and change me otherwise.

I’m just going to be me. Others can keep trying to break the pieces. #justsayin.

Food Pre-Constructed

Seafood paella. Yes, it’s been a while.

Food Preconstructed

Hair for Hope, Hope for Mankind

I’ll be the first to admit that my hair is very important to me. I indulge in a great haircut at Kim Robinson, and especially love the wash and scalp massage. I’ve experimented with all sorts of hair cuts when I was much younger, ranging from the super short, to red and blonde dyes (separate occasions, of course), to various perms and lush highlights. I even considered shaving bald once. Just because. But never had the guts to do so.

The past weekend, a charity event was held, called Hair for Hope, by the Children Cancer Foundation (CCF). Its objectives were to raise funds and to raise awareness of childhood cancer. Participants who had their heads shaved, will serve to become CCF’s ambassadors to the cause, and also help the children who suffer from cancer understand that it is ok to be bald.

I know of friends who shaved their heads in past years’ events and even just last weekend. I admire them for doing so – I’m not sure if I can do the same, but I definitely can contribute to the cause. I had a friend who passed away from cancer when we were just 13. I didn’t know much then, but was polite about her scarf-wrapped head and swollen limbs.

So imagine my surprise when I read of the furor online, caused by the principal of St Margaret’s Secondary School. A few girls from her school got their heads shaved, and were suspended from class until they donned wigs (as they promised to do so – more on that in a bit).

Principal Marion Tan likened the act to breaking school rules by sporting “punk, unfeminine and sloppy hairstyles”. The message of this entire exercise was clearly lost on her if she categorises shaving one’s head to support a cause as “punk”.

Granted, Mrs Tan’s concerns of other kids taking advantage of the situation and going bald is not unfounded, given the herd mentality of teenagers. But surely, if another kid rocks up with the bald look long after the event has happened, it can then be said that it is a clear flout of school rules?

This is a very clear example of why I feel the coming generation is unable to discern between right and wrong, while applying common sense and quick wit in various situations, without having an exhaustive list of do’s and don’ts to guide them. While a certain cause of action may be applicable to situation A, it does not mean the exact same cause of action is applicable to a similar situation B. We need to be able to assess independently and make the appropriately right judgement.

Most glaringly missing in this exercise, is empathy. When it becomes just about the rules, we have lost the life lesson in it. This brings to mind a quote I read in O Magazine, February 2011, which I hold dear to my heart.

“If everyone kept all the rules, we’d still be practicing cherished traditions like child marriage, slavery and public hangings. The way humans become humans is by assessing from the heart, rather than the rule book, where the justice of a situation lies. Sometimes you have to break the rules around you to keep the rules within you.”

On another note, I do agree that if the kids promised to wear wigs in return for allowing them to have their heads shaved bald, they should have kept their promise.

But again, it brings us back to the point: wearing wigs to cover up their baldness just defeats the purpose of this entire exercise, no?

Celebrating Singapore

National Day Parade rehearsal. I've got prime seats!
Taken from the balcony at home where I have a perfect view of the National Day parade rehearsal.

With National Day rolling around the corner in Singapore, and also due to the fact that I am currently overseas and missing home so much … I’ve been thinking about all the reasons why I love my country. The government is not perfect (hey, who is?) but they do a pretty darn good job at making sure we are in good shape, I must say.

First up, we have trees. I know it sounds silly that it is up top on my list. But we have trees. Lots of it. For a country that sits on the equator, that only experiences summer all year, I actually find it not scorchingly hot as other countries in the region. I know there is also a geographical explanation behind this (angle of the earth rotating around the sun, wind and ocean currents, etc), but I also believe it is because of our garden city. Not only is it visually pleasing, it actually cools the place down.

We are also the only developed country with no slums, as listed by the United Nations Habitat. Our poorest at least have a roof over their heads. I love that we do not go by the dole system, which just encourages people to depend on hand-outs; but this doesn’t mean that the government doesn’t give hand-outs to help offset the rising cost of living.

We have the death penalty towards drugs. I watched a recent episode of Intervention which showed a woman addicted to heroin and how messed up her life was. I’m glad we don’t see people with track marks down their limbs with dilated pupils wandering along our streets. Of course, it seems extreme to many that we’ve banned chewing gum too; but try removing gum from your shoes or accidentally touching someone’s chewed gum under the table then re-think the so-called absurdity of this ban.

This country is so clean and safe. Double murders in recent times non-withstanding (which is actually really rare), I am glad we also have a law against owning arms. It is sad that my daughter is growing up in a world where terrorism and weapons of mass destruction are so common, but I sleep easy at night knowing that the streets in Singapore are safe for her to ride her skateboard at night.

And one of my favourite points of all — the food. Our food is amazing. I kid you not. And I am not biased; I’ve met foreigners who’ve lived in Singapore for a while and have since moved back to their home countries, and still miss our laksa, char kway teow and chilli crab. Our ‘national’ dish, chicken rice, will go down easy on any given day. We have access to many types of cuisines, from Thai to Mexican; from Michelin rated to street; from exotic to comfort home-style cooking. I miss the food the most whenever I am away.

This list is not exhaustive. And neither am I blind to our faults – our rising cost of living; cars and houses cost as much as a small nation; sense of entitlement in the younger generation; rude and impatient drivers who do not understand why cars come with indicators; and much more.

I feel that our positives far outweigh the negatives.

We have a beautiful country. We have got it really good. We are really lucky.

Happy 48th birthday, Singapore. I just fall more and more in love with you everyday.


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