Tag Archives: Southeast Asia

red dot SAD (content update)

red dot SAD will ultimately be a printed book of about 300 pages. The contents reflect 15 years of a creative life, one based in Singapore. Besides fiction, rdS includes reports and essays about art, VR, AR, photography, video and food.The list below does not include the many photographs and images in rDS.

The current ebook version of red dot SAD is available on Amazon. Those who purchase the current version will receive the updated ebook versions free of charge. This is explained here, on Medium and here on this blog.

I Ate Carrot Cake This Morning

My life is built upon a foundation of grated carrots, walnuts and lemon glaze.

Smoke and Mirrors

Long live the homemade satay cart of Tiong Bahru! (a chapter from the bestselling i ate tiong bahru)

Haikus

Five-seven-five, all night long.

Contact With Lightning

Frisbee and shock on the lawn of Fort Canning.(a chapter from Contact With Shadow)

The Unseen Guest: Checkpoint (album review)

Li Cassidy-Peet

She taught singing.

The Aloha of God

Hawaii, Vietnam, Selma and orchids. Obama.

Correspondence

You can’t make this up.

Hummingbird vs. Helicopter

Most accurately: Hummingbird vs. Helicopter vs. Happy Crab

A Star is Born or Something

3how is rocknrollwritingperformanceart. We don’t explore anything. We laugh when it breaks.

A Story about the Armenian Alphabet, Vitamin Supplements and the Singapore National Library

All you need is love and Vitamin B.

Your Super Restaurant (Hugh Howey Must D’yer Maker)

Connecting the spicy dots between the Father of Amish Sci-fi, self-publishing and a guy who’s angry at Stephen Colbert.

I’m a Kway, You’re a Kway

A clueless American food artist and a legendary recipe for a 4000 year old auspicious Chinese pastry. What could go wrong?

How I Met Shigeru Miyamoto, the Man who created Mario and Donkey Kong

It was a dark and snowy night. Suddenly…

Notes on the Blue Flower

Mud, Concrete and Stars, Beauty and Hope(text written for an exhibition by Philipp Aldrup)

The Red Dot Museum

A museum full of award-winning design.

Mysticus fragrans: nutmeg

Charlotte Brontë reports on what really happened upon that fateful night at Fort Canning. A never before told story of Sir Raffles and Lady Sophia.

The Eye of Flesh

Rice seasonings:poetic and visionary. (a chapter from >Furikake)

Happy as Larry

A chicchetti (little savoury snacks) tour with Carla Bonollo. One of the pieces written for SPOKEN, the virtual art exhibition created by Eugene Soh and SB.(www.gallery.sg)

The Music of Will Sun

Medication and meditations for broken bones and hearts. (A chapter from Bali Wave Ghost)

red dot SAD (content update)Self-portrait as MPG

Do you think this is some kind of game?

Biff “Grayboox” Enum:Game Developer

Exclusive interview with the mastermind who behind the multi-platform megahit Powerfrog Troopers Revolution 6:the Croak Goes On.

Five Things I Learned on My First 360 “VR” shoot

Stephen Black :VR Startup in Singapore. Why?

Stephen Black :VR/AR Startup Plans

Hummingbird vs. Helicopter

The following is inspired by a piece by Gerald Leow on display as part of his solo exhibition at Chan+Hampe Contemporary until June 25.

On a material level, Manifold is simple: a dynamic, radiating metal sculpture made of copies of the same jagged line. These lines are like flattened appendages of a predatory insect, or sentences written in a spiky font. The pieces are colored asymmetrically; seven tones shifting between purple and orange. Manifold is bold, yet delicate-- an opening and a threat. Leow has been quoted as saying that he wanted to create works which are poetically violent. He has succeeded. Manifold is a beautiful but deadly tropical flower, 76 x 76 x 17cm.

The “edginess” of the sculpture is literal; the aggressive shapes on the edges of the lines form negative spaces which complete the piece. These edges are appropriated from the font and logo used by Judas Priest, a heavy metal band. Leow, who studied sociology, has a body of work based on the logo and the conceptual possibilities of heavy metal subculture. With Manifold, however, the link to heavy metal is not obvious, thankfully. Appropriation can be a one-trick pony; what is insightful and magical initially can later become an unrewarding burden for both artist and audience.

The exhibition’s title adds another dimension. I am Time Grown Old to Destroy the World refers to a comment Robert Oppenheimer made in 1945, when he witnessed the detonation of his brainchild, the first atomic bomb. The phrase is from the Mahabharata, specifically the Bhagavad Gita. A passage of 700 verses, the Gita documents the exchange between Prince Arujuna and Lord Krishna as they discuss war, duty and moral confusion.

contemporary sculpture in Singapore

Manifold from Leow's exhibition at Chan+Hori Contemporary Gallery in Singapore

Southeast Asian artwork made of mild steel, automotive paint and western pop culture. It is real.  It has universal significance. Manifold is an artwork worthy of its most serious sources of inspiration: the Mahabharata and the atomic bomb.

…………………………………………30……………………………………

I am elaborating upon this essay, including other projects of Gerald's as well as some of our collaborations and personal experiences. The result will be included in red dot SAD which is updated periodically.

Bubiko Foodtour Posts June 2017

Jambu Jakarta!

Loving Kuih Talam!

Vege Station Day

Indonesia in Johor Bahru

egg yolk lovers come here!

pork rib curry, interesting things

yum yum bitter gourd soup

The Baby Steps of Bubiko Foodtour

This past weekend SD(Suitcase Delicious) and I began serious work on the Bubiko Foodtour blog. For now we are using an iPhone and a toy doll, but plans for an original character are underway. Initially we are focusing on the food of Southeast Asia. The posts are entertaining and informative. Augmented reality and 3D animation ideas are also being discussed and refined. For now, we are developing ways to offer value to fans of Bubiko. A new website with a store is being planned. The Bubiko Foodtour blog is here.
a meal of bitter gourd soup

bitter gourd soup

A list of Bubiko's blog posts can be found here.

JB art colony 2020

I have been based in Singapore since 2002 and am in the midst of an extended stay in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. During this time I am collecting experiences and research for a book. My time here has clearly shown that

The well known reasons for this are:

1. Increasing/planned integration with Singapore: trains (local and high speed), bridges,increasing numbers of Johoreans in Singapore, increasing numbers of Singaporeans in JB.

2. Lower rental fees than Singapore.

3. Lower cost of living than Singapore.

4. Developed by Chinese investors, the Forest City megaproject is expected to eventually have 700,000 residents who will live on four artificial islands.That is the same population of Geneva.

5. Iskandar Malaysia, the Malaysian government’s project to upgrade the entire region,demonstrates that Johor Bahru can re-invent itself.

Having experienced the “reality on the ground”, the possibilities of JB become even more obvious. Outlying or unused industrial areas encourage innovation of all kinds, despite their challenges. In Singapore: The Artists Village. In Beijing:798 Art Zone. In New York City; Soho, The East Village and Brooklyn. IT people, food visionaries, unconventional international citizens and entrepreneurs of all kinds will all soon to discover the possibilities of the new JB. Imagineering is here!

Hello Starbucks and Dior.

the sculpture in the image above is Coccoon, by Alvin Tan on display at Puteri Harbour

Bubi and Conquest (part 3 of 3)

part one is here

A cat zipped from under one table to another. It had been outside.

”It isn’t any fun to be a poor kitty in a downpour.”

In the back of the prata place, on something like an altar, is an aquarium. A teaspoon of red tetras circle in the corner, and a bland piranha paces back and forth. The altar is covered with artificial grass. Pink cloth flowers are tied to the tree branches that are stacked around the aquarium. Like everything else here, everything’s big except a little naked doll standing in a circle of plastic roses.

“Bubi! How are you?”

I take two steps towards the aquarium and sit back down with the doll.

“Bubi, this is Mysteriouswomanpool. Mysteriouswomanpool, this is Bubi.”

She is obviously happy to see the doll and relieved that no one is watching. I lean Bubi against the clear plastic bag of buns that have black lips.

“I met Bubi years ago, when I lived in Minnesota. She used to go out with a classmate of mine, a Norwegian hockey player named Bjorn Free Vikingstad. In the summers we often enjoyed banana and ham pancakes.”

She laughs a big laugh and I laugh a bigger laugh. Together we laugh very very bigly.

I quit while I'm ahead. “Bubi must go back to Minnesota now. We can call her later, though.” I push my empty glass to the edge of the table, she does the same. Now, the place is empty. I count coins and put them on the table.”

“Three eighty boss.” He slides the coins onto his palm.

We walk out into the heavy rain, down the slope of Jalan Pahang. Our inkblot shadows float on a river of silver fingerprints. Despite our hopes, we’ll be back here in a few hours, when the sky will be blue and rich with the smell of freshly baked banana bread. The laundry shops will be busy, the tailors will be arriving and the trendy two story cafes will still be closed. The cracks and potholes will be dry. The people who work here will again wonder what is wrong with us; same clothes, same three plastic bags. Now, though, we cling together against the cold ocean of night, plodding through glistening nets full of streetlights, neon and stars. Flowing, flowing, everything’s flowing toward the Great Attractor.

She taps my elbow and I pull her closer. “Can we call Minnesota?” she says.

Bubi and Conquest (part 2 of 3)

Part 1 is here.“It’s for kids? Adults?”

“Both. It’ll be a novel, but some parts are like movies. Horror movies! Fairytales. Some areas will be for newlyweds. You can ride with God in an elevator. I plant the stories and then they rewrite themselves based on interactions with people and the environment.“

“OK... The characters will get old?"

“Some.”

“How do you come up with ideas for all of this?”

“In my workspace I have little pictures of James Joyce, J.K. Rowlings, Robin Williams and Tarantino. I imagined them making a game together. Didn’t work. Now, I think of them as a band. Williams on vocals, Tarantino on guitar, Joyce on drums and Rowlings on bass. What would their music be like?”

“And that makes you creative?”

“Not really...”

Without warning, the South China Sea falls upon the tin roof.

“You have to think of music. First person shooters are guitar solos. A character’s stories and skills are important, of course, but it’s all about harmony. And improvisation. MPGs are symphonies. With Spring Valley I want to make a game that gives the players power. Like, instead of being chased so that you fall into a pit filled with spears, what if you fall into something soft that recharged you? What if other players gave you healing powers instead of bullet holes?

Musicians give each other energy. The audience absorbs their interplay and sings along or cries or something, right? Harmonized decision making in microseconds. Play music. Play. So important."

....................30............ The conclusion .

Bubi and Conquest (1 of 3)

I am currently in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, where I am working on a book. The following is a work in progress.

“There’s this Great Attractor thing, and no one knows what it is. Maybe a monster sphere made of gravity waves or something. Maybe a magnetic hole in the universe big enough for all the galaxies. Our sun and the other planets are flowing towards it, right? Flowing at millions of miles an hour. And then there’s the surface of the Earth…”

“...which is spinning.”

“Correct. Spinning and traveling ‘round the sun. Superfast. So, this ramshackle little prata place we’re in is actually moving at a zillion miles an hour. At least.”

Three something in the morning; we’re exhausted. Waiting. One minute feels like a long week. The policeman near the door flicks his lighter and the friction of its little rough metal circle is heard everywhere. Outside, in the canyon of night, a big motorcycle rides past, its roaring engine like a huge threat.Overhead, eight fluorescent lights: six are working. It will rain soon.

Sleeplessness stretches and magnifies perceptions-- very big bunches of bananas are upon the very big tables in this very big mamak stall. Big buns in clear plastic bags are are also on the tables. They hover like clouds. My kopi and her teh halia o kosong are the size of glass oil barrels. Half-formed dreams float into logical thoughts, then disappear. There are three huge customers. “Hotel California” blares, a reggae version.

The guy who took our order is probably a Bangladeshi. I catch his eye, point at the speaker and move my little hand down. “Great cover, but we can’t talk.”

“No problem, boss.”

“ Bob Marley?”

“Could be, boss. I’ll check.”

I look at my glass like I’m seeing coffee for the first time. Maybe her head is moving slightly back and forth to the rhythm. Relax said the white man, we are programmed to deceive. “It’s reggae and Mexican music together. I saw The Eagles once. I like it when musicians mix styles. Hybrids. Like Ziggy Stardust was rock and chanson.”

“Who? Ziggy Sparkle?”

“Bowie. David Bowie...Ziggy Stardust?”

“Sorry.”

“Boss, that’s the Moonshiners.” He’s carrying a huge cone of tissue prata on a silver plate.

“Thanks.”

The tops of the floating buns have burn marks that look like big black lips.

“You only listen to classical, right?”

“Not really. All kinds.”

“Like what? What was the last thing you downloaded?"

“A Chinese dance song. "My Little Apple"...”

“That seems about right. You remind me of a lawyer. But you’re not in thousand dollars an hour mode now, right? Maybe I’m wrong, wrong to say that. Hard to think straight right now...”

She rotates her glass mug. It’s half full. Looks around, looks at me. “So, is this speeding intergalactic prata place in your game?”

“Maybe. It’s interesting because it’s not interesting. Boring comes first. Then, back end stuff like static variables and resolution issues. I do what I can to keep the frame rate high. Make everybody happy without them knowing it. You make the little dull things exciting, the big things go boom. Megaboom! When a player actually enjoys an office level-- that’s gold. It’s about death and self-portraiture. Like all great art.“

“Great art...” She stops herself, rubs her finger on her glass of tea. ”And the Chinese asked you to make a game for Spring Valley?”

“Yep, biggest site-specific AR game ever. There’s a stadium. Four artificial islands with everything, like a city. There’s gonna be four, five hundred thousand residents. A million times better than Pokemon.”

.......................30................................ the next section is here.

Two in the Afternoon (microfiction from Touching JB)

We were sitting on the chairs in front of the wood burning stove when they materialized. Their arms were like Japanese Easter eggs. Finally, the young man stopped with his thumbs and looked up from his phone. On top of his peppery skull was a filet of pink hair. Circular wire eyeglasses, yellow irises. He moved his head a little, then reached for the curry puffs. Started eating before he paid. The girl took hers without looking up.

The man behind the counter smiled sincerely, thanked them. Behind him, a wall was full of photos and newspaper clippings, most from when the man’s hair and beard weren’t white. Near the cash register: two playful photos of him and his wife at the Taj Mahal. Once, at the 123 Cafe, he'd told me that theirs was an arranged marriage. She passed away. Lung cancer. He didn’t say more.

The chairs we are in are comfortable. I am eating a piece of cream bread, she is chewing and studying her red bean puff. Saluddhin’s bakery has an authenticity that would usually capture my attention, but now I cannot help thinking about a game called Firewatch. It’s about a man living alone in the forests of Wyoming, a man whose wife may have early-onset dementia.

..............30.................

I am on target to finish a 50,000 word book by the end of May.The setting is Johor Bahru, a city that borders Singapore. There are other excerpts on this blog, but if you'd like to see the latest edited draft, drop me a line. I am excited about this and determined to stay on schedule.

 

Touching JB: a relaxed description of a book and photo project set in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

so far, the best introduction to this project.... Touching JB is being crowdfunded... thanks for thinking of it... https://www.zingohub.com/#/en-GBL/c/touching-jb unrelated