today in happiness: tuesday tangibles

Dearest ______,

Last night ended at past 1:00 AM.  We concluded it at The Sultan Jazz Club where they played homage to the late Paul Desmond, doubtlessly one of the best Alto saxophonists of the last century.

Tads (the bigger jazz aficionado and old college friend) had two glasses of table Shiraz.  Yuzuru had two Gin Tonics.  Jawo had two Bourbon Cokes.  I had a Mimosa.

The Sultan Hotel is one of those romantically reconstructed hotels around the city’s older districts.  Colonial facade of tall columns and intricate mouldings.  Black and white ceramic tiles.  An old winding staircase  swathed in deep- coloured rugs.  The faintest scent of good cigar and fresh flowers.

The thing with jazz, I find, is that it’s truly complex underneath that light finish.  It’s precise and effortless at the same time.   When I catch jazz, it always feels like eating ice cream.  Balsamic vinegar and vanilla ice cream- feathery with a bite.

Last night started after 8:00 PM.  We met our friends Cos and Wawi  at the ArtScience Museum where photography show [Outside] In opened in conjunction with the 3rd Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF).

Wawi showed four pieces from her Dominion series (2011).  Two white walls dedicated to her expansive landscapes of black sand, lava rocks, and

broad white sheets suspended in mid air, chased by waves;

broad white sheets drooped on damp furniture;

broad  white sheets clinging unto a volcano’s weary face, and

an inverted V of white ash.

Of the series, she talked about how cathartic the whole process was,  beginning with the resignation of covering remnants of her flooded Manila studio with a white cloth.

Her first impulse was to leave the wreck and head for the volcanoes.

“It’s not clear if I made peace with the land by surrendering with a white cloth or if I covered it as if with burial cloth.

Can I define by means of erasure?

When I saw her work, the quietest part of my being felt like it had been found out.  I’ve been living with heaps of broad white sheets in my linen cabinet.

I’ve been covering people and places up, only to find  ghostly shapes taking form;  phantoms waking up from the white mounds I desperately mean to forget.


The Sultan Hotel is  is located at 101 Jalan Sultan #01-01 Singapore.

Outside In: A Magnum Photos Showcase

Amazing photography at the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands (from 10 October 2012 – 06 January 2013).




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Photography and text by Author unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

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