terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Originally uploaded by Terz.

"Why are you still smoking?" she asks.

Why am I still smoking?

Maybe I'm not still smoking. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm starting to like it, even though I'm still gagging when I do it. Maybe I just like to hold the slim, white-skinned stick of carcinogenic death waiting to happen, feel it sitting in between the index and middle fingers of either hand, or to smell the length of its pre-lit state, the curious mix of paper and tobacco that reminds me of when I was younger and lighting one of those up didn't seem to slow me down as much as they do now.

Maybe it's because I smoke by the kitchen window and watch the rest of the neighbourhood go about its own business from a lofty perch and I like that. Stop and smell the roses, people say all the time. I stop, light up and smell the acrid burning of dead leaves.

Maybe I'm addicted. Maybe I'm not. Maybe I'm just bored.

Maybe it's not good for me.

Maybe it's just another Sunday in SIN-city.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Wasn't sure if I'd have to blog about this - note: bottom, last entry - but things have developed, so I must.


We, photographers in Singapore, are, by nature, suspicious. (Well, at least I am.) We've been on the wrong end of too many shaftings, so we become suddenly and acutely aware whenever something doesn't feel right: when agencies use our images without permission or beyond the terms of the contract; or when we are asked for our input on the creative/ artistic direction, and then we find out that somehow, somewhere along the way, they decide not to use us, but have actually let someone else (usually a low-level lackey in their employ) run the project based on our ideas.

Or, when, take for example:

I'm taking orders from the students of a junior college for prints of their images from their college yearbook and I notice that at least six classes have ordered one of each of the images available to them. And only one.

So I'm thinking: if I were unethical and morally ambivalent (as teens in this Kazaar-influenced world are wont to be), I'd be getting my classmates to share in the cost of paying for one whole set of prints at the price the unreasonable, money-grubbing photographer has set, and then maybe, I'll take those prints (8R, by the way), scan them, take these scans down to the friendly, neighbourhood colour processing stores and voila! Cheap prints for all.

Never mind if my scanner isn't calibrated to the prints. Never mind if my prints won't have the same colour gamut as the photographer's prints which are done at professional labs. Never mind if the photographer is already working around the budget (or complete lack thereof) the college has given him, if he is already giving students in need of financial assistance free prints at his own cost, or if he's barely making enough to cover the eleven days he was on the shoot and the aggravation for having to wait more than two weeks for the teachers to get their collective acts together to complete as simple a task as to hand out order forms, collect order forms, collect payment for the prints and returning said completed order forms and payment to the teacher-in-charge, who can finally hand those over to the photographer... But hey, I socked it to The Man. And I win lor!

What I don't understand: is this something the kids thought up themselves, or did they seek their teachers' advice? It's disappointing really; some of these classes I thought I liked, enough to go along with whatever they decided they wanted to do with the 40 minutes given to them.

If you must know, for every dollar I get (in the interest of transparency, no need to pull an NKF here):

Originally uploaded by Terz.

And those who are not mathematically-challenged will work out that I get 20 cents out of every dollar you pay (or about $3600), which does not even come close to what I'd normally charge for a eleven-day, 6- to 10-hour per day shoot most of it under the hot, blazing sun, with image processing and retouching thrown in (and we are talking about a lot of images here), and after that, a personalised delivery.

So tell me, who's shafting who again?


That said, I will now apologise to the other classes who haven't been dishonest in this matter. And to the classes among the six who really didn't feel like they wanted to order any additional prints and whose orders for one each of the 8R prints are really just orders they want to make for their teacher as a keepsake (maybe).

To the rest of you, thank you. It was fun working with you those three weeks.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Odds and Ends

Lomo #1
Originally uploaded by Terz.

So most people already know that the missus and I along with MB, Cowboy Caleb and LMD were at the Lomo Sinfully Yours party at Velvet last night.

Their accounts of the night are much better than what I could possibly churn out, so I'll just stick to what I found out last night:

1. There is a reason why Cowboy Caleb is Zeus. Play a little "I Have Never..." and all is revealed.

2. The Nokia 6680 comes with a really crappy 64 MB memory card standard. I took 30+ photos all last night, but for some odd reason, only the last 4 remain in the card (the four that appear in this entry). MB tells me that it's a problem that M1 is aware of and I should go raise some hell and get them to exchange the card for something that works.

It should, therefore, be noted that it isn't a conscious choice to only take photos of the missus's ex-student who, after a night with blog dignitaries, now has her new, improved replacement blog.

I'm really glad I didn't lose these images:

Lomo #2
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Lomo #3
Originally uploaded by Terz.


Lomo #4
Originally uploaded by Terz.

3. Playing "I Have Never..." teaches you new things about a man's wife.

4. That I really shouldn't eat anything after having drunk about 10 bottles of Heineken.

5. The Volvo is a dream to drive... a little sensitive though, the accelerator especially. And no, I said 'Volvo', not 'Vulva.' (Flashback: 1997, acquaintance from NIE: "I really want to drive a Vulva.")


We had another meet-up today, the Shooting Home 04 alumni, though I didn't know it before I left the flat this evening.

SH04 Meet-Up IV, #2
Originally uploaded by Terz.

SH04 Meet-Up IV, #5
Originally uploaded by Terz.

It was pretty much the same thing as before. We show off images we have taken. We get comments and criticism, we deal.

What soured the evening for us (well, me at least) was the bunch of idiots in this shot, who evidently thought it was damn funny to sneak up behind and then scare the shit out of a cat who was just minding his own business and drinking from the fountain:

Originally uploaded by Terz.

In the end, the cat decided not to rip the morons new assholes, though it would have been an interesting end to the day.

And yes. Put a 1.3 megapixel camera phone in my hands and I become infinitely more dangerous if you're an idiot.


There's a third thing I wanted to gripe about tonight, but I'll take a rain check till I get confirmation about the situation tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Meme Me

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Wah lau eh! Got another meme from cour marly:

Total number of shoes you own:

Uh, seven?

In order of frequency of use and year of purchase: one pair of everyday workboots from Red Wings (1999). One pair Chacos (2003). One pair Nike red running shoes (2002). One pair Renoma dress shoes (1997). One pair Nike cross-trainers (1998). One ratty pair of moccasins (1995?). One pair NIKE ACG aquashoes (2000).

Do we count army boots?

The last shoe you bought:

The red Nike ones, waaaay back in 2002.

How many shoes do you have under your work desk:

Are you kidding? I work from home. Woohoo!

People I'm passing this to:


1. HY
2. Lisa Montgomery
4. Dan the Man
5. Opienne

Monday, July 25, 2005


Philip and the impatient Youth
Originally uploaded by Terz.

"My name is Philip. I am 82 years old. What's your name?"

"Is it going to rain soon? It looks like it will rain soon. Do you have an umbrella?"

"What's your dialect group? I am Foochow. But I understand Hokkien."

"My wife is looking after my grandson. She'll do it until ten o'clock tonight."

"Thank you for talking to me, you're very kind."

"Are you working or in school?"

"I'm Philip. I'm 82 years old."

"Oh! It's raining. I have a foldable umbrella. Do you want one?"

"Your name is Terence? T-E-R-R-A-N-C-E?"

"What's your dialect group?"

"Thanks for talking to me. You're very kind."

"So, you're a photographer? What camera do you use?"

"What's your dialect group? Mine is Foochow."

"It's raining. Luckily I have a short umbrella."

"How much is your camera?"

"Your name is Terence? My name is Philip. I'm 82."

"Are you in school?"

"Thank you for talking to me. You're very kind."

- snatches of my conversation with Philip, 82, at the Burger King at Parkway Parade. Image taken with my new Nokia 6680.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


So, how has PS Phee of SHA9973H pissed me off today? Let me count the ways...


I said: "Take the AYE, then CTE and come out at Havelock."

You did: AYE, then exited at Lower Delta, took me on a tour of Alexandra, then come out at Havelock, fifteen minutes longer and probably $4.00 more expensive than it ought to be if you had stayed on the AYE, then taken the CTE and came out at Havelock.

And don't give me alternatives lah. I don't want to hear about them.


I really don't care about your grouses about rich people and how they always want you to drop them off at places where you aren't supposed to. It's one thing to be law-abiding and sticking to the rules and regulations, but if you're misinterpreting said laws and being an ass about it, then it's no one else's fault but yours.


It's bloody raining. Could you have stopped at a worse place?

I'm lugging a camera and a bag of lights. Think about it.


I try to pay by VISA because it's easier to keep track of expenditure.

But: "Oh! Sorry! I thought you were paying by cash, I already deleted the fare total from my meter."


Then how is it that you managed to write me a receipt with the breakdown in the total fare? And was I bloody dreaming the 'deleted' fare details suddenly reappeared on the meter when I asked for a receipt?

If you don't want to accept credit card payment, say so. Very easy one.

Don't need to lie.


It wouldn't have been so bad if I had gotten what I wanted at my destination. The repair to the lights would cost me $235.00. And when the call came in I thought it was all ready for pick-up.


It wasn't even in the shop yet.

So that was a wasted trip. I walked in the rain, got my hair and camera wet and the light head wasn't even in the vicinity.


Then I go to the half-empty shopping mall across the road where the colour lab is located and drop off the final images from the ACJC job.

I get them to print everything out in an hour and look for a place to rest my back.

In a little corner of the 2nd storey, I find a hole-in-the-wall sort of place where unfortunately, they didn't have both my original food order (chicken katsu) and drink request (Coke Light). Otherwise the club sandwich was passable and the service was meh (I had to get my own utensils and serviettes from the counter - and the lady of the shop would rather play with her kid than mind the shop).


But home now and the second set of photos from Bloggers.SG is up on Flickr. Enjoy.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Same Day Leh!
Originally uploaded by Terz.

I knew that having majored in English and having been an English Language and Literature teacher would come back and bite me in the ass some day.

So, I get back from Bloggers.SG on Saturday, marginally wasted, and spend a little time processing the shoot I did on Thursday and Friday. I go to bed at 4 am, to wake up only 3 hours later because I have to get down to a junior college to help out at a photography workshop.

Workshop lasts the whole day, I leave at 10 pm. I get dinner and a teh tarik and I stone with Darren and Seng for about an hour. Then it's off to the studio, because the printer used at the workshop happens to be ours and we have to bring it back to our workplace.

It's a little past midnight by the time I get back. And I finish working on the post-production work for the aforementioned Thursday and Friday shoot. Just so I can send out the CD-ROMs by courier to the designer who needs the images by today.

Which brings me to the above image. I call up Speedpost and make arrangements for somone to pick it up and deliver it all in the "same day."

Courier comes by at 4 pm. But no problem, the person who picked up my call said that it'd be delivered latest by 5.30 pm. Or so I thought.

I get a call from the designer at 6 pm to ask if the package's going to arrive any time soon. I call up Speedpost and find out, "Acherly, same day means:

1. If it's collected before 1230 hours, it'll be delivered on the same day; and

2. If it's picked up after that time, then it'll be delivered between 9 am and 1 pm
the next day."

OK for starters: don't call it 'same day'. In my mind, 'same day' implies today's nonsense wouldn't have happened to me. It implies the designer will have received the CD-ROMs and will have begun working on them already.

Call it 'Normal'.

'Relak service.'

'Anytime but today.'

But don't call it 'same day'.


Secondly, when something like this happens, don't laugh it off and say I picked the wrong service. I did ask the first person I spoke if it was going to be delivered today. And she replied in the affirmative. Refer to the first point for the rest of my response.

So now, I'm pissed off before I'm supposed to attend a shindig at the studio. I'm also $16 poorer because, "er, the difference lah, between 'same day' delivery and er, 'one hour'."

Thirdly, I really like the way you leap into action to help locate my package the moment I tell you, "I'll pay the difference".

It never fails to happen. A perfectly good, relaxing day, ruined by morons.

And now I have to go wake up the missus before we are late again.


Originally uploaded by Terz.

Don't have the time to write yet. But the photos from the convention are up, starting here.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Saturday, July 09, 2005


Originally uploaded by Terz.

Not posting for a while. I'll need to calm down about the fucking bombing in London for a while first.

All I'm going to say now, and I've always said: You lot are all fucking cowards. You're just lucky the civilised, GOD-fearing world don't do things your way.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Daybreak #3
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Doesn't anyone speak properly any more?

Came back in the afternoon after the shoot, hot, stinky and sweaty, just in time to answer the phone at home, which we don't really use anyway, to hear this:

"Haisd, kshfhnsufncheckkswithkhyou, kasjdhkvkjhrn OEM?

"Sorry, wrong number."

(OK, let's put it this way: if I don't understand what's being said, it's a wrong number.)

"OK." Click.

OK? WTF? Don't people know "I'm sorry to bother you..." anymore? Or even just a "sorry?"



Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Originally uploaded by Terz.

Guess I found out where someone's 'dark cloud' (or as I like to call it: the Big Bad Cloud of Arse Luck - BBCAL, for short; while not as elegant as FUBAR, seems to sum up what I'm feeling at the moment) has moved on to...

When I had to reshoot something yesterday, my supposed day of rest, it was fine because it wasn't my fault someone lost the CD of the images. (They were willing to pay for the additional day, so who's complaining?)

But today, when someone should have kept an eye, or two, on the lights, we didn't. Instead, we were all looking and marvelling at the shots from the very first set-up of the day and week when the wind decided to test the CG of the whole setup and it all came a-tumblin'-down. (For you Science geeks out there, the head weighs about 700 grams - give or take - and it was raised to the light stand's maximum height of about 2.1 metres: do the math.)

In that heartbeat, the profit margin went from shitty to non-existent. Seems like repairs could be anywhere from $200 onwards. I've set a limit though: if repairs costs more than $500, I'm getting a whole new set of lights.

There's nothing quite like having something like happen to make me start being paranoid about everything electronic in the shoot. And when the cabbie taking me home from Peninsula Plaza starts to test every conceivable G-force the vehicle and its passengers/cargo can take, it's all I can do to keep from screaming at him.

A cigarette never tasted this good.


Updated at 20:40

In the vein of paranoia, I've also begun backing up all the images from the last week of shooting.

Just in case.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Daybreak #2
Originally uploaded by Terz.

The Shooting Home 2004 Reunion Show at the Singapore Art Museum (no link available because they all led to blank pages... kinda like what the art scene in Singapore would become if it continues to be run by gahmen) came down today. I wasn't there today because of a shoot I had to do last-minute.

Two Blank Pages
Originally uploaded by Terz.

The missus is watching Joan of Arcadia on DVD again. OK, the show is fun and all, but I just couldn't get into it. Was just telling Tym that the lead character irritates the hell out of me sometimes - probably because she'd be the kind of girl I'd always avoided dating.

I'm just milking the evening as much as I can before I get back to the grind tomorrow.

28 out of 79 classes done.

It's mind-numbing.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Daybreak #1
Originally uploaded by Terz.

There are good things about having shoot that last 7-10 hours for ten days at a time.

1. You get a tan. But you also get a sunburn.

2. You drink lots of water, which people say is healthy. You drink 100-Plus at student prices - that's even healthier.

3. You don't need to eat meals, or there's no time to, and you're bouncy enough to go on for a while without eating, so you start to lose that flabby overhang over your pants.

4. You get paid. (Not a lot, and even then, the dissenters are complaining.)