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International jumping

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Before I took of to Singapore many friends asked me what I would be doing there. As I wrote in a previous blog I had making jump pictures as a potential small project to keep myself busy.

A few months earlier I had been captivated by this phenomena: photographing people jumping and jumping to be photographed.
Loosely inspired by the photographer Philippe Halsmann, who came up with the term jumpology. His beautiful book with jump pictures is  still on my wish list.

Before I left I had already begun my jumpology project.

It is great fun to do, both jumping and shooting. It is literally a "light" activity, cheerful and energetic. Guaranteed there will be some laughter during such photo-jump sessions.

At the same time it is difficult to get successful pictures. There are many aspects to it:
the quality of the jump / jumper AND that of the photographer / camera, the timing of both, relative position of photographer towards the jumper, background, etc. Really hard.

Here are some of my Dutch results.

Jes and Yvon, Libertango Studio, Leiden

People watching

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In our neighbourhood, the CBD in Singapore, it is always crowded on workdays.

Lunch break.
In an underground shopping mall under one of the office towers, workers at lunchtime go out for  lunch, shopping, walking and chatting. Others sit above ground on benches in parks, etc.

Wishing globes in Marina Bay for New Year

Monday, November 23, 2009

About four days ago, we saw lots of white big balls, floating in Marina Bay, infront of our condo. A beautiful sight. But why were they there? We had no clue.

Our building is easy to recognise. It is named The Sail, because on one side it has the shape of a sail;-). In the water you see the 1000's of white balls.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Yesterday I ran into a very funny puppy  (and his owner) in our building. The owner is called Celeste and Singaporean from origin, but has just lived in Dubai for  three years. The dog, named Cash, is a four and a half month old Golden Retriever.
Still a puppy, which has a lot to learn, but oh so cute.

We decided on-the-spot that I could become her puppy-sitter. That would give her some leeway and Cash and me a playmate

At the moment he is sleeping next to me. I got him after his morning walk. First went with him to the pool so he could run around without a leesh. There he immediately did a big puddle on the tiles ... oops ... not the intention, of course, since Celeste just walked him!

After a while of playing and running around, we went home. I thought he would be tired, but of course he wanted to explore the place first.
To my surprise, he suddenly (fortunately we have tiles) did a big pee in the middle of the room!

So I decided to walk him.... again, and ... surprise ...  a big puddle once more!

He's a naughty fluff balll and if you walk down the street you make instant friends ... everyone laughs at that funny, waddling ball of wool. Well, not everyone, since most Muslims consider dogs to be unclean, so they do not respond very pleased ....

A tropical surprise.

The day started well  yesterday. Frits was free for first time in weeks, so we had a relaxed day: starting with delicious cappuccino's, while meanwhile working a bit on our laptops.

Then we went for the pool on the eigth. Some reading, listening to our iPods, and a cool dip in the water from time to time. As often there were clouds and sun soon after each other. Once the clouds were not there it was scorching hot, but with some clouds is was very agreeable. All in all we were having a good time.

Haw Par Villa

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"My favorite place in Singapore is undoubtedly Haw Par Villa", as I read today on the blog of a Belgian woman who lives here. Well, I totally agree with her!

What a park! We visited last Sunday and I have photographed like crazy. It was 'Oh' and 'Ah' all the time.
The number of statues reaches the 1000 and the level of quirky, kitsch, bizarre and wonderful is sky high!
As a lover of kitsch, follies and outsider-art/art brut ofcourse entirely my cup of tea ...! ;-)

The sculpture garden was created in 1937 by the Tiger Balm brothers. After they earned a fortune with their world famous herbal balm, the brothers decided that they should give back to the people and decided to build a huge park around their house, dedicated to Chinese myths, legends and values. 

In 1979 the family sold the estate to the Singapore Tourism Board.

The kitschy park contains more than a thousand large, colorful images and 150 giant dioramas or tableaux representing major characters in Chinese mythology. The battle between good and evil is portrayed as well as  scenes from Chinese folklore, legends, history and aspects of Confucianism.

The most frightening part is The Ten Courts of Hell. In there is cruelly portrayed what punishments are given for various sins in the hereafter.

It was a huge success in the first decades after the opening. Unfortunately it's fallen out of grace over the years.

At present, fortunately there are renovations and repairs all the time. It is quite well maintained, the last years.

Haw Par Villa is also mentioned in the Taschen book 'Fantasy Worlds'.

I have compiled a photoset on my Flickr. If you click on the url below you get to the set of my Haw Par Villa visit.

Conversation with a taxi driver

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Yesterday I went by taxi to the Chinese Embassy to apply for a visa.

The taxi driver was a true Singaporean and we had the following conversation:

I: "Were you taught in English at school?"
He: "Yes since about 1970, 1980, English is compulsory at school, like Mandarin, history and mathematics. Some people have also learned Cantonese."
I :: "Oh, okay. Yeah, I'm asking because it  amazes me how often I meet people, for example, in shops, that appear not to speak English while that is the official language here."
He: "Ah, but I know why that is, then you are dealing with Chinese-Chinese, so not with Chinese who were born and raised in Singapore. They are probably  'import' from China. You can easily recognise them".
I "??"
He: "Yes, they have heavy and wide bones. You only have to look if there wrists are big, in order to know: these are China Chinese people."
I: "Oh ..."
He: "Yes, and if they also throw things at you in a rude manner, like this for example (takes a paper and throws it over an imaginary counter with a casually dismissive gesture to me) ... then you are 100% sure!"
I: "....."
I: "And from what countries do all those construction workers come from?"
he: ". From Bangladesh. Yeah, I do not understand why they let so many people like them in the country."
I: "Well, Bangladesh is a poor country, so they probably are cheap labour for Singapore."
He: "Oh, sure, that's for sure. You just bring  them here, give them a bit of money and all is fixed."
I :: And they  sleep often at the construction site? "
He: "Yes, indeed, you just put a seacontainer there and say to them: There, that's your bed and house. Easy. There are also China Chines workers. They are smart guys! They come here,  secretly copy and learn the craft, and then they go back and start there own company back home. Yes, smart people they are! "
I: "...."
He: "You see, madam, we are a multiracial society We have no ethnic conflicts and we all live peacefully together. It's very clean here and you'll like it here, Madam, welcome to Singapore....".

Right, no stereotyping or racism at all;-). Live and let live, right? Hahaha...


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Since I left the Netherlands I read not only travel guides from Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and Guangzhou, but also other books.

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