Dec 8, 2014

I Didn't Throw it Away

I used to draw a lot when I was young, before the world was cyberised. 

Growing up in a big city, we didn't spend our childhood outdoor freely. Most of the time, besides playing with my siblings at home, I spent most of my free time seating down on my desk and holding the pencil to draw, to sketch, and brushes to paint. There must the innocent soul of mine in believing myself of having some sort of magical power to visualise and decode 3D into 2D. I was not afraid of wrong doing onto the drawing pad.

3D to 2D.
At times, it got so powerful that I wanted my future job to be associated with colours, aesthetic, subjective... It was such a joy to hold the pencil and outline things from my brain and through my eyes onto the drawing paper. I got obsessed with my art pieces slowly, I didn't just draw and paint, I kept them! I realised that, when I started an art piece, it was an unknown- whether I could complete it beautifully, gratifyingly. Frankly, I was not really good at it, I had many moments of failure and frustration. Some school works, I had to do more than twice, or took me few hours or sometime days in order to submit for grading. But what Picasso said is true, "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." 

So, I did not stop drawing. I tried to learn- how to correct stoke that i was regretfully put on the piece I was working or even to the extend of how to cover a mistake. I also learnt that, mojo sometime needed vacation and no inspiration or motivation to draw and paint wasn't end of the world. Admittedly, when an art piece is completed till the last stroke successfully, it was a glorify moment! That piece of work worth keeping! Don't you think? 

One of my school work in 1992 (or 93).
Then I started to pick up Manga art. During teen, I read manga, many of them! Slam Dunk好小子H2Drogan Ball, etc; some horror series, some love story. Most of the story line were meaningful, panels of illustration were creatively and meticulously layout page after page. Again, voices inside me urged me to replica some of those exaggerated facial expressions. 

So I became super copycat of Manga!

Do you recognise any of the characters?
I had some of the scrap pieces of my manga art framed up.

Italic calligraphy that we learnt in school.
As I grew older, I drew lesser. Mundane of you-need-to-study-hard took place. Those days, I was told that studying was more promising than drawing for a bright future.

Slowly, a long hiatus of drawing and painting happened. Colouring palette and tubes of colours were untouched; old pieces of art work kept inside a box, in my room, at my parents’ place in KL. I moved on my life with much, much lesser drawing, packed my time with lecture notes and campus life, graduated, started work, got married, gave birth, relocated, gave birth again... But the box of my works remained with my parents.

An attempt being teared, likelihood the other half was ruined. Newspaper was dated in 1991.  

When they moved to another new home with my brother in 2009, the box followed them. I thank them for not throwing it away.

Another scrap piece of work.

I only moved these art pieces over to Singapore beginning of this year, when my father gave me final warning of my old stuff being hoarded up with them for so long. Then I went through these art pieces again, after so many years. I am glad that drawing was part of my youth. I cherished every pieces of them.

A Tree as the cover of a scrapbook of articles I did with my best friend in 1992. 

I did still life a lot, in addition to Manga art, reckon I found my strength in mimicking something with the pencil in my hand. I didn't attend any classes (besides the regular art lessons in school) to learn the skill. Instead, I had an art book passed down from my aunt when I was little. I can't remember when did I officially own the book, it could be in 80s. All I can remember is that I flipped through it a lot, super helpful in term of sketching. I keep the book until now, albeit abandon in the drawer. 

Edition: 1979; dual language.

As of now, i don't draw on paper as much as i want to. Rather, I draw my everyday- begins in fresh plain paper, ends in a form of art works. Some days are good and within control, some days are not and daunting. Either way, I put my heart and soul into each day, never a moment of waste and a plain dull day! 

Green Issues by Agy
This post is part of a blog train hosted by Agatha from Green Issues by Agy on “I Didn’t Throw It Away”.
We have become such a throw-away society, but there are some things in our households that we still keep. Why is that so? Perhaps this blog train can unlock the reasons behind it! Follow the daily posts on this blog train and read about the stories behind the things we have kept for many years and why we didn’t throw them away. 

Up next is Diana. She is a part-time marketer, weekend face painter, and all-the-time mum to her brood of three (and one more on the way). Perhaps due to her forgetful nature and bad memory, she clings onto little things that reminders her of the important things to her. Join Diana tomorrow as she shares on the items that piece together fragments of her childhood memories on

Nov 30, 2014

Transforming Grape Stem Into a Tree

One day, after disconnected a bunch of grapes from the stem and passed the fruits to the girls to eat...

I saw a naked tree in my palm.
So, a wild attempt to let the girls have some fun began-

Paint a Tree
First | bend some parts of the stem a little outwards, just to make it like a tree branches.
Second | washi tape to stick the stem on the drawing paper, randomly.
Third | get ready with brushes, colouring palette, water, some water colours,
           mainly green, blue and yellow, just to get different shapes of green
Fourth | Fun dipping begins!
            Various of green- light green, dark green, lime, teal, mint, etc dip onto paper.

Lastly | Complete the background as you like.

Visually, it gives an impact to the little minds on the transformation possibility of an object. Technically, it allows the little hands to experience the dipping technique and how blue and yellow can form variety of green. Again, the infinite possibility of forming own's green.

Of course, you can try other shapes of colour.

Nov 10, 2014

A Bit (More) from the Daily Fix

While writing and receiving loves on my earlier post of the Daily Fix, I got the opportunity to chat a little with Julian, the Founder. More on, feedback on his food and coffee we had. I approached him further if he would like to share about his story on the café business, those vintage collections, his effort, his vision and what not. I mean, how clever is he to hunt and keep those antiques and oldies? Making them as part of his life beautifully is another great success. He must have some secret!

Here’s his reply:

Oct 15, 2014

Malacca: The Daily Fix, Jonker Street

We travel back to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore to visit my family, at least thrice a year. Hence, SC and I would bring the girls pop by Malacca whenever we could, just to be a day or two of wondering wanderers. Malacca maybe now a very tourist hotspot, it is still a new adventure place to the girls, many to see, many to think about and learn. We also think that it is a living book for us to read and get to walk our history physically. 

[Ok, the true is adult us love the food there, cheap and authentic].

Usually, we would pick off-peak season to visit the centre of Malacca city. It is always jam-packed during weekends and public holidays, on the road especially. Traffic congestion gets worst after listed as UNESCO heritage site. Good and bad I guess. I don't like crowd, and frankly we can't afford to spend more on the accommodation. Y'know, they charge more during peak seasons. (And they charge almost half the price when it is off-peak.)

So, after we had enough of wandering (and books), we went to The Daily Fix.

Oct 14, 2014

Malacca: Jonker Street and its Very Own Library

As I was saying, I have fond memories of Malacca. My dad brought little us to visit Malacca to makan angin (to travel for leisure), mostly during school holiday. Vaguely, I saw the red shophouses a lot, and the Christ Church, and the Fort A Famosa. And Trishaw! We didn't have it in the big city of KL nor small hometown of my dad's, you see. Malacca provided us a glimpse of the past and slower pace of living (few days though) from the Kuala Lumpur city. Over the years, I learnt a lot more about its history of Sultanate, Laksamana and Temenggung, as well as the unique Baba and Nyonya culture from our textbooks. It was one of the proud eras prior to Colonialism of Malaya. 

Profoundly, Malacca set the modern nation of Malaysia. If I may conclude so. 

Like many other cities in Malaysia, Malacca grows and develops rapidly too, vertically and horizontally while I was reading it from the textbooks. Some parts of the city stay physically intact as much as it could, some parts try to integrate the past and redevelop. Conservation and Preservation are not easy when socia-economic consideration is the primary aspect for a city. In 2008, together with George Town of Penang, Malacca became one of UNESCO World Heritage Site. More effort of redevelopment ever since, but I think that listing gives some of us some sort of relief that many of the past get to stay permanently.

Speaking of which, we love visiting Jonker Streetbeing the core of the Malacca UNESCO World Heritage SiteDuring our last visit to Malacca, we had great fun. 

Oct 7, 2014

Sept 2014: Malacca

In many ways, Malacca is a very charming place to be. Its food and its mixed arts and cultural are the main attractions, along with those well restored historical architectures. Jonker Street, aka Jalan Hang Jebat, being the core of the Malacca UNESCO World Heritage Site, is where we don’t mind coming back again whenever we are visiting Malacca. Jonker Street is where I would find surprises whenever we are the wondering wanderers.

Slowly, I realised that, Malacca is also one of the places that I injected best memories to my children, my family. Pretty much similar to what my dad did to us. We used to visit Malacca for family trips. Those days, Malacca was much more leisure, much more simple; not as happening as now, was not so scorchy hot, was much lesser cars, little chaotic developments, no reclamation (or was it started in process?)... 

Malacca was a good place for us to escape from the metropolitan KL.

Credits: Amanda Yi Designs; Sahlin Studio; Kim Christensen's Design; Akizo, etc.

The text in the digital scrapbook is in Malay, for Melaka = Malacca; Bandaraya Bersejarah = Historical City. I am slowly losing the power of writing in it and speaking of it. 

I share more of our surprises in Jonker Street here and there.

Sep 22, 2014

Review: Creative Horizons

My girl's English isn't fantastic. She is confused with grammar, weak with word decoding; speaks Singlish (Colloquial Singaporean English) wonderfully and brings them into her comprehension, composition and oral too.

I don't have solution for her, except being very patient in correcting her. You see, I was brought up in an environment that English is being third or four language to acquaint with, I didn't learn the language formally until i was in third year of primary school. I learnt English bit by bit slowly over the years and I am still learning the language to-date. So in a way, I don't push very hard in her study. I let the big English-speaking environment do the hard work; the school, her friends, the media are the greatest teachers, aren't they? Eventually, she should be mastering the language, right? I am just a supporting role when she's back home.

But. My home environment is kind of rojak (mixed): Mandarin, English and most of the time mixing them up in a sentence to convey a message. Even though I don't speak perfect English, I was taught the right way to speak simple English and so cautiously, I speak to my children in grammatically correct manner... by right. In such a big environment of Singlish, I am slowly localised, been quite confused with the language sometime, while exhaustively reminding her what's right and what's not. Slowly, I get into more serious business, past years' paper for her to practice, holiday programme to revise, hoping to improve her proficiency level. I hate to admit, I am doing little help to her, in her English. To some extend, I speak more Chinese to her instead. Let's go back to our mother tongue, she should be mastering the language eventually, right?

I think I was giving up in helping her.

Aug 20, 2014

Fun for Free Singapore: Venus Loop, MacRitchie

This post is part of the FUN FOR FREE SG series of blog train, brought to you by a group of mum bloggers. We’re sharing on one fun and free venue a day in the month of August. For the complete list of places, please scroll right to the bottom of this blog post.
. . . . . . . . . . ~ ~ . . . . . . . . . .

Today, I'll be sharing with you another fun and free place to be with your little ones: Venus Loop, a small part of MacRitchie nature trails.

MacRitchie situated in the core area of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), it is believed that it boasts a rich biodiversity with over 500 animal species. Together with MacRitchie, the CCNR now consists of a mixture of young and mature secondary forests with virgin primary forest surrounding the reservoirs.

As you may already know, MacRitchie Trails is a 20-km network of forest trails and broadwalks winding through the forest, to allow public to experience and appreciate nature. TreeTop Walk is another key attraction of CCNR. Whilst, Venus Loop is less mentioned.
"The MacRitchie Forest Trail at Venus Drive meanders along the banks of a forest stream that is full of freshwater life. Here live dragons and damsels, freshwater crabs and prawns, the Puff-faced Watersnake, Pygmy Halfbeak and Saddle Barb." from Toddycats.

Aug 13, 2014

Aug 2014: Bomber's First Excursion

Little Bomber's first field trip to Singapore Zoo, without daddy or mummy. She probably missed us, but the teacher said, kids had a wonderful time. She mentioned many new animal names after the trip; built a giraffe with lego (at home) the next day. She is a step closer away from clingy. I think, I should celebrate the milestone, here, in digi-scrapbook way.

And then, I recalled of Jijie's first excursion, I did a layout for her too. It was 6 years ago!!! I walked through a wonderful memory lane while clicking through those scrapbooks I did over the years. One child, then two. It is a lot harder to parent these days. I reckon, this is a way of me trying to replay the moments with my children, and be reminded of how blessed I am to have them. Quote and unquote Louise Erdrich, time with children is like water runs through fingers, we tried to hold, to capture, to fix moments in a lens... 

My firstborn is grown up, my littlest baby no more; I am memorialise now.

Jul 28, 2014

Duxton Hill, Duxton Road

We came here unintentionally. We wanted to visit Oriole, to sip one of the best specialty coffee in town, but it was closed to our surprise (apparently there was a moving out party in mid July). We roamed around the area and found Duxton Road, as well as Duxton Hill - one of the elegant conservation neighbourhood in the city.

"让生命稳稳流动(也)是我的功课之一。" by Bubu Tsai