take a walk around town with...

Sunday, February 29, 2004

in the morning i hitched a ride together with kit leong to the venue of the criterium roadie race at marina south - first time with me acting in the capacity of "roadie" (the tour mech kind, not the rider), holding the wheels...

met quite a few familiar faces there, and there was this rachel ng who knows about me, my photos and my site! scary sia! thankfully, for all guys to know, she's married... interesting to have an accomplished windsurfer at a cycling event, whose reason for racing (in her own words to me) was... "my reason to race is to find out why you don't race"... scary thought, almost got double meaning...

ben gave me a ride back home, and boy, was it good to receive cartons of heaven and earth reunion tea... only problem is that the expiry date is dead soon!

Saturday, February 28, 2004

woke up at 11+am, having slept at only 4+ in the morning. first instinct? get washed up, dressed up and head off for the prelims of the ntu cheerobics 2004.

met xianghong and received my licence to shoot. had a good time there shooting, but technically speaking (or rather, technique-cally speaking) i was better prepared - i was armed with a set of earplugs! i was applying what i learnt from the last traumatic aural experience of shooting the ntu hall olympiad with shaoxiang without earplugs...

after the shoot, desmond accompanied me to ite dover to try catch some action of the climbing competition to be held there, but alas! it was wrapped up long before we reached there! in the end, we had a walk over to clementi central, where we had dinner, and a long discussion regarding work, study, and the real world.

Friday, February 27, 2004

hanging out with cannoncal as he gets down with a day's work, and listening to his insights over the years as a photographer really opened my eyes to the world. at least now i have a better idea of how the photographic business is run - and now i think it's better to stick to what i'm doing as a hobby.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

met ah seng on the bus when i was headed for amk mrt in the morning - went with zaskarboy to the company to present the plan for the company profile/brochures to dr marcella.

joined cannoncal at lunch - geraldine koh was actually working at the company too! small world... left later for temasek polytechnic to shoot the ivp rugby finals - ntu won in the last minute, literally! after the prize presentation, sheryl gave me a lift to ccab/smu where i met lai wan, dr clara, sharon.

after i got the call, i went down to city hall to meet faisal, jun, ernie, liza, aishah for a photoshoot. coincidentally, i also met dean from m coy - he was also my platoonmate.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

it was a sign of mutual respect i suppose, at swee haw's wake, there were so many people in the bike business line who were there. ah boon, one of his mechanics, gilbert, lynten.

jeam, deus_ex71, pling, krado, eno78, merciless, rebecca, cannoncal, max, victor and many other saca officials, steven quek, choon huat, tommy ng were all there as well.

really really funny cracking stuff from talkingcock.com...

Don't be a gong fool by joining the wrong kind of gongfu class.

  1. As a student is wheeled out by paramedics, the instructor says, "Class, name 3 things Ah Seng did wrong."
  2. All the trophies in the display case appear to be altered bowling trophies.
  3. Your Sifu cites his biggest martial arts influences as Kumar and Hossan Leong.
  4. Your Sifu’s first demonstration consists of falling to the floor, curling into the fetal position, and whimpering pitifully.
  5. You're pretty sure “Monkey Style" does not involve picking fleas off your classmates’ backs and throwing them at your attacker.
  6. And you’re sure that “Drunken Monkey” style does not involve taking your Sifu to a beer garden for a ‘togo’ session.
  7. Although the Master's hands "move faster than the eye can see," you can still detect a fair amount of nose-picking going on.
  8. During kicking lessons, your Sifu puts on French Can-Can music.
  9. After making you you shatter bricks, your Master asks you to glue them back together, because “bricks cost money, you know”.
  10. The first eight lessons are spent learning to talk while moving your lips in a seemingly unrelated manner.
  11. The Sifu tells you he’s willing to tutor you privately in the special ‘Naked Shaolin’ technique.
  12. Your fighting robes all have ‘Hello Kitty’ on them.
  13. You’re taught to punctuate every punch or kick by saying, “A-bssh!”
  14. During sparring, you’re encouraged constantly to “go for his balls!”
  15. Your Sifu’s black belt is manufactured by Goldlion.
  16. You’re pretty sure Tae Kwon Do does not involve treating your instructor to a Seoul Garden buffet after every class.
  17. Every class begins with the Sifu asking everyone to repeat, “No insurance is provided, and the school is exempt from all liability!”
  18. And at the end of every class, your Sifu says, "...or you could just buy a gun, lor."
  19. Your Sifu makes you do Ten Year Series.
  20. There are many men in white uniforms around, but they’re not the usual martial arts type.

yesterday afternoon, after meeting up with eileen, handbag and hairil at the canteen, it was time to try out the result of the diy servicing of the olympus casing. verdict?

what do you think?

on a solemn note, this gallery is meant for those who want to have a visual form to keep swee haw for memory's sake. a pity was that i didn't go to the saca mtb race 1, where i could have met him and possibly talked to him, at the very least.

Monday, February 23, 2004

about to set off soon...

this morning, i went off for amanda's prefect's investiture - met up with alice at about 710am in the morning.

as i was heading back home from clementi mrt, menacewu recognized me when i got off alice's car. wow!

Sunday, February 22, 2004

cool. i woke up at 2pm today, and basically the only thing i did was to tear up my olympus pt-010 underwater casing for a thorough cleandown, and i have just posted a tutorial on how to clean the olympus pt-010 underwater casing on my website...

this is simply funny...

is this hardcore porn?

first thing that got me moving out from home was gorilla and angie's wedding. some of the pess lecturers were taken aback when i was armed with erm... the small arsenal of stuff i had to shoot photos. i think it's lucky in a way that i was there ready - since handbag wasn't shooting, and there was only one cameraman there (he's the official chap, i'm the quack). finished 5-ish in the afternoon.

when i was standing outside takashimaya watching a percussion group (where i spotted budiman inside the group too), christy called me out and surprised me - she could recognize me by... my camera bag?!?! pretty cool huh... then as i was walking past orchard mandarin, i noticed watcher walking by. in the end... from just talking, we went to starbucks, and met up with gadrian who came over not-so-soon after we got there. then, while in starbucks... i met yurina! she does look a lot better on ice...

and while on the hike with the big bag to the bus-stop, i bumped into perry too... small world!

Saturday, February 21, 2004

went over to meet calvin at his location shoot, learnt a little bit more regarding lighting, and things related to photography. it was really nice of him to lend a guiding hand regarding photography - how i should charge, copyright etc. guess the old adage of sticking to the right people will teach us the right things really works wonders. i had a firsthand glimpse of his works that will appear in the press soon, though i'm not gonna say what they are. keep guessing! i was also given a chance to lay my hands on a uber high-end piece of photographic equipment that i have practically no idea of utilizing to justify it, but being able to see its output via calvin indeed puts medium format into a much higher realm than i've ever guessed from assuming from reading etc.

a photographer and his equipment
for the curious: hasselblad 500c/m + phaseone h5 + 100mm f/3.5

i parted with him, jason and chris, and made my way west. met up with alice at the rink to pass her a cd with the photographs of her children skating, and got introduced to helen, another mom whose child is also skating. i made a quick beeline soon after to go to handbag's place, where i picked up his manfrotto 190db + 141rc that i would need to use for an assignment this coming week.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

just came back from sending mel and his erm, entire family off to melbourne, en route for tasmania. major difference for this one is that after the sending off - no one's left apart from myself!

spent some time contemplating life at 25 (well, 24+, but it's close enough anyway). i'm quarter a century old, and i haven't even started the most basic saving for a future - let alone a family in the near future. i'm thinking, when the point of time when it's just me alone out there - i'll just get my first ever ticket out of town, and seek greener pastures overseas, and forget everything that is collectively known as my past.

earlier in the afternoon, ran an errand for dad to take a photo, but the management of the heeren was pretty adamant, but still, curt. when i arrived at novena mrt, i saw this group of boys from st michael's school playing those wwe cards. i was walking off, but then i thought i ought to share the reason why not to play it. the boys were pretty sheepish about it, but i guess they probably were expecting me to give them a dressing down. the old me of the past would have probably lashed out at them, but nope, i explained to them why they shouldn't do so. hope they change soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

while having the haircut at the barber's, a thought just hit me out of the blue.

recalling when i was young, mom used to accompany me to get my haircut. she'd tell the barber what things she wanted to get trimmed off, things like that. now i'm doing things myself. when i came to this thought, my eyes

the magical part is... it just doesn't seem like it was a 14 year before-and-after thing, i guess it must be because it's an ongoing thing, not a movie where the time is literally frozen and unthawed, suddenly ends, and the lights just come back on. life definitely isn't like that - it's slow and gradual - it's forever running.

why do i live? why do i write? why do i think?

what do i do well in? what do i really want to work as?

where do i see myself in 3 years? where do i want to reside for the rest of my x-25 years?

met up with mel, alvin, cavis (aka cutting edge technology), christy and shirley over dinner at marche's. met heinz, which was a surprise considering that he's usually out in the evenings running and so. popped over to his office, popped my eyes out at this ultramarathon in mongolia that he's interested to participate in soon enough. got back to my table, popped my eyes out again, chester and his pals were sitting at the table right beside mine!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

just learnt that from a trip to the service centre, where i sent in my camera to have the focussing screen cleaned out, something very interesting... don't ask me if this is called good news, optimism, or foolhardyness (i guess it's the last) - my 10d has fired off 59,000+ shots to date!

perq jon should be pretty thrilled about his new baby, an eos-300d. wonder if he's gonna pick up the 50/1.8 from me or not. good thing is that he reminded me that saturday is gorilla and angie's wedding...

went over to nanyang polytechnic to shoot a little bit more of hockey, where i met guru and albert. after the match, i headed for the track, where i was with wai boon, lian hock, and a few other chaps. ended the day by going back with zhi yong, who's pretty much at the top end of his running career.

Monday, February 16, 2004

what things that keep humans functioning the way they do, really intrigue me.

why could a classroom of students misbehave, but would also follow the teacher from point to point as instructed?

why would a bridegroom take all the "sabo" that his colleagues dish on him, though he could choose to decline?

why would people want to "sabo" a bridegroom even when they wouldn't want to be at the receiving end themselves?

why would local iceskaters carry on in a sport where there may be some tyrants in their midst?

yesterday i woke up at 10am, it doesn't make sense to trash my body by rushing to the rink, and face laura. i'm already sleep-deprived of late, why make things harder for myself? so i slept till about 3pm...

the half-groggy me was soon packing up my bag for the 5566 shoot that my dear cousins arrowed me to go for, what the heck. so i went, and reached the place. on the bus ride from home, i met sebastian who was out to meet danny at junction 8 as well. after we bade farewell, i scouted around the building and not being able to find a single angle where i could shoot from, and well knowing i dont have any press pass, just forget it la! the queue for the fans was incredibly long - it started from the first level of the open plaza, and stretched all the way on the walkway all the way to opposite ite bishan! talk about being optimistic about queueing... i've gotta learn it from these fans. the word "fan" didn't come from the word, "fanatic" for no reason... boys, girls (particularly teenage ones), aunties with their daughters towing them... woah. but i had to go off for zaskarboy's wedding, so off i went!

while on the way weaving through citylink, i bumped into shang and le-anne... long time no see! surprised that he knew that siva was asking to get into my school...

the only chaps i knew personally at the dinner were zishin, cannoncal and his girl anna, and gab and julie. of the other people who literally, everybody knew were basically the folks who appear on screen for sph mediaworks, including the head honcho, mr man himself. there were also two other of zaskarboy's cycling kakis, but i simply forgot their names, since it has been a long time from the last time we met...

gab gave us a ride back for all of us - i'm thankful i didn't need to walk more in the dress shoes i least like to wear...

Saturday, February 14, 2004

it was an absolutely glorious morning, a slow drawling morning that i've always had for the last few weekends. time to head down to the rink to view the nationals for iceskating.

when i got out of the lift to fuji ice, i saw some familiar faces - so i greeted them "good morning". one of the people at the table was laura, and even before i got to the turnstiles, the first thing she said to me in reply to my greeting was something in the likes of "of all the four photographers i contacted, you have the worst attitude". huh? what did i do wrong - if i'm not shooting as an official photographer for the event, surely i do not need to be barred from the competition by the national sporting association (nsa) - even if i didn't infringe our mutual agreement of not shooting? and especially when i haven't even stepped on her toes for the day? i wondered why she would say something so scathing in response to a morning greeting, even before i stepped into the rink premises. i was sticking to my agreement of not shooting pictures, and just only being present to give support as a friend to my newly-known acquaintances and friends - one's presence by itself can show how true a friend one can be. what's wrong with being there at an event, although i'm not the official photographer - even if i'm sticking to the agreement of not shooting at all? so i just dismissed that statement from her. nevertheless, some people (including some mothers) could witness her snarling at me, since they were in close proximity and could hear her words clearly. in fact, one of the mothers shrugged in curiosity when she heard that outburst. could i be "a friend" or "a spectator" instead of "the photographer"?

i was excited, since the mood presented was somewhat reminiscent of skate singapore, albeit with severely less spectators. all the time, my eyes were drifting around aimlessly, since i didn't want to drag any particular skater(s) and/or the family into hot soup along with me. most of them understood that i was there and i was going to honour my word of not shooting, since i had no other choice and i definitely wasn't going to back out on it. only hours later did i find out that laura was going all around telling the parents not to get photos from me anyway. huh? why tell the parents not to get photos from me if i am not even shooting the event? all my photos would already be from the practices and such - since i can't shoot, how would i have photos for anyone to buy from? where's the logic? was she trying to ask people to boycott me? similar to what i heard of only family members are allowed to take photos? i don't know. i'm getting all this information in bits and pieces from all over, and i'm trying to do the complex mental jigsaw puzzle.

trying to watch the skating itself was not an easy thing - with her constantly pacing up and down and around, there was a sense of inevitable conflict that was about to be unleashed. as i was letting my eyes scan haphazardly around the rink, i saw a familiar face in an orange windbreaker - ah pao! he was the only person from my newly created clubsnap sportsshooting group who turned up to try the iceskating shoot. since his lens was a slower variable-aperture lens, i decided to pass him my equipment and let him shoot instead. i began with passing him my lens and monopod, but eventually my entire setup, minus the compactflash card. after all, since i can't use what i have, why not let him use my equipment, so he can get better pictures with it? we were through a few skaters, then laura jumped on us suddenly and said a whole lot of stuff that shouldn't have been said at all. she suggested that since there are "very young children" there skating in the event, she wouldn't know what we were "going to do with the photos". indirectly, she seemed to suggest that we had some possibility of being involved in paedophilia. oh great. it isn't as if none of the parents know me - in fact, at least four parents and skaters asked me to take photos for them, but i declined since i already had the agreement not to shoot. hey, it's not as if i'm completely unknown to all the skaters and their families. why would she want to do all that?

and on top of that, she insisted that i had planned to contravene the mutual no-shooting agreement, and i had instead been using and framing another person instead of myself. she insisted she knew what i was up to, without even giving ah pao a chance to explain his presence and his interest in shooting sports, since she filled in the storyline using her very vivid-but-delusional imagination. boy, she said she was disgusted with me - i did feel it was very unprofessional of a vicepresident of a national sporting association to speak the way she did to the both of us - speaking with a temper and seemingly suggesting something that was probably libellous. it didn't help to show her my nie matriculation card - she didn't bother to look, and was firing at ah pao endlessly, instead of looking at me. we both got sick of trying to talk to her and explaining that he was learning how to shoot iceskating because of the challenge, as well as the part about me lending my equipment since his equipment wouldn't allow him to take decent shots. if she had hearing problems or not, i don't know. one thing for sure - she was very animated, totally different from the usually dormant persona she portrays. she sure could make catherine lim blush and go into self-exile, i'm sure. but really, it was very unprofessional of a senior office bearer for a nsa to speak the way she did to us. she said too, that we would have to write in to the association to gain permission for photos - but would i expect to get it, after being a potential competitor to her sale of photographs? i think not. she was off the mark herself, since there was no statement on ssc's webpage for iceskating nationals to outlaw photography save for the official photographer. huh? she gave us an ultimatum - to keep the camera gear, or just to be "invited" out of the venue. we chose the former.

so after keeping the photogear away, both me and ah pao sat down and i just shared with him my thoughts about sports photography, iceskating etc. when i spotted mr lim chee kiat, president of sisa, i went over to him along with ah pao and we gave feedback to him regarding the behaviour of his erm... vicepresident, as well as gain some clarification upon the matter. he was a very good example of what to be - and he handled our feedback with tact and diplomacy. as i understood later on over lunch, the demonstration of such behaviour from laura was apparently nothing new.

unexpectedly, my previous post about sisa and the rationale has been demonstrated, and experienced "live" to the max by ah pao. who are the ones who are going to bring the sport to higher ground? it's the management - in this case, sisa. but with a vicepresident who lashes words like a cat-o'-nine-tails, where is the sport going to move locally? i'm all for promoting of sports - this i feel is a hallmark of pess folks - but i'm given suspicion instead? what's the purpose of the nsa holding only one competition a calendar year, and titling that very top-scoring skater as "champion", when the competition pool is so shallow? i'm not belittling the champion - i must agree that they are very worthy of the title, but how is the association going to help get more people who may have potential but are financially lacking to get started into competitive skating, to increase the base standard of skating locally? without a larger base pool of competitive skaters, you can't really push the bar of standards higher. so how could it be possible to field a skater at the 2014 winter olympics for the nation as stated in this ssc webpage?

anyway, since my project top secret has already concluded, i shall move on with other photography other than iceskating. it was a fantastic time with jonnansical, who was a fantastic inspiration, friend, and most importantly, skater. i've had my fair share of brickbats in this nsa whose sport i'm learning, and i don't think it's worth continuing on further. at any point of time, i can access ivp level games with blessings - why for stick to a niche sport that is being run into the ground? how much promotion did they do for the sport, that at least the viewing galleries are all filled with spectators? hardly. how many people on the street are even aware there's a nationals for iceskating? i don't want to guess - i may be well off the mark. red tape, bad manners exist in this sport. i really am puzzled why there are still skaters who are skating - what is the draw about it, that similarly draws a moth to a fire? i'm glad to have talked to all these amazing and graceful skaters - they did show me a thing about the sport that i never knew existed - that there was a close-knit fraternity locally, well and alive - sadly, it may be threatened by the sheer lack of local support.

met "sonya" rizal when i was about to head for the terminal 2 bus stop - i'd mistook him for my 6 discom unit mate... oops! at the end of the day, it is nice to know i'm remembered by alice for helping her to get shots of her children skating, with that small little pack of "sweethearts" candy.

a flight out to australia is a joyful thing. it is, indeed, the beginning to a new chapter in her skating. the girls were crying in an infectious manner, thankfully my resistance was high. till may 10th (???), so long for now, jonnansical!

Friday, February 13, 2004

finally, project top secret has been concluded. what a relief!

met with this mom called carol, she had an amazing career, and she gave good views regarding school and work. had a good time talking to celia and samantha from the rink, and made a step to possibly covering the schools' event in june or so. then i went to pass out some goodwill photos to some of the skaters too. on the whole, the skaters are very excited to see each other in photographs - which i feel good about, since i can do them a favour and let them have something to entertain themselves with. christine ordered 4 prints from me, while joe surprised me by knowing a fair lot about digital slr photography too!

shot with oeyvind at the ivp hockey match at nanyang polytechnic - saw a big group of pals - siao lily, siva g, lau banz, debster along with some other hall 5, pess chaps, playing against ngee ann poly. the later parts of the guys' match were all shot at iso1600, 1/200s, f/2.8. bad lighting? you betcha!

ghazi pulling an "orange" to throw an opponent

ban hwee trying to snatch the ball

Thursday, February 12, 2004

boy, was i peeved by my experience with the singapore iceskating association last night at fuji ice. to keep a long story short, i was asked to stop shooting by this elaine from the association, who happens to be the director of events, because i wasn't supposed to be there, without permission from the association, because they booked the place. i don't mean to be rude, but isn't figure skating supposed to be a spectator sport in the first place? the following is my frank perception of the association from my own viewpoint as a pe teacher (no, elaine didn't get to know about what i do for a living because she didn't ask me), and my severely limited understanding of how it is currently working - so if there are any inaccuracies that are posted below, i will gladly retract them and do a public apology in writing about anything i'm wrong about. don't ask me to put an ad in the straits times - i've no $$$ to do that anyway, and i'm worth nothing to sue as well. in fact, i don't think my own website is popular in any way at all! now, for the experiences i've had as a sports photographer first - so here's a list of the sports that i've shot before, for those of you who do not know what i've covered before:
  • cycling (with blessings from saca)
  • canoepolo (i made many a friend from this sport alone just because i provide photos that players are otherwise deprived of)
  • triathlon/biathlon
  • cheerleading
  • soccer
  • floorball
  • hockey
  • basketball
  • netball
  • modern dance (funkamania x on behalf of funkygrad.com)
  • rugby (very limited experience, with my schoolboys)
  • volleyball (very limited experience)
  • climbing (very limited experience)
  • dancesport (very limited experience)
  • dragonboating (very limited experience)
  • inline skating (very limited experience)
  • scuba diving (very limited experience)
  • softball (very limited experience)
  • wakeboarding (pending approval)
  • gymnastics (pending approval)

i hope the above list was comprehensive enough. the list certainly wasn't meant to impress anyone at all - i'm pretty sure my shots are "bottom of the barrel" right now, and i sure wouldn't lie about being particularly good at any of them, but at least i understand the basic exposure, rules for photography (like strictly no flash for gymnastics etc) very well. and of all of them, i've been shooting for the singapore amateur cycling association on a volunteer/freelance basis for the longest period of time and thus it is the sport that i have the most experience of all sports i've tried shooting - note: experience, not creativity/artistry/composition. the terms of working with them are really a boon to both of us association and photographers. in short, things work best when the association and i have a common goal - to promote the sport as much as we can in our own forte/niche. here are the basic terms:
  • we photographers are more than welcome to go and shoot the bike races. this naturally gives both the association and us photographers extra exposure (pun intended) than if no photos were available. the association can use our photos (see below) to promote cycling, we photographers may get our work published for no charge - a win-win scenario.
  • if there is a need to source for the large version of the photograph that the association deems usable for the creation of publicity material, they'll ask for it from us photographers as necessary. this also gives us photographers additional portfolio work too.
  • if there is any cyclist who would like to order prints, the association will refer the cyclist to the photographer who took the photo(s). that means the photographer can earn by ourselves directly from the order, while the association doesn't get into the extra hassle of handling orders.
  • this isn't stated, but where possible we photographers may have a complimentary drink or something like that. this is actually optional action of the association, but i call this really good welfare. remember that the association isn't obliged to us photographers in the first place, but usually they'll allow us to have a free drink each.
  • most importantly, the committee of the association make great pals too!

now you guys get an idea of why i'm the resident photographer at the bike races. now, let's take a look at what the iceskating association is doing...
  • i have to get permission from them, or seek clearance of some form before i can shoot, even though i know some of the skaters myself. huh? no doubt that skating is done on private property, but i can't take pictures of my own friends when the association is around? huh?
  • i can't shoot at the iceskating nationals because i'm not the official photographer, fine. but not even when i'm shooting for jonnansical who's leaving the country soon, as a personal project?
  • is there really a "conflict of interest" (i hereby quote laura) if i shoot at the nationals? on a positive note, wouldn't i be helping to raise the bar in the standard of the photography for the event? i'm sure the parents would rather have more photographers to make a choice of order from, rather than only one source, and let's not forget the fact that the skater may have his/her butt facing the camera during a jump or spin when the shot is taken by any photographer, having another photographer may increase the possibility of a "keeper" shot. and let's not forget, sports photography is my personal interest. granted, that when it comes to ordering, parents may flock to me, but then again it's depending on the quality of shots that i get anyway - and i can't possibly guarantee the most perfect shot 100% of the time. anyway, with an extra photographer around, it's the parents and their skating children who benefit. and why do i say so? because they get the satisfaction that they can have better pictures in their children's skating photo album. parents then can be proud to send their kids for skating. logical or flawed? someone please comment on this.

God help them and get them a renowned sports photographer to cover the event, please. as written a few days earlier, i don't care about the money that i could potentially earn - the parents of the skaters have spent even more just to send their children for lessons, buying the fanciful performance costumes. i'm touched because they are the ones forking out hard-earned money, and would just love to see decent photos of their children frozen in time. but the children may eventually stop skating for a billion possibilities - and the parents will be gone from the face of earth earlier than their children. like perq jon put on his website, "life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away". how true it is, indeed. a good photo can never be replaced with money, and i am intent to capture worthy moments by merit because this is the fundamental discipline of photography. and let's not forget, we are only young once - once you miss that shot from that year, the young children will be a year closer to becoming adolescents - you'll never see how cute your little darling was during competition that year again.

i may border on the line of controversy, but actually, i'm glad now that i'm not shooting the nationals for the association now. but why the change of heart, you ask? simple - their photographs from last year's iceskating nationals are only available for 5 bucks per picture from the association themselves... even then, it only covers a cd with the photo(s) - you'll have to do your own printing. and i frankly wonder if the photographer gets any royalty out of the photo orders at all. effectively, that seems to indicate the copyrights of the photos are all transferred to the association, since they're selling the photos directly to the skaters. now, for some more things to get the ball rolling...
  • what has the iceskating association done to promote iceskating to the general public? as far as i am concerned, if i didn't get to know jonnansical, you won't find me at the rink at all. most teenagers or young adults visit there on a whim at best - this is my personal viewpoint. in fact, if cherry didn't invite me to watch skate singapore 2002, i wouldn't have a danged thing to do with iceskating, really! and i never ended up anywhere close to stepping on a rink with friends on any random outing, either!
  • the serious skaters have to cram themselves into a rink a third the size of an olympic rink. that's not so bad, considering the relative handful number of serious skaters locally. but when the crowds come in, these serious skaters have to squeeze and weave between all the recreational skaters and psychomotor nincompoops like me who are constantly stumbing all over ourselves.
  • how come the iceskating association's website doesn't even have decent photographs of any skater in action? and it only has photos only on a page that when you do a mouseover, that displays "cd available"? why not even a single photo of a skater in a pose or anything in a more visible size?
  • how many events are there held in a calendar year? this is closely linked with the small number of competitive skaters in the first place. could elaine please do something about this? she's the director of events for a good reason - please do something to fill up the portfolio.
  • this point is something i can't verify myself - from what i was told by an undisclosed sources, the junior skating club is more like a wholly-run "club" by sisa so that it has the basic number of affliate clubs to qualify itself as a nsa with ssc/snoc. please correct me if i'm wrong. anyway, the website is painfully out of date, and has a pretty lot of dead links.

now, let me get started on another thing - why skating isn't as popular as it could be:
  • when was the last time you heard of publicity material about iceskating that the man-on-the-street was aware of? i didn't know about iceskating locally until cherry from malaysia told me about it, really! and to top it off, she's a malaysian informing a singaporean about something that happens in singapore!
  • high costs. a personal pair of skate shoes seems to be around 300 bucks, ranging up to three thousand bucks - and that i believe is not the upper limit yet. and it's not like a bicycle that you can take around the streets - you'd look absolutely hiliarious to move around orchard road on your skate shoes! in other words, to make use of an expensive pair of shoes, you have to visit a rink. and the fees aren't too easy on the wallet, which brings us to...
  • high cost of skating - because of the various processes behind it. check out howstuffworks' section on ice rinks. i personally guess it's the cost of keeping the ice frozen in a tropical country that eats up most of the revenue from the rink operator.
  • exclusivity of the sport - closely related to the earlier point. with rising costs and overheads, those able to skate (and have their own skate shoes - which are inevitable if you are serious) are informally restricted to the rich-family-background group, and that may discourage/strangle the not-so-rich skaters because of the high costs involved. a way to come around this is to have more recreational skaters, but how do you squeeze more recreational skaters to an already crammed rink? how to outreach the sport to more people, if it's already capital-intensive for most people? remember, more skaters should lead to a higher level of skating locally, and that should mean raising the bar for the local iceskating scene.
  • what kind of youth development programs are there in place for figure skaters locally? but with the current infrastructure, what else can there be done? only henry park primary has an iceskating cca. it's a start, no doubt, but time is not on everyone's side. i'm hoping for more support, because remember that i'm also a pe teacher myself!

frankly, sisa should have a wake-up call before the sport suffers and dies a slow and painful inevitable death. let's pray some archaic practices are changed! this entire issue reminds me of the run-in that i had with hui min from ssc over my photographs from the osim triathlon last november - but that is an entire story by itself - and oddly enough, the issue died down because both terence khoo (who's a friend of dughall) and hui min did not reply my email that stated some fundamental errors that were committed regarding my legal rights to my photography. *shrugs*

p.s. please don't think that i wrote that in a jiffy - i started writing at 1230am, and i'm publishing this just after i finished vetting everything at 413am!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

looking forward to getting clearance to shoot the uwcsea schools' gymnastics competition - just called eileen last night, and boy, are we eager to go shooting then or what!

of not-exactly-a-surprise, she's judging for the primegym invitationals...

/me (shutterbug) ready to fire! <== that was my attempt at doing the log-roll...

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

i was too kaypoh today.

i headed out for changi business park to meet nick tymms, but somehow i thought i might as well drop by cannasia first. daniel wasn't in yet, so i carried on eastwards via upper east coast road/bedok road. as i was nearing the end stretch of bedok road, i was surprised at seeing this one side of a school shoe just off the road on my left. gazing across the road, i saw a volkswagen golf stopped right beside (note: not in) a bus bay, as well as a primary school boy kind of in trouble, with a few adults at the scene as well. there was a scary cobweb depression in the windscreen - only then did it strike me that there was an accident.

so what to do? i stopped my bike, crossed the road and just tried to help out - especially if i remember correctly there should be no form of whatever cream applied to the boy's raw skin patches on both inner sides of the knees - that was the main visible injury. all i could do for the conscious boy whose bleeding wasn't profuse was to wash off the grit or the patches of raw flesh that the flies perched upon when they had the chance. i left soon after the medics from the ambulance came to do their work - and headed off for the boy's school to inform the school of the accident. hope the young man recovers soon. poor thing though - he was asking me whether his bones would fracture/break or not, and occasionally wallow the demise of his spectacles. what to do? shock is like that one mar...

after i was done, i pedalled off to changi business park to meet nick. minutes after he appeared, his colleage nick (yes! another one!) appeared, and we had a short chat regarding property rental pricing and such. nick was very generous, and offered me ten dollars more so that i could earn a bit more from the photograph - so nice of him! he had to get back to a meeting, so i also made a move back to cannasia. same as earlier on - daniel wasn't around, so jeffrey paid on his behalf. i soon made a beeline for my school, since i had the cd-r with the photos from last year's musical as well as some other photos to hand over. i forgot about passing belinda's photos to anyone, so after dropping some photos at paceman's place, i made a round trip to school again to drop it.

on the way back home... i actually spotted my primary school classmate jenny on a l-plate! man, the "action" of chasing her car (with the l-plate) along with the driving instructor beside her was pretty funny... even the instructor was having a good laugh about me chasing them on a car, using my bicycle!

jonnansical is leaving earlier than expected - on the evening of 14th feb, but after witnessing her skaters finish their routines for the nationals. i'll be there to do some "photojournalizing" for the occasion, since she did make a massive impact on my life in such a short time. for the first time, i told her which eileen i was out with at f.i.p. one week ago - certainly not my love interest, but a very good friend i can hit off with in many ways - and married happily. that was so funny - jonn was asking me "where's your fav eileen?"

just saw earlier yesterday that the article for funkamania x is already up at funkygrad.com for perusal - the photographs were by yours sincerely!

i've just deleted off this entry in my guestbook by this chap called michael from my guestbook. initially i thought he was a part of the iceskating community - but after two days, i removed and blocked him from my icq and msn. why?

first site he showed me - i thought initially was his own site - was a site that sells local jc girls' uniforms. sounds decent enough? check out http://www.arousalagency.cjb.net and see for yourself. next thing about him, on the first day of initial messaging over icq, he asked me if i was out to take pictures of cheerleaders "zao geng" (dialect for "upskirt") during cheerleading. today? his first message to me via icq was whether my clubsnap site got suspended because of indecent pictures of girls, or something to that effect. his email address is currently "macneo99@hotmail.com", so users please be aware.

my reply: get lost, don't pretend to be interested in photography if all you want is to see indecent pictures of girls on my site. there are plenty of porn sites for you to be at, and NOT at my site!

Monday, February 09, 2004

saturday and sunday were snap-happy events.

in case you didn't realize what happened to my site for the last few days (and a few more to come until you read this) is that my clubsnap webspace hosting fees werent transacted yet, so tada! no website!...

morning i kicked off with the final day of canoepolo at the singapore river raft race - the water was URGH! damned scary. got to yak with a few more red tide girls at the end, met up with chewy in person. as usual, shaoxiang was there way earlier than i was. ah pao was there too. though the water was a severe turn-off, it was indeed much more interesting as the current in the singapore river was helping to churn the water a little, and adding the extra "against the elements" feel about the picture, though the colour of the water was still URGH. also met with is other photographer who was using a d100 and 70-200 vr at the event as well.

after the competition finished, shaoxiang and i went over to hup leong, and proceeded to have lunch at people's park, where after which he left with a friend of his, while i went back to gilbert and asked about the problem i had with my chain cleaner. also got to talk to thomas for the first time too. not long after leaving hup leong, i met both vikki and her monster walking towards me. out popped the camera and *snap! snap!* wah lau eh, their dressing so cute one, monster wearing machiam all blue, then vikki machiam all pink one... i then walked back to the rockmaster 9 event and took some more shots. got to acquaint clarence, darren, chloe (sp?) and also hatta along with iza, most of them from singapore polytechnic rock climbers. i had to leave by 6:20pm, for takashimaya, since i was shooting funkamania on behalf of funkygrad.com. a tiring day indeed, but it was good to work with fellow chums stefan and justin.

morning was a standard early trip to f.i.p., despite the hoohah regarding the no-photography issue. finally watched darryll and amanda practice their pair event - and screwed up on the wrong white balance - URGH. but the shots are decent enough though. alice told me that the children's grandfather had came over from indonesia to receive a prize for his chinese new year calligraphy entry in the late morning at this building along waterloo street. i said that i'd try to go there, since by the time i should leave f.i.p., there should be far too much weekend crowd taking up space on the ice anyway. what it turned out to be when i reached the place, i was told that my photos may turn up somewhere in an indonesian newsprint- what a shocker! due to the situation in the crampled room, i realized the inadequacy of my "wide-angle" lens. what to do? make-do lor... mattias yao was the guest of honour presenting the prizes to the recepients, though i'm sorry that not everyone had a loved one snapping photos of them receiving something. i felt a little guilty not offering to help them take a picture etc... *sob sob*

after the shoot, alice drove me back to the kodak store around home, where we'd sent in 3 reels of kodak for processing and print, and brought me to my place for me to pick out the shots from the 130+ shots i made. in the end, i picked out only 40 shots to be printed, after minor postprocessing, i sent my digital photos to be printed at 715pm. the best thing about the store i patronize, is that the folks know who i am, and they did a miracle by processing everything (film and digital) by 845pm! don't i just love them or what... the last part of the night? i headed straight out for tony roma's, where the entire family was celebrating shaun's birthday (or spelt shawn?). so there i was, i had a serving of possibly the most fabulous blueberry chocolate cake i've ever had in eons, with practically whole blueberries! before we all started to leave the place, grandpa ma gave me an angpow of 50 bucks for my work for the day... so nice of them right?

all these on sunday, i have to thank jonnansical for the initial invitation for me to pop by f.i.p., otherwise i wouldn't know all these great, friendly folks.

Friday, February 06, 2004

oh the heck with diplomacy... just called up laura regarding the photography of the national iceskating championships.

was a bit on the hard side to contact her over her mobile regarding the issue over the last couple of days - so this was probably my fifth try of the day before i got to her. just two weeks ago (or thereabouts?) she was telling me then that she may want me to shoot officially for the iceskating nationals - on this call, i was told that it was preferred that i rather not go to the event at all. reason: sisa (the national sports association for skating) has already contracted an official professional photographer. thanks for not informing me earlier of the arrangement, but rather letting me find out by myself by inquiry with only a week's time left. if i waited for laura to call, maybe i'd just know only on the first day of the competition that i'm not allowed to shoot.

i've decided that i'll still go down to witness the entire event (to clear my ass, i've even asked for permission to appear there), with my camera and lenses in tow, but i won't shoot a single frame nor take my camera out - since the arrangement just seriously miffs me, and prohibits me from doing so. yes, there has to be protection of the job of the official photographer, but that means i can't shoot at all? not for personal purposes even? does that mean there will be a carpet ruling on strictly no photography for all the parents etc? who for most, have very few shots of their children spinning, jumping in the air, off the icy surface? the glow on the faces to see pictures of their children on ice? oh heck, it doesn't matter to me - i have to play by their rules. how much can i earn from this coverage, anyway? i'm untrained, and i'm new, and i'm only amateur at best. how much am i worth? in short, i'll be down with my stuff, solely to lend my support for jonnansical's girls - since she's leaving the country just days after the event for australia. i'm sorry that i can't provide shots of her girls from the competition before she leaves, but i can't do nuts about this crap of an arrangement. i'm equally sorry that i can't help the parents who are eagerly expecting me to shoot the best pictures of their children as i can. what if you are a skater, and your butt faces the photographer when you jump? do you like photos of only your rump facing the lens? wouldn't another photographer help? at least there's a better chance of getting a more decent shot. remember, you've only like 2 minutes on the ice for your event. if your jump was never captured, it never will. i feel desolate. and she used the term, "conflict of interest". if it's literally the interest in the skaters' photos - there's no conflict. but for something that will be sold by sisa (see what they did with last year's photos), i think it's money talks louder. another possibility is, imagine paying the photographers to shoot the event, taking over all copyrights of the photos, and in the end selling off the photos by themselves - and reaping a pretty sum - much more than it costs to pay the original photographer and production of the cd's, dvd's and whatnot. this is exactly what rick rickman taught in the business of photography. oh heck. doesn't matter if i can't shoot for this event for money - but being able to do a service for my friends - that i feel really caught in between. have i become such a good photographer that i'm seen as a threat? potentially, i don't know. all i know is that i've spent a lot of time at the rink testing out the white balance, shutter lag estimation, things like that, so that i can get the moment. but now? all in vain...

leaving for overseas to shoot sports may be a much likelier possibility than staying local and trying to make it count locally. coincides with what melvyn and i were discussing last night, about our views about work, school, education, children, family, dreams, ideals in the singaporean context. on an emotional front, i must admit, there's a tendency for me to feel a need for a girlfriend who would later on be a wife, as well as a house, maybe a car (provided i get my driver's license) and some other stuff - but the pragmatic side of me thinks that i just want to be alone on the face of this world, without anything that emotionally bogs me down. that feeling that i got when i was on the journey from singapore off to mersing - the long road ride, nothing to care about in the world - i just want to go places. i have the inclinations to be a family man, but i don't want to be one either. of additional note - met raymond, a former student of mine - he's just changed from player striker to a 'keeper!

Thursday, February 05, 2004

met dennis late last night as i was enjoying my fried half spring chicken meal at close to midnight. we had a good talk - and learnt that his passion was into race car driving. i was reminded by him - work to learn, rather than work to earn. that way we learn a lot more that can benefit us in the long term. shared with him the amazing folks i got to know better recently - jed, jonnansical and eileen, though i must admit i don't know all of them 100% currently, but i will see what i can learn from them in as short a time as possible. coincidentally... all three of them are born in 1978!

these few days dad has been acting odd. just two days ago, when i first got home after i bought the the essentials from canon, i passed it to him pronto, recommending the book. his response? after entertaining andy's family for a while in the hall, he popped into my room and shook his head and dismissed the book. so what did he do today? shooting marine tank macros using his macro lens, perpendicular to the glass - and the main source of light in the house is from all the windows behind him! reflections wouldn't be the only problem - why didn't he turn on the light for the fish tank? and a couple days ago, not too surprisingly, one of his two newly acquired seahorses died. wow. a marine fish tank that has a high deathrate. jinxed? soon it will be fungus feasting off the lens of his olympus camera that he plonked probably $5,000 into, and hardly use at all. if he's willing to learn, not from me, but from the book i passed to him, his photos can be a heck lot better. but see what being stubborn gets him? exactly - nowhere.

what's wrong with this picture?

chirpy eileen gave me a buzz at about 4pm today, asking me about the sigma 70-200 f/2.8 ex apo if hsm (what a mouthful!) - because she was down at the camera workshop with her hubby. i'd checked out the fred miranda reviews section for the lens and gave her a call back to give notes that i made. just before i set out on my way to canon singapore, i gave her another call - they chose to do more homework for the lens and instead bought the speedlight 550ex. ah good. one more newbie tutorial lesson, coming right up!

got to canon's service centre, and was surprised to see x there, as if he was waiting for me! so happened that he was expecting wolfgang to come - what a coincidence! wolfgang soon turned up with a friend, and so seems that his manfrotto tripod went "timberrrrr!" along with his 10d and an ef 20mm f/2.8 plus his speedlite 550ex. ouch! the mounting foot of the flash was broken - but from what i remember from harlequin's post some time ago, the replacement for a mounting foot costs $26, still fairly cheap. anyway, the surprising thing was that while i was chatting with x after wolfgang left - edwin soh came trotting out from the rooms behind the service counter! being a half-associated member of egress, i fired at him, "what are you doing here?" so seems my poly pal is now working in canon singapore - what a small world! we had a short chat, and he returned to his post, while i carried on to talk about general photography stuff with x. x also passed me a potentially collector's poster that features all the kwanons that have been made since its inception, up to 2000. though the d30/d60 are not in the photo, but heck, it doesn't matter that much. gotta figure out a frame for it soon. just as i was leaving, i was talking to terence - and boy - he knows me from the hardwarezone days when i posted about scsi stuff in the forum! my goodness - the world is so small, isn't it nice to know practically someone wherever you turn?

oh, and i nearly forgot to mention - the 10d cmos cleaning came to a bill of... zero dollars. kudos to the canon singapore support team!

aiyah, next round must see if i can get a nice 2cm wide canon sticker or not for my lens hood... hmm...

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

spent a good part of the day waking up late, and then disassembled my computer to clean up. something is wrong with the way i'm writing now. i wonder why. hmmm. plugg in the two hard disk coolers that i got yesterday, seems to work - but whether they work like a charm is another thing to verify given time...

so silly ol' cash was playing a prank/experiment on the rest of clubsnap trying to see what kind of response we have to his harsh words. just knew it from the start that no one could ever start to critique others by using harsh words. good thing is that he admitted to carrying out the experiment, but it's anyone guess why such he would carry out such a perverted test on the community.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

the presence of cash on clubsnap has been nothing but trouble. imagine this - a guy who joined the forum a paltry 3 weeks ago, claiming he was around to learn and share, and now, 3 weeks later, he has become a critic whose critique/criticism (he has artfully merged the two into one, ala simon from american idol) for others pictures has been very hard-hitting. granted, most of us (myself included) don't have a basic level of photography skills etc, but surely there can be better and more constructive ways to critique photos that something in the line of "that sucks"? no word of relief - that's fine, but surely we could be harsh, but be constructive at the same time? for goodness' sakes, do help a fellow human being to improve, other than pinpointing that he sucks. i mean, all of us have failed at any one thing before, so why the need to be so harsh to others? and for a while, i was proud to be part of the clubsnap group. now? what has happened had bluestrike writing...

    Why dun you just shut your mouth shut and stop making this thing deeper!

    What the Hell ......You wan to talk abt family issit.......

    Come come .. let start another tread in Kopitiam and talk abt it... come c.....
    Speaking not as a Mod but as a member of this place.

and that's for asking this cash to kindly present some form of positive help. come on, we are human, and we have feelings. but whatever he writes, that's up to him. i clearly remember nick aplin teaching us at the first soccer lesson we had with him - "be nice".


first place i set off in the morning, was for ntu - for the ntu cheerleading display. got to the area outside lt1a just past 1130am, and soon i met up with this pleasant chap - who turned out to be modenslim - he was covering for afiend who wasn't able to make it. magnum force was a guest performer for today's showcase, but before them, it was hall 1's unisus (what is that supposed to mean, anyway?) show. not bad, but something was missing - which magnum force put into my head - the WOW factor. and i thought humans weren't meant to fly...

met ronald pung and one more of my canoepolo-playing vs seniors in the nie canteen when i was there just before i had lunch, then on the bus out, i met adrian lim from vs as well as david, a senior of mine from pess. stayed on a little while, then it was a beeline for canon singapore to send in the 10d for servicing. the service was cordial, curt, and friendly - just everything good that you want. bought the essentials of photograph with your eos camera from the canon marketing department just before i left - it was a wondeful read!

i was in a little rush to meet ray at starbucks bugis when bumped into clown outside it just before ray appeared for the collection of his photos (that i shot of him, not the other way round). was introduced to clown's pal, kenneth and moments later, anne (sp?). they did collectively suggest that i price my photographs higher, because as i analyzed it myself, i'm not even breaking even! this is one hell of a dilemma for me - gotta really think about it.

went over to alan photo because clown and kenneth told me that there was a new canon speedlite 540ex released - and i confirmed it twice whether it was "ex" or "ez" with each of them - and they said, "ex". the difference can mean compatibility, or sheer incompatibility with the digital eos cameras. eager ol' me walked over to alan photo to check out the never-announced flash, and desmond there showed me that it was the older 540ez model all along, and it was a goof up. finally, i went upstairs and bought two hard disk cooling fans for my ide hard drives from joyce - then i walked over to selera's for 3 chicken (puk puk!) curry puffs for dinner...

Monday, February 02, 2004

the first meeting of eileen was incredibly disarming. for a person who represented the nation for at least six s.e.a. games, she didn't have a single bit of airs about her. i must admit, she's fantastically chatty too! the fantastic experience she has in sports, competition just plainly amazes me - she's not just on par with jonnansical, but raised the bar even higher!

met vanessa's dad, eric while we were having lunch at the s11 around the rink's vicinity - and we did have a good chat. i forgot to mention, i met eric as i was coming out of jurong east in the morning.

gazel being her cute self - see her wide big grin as she covers her face?

one thing i learnt the hard way today - never use a blower to blow the insides of the shutter box, especially if there's some saliva left from holding the tip of the blower in the mouth... for that lesson alone, i have to visit canon again to send in my 10d for servicing... argh... at least eileen learnt the lesson from me well today

teck heng just left my place - was pretty surprised how come he doesn't understand metering despite using cameras way earlier than me, by at least a full decade. guess the power of the internet and digital photograpy are really there - one can harness the fantastic wealth of information for superquick learning...

Sunday, February 01, 2004

ah, not bad. for an oldie like me, running in my first 5k time trial in a gazillion years without training, and having a fantastic time having a side stitch halfway through the run, i managed to eke out a 22:38. ok la, can do...

tomorrow morning's a great time for some shooting on the ice... yeah baby yeah! better ask eileen to set off earlier - i'm suddenly thinking of 730am at the rink...

friday was a field day, not in the field literally. didn't know of rockmaster ix until i ventured over to the rock wall in singapore polytechnic. i mean, otherwise i'd be stuck shooting canoepolo all the time and watching without shooting after 7pm when the sun's rays diminish to near zero. met tang lin and spyder there, small surprise - since they are known for being practically the only few pe teachin' climbers.

massive setup witnessed from clubsnap yesterday. got to meet avatar, watcher, icebooke, jed, larry, travelshooter, max (from nikon singapore), lavenderlilz, aj23, junyang, willyfoo, peterlim, and some more of whom i don't know their names. of special note - i think the coolpix 8700 was with us too! but i must add, most of us were more attracted to the big mama's - 300mm f/2.8d, 400mm f/2.8d, 500mm f/4d, 200-400mm f/4g vr, 70-200mm f/2.8g vr. really big guns! along with them came the 12-24mm dx lens as well. travelshooter had what i presumed was his own personal 80-400mm vr zoom lens as well...

no doubt it was probably a split-second thing, but an image can portray a different effect otherwise from what really happened. so, when you play a game, never never lose sight of what impending danger(s) is/are coming for you!

went over to nus after the shooting at sp, to meet up with justin to do some shooting in preparation for the king edward vii hall's upcoming play, barefoot in the park, for funkygrad.com, to be held from 12th - 14th february. coincidentally, i met dennis while taking 105 back from clementi - he was seated right next to me when i opened my eyes from a doze!

got to the rink at about 920am this morning, and i got to know sabrina, mom of alexandria, sonja and her daughter tania, and anna with uri. extra: le-anne (spelling?) who was last seen on jack neo's gao xiao xing dong... i'm getting immune to seeing people doing splits etc now...

tomorrow, i should be shooting with eileen from pess. she's also a fellow kwanon user! i'll bring along my 50mm f/1.8 for her to use, since the kit lens with the eos-300d is definitely not fast enough... only this morning, felicia's dad mentioned that he'd be down tomorrow morning, and only then did blur ol' me realize it's hari raya haji today! selamat hari raya aidiladeha (sp?) to all muslim pals here!