Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ukiyo-e

For the past few days, I've been scanning through the web. It has been my lifelong desire to study in either the UK or the US. However since the LAM (Board of Architects Malaysia) only recognises architecture degrees from certain universities in Malaysian, Australia, New Zealand and UK, I have to ditch the idea of studying in US. London, Liverpool, Leicester, Bath, Edinburgh, anywhere in UK will do.

For most applications for architecture courses, a portfolio is required. So, I've began work using guidelines from Plymouth. 15 to 25 pieces of art in total with a minimum of 10 hand-drawn pieces. WOW. My first piece is a reprodustion of a painting of four Nyonya ladies playing musical instruments.

My half done sketch.

Another of my inspirations is Utagawa Hiroshige, a Japanese ukiyo-e artist who was also referred by the art name Ichiyūsai Hiroshige. His paintings actually influenced Van Gogh who was interested in Japanese art.

Left: Hiroshige's Great Bridge, Sudden Shower at Atake

Right: Van Gogh's The Bridge in the Rain


I was thinking of Kinryuza Temple which depicts both Japanese art and architecture.


Another ukiyo-e artist and printmaker of the Edo period together with Hiroshige would be the senior Katsushika Hokusai. Comparatively, I prefer Hokusai's style with bright and strong colours. A few of my favourites of his art are Travellers Crossing the Oi River which was one of the 10 prints that were added to the original 36 prints in Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, and also the Drum Bridge.


Travellers Crossing the Oi River, Hokusai.

Drum Bridge, Hokusai.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Red Red Ang Pau's!

GONG XI FA CAI, EVERYONE!

I just returned from celebrating the Lunar New Year with my family in Butterworth. We made it there early this year on the eve. My grandparents (who are still non-Christians) still practise ancestral worship. A small altar was set up in the hall with burning joss sticks, 5 sets of chopsticks and cups, rice and different dishes. Grandpa tossed two coins, probably for fortune-telling (??).

The reunion dinner was as usual, seafood steamboat. There was Japanese plum liqueur or umeshu, which I enjoyed very much. It was aged for extra years and carried a sweet and sour taste. The 15% alcohol content gave a nice warm, burning sensation. I want more!


We spent a lot of time playing with our 13-month-old cousin Reuben. I'm not very fond of kids but he's an exception. Super hyperactive, curious, smart and observant. I want to take him home!


Dad took me on for drive around Butterworth - the Chain Ferry Road, the Pantai Bersih coastal road, Bagan Jermal and Bagan Ajam, the Penang Port, the site of his old wooden kampung house and the long-gone Assumption school where he studied. All the shops in B'worth were closed and the streets were empty, probably because everyone was home with their families, unlike the chau kai wongs in Ipoh. Outside the houses by the roads were ling heans or giant dragon joss sticks which the Hokkiens usually burns on the first day.

There wasn't much to do in Ah Ma's house except eat, watch TV, sleep, eat, eat. She had to cook for about 15 people. She cooked enough joo hoo char, chicken curry, lobak, tau yu bak and other Hokkien dishes to feed an army for a week - and that's what we ate everyday in B'worth.

Our uncle, the food lover, whipped up three dishes - kam heong prawn and sotong, grilled lamb and shark's fin soup. YUM.



AF-Cubed Chinese New Year visitation is tomorrow!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Handyman Day

A fulfilling day! Dad and I spruced up the house for Chinese New Year. We painted the porch walls and pillars, cleared junk, scrubbed the porch floor, fixed a bright new engine red postbox and washed Dad's car. It was tedious, but all the years of following Dad around made me enjoy this physical work. Good quality time too. =) We worked from 11 am to about 5 pm and the porch was bright white.

I scrubbed this old jar that we use as an umbrella stand. We used it as an indoor plant pot years ago. Little did I know that this jar was once used by my grandma to store charcoal and she had it even before Dad came to be. A family antique? =)




Dad showed me around with the innards of the car while checking on the engine. We did go over this in practical, but Dad explaining it to me himself was nice. Engine parts, fixing a punctured tyre with a tyre weld instead of changing it, filling up the battery and radiator tank. Altogether, it was a nice day with Dad.

We'll be heading back to Butterworth in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow. So, BLESSED CHINESE NEW YEAR!

I'm excited for the Cherating trip. Meh. =)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nostalgia?

Just on Monday afternoon, I hopped on the bus to the badminton courts - not to play, but to watch the MSSD Kinta Utara 2009 Badminton Tounament. Miss Chong had asked me to go and support MGS when I visited school a week back or so. There were many familiar faces there from training and watching the players sweat it out on the court, I missed the days of competitive badminton although I'm not that good. The MGS players didn't fair too well as competition was pretty keen this year compared to '08. I really miss the thrill and excitement of participating in a tournament. So, I've decided to get back in the court with Mr Lee. =)

Today, I made a yummy pot of potato and onion soup. For a first-timer, it tasted good. I'm probably cooking it again for the AF-Cubed CNY visitation. =) Let's see what I can cook up tomorrow with the stuff I have.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And I'll Fly..

Just last week, in preparation for Chinese New Year, I headed over to Grandma's place to help make arrowhead chips or nga ku. For three hours, aunt, grandma and I slogged in the kitchen, soaking, skinning, slicing, drying, frying, wiping, packing the little yellowish nga ku's. And the product? Ten nice and golden-brown jars of nga ku... and one jar of [dark] brown ones.


AF[Cubed] -After Form Five Fellowship was pretty interesting. Hugo led and we had a fun game and a very interesting discussion about a verse in John. I do hope I'll be able to go to the beach soon!

I never realised how hard it is to find Relient K songs online till a few days ago. Their latest album - The Birds and the Bee Sides - which also contains the Nashville Tennis EP, has a crazy 26 tracks which clocks about an hour. I managed to compile the whole album just in the nick of time for Sam before his [not so surprise] birthday party last night. Well, actually Five Iron Frenzy Is Either Dead or Dying (Ska Version) was missing. Overall, the whole album is a nice mix of a variety of songs inclusive of older songs like Jefferson Aeroplane (from The Creepy EP) and Up and Up (from Five Score and Seven Years Ago). And I'm addicted to it currently. =)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let's Feast!

So, what are you doing now?
What are you planning to study?
Which college? What course? Form 6?

Familiar? These are the same questions that people have been asking me almost daily. For a moment, I considered physiotherapy but the thought of studying Bio again makes me shudder. The prospects in Malaysia aren't too good especially if it's sports physiotherapy. A less academic choice would be hospitality and hotel management, but, it's a big no-no from Dad. Alright, what about a combination of art, physics and chemistry? Architecture - sounds good. The downside is the course is very long and tough compared to others. So, I'll just wait for the results and let them decide.

The Star Education Fair was needless to say, packed. I met Mel by coincidence in KLCC. On Saturday evening, we attended a prophetic ministering at Grace Assembly. And then, the best part... FOOD!

ITADAKIMASU!



Aunt ordered so much - salmon capaccio, soft shell crabs, unagi kamameshi, bento, ramen, miso soup, gyoza kimuchi soup, edamame (green peas) and others - but my sis and I wallopped EVERYTHING down.

It was good (and expensive) no doubt. I enjoyed the gyoza kimuchi, unagi kamameshi, salmon and most of all, the piping hot genmai cha green tea! YUM. Gochisosama!

Other than being a full-time Maria at home, I'm waiting for my L license. The faster it gets done, the faster I can drive. I may be hopping on a bus to KL again next weekend to visit Mel.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

International Youth Rally































The Prep: HereWeGo! HereWeGo!

This is the part I like best about the whole event. We had only 2 practices before the combined practice. The I HEART REVOLUTION version of What the World Will Never Take posed a great challenge to me. We had lots of laughs while practicing the instrumental part. Then, there was the supper at Tong Sui Kai where we discussed our dresscode and other prep stuff. There was a morning practice before we headed to MYC for soundcheck. Qi Vin came, tuned the drums and even loaned his bass pedal and cymbals. Thank you!


The Carnival: 1, 2, 3 Kick Off!

There weren't many stalls around and the crowd was small due to the rain. We took this time to have dinner and just loiter around. The skies cleared a little. Nikki and Navin came too.


The Rally: Jump! Jump!

The night kicked off with a cultural performance by the international campers. Then, praise and worship began with Wesley first. Lip Hyean, the drummer, really whacked the drums till the stage floor shook beneath him. And that was how hard QV wanted me to play. Then, it was our turn. I never hit the drums so hard before this. The lights, the onstage heat, the worshipping crowd was exciting. I was already sweating profusely by the time we were through with What the World. It was simply enjoyable. Pastor Steven Low preached for the night and CGBC and Elim were the last two bands. By the time it all ended, we were dead tired.


The Aftermath: ZZZ

Upon reaching home, KJ and I had warm showers and Maggi before hitting the sack.

On the whole, I enjoyed the preparation the most. Now with the rally over, it's back to normalcy. Through this, I got to serve God, get exposure and hone my skills - all of which are priceless and I am grateful for.

No pics!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

To the New Year!

I welcomed 2009 with a great big earth-shaking KERCHOO! and thousands of sniffs and coughs.

I spent the last day of 2008 in church gearing up with 3 other ill band members and the virus-resistant Jess. It was not too bad (only that I produced many "white wantons") and I learnt several things from QV. Five hours of practice sent me into a peaceful deep slumber. :) Then, I was up for band for the Watchight Service in church. I spent almost the whole day at the drums so, God bless the next person who sits there. Virus-infested.

Late, I know, but here are some pics from the yesteryear.


It was the Tangyuan Festival or Winter Solstice. So, we made tong yuen. It's pretty simple actually. Glutinous dough is rolled into balls and gula melaka is stuff as the center filling. Then, it is boiled till it floats.

The cooked balls are then put in screwpine leave syrup. Simple.

And the Youth Christmas Event. Okay but the revellers were rowdy.

BLESSED NEW YEAR.

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