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My Michael Jackson tribute

My Michael Jackson tribute

Goodbye SMU. So long, and thanks for the fish.

Some of the best shots of the day:

heart on sleeve

heart on sleeve

it's my party

it's my party

sisters from the hood

sisters from the hood

in/out of character

in/out of character

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biting_hands_that_build_feeds

I attended the Open Room session organised by Ogilvy Digital Influence last week, entitled Journalism’s from Mars, Social Media’s from Venus. At first, I didn’t know what to expect, but as the debate became heated with both sides (bloggers/journalists) becoming very defensive, it became clear that the whole Mars/Venus thing was a pretty apt description indeed.

It was an interesting discussion, although I felt that the REAL CONVERSATION was actually in the live tweets from the various people in the room, a pity it could not be integrated into the discussion real-time.

Nonetheless, I have to highlight Daryl’s post on his thoughts post-Open Room (yes, I said post twice). It was mentioned during the talk that mainstream media won’t be going away soon, as many people still enjoy their morning paper with their breakfast/need a good read in the toilet (etc,etc) but what Daryl says about people our generation forming new habits at an amazing speed holds so true (think Facebook/Twitter/DSLR cameras/Mac books etc)

I know many friends who don’t read the paper anymore. Me, I tend to focus on the lifestyle pages, the “real news” pages don’t cut it for me anymore as I can get more timely news on the Internet. Or, as DK put’s it, “So why should I be paying for yesterday’s news when I can get today’s news free?”

Sure, with the internet, newspapers are hard-pressed to deliver breaking-news stories, but of course it’s not impossible. It’s called good journalism – seeking out news exclusives that we readers don’t have time to seek out ourselves. So, in a sense, social media is actually making journalists be better at what they do, which is a good thing, isn’t it?

Straits Times journalists are now on Twitter, that’s a good thing. Bloggers are now increasingly mentioned in the papers or even contributing to traditional media, that’s a good thing too.

I do agree that the two can co-exist, although I also believe both sides view the other with a little animosity sometimes, but hey, that’s natural i guess when you’re competing for the same eyeballs. But I still believe that MSM won’t die out anytime soon, so I guess journalists can heave a small sigh of relief.

As for the defensiveness, especially from the journalism side, I can totally understand. Being told that people prefer reading free news online than pay for a newspaper, that’s pretty hard to swallow when you’re livelihood depends on selling that paper. But I think that the smart journalist should adapt and work with the change, not cling on the old ways with a death-like grip.

As for me, I’ve always had to have my morning newspaper with my breakfast, but lately it’s morphed into having my morning newspaper AND my laptop open in f

I do believe that there is still a market for both, in Singapore at least. But that might change once my generation (gen Y) grows up and have children/grandchildren, etc..Flying cars and moving sidewalks, anyone?

Pardon the rather incoherent post, just thought I’d dash off some points lest I forget about the very interesting discussion hosted by Ogilvy Digital Influence. Looking forward to next session.

I survived 42.195km!

run1
Unglam photo

Pardon the ugly watermark on the photos, I didn’t feel compelled to buy the photos for S$34.90!

I officially completed my first marathon on Sunday, 28 June 2009. It was the Standard Chartered KL Marathon, and me and Erfen had trained for 4 months for it. I was actually quite nervous before the race as I had not been training for 2 weeks before the event due to work, but somehow, someway, we managed to do the entire 42.195km in 5 hours and 50 minutes. It’s not excellent timing of course, but i had set my target to be under 6 hours, since it’s my first marathon, so I am satisfied with the result!

The race statistics say that I am the 165 position for the women’s full marathon category. Not too shabby for a first-timer, I think 😛 Although, the winner of the women’s full marathon did it in 2 hours 40 minutes! And the men’s winner completed it in 2 hours 17 minutes, despited the fact that it was his first marathon! Craziness!!

I would say that though the idea of running 42.195km seems pretty impossible and daunting at first, I think anyone can do it, given proper training beforehand. Before the marathon itself the furthest I’d ever run was 24km! But luckily me and Erfen followed a running schedule, having proper training really helps.

[warning: running advocacy alert!]

Plus, besides just running you can train in other ways too, like doing circuit training, interval trainings, gym sessions and even swimming and cycling for cross-training. Running is an excellent way of keeping fit! Trust me on this, I eat a lot and exercising is the only way that I don’t weigh a ton now.

Running a marathon also challenges you to be strong both mentally and physically, as you are ultimately racing against yourself. Of course, there were times when it was difficult.

While training, sometimes I’d feel lazy to go for a run, or I’d want to walk halfway through my run, but sometimes I just told myself “You can do it” or  visualise myself running past the next lamppost, and the next, and the next, and before I’d known it, I’d have finished my run.

run2
Team Grand Kenyan

Plus, it’s nice to run with a partner as well. During the marathon me and Erfen listened to music via his phone, and we made sure to load songs we both liked.

When the song “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce started playing, we both instinctively started doing the hand actions for the “To the left, to the left” and then we got carried away and did actions for the whole song. I bet we were one of the few runners who were still laughing and joking while running!  It was really a pleasant experience for me and it was a great feeling crossing the finishing line together. It would have been very different had I run alone.

Also, it’s a great excuse to travel! We decided on going for the KL Marathon because it was a chance for us to get out of Singapore and do something different. It was quite a cool way of exploring the city, plus we had time to do some sightseeing/shopping before we left for Singapore. I think many cities have marathons as well, such as the Vienna Marathon (gonna do that one day!) or the Boston Marathon (one of the world’s oldest annual marathons, although I’d need a timing of at least 3 hours and 40 minutes to qualify!)

Boston Marathon 1910
Boston Marathon 1910

Next stop, Safra Bay Run and Army Half Marathon in August, and the Singapore Standard Chartered in December. Pretty exciting stuff! I’m hoping to improve my timing to 5 hours next…fingers crossed!

One dress, 365 different looks

One dress, 365 different looks

Stumbled upon The Uniform Project while surfing the interwebs, and I just simply love the idea. One dress, 365 days, in the name of sustainable fashion.

I think I love this because I don’t have that many clothes so I tend to try to make them look different by layering/pairing them with different things just so I can fool people around me into thinking that I have a bigger wardrobe than I actually do. It’s one big con job, people! 😛

I’ve never heard of sustainable fashion before, though it does kinda remind me of those “1 dress, 6 ways” articles in Cleo (i think).

I like that she ties in the idea of a uniform so seamlessly (pun not intended, really!) with her charity organisation, the Akanksha Foundation, for its School Project. Proceeds will go to buying school uniforms and other educational expenses for the children who live in the slums in India.

And just in case someone’s wondering, yes she does wash the black dress that she’s wearing! Sheena (that’s her name) has 7 of the same dresses (like a uniform, see?) which she uses everyday.

I like looking at her different outfits everyday, and I like that because the dress is black she tends to accessorise with colourful socks and hats and shoes (I lovelovelove her pastel shoes in the 3rd photo!)

It really is inspirational, from the very simple idea behind the blog to her ability to spruce up the dress and make each outfit so pretty.

Hats off to you, Sheena!

rose sherbet

cat

The Unguarded Moment [taken by Erfen]

As many of you (ok, the three of you that read this blog) know, I’ve been heavily involved in the Month of Photography Asia, being part of the media relations team, helping out with Facebook and Twitter as well (follow us @MOPAsia!) I’ve had the honour of meeting renowned photographers like Francoise Huguier, Bertrand Meunier and of course Steve McCurry, as well as local photographers like Jean Loo, Then Chih Wey and Deanna Ng.

The biggest thing I’ve learnt from this experience has been the importance in storytelling in photography. I have to say, I’ve taken a lot of photos but I can’t recall even one where my photo managed to tell a story or provoke a thought. Which is kinda sad if you think about it.

While viewing the Steve McCurry exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum (which is excellent, and I say this in a completely objective way, well as objective as a person could be), I stopped at a couple to think about the picture and what it could mean.

I guess it is this ability to draw the observer in, to invite a thought, a smile, an appreciation of something we often overlook, such as the colour of someone’s eyes (as in the case of the famed Afghan Girl), that has made Steve’s works so highly-regarded and yet highly relatable at the same time.

5 things you might not know about the Afghan Girl:

1. Her name literally means Rose Sherbet (so pretty!)

2. When National Geographic found Sharbat Gula, 17 years later, she was only 30 though she looked almost 10 years older, due to the harsh environment she had grown up in.

3. Steve McCurry’s encounter with her was the first time she had ever been photographed

4. As an adult she had no knowledge of how well-known her photo had become, eventhough there was a store near her home which had her poster hung on the front window.

5. The photo of the Afghan Girl was taken using Kodachrome film, which has been discontinued by Kodak as announced today. Steve McCurry will get one of the last rolls of the film to shoot with, having used Kodachrome for many of his colour photographs.

“I want to take (the last roll) with me and somehow make every frame count … just as a way to honor the memory and always be able to look back with fond memories at how it capped and ended my shooting Kodachrome,” McCurry said last week from Singapore, where he has an exhibition at the Asian Civilizations Museum.

As a parting shot, here’s a photo of me holding Steve’s camera, signed by the man himself. I feel very privileged to have met him, and I’m struck by how nice and humble he is. If anything, his photos have made me really really want to go to India.

steve camera

Btw, Steve has a blog!

arty farty saturday

Last weekend was amazingly awesome. Besides getting to hang out with friends, I managed to catch two very different, yet very good arts events.

Etiquette by Rotozaza (UK) part of Singapore Arts Fest 2009

Etiquette

I went for this with Erfen. Originally we were supposed to go with Sherms and our other friends, but we had to go for another timing because the 1pm slot was full. At first I thought that meant that they were all lot of people wanting to watch the play during that slot, but turns out, there are only 4 people in one slot. It’s experimental theatre, because basically you’re your own actors as well as audience, but I definitely find it very relatable and enjoyable as well (unlike some other kinds of experimental theatre).

Although I found the idea intriguing, I had no idea what we were in for. When we first came, we were told to take a seat at a table which had  some props on it and a glass of water for each of us. There were 2 sets of headphones, one for the ‘male’ character, and one for the ‘female’ character. You can also participate in the play with a stranger (could be exciting) if you come alone or in an odd number.

Once we put the headphones one, the performance started. A soothing, English woman told me to take a deep breath,  she knew I was nervous. I was now peeking from the wings of a stage at a packed theatre, waiting to take my cue in the performance in which I was the lead actress.

The voice gave me the lines I had to deliver, every move and facial expression dictated to me in that crisp, English accent. I was an actress.

Yet at the same time as I listened to my own lines as well as the words Erfen was saying, I was piecing together the characters, setting and plot. I was a spectator.

It was kinda awkward, as you know the words are borrowed, not yours. Sometimes, it was hard to listen to what Erfen said above the directions being supplied into my own ear.

The props elevated the performance even higher, bringing to life our lines and there were even times where I had to use the props without knowing why. It turned out that Erfen was hearing a story during the same time, and my actions had made total sense to him. It was really, really cool.

The play runs till 13 June at Dome Marina Square. More details can be found here. It’s highly recommended by me!

The Politics of the Popular (POP) Station Kill Your Television (KYTV) Singapore

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After the play, we joined our friends to make our own music video at The POP Station at Jendela at the Esplanade. Sherms told us about this as her professor was part of the crew. When I first heard about it, I was a bit skeptical.

“Make your own music videos with Singapore’s most off-beat artist collective. Take the chance to sing and dance to a pop-song while being filmed in a fantasy world. Within 24 hours your very own music video will be uploaded on YouTube for the world to enjoy.” – KYTV (taken from the Esplanade website)

It sounded crazy.

And you know what? It was crazy. But it was crazily fun as well! I did a weird song with my friend Shal. Perhaps I might post our video when it’s uploaded onto Youtube. But we also took time out to do this. Wondergirls ain’t got nothing on us! 😛

(I’m the one in pink with the weird Nacho Libre-esque mask by the way)

Unfortunately, the music video-making segment of the event has ended on Sunday. But from 10 June – 5 July, you can view an exhibition of videos from “POP-tizens” in Singapore as well as Berlin, Jakarta, Bangkok, Vienna, London and Jogjakarta. It’s on at Jendela at Esplanade, and is free.

Talk about a lesson on maintaining your online identity! Haha.