Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ian and Me @ Hue

Ian and Me @ Hue, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Here's my guide Ian and I as we ride on some mountianous place for a hot spring. Its a place i'll share with you guys later. Its in the middle of Hue and Danang and the fastest way there is by bike, damn fun lah

And no i only rode pillion cuz i humji haha. The roads here damn dangerous lah. Anyway what we did after that was even crazier but i'll leave that for another day. The city of hue rocks, its like my Melaka for Vietnam

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Book+Boat+Halong Bay = future retirement plan

just got back from a nights stay at a touristboat/fakelookingjunk at Halong Bay. The beaches there are overrated and there's no bia hoi but the view alone makes up for it. And if not for the rainy weather at night you could catch a fantastic night sky like we did for one to two hours. Plans to sleep on deck were then dashed by the rain...sigh..

Ignore the kwai lo's around you (but some are fun to hang lah) and just imagine yourself in the very protected calm waters of halong bay, book at hand, cool breeze and the fantastic rock formations/islands around you. Exploring the cool (literally natural aircon cool kinda cool) caves and then sharing weird vietnamese rice wine (40% straight up..woot!) with a bunch of isrealis, germans, dunnowheres and yoruself. It starts to feel pretty surreal.

i can so add this to my ultimate retirement scheme of things, especially the book/boat/(if only they had wireless)laptop.

So after a morning session kayaking, we head back to a uncomfortable 3 hour ride back to Hanoi, wash up and catch an overnight train to Hue, yes no shite boat then lousy bus then hopefully a good train ride to the next destination.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Best coffee buddy in Hanoi

Best coffee buddy in Hanoi, originally uploaded by jonolist.

when the girls are out looking for clothes, i like to find myself in a secluded cafe with ice coffee milk. The uncle loves pets, he has a dozen bird cages outside his store and he walks around topless with his shinybelly as he drinks with his coffee kakis. I just sit there playing with one of his two (or more) dogs and watch the world whizz by.

I am so in my "ah peh" element right now.

oh and Happy Birthday Adriel. I would have bought you a golf tee but you have too many liao. Here's a picture of what i know you'll really love. 20 cents a cup draft friend are you up for a vice week again? hahahah

20cent Bia Hoi!!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

20cent Bia Hoi!!!!

20cent Bia Hoi!!!!, originally uploaded by jonolist.

no shite people! bêer is 20cent here!!!!!
I'm so gonna come back with ponch!

Monday, June 25, 2007

hello pipples!

greetings from the golden sun hotel in Hanoi pipples! There's free internet here! yayness. Only problem is that i can't find a usb port so its no photos for the moment. First mission tomorrow is to find a train ticket to Hue for our next destination four days later then its trying to get good food and cheap drinks. BEER my damn cheap here hahaha, cheaper than coke.

anyway the weather here is hort, humid but who cares. Yayness.
can someone recommend me a good coffee place to read a book in? preferably at night when the girls don't want to get out and i'm still awake?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I LOVE MUSTAFA!!! &butter chicken!

yes Jon has FINALLY visited Mustafa! Thanks Thomaso and Samantha!
yes we shall butter chicken soon again!

Mustafa has everything! everything! its my favourite shopping centre!!!!
i need to go there again when i come back from Veitnam

and when i say they have everything i mean they have EVERYTHANG!!! yes that was what i said every aisle i passed... "they have everything!"
Damn cool lah, i miss this show... remember the Punjabi guy who kept saying "a thousand apologies"? or the Spanish guy who goes "Por Favor"?

apparently your suppose to spray it under your tongue. The girl in the "Memory plus exams" looks like someone who came out from a level 4 japanese module in NUS and does a thumbs up, imagine her saying this "I totally used up my S/Us so i didn't have to gambatte so much but then after "memory plus exams" i have no worries! Arigato! Memory plus exams!"

this is so looc! sure to impress the girls one!

this toy is very 1980s, my kind of toy, they had penguin one but it ran out of batteries.

this goes along well with "memory plus exams"

anyhoo before that we had Indian food!!! Delhi Restaurant at Race Couse Road. Mum loves to go there, so i thought i'll bring Sam and Ang Moh out for some good stuff. Andrea, Prawn and Xinjia here is what you missed.

Delhi restaurant

Delhi restaurant

Spinach Paneer, Naan, Fish in some curry of which i forgot the name and *cues drumroll"...BUTTER CHICKEN!!!

Mum loves to come here for dinner or brunch and i never got a chance to take pictures until now. yayness, they do have nice staff too. Go try. Its at 60 Race Course Road

Friday, June 22, 2007


not just because it has a nice song (of which i know one monkey loves to sing in studio...yes Andrea thats how they made your birthday car) but also because they have a damn looc kitchen lab.

oh and since Transformers the Movie is coming out soon (and i'll be away on the 28 damn...people please wait for me before you watch!) here's a damn funny spoof that brighten up my otherwise flu ridden day

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

the one with the last breakfast in KL

KL Bak Kut Teh


the fantastic breakfast we had before heading home. Recommended by Molly's father. The meat very shiok, the dao you is super thick, just the way i like it

Look at how JY reacts when he sees the bowl of Bak Kut Teh

KL Bak Kut Teh with JY

so after that and a round of pizza and another round of AnW Waffles (one was not enough, sorry Molly, we had nothing to do after you left lah). JY and aku went back much happier people, with greater hunger to travel to more food heavens in the near future.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

more KL food

because that's where most of the ringgit went to

Dim Sum

Lor Mai Kai

Dim Sum

KL Ramly Burger Stall

KL Ramly Burger Stall

This brother team that sells Ramly by the streets of KL somewhere near the bus terminal is BAGUS! i think their special ingredient that sets that apart from any other Ramly Burger stall is the worchestershire sauce and extra points for the generous vegetables.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cheers! from Root Beer Float Heaven!

Ah we're back from Kuala Lumpur. Here a trip down memory lane as Molly Jy and Aku went satisfy our nostalgia craved stomachs with the childhood love we call A&W. KL has a few A&W joints, supposedly it has one the first outlet in South East Asia, but we didn't go there (i think its at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman) but instead we went to the more accessible one at the basement of KLCC Suria. For the uninitiated its the shopping centre below Petronas Towers, basement level, on the other end of the building, not the one with the train station exit.

Enough talk lets just head down to pictures.

A&W: Molly with food

Molly adding final finishes to the food as we prepare to document our A&W feast!!

A&W: The works

Coney dogs, chicken wings, Waffle Ice Creams, Root Beer Float and Curly Fries, what more could i ask for? what more?

A&W: Root Beer Float and Curly Fries

This taste of nostalgia, i so want to steal this mug. I think the counter staff are trained to let the froth overflow to that precise amount so that only the froth goes over not the ice cream. Its a heavenly experience.

A&W: Waffle Ice Cream

I think the kid inside me cried when i had this, its was pure ecstasy when i bit into it. Flashbacks of the meals i had in A&W at the Zoo, AMK and Bedok interchange suddenly appeared before me, i could die there a happy man.

Cheers! Aku, Molly and Jy

Cheers! with our Root Beer Floats in KLCC's A&W.

more food pics after the sleep

p.s for JY and Molly, Roy Allen and Frank Wright (calm down Molly it ain't FLW) were the partners who started the A&W Chain.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

not Singapore

not Singapore, originally uploaded by jonolist.

greetings from not singapore!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Emergency Shelters: In Transition

Construction: immediate shelter to transition housing

A mini project JY and I embarked on. Proposed Emergnecy Shelter for disaster stricken areas in Indonesia.

Emergency Shelters: In Transition

The design starts as a simple tent and later transforms to a temporary structure that is able to house more people with better facilities. Each shelter can house a 4 member family and can be divided into three areas. The living room, the sleeping quarters and an outdoor kitchen at the back. The raised sleeping platform also doubles up as a private storage compartment.

The construction of the house is then undertaken by the family and their neighbors, aiding in the rebuilding of the community. The single units then combine to form two rows of housing units that face each other, with a sheltered communal space between. The sloped roofs on both sides are angled perpendicularly to the northeast and southwest monsoons respectively to protect them from the strong winds and heavy rains.

Lightweight construction materials such as bamboo and stretched canvas allow for fast deployment. Bamboo is a common material and is a rapidly renewable resource in the region that can replace itself after 5 years. Furthermore its high resistance to rotting and physical damage makes it an ideal material for the structure.

Emergency Shelters: In Transition

Eventually, all the families would relocate to more permanent housing nearby. The structure will then be converted to a public building such as a school or hospital. The design recognizes the needs of the community at various stages of rebuilding and so addresses this by creating a structure that adapts to the changing requirements.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Educating Architecture

of recent weeks, Dr Erwin Viray (most of you archi peeps would know who, Head of Year One NUS School of Architecture for those who don't) was invited to write an essay on educating architecture in the Asian landscape for a ETH publication (yeah you can go google ETH now if you still dunnoe where it is). He needed some student perspective on the matter, feeling that it was more accurate and in some sense authentic to display how a student would describe his experience in his first year in school, so i was fortunate to work with him on this conversation piece of which he has allowed me to blog on. Its quite fun lah, writing such stuff but yeah its abit long and qhimmed so apologies if you start to feel sleepy, the comments i got was that it was rather long, but some parts are really interesting!

Words in bold are by me (or you can tell by the unpoetic-ness of mine and the super power flower language of his)

Treetops – a Learning Landscape:

Conversation between Erwin Viray and Jonathan Lin


We see the world with our eyes. Our eyes mark the shape of our worlds.

I have been watching Japanese television dramas about high school students. The lectures are never shown. The scenes unfold in between the life of the students: in the corridors, in the shopping malls, in their homes. As I reflected on these, I recall movies by Yasujiro Ozu. I recall the placement of the camera on an eye level that is the eye level of a Japanese person sitting or more precisely kneeling on a tatami mat. The camera is unmoving, the scenes unfold infront of it, actions happen beyond the frame. I recall the experience of entering a two mat (tatami) Japanese tea room, with the ceiling that is almost touching my head. As I was standing it felt cramped and low. But as I sat down on the tatami, the space felt right. My eye-level, as in Ozu’s camera could see a another view of the world.

Concurrent with these peregrinations, I imagine the Asian Landscape, so vast and so diverse. Perhaps, so distinct from Europe, even the idea of the unity of Europe in its diversity explored by Jose Ortega y Gasset.

What is an Asian Landscape through the frame of learning architecture? As a teacher, one posits that pedagogy is premised to the universal idea to equip the student with the skills necessary for the practice of a profession, and to enable the student to develop powers of selection by his/her own powers of judgment. Students as individuals have their own eye that maybe is different from my own. And so, I would like to see what they see. I asked Jonathan Lin former year one student at NUS Department of Architecture:

How was year one studio?

First year studio consisted of acquiring knowledge and insights into a relatively new subject for freshmen. I would say that during that period one would learn what most architecture students in other schools learn too, basic foundations that run consistent in any school in any region. Studio sessions involved learning drafting, applying site/contextual analysis and understanding materiality. Studio was also about development, acquisition of knowledge which naturally led to its application to projects. Design task was focused on actual sites in Singapore and was extensive in testing a student's ability to assimilate what one learns into his own individual product. To put it simply everyone receives the same education but through his own context generates his individual design.

The formative period in a studio environment allowed for interaction with tutors and fellow freshmen. Along with the various influences beyond curriculum (Architectural websites, journals and personal field trips) one then begins to develop individual working techniques and methodologies. While working on projects one can test out such technique and assess refine and hone his "style". "Style" among the first years does not just refer to an aesthetic but is more of a slang that refers to an approach to things, to design, to analysis and sometimes even odd sleeping hours (of which all architecture students would understand). Our tutors often encourage us to "go out and see the world", reason being to gain experience and broaden our views, not just to understand what is happening outside but also to appreciate and have better understanding of our own environment. It allows a student to place himself in the bigger picture of things, personally my mission in travelling the entire south east Asia would allow me to better understand the multi cultural environment I live in that is Singapore. Personally I felt that this was essential to becoming an architect in such a melting pot of a context.

what is like to do treetops at the Istana park?

Being presented with a real project that had to be constructed and presented to the public was like throwing us into the deep end of the pool. We were removed away from our comfort zones, away from the safe environment of studio work. The idea of actual construction and scheduling, meeting up with various clients, contractors and authorities although scary was exciting. Filled with enthusiasm, we could finally experiment on new ideas in a real world rather than only in context.

With a free rein where tutors would have minimal intervention (only taking the role of advisor rather than teacher) we had to form our own organization and work schedule, adopting our own approach to the project. Since it was held during the term break, the main aim was to have fun while learning, enjoying the freedom in designing and seeing through a real project. Meetings among us were casual, no hierarchy, everyone had a say to the design and experimentation was key. Paradoxically the real world constraints of such projects provided us the chance to figure out new ideas that weren't taught. A tight budget paired with minimal construction experience among the team members forced the students to go beyond common and costly materials. Accordingly, the idea of deriving a form and then developing a construction strategy was also thrown out the window. Modeling and form making focused on the construction technique rather than final form, with the idea of ease of construction and temporary structures.

Constraints such as minimal digging on site forced students to think beyond conventional ideas of foundations. The pavilion would have to be made of light materials that provided adequate shade from the sun and also provide create an interactive play area for children to explore the park. An open stilt structure that gains in strength its seemingly random arrangement of beams and a maze made of recycled wood that occupies a large portion of the site. The building is baseless and users would walk on the grass right into exhibits which are under a light cloth canopy. A maze forces one to make turns, constantly shifting views, allowing him to experience the vastness of the park in a fresh perspective. From afar an image of a light and open building is created, children would be playing in and ON the maze as each maze component is not fixed into the ground but can be reconfigured to their fancy.

The team realized the need to change the design and sometimes even the conceptual ideas to see through the whole project. Compromise? Maybe but what we can call it is a rigorous review and correction of our ideas, that not everything we do is always right in the eyes of the client, public. We no longer just have tutors to review us, it is an added dimension that classroom projects just do not provide.


Final construction and opening of the pavilion to the public was a new experience for the entire team. With only three days of construction, we worked with tight schedules that relied heavily on good teamwork and management. Early mornings and hot afternoons weren't favorable but with everyone wanting to see through a project they have all worked on for three months, there was a passion to complete what we started that would probably not been seen in any studio condition.


Jonathan’s words provide a picture in an Asian Landscape of architectural learning. Seeing these words, I reflect on what Jose Luis Mateo stated regarding the studio at ETH Zurich as a stage set, where the student is given the world to face unexpected things in order to formulate questions and find answers. And the teacher’s role is to help set the students in finding the correct answers. Elia Zenghelis’ contributes the importance of imparting to students the basic knowledge of the discipline. It is crucial that the students know the facts: the dates, the names, etc, in order to be able to form their own judgment and make their choices for contemporaneous response to contemporary needs of life now. At the Architectural Association in London, Anthony Vidler shared the importance of History, saying that the most interesting and brilliant practitioners of architecture are also very good historians.

From these words, I see no difference in the aim to define approaches to architectural learning. In parallel, I asked is there a difference in the mentalscape that guides the forms and configurations in a particular geography functions? Michel Foucault in the preface to “the Order of Things” credits Jorge Luis Borges’ passage as a passage that shattered all the familiar landmarks of thought, “our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography – breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other. This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.’ In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that.”[1] It is a lucid, humorous, and quite disturbing passage on how the world is seen through our classification of the world citing Chinese things to set the stage on ordering of seeing the world. It is most possible that, ‘Chinese thought is something that never construct a world of ideal forms, archetypes, or pure essences that are separate from reality but inform it. The whole of reality is seen as regulated and continuous process that stems purely from the interaction of the factors in play. ‘ Things can rely on the inherent potential of things or the situation or configuration of things, that we may call the practice of the efficacy of things, based on the propensity of things.[2] It is perhaps the lesson of the Japanese drama, and the treetops at Istana Park and this text that we now read.

In ‘Immemory’ Chris Marker would say, ‘A more modest, but also more useful, enterprise would be to represent each memory with the tools of geography. In each life, there are continents, islands, deserts, dams, overpopulated countries and unexplored territories. In memory we can represent maps and landscapes more easily (and more precisely) than songs or stories.’[3] This text is an attempt, a composition to describe and present a landscape of a certain memory, in a certain place and time, crafting a landscape of learning Architecture. In this text, an attempt to create an archive is tested, our world of classification is examined to paint one face of an Asian Landscape that may not be so different from Other Landscapes of learning architecture.


[1] Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archeology of Human Sciences. Vintage Books. 1994. p. xv.

[2] Jullien, Francois. A treatise on Efficacy: between Western and Chinese Thinking. University of Hawaii Press. 2004.

[3] Alter, Nora. Chris Marker. Contemporary film directors. University of Illinois Press Urbana and Chicago. 2006, p. 149

of breakfast



Sunday, June 10, 2007

My favourite Chicken Rice Stall

My favourite Chicken Rice Stall

Yet Con at Purvis Street, walking in is like stepping into another era, where the chicken rice is still unadulterated . Chicken is served unflavoured, clean from the fakery of soy sauce and flavour oils. The meat is tender and skin so "neng" you can just have the chicken on its own but the chili and crushed ginger sauce combination is heavenly. Lets not forget the thick almost unpourable dao gold i say.

And like all other Hainanese joints their Kopi is good, i rather come here for my caffeine boost than star-sofa-king-$$-bucks. It has air-con but i'm not too sure of the wireless, if its does then you can probably find me here everyday then.

and then when you walk out the uncle takes out his abacus and bills you. Next to him is one of those old school mirrors that say "yet con since 1940" and you just hope such places could last another half a century.

Friday, June 08, 2007

CHINDIAN! (what i sometimes wish i were)

can anyone tell me how the paneer in komala's is? i usually eat at blue diamond, jaggi's and delhi restaurant at little india. I never tried this "fast food" range, oh and yeah even though i go there so often i HAVEN'T STEPPED INTO MUSTAFA'S before.

So yes if any of you are going please ask me along...please please. I treat you butter chicken and chili paneer.

Friday, June 01, 2007

i'm like so a shoe man-whore

don't judge me but yeah i want this.

My New Balance m900 has served me well and after one marathon and many long runs in Tekong/Macritchie/Teachers College Track/Serangoon/AMK its cushioning is almost gone.

Classic features like Abzorb SBS (real good for road running) and Stability Web (a miracle innovation that makes penguin runners like me have a decent running gait), both of which were found in m900 are also kept in what i think is the next gen of my old shoe the m1061. hearts.....

does anyone want to do shoe shopping in Queensway? like do some GSS away from orchard road?

oh and i hope those queensway tee shirt shops have this.....

damn funny lah! funnier after you found out that Frank Gehry actually wore this shirt to the gym and had girls asking him to deliver his promise.....hahaha. Gehry rules!
(from wired & you can buy it here at itsasickness)