Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Drawing Minutes of Meeting.

Nasi Kandar - nourishing parts of the body that your morning muesli cannot reach
I have learnt to make the most out of any situation; so when the morning meeting is cancelled, it is simply a sign to walk to the Nasi Kandar stall for a leisurely breakfast. This only works if you are in Penang, which I was for a site meeting the day before. We had spent the afternoon reviewing the ceiling construction and services - a bit tedious but necessary. I have learnt long ago that no one reads the minutes so I have resorted to simple lists of things to do accompanied by simple sketches explaining the details. I have also learnt to make the most of my free time when I get it; so the morning was spent drawing out the minutes of yesterday's meeting interspersed with food and drinks stops.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Happy Feet

Michelle rang while I was stretching my legs after a run, 
she wanted to know how I was, so I showed her. 
 'Even your feet have wrinkles...,' she said
'Those are not wrinkles,' I replied,
'they are laugh-lines.'
 'Because I have happy feet.'

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The 10 o'clock Talk

People often think that to be a good architect, one needs to draw well. True but it is equally important to think clearly, speak well and listen carefully. A skill we are constantly practicing amongst our interns and colleagues. So when 30 students from Kolej Laila Taib visited our office, we arranged to share some of our work and ideas in a series of 5-minutes talks. During Q and A, someone asked Claudia, 'how did you convince your client to walk such a long way from his car to the house?' She replied, 'Give him a nice garden to walk through.'

Groundbreaking for the newbies, good practice for the experienced.

Young architect, Michael talking about Cat's Playhouse

Sara talking about her installation for World Architecture Day

While the others shared ideas..

...some of us baby-sat the tutor's young daughter.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Faces at the Mercato (2012)

After looking at the photos, I was inspired to draw a map recording our journey to the market

One bright morning in September while Sam and the kids shopped for lunch in the Mercato, the mammal in me needed to catch some sunshine and the voyeur in me wanted to watch the local people in action. (and catch them with my camera.)

Selling endives

Italians are very expressive with their hands
Their expressions are so similar, these two are definitely married.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Visiting Louise

View from the winding driveway

Last Sunday, I finally had the chance to visit the Segu Bungalow when Louise invited USK members for sketching and morning tea.
I have passed this building many times as I was growing up – it is at the midpoint of my journey from my grandmother’s house and the basketball court at SUPP. Perched on a hill, the house itself is not very visible from the road (then called Pig Lane – recently sterilized to Park Lane) but its most arresting feature can be seen from the road, the ceiling covered with dozens of colourful native art murals.
Its most arresting feature is the ceiling covered with dozens of colourful native art murals.

Members of USK showing their completed sketches, our host Louise is seated far left
This historical building was originally located near the Segu River in the Padawan area; built as a holiday house for Rajah Vyner Brooke by Tan Sri William Tan, a former speaker of the Sarawak Assembly. In 1936, it was dismantled and relocated to its present location.

Since then, the bungalow has been the residence of Tom Harrison the former curator of the Sarawak Museum and many other expatriates including our friend, Louise who heads the non-profit, Friends of the Sarawak Museum.

I found two articles relating to the ceiling murals - one claims that they were painted by Tusau Padan, a Kenyah from Ulu Baram and Harrison cohort while the other by a member of the Sarawak Heritage Society informs that the murals were originally painted on paper and glued to the ceiling. Since the second article makes no mention of Tom Harrison as an inhabitant of the Segu Bungalow, I am going to discount it. 

The front verandah opens out onto a secret garden not visible from the road

The main house is linked to a servants' quarters

View from the top of the drive

The floor plan reveals that half the house is a covered verandah

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Sale

Recently I sold the first of my sketches to James who wanted it as a birthday present for a friend, I was not able to name a price for the A3 sketch and suggested that he simply paid a donation to the Sarawak Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), which he did handsomely.

James has the idea that I can display some of my sketches in his new bar for sale - I am torn between displaying scanned prints of my sketches, and producing originals which takes more time and commitment but contains the trace of hand and therefore, a touch of soul.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Walk Back in Time

On Sunday I took a walk back in time on that familiar road that led me from my grandma's house to school. Almost everything has changed along Tabuan Road since those days in the seventies but in my mind, the row of single storey shops are still there where in one of them, a man and his son sold deep fried fritters from the five foot way. The customers took away the foot-long fritters in a parcel fashioned from yesterday's news and a length of string. There was often a queue of customers waiting for this breakfast delicacy; usually dunked in sweet coffee before that delicious first bite.

Beyond the shops is a tall metal fence, and behind them; the town prison with its barred windows.
Further down the road just as it is about to turn up McDougall Hill, a solitary tree on a triangular piece of land which is the traffic island and local landmark - "sa-kak-po"

On rainy days, my grandmother would drive the neighbour's children and I to school and along the way, she often stops to pick up my class-mates; saving them from a wet walk to class. In that ten- minute drive, the car would fill up with up to half a dozen school children who were just happy to have a break from routine - talking loudly and jostling for space.

Some of my companions this Sunday were equally boisterous and energetic - some young and some not-so-young, scattered throughout the vicinity of my childhood memories in the late afternoon.

The usual highlight of our USK sketch crawls is the sharing of our sketches and a group photo, however this Sunday, this was surpassed by George's pizza treat. I was sitting in front of the supermarket, putting in the line-work when I heard a familiar voice -"Min!, come by and have pizza later, and bring your kids!" George and Rosalind are the chef and owners of The Junk, a popular local restaurant that serves up western favourites in a row of restored Chinese shop houses.

One of the many joys of living in a small-ish city where most people know one another, and are generous and inclusive. I'll give George some of my postcard sketches as payment for the pizzas and beers.