Monday, October 30, 2006

While sipping on a coconut...

We have a wonderful birdpark in the heart of KL. It's apparently the largest covered open air one in the world. One of my favourite things about the park is the cafe that allows you to get up close with some of the denizens of the park.

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Don't WASTE The Blue Skies!!!

With the haze lifting its shroud from the Klang Valley, I HAD to go out and shoot... something... ANYTHING!!!

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Anyway it looked like a good day for marriage registration at Thien Hou Temple. Lots of smiling faces of the brides and grooms enhanced with the reflection of the pristine skies... which HAD BETTER last for a while.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Choose Photography

In 1999, I was relatively happy with my life. I had been working for a few years and decided to reflect upon my life at that point. I had a lot of pastimes but most of them centered around computers and video games. I was born to play video games (something I knew ever since I laid my hands on the joystick for Space Invaders in the early 80s). But I felt empty... I felt I needed a creative outlet. When I was a kid, many commented that I had a talent for drawing/painting but I never developed that. So I search within and without and found a possible solution to my dilemma... photography. What sealed the deal was a trip to Bangkok which yielded horrible photos by my hand. Having decided on that, I went straight to Sungei Wang (it was Foto Shangrila) and took out my credit card to swipe for a Canon EOS300.

It was no stopping me then... at the peak of my photographic activities, I joined and became seriously involved (up to committee level) in 2 major photo clubs in KL. I looked up an old family friend, the Japanese photographer, S Arase Sugawara and learnt what I could from him. I absorbed whatever useful information I could from my seniors and also knowledgeable pros from Singapore and Australia. I was burning RM300+ worth of film and development every month just from practicising my passion. I had since upgraded to the Canon EOS30.

Moving forward to 2003... I decided to switch to digital and bought the market-changing EOS300D - the first DSLR that I felt was 'worth the money'. I had since participated in some small exhibitions. Today I'm using an EOS30D. I can say without hesitation that Photography is the love of my life. It has never disappointed me and has changed the way I look at life. I found joy in having my photos displayed at the National Art Gallery... having my photos make me some money in publications such as Click (which I write for regularly) and bring me to varied locations Korea and Switzerland.

An interesting example of my work shown HERE!

With that I say, take up photography. It is one of the few hobbies in life where you can use the same tools as the best photoartists out there and strive to achieve creative nirvana. For me, the journey has just begun.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Melaka during the long weekend...

What a tiring weekend it is... apart from the very hectic time at the parents' restaurant, I managed to squeeze in a little photography...

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Ubiquitous Luncheon Meat

Many of us grew up with this 'spiced assorted meat' in one form or another. Some of us are familiar with the original product, SPAM... while others got the european version in the form of Tulip. That said, my favourite is still Ma Ling brand. Did you know that there are many different imitation Ma Ling tins out there? The tins/labels can look ALMOST exactly the same (save for a few minute details) and they can be even sold at the same outlet sitting on the same shelves as the originals (but with different price tags).

Anyway, this brings me to my story. I went to my normal chap fan shop (economy rice). They have the best luncheon meat in the vicinity. I always choose my chap fan stalls based on the quality of their luncheon meat. As usual, I took 2 slices of the meat and put it on my plate of rice. The proprietor saw this and came over to ask me in Cantonese, "Do you like our luncheon meat?" I said yes... and that's why I patronise their stall. He then went on to say that his friends had asked him why he used expensive luncheon meat for his stall (he said it's RM4.80 per can). He said he realized that many stalls used inferior luncheon meat (less than RM2.00 per can) and he wanted to make sure the customers were happy with his luncheon meat. He then proceeded to show me the brand he used... I had initially guessed wrongly that it is Ma Ling. In actual fact, he was using a brand called YiGe (in a green can). Yummy!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Damn Cool Lamy

It's cool in looks and to the touch... the new Lamy Dialog 2. Designer in its roots, the Dialog 2 is very well made. I played with one today. Twisting action causes the nib to extend and the clip will retract flush. It's a bit heavy though being made of solid steel.

Lamy Dialog 2 Link

The Power Of Tampopo

In 1990, I watched, for the first (of many) times, the great Juzo Itami movie, Tampopo (Dandelion). I remember it was at the Picturehouse in Singapore (some people may remember this).

Tampopo was a special movie. It was a movie about food and people... and the main topic was RAMEN. Basically, Tampopo was a "ramen western" and the aim for perfection in a bowl of soup ramen. From the beginning of the movie to the end, it shows the importance of food in our lives. I like to refer to it when I try to describe how people should approach good food... in one of the first scenes of the movie, an old master describes in detail to a young man how one should savour the various stages of devouring a bowl of ramen.

Tampopo also featured many great Japanese movie stars... among the main characters are...

Ken Watanabe...

and the great Koji Yakusho!

However, one of the supporting cast of the movie was truly memorable. She was Fukumi Kuroda. Kuroda-san played a small role in the movie, playing the mistress of Yakusho's character... but her raw egg scene and crayfish scenes with Yakusho were truly memorable in the sensual sense :)

Anyway, I actually met Kuroda-san in 1987 (when I was an innocent 15 year old boy). It was 2 years after Tampopo was made. Kuroda-san was already a famous star in Japan and she was in Malaysia as a host of Japanese game show that was being filmed in Malaysia at that time. Since one of the filming crew members was a family friend, I asked if I could tag along to watch. During the times when I met her, she was clearly a Japanese sophisticate and able to speak Korean fluently too.

Years went by before I heard her name again and it was during the 2002 World Cup. She was one of the main officials of the games from Japan.

Today she still looks as elegant as ever...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Vulcain Event

Shot this last week when I was invited to the event. Very cool and exceeded expectations for sure!

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Only used the F11 for this though as I was nursing a stiff neck and was in no mood to lug a heavy camera around.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thinking about the past...

I have vivid memories of when I was younger. I can remember a lot about things that I experienced when I was 21, 15, 11 or even when I was 4.

I remember dirtying my school uniform everyday from ping pong when I was 17. I remember rough tackling another footballer when I was 14. I remember being the chopping king when I was 11. I remember saving my extra pocket money in small candy containers when I was 8. I remember walking through rays of sun when I was 4. I remember the soft toy dog that was inseparable from me when I was 1.

But I often wonder how life was back then... back in the 60s. Back in the 40s. Back in the 1800s even.

Being from the hometown of Melaka, I often wonder what my parents did when they were kids, what my grandfather saw when he used to drive his Austin through town. As I walk through old Melaka town, not much have changed during the old days in some parts of the town. People still transfer wood and bakau charcoal from the junks at the river port. As I chomp on noodles in an old coffeeshop, I can smell the spices from the nearby kedai runcit as the workers carried sacks of onion and ginger from the lorry to the warehouse at the back. The customers at this same coffeeshop a century ago would have smelled the same thing.

I never knew my paternal grandfather. He passed away in the 1950s; way before I was born. But I am indeed curious as to how he looked like when he was alive. How he sounded like. How my father reacted to him. How my father reacted to his grandfather.

I wonder about the millions of footsteps that caused the granite pavements to wear away as I step over them. I wonder what these people saw as I take a moment to scan the area.

Back then, there were no mobile phones, no TVs, no electricity even! Chinese New Year and Midautumn Festival would have been so different then. Red lanterns would have lit up the towns, giving the surroundings a warm red glow.

How many of you still remember the times when we didn't have mobile phones? I remember using the house phone to call up a girl I had a crush on when I was 17. It was always nervous times because I feared her father would pick up the phone. Or the excuses I would make just to call her up to hear her voice.

Interesting that without the mobile phone, we could go out all day and not worry about who came looking for us at home... our parents didn't think twice about where we were as long as we told them in advance.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Relish Gourmet Burgers

Simply tried this place last night. Not cheap for a burger but must admit it's very very tasty!

One online review I found...

And their website...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Must Buy Seiko 5s

People who know me also know that I am a firm advocate of the super robust and affordable Seiko 5 automatic watches. They range from RM150-RM300 each and are damn nice when you put a leather strap on them...

Anyway Seiko occasionally launches a design that catches the eyes of collectors everywhere and the current craze is this design below. They are all less than RM300 each. Superb!




Fyi, the SNKE01K is completely sold out on its first production run in most places!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

New 'Toys'

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Fleeting Blue Skies

Goddammit... what's worse than a hazy traffic jammed Friday evening??

Isetan sales made it worse... and I would expect the same on the upcoming Selangor-only holiday on Tuesday... urgh...

Anyway, today the haze is back with a vengeance... but not after I managed to slip in some nice blue skies of yesterday. October is normally the best time of the year for Malaysian skies. Unfortunately, thanks to our fucking inconsiderate neighbours, we cannot enjoy it to the fullest. Photos below captured at 6pm, 7/10/06.

A final note on Dae Jang Geum restaurant where I joined KY and Suanie to makan...

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Happy MidAutumn Festival

Tomorrow is the MidAutumn Festival (Mooncake Festival). May you all have a wonderful and joyous occasion with your family and enjoy health and happiness this season. Take care!

On another note... here's a look again at the hazy sun... looks like the moon eh?

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Project Hannah - A Musical Journey

I did this special shoot with Hannah Tan a few months back when she was recording her debut album, Crossing Bridges. It's meant to be the first in a series of special photo shoots detailing her journey through her music... but she's a busy person and I'm not sure when I will get to continue the second part. That said, I had mulled over how I would present the first set of photos and finally decided on doing something about it today. As such, feel free to have a look by clicking on the photo below to access the gallery.

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan