Monday, October 29, 2012

Birds of a same feather

These drawings are done by mentor and good friend, Marcel; I knew he is a good architect but did not know that he is a good painter as well. Not until these series of drawings were send to me, they are part of 80 in his bird series; each finished in pen, pencil, wash and crayon.

I have not seen Marcel for more than ten years; he now lives in Canada with his family. This photo of him was taken when we were working in the same firm; as part of a photo record of all the people in the office. I took this picture of him while he was busy preening himself; getting his cuffs straight and so forth.

Moments later when he was ready, I took some posed shots of him.

But this is still my favourite because I remember he was humming to himself - obviously happy to be in the centre of all the attention.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sean and Sara

As my children grow up; they start to develop their personal interests - many of which are different from mine. And as much as I would like them to share some of my interests, it is difficult to do so without seeming to force them. And as democratic as I try to be; family and friends tell me that my 'forceful' personality may think it is not imposing. But it is....

So it is with some degree of pleasure that I re-discovered these sketches that Sean and Sara painted with me on Sunday afternoons about ten years ago. We stuck them on the wall of the study, until they were eventually hidden by furniture moved in front of them. Sara's bold strokes and Sean's ink and wash combine to form a slice of our personal history.

Of course, those days are gone now, and I am left to run, sketch and garden on my own most of the time.

On a brighter note, Sean has decided to give Architecture a try - he starts his Foundation course next January.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Market Strategies

Photo courtesy of Yusuf Muhammad

The demise of a social landmark
When I was growing up, the Sunday market was located near the old State Mosque at Jalan Haji Taha – this is the predecessor of the present day Satok Market; popular with locals seeking out local produce and exotic fruits. This ‘tamu’ was dismantled and re-emerged in its new form and location – filling in the gaps between shop houses at Jalan Satok and there it stayed for many years. 

This will soon end; as there are plans to relocate the Market across the river.
The Satok Weekend Market grew - out of a need for part-time traders to do business, and into the nooks and crannies of our townscape, insinuating itself like a live organism with its own ebb and flow. Its free spirit may be mistaken for untidiness, its grass-roots beginnings construed as a lack of care or hygiene, the shoulder to shoulder traffic and the long walk to find car parking is social pilgrimage for many locals (and even more tourists) 

Therein lies its downfall perhaps, as these are reasons cited for its relocation. 
There is nothing for fear and much to gain from grass-roots occurrence like this one; many of us have travelled overseas to visit similar venues. It has a symbiotic relationship with the adjacent shop houses, perhaps its temporary nature makes the cohabitation easier to accommodate. Its various sections; jungle produce, livestock, plants, clothing and pets divide themselves into precincts accessed by streets that exist only from Saturday noon to Sunday afternoon, after which it packs itself up and is gone for another week. 

It has become part of our urban and social landscape; written into travel journals and our memories. As an architect and a local; I do not favour the relocation. It should not have to conform into neat rows and tidy habits; to do so would dilute its original character and cause it to forget its mother tongue.  

courtesy of Azie

Monday, October 8, 2012

Postcards from the Edge

While in Florence recently, I decided to send postcards of my sketches to friends back home - here are some of them. Some were copies of favourite sketches from my pad; others I sketched straight onto the card as I grew more confident. I posted them from a hill town near Florence called Fiesole, known as 'the sky over Florence' - you can see why from the photograph.

The Sky over Florence

This post box is to the right of the doorway (above)

I was sketching a postcard in the courtyard of a church as Sam pointed out a post box on the wall next to me. It was a sign! So we posted all of them from the little red post box in a church courtyard in Fiesole.

Brunelleschi's Duomo looking from the Ospedale degli Innocenti

One was folded in half otherwise all arrived at their destinations unscathed. I call them my expresso sketches because they were painted quickly and with coffee...

...and now back in Kuching; the postcards continue. This time painted with soy sauce from coffee shops.

My friends overseas, send me your postal address via email if you want a sketch postcard from Kuching.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Autumn Moon Festival

courtesy of Grace Teoh from Penang

Another excuse to overload on sugar by eating moon cakes, but now that my palate has matured from years of being married to a Cantonese woman, I turn my nose up at the local "tau sah" (sweet bean-paste) moon cakes, scoff at the trendy StarBucks mocha-latte-pandan flavours and eat only the finest "lin-yoong" (lotus-seed paste) moon cakes from KL (where else?). 

But when no one is looking..(Sam especially) I gorge on the local 'gu-chia-lin' (bullock cart wheels) large flat moon cakes bought from the Third Mile Bazaar

 Peggy's inaugural Kuching USk Sketch Crawl - in conjunction with the street celebrations on Carpenter Street
(drawn quickly with BIC Crystal 1.6 mm ballpoint pen because fish porridge from Lau Eya Keng is calling out to me)