Sunday, December 31, 2006

last post of the year

and I thank God for everything.

I guess I've been quite the hermit the past one week, maybe I'm tired, maybe I just enjoy being at home. Yes those probably are the reasons why I rather not do any reveling this year (last year's was a blast but I rather keep things mellow this time around).

Yes home and tired especially after i did some reflection, of which i have done alot of (in the midst of room cleaning and laundry washing) I realised how much time I've spent away from home. The countless nights in the archi studios, all the late night outings, suppers, hour long runs, not that I didn't enjoy them but I think I owe home some quiet time.

In this year alone I've been travelling more than I expected, Melaka twice, Penang Klang KL Ipoh JB Yogyakarta. I visited three Aga Khan's and other magnificent places. but after all that the best place to reflect on my travels would be home, with Louis Armstrong playing thru my speakers. Maybe some Oasis, Fiona Apple accompanied by those fantastic stories weaved by Neil Gaiman. yes that would be most blissful.

and then there was the Istana project, of which i would never forget the success of it was all due to teamwork and God's guiding light. you guys rule.

There will always be Team Fong. We should backpack out to somewhere insightful again soon, maybe we fly instead though i wouldn't really mind another train ride.

Not to forget my other studio mates. Studio 3 in Yr1Sem2 and the most hipperning studio with the Ties Studio 1 of Yr2Sem1.

ah and also worthy of some mention:- Its been a nice feeling to pick up my camera again. I feel very comfortable with it now, like meeting a friend i haven't seen for a long time and then just continue where we left off. No awkward moments, no "we'll that's it for now seeya again soon"

I just finished helping Mum pack the dining room cabinet. Its an antique teak wood display cabinet which after 4 hours of re shelving and de-dusting looks like something from a proper eclectic trinket store, with old English teapots proudly displayed along side Chinese weighing scales and packets of Tie Guan Yin. Weird mix but even Dad seems to like it and Mum's finally happy we've done something to it. yes that is how i enjoy New Year's Eve. No booze (unless you count the collection of little liquor bottles you get form the airlines, the cabinet had a few expired bottles) no countdown no auld lang syne, just good family time at home.

Have a blessed New Year


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sendang Sono, Yogyakarta

The day before Christmas eve we visited Sendang Sono. Considered as a Catholic pilgrimage complex, it consists of small chapels and paths with carvings on altars depicting the story of Christ. Designed by the late Father Mangunwijaya its one of the most inspiring tropical sanctuaries I had ever been.

Here's abit about the now deceased Father Mangunwijaya (born Ambarawa, Semarang, 6 May 1929 - died in Jakarta 10 February 1999).

from wiki
"He is the son of Yulianus Sumadi and Serafin Kamdaniyah. At the age of sixteen, during the revolution for independence from the Dutch, he joined the Student Army. The troops' callousness towards the villagers shocked him. In 1950, after hearing a speech by Major Isman about the harmful effects of the revolution on civilians, he decided to repay his debt by serving the people as a priest. He was ordained as priest in 1959, upon completion of his study in Philosophy and Theological Institute Sancti Pauli in Yogyakarta. He continued to study architecture in Aachen, Germany, and Institute of Humanistic Studies, Aspen, Colorado."

Winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1992 for the Kampung Kali Chode Urban Settlement (of which you can read more about in Huilian's blog) and also famous for his fiction works earning him a Golden Windmill Award for fiction literary works from Radio Nederland. The famous architect and tutor of Indonesia Mr Eko Prawoto (who teaches at UKDW) was once under his tutelage.

Sendang Sono was named by its location. Sendang means water spring and Sono means the sono or sonokeling tree, denoting that the spring is located under the sono tree. Its really amazing to see how Father Mangun managed to construct this on hilly terrain with the way he blended the structures with the natural elements. The river still flows naturally (and very beautifully), the sonokeling tree undisturbed and still growing strong, testament to how much respect Father Mangun had for the site.

Sendang Sono

Sendang Sono

Its was somehow fortunate for us to visit the complex when it was drizzling. You could see the considerations Father Mangun had to topicality, specifically rainfall in the mountainous regions. The way detailed the over hanging roofs of his A-frame structures (of which is very identifiable in his other works like the library in Kampung Kali Chode). Considerations of drainage and leaf fall, you could see the reason why certain gaps were left between slabs or why certain roofs had to be pitched so high.

Sendang Sono

Sendang Sono

Father Mangun's approach somehow reminds me of the way Jean Prouvé constructed his home , the tectonics and indepth knowledge of local materials are clearly evident (of which Mr Eko's work is clearly influenced by). Stone walls, wooden frames, mass produced hexagon tiles. I especially enjoyed the geometry and manipulation of the hexagon tiles.

Sendang Sono

These geometric tiles were used as part of the retaining walls in hilly terrain.

It is such an elegant construction material, brilliantly used. On one hand it's used as a retaining wall on the other it also acts as a seat with a backrest and also a step (ala tango steps)

The nearby village sustains itself from selling rosaries and candles for visitors to Sendang Sono. Some stalls even sell empty bottles for visitors to collect holy water from the spring (which is now piped from a cleaner source upstream and not taken directly from the river at the complex). Many visitors, both local and abroad come here not only for pilgrimage but also to experience the tranquility and peace of such a sacred place.

Sendang Sono
Each altar displays a story depicting the struggles of Christ.

Sendang Sono
The Cave of Mary. People light up candles and pray in front of her. They sometimes leave messages on paper and burn them in a burning pot.

Sendang Sono was my most memorable place in Jogja, yes it even beats Borobudor which to me somehow has been disneylanded into a national (some saw international) tourist attraction.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mount Merapi

merapi stiched

So we went to Mount Merapi after half a days worth of being a construction worker. Its about 2 hours of bumpy road from Jogja to the most active volcano in the world. With a driver that keeps our mpv in the middle of a two way lane most of the time, the ride was the least to say, very adventurous.

the road to Mount Merapi

its a straight road to Mount Merapi and locals and tourist would stop at the nearby towns to have a meal and enjoy the great view. (yes archi students...the axis is pretty obvious)

Mount Merpapi

Mount Merapi is one of the world's most dangerous and active volcanoes. Its still spewing out smoke and when the weather clears up we can see it from our hotel rooms very clearly.

makes me feel very insignificant.

Huilian Tiff Josh and Me

I look damn pasty

Mount Merapi Town

there are alot of towns that live near the volcano despite the dangers, mainly because the land is so fertile (thats alluvium for you geog students), its really peaceful here and the sunset is amazing! Wonderful colours.

later that night we had dinner at a restaurant along the road back from Mount Merapi. It had some man made pool for customers to ride bamboo rafts on, quite fun actually. oh and the food rocked...crispy fried small fish and some unagi like bbq fish very nice...

Merapi Restaurant

Merapi Restaurant

two days later, after we heard Mount Merapi experienced a landslide we headed to a hilly area called Ketap pass where the locals go to get a good view of the mountain.

but it had to rain that day so the entire area fogged up real bad. a 2 hours ride there and all we did was pose for funnies, like this one of Ngai Keong our senior taking a picture of the missing Mount Merapi.

Ketap Pass

Huilian and Tiff posing in the fog ala sleepy hollow without the Johnny Depp.

Sleepy Hollow on Ketap Pass

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Yogyakarta - the people

here's a small glimpse into the people of Yogyakarta. I rather not explain these photos much because they will never complete the full story behind each one.

All I want to say is the people there have gone thru so much after the quake and yet they still carried on, trying to put things back together again.

The People of Yogyakarta - Cho-de River

The People of Yogyakarta - Cho-de River

The People of Yogyakarta - Botokenceng

The People of Yogyakarta  - Botokenceng

The People of Yogyakarta  - Botokenceng

The People of Yogyakarta

The People of Yogyakarta - Botokenceng

The People of Yogyakarta

The People of Yogyakarta

The People of Yogyakarta - Kotogede

of photography

You know, maybe I don't tell people this but i never was good at taking potraitures. Not that you had to have special lessons in taking photos of people (Henri Cartier Bresson never followed any rules anyway) but i never really had a knack for it. I was always comfortable with still life, inanimates, nature, colours, light.

Communication or any sort of direct contact with people made me uncomfortable and for the longest time I had difficulty talking to people while looking at them eye to eye (sometimes i still am of which i must sincerely apologise) .

Usually i just hide behind the camera because thru the eye piece things look different; you pull yourself away from things, you close one eye and no one else sees the other. It wasn't always a good thing. I used to display the photographs that i felt were "safe", that no one would laugh at or critic too harshly. The oranges with the play of light composed with a novice's understanding of the rule of thirds, i titled photographs that everyone could understand but never really could explain what I really meant. I hated taking events (i still do at times), wedding photographers made my hair stand but I tried doing it because of the the money it paid (esp to a 14 year old kid with a chance to use expensive equipment). What started out as love, slowly began to bother me like some bad rash in the unreachable areas of my back. That's i why stopped.

Fast foward 4 years. Army, JC and a bunch of friends later. My eyes changed or at least how I saw the world changed. It was no longer just seeing, it became a more intimate and meaningful relationship which the phrase "feeling the world" could only scrape the surface. Free time in the army meant I could read more, listen more. Met more people, figured out some stuff in life everyone needed to figure out for themselves. Basically I just grew up.

And then realised that I could give it one more shot, feel the same excitement I felt the first time the shutter clicked. Photos were much easier to take, I spent less time looking thru the lense which wasn't a bad thing. I saw moments, small glimpses of life, things worthy to capture. It was less viewing and more experienceing. Life became less boring, Suddenly finding the right angle became less important, no need for rules, threw formality out the window. I just snapped (not in a angry way but the sudden-ness was what i meant) .

by now i hope would that explain to you guys why sometimes i don't even look thru the eye piece these days when i shot and do that weird throwing the camera up and just go trigger happy moments.

I digressed.

I figured that people are much more interesting to capture than the dead objects i once surrounded myself with. And looking at the photos I took in Indonesia makes me realise how insightful documenting life is. The fun and laughter, the pain and and sorrow in colour or black and white and everything in between (there is a vast array of idunnohowtodescribeit thingys that exist between colour and BnW which i just discoverd).

Its a good thing i didn't sell away my lenses.

And it doesn't mean i'm gonna be anyone's wedding photographer. (unless the equipment is really good of course)

Group Shot Borobudor

Group Shot Borobudor, originally uploaded by jonolist.

The Year 2s, Joshua Me Huilian and Tiff with Epi our bestest (and smallest) Indonesian archi companion taking a photo at Borobudor.

Just got back from Indonesia and i'm now sifting thru my photos even before unpacking.
This is just a sneak peek....tonnes more of the beautiful unesco world heritage (and other lovely photos) when i find time after a good nights rest.

Food Gloriest Food!

Presenting to you a small preview of the wonderfully good and cheap food of Yogyakarta

Mie Ayam , originally uploaded by jonolist.

this is a favourite among allthe group of us, Mie Ayam. 5000 rupiah for a bowl which is slightly less than a dollar. They have a cheaper version without the meatballs that goes for 70 taste like heaven.

Soto Ayam, originally uploaded by jonolist.

this is the first time i actually enjoy my rice soaked in soup.

Tempe, originally uploaded by jonolist.

tempe is a local delight made from fermented beans usually served deep fried in a batter and rocks my socks when taken with some fresh green chili much like how we eat vadai.

Tiff & Huilian - Klepon, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Tiff and Huilian presenting Klepon from a street vendor in Malioboro. It looks and taste like ondeh ondeh but ondeh ondeh to the locals is some kind of deep fried rice ball thingy.

but at 200 rupiah a piece no one's complaining

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

All's fine

Bantul, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Heard on the news (and also from Molly on msn) that there was a quake in Sumatra yesterday. Anyhoo everyone's safe and sound here and the building of the community hall is going slowly but surely. The Pak Dukuh (or village head) is very excited about the rebuilding and tommorow we're gonna help draw up some town plans for him. Town plans are really important now as the old plans were either outdated or destoyed during the quake when the town planning building was damaged With proper plans alot more organization and further infrastructure can be done making this a meaningful community service involving archi students.

I have a feeling this is gonna be one of my most memorable christmas ever.

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street life in Kotogede

street life in Kotogede, originally uploaded by jonolist.

hey hey

Friday, December 15, 2006

Yogyakarta Street Pet Shop

Yogyakarta Street Pet Shop, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Every morning we take a 15 minute walk from the hostel to the Campus (Duta Wacana University) and along the way we pass by this pet shop where the owner lets the dogs out...something we all look forward to everyday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Yogyakarta, originally uploaded by jonolist.

blogging this in some shopping mall, actually the only shopping mall around here. Design studio with the DCWU students are fun even with the language barrier but thank god for trace paper and the universal language of drawings

The village we're going to built the community hall is a 25 min bus ride away from the university hostel. The people there are living life normally, rebuilding their own homes amidst the rubble. Its really a heart warming sight to see everyone trying so hard to help out.


DSC_1630, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Hi guys!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday : IKEA day!

wooohoooooo finally got a chance to visit the new Ikea at Tampines. The dad decided to go there after having a Bedok Lunch (of which i had the best Mee Rebus for $1.20...ONE TWENTY ONLY!). It isn't too hard to get there by Car...just hit the SLE to Tampines Ave 1 and get to avenue 10 (thru ave 8 ) and your there! Its hard to miss it, especially with the yellow and blue facade.

Sunday Ikea Outing

Look out for the huge sign and just follow all family cars driving into the industrial area... no way you can get lost.

Sunday Ikea Outing

The parking space at the basement is mother huge lah so no worries about parking and its free somemore (for now). sweettt

Sunday Ikea Outing

The space is huge, Dad and I roughly put it twice as large as the one in Alexandra. The Restaurant is the bomb but we gave it a pass as it was mountain people mountain sea.

(pardon the archi whoring)
The new Ikea is the largest column free space I've been man, Faintly reminding me of a New National Gallery without the stylo detailing. Mies would be happy there. Factory areas amuse me all the time.

There are these little kid's booths all around the place to keep the kids busy....see the screen the boy is playing with on the left? Touch-screen coloring xia! Kids are lucky these days.
Sunday Ikea Outing

Dad and Bro checking out this spanky chair made of twined paper stitched over a aluminum frame...sweet.
Sunday Ikea Outing

Anyhoo its too packed today to really enjoy the trip but still its damn fun. Damage done? just some hangers mum's been eyeing on and a little wooden box( A3 Size to store my traces).
Must must must go there again.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Architect = Hollywood Hunk

Darryl just sent me this article from the Guardian. All students must read this!

Blueprint for a Hollywood hunk

Love the way they describe the profession ..and I quote

"aspirational figure of blinding brilliance" muahahahaha
"Are they remotely plausible, these newly minted yuppie gods?"
"pencil-twiddling heroes" (this I love most)

and to top it all off...
"witness the scene in Jungle Fever when Wesley Snipes has sex with Anabella Sciorra on his own drafting table. Back to the drawing board indeed."

no wonder everyone wants to buy drafting table lah......drafting board not enough,drafting table is the way to go.

so there's gonna be another archi movie coming out soon with Jude Law as the "aspirational figure of blinding brilliance" in the new movie Breaking andEntering. with people like Jude Law and Brad Pitt promoting the architecture realm, TTK is like the antithesis

Friday, December 08, 2006

Oasis - Lord Don't Stop Me Now

OASIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! damn found this "new" video on youtube.
First two minutes of a new song i hear...yay!

2min 44 secs - quite funny...(but i know Xinjia won't find it so, she'll just swoon)

I can playback the concert in my head now....WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

of ranting

I wrote this 2 months ago but something was holding me back from publishing this out but i guess now is the right time to do so....

So we come to the stage in archi where things your tutors say start to influence you or at times question their credibility.

Architecture isn't some course we take to get a degree to find a job with, its beyond that and so should every degree. But Noooo....we were brought up to think that all we had to do was
2. get that lousy piece of paper
3. make it big.


Its amazing how everything i think of now i try to relate to architecture, it isn't that kind of enthusiasm people have with stamp collecting. No... its much more, so much more.
Cliche as it may be architecture influences everything, politics, economy, environment yadda yadda yadda so it really irks me that some big firms in Singapore (there are too many to mention) totally ignore whatever impact their buildings have and just produce pretty objects. Maybe they're still living in their own modernist world where the building is just a container with no relation to its context. I mean you can't blame them for having their introverted way of creation, its ALOT more easier to design with a narrow perspective, its a shallow design with a damn nice looking shell.

and now you all can start slamming what i just said...

I hope reality will one day smack you in the face and show you that the little pen strokes you do on paper (or worse those heartless mouse clicks on CAD) do have an impact on people.
Lets go big scale and look at the environment and how we friggin love to waste energy with all that useless glass, which in most cases are just a show of luxury, a sign that we have "made it" in society that we as tropical beach apes must follow our western counterparts. Asshats. You know how many construction workers die from sky scraper buildings? Please do look out for scaffold deaths and construction accidents because its really all the architects responsibility at the end of the day.

Disturbing point 2 is that architecture has lost its links with politics, we play it safe too safe and when the opportunity comes to make a difference we butcher it up by making flying saucers. you know what i mean. And then We build like we have tonnes of space around us and when we run out of space we go up (or the latest friggin trend...we go its a cool thing to do). And architects do all that and during their weekends they play friggin golf on their thousand acre idunnoewhyyouhavetolandscapeitlikesanddunes Singapore island country club.

Stop saying that architecture is an Art, nor is Architecture just a science, its both and none of them. Confusing as it may be a buildings "success" is based on so many perspectives but that's just questioning the way we judge success or is there such a thing as a success in the first place? Worse part of it all is the way we come up with concepts...arghh that sickening word. I'll be honest here: sometimes i think that as students our concepts suck, all we do is string a few words and create one liners. FOR THE LOVE OF ROTRINGS! stop using seashells for inspiration!

and don't confuse your inspiration for a concept, its different most of the time. Just to make things more confusing the concept of a concept has been lost, its now just a post rationalised phrase that we use to sanction our weird looking stuff we make with cardboard. We have a narrow perspective as students and the sad thing is that we're being brought up that way, that architecture as a school is just in under the the larger realm of the school of "design and environment" which we totally are not. We're suppose to stir up waves and make huge impacts but all we do is make sound sculptures and pavilions (I'm guilty of that too).

But saying all that i need to start contradicting myself just to show how friggin convoluted the teachings in my course of study is (convoluted not sophisticated, philosophy is sophisticated, archi isn't). We can never get the right balance with "design and environment", paying lip service (which is what most people are doing now) sickens me but what is worse is that we sell ourselves totally for it. That we as architects think all to mighty of ourselves with our Icanchangetheworld attitude (which somewhat contradicts the first 4 paragraphs) that the world will stop warming up with our thermal chimneys and solar panels. That we have to shoulder the responsibility of saving the earth when the airline industry continues to waste fuel and the heavy industries keep dumping their shit into the sea. so what if we have natural ventilation when all we do is glass the damn thing up and install air conditioning?

We can only do so much the rest is up to government policies and the the public to change their daily attitudes and habits. Take public transport! don't use plastic bags! REWORK the friggin KYOTO protocol. They make a larger impact than photovoltaic cells. Sustainability has just become another "cool" word in your Wallpapers and ISH.

So now I screwed myself with this little rant, I got to go back to work on my submission. It feels good to let all this out and I'm still excited to learn new stuff, just don't friggin compare us with medicine or law students.


oh man what the shite was i thinking of two months ago?

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I heart Moon Biscuits!

I heart Moon Biscuits!, originally uploaded by jonolist.

disc wafers, moon biscuits....

Tapioca Flour
(highly )Approved Flavours

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Voices in My Head - Drowning

The Voices in My Head - Drowning, originally uploaded by jonolist.

12 chapters, countless notes...thank heavens it's an open book...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Voices in My Head: One More to Go

blerghhh exams...yay for monday!

and yet I don't think I'm ready for the holidays....weird...

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Frank, Mies And Corbu

Frank, Mies And Corbu, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Found this on mrbrown

It super funny! in Hokkien but there's subs. I love it!

Can't get enough of her so here's another Regina Spektor Video : Fidelity
esp watch the ending!

for Xinjia, The Hawaii-5-o the cheesy scenes and Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew like Archi stuff in the background

and I love the shirts from this site! Makes wanna make my own (any idea where i can get iron-on transfers?)