terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Before the split...

Before the split...
Originally uploaded by Terz.

... the family of kittens, now juvenile, forage together while they may.


So, the job didn't come through. The people with the stuff all over their office (and very possibly their faces) decided that they would rather pay peanuts (the real ones, not the NKF types) and get monkeys to do their prints for them.

No loss. Maybe only in terms of what the good people of Tampines will think of the photographers - not the printers, the people who put them up and certainly not the organisers of the show - if and when the prints turn out crappy.

Just means I have plenty of time to help with the casting for originasian's next movie:

Casting Part 2
Originally uploaded by Terz.

How can a day like today be bad?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Left Behind

I call him Raoul.

Most people would have realised by now that I wasn't on the plane carrying the missus and my replacement to sunnier climes. So much for all that rushing about and getting the travel insurance and notifying Mindef.

I'm here because of a hint of a print job. A rushed print job, if I may add. All that's left is for the people in charge of the project (who are now sitting around in an office wondering what the hell the sound they heard was, what the hell the bits of gooey, brown and smelly stuff splattered all over the walls are and why the hell isn't the fan working) to get off their butts and actually give us the go-ahead. Otherwise, it's going to be a pretty interesting next six days when the job does come in, and Nic and I find ourselves spending the nights at the printers'.

Or not, if the the job doesn't come in, and I get to take the next few days off.

Why am I still here? To put it simply: greed.

And necessity.

Rush jobs may be the bane of everyone in my profession, but they're also the quickest ways to improving the health of any of our bank accounts (thanks to a little thing we like to call the rush job surcharge, or as I call it, the equipment upgrade enrichment fund). So while I may work myself halfway into a newly-opened bottle of bourbon, it will be well paid for from the job.

That's why I'm still here.

And still waiting for someone to feed me.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Goodnight, Sweet Prince

George Best, 1946-2005.

Good night.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Gone Surfin'

Originally uploaded by Terz.

OK, will be incommunicado (though I really hope there's an internet connection at the hotel) for the next eight days.

Part of the job is learn to surf. Hopefully, my knees can take the punishment. Though, if it's anything like snowboarding at all, I may actually survive.

Will be on assignment on foreign shores and will not be answering the mobile unless people are really persistent and keep calling - not that people should do that.

Would be good to have a break from the craziness in Singapore.

Very good.


OK, peeve sharing time:

I really don't like it when, at the moment the lights at intersections turn red, people in cars in the rightmost and leftmost lanes cruise (I mean, cruuuuise) to the line, forgetting that there may be others behind them who might be wanting to turn (either via the slip roads or because the green arrow that's blink, blink, blinking to allow them to go right).

Updated 23 November 1224 hours:

And in case anyone is wondering, yes, that's a picture from Bali, not at all where I'm headed, but it seems appropriate somehow. At least until I get the actual pictures from this trip.

Updated 23 November 1249 hours:

As it turns out, the trip may be delayed. Now, I know there won't be a problem re-notifying Mindef about the trip, but I am concerned about the insurance policy which has been paid for and which now, has to be changed or cancelled.



In other news, meet The Blockheads (two links in here).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bender Mender

Updated 22 November 0221 hours to include the links to the fun stuff:

It's never good when you're 33 going on 34 and you have a hedonistic weekend beginning on Thursday and ending at about 4 am on Sunday morning. My head is still spinning somewhat, even as I sit in the games room playing D&D. Guess the character will be more taciturn than usual.

Not good.

But while I'm still conscious, a quick summary of the weekend:


Thursday night:

Taxi Stand
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Here's a question.

Information given -

A is a taxi stand. Notice the space. The oodles of open space.

B is a pair of pillars. Their job, believe it or not, is to hold up the shelter keeping the rain water from messing our hair.

C are the morons who think A is either an airport or a ferry terminal, and B is the gateway through which they must go through to begin their journey.

So, the question: how much of a nation of sheep have we become? First off, why do we always need gateways, marked or otherwise, to know where to go or what to do? And secondly, why does it take only one person to start doing something stupid like stopping at the wrong place at the line and everyone else does the same dumb thing?

Updated (again) 23 November 0818 hours:

OK, one more reason why it's a stupid thing to be waiting at B when there's the whole left side of A to go to - cabbies can't see you from their angle of approach - unless the dude's in the rightmost two lanes, by which point, it becomes moot: he can't get across in time anyway - not without causing plenty of accidents, if this happens at the wrong time of the day.


Overheard over the radio on the cab ride to Balaclava where a friend's meeting me and a couple others to drink himself into oblivion:

"Mariah Carey's got a new clothing line, called Kiss Kiss lingerie. Available for women only."

Uh, yeah. It'd better be.

The rest of the night turned out to be a bust though: not enough drinking and everyone still had to go home because of work (point number 2) the next day.


Friday night's the same: same friend is going through a bad patch and the drinking continued. Except this night, I was designated driver and that's something I take seriously enough.

Others have blogged about it, so I'll just leave this at that: everyone got home safely and a good time was had by all.


Saturday the missus and I had to get up early (this despite only getting three hours' sleep the previous night - just another Friday night of having to take care of someone who's completely smashed) to attend a relative's wedding.

Turns out we were the first to get there.

Go fig.


Saturday night's the party for Randy and Nick's entry winning the Judges' Choice and Audience Choice awards.

Finally, I got to drink.

The evening started with a screening of the South Park movie, followed by Kung Pow (which really, if people stopped to think about it, set the tone for the rest of the evening). Then Yi Yee Wei, another finalist and winner from this year's competition, showed off his entry from last year, "Diarrhoea," and this year's, "Loser".

Once the man of the hour, Ken, arrived - it was also his birthday, apparently - the screening of the video followed. That took five minutes and then a it was another twenty minutes of showing the behind-the-scenes stuff as well as the out takes.

All fun.

By the time the party wound down, it was just the usual suspects left to chill over beer, smokes, ghost stories, stories about naked neighbours and the cast interviews for the planned DVD release.

Good fun.

We don't do that as often any more.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Wasteland

Because I had nothing scheduled for the day, I accompanied Darren on a recce today. In Tuas. You know, the rear end of Singapore. Most people don't go there unless you're:

1. A reservist.
2. Navy personnel.
3. Some unfortunate despatch rider.
4. Actually working there.
5. A taxi driver forced to take any of the above as a fare.
6. A poor sap (which applies to all of the above).

The Wasteland-001
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Once we got there though, it was nice enough, in the wasteland, a newly reclaimed part of the mainland, complete with the mud-that-does-not-come-from-around-here* and the more-than-occasional sand fly. Though the weather was blazingly hot, even at 4 pm when we got there, it was cool enough because of the breeze that blew through it the whole time we were there. I certainly didn't expect to see the wide, open expanse of the place. Kinda reminded me of Canada - if Canada were so bloody hot.

* Kinda puts a lie in that series of Army ads - the one that says, 'This Mud is Our Mud' or something like that - seeing that most of the mud on our little island came from elsewhere to be used in our reclamation projects.

The Wasteland-002
Originally uploaded by Terz.

So we potter about for half an hour. There were times when the flash threatened not to work because of the ever-present glare of the sun. And there were times when standing too long in one spot attracts the wrong kind of attention - a motorcyclist and his pillion going by made wolf whistles; and the houseflies and sandflies made it rather uncomfortable.


Of course no road trip is ever complete without some images from the phone cam of really bad drivers. Today, though, I decided to focus on just one group - heavy goods vehicles:

Originally uploaded by Terz.

In third place, YL 3904 M. In the second fastest lane all the way from the Jalan Bahru exit ramp to the Adam Road exit. Dude only went to where he's allowed to go when a traffic cop came along, lights flashing.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

In second place, GP 5990 S, a goods vehicle belonging to Poon's Transportation. Ditto comment about using the wrong lane on the PIE, but went a step further. No sooner had the traffic cop disappeared into the horizon, he went back to the second lane - which is about when I shot him. And also, what's with the weaving in and out of traffic?

Originally uploaded by Terz.

But the first prize winner by a whole furlong, is YL 84 D. And he takes the cake for all of its sheer size and recklessness. First encountered on the AYE outside the [cough*whiteelephant*hack] Tang Dynasty Village [hack*copycatthemepark*cough], we were witness to its speeding, weaving in and out of traffic and being in the wrong lanes all the way until we exited the ECP at Marine Parade.

So yeah, cake.

The honourable mention of this afternoon's road trip, though, goes to this dude:

Originally uploaded by Terz.

In the words of Darren, "Maserati, sial!"

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Movie here.

Saturday, November 12, 2005



Ten hours of filming (well, mostly waiting) and dancing later, I'm am officially bone-tired. I'm just glad I'm not involved in the post-production part of the film Randy and Nic are making for the Fly By Night Video Challenge. If you want to see what was done, be at the Substation tomorrow afternoon (details on the website itself).

In between scenes though, we managed to sneak in some games of pool.

Cops In Shorts
Originally uploaded by Terz.

When we finally wrapped at half-six, just before we completely lost light, my suit was soaked. And I was feeling the ache from too much dancing in my feet.

Still, a good day and when I left, it was to a cute little thing:

Cat By Window
Originally uploaded by Terz.

More pictures to follow once the EP is done with them...


Also, got introduced to some funny shit.


And now that Zeus has arrived, I'll be leaving for the bash at Wala Wala...

Yeah, not so knackered after all.

Updated 14 November at 00:38:

So apparently the film won the event and the audience prize as well. It's parteeee! time next week.

These links can now be added:

The Poster
The Endorsement

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Muzaffarabad, Part 9

Originally uploaded by Terz.

We make an unscheduled stop at the field hospital. Hassan - since he'd been in-country, had been worrying about logistics around the base - hadn't been to the hospital once. While he is given the tour of the place, Pearl and I remain outside. She wanted more footage of the internally-displaced persons and their camp, and of landslides. I just wanted a few final shots of the people and of this savagely-beautiful and flawed valley.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

As it turned out, I took more than just a few final shots. The kids who had been watching us the previous day are bolder; some approach me and quite blatantly ask if I could take some shots of them. I oblige. Then it was the usual crowding around of the LCD as I reviewed the images with them. That seemed to incite some excitement in them. Anything I could do to put smiles on their faces, I guess.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Then a girl, about eleven or twelve (or older - can't really tell) gets dragged across the road by her friend and is plonked right in front of me, a mischievous grin on the other girl's face and gestures that could only mean I was to take pictures of her. Again, I oblige. The first girl remains silent throughout the whole ordeal her friend has just put her through, then walks away, with some dignity.

After a while, the kids get bored, as do I. They wander off to do whatever it is they can do in their situation - being kids. I cross the road to wait by the van.

More tents have come in since I was at the camp yesterday and I take some wide-angle shots of the place. While I review the images, the girl approaches me again, shyly. I smile, but do nothing else - there are conventions to be observed and while I was going to be leaving in a few minutes, there's no telling if talking to strangers, a male foreign stranger at all that, would get her or her family in trouble.

It's a while before I realise she's been trying to get my attention. I turn the camera off and look up.

She seems hesitant, trying to form unfamiliar words into a coherent sentence. Then it comes out, "You are a beautiful man."

I blink (or at least I think I did - it could well be literal, for my lips were swollen, red and blistered by then, so it could have been just that), and I'm not sure if I'd blushed, then said the only thing that made sense at that time: "You are very beautiful too."

Originally uploaded by Terz.

And I left it at that.

The journey back to Islamabad was a blur. I slept most of the way, trusting this new driver not to drive us into oncoming vehicles or off the cliff. By the time I'm fully awake, we're mere kilometres outside of Islamabad and heading to the PIMA Office for a social call.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

The visit lasted an hour. We touch base with Mercy Relief's partners on the ground, meet the president of the Association, make decisions and take steps to continue our role as a disaster and humanitarian relief agency.

As we left the office, the vehicle goes by some boys selling newspapers by the roadside. Trapped at an intersection, the boy approaches our van but gets no takers for the broadsheets in his arms. Then he pulls open my window and gestures at the camera.

"Shoot?" he asks.

I nod.

I take the picture and he hands me the newspaper. I decline. Then he says, "No, for the picture. Free."


"Thank you."

"No. Thank you," he waves and walks away.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Related Links:
Flickr Photoset

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

"That isn't a gun..."

You know it's a bad sign when a magazine churned out by a slightly-more respected newspaper (compared to, er, local ones) like the London Sunday Times calls a Sten a Tommy gun. The two don't even look the same, fer cryin' out loud!

(OK, granted, 'tommy' was used to describe a British soldier, but the weapon doesn't automatically become a 'Tommy Gun' just because it's being used by a British citizen... not even when it's the most pugnacious of the lot.)

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Some sub-editors don't earn the money they're being paid for their job, I guess.

A shame too, because the article, about a biography written by Churchill's bodyguard, was a pretty good one.


And of course, it's never good when I blog about taxi drivers.

Taxi One
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Got to the cab stand yesterday and there were two cabs in the bay with nobody else in the queue. First one greets me with a great big smile, and I think, "Wow, this should be a good ride."

Then he asks, "Where to?"

"Kuo Chuan Avenue, then to Gallery Hotel," says I, pointing in the general direction of west.

"Telok Kurau?"

"Er, no. East Coast Road, then Mohamad Sultan..."

"Sorry... changing shift. Going to Bedok."

I'm thinking, "What the fuck? Why wait in the taxi bay then?"

Taxi Two
Originally uploaded by Terz.

So I move on to the second cab... And. Got. The. Same. Response.

So, what the hell? Seriously, why wait at a taxi stand when you're about to change shift and you won't take anyone anywhere else but where you want to go?

Right now, I'm thinking, which is worse: having private cars wait in the taxi bays when commuters need to get cabs to bring them someplace, or having taxis in taxi bays that don't want business unless it's along their way?

Muzaffarabad, Part 8

The camp is reconfigured and up and running by the time we return. The generators the second team brought up are operational and we have flourescent lights outside every tent. There are now five tents for personnel, one for supplies and one just for the generators - an A-frame one, open at both ends for ventilation. I'm just happy because it means that I get to recharge my camera batteries (which were down to less than half after the first day, but after a night wrapped in a scarf and tucked into the inner pocket of my fleece jacket, they went back up to almost full. Go figure) as well as the batteries for the mobile. When I had the time, I downloaded the images from my CF cards as well. No sense in not being prepared for the worst and having the equipment fuck up again and costing me more images.

The second medical team had just settled down to cook and the summons to dinner did not please some of them. They do get ready, however, and leave for their riverside reservations in twenty minutes. I elect to remain behind - it was my last night in the zone and I didn't feel like the invitation extended to the non-medical members of the team. Dinner that night was great (now that we have a working electric stove): four different ways of preparing potato. And the best-tasting tuna-from-the-can salad I've ever eaten. Spicy though, thanks to the addition of local chillies - I had to remind myself I still didn't want to use the toilets in the camp.

Most of the team comes back after an hour, just as darkness fell in the camp - and just as the first generator gave out; it turns out that the generators we brought up this time, though smaller, and thus lighter than the behemoth we'd brought into Nias, are bigger petrol guzzlers than we'd have thought. Fred refills the generator with more of our daily allowance of two cans of petrol (barely 10 litres worth). Fortunately, the UN tents have also been moved and the stadium lights that their team had with them had been turned on, so we didn't really need to overtax our fuel ration in the end, so bright the whole area was that night.

There is about an hour of debriefing during which the non-medical people simply tended to the campfire with the wood that Iskandar brought back with him and for those of us leaving the next day, it was also time to pack.

The rest of the night is a blur of idle chit chat by the fire, of broken chairs tossed into the flames, of saying our goodbyes.

I sleep for about 9 hours my last night in Muzaffarabad, the most I've had on such trips, and the next morning, I'm among the last to wake up. Somehow it didn't feel as cold the second night and though the morning was as crisp; it felt like my body had already grown used to it.

The first group leaves for the hospital while we putter about the camp, putting things aside, making everything neat. Deck chairs get returned to the front of the tents and we get more petrol from the UN store for the generators.

After that, it's to settle down and wait for the vehicle to come get us.

Related Links:
Flickr Photoset

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Still Not Productive

Last week, it was public holiday mood. This week, it's this:

Crimson Room
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Crimson Room kicks ass! Almost got all the items in the room to help me get out already, but real life kept getting in the way...

So, yeah, Part 8 will take a little longer time in coming.


In other news:

(The missus insisted I put this next item in today's entry, so here it is.)

Dubya's NSA is delivering the daily brief to him:

"Mr President, three Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq today."

"Oh my god!" says Dubya, looking stricken. "That's terrible!"


"How many is one brazilian?"


I can't remember where I heard this, so if someone knows, leave a comment and I'll make the necessary accreditation.



If you're assholes and if your parents raised you to be assholes, there's very little you can do to hide the fact that you're planning to walk a little up the street and hail a cab even when you can see that there are several people standing outside The Concourse (where you work, obviously) waiting for one to come by.

So little you can do, in fact, that I already took several shots of you three assholes when you walked past us.

Don't believe me?

Cab Stealers I
Originally uploaded by Terz.

By the way, did you see the middle fingers pointed at you?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

More Halloween Madness

With some post-pro work done, obviously.

(Yes, yes, Muzaffarabad will be continued... Just having too much fun on my break at the moment.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Originally uploaded by Terz.

Haven't posted anything new about Pakistan because of the parties that kinda got in the way and the feeling of disinpiration since the last post.

Will continue with the final two installments soon.


Updated 23:36

In the meantime, my wild nights have resulted in this and this.