June 22, 2011

Ridiculously MIA

...I apologize! Some random thoughts:

1. I have been completely inspired by the way in which the programmers at E. program and the thoughtfulness by which the directors judge their work. It is so amazing that a small country like Singapore has such big dreams for the arts- our funding got doubled last year which to me is astonishing (yes, since I come from the college system potentially facing a cut even larger than 500M), but the frankness and openness of the bosses about their opinions about certain things and how they feel that programming should be carried out is overwhelming. Today at the meeting, they talked about how there was too much art in the arts- that we are a public entity and that the arts has a function that goes beyond that of being its own little insular self. There's a little part of me that rebels against that- I think that there needs to be space for the avant garde because someone needs to be setting the standards for artistic merit, and "art" should not be confused with "entertaining." We are currently hosting a Japanese artist (AAAAHHH his show is... incredible. Please go watch it!! Plus he's the most adorable man alive and has this undying passionate love for Tiger Beer- it's hilarious), and he commented that he was shocked that the commercial and the avant garde could co-exist in the same space... Clement Greenberg would be extremely unhappy about this.
I feel like everytime I hear the bosses speak I feel encouraged about the direction of the arts- today they kept talking about how arts programming needs to be relevant to the community yet needs to be audacious in setting new standards of quality. I don't know if such a dual mission can ever be entirely successfully accomplished, but I think that even attempting it in itself is pretty incredible.

2. I miss Berkeley a lot. I miss the air, the people, my new apartment, the freedom to do whatever, the knowledge that I am working towards something tangible. I am really enjoying my internship, but I am struggling a little here

3. That being said, one of the perks to being at home is that I get to wear my mom's clothes all the time. She buys designer without even knowing that they are designer (...sigh. She bought a Miu Miu blouse because she "liked the star buttons")

4. People have been asking me about what I want for my birthday and I am oscillating between the ridiculously expensive (Louis Vuitton SC bag in Jasper, PS1 in dark grey suede... the suede version of this bag makes my heart skip a little beat, Mulberry Alexa in brown [but it's so common, ugh driving me crazy, but still, adorable], a Chanel 2.55)
and the nonsensical/ cheap (makeup- NARS Orgasm blush/ Dior Amber Diamond/ ETC, a kate spade twirl necklace, this gorgeous Emerson Made blouse, Emerson Made skirt, J Crew black leather flats, the list goes on)

I might just ask for an amazon.com giftcard- practical, can be used to buy books next semester [I don't really NEED a gorgeous leather bag at 21, I have a Berkeley education! That's worth 200 Chanels right now], or J Crew/ Madewell/ Urban giftcards, because I seriously don't know what I want right now and I don't want my friends to waste their money (thank you friends, I love you for your continual asking though!)

I guess generally I'll be super happy with any gift as long as it's thoughtfully chosen (: I remember for my 16th/18th Sonia and Al got me this GORGEOUS mustard Topshop bag and when I first opened it I thought I would never carry it but I carried it almost everyday until it fell apart after 2 years. I hate sterling silver jewelry (I like tarnished silver/ gold; metals that don't look too new or precious), I LOVE pearls (actually, I might just ask for pearl studs- proper ones, like from Tiffany's), don't really like diamonds, hate mainstream nonsense- especially Return to Tiffany's necklaces/bracelets or just any non-Gehry silver thing from Tiffany's, love the smell of leather, LOVE ETSY, love vintage/ preppy goodness (kate spade and J Crew are some of my favorite brands...)
Also I am still looking for the perfect peter pan collar blouse, so if anyone could point me in the right direction I would be extremely grateful.

Okay I hope that list was comprehensive enough for any of my friends to make an informed decision HAHA. Love you all! xx

June 11, 2011

Finally home

It is strange to be back- things aren't where you'd expect them to be. I spent the past day confused why the ceiling fan in the living room wouldn't turn on when I flipped the center switch, and then I realized that they changed the switch board so that the switch for the fan was on the lower left corner instead. Today I walked through Junction 8, a mall near my house that I passed through everyday for over 6 years (and practically lived in during my 2 years at RJ), and it's different! Okay it's really silly to be so upset about such small things, but I honestly thought that time had stopped for this little island city when I was gone, and now when back, I realize that the place I've been homesick for is a place that no longer exists. Places bound temporally and fleetingly and it's just- strange, to be hit in the face.

Hong Kong was a good segue back into Asia. There are honestly too many people in Asia in too small a space. There's a heaviness about being back, a compression because of too many people fighting to get into trains and too much moisture crammed into heat. In Hong Kong it was even more confusing because everyone speaks Cantonese at this rapid, surefire way, and then switch into equally furious putonghua when you tentatively go, "she me?"

My mother's friend told us about this gem of a shop. It's this tiny little place tucked away in a highrise building near Central MTR station that houses seasons and seasons of designer clothing, bags, and shoes. I bought that dirty green Balenciaga City that you see perched on the shelf, and the Burberry blue trench that my mother made me model in the store for her; my mother bought a Miu Miu top with the most delicate leather shoulder detailing- our purchases are exquisite. I can't stop running my hands over my Balenciaga. The leather is so smooth and buttery and yummy-smelling. I am a little ashamed of our extravagance, but my Balenciaga is from a super old season and my trench fits my perfectly and so I REFUSE to feel guilty that I know have these items in my possession. It is my 21st this summer and these are my presents to myself for working so hard last semester.

I didn't expect Hong Kong Disneyland so be so much fun- we totally gamed the system, because both my mother and I were wearing It's My Birthday! badges (it was not), and my grandfather was in a rented wheelchair (he can walk). But because of that, we got presents from the hotels and cards signed by Mickey Mouse- I know, what pride. I am going to frame it up! And we cut to the front of the line for every show that we watched. We sat in the front row of the Lion King, and the performers all shook my grandfather's hand while he gazed upon them bemusedly. It was quite funny.

This is the SPECIAL BOAT that they gave us for my wheelchair-bound grandfather for the It's a Small World ride. I always slam on It's a Small World because it's my mother's favorite ride in all of Disneyland. She talks about it incessantly and when we sat it -twice- she was beaming the entire way even though she's sat on this ride at least 7 times because she's been to all the Disneylands in the world, and some multiple times. But it really is a really great ride- there is so much visual interest and layering and the glitter accents!! You can't fault a ride when there are glitter accents, really.

We had breakfast the next morning with the characters. Most stressful meal of my life because my mother was on EAGLE EYED LOOKOUT for any Disney character and harassed our waiters because Minnie wasn't there (she only appears at dinnertime)

[My mother used maple syrup to draw eyes and a smile on her hidden mickey pancakes.]
[She is 50.]

heehee we all tried on Disney ears- usually I loathe them, but my mother made me try on the princess ears which I thought was quite appropriate. Yes I am still waiting for my *real* parents, the king and queen, to come get me.

It was a really fun trip though. I never really have the time to hang out with my mother, my cousin, and my grandfather so it was nice to share a hotel room with my mom in HK and see her do all these silly things. Sometimes when she nags and says silly things like, "you should work in accounting in the future. That is my dream for you" I get really upset because let's face it, I am most definitely not an accountant and it is absolutely ludicrous that she would say that (this is for a girl who absolutely refused to take H2 math -in fact, any math at all- in JC until Mrs P convinced me that math was somehow necessary for life), but this trip really reminded me of how much I love my mother and family in all their silliness and dysfunction.

Also, I am extremely popular in Singapore. Yesterday I received over 10 calls from different members of my family checking in on me. Which makes me feel loved or annoyed, I haven't decided yet. We had chicken rice last night, carrot cake this morning, brunch with Kelvin, and dinner later at Chomps with my dad and brother. It's good to be home (:

June 9, 2011

Holidays are exhausting

Am finally in sunny Singapore. Hong Kong was good, exciting, funny, but I'm exhausted and ready to buckle down to work on Monday- it feels strange having been on holiday for over a month. One photo before I go off to bed!

My grandfather is the most adorable man in the world.

June 3, 2011

Hong Kong!!

I haven't spoken to anyone besides brief "thank you"s and "can I have some cup noodles please" in over 15h, and I think I'm going a little crazy- I talk to myself, "hmm which meeting point should I be at?" and "omg it is so bloody hot even in the airport, Asia is going to kill me" AND PEOPLE KEEP STARING AT ME WEIRDLY. I think it's the talking; I should stop.

So I'm finally in Hong Kong and I'm waiting for my mom to arrive on her flight from Singapore. It feels a little strange (and I'm pretty sure that it will feel stranger moving forward) that I'm finally going to see my family after so long- it's almost like they've become strangers, and my Benvenue friends have become my family, and I don't know how I'm going to adapt back to living with them. Being in Asia is a little strange now, because everyone keeps speaking in Cantonese, the signs are all in Chinese (oh good lord, it took me such a long time to find "xing jia po/ puo" ?? Sorry, Ministry of Education, I am a complete failure of your bilingual system), and everyone is Asian.

Miss you already.

June 1, 2011

Party inspiration- old Anthropologie catalogues

I love magazines (I did intern at a magazine for 4 glorious Burberry-filled months), but lately haven't been feeling particularly inspired by any magazine photo shoot, which is saying a lot because I LOVE shoots. I was clearing out some magazines while moving out- heartbreak. I don't know what it is about the printed page that it feels somehow sacrilegious to be throwing books/ magazines out into the trash, but I barely tore out any pages to keep in my binder. I have a fairly substantial binder of pretty pictures, and I realized that most of the pages in there are from catalogues, not magazines. Which might be a comment on how art/ fashion/ merchandise have intersected to such a large extent that they seem almost interchangeable at this point.

But anyway. I went out to lunch with Julie and Natasha a couple of weeks ago, and ON THE SIDEWALK, laying atop a wooden side table (which I still kick myself for not going back and getting), were tons of old Anthropologie catalogues dating back to Spring 2007. I didn't think my voice could go that high.

I'm using all of these as party inspiration, and they're all pretty dissimilar, but there are elements about each one of them that I love and want to somehow incorporate, like colors and antique mirrors, tealights, light light and glowing light- I know that it is ridiculous to expect this from silly old Singapore, but evening light is always gorgeous (let's ignore the humidity for a little while)

[How gorgeous is that iron tub?? Especially paired with the tree stumps/ wooden detailing. Perfection.] I'm always caught up in the details and wanting to plan something super perfect, and because of that I've been thinking, what if I had had my 21st in San Francisco instead? I could have had it easily at Kirby Beach (and paid $13 for a beach permit for a view of the Golden Gate bridge v. the ridiculous Sentosa fees and regulations for a view of... black sea, argh!) and the weather, the light, everything- I love the Bay Area and it would have been perfect to celebrate my 21st here, but I'm trying to keep this in perspective and remind myself that parties are NOTHING without the people (even though 2 of my favourite people ever aren't going to be there- boo!), and that wherever I travel- home is always home. Family is always family. That it is important to remember my roots and celebrate with the lovely people who have made me who I am.

More packing and moving today! This is worse than the gym... because at least with the gym I have a CHOICE whether I want to go. Grumble.