Wednesday, 27 March 2013

March 2013 sketchwalk at Gillman Barracks.

Hi all, sketchwalk this saturday March 30th, will be at Gillman Barracks. This is a former military camp which has been converted into a place for art galleries and eateries. I've not been there myself, but sketchers who have been there recommend it.

The closest MRT station is Labrador Park (Circle Line Station CC27.) From there, it is just a short walk up along Alexandra Rd to the Gillman Barracks at 9 Lock Rd. A clearer direction and map can be found here.

We will gather at Gillman Barracks (9 Lock Rd) at 930am to start our sketchwalk. So please have your breakfast before coming. Sketchwalk will be free and easy so you can draw whatever catches your interest there, be it buildings or bugs. At 12.30pm, please return to the starting point (9 Lock Rd) where we will gather, look at everyone's drawings and take photo!

Everyone in Singapore is invited. And if this is your first time, we encourage you to travel light as you may have to do some walking. Bring a hat in case it gets hot. Bring a portable/collapsible stool to sit more comfortably. All levels of drawing skills are welcome, so don't be shy. You are also free to use any drawing tools and technique you wish. In fact, this is a good time to try techniques and art tools you've never tried before because it is all just for fun!

The place is relatively easy to find and it will be easy to spot the sketchers. But if you are seriously lost, you may call Andrew at 91070735. (But please call only if you are seriously lost or else he will have to keep answering his phone while sketching, which is a massive inconvenience. Thanks!)

See you all there!

PS: There is a giveaway contest for this sketchwalk here :

Sunday, 24 March 2013

A Little Sketchwalk at the Woodlands Regional Library

View of the Library from the Cafe Galilee at the Woodlands Library
Love the little mushroom backrest at the kiddies reading area.
Reading under tree amongst the mushrooms in the glen on the 4th flour of the library.
Discover a place where learning and creativity meet, at Woodlands Regional Library! Art Fresco is an arts programme consisting of a monthly variety of workshops, talks and performances, to bring you a whole new canvas of artistic experiences through appreciation and hands-on activities. This programme is jointly initiated by National Library Board and National Arts Council.

Enjoy a mini exhibition of beautiful pieces that exhibit snippets of life in Woodlands. Drawn by members of USKSG with a passion for sketching, these pieces aim to capture familiar spaces and buildings, and connect you to fresh perspectives of everyday Singapore.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Art Fresco @Woodlands Regional Library

Discover a place where learning and creativity meet, at Woodlands Regional Library! Art Fresco is an arts programme consisting of a monthly variety of workshops, talks and performances, to bring you a whole new canvas of artistic experiences through appreciation and hands-on activities. This programme is jointly initiated by National Library Board and National Arts Council.

There will be a special exhibition and sketch walk held in collaboration with the Urban Sketchers Singapore at the Woodlands Regional Library on 24 March (Sun) from 2 - 5pm.

The activity is held to encourage sketching amongst the heart-landers and as a means to record our memories. Selected Urban Sketchers Singapore's artwork will also be on display at the special exhibition during the 24 March event.

Do drop by and experience how memories and places can be archived and sustained using visual and graphic means.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Woodlands Town Garden

Woodlands Town Garden Lake overlooking the bridge and pavilions.
The sketchwalk during the afternoon on the day before was too hot to capture the mood in the garden. I woke up early to go back and caught the place the way I remembered it: Quiet. Peaceful. Serene. Comforting.

I stayed in a nearby rented apartmentduring my university days in the early noughties. This was my favourite hauntfor a quiet scenic sanctuary. I love the peaceful serenity the place affordsand I’m glad that it still does.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Starbucks at Woodlands Civic Centre.

Starbucks at Woodlands Civic Centre.
After a whole day of sketching at VivoCity and Woodlands (that's from South to North), the sketch group went for dinner together and I finally chilled out at this spot after some shopping.

Woodlands Town Garden

Coconut palms over the lake.
Pavilions dotting the park. A respite from the tropical heat.

If you are around Woodlands New Town, drop by Woodlands Town Park and enjoy the greenery and ambience the park has to offer. Look out for the design of the park amenities that has both Malay and Chinese elements. Sungei Mandai Kecil, a river that flows through the park, was also integrated in the design of the park. Part of this river that flows into the park was enlarged into a lake, irregularly-shaped for a natural look.

RSS Intrepid sails into Vivocity

The RSS Intrepid docked at VivoCity from 15 to 17 March.
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) brought its Formidable-class stealth frigate RSS Intrepid, together with a Sikorsky S-70B naval helicopter, to VivoCity Promenade for the first time. This is in conjunction with Navy@Vivo, an event held from March 15 to 17 as part of the RSN's community outreach effort. Navy@Vivo is open to the public from 4pm on March 15 till 9pm on March 17.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Hong Wen School at Towner Road

The current site of Hong Wen School is the field of my alma mater, May Primary School.
This SAP school is located at the former site of my alma mater. Its exact compound is just the area of what used to be my school field.

I remember my primary school days, studying in May Primary School. I started in the school when it was still May North Primary School. I was enrolled into Primary 1B and very fortunate to be so because my form and English teacher was Miss Gomez: an excellent language teacher who was my first exposure to formal English.

She inspired and taught me the importance of diction and elocution. I will always remember her. I remembered that she was very proud of me when I graduated from Primary 6 as a member of the Prefectorial Board. She even asked me to give a stern warning to a Primary 3 boy when I asked her for an autograph.

Yes, I still have that autograph.

Ad Hoc At Woodlands...

Hey folks, there will be a special event and sketch walk organised by NAC (National Arts Council) and Woodlands Regional Library on 24 March (Sun) - will update more on that later.

In preparation of this collaborative event, there will be an ad-hoc sketch walk on 16 March (Sat) 3-6pm at Woodlands Regional Library to encourage the residents there to explore the neighbourhood estate through sketching, and everyone is welcome! It would be best if sketchers do their work on loose sheets, such that they could have their artwork displayed in a special exhibition during the 24 March event.

This will be a long-term community project by NAC and NLB (National Library Board), and hope our Urban Sketchers Singapore group could be a part of it too.

For this ad-hoc, the details are:

Venue: Woodlands Regional Library main entrance
Date: 16 March
Time: 3pm to 6pm

And do keep your 24 March free too!

Hope everyone could join in and make this a fun project!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Ad Hoc Sketchwalk at Dhoby Ghaut Green

Remember the Kallang Wave
Sketchers being sketched...
Dhoby Ghaut Green was identified as an interim park in URA's Public Space and Urban Waterfront Master Plan 2003, and conceived as a "City Room" for community gathering within the city and officially launch in 24 Oct 2009

The special locality of this park and the diversity of the user groups in the vicinity create opportunities to provide a focal point for Art & Culture, Concerts & Performances and community activities, or just a resting place for users to appreciate the surrounding park and urban environment. The site is highly accessible to people from all over the island as it is at the confluence of 3 MRT lines, North-South line, North-East line and Circle line.
Sculptural open-air amphitheatre at central space is the landmark of this park. It serves as a showpiece for the Architectural and Urban Design Excellence demonstration project and a performance venue to encourage public participation and enjoyment of the open space. Natural lines of a rattan basket inspired the design comprising interweaving aluminum screens. Night lighting will make it glow like a lantern. They also allow partial sun shading to the users. In addition, it also allow for natural through-ventilation, enable air to circulate freely through the structure. At the lower part of the amphitheatre is the performance stage with basic stage lightings. Multi-purpose rooms are available at the backstage for preparations before performances.
The green lawn and the beautiful landscape create a contrast against the architecture of the buildings in the area. The large canopies of the Rain Trees and Yellow Flame along the walk way provide good shade for the park users and the passers-by of this area.
The gravel area at western parcel is densely shaded from existing trees, providing a tranquil environment that contrasts with the bustle of the surrounding cityscape. This serves as a platform for handicraft street bazaars and busker performances.
This park provides adequate gathering spaces in the form of plazas for mass dancing and performances. An open field on the eastern end on the site is designed to allow for light recreational sports and other community events. Conveniently located on the northern side of the field between both exits of the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station is a cafe offering indoor and alfresco dining experiences.

Ad Hoc Sketchwalk at Dhoby Ghaut Green: The MacDonald House

The MacDonald House
The Historical Significance of The MacDonald House (extracted from the Straits Times, 11 March 1965)

The bombing of MacDonald House took place on 10 March 1965, when Indonesian saboteurs Harun Said and Osman Hj Mohd Ali planted a bomb near the building’s lift (The Straits Times, 11 Mar 1965, p. 1). The resulting detonation killed three people and injured 33 others.

The MacDonald House bombing took place during the period called Konfrontasi, meaning “Confrontation” in Indonesia. During that period, Indonesia under President Sukarno, used military force to engage in acts of sabotage and terrorism as part of a policy of intimidation. Sukarno opposed the formation of Malaysia, comprising a federation of Malaya, Singapore and the British colonies in Northern Borneo. He saw the Federation as a cover for the continuation of colonial power in the region (Sodhy, 1988, p. 112-114). On 23 September 1963, he announced that Indonesia would ganyang meaning “crush” Malaysia.

Singapore was especially exposed to the threat of terrorism due to its proximity to the Indonesian Riau Islands. The campaign to demoralise the Singapore population resulted in some 40 terrorist bombings by mid-1965. The Riau Islands was the headquarters for the military training of men recruited from Singapore and Indonesia. These men were under the direction of the former assistant Indonesian naval attaché to Singapore, Lieutenant Bambang Partono. From Pulau Sekupang, Indonesia planned to land battalions in Singapore, Johor and Kelantan to engage in acts of sabotage (The Straits Times, 19 Dec 1963, p. 1).

What happened
The two Indonesian bombers had come to Singapore earlier the same day at about 11:00 am (The Straits Times, 12 Mar 1965, p. 7). After lunch, they proceeded to MacDonald House where they planted bundles of explosives along the steps leading up to the first floor. After lighting the bomb fuse, they left the building by 3:00 pm and boarded a bus. A witness saw a Malayan Airways canvas bag on the mezzanine floor of the building emitting smoke and a hissing noise.

At 3:07 pm, the detonation set off an explosion that ripped off a lift door. Fortunately, the inner walls of the mezzanine floor were able to withstand the full force of the blast. However, three innocent bystanders on the other side of this wall were badly affected. Elizabeth (Suzie) Choo Kay Hoi and Juliet Goh Hwee Kuang were both killed instantly and buried by the rubble (The Straits Times, 12 Mar 1965, p. 9). A third victim, Mohamed Yasin bin Kesit, a driver for the Malaya Borneo Building Society, fell into a coma and died a few days later. The explosion also injured 33 others (The Straits Times, 13 Mar 1965, p. 1).

Impact of the bombing
Furthermore, the blast shattered windows within 91.4m of the MacDonald House building and also damaged almost every car outside the building. The bank closed for business only seven minutes before the explosion and 150 employees were closing their accounts at the time. Witnesses recounted a sudden flash followed by a bang. The explosion was powerful enough to destroy pillars and expose the steel reinforcements within. Later investigations showed that 20lb to 25lb (9kg to 11kg) of nitroglycerine were used (Sinnadurai, 1990, p. 518).

The explosion also affected the offices of the Australian High Commission located in the same building. Heavy wooden doors were wrenched from their hinges, landing 30ft (9.1m) away along the passageway. The impact also created widespread damage to the Cycle and Carriage showroom across the road from MacDonald House. The flying glass splinters injured two mechanics and damaged cars in the showroom (The Straits Times, 7 Jul 1990, p. 29).

At 3:30 pm, the reserve unit arrived and traffic police diverted traffic along Penang Road and Tank Road. Soon after, the British Army's bomb disposal squad arrived at the scene. Of the 33 people injured, several were warded at the General Hospital, including Samin bin Almari, Jamil bin Kassim, Tan Bee Geck, Kupusamy, Peter Ng, Ramasamy Marimuthu, and Zainal bin Kassim. The rest of the injured people received outpatient treatment (The Straits Times, 11 Mar 1965, p. 1).

At 6:15 pm, Minister for Health Yong Nyuk Lin visited the hospital to meet the bomb victims personally. He condemned the attack as a "senseless act of cruelty that will not solve any political problem" and asserted the need to weed out terrorists. He also noted that the explosion was not the first in Singapore as there were other incidents (The Straits Times, 11 Mar 1965, p. 1).

Saboteurs caught
Three days after the explosion, the two Indonesian saboteurs responsible for the MacDonald House bombing were caught while they were trying to escape from Singapore. They were rescued at sea by a boatman who saw them clinging to a piece of wood. At the time, they were not wearing military uniforms and had no identification papers. They were later taken on board by a marine police boat. At 1:25 pm on the same day, the police interviewed the saboteurs and  obtained details of their role in the MacDonald House bombing (The Straits Times, 7 Oct 1965, p. 5).

On 20 October 1965, Harun Said and Osman Hj Mohd Ali were convicted by the High Court of Singapore under the Penal Code for the murder of three civilians and sentenced to death. Their appeals to the Federal Court of Malaysia were dismissed on 5 October 1966. Both were hanged at dawn on 17 October 1968 and their corpses sent home to Jakarta that same day (The Straits Times, 18 Oct 1968, p. 14). About 10,000 Indonesians gathered at the airport to give them a hero’s welcome. Chief Admiral Muljadi received the bodies at the airport with a contingent of soldiers, marines and students. Indonesian flags were flown at half-mast for two days. The commandos were later buried with full military honours and decorations.

In Jakarta, the execution of the two Indonesian commandos incited public anger. As a result, a well-organised band of 400 students sacked the Singapore embassy in Indonesia as well as the residences of Singapore diplomats. These students were upset as they felt that the Indonesian soldiers had only carried out the orders of the government of former President Sukarno who stepped down in 1966. The students were reported to have used bamboo staves and smashed furniture and windows. The attacks took less than an hour, after which the mob went to the security headquarters building where the bodies of the two executed commandos were lying in state (The Straits Times, 18 Oct 1968, p. 1).