Thursday, September 29, 2005

About C

There is no mystery,
No fairy tale -
Just a breath of living air

I have no fantasy
of medieval proportions

Because he is - here.

Something so mighty that feels so ordinary, not necessary poetry material - more like life-material. Even after so long, I still get the tummy-tickles about this knight in shining armour.

(sidenote: the one in subservience is the one in power, hence the knight/maiden analogy shows you who's who, never be mistaken!)

No fairy tales, no nightmares. Just peace and quiet knowledge that I am loved everyday - God is for me indeed, no doubt. Goodbye to the angry sweaty nights.

One day I will write more about this knight I love. Human for certain, but so real that I know him as if since the year 1979, so human because of all his weaknesses, but unconditional-love-thread from Father God entwines us humanly.

latest project

I'm currently doing a campaign of sorts involving the 16 Habits of Mind, which I need to marry with the core values of the school.

Exciting. The core values are about character, which forms the premise for the thinking attitudes in the 16 habits.

I enjoy doing this.

The idea is to create a system, consisting of both infrastructure and software, e.g. like build the Esplanade as well as improve training in the area of the arts. This system, reaches out to the end-user - the student, communicating through the vehicle of visual art.

I wonder if anyone understands this, but it is crystal clear to me what we need to do. Through a combination of displays (like print media advertising), exhibitions - from that of 2D to installation art, gallery management, space management, and collaborative programmes with students. All of which there is one common strand: the vehicle of outreach is through art.

Envision a school like that. Now, isn't this cool?
The one thing that separates the professional writers from the amateurs, is that the professionals write nonetheless.

I have been rather out of ideas, partially influenced by the fact that I have been spending most of my time either on work, being ill, or on setting up Salon Solidarity - which is up already, by the way. Hence, I really have nothing much to say at the moment.

I'd rather talk.

Recently I spoke had a long chat with my parents, who are the best motivators sometimes, when it comes to sales and business, simply because they are veterans themselves. My mom would declare things that might enrage but may also inspire, like, "What is a ten-thousand dollar deal? It's nothing! I once lost a two-hundred thousand dollar deal right before my very eyes."

Women make the best friends. When I talked to Shuyi, and wailed over MSN, that I felt like the world was crashing down on me, she succintly put forth her reply: 'Take it as blanket.' Of course subsequently she told me it was a Chinese saying, but till then I thought it was highly original. It does sound highly original still, I guess, when it is translated into English.

Sometimes in the un-extreme, everyday dreariness and simplicities, there can be wondrous things put forth upon words.

a thought aloud

When you work with a bunch of not-very-talented kids when it comes to art, should one as an art educator expect less of the outcome, or should this be a signpost to guide us towards tweaking the lesson upwards in order to achieve the desired outcomes?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What age do I act?

You Are 27 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Not too far from the truth. Hopefully I don't look 27.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

all about this

I have been away for a couple of days, slight no-post hiatus, because it has been a busy weekend as usual with work, church, and with Cal.

Plus I have been working on a new blog. (No I have not been unfaithful to worlds upon words).

This is about art. Resources, information, wording processes, and more. It is not ready yet, but briefly I will mention it here. It is not ready because, it is bare - no fancy photos like those here of scary me - and I have yet to organise how different people will contribute to this web-publication.

In the meantime, there are some dummy posts in a rudimentary layout there.

It is called, Salon Solidarity. If you would like to see its metamorphosis - It may sound vaguely artistic, but we all being intellectuals, will ponder over the name awhile. Soon I will write a paper on the meaning of this name, and what it has to do with art, and art-lovers in Singapore.

Of course, you know I won't really write a paper, I am but a regular English-speaking girl. Tissue paper, more like.

Will be back. As I always say at blogs I visit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

snapshot in the morning

This is my table. It tells some about me:

1. I am a girl. I have cute stuff toys on my table top, and I read Bridget Jones. I also have a pink room courtesy of Dorothy who sacrificially painted it for me. I have a cute piggy wrist-rest.

2. I teach Maths - there are 2 Maths TYSs on my table. One is being used as a mouse pad.

3. I enjoy drinking beer.

4. I am very messy. The beer can is from yesterday night.

5. I am somewhat organised - believe me. Underneath Bridget, is a calendar than Jan bought for me from Japan. I use it for work.

6. I have a piece of batik cloth I took from an art exhibit we did for a school - the leftover of course - and I use it as wrist-rests when I type.

What does your table tell about you?

a need to talk

Women need to talk. Talking helps us cope. When we talk, we find clarity of mind - through the introspection required of clear articulation. Sometimes, even after just airing the problem, a response from the other person like, 'Then how?' or 'So then what are you gonna do about it?', suffices.

But we all know that. This is Martian-Venusian logic, from the book that changed how I related to the men in my life.

Having said that, the reason why I am writing now, is because, I am frustrated. I am in the middle of doing some work now, but I stumble. So here I am, distracted. But more so, because I need to air the struggles and then I can continue.

So here I talk.

This is not a creative post, deviation from the seat I usually take on takingavalonapart.

But at least, here, I am heard.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

every art student should watch this!

Funny film that I stumbled upon while browsing an art blog! It is called the Perils in Nude Modelling, set in an art class. A short film, available on the internet. Entertaining!

Speaking of art blogs, there seems to be no noteworthy artblog that keeps everyone talking, like an equivalent of I wish there was, or that I could start one. Not like those spurts of artwork that ordinary folks -like me- dish up here and there, but a real blog dedicated to art in Singapore. Then at least I will have more stuff to go to on the internet when I need my art resources!

Till then, let us enjoy the film!

my mind is like a dish rag

wrung like the one in my kitchen -

Good morning towel
elaine in a space of mindless flux
because of too much wringing
suddenly a pitstop and waste of time
cannot be helped

and so I write.

instead of: planning
notes | lesson plans | slide presentations
ah fishsticks the air has
become dry and still

like the dishrag my mind is now

the sequel to this will be -
that I rest and time out
- and waste time -
work again perhaps when its dark

suddenly the ideas will come
the passion will force-flow
I will fall in love with art
again and over again -
multiple echelons of pleasure
in love with my work

my mind will dig
her fingernails deep into art's back
and make him come to me
and suddenly,
my next generation will know

about art, about love, about
themselves and who they are
- Identity - in "contemporary Asian art".
Together with my folks
they will understand

Why the Viet artists are in love
That Singapore art is so valuable
How they are shaped by what they absorb
how to make art like it were
life itself.

Still, till then, I will let the
Good Morning - afternoon dishrag
rest in still dry space flux awhile.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

from the blog artwork comments archive

issac said...

What is the difference between an artist and an art educator?

3:26 PM

elaine said...

An artist makes art to communicate what he wants to communicate, through an excellence of artistic demonstration.

An art educator communicates the process of making art well to others, thus relaying the beneficial skills and values of art-making to students.

10:37 PM

issac said...

How can one know, and thus communicate, the process of making art well without being an artist himself/herself?

12:30 AM

elaine said...

That's true.

In the process of perfecting the profession of being an art educator, one is in the by-process of being a better artist.

But the motivation is different. The art educator wants to be better, and so learns to make art better - making art thereby being an artist. The artist always wants to be better, for the pure sake of making art better.

In both forms, making art better equates to perfecting skills, creative expression, and maturity of thought and ideas for communication.

In some ways, the artist is seen to be 'for art's sake' and thereby a purist. He puts up an art exhibition and moves the public that views it and takes it in. The art educator can be seen to bastardize the purity of artistic expression because his purposes and intents are different.

But the art educator seeks to communicate the values of art, through communicating the skills of art-making. This is how he relates with his public. Hence he will always look to perfect his teaching skills. An artist may not necessary be a good teacher.

4:32 AM

glazed pigeons

Huanjie says, "..I need to glaze and fire the pigeons first.."

Exotic dish?

A euphemism for something politically incorrect? Slang for some kind of drug-use or sexual position?

No. He's making some bloody bird sculptures with clay. You will find them eventually being exhibited in some school in Bishan. Sweet and sour baked pigeons glazed with a barbecued sauce, served at Gong Jiao (air-con) Restaurant.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

first blog artwork

Finally, because the camera is in my house, and so is the sample artwork I did during my teaching demonstration today.

Thanks to Pam who shared with me her photos, taken with a SLR camera on her travels and ecological escapades in Singapore and around the region.

The class today was for a group of primary school art teachers, on painting in the Impressionistic style - again! the easiest to teach for beginners - using a theme of seascapes. Yes, the school is near the sea. Hence, the theme.

Impressionism has to be semi-realistic, painted with lots of colours being emphasised, and with creative brushstrokes. Not the usual neat kind, but rather, a little blurry, and what I told the folks at school - an 'astigmatism' effect. As you can see, I emphasised the yellows and pinks a lot more than the blue, because I enjoyed the clouds swathed in pink a lot more than the impending darkness. It looks a bit orange here though, but that's because of the lighting in my living room, and my orange couch.

I stress, I am not an artist, but an art educator. Hope that is disclaimer itself!

may we never forget while we keep writing

From Yueheng:

"The artist is a friend to the weak. That's his first motivation and his ultimate goal. It's a plain and simple truth, but it's something I'd forgotten. And it's not just me. Everyone's forgotten that."

--- Osamu Dazai, "Canis familiaris", Self Portraits, translated and introduced by Ralph F. McCarthy

My writing, my painting, my music, be it in jostling thoughts, move-to-tears resonance, or to carry another's similar burden, is but for the love of God to be passed on to the people who need it most, and if that means just one person in the whole wide world, then it has been worth it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

scary mary called back

Remember Marymount Convent, scary mary eerie sense of peace convent?

They called back. No I don't mean from heaven or from the grave, nor was it a picture of a nun that spoke to me.

The art teachers from the school want to do a full year arts programme with us for 2006.

This response came at a time of day when I was feeling low, for I was sick and had to go teach nonetheless - at a school where the teachers are friendly but not firm, hence the discipline and cooperation level of the students is understandably very low. Also because this week was a busy week, and Monday being the prelude to the week itself, H and I were vulnerably low and irritable in different ways. At that time, God sent the Marymount teacher to call me. I'm thankful.

Salespeople always treasure leads, and I enjoy having the opportunity to have an appointment with a client. It is always exciting to meet a client. One thing I love about my job is this - sales calls, preparing proposals, meeting clients for presentations. I enjoy teaching itself, but less than sales.

North View PS also called H for a follow up, hopefully it becomes a good lead.

God is good. He knows when we bruised reeds need to be exalted in hope.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


one thought: it must be a bloody foreigner.

And I was right.

These people who come from everywhere have been marring our landscape, breaking the treasure we hold dear - being able to feel safe on our streets at any time of day.

Once, my friend Brian nearly got robbed at knifepoint by a Bangla worker.

Then we have the Chinese women who peddle themselves at Joo Chiat illegally.

(We also have Chinese women who steal our men but that is beside the point).

We have had the other murders that involved non-native Singaporeans.

I could once brag to my mom and dad, who are currently staying in Malaysia, that in Singapore, putting your wallet on the table that you eat at in the kopitiam is fine. Nobody will steal. In JB, that is a vulgar no-no. JB is a place where, if your dainty handbag is a hand carry rather than a shoulder-sling-held-at-your-front, it will definitely be snatched by a bloody motorcyclist while you are along the streets. My parents are so law-abiding in Singapore, my dad doesn't even dare stamp his finished cigarette out on the public floor, and if he does, he will pick it up and throw it away!

But now, what is this!? We have murders of the non-Singaporean usual variety. In more ways than one.

I used to think, it is great that Singapore is morphing into a true cosmopolitan city, much like New York or London, where every angle you turn in the MRT train, you hear a different language from the mouths of different races and nationalities. I used to think, no I must not be offended by those native Chinese speakers, however irritating they sound with their sharp intonations on their Mandarin.

But now, I want to say, GO HOME.

Even our sportsmen, are hardly all Singaporean. The Sports School will be filled by kids whose parents came from elsewhere and were confered national identity status by virtue of, something, that is hardly Singaporean.

I was born in KK Hospital, my IC is pink, my IC no starts with S and the sequence of numbers indicates which time of the year I was born (side note: those bloody immigrants ICs have really huge numbers that mean that they could not have possibly been born in Singapore). I have a birth cert, that is typewritten, and laminated, and processed in the 70s, when our country was promoting 'Stop at One' - something my mom comments about: 'Last time say stop at one, now say try at to have as many as possible? - the gahmen keep changing their mind! What is this man.'

Anyway, immigrants, if they are civilised, can stay, if not, they need to be severely educated 'Hao Gong Ming' style or deported back home.

Stop marring our landscape with your horrible accents and petty quarrels that lead to crimes of passion and money.


symposia, the arts, books

On Friday night, Huanjie and Enid and myself went to the History Museum - how cool is that! - And we stumbled upon Eric's Khoo's film-screenings. It was part of the Asian Film Symposium.

Symposia have been happening everywhere. It is the latest happening of the elite artist-like crowd.

That night, we saw all the who's whos, or as H put it, the Khoo's whos. We sighted folks whom we saw at an earlier artsy symposium we went to - Arts in Education Now 2005. And of course, other folks who are naturally occurring the arts scene.

Well, we decided not to watch the show in the end - we had thought it was free, but, no. Not that we were being cheapo but we had initially thought it was free, so, cognitive dissonance and all that.

Anyway speaking of symposia, at the abovmentioned we last went, they mentioned that symposia were meant to be enjoyed with alcoholic indulgence while talking intellectually.

Currently I am reading Milan Kundera's 'Slowness', with great pleasure I might add, and he mentions symposia in the context of, a particular subject being highly suitable for one to be enjoyed among the various European literati.

I guess in his context, the symposium would hardly be boring.

In the book he broadcasts the concept, on behalf of someone he respects but who never publicised his viewpoint, that of politicians being like dancers. At that, I leapt in my heart. Because when I was reading HRM in uni, I chanced upon this concept of politicking being like dancing - making a show, looking good, narcissism at its pleasurable best. And when I wrote a piece of writing for my company website, I included this statement about the arts - dance like politicians. In our studio, there sits in our lounge, as part of our wall mural design, the same verse. It had finally come full circle. I found where that wonderful imagery came from.

Books are great. It is the one thing that will unite me with many I enjoy the company of.

We could have, symposia on books we love. With the alcoholic indulgence or without. Perhaps then, we shall call it, chilling out, a simple term, something that makes it sound less poser-ish, atas and dancer-like to the point of almost-nausea.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

eerie sense of peace

Today I went to make a sales call at Marymount Convent along with some other schools in the area. The school is situated at Marymount Road, right after Thomson Road where all the florists-flora-bralaha are located.

As I was looking for the entrance to the school, I stumbled upon the actual convent - Good Shepherd Convent - located on the same site as Marymount Convent.

I didn't know it was the wrong entrance I used. I had immediately assumed that, the convent was the school -

So I walked in.

And experienced what I call, an eerie sense of peace.

As I walked into the convent grounds, I experienced a real quiet. Like as if in a retreat, a haven, an avalon almost. The trees, they looked like they were talking to me, really alive. When I noticed them talking, that was when I realised I felt rather creeped. A convent - where women go and lead their lives in true celibacy and righteousness. Where they experience a peace unlike any of understanding, to the point of being surreal, becomes, in my terms, eerie.

It creeped me so, especially when I realised I stepped into the wrong place. There was not a single soul. Person, I should say person.

At that point, I left and on my way out, stepped into an inhabited kindergarten office to find out where the school was.

Thereafter, I found myself less spooked walking into the actual primary school. Though, upon seeing the picture of the founder - dead, of course - and, - a nun too - I tripped over a step and nearly fell, scared. Too many undead pseudo-live things today. Enough. I did my job and left.

Creepy. I guess even peace comes in different brands.