Saturday, March 19, 2011

English Books

An entry about books which I have read recently. One wouldn't think that books written about the English language can be so readable and entertaining; Bill Bryson's book is informative and funny at the same time (without really trying) - as he quotes samples from real life. 
Ben MacIntyre's The Last Word is a compilation of articles from his column in The Times - covering topics about the English language, books, authors and others. My favourite is 'the letter to my widow' - Robert Falcon Scott's last word to his wife. Scott and five others died on the return journey from the South Pole - they arrived on the 7th January 1912 and to discovered that they have been preceded by Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition companion. Scott's frien, Lawrence Oates famously said ' I am just going outside and may be a while before walking out into a blizzard' - knowing that his ill health will slow down the expedition.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Speed Sketching Exercise #1

I brought 6 items to class today; and asked the students to sketch them one after another in quick succession. I used the songs in my phone to pace the time used for each sketch; using the time taken for two songs to play out (approximately 7 minutes) as the time limit to complete each sketch. Although the students initially grumbled about the shortness of the time - they were pleasantly surprised when they could finish the task quite easily.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Dykes on Bikes

This would have been a great name for Dianne's home-brew - but the actual name is "three girls on bikes beer". She made packs of three; pilsner, lager and one other; as Christmas presents one summer long ago - the label showed three girls free-wheeling down a hill. She brewed the beer using a DIY home pack with an electric blanket around the tank to keep the mixture warm in winter. Dianne and I spent a year finishing our final year projects, in a portacabin outside the Archi studio. .During that time, she taught me to see things from different points of views and showed me her parents' farm in Wagga Wagga Wangaratta (sorry Di). Through her, I met a vast and different circle of people, who became firm friends through the final years in University. My only regret about our friendship was not knowing her earlier.
Eeng Hooi's bike

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

National Service in Serian

National Service camp near Serian
One Sunday last month, we tagged along to meet Sarah who is serving her National Service duties in a camp near Serian. The great thing about young people is that they carry their bright spark of life with them. It does not matter that the camp is the typical government jerry-built rubbish that will fall apart in 3 years. I saw the interns taking time out, singing, playing the guitar and meeting with family members. For a moment, we were family too sharing in their moment of freedom; we got hugs 6 feet high from Sarah.
We visited Serian after the camp; the place holds certain fond memories for me - as a child and later when we travelled here with Ivy. Back then we visited Ivy's school with Sean and Sara; picking up 'buah saga' from the compound (I must find those photos and share them). Several months later, we travelled up to Serian with Johnson with flowers from our gardens for Ivy and Sia's wedding. We were the florist and photographer for the event.
Rachang Pool - looking towards the cable bridge, the rock pool is below
Stone steps leading up to a picnic gazebo

In the old days, a trip to Serian is not complete without visiting Rachang Pool. More memories - childhood ones this time and as expected, everything looks and feels smaller than I remembered. Still, our visit was made memorable by Eng Hooi's stories about his and Belinda's stint here as school teachers.