Sunday, November 16, 2008


On writing: i think in this respect, i might do better writing documentaries or memoirs as opposed to writing concise news reports or advertising copy. These days, even email becomes a chore especially when one (who has been out of touch with the formalities of the essay and the "diplomacies" of the treaty) attempts to convey rationale, intentions, and neutral political dispositions, in words. Without ambiguity or slants. The exception is poetry, where I have a tendency for vagueness - sometimes intentional; on other occasions, clumsiness disguised as poetic device.

On drawing: Visual perception reveals increasing insight on the viewed subject with the poring over of details; presented by the visual phenomena interacting with right-brain processes. To have a sense of sight is one thing. To see as-it-is, in detail, is another. To be able to do so enables one to draw realistically, but not necessarily artistically. For the act of expressing the seen subject in a drawing, is another matter subjective to the artist's intentions. An impressionist might draw a similar subject differently from the way a 2D-animator would; but both must develop a proficiency for observing detail - whether gestural essentials or multi-textural forms; however sufficient to best meet his ends.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

August Rush

My period of waiting is coming to a close.

The applications I sent out have returned with definite outcomes. No more (scheduled for this year) Jedi Masters apprenticeship for the particular discipline I applied for. Also found out from a self-initiated email enquiry to Imaginary Friends Studio that they were currently not hiring any illustrators.

DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore sent me a registration package with a letter of offer for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Production Animation program I enrolled for. I was pleasantly surprised as it took them only two days to process and respond to my application. Wonder if it's because there aren't many applicants for the new school's courses. (DigiPen U.S. has been around for years though) Still, thank God for planting His wisdom into helping me decide on which of my previous artworks to include in the portfolio submitted for the application. Thank God for His favour; that the DigiPen staff have given me very positive feedback and offered me a place so promptly!

I've since submitted my registration package to book my place for the Fall Semester beginning 1st Sept 2008. Meanwhile, a Sketchbook Assignment has been set for those who've been accepted into the Production Animation program. Have one textbook and workbook to read/complete. And also, a new sketchbook to fill up with practice-drawings. Lots of it. (o.O)
Once I go pay up my tuition for the 1st Semester, I'll be commiting the next four years to the BFA. Though I'm in a hurry to complete it, I hope to savour every learning experience this imminent academic journey has to offer.


In other attempts to go the distance, I recently got myself "new" running gear - a pair of shoes and a heart rate monitor(HRM). Both were acquired at discounted prices(+/- 50%-off suggested retail price) as they were bought 2nd hand. Shoes were brand new and only worn once(to test for fit) by the seller who originally bought them online but realised they were too large for him when he actually tried them on. The HRM was in ownership for about 2years but seldom utilised and in decent condition(albeit expired warranty). I had the good fortune of having chanced upon the shoe-deal in an internet forum-posting while KL forwarded me the seller's contact no. for the HRM.

In the process of completing the transactions, I went to meet the sellers in person; on separate occasions, to inspect the products. Got to know a little more about them and received advice on training as we shared our background and sporting-experience too. They were both of amicable disposition and really generous in their pricing! Thank God for this blessing that certainly supports my fitness goals with manageable impact on my finances!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back On My Feet Again

Been trying to track my nutritional habits since the beginning of the month - Type of food, serving-size, nutritional content & time of consumption. Managed to record the details in my planner diary up till the middle of the month. It was then I decided that I would just adopt(as much as possible) the first two weeks' eatting patterns; and record only those extra-ordinary meals for the rest of the month. Being able to review these meal-time records has helped me control my intake of unhealthy food somewhat. I'm aiming to limit my fried-food intake to one meal a week. More greens, fruits and nuts for phytonutrients, soluble fibre and good-fats to combat bad cholesterol.

Adding on to the 2-pronged-strategy for cholesterol-lowering is my return to running. Long-distance running training that is. I signed up for the 2008 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon(SCSM) on the first day registration opened. Going for the full 42.125km run this time round. Unfortunately, this time I won't have the honour of accompanying Jo. She decided not to do the full marathon to avoid stressing her knees further. (She suffered an inflamation in her knee joint about a month b4 last year's 21km) Also, come August, she'll be having her hands full with her Masters in Counselling at NIE. It might require some effort for us to meet each other; let alone make time to train for long distances together. Still, I guess I'll see her; and some of my Cell-mates whom she's going for 10km with, at the finish-line.

With possibly (the final lap of) studies on the horizon too, this season I'm entering some crucial events in life's race. Must continuously thank God and honour those who gave - of themselves - so I could get back on my feet again.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

You are what you Eat

The old adage never sounded this omnimous. Today, I was presented with lab results of my blood sample from two weeks before. The doctor's comments were all too familiar sounding: "Look fit and healthy... must watch what you eat..." "Can consider starting on medication... Have time on your side..." "Avoid anything finger-licking good". Yes, the fats.. er, facts are in: My cholesterol level remains High. For comparison, here are some figures from Singapore Heart Foundation:

My recent(June'08) blood lipid profile read:
HDL: 1.27 (49)
Total: 7.21 (278)
My LDL from Nov'05: 5.14 (199)

Generally speaking, LDL is "bad" cholesterol that can cause heart disease by clogging arteries. HDL is "good" cholesterol that "cleanses" arteries by transporting fat and LDL deposits back to the liver for breakdown. Read this for more insight on cholesterol.

My total cholesterol hasn't got any better since I first got it checked back in Aug'03 when the reading was 6.45 (249). I am genetically predisposed to having high cholesterol as my father and a number of my paternal relatives are. I recently learnt that cholesterol is actually produced within our bodies; and that high cholesterol levels are actually influenced more through the consumption of "bad" fats rather than by dietary cholesterol(foods such as eye yolks, seafood) alone. (Both Sat-fat and Trans-fat raise LDL levels, but Trans-fat apparently packs a second punch by reducing HDL!) My problem is possibly due to a diet containing too much saturated/trans fat; and perhaps a genetically overactive liver producing more LDL than average as well.

Though I've been generally conscious about my food choices all along, I guess it's about time to really start monitoring what, when and how much I eat. (O_o)*Knowing-look from the girlfriend comes to mind* Fish/bean/soy protein over lean meats when I can help it. Fruits, eaten whole for added fibre. High-fibre carbo alternatives wholemeal bread, oats, brown rice, beans, sweet potato. Fat-reduced dairy products. Avoid food high in saturated fat(deep-fried, milky, creamy, buttery stuff) and trans fat(hydrogenated oils, shortening). Scrutinise "Nutrition Facts" on the packaging before purchasing/consuming processed foods. Exercise regularly. (Research suggests regular aerobic activity increases HDL levels!)

Must remain motivated to this cholesterol-lowering cause; lest I leave my loved-ones prematurely.
Accept the fact. Fight the fats.

Friday, June 20, 2008

paper chase (ii)

things coming up on the horizon

I'm applying for DigiPen Singapore's BFA(Production Animation) programme. Founded in the US, DigiPen Institute of Technology, Singapore is beginning its pioneer batch this September at its campus located in One-North(Buona Vista area). When I heard of their arrival, I wasn't the most excited person around until I learnt more about their curriculum offerings.

At the same time, I'm looking at Lucasfilm Animation Singapore's Jedi Masters Program. It's not a Master's degree as the name suggests.(Some have been mistaken!) LAS' Jedi Masters Program is an apprenticeship-stint that offers mentorship and production experience in various disciplines related to film, tv animation, visual effects, games development and production. "Trainees who complete the program and demonstrate an appropriate skill level will be eligible for positions at LAS." -

Will apply to both DigiPen and LAS and (hopefully get to) consider their offers.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

paper chase (i)

To update the previous post on the Australian Uni applications
2 more offers received:
UNSW (Digital Media) - March '09 intake, ~2yrs 9mths(w/credit exemption)
, 54-57k tuition
RMIT (Digital Art) - March '09 intake, 3yrs,
59k tuition

Also, complete-offer now updated
with credit exemption:
Newcastle (Viz Comm, illo-major) - Jul '08 intake, 2.5yrs, 43k tuition

This probably isn't news anymore to the people I see regularly, but to the other friends whom I haven't met in some time: I'll not be going to Australia after all as my ideal-choice, Newcastle, turns out to be outside the vicinity of my intended states of residence(Uncle's place in Sydney/Melbourne). It's at least 100km away from Uncle's apartment in New South Wales. If I go to Newcastle, the accomodation would add an additional 30-50% on top of tuition fees for my entire cost of study there. Not quite within budget I guess. Sad to have to turn down that place since it has mid-year intake somemore. The other Uni-offers were not the best-fit in terms of course content and so... why put myself into educational exile far away to "test new ground and chase a paper"? The wait goes on.

-------------------------------------- previously: -----------------------------------------------

Aussie Uni Application Outcomes:
USYD (BA of Visual Arts) - no July-intake; next intake/commencement date in Feb '09
UNSW (BA of Digital Media) - on-hold; July-intake; pending processing of recently-submitted documentation
Newcastle (BA of Visual Communication Design [Illustration Design Major]) - full 3yr prog. offer, processing credit-exemption
RMIT (BA of Arts [Digital Art]) - no July-intake; next intake/commencement date in Feb '09

It's too bad Newcastle's way too far from 2nd Uncle's Sydney apartment where my cousin and brother is staying in also. The Viz-Comm Illo-Design major and the other (fanciful)
BA of Natural History Illustration course seem to be calling out to me. There are on-campus accomodation options too; of which only a handful of rooms remain available. Will review my options as I continue chasing UNSW about my application.

I pondered over the further study options at home too; where it would be easier(in terms of communication and resources) to freelance while studying.
LaSalle's BA of Arts [Graphic Novel] seems interesting but I'll be finding out more about it first.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Accumulated Updates (Jan'08)

Went for Australian Universities Open Day event @ Orchard Hotel ballroom; organised by IDP Singapore. Picked up almost a dozen prospectuses; shortlisting 4 possible places to study near Sydney and Melbourne. 2ndUncle (whose two children have studied/are going to study there) has graciously offered accomodation should I end up studying in either city.

Finished my term with
COOS at the end of the month. I found the 4months to be a satisfying learning journey. Though I the projects I got involved with largely required "safe" design styles, I felt that I learnt the importantance of putting oneself in the shoes of the "client" and their "target audience". I've learnt a lot of print-design-related issues from the staff at the printing company which the church outsources print-jobs to. I realize also that there is much room for improvement in interpersonal skills and work-flow management.