Archives for posts with tag: photography

It is very true when they say that if you can drive in Ho Chi Minh, you can drive anywhere in the world. It is also true that crossing the road here is an art that must be perfected by tiger courage aided by a can of 333 Bia.

But for all the mad bustle on the roads (and the incessant and needless honking), I find that the Vietnamese people have a very quiet, gentle air about them. They sit on the side streets people-watching, chatting to each other in a sing-song lilt, smiling shyly when you catch their gaze. It’s a contradictory city, quite like Bangkok. I suspect that might be why I like it so much.


An inordinate amount of time has passed since we left Raffles Junior College and I’ve been nursing the urge to revisit Ghim Moh and Holland Village for a while. I think it’s got a lot to do with having been away in London for the last two years and the indelible quarter-life crisis we’re all facing now.

So we got all nostalgic, pointing out the old food haunts that we ate at every single day when we were 17, mourning the joints that are no longer there. We talked and laughed about climbing school gates, the crazy things we used to do in our container classrooms, exceptionally goofy incidents that have (unfortunately for the perpetuators in question) gone down in history… But beneath it all, I felt a strange pang of sadness I couldn’t quite explain. It’s like a part of our lives that we desperately want to get back, a harkening to simpler days. But we can only look back at it all, in gentle retrospect, as best we can.

[via Vogue Italia]


Shot by Vincent Peters for the May ’11 issue of Italian Vogue, Ann Ward looks absolutely ethereal.

She almost looks like a siren, wilting in the dry heat while waiting for the next unsuspecting sailor to come her way. Half woman, half bird. She’s so pensive, she’s so elusive, she’s so willowy, she’s so out-of-body. She’s so, pretty. So very pretty.





Snow, which as usual, London couldn’t deal with. But which my very tropical mom was very thrilled about.

Chinese New Year brought dumplings and crazy costumes to Raymont Hall. And Candice to London.

Back to St. Gallen for the first time in five years. And Zurich provided some much-needed sunny days.

Some sunny respite: The calm before the essaywriting storm.

Essays x 5, Redbull cans x 90, Readings x ∞, Life x 0

Back to sunny Singers for the World Cup (damn Paul) and Super Junior fangirling!

One more month with my nearest and dearest, with the shadow of the dissertation never far behind.

Back to London for dissertation hell. May in a repeat, with a non-existent supervisor (not my fault) and extremely last-minute cramming (entirely my fault).

Farewells, birthdays, farewells.

Goodbye London, Bonjour Montreal! This was easily the best decision I made all year.

Three weeks in Montreal became two months (the second-best decision I made all year). And we went to the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.

Christmas back in London. No crazy cooking sesh or even crazier boxing day sales this time; just good company and lots of Home Alone guffaws.


It’s been a good ride.
I’m ready for 2011.

Bonne année à toi!




May all be calm
May all be bright
As on that silent holy night
And may the peace and love born then
– In every heart, be born again.





Last weekend in Quebec City was a slip and slide affair; at least for me, with my traction-less boots. They don’t seem to religiously load the streets with an obscene amount of rock salt like they do in Montreal. In any case, I didn’t have to attract unwanted attention with my numerous near-falls; people there just stared as if they never saw an Asian in their lives. Sure way to score a gasp-and-point moment in QC? Put four Asians and one Egyptian together, and go forth in faith.






So I played the young padawan for the day and shadowed the Jedi knight of photography – the very amazing M. With my (comparatively) tiny E-P1 and his family of lenses, we set off for the Plateau, hoping to catch as much daylight as we could. While the light issue wasn’t on our side, I think we did pretty okay in the end. That’s probably what I appreciate so much about Montreal: there aren’t a copious number of cathedrals and travel-guide-endorsed museums to scope out, and the beauty really lies in the neighborhoods and the faces on the street, if you just look a little further than the pages of Lonely Planet.

P/S: You should also check out M‘s pictures here. You can thank me later.

As surely as you leave me breathless
– you make me speechless too.
Cunning thief you are;
stealing the words right off the curl of my tongue.

I asked you why;
you said you didn’t know.
I asked you how;
you laughed and told a joke.

I stopped laughing
nine moons ago.

It is
the walls
the walls
the walls.
And me.

Je ne sais quoi?

Perhaps it would have served
us well,
to have had your first words fall on deaf ears
and my last word inked naught on skin.

Perhaps we were, you
and I,
a fait accompli of

I kept waiting
for your moment to arrive.
For the chugging train to announce
its next stop.
But it goes on,
blowing proud grey smoke into the wind.

Il vaut mieux faire que dire.
you could never be,
and I would never know.

Je ne sais quoi.

The African Tulip whispers
a strange windy song.

Wild grasses stand tall,
like willowy grand dames with
snapped wrists.

Autumn leaves simmered in red gold
crumple and fall from
naked branches.

Dancing princesses in gossamer gowns
run like streams of cold air;
when the dawn breaks.

They fly,
but they float.
They run,
but they stride.
They turn,
but they stop.
They breathe,
but they drop.

I have no windy packages,
nor have I hollow stalks.
I seek not aged greens
nor obedient royalty.

I am made
Of Sterner Stuff.



The Endless –
it creeps. Down the alley, down the hallway, down the curve of my back.

It listens.
It speaks not
of the weakness of my heart.
Yet it knows; more than I could
ever tell.

It holds my hand,
knuckles white,
and beckons me to hide while I can.
The blankets, the sheets, the starched curtains, the everywhere.
This desperation could not be
the work of a mere passing night.

The point of no return, it knows.
I could not reach it on my own.
I feel this cold twist in my stomach –
the knotted art of calmed rage.

And so The Endless –
it stands. At the foot of my bed, caressing me with the softest lullaby.
The song of rest says
I should not confess.
Be with me.
Be with me.