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Archive for December, 2008

Inane Thursday #2

In my current position in my company I do alot of sketching. I am bad at it, but I have to do it, so after some months I have gradually moved from the point where it was unintelligible to slightly resembling what I want to draw. I start with a blank piece of tracing paper, start to draw some rough lines, in very light thin pencil lines. After that I usually start scrawling all over with a felt-tip pen because I couldn’t see what I was doing. Anyhow, by the time i eventually finish the particular scheme a day or two later I usually have gone through a thin pile of tracing paper.

In another rehash of the popular analogy, days and nights are like individual pieces of tracing paper. I suppose when you are good at sketching and are experienced (in sketching the same things over and over again), you can start each paper, each day with energy and rigor, definite, sure, precise, certain of your strokes, your movements. Likewise, lack of experience, lack of direction, lack of aim, carelessness, uncertainty results in crumpled up tracing paper, or, at least, “interesting” ones.

And what if the bloody rain falls on even your nice and perfect tracing paper?

Haha, end of the inane thursday night posts.

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Inane Thursday #1

Sometimes I feel there is a cloud that shadows me, a cloud of ill aspect, of plain bad luck and is to blame for all the bad things that happen. Well I suppose there is probably one over everyone, but I obviously can’t verify that. Anyhow, it’s fine if it is merely cloudy, but at intervals it rains. It’s irritating when it rains, because, I mean, it’s rain. It’s not something you can stop from happening, it’s not something you can control. It just happens and you just have to bear it. It’s more irritating because I can’t do anything to stop it. It’s the total lack of control that annoys me. It spoils plans, disrupts schedules, destroys timetables, wreaks havoc on my life.

Of course, it seems that the only thing to do is to construct some kind of shelter, some kind of haven where I can retreat to. Doubtless many people have done this in the past, and in certain cases it was not always the best path to go down on. Other people kind of just let the rain fall on them, and probably get sick (and then heal). It’s either to find a way not to let the rain touch me, or to grow immune to rain.

Anyway I do realise what I am saying is rather elementary and basically pointless.

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Winking in and out

Today in the afternoon I was suddenly visited by images of my hometown, a bustling town rapidly being urbanized near Taman Negara, for no other reason because it was rather warm in the office. When I was younger I spent the most time there compared to my siblings, (though my brother is catching up), and most of the memories were accompanied with the sensation of… pleasantly scorching heat, if such a thing could exist. It was hot, no doubt, like being slowly roasted in an oven, but somehow it wasn’t the same kind of stifling, unbearable waves of burning heat one might feel in KL. Though there was no air-conditioning, indeed, no mechanical ventilation at all in the second-floor living space in my grandmother’s shophouse where I spent most of my time, it was somehow easily livable.

Of course, nowadays I have a better idea of why that was (extreme natural ventilation strategies thought up by my grandad). Still, I like to think it was because of the kind of mood that was prevalent at that time, that kind of ignorant bliss that the only important thing in life at that moment was to finish whatever book I was reading at that moment, and waiting for the weekend where I would return to the city and to my friends.  That mood didn’t form internally though, it came about by external influences, by the general atmosphere of small towns.

kampung

And that, is the view from the rear of the shophouse. Its kinda special – the front faces the main street (heck, it’s called Jalan Besar – Big Road), one of the most busy streets in town, and yet, for once you don’t get drains, rubbish, windows and concrete buildings for your rear view, but greenery and a big mountain with mysterious bungalow ruins on them (perhaps you can spot them on the very edge of the horizon, I’m not sure) . Once when I was younger I hiked up there with an assortment of cousins, and it didn’t cross my mind to explore those ruins. I’d do it right away now If I was back there.

Anyway, all that happened in all of 5 seconds as the December air surprised us with a brief warm spell, and then I quietly went back to my work.. ~

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Messed up Reels of Film

Earlier I attempted to sift through and organize the ridiculous amounts of photographs taken during the year 2008. Bad decision.

I finished soon enough, but the damage was done. Memories flooded through my mind, like a old black and white movie reeking of nostalgia – the uncertainties of January, the bittersweet farewells in July & August, chilly traveling in March – and so on – a whole year played out in my mind, but in all the wrong sequences, as if someone broke into the reel room in the cinema and messed up the sequence of reels to be played and left the audience confused in their seats.

The year is ending, and I don’t know how to deal with it. Too many changes, too many adjustments – my life feels like a patchwork made up of disparate pieces of life, of separate identities, lacking cohesion – flitting around from place to place, home to home – how many different flats/studios/rooms have I stayed at this year? 5 at least, not counting the weeks of temporary residencies, crashing at friends’ places, hostels, campsites, et cetera… when averaged out, none exceeds 3 months –  impermanence has placed itself, ironically, as the permanent theme of this year.

When I was younger, it has always been a habit of mine to look into the future, to try to imagine, to visualise, the kind of life that awaits me, that begs to be discovered, experienced, lived- I’ve no doubt that these adolescent fantasies in their way has influenced heavily the course of my life -via all sorts of eccentric and innocuous decisions, but reality has turned out, been laid out in a way none of all the myriad possibilities conceived during the mindless bus and car journeys of my youth could have ever produced.

To be honest, I am very grateful for the things I have been able to experience this year, and I do know and recognize it for an experience that is priceless and immeasurable in its worth. Yet each short adventure of this year has raised a question that is consistent in its appearance, persistent in its importance – where do i go from here, what do i do next, why, when, how… questions about the future, and I am suddenly, strangely, of all things, visited by an image of muad’dib and how must he have felt, being prescient in in all except for his own future; because I am so unclear, so uncertain – the future is like the muddy surface of a river filled with silt, opaque and murky.

Now I am facing my big fat monitor, Westmalle Tripel in hand, thinking of Yu (the Japanese boy who was so in love with this particular brew) every time I take a sip, typing my inane ramblings. This morning I walked a mile to Stanborough Park, looking for hoarfrost to photograph – I arrived at noon, so, unsurprisingly, I didn’t find much (I did find some), but I did find a frozen lake – I’ve never seen one before, not in 22 years of life, though I grew up reading about frozen lakes. I played with it, broke off pieces of frozen lakewater and threw it at the still surface of the lake, watching pieces of frozen lake break into a hundred pieces upon contact. I continued till my ungloved hands were pink and numb with cold, so I rubbed heat into it till it was warm again, then I continued, flinging branches and stones and sticks and more frozen lakewater, until anglers looked at me strangely and families out for a Sunday stroll stared at my antics, and then I left, hands so numb with cold I was losing feeling in them, but full of joy, fun, and all the good things in life. Simple things.

stanborough1

Mr Stick was thankful he merely half-drowned; Stanborough Lakes, Hertfordshire

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Allianz Arena

It was really cold for a summer night, and it was wet and rainy in Munich, the last stop in the former West Germany before making our way up north to Dresden. On what was the most miserably wet night of the entire trip we went well out of the way from our campsite and took a U-Bahn journey that was way too bloody long to visit the…

merge

Yeh, yet another stadium… the Allianz Arena by Herzog and de Meuron, a Swiss-based architecture practice so exclusive they don’t have a website.*rolls eyes* Whenever I see some new project by them I automatically look out for the fancy materials that always looks really good and sums them up (if i had to do so with one word). The Allianz Arena is home stadium to both of Munich’s football teams. On that night a game had finished just as we arrived, and so we were met with HORDES of people crowding up the train station. It was rainy and the air smelled of rain, sausage and beer (ok I am kidding about the sausage) and we were wondering if it was a big waste of time. Anyway, the rain stopped, we went and took photos and to stare at it, and ran back to catch the last U-Bahn train back to our campsite or it would have been a verryyyyyyy looong night instead.

An interesting thing I read was that it got extremely drafty during games before the guys in charge fixed that up. I suppose that’s partly due to the ETFE foil-air panels…But I guess they learned their lesson by the time they got to China and the Olympics though.

Apparently, the stadium can be lighted in 3 colors – red blue and white, signifying the home color of whatever team that is playing. Red for Bayern München, Blue for TSV 1860 München and white for the national team. I wonder what happens when Bayern München plays TSV 1860München?

Edit 07/12/08: Now you can click on the link…

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Flying times

The beginning of this week also marked the beginning of the 3rd month of my Part 1 year out industrial training. In a month’s time the first part of my RIBA logbook is due.

To give proper consideration, the past two months, while not exactly momentously eventful, has been… insightful is probably the most suitable description. Yet more uncharted territory to explore at this last quarter of the year, new things to learn, new practices to adopt. (daily housework made necessary by the “compact” studio is by far the least appealing of them) The adjusting process has been smooth most of the time, but more things are happening at subconscious level then we give credit for – I believe they are a huge reason why there have only been tiny blips and no major hurdles to navigate.

And it’s because I find myself yet again starting my life from another perspective that I have been neglecting this blog – I’m still (lost) in transition. While nothing exactly interesting is going on in my life except quirky, unrelated mini-adventures here and there – there has just been too many fresh, new information to process for the time being. It’s kinda like the section of my hard drive that stores pictures – gigabytes are accumulating rapidly, and I can hardly keep track of what’s in there anymore. Is this yet another manifestation of chronic procrastinating (of organisation), a sensory overload, or just plain apathy?

I need a new modus operandi.

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