Sunday, December 23, 2012

Halfway Home

Halfway Home from FREIGHT on Vimeo.

fell in love with this

Sunday, November 25, 2012

CS225: Sneak Peak

Credit: Munz
Taken during filming for our final project. Not sure if we'll be uploading it soon though, the end result was a disappointment :'(

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

28th July:
I am at the playground with my little brother, when I notice this boy, about 7 years, and a little girl, who's about 5 years. He looks at her, steadying her to make sure she doesn't fall down, and even when he's far away kicking a ball with his friends, he's still looking out for her. She wanders off to sit by herself in a corner, and I watch, as he leaves his friends to sit down beside her. He goes: " You're so cute. I like you." And all the while she remains silent, shyly looking up at him. The boy keeps  pressing her to say something, till she finally does. Listening to their childish voices, and their high-pitched laughter, and suddenly I'm overcome with a bout of wistfulness at the innocence and sweetness of it, and I think, perhaps this is love in its purest form
Something to clutch onto even as I flail and drown amid these trying times:

" And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won;t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about."

- Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CS225: Moving House

An amazing film that my schoolmates did. It affected me on such a profound level and I can't even explain why

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I don't know what I'm doing with my life.


Thursday, October 18, 2012


What You Are, She'll Be from EM on Vimeo.

An anti-smoking ad that we did for Health Promotion Board (HPB)

Some behind-the-scenes!
The directors Jayne and Luna

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I admit, I'm too much of a coward. I assume an air of nonchalance as if it didn't matter, take pains not to acknowledge your existence at the expense of appearing downright rude, find all means to avoid contact (how can I, when you're everywhere). Any alternative would be easier than having to face your awkward smile, or fumbling with small talk. A braver soul might try to risk it, but not me.
A little boy my friends and I spotted at Sentosa two weekends back.

On a side note, I miss having my own camera:( It feels like this shadow limb has been amputated and all that's left is an inconsolable emptiness...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Great House, Nicole Krauss

“…in truth it was all just an illusion, just as solid matter is an illusion, just as our bodies are an illusion, pretending to be one thing when really they are millions upon millions of atoms coming and going, some arriving while others are leaving us forever, as if each of us were only a great train station, only not even that since at least in a train station the stones and the tracks and the glass roof stay still while everything else rushes through it, no, it was worse that that, more like a giant empty field where every day a circus erected and dismantled itself, the whole thing from top to bottom, but never the same circus, so what hope did we really have of ever making sense of ourselves, let alone one another?”

"How little I understood of him then, of how the more you hide, the more it becomes necessary to withdraw, how soon it becomes impossible to live among others."

The pauses between words became longer, when for an instant the momentum of pressing thought into language faltered and a dark spot of indifference bloomed. I suppose it’s what I’ve battled most often in my life as a writer, a sort of entropy of care of languishing of will, so consistently, in fact, that I barely paid it any attention— a pull to give in to an undertow of speechlessness. But now I often became suspended in these moments, they grew longer and wider, and sometimes it became impossible to see the other shore. And when I finally got there, when a word at last came along like a lifeboat, and then another and another, I greeted them with faint distrust, a suspiciousness that took root and did not confine itself to my work. It is impossible to distrust one’s writing without awakening a deeper distrust in oneself.”

 "Of course it isn't that simple. One doesn't choose between the outer and the inner life; they co-exist, however poorly. The question is: Where does one place the emphasis?"

" It wasn't always like this. There was a time where I imagined my life could happen in another way. It's true that early on I became used to the long hours I spent alone. I discovered I did not need people as much as others did. After writing all day it took an effort to make conversation, like wading through cement, and often I simply chose not to make it, eating at a restaurant with a book or going for long walks alone instead, unwinding the solitude of the day through the city. But loneliness, true loneliness, is impossible to accustom oneself to, and while I was still young I thought of my situation as somehow temporary, and did not stop hoping and imagining that I would meet someone and fall in love, and that he and I might share our lives, each one free and independent yet bound together by our love. Yes, there was a time before I closed myself off to others."

Friday, July 27, 2012

A series of photos taken with my phone

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All of these films made me ache, but in different ways

Promote 升级 from magicboi888 on Vimeo.

Fragments of Iceland from Lea et Nicolas Features on Vimeo.

Coldplay - 'Paradise' by Shynola from Shynola on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


soothing tea at RealFoodGrocer 
rainbows on table ( Photo credit: Evelyn)
bookmark from littered with books
beautiful sky and dragon-shaped cloud

Sitting on the steps by the river in the slight drizzle watching the boats go by had never felt so peaceful. We talked about the fear of not being able to find ourselves, the sadness we felt upon realizing that we could no longer talk to old friends because people change too much, how tiring it was trying to sustain those friendships, my odd trait of only lending books to people I thought were worthy of them, the wish that we weren't born in this city, our resolution never to become like another office clone trapped in those huge skyscrapers, her dream to become a wedding photographer, social hierarchies and the feeling of being an outsider, being attracted to people who could write, our tendency to idealize people till we fell in love with the idea of them; her ex, her fear of falling in love again-“ I feel like I can never give myself so completely to anyone again. It feels like I've lost a huge part of myself” and the quiet sadness in the way she held herself, and I thought about how life breaks people in places unimaginable and it made me feel heavy inside.

When it was my turn to talk, I was fumbling, stuttering, I couldn't speak, couldn't put across what I felt, I couldn't even begin to explain about him, what did he mean to me then, it was as if I had buried it so deep that trying to articulate it out felt like a pointless excavation. Speaking has never come naturally to me, but I was shocked at how much worse it'd gotten. Did something happen, she asked. I told her no, that I used to talk more in the past. Silently I added, I think part of me has died and I don't know why. But she was so very patient, and eventually the awkward lapses became less pronounced. She said, as an afterthought,“You're like a closed book” and “I sense that you don't really open up to people easily, and it's difficult for you to let your guard down” when I apologised about earlier. I realized that we weren't as alike after all- she was spontaneous and fickle-minded and impulsive, I was safe and stubborn and resolute. I marveled at her capacity to care for and love others with such pureness, I could never do that.

Later on, while tucking into my char siew pau, and she munching on her kaya toast and hot chocolate (simple joys in life), we lamented on the unfairness of having to earn the respect of certain people in order to gain acceptance. Also, we came to a conclusion that we put up our works online isn't for the sake of selfish reasons like instant gratification or stupid reasons like validation because we shouldn't base our self worth on the approval of others. Rather, it's about the inherent value of art, to use this platform so that our art can enlighten, inspire and connect with people. (hopefully)

Something she said struck me, “ In photojournalism, you look for art in the ordinary moments. But in other photography genres, you create art. There's a difference.” 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Everywhere I look there is so much beauty to be found, I'm so inspired to create something like this:

I need one dollar (New York City) from Gioacchino Petronicce on Vimeo.

BALI, JE T'AIME! from artisland on Vimeo.

 By jessechan, go check out his work here 

i especially love this quirky film about the class divide in spore (also by jessechan)

my two cents worth

Here are some things I've learnt about photography through my Bali trip, random epiphanies, my visual comm module, my teacher/local filmmaker Tzang, and discussions with like-minded friends:

1. In a new environment, don't rush to take pictures.
Don't be a trigger-happy, unthinking robot. Susan Sontag said that we shoot in order to gain a sense of control in an unfamiliar setting, as a way of “ certifying experience... converting experience into an image, a souvenir.” Take a few days to immerse yourself in the new culture, mentally note down potential shots, and then begin shooting. It's not about shooting every single thing you see. You need to be discerning. Think about why you're taking the picture.

2. As Tzang said, photographs should tell a story.
They shouldn't just be pretty pictures. Instead they should carry depth and meaning, and most importantly, make people feel something. Also, remember that less is more.

3. Be assertive 
 (note: not aggressive) If you want to photograph something, just do it. Stop worrying about what others may think.

4.Your photographs reflect who you are

As Susan Sontag wrote: 
The photographer was thought to be an acute but non-interfering observer- a scribe, not a poet. But as people quickly discovered that nobody takes the same picture of the same thing, the supposition that cameras furnish an impersonal, objective image yielded to the fact that photographs are evidence not only of what's there but of what an individual sees, not just a record but an evaluation of the world

And I have found this so telling of the people I've come across. Evelyn's shots of charming cafes and pretty fields bathed in soft light and gorgeous smiles hint at her dreamy and girly personality. Likewise for my senior Ivan Tan, whose photographs are unbearably beautiful, yet there are undercurrents of melancholia across his work. And there's my coursemate who shoots only in film, and regards himself as an "old soul". I don't know why, but I find this so fascinating. Through photography, the essence of people is manifested in tangible form.

5. Step out of your comfort zone and ask strangers for their portraits
People bring your pictures to life. In Bali, I finally mustered my courage to approach strangers, and it was so rewarding to see their flattered and happy expressions as they posed obligingly for the camera. I tried doing that in Singapore, which is so much harder because Singaporeans are naturally reserved and guarded. Also, you should never treat people like specimens, it's just demeaning. This observation by Susan Sontag still haunts me:

“To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as the camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph something is a sublimated murder- a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.”

6. Don't forget to put down your camera
While photography gives an “appearance of participation” (Sontag), it can never be substituted for the real thing. Don't be so obsessed with finding the perfect shot that you forget to live and take in everything around you.

7. And finally, as Tzang once told my class:  Be sublime.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

kindred spirit

And as we talked, I saw how the likeness of ourselves were mirrored in each other. But you were better than me, a dreamer, someone who was spontaneous and kind and far braver than myself. Unlike me, you were not content with languishing in a cesspit of stagnancy, you acknowledged the need for change, for reinvention of oneself. You didn't have to delve deep into yourself, scour murky depths in order to locate the words- they came naturally to you. You didn't choose to close yourself off from the world, or remain indifferent, you didn't pull away when people tried to reach out for you. You were always on the search for beauty, carefully gathering them up in your hands like fistfuls of stardust.

We shot what we could, falling into an easy rhythm of silence before resuming our conversation, all the while looking into different directions, needing different things for ourselves. You looked more closely, breathing life into inanimate objects with your pictures. While I scavenged for scraps of stories, through the old men hunched over the table playing chess, through children who played in the shadows of their absent parents, through the pair of teenage girls walking side by side with all the confidence their youth granted them, through the office workers waiting outside the bank, through a mirror image, only now there were older folks lining up at the 4D counter, clinging on to the 1 in 75 million chance of hitting the jackpot because to think otherwise would be to forsake hope itself.

Some things we talked about:sometimes I wish we could do away with small talk altogether”“call me idealistic but there's a romance about Europe you can't find elsewhere” “I like intellectuals, people who think about life" “I wish life would slow down a little” "let's learn to be less afraid” 

the resemblance in our thinking is uncanny

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How long does it take for one's deadened heart to summon up some modicum of feeling again (a tempest of sorts brewing beneath the seeming calm), what would it take to break someone completely, what happens if you punish yourself over and over and eventually the pain seeps into everything you touch like a slow venom, what does it mean when you read a book and the words no longer pierce but float away without you comprehending, maybe if you close your eyes you could just vanish, it would be as if you'd never existed

Friday, July 6, 2012

Increasingly I find that I'm growing more incoherent in my head and on paper. Over time, the deluge of words, thoughts, have become thick and sluggish. Slowly choking up. Till I am rendered an almost-mute, barely articulate, spending my days in so much silence. It becomes easier to express my life in images instead.
Raise my eye to the viewfinder.
As if an inanimate object has the ability to wholly surmise what I see, what I think, what I feel.


"And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born
Then it's time to go"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pink Dot 2012

The atmosphere felt wonderful, everyone was just so happy 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

It's 3.01 a.m now. Just finished watching the film. I can't remember the last time I've cried this much. Perhaps when it was when I first read the book three years back.  I'm struggling to write about what I feel, but as the clock keeps on ticking, I realize, there are no words for this

Friday, June 22, 2012

In the Land of Blood and Honey

Wartime drama In the Land of Blood and Honey is a brave and and unexpected choice for Angelina Jolie's directorial debut.

Set during the 1990s Bosnian War, the film tells of a love story that blossoms between a Bosnian Serb forces captain Danijel (Goran Kostic) and a Bosnian Muslim artist Ajla (Zana Marjanovic). The two meet in secret, as she is a prisoner at a camp that he runs. But as the ethnic conflict drags on, the two find each other on different sides.

To ensure authenticity, Jolie chose a cast of relatively unknown, local actors who had lived through the war. This move has rewarded Jolie handsomely. With so much emotional depth brought to their roles, it is difficult to find fault with their acting.

Danijel is portrayed as a man torn between conflicting desires. A pacifist at heart, he is sickened by the senseless killing of civilians. Yet his father, a prominent Serbian general Nebojsa (Rade Serbedzija), has taught him to view Muslim Bosniaks with contempt. Kostic handles the challenging role convincingly. At times, he displays an moving tenderness towards Ajla, which transforms into a seething rage when angered. Veering between cynicism and idealism, peace and violence, loyalty and suspicion, Danijel is a fascinating, richly complex character of much pathos.

Like Danijel, Ajla has an equally demanding role, and she struggles with the guilt of having consorted with the enemy. However, Ajla's characterization is often constrained by the script. Yet, with what little dialogue she is given, Marjanovic is a captivating actress. In one scene, she asks, her large eyes expressive, a slight tremor in her voice, “Are we so terrible that we should be exterminated?”

The somewhat perverse and masochistic love story between captor and prisoner that emerges is deeply engrossing. In comparison, the rest of the film sags, as other characters like Ajla's sister, Lejla (Vanesa Glodjo), are severely under-drawn. Though Serbedzija gives a quietly chilling performance as a self-righteous general obsessed with ethnic cleansing, he is given too little screen-time. Given a more nuanced portrayal of these characters, it might have have added an additional layer to the film. To Jolie's credit, she strives to avoid the usual villain stereotype, and instead attempts to explain the Serbs' motives for prolonging the war.

There is no easy way to convey such a grim subject matter. Spanning five years, the war takes place in stark, wintry landscapes littered with the remnants of bombed buildings, debris and corpses. The lovers' clandestine meetings are lengthy, with heavy overtones, and are punctuated with swift acts of violence, both physical and psychological. Women are systematically raped in excruciatingly graphic detail, bombs are dropped indiscriminately, and mass executions are carried out in military precision. The initial effect is jarring, but becomes this pattern becomes a tad repetitive later on.

Jolie has skillfully dramatized the atrocities and suffering of the Bosnian war. No one is spared from the monstrous acts, which are presented in unflinching detail. For instance, rape is used as a tool for the Serb solidiers to assert their superiority. It is distressing, to say the least. Women are presented as powerless and voiceless, and there are shocking images of the women's bloodied thighs and lifeless eyes.

Jolie also makes her criticism of the UN's lack of intervention clearly felt. In one telling example, at the museum, where Ajla points out the empty spaces in a painting, saying, “It's the choice not to do something.”

No one can doubt Jolie's ability to push her political message about the evils of war. But this is where she falls short. Unlike Roman Polanski's similarly genocide-themed The Pianist (2002), she fails to weave together a truly powerful and convincing story.

Nevertheless, her efforts are laudable. She has demonstrated great care in crafting each scene, and in bringing out the best in each actor. Already, it has earned her a Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Film. With a more sensitive touch to the plot and consistent characterization, Jolie could have told a more haunting and poignant story. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

it's only make-believe

Bali: I am slowly treading my way across the beach, feeling the grains of sand beneath my feet. My feet are carrying me forward of their own accord, towards the black waves, which are pounding relentlessly against the shore. A terrible fear comes over me- one misstep and the darkness could swallow me whole, inky black waters filling my nose my mouth my lungs, pulling me down into the bottomless depths- but still, I continue to move forward numbly, as if in a trance. It's only when I hear my dad in the distance, calling out something about the moon, that with some effort, I pull my eyes away.

Set high up in the clear sky is a full moon, completely suffused with light. Its brightness stuns me momentarily. Free from distracting artificial lights, free from being blocked by massive buildings- it feels like I'm looking at the moon for the first time. It is achingly beautiful, radiating rays of glowing white light, and the world is bathed in a soft, ethereal glow. I think about the atoms that make up the universe. How it would take light-years to traverse through the galaxy, and be consumed by an infinity of space, of silence. How painfully inconsequential our lives are. I feel like Aomame in Murakami's novel 1Q84, as I gaze up, wondering if the world that I exist in is even real. Perhaps it's just a paper moon, a paper world that will ultimately crumble to dust and cease to exist. And then briefly, I let myself wonder, perhaps somewhere out there, oceans away, my Tengo is looking up at the same moon, our thoughts perfectly aligned. But then I stop myself. Maybe the idea of Tengo exists, but only in another life, in another world, in another reality.