Tag Archives: Singapore

Open your eyes : The Photographer’s Discovery

I’m not a street photographer, it takes patience and skills to be one.

Being a Travel Photographer differs from street photography. However the same skills has help trained me to be more aware, more conscious of life, of people, of unusual folks out of the ordinary. I love making portraits of people like that.

This gentleman stood out among the crowded masses in a busy train station. Normally I would walk off, unconscious of what is happening around me. This man seem quite different from all the foreigners around this busy place. This city I am in, has more than 50% foreigners living in it, so it was quite a common sight.  I found out he is Austrian, living in Langkawai, Malaysia for the past 4 years. He decided to move out of his country and never went back. He looked kinda lost and was given wrong directions to his hotel. I asked I could help and perhaps make a few images of him. Unfortunately I was in a rush, would love to ask him about his life and I bet he has tons of stories to tell.

Maybe I should get into Street Photography just as an excuse to meet interesting people and listen to their stories.

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Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2014

 

Once again Anime Festival Asia come to Singapore. There were tons of Cosplayers visiting dressed in their professionally done costumes, most made their own costumes. It has gotten pretty competitive in dressing up as characters and many hobby photographers coming along joining in the event.

This is my second event, and I had truly enjoyed it, for someone not into Cosplay or even Japanese Anime, it has been quite an experience. These people take their costumes seriously and hobby photographers quite fiercely territorial in getting their money shots. This was the first time I had with so many willing models wanting to pose for a selfie or having the attention of photographers!

There was even a wedding proposal that happen right in front of me at the Festival!

 

Taken tons of images, won’t want to flood you with Anime fatigue.  You can find them all on my Facebook Page : TheTravelLust

Until Next Year!

Its great visiting the festival in the convention, but the main action is outside at the atrium, where Cosplayers set up their shoots and wait for photographers for their self portraits.

 



Cosplayers are highly competitive and lap up all the attention for mass hordes of photographers.  Every so often, a group of photographers will  form when a Cosplayer strut their stuff!

 


 

 

The Last Satay Man of Tiong Bahru and Singapore – No More

RIP The Last Satay Man of  Tiong Bahru and in Singapore!

Tiong Bahru Satay man

Final Death of Good Street Food in Singapore – Case Closed.

Sadly the bureaucratic system of Singapore has caught up with one beloved food street vendor in Tiong Bahru / Singapore once again.  Uncle Satay Man was fined big time by our very efficient Government system for ‘illegal food vendor/selling’ . I got this news through TiongBahru.org – a group of passionate people.

Uncle does traditional Hainanese satay unlike the Malay satay that is famously promoted by the Singapore Tourist Board. Hainanese satay is mainly only pork, with a slice of fat in between the meat. Traditionally three layers  per stick, meaning it is meat, fat, meat. Marinated lightly, it is served with grated pineapple and peanut sauce with chilli oil, accompanied condiments of  rice cubes “ketupat”, sliced red onion and cucumber. The key for a good hainanese satay is using charcoal grill, frequent brushes of oil for that Maillard reaction. i.e the skill is in the grilling!

Tiong Bahru was one of the last vestiges of nostagic Singapore before it was killed by Gentrification a few years ago. Turned into yet another hipster hang out, invaded with cafes and hipster restaurants. Tiong Bahru was finally murdered 2 years ago, the old retail shops and traditional food stores have ceased to exist. Leaving only shells and memories of the distant past.

Sorry Uncle Satay Man, thank you for your contribution to Singapore Street Food Culture.

Why is this so important to me?

Back in the old days, this is how we get our satay in our local neighbourhood, a little cart, the satay man with his traditional satay bamboo leaf handheld fan.  Going around the neighbourhood, yelling Satay….. Satay… Satay…. Yes. the good old 1960s-80s nostalgia where we get our door to door food vendors.

(Why no complete photo of the Satay Man? Because I don’t want to show his face to the public due to the sensitive nature of the business. The common Singapore saying “In case police catch him”. Unfortunately too many people have posted about him and pasted his image all over the web)

Tiong Bahru Satay man

Tiong Bahru Satay man

Tiong Bahru Satay man

Tiong Bahru Satay man

Tiong Bahru Satay man

Tiong Bahru Satay man

Tiong Bahru Satay man

Tiong Bahru Satay man

 

Travel lust goes to A little lane around Arab Street – Death by Gentrification

Haji Lane scene

Death by Gentrification – Haji Lane, Singapore

Change happens in Singapore very rapidly, even more in the last 5 years. Buildings are pulled down, places are taken over by Hipsters, while the old businesses are killed off by rising rents, or by physical death. Things change here.

Great little areas in Arab Street have quickly being taken over by hipsters, once the different streets here sell fabrics, craft and hold clothing warehouses. Now replaced by hipster independent stores selling Tshirts for us$500, or bespoke furniture stores, more hipster gourmet coffee cafes, or cheesy cafe restaurants. This whole place is no longer what is use to be.

Anime Festival Asia 2013 – what a riot!

The Masked Panty Guy

The Anime Festival Asia in Singapore last weekend was a total riot. My very first visit to this crazy congregation of teenagers dressed in strangely weird Cosplay costumes. They came from all over South East Asia.

Got to meet with very friendly kids who are so enthusiastic chattered non stop about their favorite characters or manga or lament the fact that this year’s festival wasn’t as good as the previous. All I did was nodded in agreement and pretended I knew what they were talking about when it came to their favorite anime character and the intricate plots.

There were the weird ones, a guy bravely came with as a masked panty hero from a strange Japanese movie. You bet he got a lot of attention!

There were the boys who dressed as their female characters.

Guy in a Nurse outfit

Yes, thats a young man dressed in a Cartoon female nurse. He had rather nice long legs with short short short skirt wth revealing underwear. Sorry about the censorship, these are young under 18 kids.

The guy with the Hello Kitty outfit and his samurai sword. I don’t know if he was being ironic, or just wanted to dress up like a Hello Kitty school girl.

animefestivalasia1

Boys with Dolls

A whole lot of boys carrying their expensive dolls around, the dolls came with tons of costumes and attachments which was changed on a regular basis as they were paraded. Still don’t get the whole concept of boys carrying these dolls around and showing them off. Not cheap either, a doll like this set you back at least us$100+ up

Guy and his Doll

animefestivalasia3

Guy with his doll and a camera with his camera. Get it?

animefestivalasia2

Another guy with a doll and his camera

Guy with his doll on his 3rd outfit change.

Guy with his soft toys

Guy with his macross Doll

Dad carrying his daughter and her doll

Then there was the adult who carried his cutest girl around, I might imagine that those young boys with dolls will one day be having children. Maybe those boys carrying their dolls around the Festival were practising for this.  That could explain their fascination with doll collections.

Photographers gone crazy, its a camera fest galore

There were the over the top male photographers and their expensive gears orgasming on the sexy Cosplayers.  God knows what they will do with their photos.

I asked the photographers in this photo (above) what they were doing with the photos, were they going to post it on anywhere and their reply was no, they are only doing it as a ‘service’ to the Cosplayers. Would rather think their reply was pretty lame excuse, heck.

And more photographers, mostly grown men with fancy cameras going crazy. I would too, maybe next year!

There was the couple who dressed as Finn and Fiona in Adventure time. No one was kind enough to remind the couple, it was a Japanese Anime Convention, not Comic Con. Oh well…  there was no Jake the dog!

Folks, Its not Comic Con, you are at the wrong convention!

Of course there were the regular costume folks who were wearing the latest anime movie, Attack of the Titans. Great Series!

Anime Festival Asia 2014

Model dressed as The humanoid from Attack of Titans

There were the models hired by the various Japanese Anime booths to be camera whored around.

I don’t know what he/she is

And there are the ones who made their own costumes!

animefestivalasia4

The bunny who went around with a social contract document

Anime Festival Asia 2013

She made her own costume, and bought some steampunk items and reworked the whole thing!

He pretty much goes to every Anime convention everywhere including LA Comic Con. Made his costume from scratch which took 1.5 months.  Yes he is wearing heels and kindly wore his heels for my photo.

Usual sexy get up as a Japanese school girl

Don’t know what character she is.

The last day and last hour of the Festival, the paid models for camera whoring were waiting for shut down!

Until the next year, I shall be prepared for a great weekend.

Night at the Chinese Opera

One of the last Chinese Teochew Opera Troupes in Singapore.

This is one of the remaining traditional chinese operas which has still has its bamboo and wooden back stage. Enjoyed visiting these wonderful Chinese Operas, my grandmother loved watching them and often took me along when I was really young. Backstages were my favorite places when I was a kid, having remembered them to be rather dim, lit with mostly using kerosene lamps even in the 1980s. There were so many taboos back then, everyone had to pray to the gods before the start of every act, the altar seemed quite frightful. These days, brightly lit up backstages, they don’t seem to have that nostalgic feeling. Maybe I am too biased.

The actresses are amazing and quite passionate about their art, mostly in their 60s to their late 70s, having trained since they were very young children. Sad to see there are not as many male actors around anymore. They put on shows for very limited audience at nearby Chinese temples. Most will gradually retire and soon the troupes disappear, replaced with more modern troupes for the modern audiences.

Chinese Teochew Opera Troupe, preparing for the next act.

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Chinese Teochew Opera

Faster Die, Faster Go Home

Love this actress, she is so beautiful, very cute, one of my favorite image made at the Chinese Opera. Asked her why she had changed so fast, the opera not ended yet. In teochew, she said, “Already died, faster die faster go home. Best character hor”.

The troupe had a rather rigorous schedule few days before in Pulau Ubin, an island off Singapore for a Tua Pei Kong celebration and were exhausted. She was so happy to be done for the night.

Chinese Teochew Opera

Lost in Singapore : The Buddha playstation

Once in awhile, Singapore surprises me with really hidden gems in this ever changing bulldozing concrete jungle.

I came across this really interesting buddha altar while exploring the last kampung in Singapore, Kampung Buangkok. A neighbourhood that once covered most of Singapore.

Not sure why a playstation remote was hanging on one of the buddha statue, but I guess they needed to hang something off buddha.

By the time you read this, it is probably not there anymore.

There are more humans in the cemetery at night

Taoist Mediums at the celebrations

Hungry Ghost Festival in Singapore is one of my favorite month of the year. The month long celebration of when all hell breaks loose, releasing all the spirits out onto earth to run amok with the blessing of the gods … Continue reading

The lady with amazing voice, selling tissue paper

Listen to the Tissue paper song here

This lady with amazing voice use to visit my neighbourhood, selling tissue paper. I won’t call her the Tissue paper lady, but rather, the lady with the voice, selling tissue paper. She has been plying her trade for almost a decade.

However unlike many other disadvantaged Singaporeans, she sings for her sale, rather than just selling them. She was made famous by Tan Pin Pin’s 2005 documentary, “Singapore Ga Ga”.  Check out the documentary, a great piece on Singapore.

Whenever she is around, she really brightens my day with her beautiful singing, making it a rather colorful neighbourhood rather than a static and stagnant one. Thank you, I do hope to see you again.

About Tissue paper selling

A pretty common occupation for disadvantaged Singaporeans. It is not begging, for begging is illegal in Singapore, but a way for poorer Singaporeans to earn a living. In a highly developed city like Singapore where the wealth divide is getting larger, disadvantaged Singaporeans found a way to earn some money. Life is hard here in Singapore, if you are older, or handicapped, or disadvantaged in some way, selling packets of tissue paper may be the only choice.

Lets hope the higher authorities do not put pressure on these folks and raid them, but appreciate that life is tough here, and perhaps they could help and allow these people to ply their tiny trade.

About the Song

It is sang in Hokkien:

Tissue paper, one dollar one dollar, only one dollar

Aunty, Uncle, brother, sister, please help buy, tissue paper

one dollar, one dollar, only one dollar