Sunday, November 06, 2005

Last words

Good bye, thanks for the tranquility, the art, the freedom and the gelato.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Punk'd by a Visitor

Someone made the Merlion disappear from the Singapore Pavilion today.

I was busy showing this couple where the Merlion was in Singapore via the Internet (they were going to Singapore next week), and the next time I looked, the statuette of the Merlion had disappeared.

Ahh! I had a little surprise, and started looking around for it. Keeping a look-out for, er, suspicious-looking Italians at the same time.

Nothing. Oh boy.

Then this couple came back into the Information room, beaming. "He wanted to make Mike disappear," the lady said, laughing. The guy, deservedly proud of himself, put the Merlion back on the table. "Yeah, make Mike disappear from here."

So I told him he was evil, laughed out of relief, and gave the couple two beers. For their efforts in making me panic over a Merlion, and for getting into the spirit of Halloween. Trick for a Treat, muahahaha.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Punk'd by the Clock

Because of this temperate concept called Daylight Savings, we opened the pavilion at 9 am today.

Past noon, I got tired of reading Oliver Twist (besides, I have to ration the number of pages read a day), and decided it was time to stare at the laptop. It asked if I wanted to adjust the time for daylight savings. I wondered how the computer knew it was in Europe. Then it dawned on me.

AHH!! We screamed when we found out, and hurried to check our dearest resource, the Internet. Daylight Savings ended at 3 am early this morning in Central Europe. That means the clock should be turned back an hour to 2 am.

No wonder Arsenale was so quiet and devoid of people when we came to the pavilion.

One unexpected, extra hour in a day is great when you're rushing to meet a deadline, but not when you find out you woke up an hour early on a cold, foggy day to go to work. Discounting the fact that our work isn't really work, and that we like Venice. Things could be worse, like, er, spending an hour outside the pavilion wrestling with the key, trying to unlock the pavilion with it. Hypothetically speaking.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Word of the Day

Un-cutify : When the dirty finger or toenails of a person undo the effect of his/ her good looks.

Example of Usage

A: That guy was quite cute huh.

B: Please, he's got dirty fingernails. That totally un-cutifies him, ok?!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sweet Love

Sigitas smooched his girlfriend in the courtyard today.

He was working diligently before and after that.

We sneaked peeks from the information room and smiled to ourselves.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Marathon di Venezia

The winner's time was 2:09; I think he's from Qatar. Second and third place went to Italians. The female winner's was 2:28; she had a full head of dreadlocks.

The marathoners had to run from a town near Padova to Riva dei Sette Martiri, between Arsenale and Giardini. Imagine, Padova! It's a 40-minute train ride away. If more people were marathoners and if we didn't get grossed out by others' sweat, we would save lots of fuel, wouldn't we?

Just looking at their robust calves and hamstrings makes me feel like running again when I get back. My huff-puff run, however, will be painfully slow.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Random Sobering Thoughts

I visited the South-American exhibition yesterday, and loved the works by the Columbian artists, Oscar Munoz and Juan Manuel Echavarria. Echavarria's video piece was very heartfelt, and I felt it made the point about art as an essential and natural outlet for people during hard times, and how art can be political without being preachy. I felt a little more informed, about people and about Columbia, after watching his video. Munoz's work was magical, it appeared to have been video-edited, only it hadn't.

The rest of the day was spent manoevering my way back to the apartment. Which brings me to my next point, that tourism makes people jaded. Not the tourists, because it's always an experience being in a different country and seeing something new. It's those serving the tourists.

Bored gondola rowers and stall-owners at San Marco. They all looked jaded, like they had seen and dealt with all kinds of people and their less desirable human qualities.

Tourism's a massive, complicated creature. It lets many people make a living, it lets visitors take away a piece of the place, it creates memories, but that's the thing with professions where you have to smile constantly and sell your wares -- professions where you depend a little too much on others. You get jaded by the superficial exchanges, and the sheer number of people you encounter every day.

But perhaps I'm just seeing one dimension of these people. Perhaps I don't see them with their friends and families, and I don't see them chilling out and being tourists themselves. Perhaps we all have to do some things we don't like, in order to earn the means to do things we like. Perhaps some things come in packages and not detachable parts.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Dogs, CC and an Old Lady

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There. CC has been complaining that I have all but droppped off the surface of this earth when it comes to blogging. So here is my contribtion of the week. :)

1. The gorgeous puppy that CC blogged about earlier.
2. Pigeons at S. Marco. CC's most hated things here. haha.
3. There's CC in the pavilion, with the dear old lady who came in one morning wanting to understand the work. She spoke italian, some french, some german and minimal English. We spoke English, minimal Italian, minimal French ( CC) no german. But she wanted to know about the work so bad! She kept trying to understand, and we kept trying to explain. The other girl is german, a visitor also, trying to be our translator. I finally ran to Arsenale, one of the main sites of the Biennale and got one of the staff at the entrance to write down what i wanted to say in Italian. The old woman left.. she said she was tired.. but all smiles as she could finally sort of understand our art.
4. A stretch of my fav waterfront in the evening. This part is in front of the vaporetti stop. Its just 2 streets ( kinda) outside our home. Sigh. This will be the part of venice i miss most when i finally have to leave to go home.
5. The Arsenale bridge we have to cross to get to work and back. Isnt it Lovely!

Saturday, October 15, 2005


We encountered the most loveable and unloveable dogs today.

In the morning, I was tapping on the laptop when this black Gordon setter puppy ran in and came to me like I was its best friend. Aww.

We followed it out when the owner called for it. Seita was four-months-old, and still discovering things everyday. The woman and her son were from Roma, and their friend was a local. You know how parents act stricter or more lenient with their kids when other people are around? Well the woman reprimanded it, when it ran out of the pavilion for a while. "Seita! Abbiamo qui!" But everyone loved Seita, who kept wagging its tail and leaping up to play with us.

Then in the afternoon, someone tied three white toy dogs to the grape plant and disappeared. Most annoying dogs ever! They kept barking shrilly and loudly and didn't let anyone get too near them, not that anyone was tempted to. I was going to call the owner a moron for treating the pavilion like a dog-sitting area, but maybe he isn't so silly after all. If I had dogs like that - Wait. I would never keep dogs like that.

At the time of writing, the silly dogs were still barking their heads off at anyone who came within 3 metres of them. Grrr.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Colourful lingerie belonging to one of the pavilion's neighbours. One of our visitors pointed at them and asked, "Are they part of the exhibition?"

Our most regular visitor at the pavilion. He comes in almost every day to rest his legs and smoke a cigarette. He begs for money outside the pavilion.

Most Boring Party Ever

Venice is devoid of nightlife of the pounding music sort.

Yesterday, Kermin went to the Northern Ireland pavilion and they happened to have a party later that night to cap off a week of N. Irish artists having performances all around Venice. The party, dubbed "The Big Party" (it should have been The "Big" Party), was at a bar in Dorsoduro. We got invites and decided to go. The invites said 10pm, we got there at 10.30 and turns out the party starts at only midnight.

So at first we were the only few people in the bar and the only Asians and that attracts stares. After a few minutes, more people started arriving; but the bar was so small and the music so unhappening and we were so bored. The DJ was playing sixties tunes when we went in!

The other people also just mingled with the friends they came with, and so there were awkward-looking people all around, plus a few old farts too.

Midnight, and the unplugged session by two N. Irish musicians began. Still boring.

Perhaps it wasn't so much that the party was dull. Perhaps it was the dismal absence of free alcohol. Who throws a party at a bar without free alcohol? We bought a few beers between us, and stuffed ourselves silly with peanuts and tortilla chips, which we haven't seen in any supermarket in Venice.

We decided the night wasn't going to get better, and beat a quick exit.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sigitas saves the day!

Monday was a bleak and rainy day. It rained so heavily and was so windy that we had to drink 2 cups of Milo each in order not to freeze in the pavilion. And then the toilets flooded. Gah!

We darted next door, ponchos flapping, to put up "Out of Order *Do Not Use* - Chiuso -" signs on both toilets. And test-flushed the toilets today, after the break yesterday. The water levels were still disturbingly high.

Then Sigitas breezed into the pavilion with a friend/ colleague in tow, and we told him dramatically, "Sigitas, the toilets died!"

Of course he didn't understand what we were saying, so Ker Min led him to the toilets and pointed. And he looked troubled and scratched his head, saying he would call Paivi. Minutes later, however, he came in to tell us he had switched on the "motor" and now the toilets were working again. The motor was one of the many power switches by the toilets that we had never touched, labeled "Presi Servici".

Now we know. And so we laughed, feeling like complete bimbos, while Sigitas smiled and looked like he was glad things were well again.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


The peril we face: gelato you can't get enough of


A sure sign that Venice is getting colder: The information room is actually warmer than outside, with the unforgiving wind. Many people came into the pavilion today with trenchcoats or windbreakers zipped all the way up. And quite a few have pretty shawl/scarves wrapped warmly around the neck. Even the men do it. I might get one too, just so I can look like everyone else - and because I'm cold.

I wonder what will happen to the gelaterias around Venice. (We have a favourite gelato guy whose shop is on Via Garibaldi, a bridge away from the pavilion. He's hardly ever open, but when he is, he greets everyone with a booming "Ciao! Prego?".) Will they close shop, or do Italians have their ice-cream all year round?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Story of a Pigeon

A black and ugly pigeon crept into the information room and lost its way for a moment.

It tried to fly out but banged into one of the glass panels in the door. Bam. I felt a little sympathetic, but also a little smug. Pigeons have no concept of personal space. They fly just inches over your head, and take flight at the very moment you cross its path.

The pigeon crept about for a while, trying to walk off the pain from the collision. And eventually found its way out.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Day in Our Lives

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Venice doesn't seem to be as crowded as a couple of weeks ago. I think it's the break between summer and autumn where not as many people travel?

This morning a Chinese couple came in to ask where the nearest supermarket was. We only knew of Billa in Lido and in Canareggio, so I asked what she was looking for.

She became slightly abashed and said, "Uh, ha ha, wo zhao nu xing yong de dong xi."

One of us had a sanitary napkin, so we gave it to her.

Great service huh? And if our grasp of Chinese was better, we could have explained the Merlion and the work to her companion, who lingered in the information booth while she used the bathroom. Oh, the shame!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Young and Old, Big and Small

I've noticed that it's the older crowd who appreciate the pavilion more. They take the time to talk to us and find out more, and they find the toilets absolutely charming, fabulous and useful, of course. One lady told us her ex-husband was called Mike, and Mike was a great guy but... well.

The younger visitors (around Ker Min's and my age) are probably more self-conscious and impatient, so they come in, look around, take a catalogue and go. A few days ago, there was a group of 10 to 15 college-age students talking, smoking and laughing in the courtyard, and for a moment, the pavilion felt like part of a university. Very merry.

A couple of visitors today said they liked the pavilion a lot, especially after the onslaught of Arsenale. My sentiments exactly.

I was at Arsenale yesterday, and I did enjoy a few of the works, such as the mud hippo, the chandelier of o.b. tampons, the typewriter interactive space and the Russian video of "little" people running around and fornicating (hey, there was a rationale behind their piece). But the art got overwhelming after a couple of hours and when I stepped out into the sun, my eyes started watering. It was a relief to go back to the airy and chill pavilion.

PS. Sorry I missed your call, Tzay Chuen

Saturday, September 17, 2005

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1. lunch in the pavilion. 2. Omeed, the grey hound from Vienna who visited 2 days running. 3. A view from a street leading to my home. 4. sunset, over venice from S. Elena on a long walk home.

Some snippets of the day:

1. The landlord is pruning ALL our grapes today. Darnnit. He says its necessary if not the vines will break because it will be too heavy otherwise. I don't know whether to believe him or not.
"Sono una parte della mostra di singapore!!"

2. For some reason, people keep thinking that the septic tank is our exhibition. Its starting to be amusing to see how art lovers cross the courtyard in a determined stride, pass our open door and head right to the big black septic tank; then backtrack and look curiously into our little office.
"La mostra sono lo spazio fuori; i bagni equesta stanza"

3. Its cold today already. There's a light chill swirling in invisble currents inside the pavilion. Its heralds the start of work for us, and mourns the absence of F and N!

Venice is beautiful in its somber grey veil, fog covering the tops of the basilicas and the making everything seem more elegant than it really is in the presence of the summer tourists.



Update: Visitor count hasn't surpassed the 10,000 mark yet. We mis-clicked the counter. The number stands at 9,546. 454 to go. But who's counting, right?

1. Homo erectus

Some have said the Merlion, when viewed from the back, resembles a phallus. Well, yesterday afternoon, a curly-haired traveller took a breather at our Pavilion. He was lying down, taking a nap, hands behind head, head on backpack.

And he was having a hard-on.

Visitors were coming and going and nobody seemed affected by it, though I heard one couple say, ".... erecto..." The traveller woke up after a while, sat quietly for 5 to 10 minutes, then went off.

Nataliah said later that we should have hit him with the Mike catalogue and said, "No erections at the Singapore Pavilion!"

2. CBD Chatter

A lady and her friend just came by the pavilion, and she was flipping through the Mike catalogue and explaining how the Merlion statue is in the CBD of Singapore. Naturally we asked if she was from Singapore, and she said yes.

I get this huge grin when I meet a rare fellow countryman in a foreign land.

Friday, September 16, 2005

goodbye goodbye

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View from top! If you can't find the Singapore pavilion in Calle Della Tana, 2126, look at this map!

Monday, September 12, 2005


News1: Our visitorship for the pavilion has reached 10.000 today - September 12! Ottimo!

News2: We had a very silent, yet important visitor today. An ambassador of a not-to-be-named country to Singapore came, drop his card and left.

News3: The 2 new interns, Kermin and Chai Chin arrived and they're here to stay!

News4: Singapore party went well on Sept 11!

News5: NZ party hits Venice on Sept 14!

News6: I got invited to the history of the Biennale at the Guggenheim! Time to do my schmozzing!

News7: The cleaner finally came to clean the house!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

at the film festival

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Very Lady Vendetta wannabe ...

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It's an Asian thingy

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And here's the original superstar ... Won Bin? Kim Chi? hmmm ... who? the real lady of vengeance


Thursday, September 08, 2005


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our laundry contribution to the venetian landscape

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


hihihi, sorry for cross posting. if u dun wanna see me typing rubbish here again, better change the password haha...

Nah, just to tell all u who know me, i just set up my new blog!

i cant make my blog as exciting as what fariz did to this, but nevertheless come visit!!!

alumni of the association of singapore pavilion interns june - july

Thursday, September 01, 2005


happening 1:

I was molested yesterday by this Italian woman with hairy blonde armpits. It was quite a picture, which amazed me. She thought that I was Tzay Chuen and I just played along, because she kept going on and on and asked me to visit her in Napoli, etc. She commented that I'm handsome and asked if Singaporeans are generally good looking people. Hmm ... Before she went off, she PINCHED my cheeks and kept telling me her name. Grrr ... I felt so violated! Too much!! Especially the hairy armpits! :S

happening 2:

Some important and not-to-be-named person came to the pavilion today. He is nice and seemed pleased with the pavilion.*bingo*

happening 3:

An old man came by and gave me 10 Euros for the catalogue and poster. It would be nice, but YES, NAC people who are reading this, I didn't take the money and repeated myself again, that the catalogues are free! :) Certo! Tutto gratis! C'est gratuit! Free! Percuma! Tidak ada kena bayaran! Mian Fei!

Alora ... highlights from yesterday's opening party of OPEN 2005!

Image hosted by Cocktail reception at the ***** Hungarian Palace Hotel with dressybusy people all dressed up for the Opening of the Film Festival showing Tsui Hark's, Seven Swords

Image hosted by Pavilion people - Great Britain and Ireland and friends from Manchester

Image hosted by Me, Cleo-petra and Cutey Chris

Image hosted by Steve (Aust Pav), Emily (NZ Pav), Belliana (Aust Pav), Simone (NZ Pav), Amal (Aust)

Image hosted by With the superwoman of the biennale - Paivi de Grandis :)

Image hosted by Post Blue Moon party

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

another letter...

I came in to the pavilion yesterday to check e-mails from June over the visit, and instead, the guy next door was trying to tell me something. He told me to open the pavilion door and *voila* there's a letter left under the door. Another letter??!? Grrr ... read on ...


I'm the woman with the red hair, which talked to you on Monday in the afternoon - you thought, I was together with the man, do you remember?

Anyway, what I want to say is, that - to be honest at the first moment I wasn't very attracted by the work of Lim Tzay Cheun. You offered me the book and I hesitated, because I'd have to carry much stuff anyway. Perhaps because you talked so enthusiastically about Lim to the other man, I decided to pick it up. When I read it in the evening, I understood what he wants to say and I was very dascinated by the workds of him. I'm sure, that he is a very interesting artist!

You said to me, that the Golden Lion goes to the German Pavillon. I am a german guy so I won't disclaim about it, but if I would have to decide it, I would give the Lion to Lim Tzay Chuen.

Thank you for given me the book and best wishes to the artist and the curator.

P.S. I really would appreciate, if you could give me the internet adress for further informations about Lim (and - if you have any other artists in your country, that are as exiting as him - I would like these names also). My E-mail: Thank you!
mio dio!! I teared slightly after reading the letter! I can't believe that I've impacted her appreciation for Singapore art so much!! That's really sweet of her to come back and leave a note for us! Sweet!! I feel so accomplished! :)


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

fphoto of the day

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compliments from Catherine and David from UK :)


Sunday, August 28, 2005

weather OGGY!

weather report from Venice OGGY!

It is raining. It has been raining since Saturday, 2220hrs GMT+1
It is now Sunday, 1237hrs GMT+1

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And only NYC is fast enough for you.
Maybe you'll set yourself up with a killer career
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What City Do You Belong in? Take This Quiz :-)
Find the Love of Your Life (and More Love Quizzes) at Your New Romance.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


nostalgic draaaama ahead ...

I arrived on July 21 to Rome Fumicino Airport after a long 21 hour flight from Singapore via Dubai and Milan. How interesting can that get? I was really tired, despite the wonderful service on board the plane + the food that we're getting. I did 2 days in Roma and I think I covered most of the sites around. No hurry for me to finish everything since I will be back in Roma for work next year. Things are indeed expensive in Roma, but comparing to the other European cities, it is still cheaper than Paris. Weather was scorching hot then and indeed when we arrived in Venice, there was a terrible heat wave. Weather is still awry now in Venice. It has been raining since the day Xing and JK left. Wierd summer!

It seems fast that one month has passed, although the process of going through the last month has been so slow. 3 more weeks to go, and I will be back in sucky Singapore.
21 more days ...
Some photos around ...

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Friday, August 26, 2005

parties galore!

I did some area cleaning today! *yay* it was a bit messy around, but still manageable. I just didn't have anything to do, so I thought that I should get some sweat by doing some area cleaning (very military terms eh). Pruned the grapevines and ensured that they are well tangled and all. Toilets are still down, or we're just keeping it down. I hope that the grapes will be ready before we leave in September. Yes Xing, if you're nice, we might send some over to LA!

The blog also got a bit of a revamped. I managed to slot in the html codes accordingly. At first, the whole site was down and all the entries disappeared. I went, "Oh SHIT!" ... but more doodling and tweedling around and finally *BINGO* I manage to figure out the Java codes. Thanks Alan and Yen! So, those around, please leave your comments behind and we can now monitor the traffic too.

Further draama unfolds this morning when the beggar in Draaama 1 and his wife were bickering/arguing/fighting with another guy outside our pavilion. Apparently, this new guy on the block stole his previous begging spot and the couple are making a whole lot of din over it. It was a whole 1/2 hour of shouting in god-knows-whatever-language! Draaama I say, and finally I saw some sisters in the morning. They came out slowly from the mental asylum near our pavilion. Slowly, the truth starts to unfold here in Venice. Simone from NZ pavilion says that there are 4 other mental asylum here in Venice and it's normal. The island asylum? I wish I had taken a photo of naked streaker! Isn't he cold? hehe

On another note, we were invited to the Welsh pavilion party! It was nice, finally going to Guidecca; the island. The same old people were there and it's just nice to have all of us around again. The New Zealand party was great. Very simple and classy I would say. Then went to the German pavilion party. There wasn't an official invitation, but it's just through word of mouth. Great too! Met more of the interns from the other pavilions and we're all in the same boat. There's nothing that we could do at night, other than hang out together. So, that was that and there's the Belgium party tonight over at their apartment! It's going to be nice, seeing all the other people again!

Photos from the previous parties!! :)
Image hosted by With Tessa and friend from New Zealand Party

Image hosted by With Phynella from Great Britain Pavilion

Image hosted by With Ignatio and Paloma from Moroccan Pavilion

Image hosted by With Emily (NZ Pavilion) and Peter from Germany on post Campo S.Marg

Cheerios! F.Venice

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cyborg MIKE

Mechanical Infiltration and Killing Entity

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Draaama No 1:
There is this guy outside who begs for money and he's really smart I would say. He strategically positions himself outside the biennale grounds, knowing that there's a large influx of tourists/biennale visitors around. The drama unfolds when I saw him, sitting next to his wife, looking really pathetic while his wifes puts out her hands asking for money somewhere else. A beggar tag-team duo? More draama when I saw him and his wife shopping at Billa - the local supermarket, yesterday. In his wife's basket was some tenderloin steak and quite a fair amount of groceries. To think I pitied him and wanted to make an extra portion of my breakfast each day. Draaama.

Draaama No 2:
There was a naked man, fully unclothed = naked man near the Arsenale ticket office. He was shouting and screaming outside a door. I thought he got locked out while taking a shower or something along a prankster around. What if he comes into the pavilion and decided to seek shelter in our toilets? I called for the Arsenale people, just to make sure that they're aware of things outside and then .... *jang-jaNG-JANG* ...

Draaama No 3:
Apparently, there's an asylum or some kind of a refuge near the Arsenale ticket office. No wonder we've been getting some crazy people around. The Arsenale stuff told me that there are some nuns who will hand out some food to these people, thus explains the influx of wierd people around.Speaking of wierd people, this concludes the existence of the quasimodo-wierdo guy who came to "attack" Nat a few weeks ago.So, everything is normal here in Venice actually. You just don't know the source of the happenings, until weeks later.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

singapore shite

we received our first hate mail from the neighbours yesterday. Creepy! and we thought that it was the old woman who complained when Xing slammed the door, but it turned out to be another neighbour - 2516 woman. (xing - I don't think it was your fault and the slamming door. I think it is more of the neighbours and the slamming gate! Freakazoid! I am so pissed with them, and wonder how does JK tolerated their nonsense). Apparently, she blamed us for throwing a box of rubbish in front of her house. Hello? We're not even home yesterday and we don't drink a whole box of beer, for goodness sake! Grrr ... she was so rude and wrote a small note to us in scribbly Italian and pushed it under our door. Freakozoid!

and today, someone pasted their event sticker in front of our toilets. More left their exhibition brochures under the grapvines. Some people are just darf! We should ban people from having the liberty to use the toilets. Who say that anyone can use the toilets in the first place. Very shameless people. And the worst bit is that they will give me the look, like as if I'm cutting their toilet queue, when what I wanted to do was to check if the toilets are clean and the supplies replenished. KNNBCCB! Don't they realise that this is an exhibition space for the Singapore pavilion and Mr Asian here, belongs in this space?? Grrr ...

a whole bunch of francolites came over this morning and insisted on the French explaination. I greeted them with hello and they replied back, Bonjour! Don't they realise that English is our language here in Singapore? I am so pissed with the day so far. Very gerrruum. Oh well ... I will be strong and shall wait for the green light from NAC to ban people from using the toilets.


Friday, August 19, 2005

i love NAC!

una regazza,
ciao bella;
29 more days,
venetian memories always.

while the sun is scorching,
i am still working;
italians are still on holiday,
Finally, the power adapter came today!

ciao! ciao!

i'm baaack! (with a vengence) Thank you NAC :)
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Saturday, August 13, 2005


No!! It's not the group 5566!! But we've reached our five thousand five hundred and fifty fifth visitor in the pavilion! YAY!!

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there's our visitor number 5555!

Friday, August 12, 2005

C'est geniale!

My French is non-existent, but oui! D'accordo! Finally some thinking visitors today!



On Wednesday we found ourselves in the role of the Venice Tourist Information Point.

I've considered investing into a little funny leprechaun green or dowdy brown "official's" hat to live up to that role. Perhaps a blue and white stripey shirt with a bowtie? No, that's too MacDonalds. Or maybe I should go for the Groucho Marx look - complete with the big nose, ticklish moustache and round glasses?

No matter how much I'm looking forward to fostering the Groucho Marx look for the day-time this summer, I see I'm a little to late.

Peccato!!! (Shame!!)

Perche (because) today we've taken a step forward.

But I can't make up my mind. Is being a tourist information office a rank higher than being the following bureau?

I leave it to the reader to decide.

Today we've become the Lost and Found Office.

It was quiet for most of the morning, until 11.15am when a French lady walked in and asked if we had by any chance found her old Nokia in the toilets yesterday afternoon.

Then an Italian woman told us that she had left her camera on the Pavilion grounds yesterday.

10 minutes later I received a call from Francesca from Arte Communcations to ask if we come across a camera. No, unfortunately we haven't was reply.

Then two Japanese girls came in to ask if we had seen a coat and a white beach hat. I happily handed over the brown-tinged white beach hat over.


We're still the Tourism Board of Venice. A bunch of middle-aged Dutch tourists came in, oops sorry, that's not the word, it was more like they barged or tumbled in. And they didn't care in the least about the exhibit. They asked me if I was Venetian. I said no, but yet they did not seem to believe me. So they pressed and asked for the local Venetian party spots. I said I'm not sure as I'm not a local, but you could try Campo Santa Margherita - it has a lot of good bars, street performers and restaurants. Our dear visitors responded by dumping the map on Mike! (I should have told them they were committing sacrilege) and wanted exact directions. They kept asking again if I knew the party spots (I know, maybe I do look like I should know, but instead I repeated that I wasn't even Italian.) They looked sceptical. I tried to explain to them that we provide information solely for the Singapore Pavilion, and that they could try the Information booth at Arsenale for such information perhaps. But they didn't understand.


Some wonderful visitors came in just a few minutes ago. People who were asking and wanted to know what this exhibit was about. They were open to ideas, and not just merely open to consume for consumption's sake...but who were willing to digest a little of the immaterial ie. thought!!!!!!


I Spy

A girl wearing the omnipresent red "ArtLover" t-shirt, the characteristic unofficial uniform of Biennale employees, is sitting on the grey bench outside in "our" courtyard.

And she's smoking a cigarette.

Like the rest of "them", she's probably unaware that the interns can spy on her from the other side of the darkened windows.

I'm not being a girl scout.

Naaaaah, really, I would never tell on our visitors.

But anyway, as I was saying....

Like the rest of "them" - that is, of the Singapore Pavilion visitors - I would say that about 95% of the people that enter and roam around these three spaces immediately assume and stick by the assumption that the space provided by the Singapore Pavilion is merely a place to do the following activities:

1) "Oh, look, a place to relieve the call of nature! Quick, steal some toilet-paper!"
2) collect a "souvenier" from the exhibit, ie. not unlike the situation where tourists to Greece often try to "take" home materials or statues from ancient buildings. Here, instead, we've come to the conclusion that in someone's cheap ignorant attempt to collect a souvenier, the ladies tap handle broke.
3) "Finally, a picnic spot!" and visitors gleefully flock to the benches in the courtyard
4) "Who needs a hostel in the daytime? We can just sleep on the benches in the toilets! Yay!"
5) Breast-feeding area
6) have animated arguments with their spouses in the courtyard as they presume no one is looking
7) Criticise the helpful interns for not being able to provide maps or detailed information about the other parts of the Biennale
8) Certain visitors randomly exercise nationalistic tendencies by criticising the interns for not being able to communicate in the language of the visitor's choice - although this office speaks English, Italian, French, Czech, Malay, some Mandarin, some German and some Russian, it is obviously still not adequate. We have thought of resolving this problem by putting up a sign outside that stipulates
the languages spoken here.

Example 1

For about the 20th time, someone walked in with a huffy-puffy attitude.

Visitor: "Bon-jourrrrr!"

Nat: "Buongiorno! Hello!"

Visitor: "Parlez-vous francais?"

Nat: "Oh no, sorry. But I do speak Italian."

Visitor: (incredulously) "You don't speak French????"

Nat: "No. I'm afraid I don't. Could I perhaps explain to you in English or Italian?"

Visitor: "Oh. (long pause) You don't speak French. Hm."

Pause with the visitor ho-humming.

Nat: (still patient and forever smiling) "Well, I do speak Italian, Czech, Malay, some German, some Russian, any of these, whichever you would like...! :) "

Visitor: "No, no, fine. English will have to do

And the visitor spoke perfect English!

Oh well. A study in social interaction, I reiterate to myself. And in fact, there is a quite a glimpse in to the social reality of fragmentation between different nations and the active enforcement of their languages.....I mean, it's an art exhibition! People should just chill out and have fun, enjoy the different cultures and their interpretations of art especially at the country pavilions! I think that next time I will offer such visitors a Tiger beer. A summer drink to chill out to!


Anyway, back to my initial point. People walk in and out, and based on the comments I happen to hear from visitors, they have been fooled! In the sense, that - is this part of what is supposed to happen at the exhibit? I mean, people don't seem to be thinking much or at all about the space judging on their comments. They're just happy to have a nice toilet and a drinking fountain outside. But in some sense, it surprises me. People are here to attend an international art exhibition, and although they see and pass the sign outside the main entrance that clearly says Singapore Pavilion, and this including the sign in the courtyard and the unusual toilets seem to escape them. They stumble into information room demanding information on the clubbing scene in Venice, where to buy vaporetto tickets and so on....and I feel like saying "We seem ridiculous to you that we don't have the information that you want, but really! Don't you see, the joke is on you!" They've paid their money for the Biennale, and if there is nothing material to see or to grasp or twist or break, there is truly nothing for such visitors.



Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Nat's day

A typical day at the Singapore Pavilion looks like this:

Visitors stumble clumsily around the little black glass door in the courtyard which has an "Information" sign perched above it. Some peer through the dark windows on either side of the door to find out what to expect before they walk in. Others bob forwards and backwards, not unlike some type of strange ritualistic dance (if only we could discard the huge cameras, waterbottles and guidebooks for a few leaves to make a hula dancers outfit), hesitantly wondering if they should take their next step back into the safety and sunlight of the courtyard or if they should attempt communication with the people at the long grey table inside.

Others walk in, tackling the situation head on and demand "Okay, where's Mike?" A little bit too assertive, or perhaps a yonk to aggressive you might think, but I have to say that there are days when I prefer this attitude to the smirk of the so-called common people. Common people, I say, not because they are really such, but as you will see:


A man doing the strange bobbing dance ritual at the entrance to our Information room. He walks in and asks:

Visitor 1: "Where is the exhibit?"

Nat: "Hi there, the Singapore Pavilion, or rather the exhibit are these three spaces - this information room here, the bathrooms and the courtyard outside."

Visitor 1: "Yup, uh-huh, so like, uh, where's the exhibit?"

I follow on with another explanation. The man looks at the black walls, then turns to take a deliberate 10-second look at me, and a smirk rips across his face.

"Ah riiiight, thank you. Bye!!"

Nevertheless, I find it amusing and interesting to watch the reactions of visitors. For me, it is a survey of human behaviour and reactions to expectations of common things......


A couple walks in, and it looks like they have a mission, as they walk quickly towards the steps at the back of the information room, looking ready to tear down the door at the top of the stairs to find the artist's work.

Fariz or myself briefly explain the lay-out of the Singapore Pavilion.

"Oh, so you two are the exhibit?" they ask, unable to hide their disappointment.

"Well, in fact, all of us in this room are part of and ARE the exhibit, in some way or another. Perhaps you could consider yourself a part of the work at this moment."

"OOOHHhhhhhhhhhhh.........", and they continue to look at the black walls, walk around the table, and search for the artists work, as though they half-expect to see it floating in mid-air.



Visitor 3: "Could we please have a map of the Biennale?"


Visitor 4: "Tell me, do you have adresses of good restaurants around here?"

I wish I did, I think to myself. I'd love to know where I can find hearty Venetian cooking at reasonable prices. But instead, I tell our visitor the bad news.

Nat: "I'm sorry, but we are the information point for the Singapore Pavilion. You might be able to get some information from the people at the Arsenale."

Visitor 4:"Yeah, right, you really don't have the guide to the best restaurants around this area?"

I wonder, hm, perhaps my English no so good, right?

But on the other hand, there are so many people who demand some sort of explanation and will not leave until you have satisfied their curiosity. They stand with arms folded across their chest, some leaning with their hand placed on the table and tapping their fingers impatiently on the cool grey surface.

"So tell us, who's Mike?"

Some look bewildered, some dissapointed, some amused, some tickled by the idea, some stay on in the pavilion and have a Tiger beer, which has at times inspired them with new theories for Mike. Some leave interesting comments in our guestbook. Others meanwhile (and I still can't decide if its because Mike has inspired an artistic streak in them, or if they are unable to express their reactions in words or if they are simply illiterate) draw....small Mikes, big red roaring

But today, was the funniest day of all. About 99% of the people who came to see the exhibit today have asked for information about the city, the Biennale, food and transportation, where to buy tickets for the Biennale, if we sold tickets for the Biennale......

Monday, August 08, 2005

Top 5 Mike comments

Visitors' reactive scribblings in the guestbook...

Today's top 5 are:

1) Mike could even mate with the San Marco lion!
It would be interesting to the result... :)

2) Mike: Sorry you couldn't
come here with me.
I met someone else.
Screw you.

P.S. This toilet here is
perfect for you. No toilet
paper. You deserve that.

3) Dear Tzay Chuen.
U still can't
have my girl.

Much love,


I hope you'll bring
Mike without break not break, not break....
Moni hoped you'll find Maria in Vienna.




Sunday, August 07, 2005

Impression Pavilion

This is the place i dwelled for the past 2 months
a dark place
a black space

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The table
The objects
The laptop
The wires

Its lunchtime. I took out my lunchbox. Rice with tuna again.
Eyes looked at me.
People walked in and out.
I continued eating...

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Saturday, August 06, 2005



Weather is ok here. Not so hot, although the sun is out, but the Venetians around have told me that it will get hotter next week or so, till the end of the month. We shall wait and see.

I opened the pavilion today, a felt a bit excited for work. I was armed with the laptop and then my lunch, as well as my tote bag. Got into the pavilion, and swtiched on all the lights, checked the toilets to see if the stocks are still there and *BHAM* a whole horde of German tourists with their guide came into the pavilion. Mind you, I left the pavilion door half opened and they managed pushed their way in. The tour guide saw me and insisted for an explaination of the work. WTF?!

I brought them to the information room; showed them the merlion, showed some gestures and they were like ... ooohhh ... ahhhh. I bet they don't really understand me, but I tried my best and gave time for the guide to translate to them. At least, they were really excited over the toilets and as usual, were amazed. That was about 30 visitors at 10.02am this morning. What a shocker!

The visitors to the pavilion can be quite intimidating and demanding sometimes. On some occasion, they would insist for me to explain to them in Italian. Hello? Where's Nat on the days you need her. Then again, I've learnt enough Italian to give them a gist of the exhibition - directing them to the 3 areas of the pavilion. The French were worst. Die DIE also, they want me to explain to them in French. I must say that my friench has improved, but you know hor, is it just impossible for them to speak to/understand me in English. The whole world doesn't revolve around them whor! You come here; our Singapore pavilion and you people respect us ok? Lidat, how many languagues do we have to learn in order to please them hor? Lidat lor! If I do Singlish to them, lagi best! I bet they'll be very intrigued by the language. I was already accomodating and thank their lucky stars that we're equipped with a 3rd langauge. Speaking of 3rd language, the Chinese will come in sheepishly and walk out without saying anything. So, it wasn't possible to do Mandarin. No Malays/Indons coming in either. Pfftt!!

I went to the Thai Pavilion yesterday. Very Zen buddhist, very tranquil and very good karma and very good use of the site. I could feel the tranquility of the work and the whole Thai culture just felt so apt. They had two artists - one living and another who just passed away recently, paying hommage to him. Me and my khangkeng (thai fisherman pants) and my orachun (thai god) t-shirt, happily went in and greeted the guy in Thai, or whatever Thai that I could remember from the 12 weeks intensive class. He then asked me, if I'm Thai! Heh! I could be, if I want to. Oh well, didn't talk much with him, cos he looks a bit dodgy. Left and headed off to P.le Roma, hoping to get a day trip to Treviso on Tuesday.

Things have been quite slow here in the pavilion. I guess the tourist crowd is dying. Nat and I were hoping for some nice people to chill out with. I met Cecile, an Australian from Sydney who's on a travelling scholarship. She's studying architecture and was cool. I should be flying often to Sydney, so Cecile, here I come.

Other than that, it has been quite routine. We're getting the fans! The money is approved and we're waiting for the money from Paivi. On the otherhand, the NAC laptop is down. Bummer!! There was no light on the adapter. Dang!! I knew it would come sooner or later. Xing was already complaining and warning us about the almost defunct lappy. I was so bored, until Nataliah came over and lent me her lappy, which I am typing this entry right now. I hope NAC will reply soon, for I was already considering of shipping my laptop over from Singapore. The bro is checking on the frieght rates first. I will if it's less than $100? Hmm .. we shall see.

Loads of Venetian Vaporettos

Friday, August 05, 2005

Back in Spore

Got back for almost 2 days already
I'm still not adjusted back yet
I should be happy to be back
I thought i will be
But something inside me felt a sense of loss
I feel like a nomad
Traveling from place to place
2 weeks later im leaving again...

Perhaps my sense of attachment to a single place is already numb
Perhaps I am still on a journey of discovery
Perhaps I still want to move

The memories of Venice still lingers
It is a very different feeling
I do not miss venice
But I feel that I am beginning a phase of life where places are platforms
I shift from one to another constantly
I look back at each place
I think about the experience
I think about the people

But I still move on...


Thursday, August 04, 2005


And so, JK left early in the morning for the airport. I helped him with his trolley bag all the way to the vaporetto station and I could see him grimacing carrying the bags. It was strange to be out in Venice at 7am, cos I've never gotten up so early before. And the streets were filled with dog poo and pigeon poo, creating an aweful smell altogether. I went back and slept for the next few hours.

Xing was up and ready to get to the airport. We chatted and in the end, she left. She left the apartment without her phone and I ended up running after her, while she was draggy her trolley to the vaporetto station. The MTV music played on and we got so draaama. I walked her to the station and it started to drizzle. I guess Venezia is sad that both of them are leaving. At least it wasn't a scorching hot afternoon to start off with.

So, off I went to Giardini and the surrounding pavilions. Some of the exhibitions were great and indeed inspirational, but others were utterly strange. I will write on more of them, but I guess I'll give it a more performative angle of the biennale versus JK's artistic view. And I will do that when less visitors are around, although I must add that I like the stuff from KOREA! I could see some resemblance with the video that I did for Pop Culture & Performance class last semester.

On another note, it has been quiet without Xing and JK. The house is finally cleaned and so is my room. I managed to cook rice and it turned out really good. I miss rice all of a sudden and i can't be on a pasta diet for 2 months yeah? Other than that, I thought of this idea of cooking dinner for 2 portions and save half for the next day's lunch. Great huh? So I had rice, curry devil's vege with fries last night and swapped the fries with cheese omelette for the lunch instead.

Feeling great and working out good! My french is improving and I told the visitors more about Singapore in French! Chouette! Oui ... a bientot mes amis!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Do you know?!

After meeting so many visitors around, I have learnt quite a great deal of things from them.

1) Do you know that in German, the name George is pronounced as GAY-YORG?

2) Do you know that Mike is pronounced as MICK in French?

3) Do you know that Dutch and Deutsch language is almost similar?

4) In Italian Fashion, they like to reveal what they wear under. Also, wearing WHITE - pants, skirts, berms, shorts is IDEAL with a contrasting coloured underwear to it. Best still if they're thongs and will peak out a bit. I wouldn't really say that they're walking exhibitionists, but I guess it is sexy. So tomorrow, I shall head out to Padova and buy my white pants.

5) JK and Xing are leaving for Singapore tomorrow!! They're doing good and am sending JK to the airport tomorrow. Bye bye :) (Afternote: Xing and JK left on a drizzley Tuesday).

6) Italian doors do not close properly and it takes a key to lock the door.

7) Vaporetto (or we what is known as ferryboats in Singapore) rides cost S$10 to get around the island. Imagine paying $10 for an MRT ride?

8) Public water coolers or taps are available everywhere in Italy.

9) Dogs in Venice are pretty tamed unlike the hungry ferocious ones in Singapore. They'll just raom around the streets on their own and get lost, and then find their owners. Cats on the other hand, are fat and fury.


Sunday, July 31, 2005

and the heat wave continues

OGGI (pron. ORGY) - 31 Luglio 2005
min: 21 °C (so NOT true) max: 30 °C (more like 35 °C)

Nat and I finally moved from the cosy Hotel Giardinetto to the hot and stuff apartment OGGI. The air is stale there and we're waiting to get the fans. We can't open the windows too much cos the mosquitoes kept flying in and we will see JK swatting the mosquitoes with his mighty hands. Well, at least we are now closer to the pavilion and shuttling back and forth would be easier. Just cross two bridges and voila, we're home.

The pavilion has been receiving many interesting people so far. People were mainly amazed by the toilet and also after some assistance by us. Nat did most of the work with the Italian-speaking tourists and now she's speaking Czech! She's amazing. I would just stand back and stare with my smattering/smittering CMI French (despite 2 years learning it).

I've made a few contacts so far and probably, I smell a family homestay too (in no order of importance).
1) Funny crazy media students from Roma who stays in the Rainbow House

2) Fashion instructor from Montpellier, France who has links with La Salle Singapore
3) Italian scientists who used to work in KKH Singapore and is back in Milan, Italy
4) Film Maker Ralph from Wien, Austria
5) George (Pron. GAY-ORG), the German product designer working in Taipei

6) Dutch artist and writer who helped themselves to a TIGER

and more to come :) I can't wait to pay them a visit if time permits after the biennale.

On another note, I am going to the other islands of Venice; Isola di Murano e Isola di Burano OGGI. The weather is hot for now, so I shall wait till the sun sets a bit. HOOOOOT!

Will share more of the islands when I'm back. Planning to do the fried rice today, after 3 days of mee goreng and maggi for the past few days. I've just mailed back home, asking mama how to make curry puffs. I think they'll be really HOT and will sell well. Let us all wait and see .... W A I T ...

My Singapore Mee Goreng on Day 1

The Rubber Nasi Goreng on Day 2
The islands were kindda dead during the weekend and had nothing to offer. While Murano is known for their Murano glasses, Burano on the other hand are known for the fancy lacework and the colourful houses. It took me almost 2 hours to get to the islands from Venice and I was totally exhausted thereafter.

Houses on the island of Burano
The Lacy Shop in Burano
Murano glass beads
The island hopping boy

F. Venezia