VivoCity Singapore

I was in Singapore for a short working trip, presenting a paper called “The Poetics of Occupy Central – A Photo Essay” at an academic conference.

So of course I brought my camera along.

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I spent an evening on my own, a day before wifey joined me at the hotel.

So of course I did the most natural thing that came to me – I pretended to be a tourist at VivoCity.

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Darn – I can’t seem to fit a filter on my lens without it vignetting (see top corners).

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It seems like my Voigtlander 35mm doesn’t like filters.

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I’ve tried a B+W filter, and a Hoya filter as well. They both vignette.

I would be grateful for any advice from readers more knowledgeable than me in this respect.

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Crowded shopping malls depress me.

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There was a bridal fair – and you realize weddings are very regimental affairs.

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Everyone (including myself) is searching for life’s defining moments in a cookie-cutter manner.

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There’s a water park of sorts above the mall.

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The feeling here is more carefree.

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But such scenes are possible only because of the packed shopping crowd below.

They are paid for by all that buying and selling that happens below.

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We all buy and sell in our cookie-cutter lives so as to achieve moments like the one above.

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Of course, it’s not just Singapore or VivoCity that does this.

One could never be truly outside of VivoCity, even if one leaves.

Thanks for reading.


Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander 35mm F 1.4 Nokton SC

Film: Kodak Bw400CN







Not Shopping at Tsim Sha Tsui

All images here are shot at Tsim Sha Tsui with the Contax TVS II loaded with Fuji Venus 800 film.

The Contax TVS series of film cameras are gorgeous, with titanium bodies, aperture priority and P modes.

There’s a 28-56 focal length zoom which is ideal for street photography.

For me, they are the more nimble younger siblings of the Contax T3.

Which explains why I went out the other day with the intention of not buying that Contaxt TVS II I had seen, complete with the databack.

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This person saw what I was about to do, and smiled.

Check out that SLR camera-thing his buddy behind him was carrying.

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Hong Kong people work really hard.

We keep saying that Hong Kong is a shopping paradise.

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Of course, we need people to service the economy.

There are shoppers just as there are delivery people.

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A salute to the people who keep things going.

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Sometimes they are invisible to the shoppers, often faceless and anonymous.

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We should make it a point to notice people more …

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To see the difference between glamour and real people.

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Otherwise, we’re nothing more than mannequins looking at other mannequins.

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For collectors: open edition prints from this post are not available here.

I suppose that’s my (ironic) gesture of commitment to the push and pull of capitalist logic…


Noah’s Ark in Hong Kong

I am a creature of habit, of the Homer-Simpson-couch-potato-beer-belly-belching variety.

So when my wife announced we’re spending a night in Noah’s Ark, part of me wanted to resist, though curiosity (plus the fact that I’ve basically [and wisely!] outsourced my recreational and social life to my better half) took over.

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It’s a theme park mostly for children (I have 2!) with parents attached.

It’s located in Ma Wan, an island cum residential estate with a policy of banning entry to private vehicles.

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We did a night’s stay literally on the third floor of Noah’s Ark, and got bumped up to a eight-bedded suite.

Sadly, though, you can’t find a bar in Noah’s Ark…

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It’s a rather postmodern experience, as it’s a biblical-themed park and complex concocted out of secular/capitalist/entertainment motivations by the Sun Hung Kai property conglomerate. It requires a bit of roller-coaster thinking.

As a Christian of the church-going, serious-bible-study-home-group-acoustic-guitar-worship variety cum literature-professor-and-poet-who-has-read-his-Derrida type of person, I was rather intrigued.

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So was my street photographer persona, who wisely decided to rely on a Canon G11 to do the job of taking family snapshots as well as street photography.

Yes, there’re still people out there proudly carrying their G11’s, evidence of the longevity of what is now a classic camera. (I’ve seen G9’s, 10’s and 11’s for sale at vintage camera shops.) I know someone who still carries a G9.

Back to the main story.

The above was in an educational exhibit room for kids teaching them about geology. I do like the religious motif with the light shining down and the person in front whose head is bowed in devotion…

Free souvenir photos! Check out the psychedelic set-up, to remind us of God’s cosmological creations, I’m sure.

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There were various events, including this 35-minute tour of religious exhibits and replicas.

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This guy playing Moses jumped right into our midst.

He spent the next 20 minutes telling us of the Ten Commandments and of how Hong Kong has strayed somewhat from the biblical plot.

It was amusing to see Moses code-switching between Cantonese and English. (Note to self: I must remember to tell my Applied English Linguistics colleagues of this.)

As a Christian of the church-going, serious-bible-study-home-group-acoustic-guitar-worship variety cum literature-professor-and-poet-who-has-read-his-Derrida type of person, I was rather intrigued.

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Someone has put serious effort into reproducing replicas of the tabernacle as well as the Dead Sea scrolls.

There were authentic illustrated Victorian bibles plus various other stuff on display. This really appeals to the literature nerd in me.

We were told the exhibits were rotated regularly.

Check out the life-sized 3D replica of the Last Supper.

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The animals coming out of the Ark after the Flood.

As a Christian of the church-going, serious-bible-study-home-group-acoustic-guitar-worship variety cum literature-professor-who-has-read-his-Derrida type of person, I was seriously intrigued.

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After the end of 40 days and nights of flooding and another 150 days for the waters to subside, a giraffe sniffs the air tentatively, with the Tsing Ma bridge in the background.

Very postmodern.

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Very postmodern white tigers emerging from their stay in Noah’s Ark, set against the Tsing Ma bridge …

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I felt a need to get out of the theme park after a while.

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Though in honesty, there’s no getting out of the giant theme park known as Hong Kong.

Nonetheless, I do appreciate honest-to-goodness aesthetics. Someone has done a bit of landscaping for this village house nearby.

Thanks for reading!