Saturday, October 26, 2013

[Random] Productive Uses of Time

So, I recently downloaded an app for drawing and painting on my iPad and consequently got myself a stylus. I've been spending my time coloring and just doodling or whatever.

Saves on money and time to buy brushed, paint and canvas (haha feeling artist?!). But understandably, I still miss the feel of the brush in my hand and the texture of canvas and acrylic. Makes me want to go Arteastiq's Mandarin Gallery branch to paint.

I colored and painted a first one that's too cheesy to share haha. The one below is the second one I finished and I call Tendrils. I honestly wish God gave me more than just logic and analytics. I know for myself I lack the imagination and vision to be artistic. Fashion and taste of course are learned and refined - haha just so I'm clear. I don't want that statement to be misinterpreted as my admission to be baduy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

[Random] This Is Not Paid For

...not an advertisement, not a product placement. It's just salary day today and after paying off a very hefty credit card bill...I'm feeling too depressed thus some endorphin fix c/o some shopping.

I just ordered more stuff from ASOS. Despite the uncertainty of the fit considering their models are above 6 feet tall, I still got some t-shirts to update my wardrobe - and have an excuse to chuck out / donate old ones that don't fit to T.

So below are the purchases I got. Mind you, they have a promo where you just put in 10XTRA in the promo code and you get 10% off the total purchase (and all the ones below were already discounted)! :) I'm really starting to get into this online shopping now. I especially like how it's so easy to just browse through a lot of clothes, shoes, etc without getting tired of having to scour the racks for nice shirts. The positive thing as well is the fact that you get it delivered to your doorstep AND there's less chance that you'll find one wearing the same stuff as you.

*It's also just a coincidence it seems that most of the t-shirts I like are worn by the same model.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

[Random] Atlantis Dubai

CP is on vacation in Dubai with CP's bestfriend. I can't believe how beautiful it is there. The photo below is taken from the Imperial Club lounge balcony where CP and best friend got access to. I can't help but feel envious! :-) They're staying in Atlantis (Resort? Hotel?). They even went to the waterpark and did the big drop (I love waterparks.)

Two weeks ago CP went to Phuket and last weekend I was in Siem Reap.

I must say, Dubai deserves a visit now after seeing this picture.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CH188: Siem Reap Part 2

Following up on the entry CH187: Siem Reap Part 1.

The second day of my temple tours included the famous Angkor Wat, the more famous Ta Prohm temple where Tomb Raider was shot and concluding it with the Bayon temple in the Angkor Thom complex.

Angkor Wat is the biggest temple complex of all in Siem Reap. It was so vast! Interestingly enough, there was a Buddhist ceremony on the day of my visit, so the temple at the center where you can go up was closed off. Angkor was a feat in itself to have to go around in. The sheer scale of the temple and how you can just get totally lost in it absorbing the culture, the history and the arts was immense. They even had corridors with walls engraved with stories - like one that I remember was the Ramayana story. The wall was engraved and had carved on it a depiction of the battle between Rama and the demon Ravana who abducted his wife Shita. One definitely needs to visit Siem Reap if it's Asian culture one is after. I would even dare say I'd recommend a visit to it to my parents before they go and attempt a visit to Beijing / China for the Great Wall.

Next up in our visit was Ta Prohm. The temple was really in ruins. I was told it was just built in 5 years time. A lot of the sandstone ceilings were already collapsed - mostly due to the Spung trees that grew from top going down to the ground that destabilized the overall structure. They dare not remove or even cut down the trees to ease the weight on the temples because well, for one, the tour guide said the tourists liked how the Spung trees littered all over the temples. To be honest, I liked this temple more because you really feel like you're in an adventure with the need to go traverse over some fallen rocks and be in the midst of ruins.

Last on the tour was Bayon temple. This temple was made in honor of Buddha, but because the successor to the kingdom was not keen on Buddha, he had a lot of the statues of Buddha removed and overall replaced the temple in honor of Vishnu, and he also had his face carved into some of temple spires.

Interesting facts:
1. The guide told me that it was intentional to make the stairs going up to be steep with the intent so people have to look up higher as they go up as if to say that one is ascending heaven.
2. I asked the guide why is it that the doorways, you have to go up and down and up again to go through the door. He told me that it was bad luck for one to just step over a door in the Khmer / Hindu culture, that is why it was intentional that going through a doorway was more arduous than necessary.
3. Most of the temples were dedicated to either Shiva or Vishnu. I asked how come that was the case when there is also Brahma the third God and I was told that it was because Brahma was just the creator and had no direct influence on the lives of the people so it was unnecessary or not a big deal to make a temple out of him.
4. Priests of temples stored treasures and amulets under the linga within the uni to serve as a means to make it holy. They typically pour water over it to convert it to holy water.
5. Some of the materials used in Bayon temples or the newer temples were taken from other older temples. This was because there was a shortage in sandstones that were pretty much extensively used in the older temples.

I'm quacking here now. I think the pictures would serve the intent better to show the place. There's Wikipedia anyway for all the facts and information ;)

Friday, October 18, 2013

CH187: Siem Reap Part 1

It was interesting to hear from my tour guide how Siem Reap does not have its own power generation. Cambodia sources its electricity from Thailand. There could be times when for two weeks there's no electricity because of shortage.

Traveling always gives me a fresh perspective and an appreciation of where I am and where I came from. That is not to say though that I am happy because people elsewhere have it worse; rather, in the scheme of things, there are a lot of things to be thankful for. I firmly believe that culture is not something someone is born into. Being cultured is achieved by studying history, learning how to appreciate art and traveling the world.

The first two days of my stay in Siem Reap has been a blast! This would be my second trip abroad by myself. The first one was to Rayleigh, Krabi Thailand. So far, I've just gone around town (Pub Street), the Angkor National Museum and Temples (Pre Rup, Banteay Srei, Banteay Samrei, Banteay Kdei).

Note: Banteay means citadel

Like I mentioned previously, I have never really been exposed to the same kind of appreciation I've developed for European and American art I have now for Asian culture and art. It was interesting to hear about the history, symbolisms marked on the lintels, columnettes, pediments and "walls" (I forgot the right term haha). I have an information overload of Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and other Hindi gods that pervade the temples I've been to thus far.

Some interesting learnings so far I can remember in my knackered state from drinking wine and cocktails:
1. Hindu was brought to India by the Aryans
2. Vishnu created Brahma when a lotus flower blossomed from his navel and shiva from his heart
3. HIV started spreading in Cambodia when the UN army went in 1992/93
4. For centuries, Khmer people buried their dead for a year then have them cremated. Yes they exhume the dead to cremate them.
5. Tourism boomed from 300k per year to 1-2 million after Tomb Raider was shown
6. Cambodia's top tourist sources are Vietnam, Thailand and China
7. Gay pride and acceptance started off when Khmers had TV shows where people were coming out seeking help from their grief and gender identity issues
8. Temples were built using lava stones (from Tonle Sap lake and the mountain) and sandstone

(More to follow in Part 2?)

It was also interesting to hear that the temples were mostly abandoned and left uncared for after the capital was moved to Phnom Penh. Since Khmer people were largely animists, they didn't bother to care for the temples. The French during their colonization of Cambodia rediscovered the temples and restored them from ruins.

It was more interesting to hear as well from my guide about his opinion on French colonization. He was largely thankful because had it not been for the French there wouldn't be any Cambodia for a number of reasons like they will have been overtaken by Thailand and Vietnam as well as they wouldn't have had the temples rediscovered, and the progress they have had won't be the same. Being the cynic that I am, I retorted the question: without the French there wouldn't be any Khmer Rouge right?

Anyway, pictures!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

CH186: Epicurean and Cultural Sunday

I've been meaning to go see the Pinacotheque exhibit at Fort Canning Singapore ever since I saw the flyers for it. There wasn't any expectation how huge the exhibit will be as it does point out it's just starting off creating and establishing the collection here in Singapore from Paris.

So, I messaged my good friend Ange if he's free to meet up this weekend to go see it. He suggested to do a guided tour of SAM as well and I was more than agreeable as anything to do with dipping my toes in the arts is always a welcome experience.

Admittedly, I realized while I was in the shower that I have no names I can recall from the top of my head for Asian or Filipino artists I admire. From the top of my head, I can say European or American artists I admire are: Matisse, Munch, Picasso, Chuck Close, Pollock, Warhol, Van Gogh, etc. I do remember visiting the museum in PH in Manila but I can't recall their names. That's a fault on my part as I wasn't keen then on noting them down as keen as I was during my visit to the grandiose galleries in New York (Met, MOMA) and London (Tate, And that one in Trafalgar Square I can't quite remember the name).

I'm still trying to figure out exactly the art, techniques and whatever that pique my interests but I'm starting to get an idea of it so any excursion to the field of arts is always a joy.

Ange and I had brunch first of course before the adventure. We ate at 4Fingers Bon Chon and Hoshino Coffee where we had a heavy French toast dessert! :-) yum!

(I'll write about Part 2 sometime of Second Wind once I'm in a better state of mind - after my Siem Reap vacation this week! :-) )

Pigging out
French Toast with cream and syrup on the side
avoiding coffee if i can - to avoid staining :))) matcha is always a good choice
Twi-Forma - Anthony Poon
A World of Ice and Snow - Wu Guanzhong

Some artist from Thailand (didnt get to ntoe down the name)

My favorite piece from the In/Sight exhibit - Wild Vines with Flowers like Pearls - Wu Guanzhong

Fort Canning Center
With some photobomber
Landscape with a river, city of Weesp - Salomon Van Ruysdael
Candid shot
Ah! Picasso - Jacqueline (Tapestry - Wool)
The Descent into Limbo -  Pieter Huys
Composition with Cubic Forms - Jackson Pollock
Christ Carrying the Cross - Sandro Botticelli
Untitled - Chu Teh-Chun
Camwhoring the 12SGD entrance lol
with a Warhol piece (I still have an overdose from Warhol after seeing his extensive curated exhibit when I went to NY last year. Not to mean it's any less, but to have seen a lot of his works in a condensed space, was just...WOW -  strictly no pictures though)
Stolen shot (there's another pose uploaded in facebook I was preparing for when Ange took this haha)