Saturday, September 24, 2011

Angela's Ashes

Cathedral of Good Shepherd
Many years ago, I had the good fortune to listen to Angela's Ashes read by the author, Frank McCourt - I was in the car with young Sean and Sara who enjoyed the story telling (and the gentle humour) very much. Recently, I decided to re-read the book and bought a second hand copy from a Bras Basah bookstore. Here's an excerpt:

"From October to March the walls of Limerick glistened with the damp. Clothes never dried; tweed and woolen coats housed living things, sometimes sprouted mysterious vegetation. In pubs, steam rose from damp bodies and garments to be inhaled with cigarette and pipe smoke laced with the stale fumes of spilled stout and whiskey and tinged with the odour of piss wafting in from the outdoor jakes where many a man puked up his week’s wages

The rain drove us into the church – our refuge, our strength, our only dry place. At Mass, Benediction, novenas, we huddled in great damp clumps, dozing through priest drone, while steam rose from our clothes to mingle with the sweetness of incense, flowers and candles.

Limerick gained a reputation for piety, but we knew it was only the rain."

courtesy of the Banana-man

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Recently while waiting in a hotel lobby, I drew this mom and child waiting for dad to check out - mom was tying up the toddler's hair while the child played with an I-phone. The following sketches are collected over the years and they show us waiting (almost always with a book)

Sam falls asleep amongst the laundry while waiting for dinner to be cooked

We were on the way to KL via KTM train from JB.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Drawing Out Your Day

Breakfast at the Ibis Hotel where I stayed for 8 nights was the same everyday, which helped reinforce my daily routine of squeezing in a quick run in the early morning before going to 'work' at the third year studio. 
I ate alone - but had my novels and sketch book to keep me accompany.These are some of the people in the breakfast crowd.
This impatient man was waiting for his wife to check out - full of anxious energy and frowns.
The Workshop consist of 150 students from NUS whom I saw daily for a week; they helped me with my daily commute, which involved taking the SMRT Bus 806 from the Dept. of Design and Environment to Clementi MRT which takes to Bugis MRT. From there, I walk a short distance to Ibis Hotel on Bencoolen Road.
On some days, I take a detour and visit museums or shops; I saw the terracotta warriors at the Asian Civilisation Museum with Tao and friend.
Some days, my friends would take me to look at new buildings such as the University Town across the road from NUS. Most of the building there are bland American copies with the exception of Mok Wei Wei's building. 
Mostly, I was happy to explore and sketch, I did two quick sketches (5-10 minutes) of the old Mandarin Oriental Hotel which is now wearing a new 'skirt' of sweeping glass and steel curves that is Mandarin Square.

The Singapore Management Universtiy

Monday, September 5, 2011

Kindred Spirits

by Kok Ming

by Kok Ming

The Hunting Lodge by Jules Boag
We meet people in the course of our lives; some become friends after the third or fourth meeting while others are destined to stay at the fringe as acquaintances. Then there are the times when we meet people for the first time and the mutual feeling is one of renewed friendship. Like an old school friend whose bond was cultivated over hours of homework (or detention); or favourite cousin Freddie whom despite being a relative (and therefore not strictly a friend) always shared a laugh or a cigarette after Grandma’s obligatory Sunday lunch.

This year, I had the privilege of meeting two such people – one of them is a runner (editor) and the other is a sketcher (architect). For someone who does not make friends easily - this is indeed a bonus. The bonus of having someone share the hard miles with me in the early morning runs and tell stories (during the run - she's fit this one) about our other shared interests; dogs, traveling, art, warm people and cool films.
To have someone who share discoveries about architecture; a recent favourite speaker or building, an invite to conduct a workshop, ideas about teaching architecture and striking a balance between work and family.
Their warmth and openness makes me want to try harder to be approachable and generous when I deal with others - it's a work in progress.