21 June 2009

Lotus at HortPark

The highlight of the 5+ km trek through the Southern Ridges today was undoubtedly »HortPark. I highly recommend a wander around there if you have not been. There is a cafe, a Thai restaurant, a butterfly enclosure (open 3rd Saturday every month) and plenty of uncrowded green space on a Sunday.

Thou shalt not hunt

Thou shalt not feed the monkeys, thou shalt clean up after your dog's poo... Our civic mindedness still has some way to go.

18 June 2009

Please don't call the bluff

What was peculiar, and what was quite startling to me, is that it turned out that nobody ever did any scientific test on Van Meegeren, even the stuff that was available in his day, until after he confessed. And to this day, people hardly ever test pictures, even multi-million dollar ones. And I was so surprised by that that I kept asking, over and over again: why? Why would that be? Before you buy a house, you have someone go through it for termites and the rest. How could it be that when you’re going to lay out $10 million for a painting, you don’t test it beforehand? And the answer is that you don’t test it because, at the point of being about to buy it, you’re in love! You’ve found something... You want it to be real... The forger wants the collector to snap it up, and the collector wants it to be real. You are on the same side. You think that it would be a game of chess or something, you against him. “Has he got the paint right?” “Has he got the canvas?” You’re going to make this checkmark and that checkmark to see if the painting measures up. But instead, both sides are rooting for this thing to be real.
- Bamboozling Ourselves, New York Times blog

The next time we ask in despair of the financial mess, of love, or of life, "What were they thinking?", this is why: everyone wants the musical chairs to go on.

A fascinating story about Nazi-era forgery by the way. Read it »here.

15 June 2009

Born free

Today, I am pleased to declare, is the last day of my indentured servitude!

14 June 2009








Ms C 感言,原来今日的吸油纸就是当年的手帕哩。

07 June 2009

The hukou system in China

China tends to polarize sentiments. First, you have the gushers - those who are misty-eyed by her economic growth, her Olympics opening and and for whom she can do no wrong. Then, you have the bashers - those who can only see the spitting, the cheating and in turn cocoon themselves in a lifestyle of chauffeurs and champagne brunches.

Occasionally, there comes along someone who tries to bring an educated, considered view into this picture through an individual effort. (As opposed to self-professed China experts who make empty proclamations of how "China is really complex" without saying what the complexity is.)

I have been reading »Wangjianshuo's blog for a few years now and have just cleared his recent posts from my Google Reader. I highly recommend his two posts on the Chinese hukou system - »this and »this. For the profound impact it has on the day-to-day lives of Chinese, the hukou system seems to be relatively unknown to outsiders. I still recall my surprise when a Shanghai colleague had to miss a Hong Kong conference because his transit permit didn't reach him in time from his hukou in Shijiazhuang. Another told me matter-of-factly that her application to move her hukou to Shanghai took all of four years.

06 June 2009

Dune daybed

The dune daybed was designed by renowned mid-century furniture designer Vladimir Kagan. His iconic furniture created a new look in furniture during the 40s, 50s and 60s.

I am so enamoured.

Chi Na Post

In a taxi, on the familiar road out of the Pudong airport.

The truck is from Henan by the way. You can tell from the 豫 that precedes the plate number at the back. Every province or autonomous area in China has a »single-word abbreviation, and they are often literary characters. This is the »etymology of 豫 and how it is not about Henan being where elephants were found.

Camera-phone series #14.

05 June 2009


Camera-phone series #13.

Le basier

I wonder why no one has thought of it except Ms M. Lion dances are such great fun for a wedding!

Camera-phone series #12.