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Tag Archives: creative writing
Last night, an old woman gently pushed my nose towards a newspaper covered with fish bones and lemongrass. A rat ran over one of the sparkly shoes under the table full of women from The Golden Place and two of them screamed. The man who sells pens came by, so did the man with the folding rattan chair. Distracted by the hissing of an intruder, I stepped on a hot cigarette butt. The man with the burnt face gave away perfume samples he pulled out of a new duffel bag. The monk looked into the eyes of everyone, offered his bronze bowl to a few. I listened to happiness, drunkenness, boredom, and suspicion. Music played from little radios. Barefoot children stared at me. Now it is morning and I’m lying in the shadows of the red plastic chairs. Coins are being counted on a metal table and the man behind the Chinese newspaper is smoking and drinking coffee. When I used to live in the place with big windows I only worried about rainy days. I had no scars, no friends and both of my eyes.
(image by David Severn) The Art/VR startup idea...the time is now! The Tiong Bahru Mouth the book , the photos, the haikus, the videos. The Tiong Bahru Market is closing for three months at the end of February. Seems like that would be a punctuation mark of some sort. The i ate tiong bahru audiobook is now being checked by Amazon. The iatb glasses were successfully crowdfunded. So was the design for the Tiong Bahru poster. I ate Tiong Bahru, the book itself, is due for a second printing... I Ate Tiong Bahru Audiobook Really...this could go live any day!Voicemaps I have Tiong Bahru mapped out... Bali Wave Ghost After three years+ of doing the starving artist thing,it's time to work on the net net and synergize so as to secure maximum ROI.(that was written last year also, on another blog post. Have not done marketing.. no sales action.)SPOKEN I wrote the following last year, and it has received attention, should receive more... SPOKEN needs to increase its audience...it really is an incredible piece of work :a virtual gallery built by Eugene Soh and filled with contributions from an extremely diverse collection of artists and writers. And these two projects, carry overs from last year. Hopefully by midyear, they can be picked up again...INSEIN Last year, I spent almost ten days in Yangon. I created images with a digital camera. I would like to exhibit them and create a book.The images use Yangon as a starting point...I Ate LaPhet Thoke Conceptual art meets culinary research. A booklet co-created with Sayuri Okayama.Beach Road This 360VR movie will hopefully continue to attract viewers. Towards a New Cinematography, the book, has been plodding along. I hope it will plod faster.AND I WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH MY MOM AND DAD AND BROTHER AND DAUGHTER!
This post documents progress on Tiong Bahru Mouth, which is a collection of short stories and a visual art project, both by Stephen Black. Visual art, in this case, means photographs, videos and 360 videos. There is also a haiku component which is hidden on the internet. PHOTOGRAPHS http://www.blacksteps.tv/tiong-bahru-mouth-images/ VIDEOS Coffee and Light Tiong Bahru Mouth Wakes Up Jian Boh Shui Kueh at Sunrise Tiong Bahru Teochew Kueh Tiong Bahru Teochew Kueh glutinous rice packing Galicier Counter at CNY Two Friends in a Hardware Shop A Couple Descending
- This will be a book of photographs, facts, history and stories about the people, food and community of Tiong Bahru and the surrounding area.
- Please note that Tiong Bahru Time is a working title that may or may not be used. However, the idea of time is definitely the foundation of the book. Examples: breakfast time, lunch time, Hungry Ghost Month, the Monkey God's Birthday, the pre-war flats, the post-war flats, daytime, nighttime, the seasons, 24 hours in Tiong Bahru, childhood, adulthood, The Sixties,etc.
- The photographs and text will be mainly by Stephen Black, whose previous book on Tiong Bahru, i ate tiong bahru, is a national bestseller. Stephen Black holds Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and his works have been shown in galleries and museums worldwide. He has worked at various roles for companies such as CNN, Cartoon Network, Fuji TV, Fox and France 2. His 360 short film entitled Beach Road was featured at the 2015 Brisbane Film Festival and nominated for Best Experimental Film at the 2016 Las Vegas VR Fest. Elsewhere on this blog are posts about his involvement with music, CG-generated environments and other artists.
- At this time the total number of pages will likely be about 200 pages; size not yet determined.
Hi! The first part of this post is here.
Gula melakka is easy to melt and difficult to burn. It’s in many of Galicier’s treats: steamed tapioca, putu mayu, onden onden, kaya jam, ongol ongol and, of course, huat kueh. Gula melakka is used in breads and cookies as well, but its taste can become subdued when used with yeast. Potassium, iron, nitrogen, zinc, selenium and other minerals are all found in gula melakka. It’s the only plant-generated source of B12, which is necessary for red blood cells and a healthy nervous system. Yes!
After getting Soh Kee Soon’s approval, I pick up a few shavings. Gula melakka is softly crystalline, like fine moist sand. Almost gooey. On my tongue, the shavings become a sweetly wholesome syrup.
Customers walking into Galicier are greeted by shelves full of macaroons, containers of kaya jam, lady fingers and at least five kinds of breads. Cakes: Black Forest, chocolate, mango, pumpkin and more. Here and there traditional bamboo containers are used as decorations. On a table, a small wall made of plastic tubs full of cookies of all kinds. Almond combinations abound: coffee almond, cinnamon almond, chocolate almond, green tea almond and more. Like any Peranakan bakery, Galicier has pineapple tarts.
Power 98 reports that the thunderstorms will continue all afternoon, then wishes everyone a Happy Dewali before playing a Guns N’ Roses song. The rainy national holiday seems like any other day. The flow of customers has been steady. Most walk in, but a few park on Tiong Bahru Road, turn on their blinking hazard lights and run in to order.
Speaking in English, a woman tells her two children about the photo of Tan Lok Wee. The woman’s father used to take her there. Jenny, speaking in Teochew, had told the woman the Tan Lok Wee/Galicier story. The woman is excited and emotional. The kids are bored.
Jenny says this sort of thing happens all the time.
Next door, on the corner, is the Prata Paradise. A few doors away on the other side is The French Bookshop. At night, on the other end of the block, the packed tables of Sin Hoi San clog the passageway. Sin Hoi San specializes in seafood. From inside their bubbling tanks, risks of lobsters, casts of crabs and porns6 of geoducks intimidate those waiting at the bus stop.
Most evenings the manager, Cheong Seck Wee, weaves his motorbike through the tables and begins cruising through the streets of Tiong Bahru. His ride is covered with lights, decals and flags. When I lived on the third floor of Moh Guan, I’d watch him from the window. Classic Chinese ballads softly played from speakers on his glowing, blinking motorbike. He rode slowly, like the lost ghost of a parade.
Next to Sin Hoi San is a provision shop, a time capsule from the days when customers bought 20 kilo bags of rice. Now, in the age of supermarkets and 7-11s, the shop sells small things like canned drinks, instant noodles, fruits and bread. A few times a year, there will be baskets of green spiky durians in front. The uncle will sit beside his weathered stand with a knife and gloves nearby.
“Galicier is stuck in the Seventies,” says a newspaper clipping on the wall. I would disagree. Galicier is as timeless as gula melakka, pure water, honey or bread.
(i ate tiong bahru is available on Amazon)
In my latest novel, Bali Wave Ghost, there is a character named Kuroyama, who lives directly above the main character, Odie (Mr. Orgasm Donor). Kuroyama is a fictitious character, but one based on my research, life experiences and time-spent-viewing-the-works of photographers like Daido Moriyama, Eikoh Hosoe andAraki, My first introduction to the world of Japanese photography was a book called New Japanese Photography, which was published in conjunction with an exhibition at MOMA in 1974. I imagined what it might be like if an established Japanese photographer in his "golden years" moved to Bali... an excerpt is below. ............... -the image used as the header was created in Ubud, Bali as part of a collaboration between Stephen Black and Mee-Young Arkim. There are several posts on this blog describing the photographic intentions of the project. Here is the first. -an exhibition by Daido Moriyama is currently being presented as part of the Singapore International Photography Festival -FWIW, in Tokyo I ran SPP, an art space with Barae, a dance/performance artist who occasionally modeled for Araki. Here is the beginning of one chapter from Bali Wave Ghost...
A LAZY MAN DOES NOT SIN
On our bed, an open book. A two-page black and white photo of a naked, hairless Japanese young man in an office. His body is covered with white powder and his head is stretched so far back that the smooth, eyeless surface of his throat is where his face should be. His hands are arthritic. Like a praying mantis pinned to a desk, his body screams at a fluorescent light.
Two hours ago there was a knock on the window. ”Herro. Here I am Kuroyama.” I put on my pants and opened the door. Kuroyama looked like a lost tourist who’d just been shopping. “Do you know butoh?” he asked in his deep voice.
”Butoh lives upstairs, I think.”
Kuroyama gave me the crisp white bag he’d been holding. “Butoh is art of death with agitation spirit. Please enjoy with relax feeling.” He smiled. I looked at the sky and discretely pinched myself. Kuroyama lit a cigarette and brought it to his big teeth. “Dance of reaction to human darkness. Also, please be sharing with Miss Francesca.” He smiled again, and nodded with the seriousness of a bow. “Sanku you.” He went upstairs.
It has been quiet since then.
I have a feeling Kuroyama is now directly above me, looking at the same book, the same images, at the same time.
Another black and white image. Grainy. Another Japanese body. Lips, cheekbones, nose. Throat. Her eyes are white dust and her breasts are in rags. Arching against, kicking against a dark wooden floor. Serene yet terrifying, like a long-killed mermaid. Her hair is Fukushima.