Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Portrait for Fun

This entry divided in 2 section : ONE, FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS. I just get my 50mm today! Thank God. How I missed taking portrait picture. My subject of experiement is R and C, my pastor's children. Aren't they beautiful?
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rebecca
How I wish I have that kind of hair. No... not the bottom one, I mean the top one!
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And then, FOR GRANNIES... right, I know you've been demanding Josiah's picture. Here is a little bit to satisfy some granny lust. Haha.
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Monday, 30 March 2009

Only a sinner saved by Grace

No one like to read about genoice happening in Cambodia during Khamer Rounge regime. I came to know about it when I read a personal experience of NicoleKiss which you all can read here. The author describe how her visit to the killing fields has shocked her to no end.


I spent three days in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia (pronounced as "Nom Pen") studying the history of Cambodia, and understanding the state it was now. Of why it is still so behind time, why there are people on this earth still crave for true freedom and unable to live out their past.


I read this book called "Stay Alive, My Son" during my stay in Phnom Penh, a true story about a survivor who lived through the period, losing over 30 members of his family, including his son and wife. I finished the book over night, and cringed the night after, unable to sleep. Wondering why? Asking why? There simply was no answer.


I visited the killing fields, a place where they bring people here to die. Mass lives burials were carried out up to few times a month.Studying some of the skulled they dug up after the regime, you'll find skulls with holes and felt the pain of how it was like to die there, in that state.


Everyone who enter S-21 is destined to die. Die a tragic death and torture. Including this woman and her baby.


Today, one of the head of prison and one of the main Khamer Rouge leader, a 66-year-old Kaing Guek Eav who is known as Duch (who used to torture and killed the inmates) was actually sitting on trial. I saw in the news that many of the people who had witness his cruelty actually watching as the trial begin. I can imagine their anger, their disappointment, their crave for revenge, of the lost of their loved ones.

Now, who you think can forgive a wicked man like Duch? who can love him? Many people probably agreed that a man commiting such crime not only deserve death sentence or miserable death. Probably under many other religion, there is no turning back for Duch, even when he regret what he'd done, and no amount of good works in the rest of his life can save him from Hell. But I am glad, that no friend as faithful as Jesus, who can forgive you, and accept you no matter who you are.


I read a snippent of news of him here.

Duch himself disappeared. His fate remained a mystery until 1999, when British journalist Nic Dunlop discovered him in a backwater of Cambodia's northwest, which had became a haven for Khmer Rouge veterans.


His life had taken a surprising turn:

He had become an evangelical Christian and was working with international aid organizations that were unaware of his background.

"He told me, 'Lord, forgive for what I did to the people,'" said Christopher LaPel, a Christian missionary from Los Angeles who converted Duch.LaPel, a Cambodian-American who lost his parents, a brother and sister to the Khmer Rouge, said Duch remains steadfast in his Christianity."He's very strong in his faith and he's ready to testify," LaPel said in February after visiting Duch behind bars to give him communion.

"He's looking forward (to it). He wants to reveal what he did to his people."










I don't know how to describe the joy knowing that Duch has repented from his sin and past, just like I did many years ago. It's feel great to be forgiven and to be freed from the bondage of sin. Both of us a lot in common. We once a SINNER saved by GRACE!


*****


I was once a sinner, but I came

Pardon to receive from my Lord:

This was freely given, and I found

That He always kept His word.

There’s a new name written down in glory,

And it’s mine, O yes, it’s mine!

And the white robed angels sing the story,

“A sinner has come home.”

For there’s a new name written down in glory,

And it’s mine, O yes, it’s mine!

With my sins forgiven I am bound for Heaven,

Never more to roam.



Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.




p.s: if you think it is not fair for a man with such a crime to enter the kingdom of heaven. Hold your breath there... I have an entry on easter which explaining just that :-)

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Bristol @ night

This what you can do if you have crap photos.

bristol_at_night

I was in Bristol last week for a school-related conference and for whatever reason I decided against bringing the camera. As any good photographer would tell you, always bring your camera when you travel! Regretfully the weather was clear and the sunset was brilliant, so I ended up resorting to taking pictures with my crap handphone camera (old Nokia 6000 from 6-7 years ago). Once again GIMP came to my rescue and the old grainy photos became snazzy piece of art :) If you are curious, here is one of the best photos, heavily editted of course.

Bristol at night

Friday, 27 March 2009

Election

So, we've seen the rig rags of USA parliament campaign and election. Start from high budget mega campaign in TV and internet, international visit to various continent, news and media endorsement and you name it.

Have you ever wonder how the ellection in other country is like? While the election ambience in USA is tend to be serious and tense, in Indonesia is much more relaxing and... creative!

Rather than promising this and that, explaining strategic plan to solve problem A,B,C... normally a political campaign is full of catchy statements or picture or anything that will make you remember particular party. Which I can say, I like it better than election anywhere else!
Lately, despite being overseas so long, I still get some updates from my fellow countrymen of the campaign activity update via email. Here is some of them.



Far away from Kypton, Superman has decided to go to Indonesia and join the election!


How about this. Wait, this is not a monk from Tibet, no...no....you are wrong. Observe carefully, he suppose to be.... GANDALF! Don't ask me how he flew in to Indonesia.


Next on the row, is... Mr. Bond! Wait a minute, is Mr Bond full name is Ahmad Firdaus Bond? I didn't know that!?!?!



Or probably if you prefer a saver choice. This will be it. He is religious, smart, friendly, and family oriented (does it make any sense? well, I am just translating the word on the poster okay!)



Apparently, there is another citizen of Kyrpton who decided to run for Indonesian parliament.



If you like Mr. Obama... you gonna like him! Right, probably they were attending the same elementary school? (this must be taking hours to photoshop).


If you are not interested in movies, politics or religion... we still have another choice for you. Even Beckham choose him!

But among all the candidates, I think this one deserve your vote. At least he does not use superman, james bond, obama or beckham.

Hope you come back again in 5 years time for another Indonesian campaign.


Thursday, 26 March 2009

Urap

Urap, the name of this coconut vegetable salad. Grew up in sunda (west java area) has made me a great fan of this dish. It taste and smell refreshing, spicy vegetable with a hint of coconut and lemon grass is best eaten with warm rice. It can make a healthy snack too.

Here is the recipe :

The main ingredient of this dish is coconut! Obviously, it's much better with freshly grated coconut, as it would be served in Indonesia, but you do what you can with what you've got. I do find unsweetened dried grated coconut at cake making section in most of grocery store, in fact you can find it in Tesco Express!
Look for the fine grated coconut, but if all you can find is coarse, that's o.k. Be sure to soak the coconut shreds in just enough water to cover or perhaps even a little less. You want the coconut to soak up the water and you don't want to be throwing much water away. If you buy the dried coconut like me, make sure you bought instant coconut milk (or power) to add back the taste to the dish.
green beans, sliced diagonally
carrot, cut lengthwise in thirds
potato (this is my version), cut in small cubes
Steam all vegetables separately until barely cooked. They must still be firm and crunchy.

green cabbage, shredded
bean sprouts
Blanch by placing vegetables, one at a time, in a colander in the sink, and pouring boiling water over them.

onions, chopped medium fine
cloves garlic, smashed
lemon grass
fresh chilis, finely minced
grated coconut
kencur/ kentjur (I didn't add this on mine as I couldn't find it)
lime
brown sugar
salt


HOW TO MAKE:
fry the grated coconut (+ coconut milk) with onion, garlic, lemon grass and chilli till the coconut turn yellow/brownish. I did add a little bit of kikkoman soy sauce to add the taste. And then toss all the vegetables in for about 5 minute. Add salt and sugar as necessary, then this is the magic bit.
Cut the lime and squeeze the juice on the dish, then grated a little bit of the skin to give a hint of smell, remember don't grate it too much as it will taste bitter once the green skin is gone.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Crazy about stitching!

I am obsesed about wallpapering my house, and found this lovely wallpaper while browsing about.



This is no usual wallpaper. It is not printed or painted, it is STITCHED! So who is crazy enough to stitch a wallpaper?



Claire graduated from Middlesex University with a first class BA Hons in Applied Arts. It was during this course that Claire developed her unique stitching work on wallpaper. Since her degree show Claire was chosen by Design Nation to exhibit in their annual show of the pick in design, 2003, and was taken to The London Art Fair, Islington by twist. This year Claire has also exhibited with the British Council @ B&B Italia, Salone Internazionale del Mobile Milan Design fair, the Affordable Art Fair with twist, the London Art Fair with twist and at the Geffrye Museum. Claire was also selected by Elle Decoration to produce a window display for Selfridges, London. Claire has recently been shortlisted for the Elle Deco design awards 2004.
Claire uses layers of old or cheap wallpapers that she stitches together, layering patterns into the paper to produce very delicate and beautiful artworks. The range of different scenes are unique, as each piece is carefully handcrafted, layered and torn to reveal what is hidden beneath. Incorporating leather, felt and gems into the design gives these ripped papers a precious quality.




Interested to buy this wallpaper? You can request the price quotation from here. (I warn you not to faint if the price is over 1000 pound!)

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Mother

Today is my 3rd Mother's Day.
It all feels just like yesterday. It hasn't been very long since that little lips able to call up my name. Last mother's day, I remembered the simple celebration in church. I remembered the simple handmade card my son and my husband made me. I remembered some greeting cards from friends likewise mothers.

I had never know that it can be this sweet to be a mother.
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But nonetheless, being a mother myself had made me appreaciate someone more.

My very own mother.

We had our moments, of laughter or disagreement. Sometimes we can be two stubborn enemy, at other times we can be best shopping pals. Though probably today we couldn't shop together, or blow our candle together, or read our mothers day card to each other because of the distance.
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But I thank the Lord, no matter far nor near.
You are my mother.

Happy mothers day mom!
May the Lord bless you with more of His wisdom as the year go by.
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****
Update : On the office, I accidentally tip my camera bag, leaving the lock not tightly fasten, the camera with my 50mm lens fell off. The camera left unharmed, but my 50mm lens unable to focus any longer. I was really sad. Not that because the lens was expensive (because I got it from ebay for hardly 60 GBP). I know I've survived without this lens for years, but now having tasted the "power" of this lens left me paralyzed without it.
These picture were the last pictures it took. I have not decide whether to fix the lens or just to buy another one. But, I've learn my lesson.... always lock your camera bag, properly!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Spring in the making

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The day is bright, sunny and warm. We saw the first sign of spring in the making. In the few weeks time all the daffodils and cherry blossom will be in their full bloom. But meanwhile, I'll be satisfied with just seeing "a few".
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Surely, this day is the day that many had been waiting for.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Underwater wedding anyone?

Thinking about a "unusual" dos to say your wedding vows? Underwater wedding can be interesting. The only thing is you have to get someone by yourside ready with a tank of oxygen plus you need to have a familes, perhaps pastor, wedding photographer, bridesmaid, bestman,.... who at least, do not have water phobia!

In case you are wondering, these lovely picture are taken by Zena Holloway Underwater Photography. If you hire this person at least you can be assured she can swim!







A little bit about Zena Holloway
Zena Holloway is the UKs leading professional underwater photographer. Her images are striking, instinctive and driven by a deep understanding of her medium. She delivers the remarkable - combining the highly technical aspects of underwater photography with superb creative direction resulting in extraordinary magical imagery.
Working in the sea from a young age with photography and film Zena is completely self-taught. She has taken underwater photography to entirely new depths. At thirty-three years of age Zena is a unique and truly gifted artist.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Pre Wedding Photoshoot tips

As I mentioned earlier in my blog, I am counting down to my best friend's big day, and therefore writting up loads of wedding tips entry.

Taking picture before the bigday (so called pre-wed pictures) has become a norm particularly in Asia. Had never heard people done it in UK for sure. However, I like the idea of it. Many times, wedding is such a busy affair. Don't talk about posing for picture, it's lucky enough that you can be able to seat and eat your dinner peacefully that very day. This situation is commonly found in Asian country whereby wedding is involving tons or relatives and hundreds of guest. Setting another time a side just to take picture may be a good idea. So, to those of you that are GOING to get married, and thinking of doing prewedding pictures, here is my 2 cents worth of opinion and experience.

Assume that you have discuss all the nitty gritty of the price, this is the checklist you should consider.

1. Get the expectation right
Believe me, you are not the only bride that expect everything to be perfect. But it's necessary to tell other people what you expect to avoid disappointment.
Before selecting a photographer for your pre-wedding picture session, make sure you know what are you getting. Ask him to show his work. Don't pick a certain photographer because you like "several" of his snaps (which you happen to stumble on when visiting his shops or website).
Be very careful, obviously enough many photographers only show the "nice" picture, which may happen to be one or two that shown to you (among hundreds of his shoot). So my take on this : ask him to show a set of picture belong to ONE couple, at least you know, from hundreds of picture he took for that couple how many of them fell to your "expected" criteria.

2. Choosing Location
Choosing location can be quite difficult, especially when you are in singapore where all the nice places are either too common for wedding photoshoot or else it isn't free. I guess my take on this is to continue to search on the net, forum is a great place whereby you can find out great place.
The following picture is taken at some unknown places nearby Changi airport. (Belive me, is not that I don't want to share where it was). There is no sign post or anything there. I told him that I wanted to take a picture whereby there is a lot of pine three, and so he brought us there. (Location 1)



Here is another location, I happen to find out about it from a magazine. The place was actually a temple at amoy street, Thian Hock Keng. This is a touristy place and not so common for wedding shoots. (Location 2)


3. Discuss with the photographer
After you know what are you getting, now you need to tell your photographer what you preference. Tell him what kind of "feels" you wanted to potray, e.g romantic, fairytale, victorian classic, modern retro, or even just for fun. Do let him know is there certain things you are not comfortable with (in term of pose or may even be location). Some people prefer to do no kissing scene, some people prefer to have their face looking to the camera all the time etc. Here is several picture from moreno studio to illustrated what I mean.
Just for fun

Victorian Classic

Oriental Classic

Romantic Timeless


4. Choosing the dress
There is an easy rule of thumb when it comes to choosing your dress for the photoshoot. "Stick to your theme". If you choose oriental classic, try not to wear white ballgown dress, and if you choose Victorian Classic, avoid choosing plain gown with minimal accessories. Rules applies for hairdo's and make up.
Be careful with photoshoot in traditional outfit (korean, chinese, japanese, dutch outfit... you name it!!). It may looks fun, but think further before choosing traditional outfit. There are people who carry international outfit very well. I've seen one of my high school friend's wife to be wearing international outfit and I think she looks great in it. But after seeing so many couple's album, I think 90% looks weird than good.Here is my proof! (Which one looks "weird"? you decide!)

click on the image to enlarge






And the rule applied to us, I thought both of us look quite silly in other country traditional outfit, mainly because we simply don't look japanese or korean enough to wear their traditional outfit. Anyway, I believe as chinese the best result is still (obviously) with Chinese traditional outfit because we naturally carries the looks.

5. Any back up plan should the weather turn sour?
Even though weather in some area are predictable, it's always a great idea to have a backup plan should out of a sudden the weather condition takes it turn. Sometimes it worth to take indoor picture while waiting for the weather to get better. But on the other case it may be a good idea to reschedule the photo taking to another day. Sometimes it worth to provide alternative indoor place such as hotel's lobby, train station, museum etc as alternative plan.

6. Write a schedule for "the" day and discuss it with your photographer
It's normally took a whole day to take pre-wedding shoots. This normally cover 2 to 3 place depends on the proximity. So be realistic that you couldn't cover limitless number of places. For example, my first location (Location 1) cover up different kind of scenery, from white pine trees, grass wheat (lalangs), and shrubs.







7. What to do the night before the photoshoot?
I hope you managed to sort out the above list before this day coming. The night before photoshoot normally second most worrying after the night before the wedding day. But trust me, worrying won't help. Keep a list of things to bring (accessories, hairclip, shoes, bouquet, etc) for the photoshoot, make sure you arrange where to eat or may be bring some food from home, don't sleep late so that you'll look fresh on the next day.

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