Kaleidescope

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A reckless little boy laughing at the slumbering lady

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Norma Jean sighing at the demise of a once revered empire

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Cuddly pink pandas oogling at the silken asian beauty

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A tired psychedlic hippo wishing it had wings to fly

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A very lonesome tiger trading its stripes for spots

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A cadeverous ageing fellow craving for his Hostess

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Scintillating rainbows to soothe a weary and dejected soul

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Bewilderment amongst strangers of that polka dotted lady

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A cock crowing at midnight after consuming probiotics!

 

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Keeping Up with Tradition

Shopping for groceries during the Chinese Lunar New Year season is not easy…. Firstly, you need the sharp and attentive skills of an F1 driver to meander through super busy aisles with your own shopping cart – and everyone else’s.Then, you need legs of steel to join the gridlock at the cashier.

While this is but a ‘short term’ inconvenience, it made me think of the immense preparation required by families who are steeped in practicing Lunar New Year traditions. Thank God that my parents opted to do away with certain practices.

My grandparents were very fastidious in their annual ‘spring-cleaning’ of the house. Old furniture, clothing, newspapers had to be bundled up neatly with raffia string and left for the garbage collector to haul away. Every nook and cranny had to be thoroughly cleaned.

Then on the eve of new year, our entire household had to wake up before the crack of dawn to open the front and back door of the house. This was to welcome the kitchen god. They also prepared some goodies for him in the form of a sticky lotus cake, nian gao.

I don’t know if the real reason was that the gooey cake would cling to the roof of his mouth to make it difficult for him to give an account to the heavens on our ‘performance’, or something made up to stop me from questioning back then. Like Santa and who’s been naughty or nice!

They also decreed that floors were never to be swept on the first day of Lunar New Year lest all the luck got ‘swept away’.. And nobody was to wear even a hint of black- ever!

While I marvel at the vibrant and colourful display (especially fruit platters made up of jelly(agar agar), and new year hampers shaped like chinese junk ships), I found the best explanation for why certain foods were used specifically for the festivities here

Then there’s the hypnotic Cai Shen Dao tune that keeps ringing in my head like a certain umbrella song…!
Cai Shen with his beard, hat and pot full of gold…ingots. Hmmmm…

New year rocks – Gong Xi Fa Cai, Hong Pao Na Lai! :D

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Journaling Japan

*Happy New Year, folks!* We hope that 2014 will bring you great health, happiness, love and inspiration!

Speaking of inspiration, we were very inspired by a unique art-cum-travel exhibition that we had seen at the end of 2013. Google Translating Tokyoto was the brainchild of Holycrap.sg which documented a family’s two-week vacation in Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto).

While papa, Pann Lim is no stranger in the creative circles here and beyond, Renn and Aira Lim’s talents are truly beyond their years. And mama, Claire Lim is also an accomplished designer. (The acronym, CRAP are actually the first letters of their names!)

What struck us about this showcase was that while most families usually document their travels through a blog, photos,scrapbooking and souvenirs, the Lims managed to put up an impressive installation which had combined all these elements – plus personal quotes and mention of favourite landmarks, shops and food places.

Both Renn and Aira had also captured timeless Miyazaki characters like the grim-looking Kaonashi in a large canvas, and a detailed black-and-white illustration of Totoro. There were huge painted canvases of their favourite types of sushi, as well as the ubiquitous Maneki-neko!

As we begin the new year, we look forward to seeing more works from the fantastic four! :D

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Apron Tales

I was delighted to catch Neighbourgood’s Goodcraft exhibition a few weeks back paying hommage to this humble attire. The team at Ampulets brought together a fantastic group of artists and craftsmen to showcase a range of creative interpretations of the apron – each with an individual stamp of originality and vision.

I really liked the Hounds of the Baskervilles‘ apron which looked liked an hommage to Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Betty Boop.

Also, Messymsxi’s Doraemon apron with pops of colour were a blast!
The Bureau’s interpretation of the apron captured the essence of craftsmanship in a quiet, understated and honest manner.

When I think of an apron, I’m instantly transported back to the 70s where I see my mother having a field day with her Moulinex electric mixer, baking goods and a somewhat frilly protective attire that covers the bottom part of her dress. My grandmother didn’t need to wear one. Her sarong kebaya pretty much did the job! Whilst she’d huddle over a charcoal burner in the backyard to make kueh lapis, my mom would be in the kitchen making cookies.

Over the years, we’ve had a fair share of flashy aprons that had kitsch patterns ranging from cottage florals (Laura Ashley-esque) to downright touristy like the London Underground map!

‘But aprons were also wonderful for drying children’s tears, or on occasion, even for cleaning dirty faces.’

Marisa Churchill’s recent column in Huffpost on the History of Aprons revealed that this humble protective garment had a far more significant role to play in society than what it is today. God bless the humble apron!

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Gratitude

And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles.

Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.

And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.

You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees – Kahlil Gibran

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I Dream of Kitty

What can I say- I actually like Hello Kitty these days. I used to balk at the mention of this character because of the many ‘cat fights’ which had ensued (for more than a decade) to get a piece of her.

It’s not Kitty’s fault that she’s so popular…besides, she’s a proper lady- born and bred in England – according to her bio!

Back in the 70s, one of the highlights for aceing my exams was free reign over the type of present that I could choose to ‘reward’ myself with during the school holidays.

The best place to head to then was Isetan at Apollo Hotel (Havelock Road). There would be aisles of pretty stationery such as coloured pencils, glittery stickers, strawberry smelling erasers, pencil cases, notebooks, rulers….aaaaahhhh!!!

It wasn’t for Kitty but more so for Tuxedo Sam, My Little Twin Stars and My Melody. I wonder why they never quite achieved the level of fame as Kitty did…

I’m sure there’s some kind of propaganda to pit her against the other Sanrio characters! Ah yes, I’m on such a serious and intelluctual topic!

But just when you think she could be a flaky, docile feline at most – lo and behold! – Kitty had gone to Sanrio University to study Engineering and Physics and now heads the Sanrio Research Institute to produce Robot Kitties- this according to a good source in Taiwan!

Okay, I confess. She makes me smile- which is silly as she doesn’t quite have mouth (only in the anime). Hello Kitty, I hope you will be around for a long time!
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