terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Friday, December 30, 2005

All Partied Out

IR on 5 #4
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Everything in a hued haze...

Three parties in six days.

A late night chat at the ECP resulting in a bit of an ado.

Casting for the next film we are making. Production's about to begin, if anyone's asking.

And yet more to attend.

I love the season, but I need to get back into the right frame of mind to start work in January...

Monday, December 26, 2005

One Year On

A different one, but a shoreline nonetheless.

There was talk of an interview on TV today. That didn't happen. There wasn't enough time in the day to slot us all in.

Didn't really matter. Didn't really much to say anyway. Everything that needed to be said is here. Nothing else to add.


This is my two minutes' silence.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Hands of Cour Marly

The Hands of Cour Marly
Originally uploaded by Terz.

It's already been blogged about, so all I'll be doing would be to put up this picture and leave it at that...

Leaving Normal

Leaving Normal
Originally uploaded by Terz.

I wish I were.

Woke up too early this morning. Fortunately there was a bit of football to catch, and then was a little inspired to go out and catch something with the new toy - which, incidentally, still hasn't been put through its paces.

Got the 10D and the two lenses back from the shop on Monday; that'll be my Christmas present for myself this year, I guess - servicing and repair came up to $400. It'll be a long time before I lend anyone my lenses again.

Some things are in motion following the last post, which is good, but as long as what we do is seen as secondary, I'm not too confident it'll be the last time it happens. Moreover, if an international organisation is willing to show poorly produced prints in a show that they're headlining, who knows what depths they'd be willing to sink to?

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Spleen venting exercises... begin:

When we didn't get the job that kept me from accompanying the missus to Padang for an assignment, I wasn't upset at all: jobs come and they go - they're good to have but not necessary for survival. When the comms manager from Mercy Relief invited me to go down to the exhibition to have a look, I wasn't interested - not because I'm feeling miffed about not getting the job, but mostly because I've seen these prints too many times and I wasn't about to relive the whole experience of Meulaboh again. When I heard that the images submitted had to be at least 600 dpi, I was alarmed and made it known ad nauseam, but I assumed the printers would correct that misconception and put some idiots in their places.

But when William, a good man, the owner of Simple Digital, a fine printer in his own right, and the guy, who along with his wife, did all of the mounting for the prints for the Glimpses of Light show, calls us to say that he's been to the exhibition space in front of Tampines Mall and was appalled by what he saw, we just had to go down today and see for ourselves.

I am not pleased.

Not pleased at all.

Seems the adage applies again, pay peanuts and you get monkeys. And what cheap peanuts these must have been:

1. Severe bending (lines across the print) of the sort I used to see when my Secondary Two project work classes downloaded images from the web and then printed them on a half-assed 4-colour inkjet printer with a very dirty print head (the images you see below are as is - looking as if they were shot off a television screen - that's how bad the bending is);

2. Bad, very bad colour cast - people who went for Glimpses of Light would have seen the actual colours. The whole exhibition feels like it was a part-Lomo event;

3. Mis-accreditation. I'm sorry - that's my print. My hands were in the shot, as well as Uan's and Remy's. Certainly not "PMI volunteers holding up the identity card of a victim of the tsunami." And certainly not a picture shot by the International Red Cross Society. It would seem that for every print that can't be traced to a specific photographer, the printers were instructed to just put down 'Singapore Red Cross;'

Ming's pictures of Mercy Relief distributing the Playpacks to the kids in Meulaboh became mine. Sorry about that, dude;

But I guess we're even because someone put your name on my print:

Darren's pictures from Sri Lanka, credited to the Singapore Red Cross and captioned as "Woman standing in the ruins of her home in Aceh;"

Someone who is contracted to Epson for everything to do with printmaking and having made limited edition prints of a certain celebrity has his prints up on the show as well;

4. They paid $28 for each of these? Are you fucking kidding? I wouldn't pay more than $4 for all of them - most of them being solvent prints rather than exhibition quality stuff;

5. There's also the lamination. Not the kind that goes onto exhibition prints - you know, those thick ones that could actually prevent fingerprints, scratching and other kinds of bad shit - but the ones that I used to wrap my textbooks up with. Looked cool and all, but seriously too thin (really, really thin - the ones you buy from Popular for $1 per sheet) to do the job of preventing damage to the books and certainly not to prints that are meant to be up in an outdoor space for one whole month;

6. What the fuck's with the cropping as well? Don't these idiots know better than to crop someone's images without consulting them? Plus, what's with the cropping of a 2" x 1.6" space within an image that was shot on 180 ppi at 17" x 11" and then blowing whatever's in the image up to A3 (17" x 11")? Did you think it wouldn't be fucking pixelated?

7. Apparently quality control's not part of the whole thing: some images look to be taken off a mobile phone cam. WTF?!

Well, thanks a lot.

I was actually contemplating whether to withdraw all of my images from the exhibition seeing that the printing wasn't going to be done by the people who know a thing or two about printing (plus, there was the whole other thing that showed me what would happened if I ever gave up complete control of how my prints would turn out); I even suggested to MR that we should produce the prints that belong to MR and the photographers ourselves, at our own expense. If we had done that, I wouldn't be feeling so fucking pissed off on a Sunday afternoon.

I really should have withdrawn my images.

Dumb asses.

I want heads to roll.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Went to R's party at Ean Kiam last night. Quite a blast, and quite the turnout too - even Zeus made an appearance, albeit a short one because even gods need to go home to sleep to prepare for a long drive north tomorrow.

Of course, at anything with a number of photographers, someone had to bring out the lights and the cameras:

Obiang 00
Originally uploaded by Terz.

So what started off as just a night for people come dressed in clothes of their parents' generation, turned into a fashion shoot right in the middle of the street. Just as well the party was jointly organised by all the production and design houses along the street, so everyone who was there was involved in the party and was highly unlikely to be calling the cops at any time.

At the end of the night, the winner was a simple choice: someone who'd come as Zoe Tay, circa 1985 - dunno her name; if R or anyone else can supply it, I'd be most grateful.

Anyways, as with most gatherings at this time of the year, this one's another opportunity for people to get together to talk about everything that's happened in our lives lately. Best thing about this: there are a couple more gatherings coming up next week for us to talk more and to drink ourselves into a stupor.

I love Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Still Drumming

It's been an enjoyable five days with the new toy, even though I haven't really put it through its paces. Funny how when there's something new in the stable, everything else dries up... haven't been inspired to do much shooting apart from taking about 200 'test' shots of everything in the house.

That's got to change.

And soon.

Which is just as well I've finally completed compiling my portfolio and it's ready to be sent out. It's taken a while because I've been getting conflicting suggestions from the people I've shown the thing to:

"Where's Meulaboh?"

"Why aren't there any images from the tattoo thing you're doing?"

"Why is there so much PJ in this?"

"Maybe you should take out Meulaboh."


In the end, I just went with what I thought was appropriate to the kinds of photography I want to do. So, Meulaboh and Muzaffarabad went in, as did the images that have been embargoed because it's taken a long time for the movie to complete its run through the international film festivals, the stuff I did for stages and from the very first real shoot I did as a pro for the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (who, incidentally, haven't called me back in a while).

But starting today, I'll be leaving the camera aside and thinking about other things while I attend the Ministry of Sound pre-opening party tonight (though even now, it remains up in air whether or not we will end up going in the end), the party at Randy's on Friday and then our usual Saturday and Sunday game nights.

Time to rediscover my centre again, methinks.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


So I sent the venerable, but still trusty, 10D in for servicing on Thursday... normal stuff: cleaning the sensor (spelled 'censor' on the service request form - go figure) and repairing the rubber terminal cover that'd broken off right after I got back from Pakistan. Really normal stuff.


Most of the time anyway. It usually takes the Canon Service Centre one working day to do that (if they have the spare parts in stock), but as it turns out, because I was sending in both my most-used lenses as well (the 16-35mm and 28-135mm), it was now going to take them seven working days to complete my request. And I'm wondering if it's because of the number of people who were waiting to be served by the time I got there: the first few times I brought the camera in (most notably for the replacement of both motherboards because the camera got drenched by a watering truck - all within two weeks of purchasing the thing), the place was emptier. Back then, there wasn't enough people in there to justify the coffee machine someone at Canon thought would be a good idea (delighting us always, those Canon people are). Now, there was a wait of about 17 numbers - it was 080 when I got there, I had number 097.

I settled in to do what I did best: people-watch. Most of the people before me in the queue had compact cameras. Compact. Cameras. And most of the people before me in the queue left after the staff at the Service Centre turned/ pressed some button/ knob and voila! The cameras were working again. It was all I could do not to execute a facepalm once every five minutes:

You know, people, it's called a manual. Use it.

The one that took the cake was when I was finally served, the dude next to me asks the poor service staff, "Would I be right to say that the image that appears on the TV screen will be the image that will be taken if I press the button?"


Then: "What is this aperture thing? How do I use that?"

Facepalm much.

The missus told me I'm a snob.


So, anyway, back to the whole seven working days thing to service my camera and my lenses: not good. Quite the bummer actually. Was supposed to shoot for Chestnuts before its run ends this weekend and then, there was the other shoot for this Saturday for the Tattoo project (yes, that's still going on), but without the camera, that's obviously not going to happen.

Was going to call everyone concerned to tell them I'd have to cancel, but...

But. Boko just returned from Japan tonight. He left with two items on a shopping list I'd passed to him. And about twenty minutes ago, he messages me: "Just got back. With your camera too."

This one:

So as of tomorrow, I have a new toy to play with.


Thursday, December 08, 2005


Because I'm up at this strange time of the night watching my team lose:

Write down the first sentence of the first entry in the past twelve months.

... what a few sleepless nights can do for one's attempts to clear one's backlog. I left Singapore on 14 January 2005, ostensibly to 'refind my centre' (as my wife puts it). At 1430 hours, the word comes through our SAF escorts' signal set that we've got to pack up and be ready to leave once the vehicle comes round our neighbourhood. So Glimpses of Light came down on Friday night, no fanfare, no media, just [most of] the people involved in the process from start to sad, unexciting end when the lights got turned off for the last time. If you're a pedigree dog of some sort, and your master can only afford some bits of raffia as a leash, and then insists on walking you some place very public and very embarrassing, I say, run! Haven't been posting because of a very bad case of... well, ennui. There are good things about having shoots that last 7-10 hours for ten days at a time.You know, I like AXN. Breakfast (ok, brunch) at the coffee shop. Ah, it's finally here, my source (membership required) for recommendations for what books to read for the next six months. 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. That's right, Rojak.

Hmmm, doesn't seem to make much sense...

Now... Spit!

It's generally not a good thing when, while you're talking to a neighbour at a nearby coffee shop, someone at the next table is responsible for this:

Originally uploaded by Terz.

What's that, you ask?

Spit. Disgusting, disease-causing spit.

And lots of it.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

In fact, in the hour and a half that I sat there catching up with Zeus, dude (in blue) turned and let one go on an average of one every three minutes.

Most of the time the spittle landed in the drain, sure, but most of it just landed where he didn't bother to aim: which was the road next to our tables.

Not fun at all.

I know it's been two years since SARS was the hot topic in sunny Singapore, but seriously, I would've thought people would have learnt from that whole sorry episode by now - that is, unless some people have been trapped under a rock somewhere and couldn't possibly know the kinds of problems shit like this causes.

And the missus and I were worried about hygiene problems posed by people's pets in a place selling food to people?

Some people are just worse animals...


In the meantime, Zeus and I agreed that we would be responsible for publishing each other's blogs and making known otherwise secret identities should anything unfortunate happen to us.

Just so there's no confusion.


And in other news: I'm rather excited by a photo assignment I'm going on next week. Sure, I'll miss the housewarming party of a couple of cool dudes, but it'll be worth it.

Ask me why when you see me.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I guess the events of the weekend spilled over into the week proper.

Went for the SRC event at Red Cross House last evening - ostensibly to collect some kind of certificate for my involvement in Team Singapore's (shudder) mission in quake-hit Pakistan. That's right, a certificate, because, really, that's what I was hoping for all along when I go overseas on these trips. More paper to use in some future job hunt; more weight in the CV when I meet potential clients.


It was good though to meet up with Tahar, Remy, Farah, Fred and Halifi again, which was my main purpose in attending the do-hickey. It's not often that we get to meet up anyway and I've learnt to treasure these moments. Even ran into an old friend from church (from before the Fall, obviously). I was rather amazed that we remembered each other's names; she was presenting on the night (turns out we missed each by one trip only: I was on Mission 2, she was on 3), so there wasn't much catching up we could do before the thing started and there wasn't much catching up to do afterwards because I had to be elsewhere. Still, it was good to see her again - and the one smoke break we share was cool enough. For now anyway.

Gave her my card, so she'd know where to reach me...

Learnt also that the exhibition that we got shafted on because someone thought cheaper was better was going to be on for one month. A whole bloody month. I hope the prints stand up to the torture of being outdoors under a tent and subject to all kinds of weather conditions.

Otherwise, if my images start to melt and run down the paper, I shall be rather put-off.


After the SRC event, I went down to Amoy Street (which seems like the place to be for us these days - was there two Fridays in a row before last night) to meet the cast and crew of Chestnuts for a party on their day of rest before they returned to the grind of production again tonight.

By the time I got there, the food had been served and there was only chocolate cake and a couple of bottles of champagne left to have. Still, and again, it was good to see familiar faces and spend a little time with them.

And to find out what my role in the whole thing would be. I must admit came as a bit of a shock when I saw my name among the credits but haven't done anything for them at all.


I was at the Chestnuts thing until almost everyone upped and left: some leaving to catch the latest installment of the Happy Rotter series.

Made my way to the Amara where Tintin was supposed to be meeting some of her friends at this place called Union Square, where apparently an NTUC card gets you half-price off drinks all night, all the time. What Tintin failed to mention was that it was a club playing only Latin music and where complete strangers go up to other complete strangers and ask them to dance. What's scarier is that everyone seems to know the steps.

All of the steps.

It was mesmerising in a strange kind of way. And very SDU in another.

Just did my usual mulling over a $6 bourbon and waited until the missus arrived, half-scared that someone would ask me to dance. OK, I dance, not very well - at least much better than the wife, but salsa? No thanks. I don't really want to take the risk of throwing out my hip or my back again, for that matter, gyrating to the beats.

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Weekend Gone Too Fast

On The Wall
Originally uploaded by Terz.

What with Chestnuts and a going-away party (more a drink fest, actually) on Friday for the one who's going to NS; Rojak last night, with the option of continuing the partying at Loof (declined because of today's shoot that started at hours preternatural); and then there was the shoot proper - started at 6 am, but call-time was a half hour before that and I hadn't really slept the night before (tried, didn't take).

And an interesting experience it was - can see how it'd be attractive to amateur photographers everywhere to bulk up on their portfolios. It was done by about half-two in the afternoon, by which time, we were looking like this:

Originally uploaded by Terz.

And feeling like this:

Originally uploaded by Terz.

After we picked up our pay for the day, we adjourned to Carl's Junior for lunch. There we remained for about an hour, brought to inactivity by the inertia that set in once the adrenaline wore off. There was exhilaration of course - of a job completed under rather extreme circumstances :the blazing sun burning us evenly if we're lucky - on one side only if we're not - noisy emcees with a very strange sense of humour - and a stranger accent - and hands and fingers twisted and cramped in 'shooting position' for nigh on 7 hours.

Got home at about half-four, showered, applied the moisturizer to the burnt areas of skin, then fell asleep till about ten this evening. Not quite rested, but feeling a lot more human than I did in the afternoon.

It's days like this weekend that make people wonder where all the time of their youth have gone.

On the other hand, I get another nifty souvenir:

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Added 5 December 0234 hours:

And can I also add: for the conceivable future, I will smack the next person to tell me, "All the way! C'mon! Aaaalll the waaaay!"

Because that was the broken record that was playing behind me, loudly, shrilly, for almost two hours while I covered part of the route for the half-marathon and 10k events.

I mean, get a new vocabulary already. And if I were running the damned thing, I'll be rather put off by the mindless screeching - though it might mean I'll pick up my pace if only to flee the godawful noise.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A night of Rojak...

Lift Litter
Originally uploaded by Terz.

That's right, Rojak. And then I had some at a nearby coffee shop too, driven there because there wasn't enough space in the living room to accommodate everyone who came and because I have bad knees that don't hold up well when sitting crossed-legged for too long.

But I did get back in time to catch Nic's and Randy's screening of 只要为你活一天. Quite well-received - though it raised some of my hackles when some financial-sector-looking male-type outside (couldn't get back in because of my little excursion for some sustenance) confidently said, "Oh this place, I know it: it's behind Club Street."

Uh, right, whatever.


Was supposed to attend another do-hickey at Loof after Rojak, but I think age has caught up with me and I wasn't really in the mood for more schmoozing.

Plus, I've a 0530 hours call-time tomorrow because of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

Chose to come home and watch a bit of footie while forcing myself to stay awake till noon.