Tuesday, December 30, 2008

British Council Event in Tiong Bahru

In a special 2-part, 2-day event, join artists from Singapore and the UK to discuss their contrasting experiences of creating artworks inspired by, and in collaboration with, communities.

The event includes a screening of CIVIC LIFE, a groundbreaking series of community based film, shot on 35 mm, by UK based artists/filmmakers Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy.

CIVIC LIFE (Rating tba), 72 mins
Followed by Q&A with Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy
SATURDAY, 3rd January 10.30 am ¨C 12.30 pm, Golden Village, Tiong Bahru

Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor (desperate optimists) embarked on the 'Civic Life' series in Jul 2003 and have since created a unique and richly cinematic series of short films that capture different places and communities in a single, daring take. Working with 35mm equipment, complex film rigs and environments, not to mention hundreds of extras and a propensity for working with both children and animals, they have generated a body of work made in negotiation with local residents and community groups that is both theatrical and deeply cinematic, experimental and highly accessible.

SUNDAY 4th January 2.00 pm ¨C 5.30 pm Sinema at Old School

A forum about artists working with people and places.The label 'Community Art' hardly begins to describe the exciting range and breadth of artistic activities that have been created by artists in collaboration with groups of people, often drawing inspiration from the places and spaces where they live, work and play. The meeting between people who belong to communities with artists from outside, is usually a delicate process of negotiation and expectation-management. The experience of facilitation, sharing, discussion, agreement and conflict, all play a crucial part in the 'final' artworks, which often defy easy categorisation.

Framing Communities brings together a diverse line-up of speakers to discuss their contrasting experiences of creating artworks that involve 'ordinary' people. The artists come from various backgrounds and work in multiple media, including film, video art, theatre and photography. Their projects all take very different approaches to working with communities, but each of them are linked by their interest in urban spaces, art as a collaborative event, and the process of discovery and inspiration sparked by the coming-together of strangers and friends.

The aim of this forum is to discover more about the practice and process of creating unusual and unique community art projects; to explore how artworks of this kind function as both process and product, and how they are valuable for urban communities and spaces, and the artists themselves.

Moderated by Ben Slater


Shannon Castleman (Singapore/US). An artist whose work has been concerned with urban environments. Her recent video installation, Jurong West St. 81, is an ambitious, large-scale collaboration with the inhabitants of two HDB blocks in Jurong.

Jing Quek (Singapore). A photographer known for his humorous and distinctive group images of various communities and 'tribes' within Singapore. www.superhyperreal.com

Joe Lawlor (UK). Along with partner Christine Molloy, Joe directed the 'Civic Life' series, in which they work with specific urban spaces and the people that use those spaces to create richly cinematic films, shot on 35mm, and designed to be shown in cinemas.www.desperateoptimists.com

Kok Heng Leun (Singapore). Artistic director of theatre company Dramabox, who have conducted many community theatre and performance projects, including pioneering work in the area of 'Forum Theatre', an open form that allows for audience intervention and participation.www.dramabox.org

Entry is free but pre-registration is required.
Please note that as space is limited, PLEASE ONLY REGISTER if you are sure you can attend.

To register for the Saturday screening, email ker.layhong@britishcouncil.org.sg, citing CIVIC in the subject line.

To register for the Sunday symposium, email ker.layhong@britishcouncil.org.sg, citing FRAMING in the subject line.

Tiong Bahru Estate Re-Painting Exercise Updates

Kelvin Ang has just updated the Tiong Bahru Residents via the email network on the status of the Re-Painitng Exercise.

Find out more from the Tiong Bahru Heritage Club's blog.

If you care about Tiong Bahru and has yet to register yourself into the email network, pop an email over the Kelvin Ang and you will never miss out on any important announcements.

Scatter my ashes at Tiong Bahru Park

The New Paper
30th December 2008

RESTING PLACE: Mr Kit Lam keeps Mr Lawson's ashes at his Tiong Bahru home.

Retired US lawyer's last wish:
Scatter my ashes at Tiong Bahru Park

HIS last request - to have his ashes scattered in Tiong Bahru Park.

Those were the instructions of a 76-year-old American who had grown to love Singapore since his first visit in 1993, reported Shin Min Daily News.

Retired lawyer Paul Lawson had even developed a passion for durians and nonya food.

He first met Singaporean Kit Lam, a 51-year-old manager, at a party in San Francisco 16 years ago. They hit it off immediately.

At that time, the American had never heard of Singapore and had never visited Asia.

In 1993, he visited Mr Lam here. He liked it so much that he returned every year, staying at Mr Lam's home each time.

Mr Lam lives near Tiong Bahru Park, and Mr Lawson would go for morning walks there, even making friends with other park goers.

Then Mr Lawson was struck down by cancer earlier this year and underwent two operations.

He eventually lapsed into a week-long coma before dying on 2Jul.

Mr Lawson's family sent his ashes to Singapore, following his instructions. But he could not have his park wish fulfilled.

The National Environment Agency website states that after cremation, 'the ashes of the deceased can be stored at home or in a columbarium'.

The ashes can also be scattered at sea, 'at the designated site located about 1.5nautical miles (2.8km) south of Pulau Semakau', off the main island of Singapore.

So Mr Lam decided to place them in his home in Tiong Bahru.

Last Saturday, Mr Lam also hosted a farewell gathering for MrLawson.

Mr Lam said: 'I believe that Paul wouldn't want a tearful goodbye. He'd want us to remember him with a smile on our faces.'

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.Privacy Statement and Conditions of Access

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Free Parking

Lately, I had been very tempted to go and get a motorbike licence and buy a Vespa after that.

It seems that one could save tons of money here at Tiong Bahru if you own a 2 wheeler.

Parking is plentiful and you can park anywhere and everywhere you like without ever tearing a parking coupon or taking out a season parking disc for your bike.

If you feel like riding all the way up to your neighbour’s block or the market, the walkways are made for this purpose.

And if your horn is working, you can even HONK those “jay-walkers” who seems to think the pavement are theirs.

This “opportunity” has existed for a very long time and more and more residents have noticed this wonderful loophole.

If you park in the “right” place, it seems that you may get away scot free.

Those who sheepishly play by the rules and park in a designated motorcycle lots are the silliest people. They put out coupons only to be booked by the parking wardens when it expires.

Come on everyone, let’s think out of the “LOT” and get creative.

Breaking the rules here seems NORMAL and perhaps it is like what some uncles at the coffeeshop would exclaim: THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT here.

NOTE: I’m only being sarcastic. Someone please do something about these illegal parking.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Few Windows of Opportunities

(Windows and Door in Room 1)

(Windows and Door in Room 2)

(Only Windows in Room 3)

Someone just got the keys to this apartment.

The original intention was to keep these windows but the other co-owner has other thoughts.

These windows just cut off too much light and I like the place to be bright!” exclaimed the owner.

“You mean you are gonna toss these windows out?” I asked with a bewildered look on my face.

“Would you mind if I get someone to adopt these windows? These GREEN-stained windows are priceless and I’ve got some people who might be interested to adopt and restore them. The elongated ones are the rarest! I hardly see them anymore.”

“Yeah, I know they are nice, but.....it just wouldn’t fit here anymore. If they want it, I will get my contractors to leave them aside.”

“Okay Okay, thanks...will pass the word around”

If you really want these windows, my advice is to get your own contractor to dismantle them. The owner’s contractors might just break all the glass when they dismantle them....and the glass is the most priceless of the whole thing.

Let me know ASAP as it would be a shame to let this get away!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Mocked" Up

After 2 days of "teasing", it now appears that the repainting exercise has not started after all!

Block 50 Moh Guan Terrace has been chosen to showcase the actual colours of Scheme A and Scheme B for the Post War section while Block 72 and Block 77 Seng Poh Road has the honour of showcasing the Pre-War proposed colours.

Based on the posters we had viewed at the Community Centre, I don't recall seeing bright yellow columns for the post war flats. I always thought the columns were orange right?

Being the impatient sort, I called Chris, a fellow resident, to confirm if the columns should be yellow or orange.

Chris said it should be orange and the town council had probably got the colours wrong.

He also added that the peach tone for the Pre-War Section is wrong.

Ok Ok, Wrong shade of peach, I can still accept. But Yellow and Orange is definitely a NO NO!

Since I was in between my viewing appointment today and my customer was late, I whipped out my handphone to serve this blog to check if it was indeed yellow.

Too bad I cannot determine anything at that time as the screen on my phone was too small for me to ascertain if the columns were supposed to be yellow or orange.

When I finally got back home about 1 hour ago and could at last get into my computer, I can see clearly that orange is supposed to be the colour for the Post War Scheme B......unless I am colour blind and am unaware of it.

So what happened? This is just a MOCKED UP and already someone has to replace the letter M with a C.

Let’s hope the M gets back into position over the next few days...otherwise why bother to do this in the first place?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Work has Started!

I was driving past Block 50 Moh Guan Terrace yesterday evening and I noticed some paint work being done.

It seems that the Tiong Bahru Residents has selected the Original Colonial theme over the other 2 options.

While I’m not surprise with the outcome as it seems that most of the residents who bothered to cast their votes chose this theme, the Town Council has once again failed to inform the residents of the results.

Many residents had been asking what the final scheme will be and we were all clueless.

I guess we have to get use to finding out the outcome this way.

Instant "Lake"

I never knew what I was getting into this afternoon!

Even when I make my way to my car in the pouring rain, Mother Nature was already giving me hints that this is not just another down pour.

Water was rushing down the tree-lined pathway as I was walk cautiously and was trying to stay as dry as possible.

To get to my destination, I would normally use Tiong Bahru Road.

But this afternoon, I thought I better use the CTE instead as traffic normally slows to a crawl when it rains and I hate to wait at the lights. So I turn into Kim Tian Road instead.

I actually overtook a taxi that was waiting in an odd place as it obstructed traffic.

As soon as I overtook him, I realised why he has stopped!

The road has disappeared and all I could see was a lake before me.

What is done is done and I cannot stop my car in the middle of the flood as my car might stall!

So I carry on driving foolishly and turned into Twin Regency Condo.

Phew! I am safe for the moment......but I’m already late for my appointment at Toa Payoh!

I thought since I managed to get here without any problem, maybe I can use the same route to get back the Tiong Bahru Road and find other ways to get to Toa Payoh.

As I was driving back, my heart nearly sank.

A few cars had stopped at the mouth of Kim Tian Road and they cannot quite decide if they should proceed or turn around.

While they are deliberating, I’m surrounded by all these waters and was getting rather anxious.

Thank God I managed to find a slightly higher ground to stop my car and wait for the commotion to clear up.

While I was waiting, another brave (maybe reckless or foolish) Honda Civic zoomed past.

I didn’t wait around to see what happened but I’m sure he would have done the same thing as I did!

Those people at the corner coffeeshop looks rather excited about this flood.

I supposed they were waiting to see who will get through and who will not.

I probably would be equally curious if I was having lunch there as well.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bird corner trills again


The Straits Times
Dec 1, 2008

Bird corner trills again

Birdsong returned to the famous Tiong Bahru bird corner at the former Block 53 yesterday after a seven-year silence, when the area underwent redevelopment.

At the finals of a bird-singing competition organised by Link Hotel, merbuk jambuls performed in their cages, under the watchful eye of judge Tang Yew Weng.

In total, 360 birds were entered in the contest. They were judged on their volume and how they displayed themselves in their cages.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Return of songbirds

Tiong Bahru bird corner to reverberate with music again with bird singing competition at month's end

The Straits Times
Nov 17, 2008
By tay suan chiang

Tiong Bahru will soon be filled with the music of singing birds again.

About six years ago, the famous bird corner at the former Block 53 in Tiong Bahru Road fell silent when the area was redeveloped. Bird lovers, who used to flock here clutching cages housing their chirpy feathered friends, stopped coming.

The housing block and another block across the road have been transformed into the 288-room boutique Link Hotel, which opened in July last year.

And the hotel is holding a bird singing competition on Nov 30 to mark the reopening of the famed corner.

About 350 bird lovers are expected to take about 400 mata putehs and merbuk jambuls to compete in the contest for 60 trophies. These two types of birds are known for their singing and will be judged on their quality of voice, showmanship and volume.

The hotel spent $200,000 sprucing up the bird corner, which was surveyed to ensure that the structure, which has been around for more than 10 years, is still sound.

Bird lover George Chang, 56, who has been judging bird singing competitions for 30 years, was roped in to rebuild the bird corner. The retiree has two birds which he shows at a bird corner near his home in Bedok North. He used to take his birds to Tiong Bahru before it closed.

The height of the structure also had to be measured to determine the length of the hooks for the cages.

Mr Chang says each of the 322 hooks must be 2.5m from the ground so that bird lovers will not knock their heads on the cages.

Mr George Chen, the hotel's director and general manager, says everyone is welcome to visit the bird corner, even when there is no competition.

'We want the hotel to retain its legacy and part of this is the bird corner, which reflects the uniqueness of the area,' he says.

The bird corner came about nearly 60 years ago, when a group of men began hanging their bird cages on a tree next to the coffee shop at Block 53. It became famous in the late 1980s when a Dutch journalist and avid bird lover, Mr G. van Bladel, started going there, too. He wrote articles about the place in several newspapers in the Netherlands. Soon, overseas reporters swamped the place, eager for a glimpse of this unusual avian haunt.

One bird lover who is taking part in the competition is Mr Raymond Kok, 55, who is self employed. The Tampines resident used to visit Tiong Bahru with his birds once a month, but he now frequents a bird corner in Bedok.

'I like listening to the sound of my birds singing,' he says of his 23 birds.

More than 100 bird enthusiasts have signed up for the competition. Registration costs $12 per bird at the hotel.

The hotel plans to make the bird singing competition an annual affair. It also has plans to install chairs, shelters and lighting at the corner.

Tiong Bahru resident Terence Lee, 48, is happy to hear the corner will be revived.

'It is a well-known spot and, hopefully, it will be as popular as before,' says the businessman.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Let's support this Bird Singing Competition

Click on the image to enlarge the picture

Finally, an official bird singing competition will make a comeback at one of Tiong Bahru's most famous landmark.

Link Hotel, true to their promises made, will be organising this event.

Ms Julia Lim from the Link Hotel has worked tirelessly to ensure that the competition will run smoothly.

She has tirelessly spent many weekends researching and touching base with the various bird singing enthusiasts around Singapore to ensure that this competition is organised professionally.

The MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Associate Professor Koo Tsai Kee, will also grace the event.

Let us do our part to help Link Hotel publicise this event.

Their success will put Tiong Bahru back onto the "must visit" spot when people pop by Singapore.

Here are the details :

Date: 30th November 2008
Time: 8am to 1:30pm
Venue: Tiong Bahru Bird Arena, Link Hotel
Registration: $12 per bird
Categories: Only Mata Puteh and Merbuk Jambul will be competing

Merbuk Jambul

Mata Puteh

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Two 1950s Doors (Up for Grabs)

Two 1950’s doors from the Post War Section of Tiong Bahru is up for grabs.

One of these doors still has the signature chicken wire glass while another has been covered up.

I’ve seen some owners who turned these doors into a sliding door version and they look great!

Please help to prolong these doors’ life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Past & Present

1950's Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru (6th November 2008)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tiong Bahru Decides

The Tiong Bahru Estate Repainting Exercise is in progress right now.

If you have not indicated your decision, you are highly encouraged to do so.

Please trot down to the Tiong Bahru CC's office to pick up the decision forms.

Your decision is important as it may just be the deciding vote of what the estate will be clad in for the next 10 years.

To find out more about this repainting exercise, please click on the following images to enlarge the pictures for a better read.

Artwork courtesy of designadvocates

Sunday, October 26, 2008


This picture looks rather out of place here within this blog.

What is there to talk about this pile of construction material?

If you click on the picture to enlarge it, scrutinize the picture carefully and you will find a rodent peeping back at you.

I’ve actually noticed these 5 or 6 large rats scurrying around the bin centre for quite a while and I’m finally cheesed off enough today that I took the trouble to wait outside the rubbish collection bin to catch these rodents in action.

These rodents are getting bolder by the day and you can see them scurrying around even in the day!

I should have brought a DSLR camera along as the compact camera was just not fast enough to catch them in action.

I think the rubbish collection centre at Kim Pong Road should be kept clean and the Tanjong Pagar Town Council should even consider engaging a professional pest control company to eradicate this vermin problem.

They could be seen running around all the way to Moh Guan Terrace and this problem cannot be swept under the carpet anymore.

Either the Town Council clean up the act here or they relocate the rubbish collection centre somewhere else.

It is actually strange to have a children’s playground and exercise corner located next to the bin centre as the foul smell is not something you want to inhale when you are playing or exercising there.