Monday, September 30, 2013

Trip to Metro Manila via the big screen...

PG Boy had his first trip to Manila yesterday. Hehe.

We watched the British-Filipino indie film Metro Manila by Sean Ellis.

The film stars Jake Macapagal, Althea Vega and John Arcilla. The story is about a family who left the province of Banaue to look for a better life in Manila. Jake's character lands a job working for an armored truck company, where he met John's character. The two become partners but things take an unexpected turn as the friendship (or pseudo-friendship) deepened.

I thought the two-hour film might be a bit boring/dragging, but it was actually an enjoyable film. Even PG Boy said that it wasn't so bad.

Originally, we were planning to see The Purge and afterwards attend a guided tour at the Singapore Art Museum.

However, everything changed because of the weather.

So what was supposed to be a day in the city became a day in Tampines.

Metro Manila was selected as the British entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rainbow Boys...

Before Love of Siam, there was Right by Me.

Last night, I finally stumbled upon the movie on Daily Motion. Hehe. The movie was chopped into 7 parts, but it's okay. The important thing is I was finally able to watch it.

Right by Me is also known as Rainbow Boys. It's a Thai movie released in 2005 based on the novel Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez. Alex Sanchez is one of my fave LGBT writers and Rainbow Boys is the first of a trilogy. (The other two are Rainbow High and Rainbow Road.)

I first read Rainbow Boys in 2002 or 2003. After that, I was hooked. I couldn't wait to get hold of the other two titles.

Rainbow Boys is about Kyle, Jason and Nelson. Right by Me is about Ek, Tat and Nat.

The story begins when Tat and Nat are surprised to see Ek - the supposedly straight hunky basketball superstar of their high school - at an LGBT gathering. The events that follow are a mix of happy and not-so-happy events. What I really liked about the book and the movie is the story of Ek and Tat/Kyle and Jason.

At the age of 30 something (lol!), I'm glad I still get all cheesy and mushy. I dunno if it's a good thing or a bad thing. Haha!

All I'm sure of is I looove it that I finally found a copy of the movie.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Back on the mat...

After a year or so of not praticing yoga, I'm back on the mat.

I've finally found yoga class schedules to fit my schedule. Hehe!

So far, I've been successful at attending classes twice a week - one Gentle Yoga and one Hot Flow. However, I still have to get myself to attend the Thursday morning Hatha Yoga class.

Argh! So far, I have been unsuccessful. I would always wake up at 6AM and it is just too late to get to the gym by 7.

However, I am happy because I've been able to fit the morning workout on three out of the five work days. Monday morning is for Combat. Yeah, Combat at 7AM. Tuesday is for Gentle Flow. Wednesday is for Body Pump.

I have been enjoying the morning classes a lot because 1.) the classes are not packed at all. There is room to kick, to stretch, to lift; 2.) I feel energized almost the entire day (I would only feel sleepy when I have an unclean lunch. Haha!); 3.) I feel that I'm able to maximise my day.

Going to the gym for 7AM classes means zzz-ing by 1130 at the latest. It's okay though. Since I moved to SG, staying awake past midnight has always been a challenge. Hehe! And I tell you, PG Boy will tell you, I have no problems zzz-ing at 11PM or at 10PM. Hehe! It's a gift.

Back to yoga, I hope to be able to keep attending the classes. Being away from the mat for more than a year has made me less limber again. Huhu! I just want to be able to do a bakasana. I'm not even aiming for a headstand. Hehe.

Oh well...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cheong Soo Pieng, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, art appreciation..

So as I have mentioned in a previous post, I've been reading on Singaporean artists these past few weeks to prepare for guiding duties for the upcoming special exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore.

Yep, it sounds like an easy task but actually, being a museum guide/docent actually takes a lot of work. Hehe! The interest definitely has to be there because the task requires a lot of hours at the library, curator talks, sharing sessions with fellow docents, and exhibit walkthroughs. Hehe! On top of these, there is a need to write a tour paper for every exhibit. It's no ordinary paper. The papers need to have cited references and should follow a format. For my Singapore History Gallery paper, I wrote a 15-page paper. Haha!

It is definitely like being back in school.

The next special exhibit will focus on local Singaporean artists. This was a very interesting topic for me because I'm very interested in paintings (thanks to my Dad!) and in knowing about local artists.

I was very happy to learn that there are actually quite a number of modern and contemporary artists. The first generation of artists were migrants from China who came to Singapore starting the late 1930s onwards.

Hmm, I'm not going to write about the artists in detail. Hehe. Visit the exhibit when it opens to learn more about them. Hehe!

But I do want to introduce one of the pioneer artists in Singapore - Cheong Soo Pieng. The photo above is one of his most popular works, Drying Salted Fish. Take note of this painting. Surely, you would have seen it already. *wink wink* Cheong Soo Pieng is fast becoming one of my favourite local artists. After seeing his works from the 1950s to 1960s, I really like how he was not afraid to experiment and try new styles/techniques.

The other painting is by my favourite Filipino artist, Anita Magsaysay-Ho. I was fortunate enough to have met her a few years ago.

I asked a few Singaporean friends if they knew who Cheong Soo Pieng was. Uhm, not really. I wonder if it's the same case for most Filipinos when it comes to local artists. I wonder if most would be familiar with Amorsolo or Francisco or Magsaysay-Ho. I'm guessing a lot would know who BenCab is since he's still around.

In one of the books that I was reading, I came across this nice sentence. It said, "Art is part of the nation's culture; thus art appreciation enables people to better understand the values in existence in their society."

I couldn't agree more.

Need more proof? Then come visit the new exhibit when it opens. More deets soon when things are finalised. :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Princely Treasures a third time...

I visited the Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore yesterday.

This is my third time to visit the exhibit. Haha!

Yup, yup. I can't get enough of it. There is something different about this third time though. The first two visits involved me joining the guided tours. For the first visit, it was with my Mom. For the second visit, it was with PG Boy.

Since PG Boy is away til next week for work, I decided I'll use the solo time to do errands and other things I've been wanting to do. That included visiting the Princely Treasures exhibit again. Only this time, I did not want to join any tour.

Instead, I want to visit my favourite pieces from the exhibit and just take the time to admire the works of arts.

Here are my ten reasons I'm visiting a third time. Hehe. 1. Pietra Dura Tabletop (c. 17th century); 2. Tapestries (c. 1690); 3. Raphael's Portrait of a Man (c. 1502/1504); 4. Guido Reni's St. Magdalene (first half of 17th Century); 5. Rubens' Portrait of Clara Rubens (c. 1616); 6. Rubens' The Lamentation (c. 1614/1615); 7. Jan Brueghel's Landscape with the Young Tobias (c. 1598); 8. Rembrandt's Cupid with Soap Bubble (c. 1634); 9. Waldmüller's Flowers in a Porcelain Vase (c. 1843); and 10. Low Kway Soo's Portrait of Tan Jiak Kim (c. 1919).

If I were to be asked which paintings are my faves, I'll have to say it's Rubens' The Lamentation and Reni's St. Magdalene.

There is something in both paintings that is just able to draw emotion from the viewer. For Reni's Magdalene, I am fascinated by how Reni was able to portray Magdalene in a very saintly manner but still retain that slightly eroticised feel because of the way her hands were painted.

Meanwhile, The Lamentation was a brilliant, brilliant art piece not just because it's done by Rubens but because of the fantastic use of colour and the style of painting. Try standing in front of the huge painting and just admire it. I guarantee you emotions will be drawn after a few minutes of examining the painting. Take a look at the colour of the dead Christ. Take a look at what the Holy Mother is doing. Identify who the characters are.

To me, though the subject is a bit depressing, the fact that it was able to elicit a response is one of the reasons it is such a great masterpiece.

Anyway, the Princely Treasures exhibit is ending on 29 September. I think I'm ready to say goodbye to the exhibit.

On to the next one... The next exhibit I am very excited about since it's something more "local..."

More deets soon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Mid-Autumn...

It's mooncake season again in Singapore (and I guess in Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand(?) as well...) Hehe!

Yesterday, my team mate Gen came over to my desk to give me the crispy snowskin mooncake above. Two weekends ago, PG Boy and I shared one of his many durian mooncakes. Last week, there was a mooncake in a carrier left in my room by Auntie I'm quite sure. Hehe!

Here at the office, I'm wondering though why the mooncakes from suppliers have not yet arrived. Hahaha! They usually send the very good ones like those from Goodwood Park Hotel. Haha! Anyway, it's okay.

Having observed three mid-Autumn festivals now, I'm really curious to find out the reason behind the festival. I asked my friend Mr. Lim about it the first time. Surprise, surprise, the man doesn't know. Hehe!

From what I read, the festival has something to do with the harvesting season. The festival is a way of celebrating a good harvest (I think). I'm more curious about the folk tale and the mooncakes. The folk tale has something to do with the moon goddess Chang'e. As expected, there are a few versions of the stories. Some are nice, some are not so nice. Hehe! Of course, I would go for one of the nicer ones. Long story short, Chang'e sacrificed her life. As a tribute to her wife, Chang'e's husband Hou Yi would prepare mooncake offerings every year on the night when the moon was brightest to remember her.

There are other versions. Just Google. Hehe!

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Anonymous cafe... hehe...

Tuesday night I had dinner with Tipz, Chris and MkSurf8.

Chris said Tipz invited to dinner. Tipz said Chris invited to dinner. Lol!

In any case, it's always nice seeing these guys. Ian was also invited but he was busy with work.

The dinner place was one of the cafes in the Bugis area.

I've heard of the place. One of my colleagues who also likes trying out new brunch places reco'd the place a long time ago.

The place shall not be named because I don't want the two to five people who read my blog (!!!) to have a bad impression of the place.

It is a good place. However, I feel that the food is quite overpriced. I got the eggs benny plate and it was $23. Add to that the 17% tax and you do the math. Haha!

I was telling another friend that maybe it's because the food pricing includes some sort of invisible "entrance fee" to the place.

After all, the cafe does have that very nice indie/arts vibe to it. There are several art pieces on display and some are for sale. Add to that the fact that the wait staff are friendly/attentive.

Other than the pricing, it is a place worth going to. But then again, I don't plan to say the name of the cafe. Haha!

I have to admit. Making the journey to the city on a work night is somewhat of a challenge for me. I get a bit lazy and if it were up to me, I'd like to be zzz-ing by 1130. Haha! Old age, you think? Hehe!

90% of the time, the spirit triumphs over the body (or is it the body over the spirit? Haha!) and I do make the journey. I dun get to see the guys that often so every opportunity must be seized. Haha!

Very happy Tuesday night it was. =)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Art-sy Saturday...

There's a difference between Moden and Contemporary Art.

All thi time I've always thought that the terms can be used interchangeably.

But after the talk last Saturday for museum docents on Modern and Contemporary Art, I've finally learned the difference between the two. Hehe!

The Continuing Education group of the NMS docents invited an instructor from NAFA to give a talk on the said topic.

I decided to attend the talk out of curiosity and also as part of my preparation for the upcoming new exhibit at the museum, which would be mostly about paintings.

Basically, Modern Art covers 1860s to the 1960s. Everything after that is considered as Contemporary Art.

For about three hours, the instructor gave the participants a background on the different -isms under Modern and Contemporary Art.

It was a Saturday afternoon well-spent.

Meanwhile, Sunday noontime was also dedicated to museum volunteer duties.

I was assigned to do the 1PM guiding tour. I had plans to go watch Percy Jackson with PG Boy, Mr. Lim and PG Boy's best friend. However, I got my schedules mixed up so I had to give up the movie.

It was a good guiding experience though. The group I handled was a good mix - 3 Singaporeans, 2 Australians, 1 British, 1 Taiwanese, 1 American, 1 Malaysian, 3 Koreans.

This is my second time to guide on my own. This one is much better than the first one because I feel that I'm more confident now. Hehe.

I'm excited though for the upcoming special exhibit at the museum. As I mentioned earlier, it's mostly about paintings and that is why I'm looking forward to it. Gotta thank my Dad for that. Hehe!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Last chance to see the Princely Treasures....

If you haven't been to the Princely Treasures exhibit at the National Museum, you still have a few weeks left to visit.

The National Museum is now offering a one-for-one promo on the exhibit. It's just now $10 for two persons.

You get to see works by great artists like Rubens, Raphael, among others.

Do catch the exhibit. Go for a guided tour if you can.

Highlights of the exhibition include the Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens by Peter Paul Rubens; the Portrait of Maria de Tassis by Anthony van Dyck; Raphael’s Portrait of a Man.

“Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein” runs until 29 September 2013 at the National Museum of Singapore. Opening hours: Daily 10am – 6pm.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thanks for this email...

The email above came in while I was going through my Inbox on my way home last night.

I smiled upon reading it. Well, well, well. Looks like God is keeping up with the times. He's now sending messages via emails. Why, ah? Burning Bush cannot anymore, ah? Hehe!:P

Just kidding, just kidding.

But really, the email above made me smile. I know, I know. I may be reading too much into the whole thing. Whether it's coincidence or not, I'm glad that I got that reminder.

It couldn't have come at a more appropriate time.

I worry about that thing every foreign worker in Singapore worries about. Hehe.

But anyway, I told myself whatever happens, there will be good in it and there will be greater things in store.

Just keep the faith.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Docent training...

When I signed up to be a museum docent, I did not expect that it was going to be very much like being a student again. Hehe!

Sure, I anticipated having to attend lectures every so often, but I did not expect that it was going to be very busy.

I have to admit though that I'm really enjoying it. I enjoy knowing more about the country and the people that adopted me. I enjoy being able to tell other people about Singapore's history. I enjoy being part of a museum.

I've written before that to be a museum docent was something I've always wanted to experience. I'm glad that I am able to do it now.

Most of the senior docents have been guiding for years! My mentor has been guiding for five years or so, I think. Another mentor I chatted with shared that she's been guiding for 14 (!!!) years. A number of mentors guide at the National Museum and in other museums as well.

Talk about passion and commitment.

Seeing how active the leadership of the different Museum Volunteers groups are is inspiring. Almost everyday, I would receive an invite to a talk about Singapore history/culture and about Asian culture/history as well. It's really exciting.

Last Saturday, I attended the curator lecture for the next special exhibit at the National Museum. Initially, I was just curious to attend the lecture and take note of information I can use for guiding at the Singpore History Gallery.

But after listening to curators Daniel and Szan, I really felt the urge to volunteer as one of the guides for the exhibit.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to write about it already, but I will say that the exhibit will showcase paintings by local artists. I wanted to volunteer because paintings are very close to my heart thanks to my late father. One of the things he really instilled in me was a love for the arts.

So even though I have yet to learn about local artists, I feel that I can contribute something being the son of an artist myself. My father used oil in his early years. When I was growing up, he switched to watercolour. Towards his last few years, he switched to oil pastel.

Yesterday afternoon, I dragged PG Boy to the library so that I can borrow a couple of books and start reading on local artists. While waiting for Next to Normal, I was reading through some of the books and taking down notes.

Hmm, I actually learned quite a lot in two hours - from the pioneer artists, the establishment of an art academy in Singapore, to early art groups in Malaya.

Really excited to guide for this exhibit. Woohoo! :)

Next to Normal at Drama Centre Theatre...

Even though I've seen it in Manila a few years back, I still had to see Next to Normal here in Singapore. Hehe!

I told myself, "What you saw was the Manila production. Why not check out how the Singapore production will be."

But seriously, I really intended to watch it. One, because I want to show some love and support to locally staged productions. Two, because I want to see Adrian Pang (Nathan Hartono, Julia Abueva) on stage again. Three, because I really liked the songs of N2N. (I've yet to find a musical that I don't really like. Eeep!)

I thought the production was generally great. Sally Ann Triplett who played Diana Goodman and Julia Abueva who played Natalie both shined throughout the show. The two ladies were the real stars of the production.

Adrian Pang also did well, I think. I loved how he sang most of the songs. Meanwhile, I was wondering if Nathan Hartono was feeling under the weather. His voice sounded different during the show. You know how people's voices change when they have colds or sore throat, right? That's what I was wondering about Nathan's voice. And for a few seconds, I worried for him that he might not hit the notes.

Still, it was an enjoyable show which is worth watching. Even if you dun find it fantastic, just remember that you're helping the local theatre industry (which imho needs help after seeing the size of the audience that attended the matinee show yesterday. =( Huhu!)

We can't just support the shows staged at MBS, guys.

Next to Normal is running until 22 September at the Drama Centre Theatre (National Library).

Catch it lah.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Rare gathering of 10...

What was originally just another dinner with the usual suspects turned into quite a big gathering of ten. Hehe!

And it was great because rarely do we have a gathering that big.

While inviting people to the dinner, the question everyone asked was, "What's the occasion?"


Uhm, yes we need an occasion to have dinner?

It was an enjoyable Thursday evening. Would have been a much bigger group if a few of the other guys were able to join.

Nice, nice.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein.... again...

I visited the Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein exhibit for a second time over the weekend.

Since I had some free time before my meeting at 4PM, I asked PG Boy if he wanted to join the 230PM guided tour of the exhibit.

After having lunch at the Food for Thought cafe at the ground level of the museum, PG Boy and I headed to the basement level to head to the exhibit. We were both lucky because it was open house that day. Whooppee! And perhaps because the Open House announcement was a bit late, there weren't as many people at the gallery. Another yay! Hehe!

The first time I visited the exhibit, I joined the guided tour given by my fellow guide Belinda. This time, PG Boy and I joined the guided tour given by another fellow guide Elizabeth.

If there's one thing I can assure you, each tour is a different experience. That's why I didn't mind attending a guided tour again. Also, I wanted to see how Elizabeth will do the tour so that I can pick up some guiding tips and techniques as well.

Though it's my second time to visit the exhibit, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Like I said, it's because every tour is a different experience. Hehe!

I already have a few favourite portraits from the art pieces on display but the ones I cannot really get enough of are the two huge tapestries! When I think about how laborious it must have been to create such pieces, I am just left in astonishment. I wonder there are still weavers of that skill and expertise alive today.

"Princely Treasures: From the House of Liechtenstein" is ongoing at the National Museum of Singapore until 29 Sep 2013. Some 90 pieces from the Liechtenstein Collections featuring works of art by European masters are on display.

Do go visit because when would be your next chance to be in the midst of a Rubens, a Rembrandt or a Raphael, right?

I am planning to go a third time. For the third time though, I will not be joining any tour. I will just take my time to admire the pieces, which I think will take me hours!

Princely Treasures: From the House of Liechtenstein
27 Jun - 29 Sep 2013
National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road
Singapore 178897
Opening hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily.
Admission: $10 per adult

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sunday brunch at The Loft...

After hearing the 930AM Mass at the church nearest to PG Boy's place, I headed to Chinatown to meet up with Chris and MkSurf8 for brunch.

MkSurf8 joined the SAFRA Army Half Marathon earlier and he asked if any of us would like to go for brunch. Ian also went for the run and we invited him to brunch as well but he was too tired and sleepy. Tipz, on the other hand, already made plans.

So, it was just the usual suspects - MkSurf8, Chris and me. Hehe!

MkSurf8 suggested we all go to The Loft at Smith St. It seems like it's the one that's central to all of us. Plus, I've never tried out the place though I've seen it a couple of times when I was in Chinatown.

I dunno if it was because it was a Sunday and there was a run, or because Smith St. was closed to traffic or if it was about to rain, but there was no queue at the cafe. That never happens!!! Hehe!

MkSurf8 and Chris were already comfortably seated by the window by the time I arrived. It was hard to believe that there was no queue and that the place wasn't packed at all. I wonder if it's always like that.

Anyway, I actually enjoyed the food. I ordered the Farmer's Omelette and I was happy with it. I particularly liked the toast. Hehe! I wonder how they made it taste that way.

Since the place wasn't crowded, the three of us were able to stay and hang out for a few hours and just talked and talked and talked. It was really good! I haven't been able to hang out with the guys lately so I'm really glad we got to do the brunch.

Good Sunday morning. :)

The Loft Cafe
268A South Bridge Road, S(058817)
(+65) 6221 2103
Mon: 9am - 3pm
Tue - Sun: 9am - 10pm