Singapore Monochrome Zoo

Singapore has a fantastic zoo.

We visit once a year each time we’re back.

I had a simple set-up that day – it’s a 40mm prime lens.

The challenge here is not so much to become the next National Geographic photographer, but simply to impart a bit of character onto the subjects.

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That’s my favourite animal, totally at home in its tropical paradise – I was born in the year of the tiger.

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A turtle flying through the water.

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A dreamy iguana.

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An enigmatic bicycle … (the kids had to pry their weird daddy and his camera away from this animal.)

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We’re that sea lion, trained to perform.

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See how hard it spins for its food.

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The chimpanzees are high above, lording over us…

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Check out that animal of a camera!

It’s a full frame Sony RX1r.

It’s a f/2 Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens!

It’s a full frame digital camera with a fixed lens, a challenge to a Leica fixed with a 35mm lens.

I could be Garry Winogrand with that camera! (I should say Winogrand’s book The Animals was on my mind that day.)

With that camera, I could become the next Daido Moriyama… look at that lens hood!

Okay … back to the main plot.

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Once upon a time, Singapore was a small fishing village.

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Then the elephants came.

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We’re all looking out for our next orange squash.

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Capitalism is fun!

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All lined up and waiting to be splashed on by the sea lion … what fun!

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Would you like to meet a capitalist snake, anyone?

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That’s a white capitalist peacock giving us a rear view…

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A charging polar bear!

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Up close and personal with a polar bear.

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There’re lines we cannot cross.

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No worries – no one is going to eat us.

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My daughter was impressed by this bird and followed it for a bit.

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My son got real close and took the above shot.

“What’s that, daddy?”

“It’s a nice furry raccoon-like monkey animal creature.”

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Children love the horse-carriage ride.

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Nice pony!

A pony is not a baby horse.

It’s a small horse.

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My son decided this particular otter was cute and took 16 identical pictures.

(That’s partly why I don’t let him use my film cameras.)

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Bye bye! See you again next year!

For collectors: check out the prints!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore’s Geylang Serai

This post is one month late (and eleven months early).

The photographs here were taken in late July, one or two days before Hari Raya Puasa, a religious festival celebrated by Malay Muslims in Singapore at the end of the fasting month.

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My wife decided we should join in the festivities and so here we were at Geylang Serai. We had a fantastic dinner.

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The lady who took our order.

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There was a long line in front of the cashier but it’s good as I got to take quite a few photographs.

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So yes, we were at the Kampong Cafe.

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Finally – the front of the queue.

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Yummy roti john!

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Yummy spicy shrimp rolls!

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I can’t figure out what she’s holding – it’s pastry…

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Yummy er … roti john?

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Yummy fried vadai!

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Yummy pancake!

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More vadai!

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It is really possible for one to be hungry again just after dinner.

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Yummy kebab!

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Food is meant to be eaten.

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Okay – this is my wife’s favorite part of the bazaar… lots of textiles.

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Lots of cloth frilly fabric-ish things…

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Dress things.

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He was carving a small figurine.

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A carpet auction in progress.

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Prices start at S$200.

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Very colourful drinks …

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Thanks for reading!

Check out my Saatchi Art page!

 

 

 

 

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay

I finally visited Gardens by the Bay.

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Check out the cool-looking Supertrees which are vertical gardens.

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The above, I suppose, is an obligatory picturesque shot.

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It’s a good place for photographers.

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Lots of selfie moments.

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You don’t really need to think to get a good shot – there’s something to be said about the blending of technology and nature at this place.

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Picture-perfect convenient nature (if that’s what you like).

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We’re in Flower Dome, one of the 2 conservatories here.

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Mummy, daddy and baby cactus.

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Phallus cactus.

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Eagle photographer.

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Eager photographer.

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The future of tech and nature.

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That’s Cloud Forest, another conservatory.

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As I’m walking around, I can’t help but think perhaps this is the future of botany.

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Maybe in the next twenty years, we’ll all be living in domes like this.

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The temperature is nice though.

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That’s the mineral exhibit area. Guess how I took this shot.

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I’m a street photography genius…

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This takes a lot of work.

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Kudos to those who’ve put in the hard work to make this possible.

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Oops – my lens fogged up when I stepped out of the conservatory.

I love mistakes like this.

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I’m a nature photographer!

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This is a nice blend of botany, technology, architecture, commerce, tourism and nation building.

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A William Gibson quote: “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

Check out my Saatchi Art page!

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore Hawker Food

Hawker food!

It’s definitely one of those things overseas Singaporeans miss.

 

Here’s my routine whenever I’m back in Singapore:

Step one – in the morning, I’d dutifully go to the wet market, determined to buy some fresh vegetables.

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I’m determined to buy those fresh fish.

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I really want those fresh meat, yes. Good idea.

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And then I’ll buy the newspapers.

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Step two: I’ll soak in the atmosphere.

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I’ll then look at all those hawker food.

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Yummy pancake! You could have either coconut husk, red bean paste or peanut as your filling.

I usually buy one of each. It’s yummy breakfast/tea time/snack food.

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Rojak! That’s a fruit and veg salad concoction that manages to be sweet, sour and spicy all at the same time.

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A close-up of the rojak stall. It’s a good alternative snack.

You can see that at this point, my health diet plan starts to break down.

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Good breakfast food!

I actually look forward to waiting in front of a stall for my food to be ready – it allows me to loiter and wait for the perfect moment.

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Unhealthy thick noodle breakfast with sausages, chicken wings, potato wedges, etc etc.

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Noodle stall – we’re still at breakfast.

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That’s the fried butterfly, you tiao, salted bun, etc etc stall.

Good for brunch.

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We’re all waiting with our smartphones these days.

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Chicken rice! Good lunch idea.

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That’s where I buy my century egg porridge. Lunch.

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Killer prawn noodles! Dinner. That’s when I reach for my cholesterol pills.

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That’s just rice with a choice of dishes … the sweet and sour pork is usually the best of the lot. Dinner time!

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Yong tau foo! Where you choose your ingredients and noodles. I usually go for the dry thick yellow noodle with lots of sweet sauce.

(Again, my cholesterol pills would definitely come in handy.)

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The thing about yong tau foo – no matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong.

Ingredients for a wonderful dinner.

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There’s no such thing as the wrong kind of food…

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Fish ball noodles! Good supper food.

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Minced pork noodles! Is it tomorrow’s breakfast yet?

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Curry puffs! Goreng pisang (fried bananas)! Good night-time snack.

 

Oh and I’ll never forget to have some fruits.

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Fruits are important for a healthy diet…

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Singapore Local Culture

This is culture as lived experience:

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An ordinary life that is the subject of street photography.

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Every year I return to Singapore for a period and some things don’t change.

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The kacang puteh man is still there (there’s another photo of him in a post a year ago).

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I tried another shot and he spotted me.

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A cobbler.

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And another cobbler.

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I stopped to buy my son an ice cream.

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When doing street photography, bring along your child – you’ll look less conspicuous that way.

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See? This guy actually smiled at my son and I.

I look like I’m helping my son with a school project…

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My son dared me to take a picture of him up close – and I did.

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And he pointed to them and said it would make a nice photograph – so I obliged.

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He didn’t think the above would work – I think he’s right.

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And he said the cyclist was looking the wrong way … again he’s right.

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“Why did you take a picture of that building, daddy? Is that considered street photography?”

Good question.

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I thought the tie fluttering in the air might make this interesting.

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He was trying to tack something onto the wood paneling and looked somewhat frustrated – I caught that moment.

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That’s life – always under construction.

Thanks for reading.

Check out my open-edition prints at my Saatchi Art page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore Heartland

Heartland is the title of a novel by Daren Shiau.

We don’t meet often, though our paths have crossed a few times at various literary readings/events.

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The novel is about the coming of age of a young man who grapples with class disparities, national service (conscription) and romance.

It is also about every Singaporean son…

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The heartland is the social-cultural space we grew up in.

For me, it’s what nostalgia is made of.

There is a shiny global Singapore (Gardens by the Bay, Marina Sands, Clarke Quay, etc.), and there’s also the heartland of Singapore we return to in the evenings.

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It’s the uncle we see every day, loitering at the void deck.

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It’s hawker food!

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It’s that uncle on a bicycle I side-stepped to avoid in the morning.

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All of that adds up to a sense of community…

And both national and personal growth is a kind of departure, a severing of ties from the past…

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We’ll never return to the seesaw of our childhoods again.

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Things are too new to be comfortable.

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All that unearthing and shifting of foundations…

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There’s always work in progress.

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Hence all we can do is learn to look back and find a glimmer of our home again in our imagination…

For collectors: open-edition prints are available at my Saatchi Art page.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Singapore: Monochrome Visions

These pictures were taken around late July/early August, when National Day (9 Aug) was just around the corner.

I was in Singapore for about three weeks, and every single day, I carry at least 2 (and sometimes 3) cameras with me when I’m out and about.

So in a way, this post (and those that come after) is a partial answer to the question of what it is about Singapore I celebrate.

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This was at the entrance of City Hall MRT station, and they saw what I was doing and posed for me.

They were holding up the sign to direct people who were going to watch the National Day Parade rehearsals.

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It looks like they were posing. They were already in that position and they turned to look at me as I approached.

All the pictures here were taken on a single roll of Kodak BW400CN, on my Minolta AF-C, and as I looked at the negatives, I was amazed to see so many images of Indian and Bangladeshi workers.

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In many ways, they are responsible for literally building Singapore.

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Singapore is what it is partly because of them.

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The physical infrastructure works like a clock partly because of them.

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I was walking on a pavement and they were holding grass-cutters, looking at me the whole time.

They were waiting for me to walk past so they could resume work.

And my wife said, quick, quick, take out your camera, and so I did and took the above photo.

Check out the chiaroscuro.

I waved and they nodded and went on with their work.

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This is Singapore.

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This, too, is Singapore.

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Definitely Singapore.

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This picture was taken while I was in a queue. Yummy.

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She spotted me and smiled.

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This too is Singapore.

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There were quite a number of soldiers in the area because of the National Day Parade rehearsals, directing crowds and traffic.

I’ve done my share of that when I was an army boy.

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Lion City banner – I aimed my camera at the banner, and waited for someone to come along to complete the picture.

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Check out the logo on the T-shirt. That’s the crescent and the five stars of the Singapore flag.

Patriotism is in the air.

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Is he a tourist or a Singapore resident? You can’t tell these days.

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This is a global Singapore.

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This was at Little India.

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Another take at Little India.

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Sometimes I wonder: why do I take street photographs? What is it about street photography, such that I feel compelled to take pictures of strangers?

An answer of sorts:

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Because I’m afraid of being conditioned by market forces into thinking of people as mannequins…

Thanks for reading, and check out my prints!