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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
Seafood paella. Yes, it’s been a while.
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?
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.
If you’re a fan of a good ol’ musical, you have to watch The Addams Family, playing now at Resorts World Sentosa. We stumbled upon this quite by chance, actually (which also proves how badly it’s been promoted here), but we thoroughly enjoyed the production, and this is why:
 The cast was stellar. Every single character was like a cut out of the cartoon series: they looked exactly the part, they acted exactly the part. I imagine a lot of time was spent in finding the perfect cast for this show, which actually has been personally inspiring for me right now in believing that with a little patience, the perfect plan will fall into place.
 The music was singable and memorable. That’s the point of musicals, if you asked me. I used to study to the soundtrack of The Phantom of the Opera. I watched Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark in New York, and while they music and lyrics were by U2′s Bono and The Edge, I could not remember a single piece from it. I did not enjoy it either.
 There were not too many super fancy high-tech theatrics, as the trend seems these days. They used puppetry and traditional story-telling techniques. The props, while beautiful and really well done, looked like theatre props and not too much like real life.
 I loved the comedy of it, and especially the local touch by incorporating the merlion in a joke.
You really have to catch the show. It’s my next favourite, after Phantom. Book your tickets via Sistic now.
The lovely people at Penny’s Daybook featured me not too long ago. You can read all about it here!
We are into the third (out of four) week of the June school holidays. Ironically, the parent (me) has been much more welcoming of it than the child (Clare). She thoroughly loves school and being with her friends there, thus, was duly disappointed at not having school for the entire month! I, on the other hand, am welcoming not waking up in pitch darkness while scrambling through traffic to get her to school on time.
Nonetheless, I tried making it up to her by enrolling her in holiday courses with her cousin (who is also her classmate and best friend), have playdates and have also made an effort to venture out into the crowds (something I am not particularly fond of). We signed up for ‘Literary Detectives’ at Julia Gabriel’s, which seemed like a fun class that lasted 2.5 hours the whole week. The girls enjoyed themselves mostly, although I could tell by day four, their initial enthusiasm had taken a dip.
It was no mean feat juggling work and soccer mum duties, but I am sure it ultimately paid off, even if it means nursing a horrid flu this week. The kid is happy, she’s kept occupied and I don’t feel like a guilty work-only mum.
Couple of weekends ago, we took her to Art Garden, at the Singapore Art Museum. The exhibition is mainly for kids, covering the themes of travelling around the world, fairy tales and multimedia art. Us adults enjoyed it too. (All photos below were taken on the Leica X2.)
We went for our first parent teacher conference for primary school this week. I went in with average expectations, because I was convinced that the other girls in Clare’s class were doing very well, based on the syllabus she has been learning, which I find quite tough.
They have to learn words like ‘amphitheater’ for spelling, understand what a visualiser is and have to figure out the answer to 6 + 7 = 20 – __. I only learnt hanyu pinyin (Chinese phonetics) in primary three, but Clare is now an expert on it. We struggled a lot in the first 1.5 terms of school, getting her to learn her spelling for both English and Chinese, sometimes leading to meltdowns from either one of us. A friend gently, and rightly, reminded me to let go aiming for perfect scores, lest I destroy her love for school and learning.
So imagine my surprise when her teacher informed us that she’s actually doing very well in Maths and Chinese, and reasonably well for English. She has no complaints about Clare’s behaviour in class – she’s quiet, polite and helpful. My report cards always mentioned how talkative I was!
I am very proud of her, and hugely relieved that my kid is pretty ok. :) When I offered her a reward for her good results and good behaviour, all she asked for was for Playdoh which was available from the school bookshop. (Thank goodness she’s too young to ask for a car!)
I am really thankful that I must be doing something right with this kid.