Thursday, October 27, 2011

Field Sounds: Deepavali behind Rowell Road

Dolphins on Rowell Road

Dolphin stickers on a wall along Rowell Road

I was sitting at home on Deepavali day, confronted with the noise of a chinese funeral in front, a traffic jam, the general hustle and bustle of Little India on a public holiday, when suddenly I could hear another noise - what sounded like somebody screaming. Alarmed, I went to check out the sound.

Directly behind my kitchen window (which was in a seperate unit across the corridor), there was a crowd of young indian men dancing in the streets. They were really young and practically still boys, so their exciting shouting and singing was so high-pitched that I had initially mistaken it for screaming. There was a drumbeat - but they did not actually have drums, and the sound was that of them crouching in the streets with empty plastic bottles and they were hitting them on the ground rhythmically. Some were singing, some were shouting, and some of them were in the centre, dancing wildly and showing off their dance moves. It was amazing that they managed to invent an whole impromptu dance party with just an empty backstreet and a few plastic bottles.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Field Sounds: Newton Getai

Dug up some old recordings of a Getai in the Newton Circus Carpark that were recorded back in August 2011.


Unknown Getai Singer - 我问天

There were a number of acts and I did not catch their names. But I recorded this getai singer doing an unexpectedly energetic and jaunty cover of 我问天 (I ask the heavens), theme song to the long-suffering taiwanese drama serial "爱“. (I much prefer the theme tune this way actually, rather than in its serious melodramatic ballad form - just imagine! "我问天!!!" shouted with a flourish of palms, toothy grin, and a dance of glittery sequins!)

黄青元 - 昨夜星辰

The amazing evergreen singer 黄青元 (Huang Qing Quan) made a stellar appearance at this humble stage, singing a couple of his old favourites such as 昨夜星辰 (Last night's stars).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Field Sounds: London Radio Surfing (Stamford Hill, 2 June 2011)

Sat in the house all day waiting for the plumber to come. The result: Turning the radio dial from one end to the other end really slowly and recording it.


Recorded from a radio in East London

Friday, March 25, 2011

I will send you to a better place - Zai Kuning (The Substation Gallery, 25 Mar 2010)

I will send you to a better place flyer
onisstudio: Since 2006, Zai Kuning has been speaking passionately about the lost of the Substation Garden, which has been disconnected from the arts centre itself ever since Timbre Group opened its first food and beverage outlet. The arts community's response towards the lost of the iconic tree, the changing landscape around The Substation, and the community it used to gather varies from nostalgia, ambivalent pragmatism to resentment.

i will send you to a better place - zai kuning
Commissioned for a work for the Singapore Biennale (SB) 2011, Zai proposed to close Timbre and return the garden to the arts community for the period of the Biennale. However, the proposal failed to materialise. Bearing in mind Kuo Pao Kun's words " great failure is more worthwhile than mediocre success', Zai conceived this exhibition and monologue as a response to the failed project, focusing on his personal experience and thoughts about the Garden, the Substation, and his conversation with Matthew Ngui (director of SB 2011).

I want my garden back because I miss the tree
Its 4pm now but the garden is lock and the tree is as
lonely as me

I want my garden back because I miss the tree
And now they have turn the garden to be so ugly
Im feeling sad and angry for the garden and how we use
to play freely

- Zai Kuning's open letter to the artscommunity, 2006

Zai Kuning's Recorded Monologue (partial recording)

Zai Kuning's Speech (25 March 2011)

Zai, thank you for giving this speech. I hope you do not mind but I have recorded it almost in full because I think this is one thing particularly worth documenting and more people should be able to hear this. The situation with Timbre and the Substation Garden is something that is close to my heart as well, as it also can be said that I "found myself" at Substation.

One day during my secondary school days I was leaving the now demolished National Library when I heard the strains of music coming from someplace nearby. I followed the sound and I found a bunch of local bands playing at the back of the Fat Frog Cafe of Substation... and in the years following that chance encounter, I always seemed to go back to the Substation.

The first gig I organised was also at the Substation; my first foray into design work was also working with Moving Images (I was trained only as a writer, but this first stab at doing visual work has more or led to me working professionally as a designer now, many years later). My first solo exhibition was also held at The Substation last year under the auspices of their visual arts open call - I am ever grateful for the opportunity and their support of my work. I would not have had the space or resources to produce my work about the Singapore River if not for the Substation.

Space is always important here because there is so little of it. While I am not homeless, I work on my own independently and this takes me to many different offices and different places in a single day, and this sometimes feels like I'm some sort of refugee. I am often moving through town carrying all sorts of ridiculous amounts of equipment and books (and constantly picking up more and more). Sometimes in the lull between meetings and the going-ons, I try to look for a harbour at which to shelter at for a while. But over the years, these "meeting spots" have gotten fewer and fewer, with the loss of things like winfood and four face buddha. These days I don't know where to go. Sometimes even when nothing is happening at the Substation I actually end up walking there and sitting there alone on whatever bench or chair that has been left outside.

Which I always think is a great pity. Sometimes even in the short moments of rest, great things can happen. Practically all of my closest friends today are the product of random encounters, walking around places. How would these connections have been made without the spaces in the city where people meet? I wish for more spaces in which people can sit and meet and create things without being pressured to buy something, or to consume something. A neutral space, like you said.

What can we do to get back the garden?

A passage i like from Constant's "Another City for Another Life":

"The crisis in urbanism is worsening. The layout of neighborhoods, old and new, conflicts with established patterns of behavior and even more with the new ways of life that we are seeking. The result is a dismal and sterile ambience in our surroundings.

In the older neighborhoods, the streets have degenerated into freeways and leisure activities are being commercialized and corrupted by tourism. Social relations become impossible. The newly built neighborhoods have only two all-pervasive themes: automobile traffic and household comfort — an impoverished expression of bourgeois contentment, lacking any sense of play.

To meet the need to rapidly construct entire cities, cemeteries of reinforced concrete are being built in which masses of the population are condemned to die of boredom. What is the point of all the extraordinary technical inventions the world now has at its disposal if the conditions are lacking to derive any benefit from them, if they contribute nothing to leisure, if imagination is absent?"

See also:
Mayo Martin: We RAT on Zai Kuning and his invisible Biennale work!
The Substation

Friday, March 11, 2011

Citysounds: Allah Akbar / In Excelsis Deo / Huat Ah Heng Ah

Night falls over Jakarta

Taman Rasuna - Allah Akbar
(Jakarta, December 2010)

One thing that one often forgets about visiting a staunchly Muslim country - that is, until one arrives - is that startling, huge sound of muezzins at prayer time, echoing at least five times a day through the city. Like a beacon of light sweeping through the city, the voices rise from the many minarets across the city, calling muslims to prayer. There was always one at about half past 3 in the morning, and due to the stillness of the night it was always incredibly clear as the sonorous sounds echoed off the skyscrapers in the adjacent and more affluent parts of Jakarta city. I did not see so many mosques in the rich part of town, but I did see them at almost every other street corner in the poorer, low-rise areas.

Who was keeping awake at 3 in the morning? Who was listening and who was still praying at this hour? It was as if the voices from the poorer quarters of Jakarta competed with one another to be heard, and under the blanket of darkness, I did not know who might still be listening.


Gereja Katedral Jakarta - Gloria In Excelsis Deo (Bahasa version)
(Jakarta, December 2010)

On the night of Christmas Eve, thousands of Christians pack the Gereja Katedral Jakarta to attend the Mass services conducted in Bahasa. One of Jakarta's largest Catholic cathedrals, the halls within the Gereja Katedral Jakarta are opulently grand in European style - tall stained-glass windows, wooden pews decked with holly and ribbon, small roman birdbaths of "holy water", and gilded paintings of Jesus and the Apostles on the walls. Dressed in their Sunday's best, the services draw a cross-section of Jakarta which appears predominantly Chinese and generally very bourgeois or affluent.

The refrain of "Angels we have heard on high" will be familiar to even english speakers. As the faithful crowds sung it, I wondered, did they translate this song from the English, or the Dutch, or was there a Latin version of the song? There was something jarring about this. The only words I recognised were the Latin words, and in that, one is reminded that Latin was not even the original language of the Bible. I could not even begin to imagine how the Indonesians would relate the Bible to their context of living in Indonesia. An artificial bubble world. But of course I am simply thinking too much - it is not so complicated for most, for Christianity is often just another sign of the gentrification or western influences in those parts.



Xing Gong Temple (Jalan Ulu Air Molek) - Heng Ah Huat Ah
(Johor Bahru, February 2011)

On the 20th day of every new Lunar year, an epic Chingay procession is held in Johor Bahru, where five deities (representing each of the Chinese dialect groups which have settled in Johore - Hokkien, Cantonese, Hainanese, Hokchew, Hakka) take a tour around the city, hoisted on the back of followers eager to bear the load of the huge shrines (for good luck!).

At the temple before they go on their tour of the town, event organisers from the temple lead the crowds in vigorous cheers of "Huat Ah! Heng Ah!" The event is clearly more than just religious ritual but also symbolic of the Chinese community's aspirations and power within Malaysia. After respects have been paid and dances have been made in honour, the "gods" are paraded proudly through an 8km stretch traversing the financial centre of the city which they presumably watch over. The ensuing float procession is decorated in bright LEDs, neon lights, accompanied by acrobatic performers, worshippers with huge joss sticks, offerings, and a long entourage of lion and dragon troupes from all over Malaysia and other parts of Asia.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Perspectives from the Ideal City - Peter Chen (Post Museum, 24 Feb 2011)







Peter Chen's "Perspectives from the Ideal City" features some stunning panoramic prints documenting what seems like a systematic demolition of unbelievably iconic pieces of Singapore's Post-Independence architecture, deemed by various policies to be of architectural unimportance, or overridden by a competitive market driven by practicality and money.

From the Artist's Statement: "However, one occasionally sees a momentary rupture in the fabric of the city as it leaves in its wake a physical presence that reveals itself through the fissure in its arithmetical logic. It is the intention of this research to capture the momentary isolation of such 'reveals' - urban slippages that betray the conditions of the capitalism where progress was unable to erase or assimilate."

I enjoy the idea of these spots being a kind of "urban slippage" - the same way I relate to the Singapore River being some kind of psychogeographical faultline. Through the demolition of such sites which have already etched into people's hearts and memories, even the empty spots where they used to lie still remain haunted for those who find meaning in spaces and memories; it is the punctum of the image. I am also glad that someone has taken the pains to document these places before the connection becomes more and more faint and the dots can no longer be connected between memory and place.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shipwrecked (ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, 18 Feb 2011)

Three shows have opened at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, namely: "Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds", "Traveling the Silk Road", and "Genghis Khan".


"Shipwrecked" is a collection of over 400 items found in a shipwreck off the coast of Belitung island in the Gelasa Straits (Gaspar Straits). I was actually involved in some of the production work for the exhibition so it is probably not possible for me to give an objective account of it - naturally I really like the Shipwrecked show a lot more than the other two exhibitions (which were brought in from the US). I guess it also feels a lot more significant as these are the first time the artefacts are being exhibited here as an original Singaporean collection, whereas the other two shows (Silk Road, Genghis) are shows which were acquired from other collections and then adapted for the space.


Touchscreen map interactive I worked on.

As the story goes, the shipwreck was discovered off the coast of Belitung by sea-cucumber divers in shallow waters of just 20 metres, making it an incredibly rare find in recent times. Found in the coast of Indonesia, it was an arabic dhow that would have sailed from Tang China, to the Abbasid Empire near present day Iraq and Iran. In the course of its epic maritime journey, it would most likely have passed Singapore (Temasek) although there are speculations on the variations of routes ships would have taken around this area.


Octagonal Gold Cup with dancers and musicians on the sides.

Stem Cup (Nose Wine Glasses)

Stem Cup (Nose Wine Glasses)


Bronze Mirror

Despite what appears as a somewhat tenuous connection, Singapore took an interest in this shipwreck, and it was eventually bought over by Singapore Tourism Board & Sentosa. George Yeo's (Minister for Foreign Affairs) speech at the opening belies the metaphorical nature of this acquisition, citing this shipwreck as proof of Singapore's context as the networked city - and an opportunity for us to "relink Singapore to other places like China, Oman, etc."

One may ask what is the ostensible connection between these various things - Pottery from 9th century Tang China? Camels and spices from the Silk Road? Mongol warriors? So how are these related to art or science? At this point only the permanent collection at the ArtScience Museum directly deals with the intersection between art and science. It seems the only thread connecting the three exhibitions is TRADING AND CONQUERING! Perhaps over time (and under less pressurising circumstances) the exhibitions chosen for the space will have more direct relation to art/science; otherwise it should become a museum for exhibitions about maritime/overland trade and conquests! TRADE/CONQUEST MUSEUM? Uh, that might be apt for Marina Bay Sands? (I like it best when people are directly honest about what they are doing...)

Speaking of pottery collections, I was at NUS Museums recently where I found the most amazing display of broken pottery in their permanent collection! I LOVE THIS CABINET!


So, it's all broken into pieces, but we can't quite just throw it away, can we? But what happens to all the broken historical artefacts of the world? Do they still have collection value? And if they don't have collectors value, then what other value do they have?


I love how it looks like someone has lovingly tried to piece it together but the gaps are still so huge between the cracks. So endearingly earnest.


Random Ubin Pottery


Complete & Unabridged, Part I (Lasalle, Institute of Contemporary Arts, 18 Feb 2011)

"In 2011, Mr. Roberto Chabet, one of the Philippines’ most influential contemporary artists, will be celebrating fifty years of his professional practice as an artist, curator and teacher. OAF, together with the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts (ICAS), and King Kong Art Projects Unlimited are presenting a series of exhibitions of works by Chabet and over 80 acclaimed and emerging Filipino artists whom he has taught and mentored."

[From Lasalle website]: "Complete & Unabridged, Part I presents 30 contemporary artists from the Philippines who studied under the guidance of pioneer Filipino conceptual artist, Roberto Chabet. As a driving force and mentor of several generations of Filipino artists, Chabet taught for over thirty years at the University of the Philippines – College of Fine Arts (UPCFA) and curated exhibitions at key artist-run spaces in Manila. Complete & Unabridged, Part I offers a spectrum of works including painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, installation, photography and video that reflects a diversity of interests and practices in art in the Philippines. While not all may follow the same trajectories and paths, they are connected by a continuing discussion around alternative forms and ways of thinking about art, which Chabet has consistently raised through his own art, curated exhibitions and teachings."

Selection of some works at the show:


Felix Bacolor - Terminal (2011)

This is the most striking piece, which can be seen even from outside the gallery.


Gaston Damag - Yes/No (1986)

Jonathan Olazo - Narratives of Exhaustion and Endings 1-3 (2008)

Jonathan Olazo - Narratives of Exhaustion and Endings 1-3 (2008)

Dan Raralio - Press Statement / Wet Dreams / Brain Drain (2009)

Dan Raralio - Press Statement / Wet Dreams / Brain Drain (2009)



Agnes Areliano - Haliya Bathing (1983)

Juan Alcazaren - Involuntary (2009) chopping boards

Juan Alcazaren - Involuntary (2009) chopping boards

Soler Santos - Fallen Tree (2010)

Soler Santos - Fallen Tree (2010)

Ronald Achacoso - Love in the Time of Velvet Painting (2009)

Ronald Achacoso - Love in the Time of Velvet Painting (2009)

"Complete & Unabridged Part I" is open till 26 March 2011 at Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chopping Play: Korean Contemporary Art Now (ION Art Gallery, 21 Feb 2011)


"The participants of "Chopping Play" [...] are all well-recognised contemporary Korean artists in their 30s and 40s who each epitomize the bold flair and creative vision that differentiates contemporary Korean art from their broad Asian peer group. Their evocative and dramatic works have been at the very epicenter of the transformation in Korean Contemporary art heralded by the epochal Gwangju Biennale in 1995, embracing diverse values, globalization and a determined assertion of self through conceptual art." [Kim Inseon - Curator]

A collection of accessible works embracing western pop culture references, collages of modern life. If you're here to find out what are the special Korean bits in Korean Contemporary art today, you might be disappointed that it is not apparent at all. The references in the works here are as global as any generic modern East Asian city - even Singapore also inadvertently feels like an east asian city because we are 78% chinese here.


Images of our animal friends from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dreamworks' Kungfu Panda as painted onto chinese watercolour scrolls may be a neat (or highly sellable) concept but it unfortunately felt like an oversimplification for me, especially without detail of brush strokes. To me, this reflected a shallow understanding of Chinese watercolour. Korea of all places is steeped in such traditional arts, and imbued with what I perceive to be a type of "Korean aesthetic" influenced by "Chinese aesthetics" and confucianism/daoism... In general maybe I hoped too much to see works which reflected or dealt with the question of modern Korea.



I quite liked the sculpture works in the show though. Facial expressions were all excellently done.


Chun Sungmyung - The window blows to you (2011)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Improvisations with Otomo Yoshihide (Lasalle Creative Cube, 19 Feb 2011)

otomo yoshihide



An awesome night of improvisations by Otomo Yoshihide (Guitar and Turntable), Leslie Low (Guitar), Brian O'Reilly (Upright Bass), Yuen Chee Wai (Electronic), Darren Moore (Drums), Tim O'Dwyer (Saxophone).

Set 1: Otomo Yoshihide, Leslie Low, Brian O'Reilly, Yuen Chee Wai, Tim O'Dwyer

Set 2: Otomo Yoshihide, Darren Moore, Tim O'Dwyer

Set 3: Otomo Yoshihide, Leslie Low, Brian O'Reilly, Yuen Chee Wai, Darren Moore, Tim O'Dwyer


There is something almost classic about the arrangement of the second set, which was simply saxophone + drum kit + guitar/turntable (if one can even speak of "classic" combinations of sounds where experimental music is concerned!). The highlight for me was the second half of the second set; a kind of ecstatic free jazz frenzy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cigondewah - Tisna Sanjaya (NUS Museum, 17 Feb 2011)


"Where a clean river once flowed, it is now filled with waste. Clear water has now been replaced with a rainbow of colours reminiscent of the moi indie paintings - red, yellow, green, brown, and sometimes even black, depending on the toxic discharge from the factories upstream." (Artist's statement)


Indonesian artist Tisna Sanjaya purchased a plot of land in his hometown Cigondewah which had been adversely affected by rapid industrialisation and turned into a plastic waste dump, and built the Cigondewah Cultural Centre over it. The work of the centre is to rejuvenate the area and community, providing spaces for pigeon lovers to have races, football fields, and to engage and solve the environmental problems in Cigondewah. By contexualising social action as art, this erosion between "art" and "life" is posited as a metaphor for the need for the erosion of the boundaries between disclipines, ownership of works (art market), and local bureaucracies/social networks - in order to get things done.


Official opening speeches in Singapore are often crammed with pep rally platitudes, reiteration of mission statements, and upper management truisms. The very mention of the words "global city for the arts" is enough to induce teeth gnashing in those sensitive to bureaucratic speak.

But this time I was amused to hear the provost say that NUS takes an interest in art because (and i quote verbatim) "art is that distinguishing factor that will make Singapore a vibrant place to live, work and play".

Standing in front of Tisna Sanjaya's Cigondewah project, one wonders whether he actively realises that he's talking about the "qualities" which make Singapore more "livable" (what does Singapore have to do with it? why is he bringing up Singapore now?) in front of a show conceptualizing social changes / collective action to make Cigondewah more "livable" as art itself.


"seni sebagai jalan hidup" (art as a way of life)


ART = KAPITAL (Joseph Beuys)

i am often glad that I studied literature instead of fine art because i feel like writing is the most basic way to articulate an abstract idea. and art is just one scaffold that represents that abstract concept. yesterday I read Ban Kah Choon's essay "Narrating Imagination" - about the strength of metaphors/similes especially in the context of places with insufficient physical space (such as in Singapore). Where space (or lack thereof) needs to be de-emphasised, it is useful to speak of psychological spaces and to use abstract thought to divert attention away from the development of space. One doesn't even have to look to art for inspiration, for this is a common tactic used in Singapore politics!

From a post I made in 2007:

PM Lee, on the Gardens by the Bay: It is “far more impressive and convincing than any sales pitch by a minister, or a Powerpoint presentation by EDB. A potential investor who arrives in Singapore sees the greenery on the way from the airport to the city centre. He notices not just neatly manicured areas, but also patches of thick vegetation left undisturbed to be bird sanctuaries. He senses the planning, organisation and execution that has made this happen, the social discipline and the public standards that extend to all aspects of life in Singapore”.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan: "We have good infrastructure. You know that we've got a very business friendly environment; we have a favourable tax regime. But at the end of the day, the decision to locate and where to do business is also dependent on individual, how people live, how their family lives, how do they feel here. Do they feel safe here; do they have a good quality of life here? This is where the garden and greenery play a part. They are part and parcel of the whole total lifestyle package”.

I think we're pretty advanced with inventing metaphors here. After all, we're an entire nation built on imaginary constructs of what we want to be. Now, to follow in that tradition...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

House & Memory / Apartment Project - ruru & friends (Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta, 28 Dec 2010)

Last December, I made a short trip to Jakarta which incidentally coincided with the opening of the ruangrupa "Decompression 10th Anniversary" exhibition at Galeri Nasional Indonesia. A whole month of exhibitions, talks, shows, and performances spread out over various locations in jakarta (and scattered over numerous buildings within the Galeri Nasional compound), this exhibition was huge! so vast! it was like art/information overload for the visitor who might not be so well acquainted with Jakarta or the art scene in Indonesia.

However one thing I wanted to write down was that there were two things which were quite interesting to me at that show - Arjan van Helmond's House and Memory, and ruangrupa's "Apartment Project". During that trip to Jakarta, we also happened to be coincidentally staying at a friend of a friend's place at Taman Rasuna, one of the residences discussed in the works.

Taman Rasuna

The view from the balcony of Taman Rasuna (Tower 9)

A staggeringly massive condominium development by Bakrie Group consisting of 15 highrise towers, landscaped gardens, multiple swimming pools and other luxury facilities, Taman Rasuna towers over the adjacent low-rise area which is seperated from "Bakrieland" by a high wall and barbed wires. the 4th floor features an "open sky podium" which is said to be one of the few of its kind in Indonesia (but this type of condo development will probably look quite familiar to Singaporeans).


A narrow hole in the wall is the gateway between the two worlds. On one side, in the shadow of the 214m tall Bakrie Tower and in walking distance from international embassies and Jakarta's CBD, you'll find 45000rp coffees at Starbucks, the organic "farmer's market", and the other predictably glossy accoutrements of commercialism and modernity. But not more than a 10 minutes walk away, behind the fence, it is the typical Jakarta urban sprawl, teeming with muezzins wailing, ramshackle houses scattered in all directions, speeding bajajs, rubbish dumps, and parts of the cemetery upon which Towers 1-4 of Taman Rasuna is said to have been also built over.




Mountain of Rubbish

Arjan van Helmond's House and Memory is a collection of sketches in which residents were asked to draw where they used to live based entirely on memory, which naturally allowed people some freedom of imagination where their self-drawn maps and floorplans were concerned. Some of the sketches were by people who previously lived in the areas which had been bought over and redeveloped to build Taman Rasuna, some others were by people who were currently living in Taman Rasuna, and some others were residents in other types of housing.

In the accompanying book for the Apartment Project, they write that in Indonesia, land is seen as the source of life and power; houses occupy space and land and are also representations of power. the most obvious spatial difference between the rich/modernised areas and the less developed areas is that apartment housing is vertical whereas the dense urban sprawl of jakarta develops horizontally. when we draw maps we draw them on a flat plane, but highrise buildings do not have the same relation to the ground as the simple single-storey houses found in jakarta. so even when we try to draw our maps, the normal orientation and notion of space is altered.

The question that would be interesting for me is whether/how this spatial difference between horizontal and vertical housing affects the perceptions of social relations.

For a land-scarce country like Singapore, landed property retains its position as the ultimate symbol of power because of its scarcity and cost as compared to vertical housing such as the public HDB flats. yet in Jakarta where land is much more plentiful, it is the vertical housing developments such the Taman Rasuna which are the symbols of economic power as opposed to the rabble of small landed houses on the other side of the fence.

As a casual and transient observer, I wonder if the highrise flats have the effect of instilling the notion of social motility (or perhaps even aspirations of upward social mobility). i almost want to relate this back to the indonesian concept of "nongkrong" - which is to hang out to do absolutely nothing except hang out and sit around. one will frequently observe that labour is so cheap in indonesia that even say the bakso stall in a fancy mall can afford to hire ridiculous numbers of staff to man a simple stall - resulting in what looks to me like a massive nongkrong of bored 20-something year olds sitting behind the counter. (in this case they are supposed to be working, so it is not quite nongkrong, but it certainly seems to echo with this sense of life having come to a standstill. from my perspective as an insufferable workaholic (and perhaps also partly from my upbringing in Singapore), i find that the concept of staying still in one place (and not doing anything in particular) smacks of boredom, but perhaps boredom is not the case for people there, coming from completely different perspective; from a land where houses simply take up space on land and aren't always piled up in stacks, with every stack of houses fighting to be taller than the next.


Jakarta City Map