Decode: Adventure: Garfield Run

Decode Adventure

Okay, so I know that the title sounds a little bit difficult to believe but yes, the lazy cat who would rather sleep and devour lasagna all day than walk to his water bowl has a run. And the Tiger and I went to take part in the Couple Run category.

Rushing down from Kinokuniya Orchard (the Tiger had a launch there an hour before we were supposed to be at the start line!), we made it to the Marina Promontory for a quick drink of Milo and a proper pinning of our race bibs. Raven Silvers was there to join in the festivities, and to be our “porter” for our stuff (mine, the Tiger, and Sarah when she will go for her Fun Run). Since the Tiger and myself were going for the Couple Run, we had to be at the place an hour earlier than Sarah’s Fun Run.

Us before the run. Photo courtesy of Raven Silvers.

Us before the run. Photo courtesy of Raven Silvers.

Where we started before the Flag Off.

Where we started before the Flag Off.

When Sarah arrived. Photo courtesy of Raven Silvers.

When Sarah arrived. Photo courtesy of Raven Silvers.

The Flag-Off started with the appearance of Garfield and Odie, where Odie’s tongue was too huge and probably not attached to the top of its mouth either way. Haha. For the Couple Run, the distance was 5km, spanning the riverfront of Marina Bay Sands, past the ArtScience Museum, through Gardens by the Bay, and with a loop back at the edge of Marina Barrage.

Considering how the Tiger and I did not formally train for this (apart from our regular “twice-a-week” gym sessions and stuff), I was quite happy that we managed to clock 5km in 45mins, with Sarah cheering us from the edge of the Fun Run starting point as we sprinted to the finish line.

All things said, we had a lot of fun with this run. We did not stay for the rest of the festivities, but we still walked away with incredibly cute finisher medals and a great, fun experience. Despite the fact that we were hoping to use the “Couple Punch” sometime. LOL.

Garfield and Arlene Finisher Medals for the Couple Run =)

Garfield and Arlene Finisher Medals for the Couple Run =)

Us with our medals! Photo courtesy of Raven Silvers.

Us with our medals! Photo courtesy of Raven Silvers.

The Garfield Run 2014 was organised by Pink Apple. To find out more about them, click here.

P/S – Many thanks to Raven for looking after our bags and taking pictures for us!

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Eternal Sights; Spotted Mind: On Reading, and on “Reading”

Eternal Sights

On Reading, and On “Reading”

“It’s for your own good.”
Is this what it’s come to?
To be told, dictated, forced
to only think as you do?

“This is not good for you…”
But have you looked deeper?
Or have you merely gleamed,
Forgoing story for the cover?

“You should not be reading this.”
Yet why, I don’t understand.
It shows no culling, no negativity
And tells me stories as I am.

“They will only harm you.”
How? You do not say…
I’ve not noticed anything bad,
Just happy stories showing love as the way.

“We have to stop them!”
I sigh while you cite to back your thoughts.
Yet who’s to say what’s natural,
When it’s unnatural hate that you’ve brought?

~ Joelyn Alexandra

I believe there is enough rhetoric about books, literacy, reading, and book-banning being thrown around these days. Many things have been said, many things have been discussed, many things have been done. And after all the things that have been said, I can only say this.

We often underrate the importance of personal responsibility, probably because we tend to deflect blame onto things out of our control and not work on ourselves because it’s so much easier. Ultimately, however, the responsibility of our direct actions fall onto us – what we grow to learn falls onto us, who we grow to be falls onto us. And deciding what our younger generations should read in such a violent matter (e.g. demanding books to be banned or pulped) does NOT promote a wholesome society. It not only impinges on the rights and the humanity of others, it insults the intellectual capabilities of our children and their potential to think critically and communicate with others well.

So if we want to become a nation of harmony, then we had better start by becoming a nation of humanity.

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Museum Escapades: Once Upon a Time in Asia

Museum Escapades

It has been a while since I blogged about a museum experience, so I thought this small, yet interesting exhibition would be a good fit.

The Tiger and I headed to the Asian Civilisations Museum for the afternoon, and it just so happened that it was their Open Day – which meant everyone could get in for free. Instead of heading for the permanent exhibits, we decided to take a look at the event that was happening in one of their side galleries.

After a long overdue visit to a museum!

After a long overdue visit to a museum!

Held in conjunction with the Children’s Festival, Once Upon a Time in Asia was a side exhibition for children visiting the museum to share their stories and engage their senses.

Upon entering the exhibition hall, we could see a tree with colourful, stuffed animals on its branches – the centerpiece of the room – and a maze for the kids to navigate through. There were five different sections, each dealing with the five main senses kids are taught in school – spotting and identifying animals on the iSpy wall, navigating the maze to look for impressions to shade out, or sniffing and pointing out different scents.

Activities for the kids

Activities for the kids

The Story Tree

The Story Tree

Kids finding their way through the maze

Kids finding their way through the maze

I spy...

I spy…

Sculptures for kids to feel and name textures...

Sculptures for kids to feel and name textures…

At the end of their activities, the kids also got to draw or write their stories before each heart-shaped piece of paper is hung on a wall for all to see.

What the Tiger and I found incredibly interesting was this group of sculptures which were displayed in the same room as well. Created only with paper and acrylic, these intricate sculptures intrigued us – especially with how detailed it was and how much effort we could see in the piece itself.

Snaking pieces...

Snaking pieces…

... that form a masterpiece

… that form a masterpiece

They actually reminded me of the collective greatness of many individuals, but also about how we have been using the limited resources we have and the delicate relationship between the final products we have been using, and the root source of these products – food for thought, if you would ask me.

For more information on the Asian Civilisations Museum and what other programmes they have, click here.

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Signal Boost: Liquid City Vol 3. Launch

Signal Boost

Deep in the heart of Asia, close to the equator of the earth, a group of artists in the bustling streets of South-East Asia make their mark. Finally, after several years post-Liquid City Volume 2, Liquid City Volume 3 is seeing its launch in Singapore!

Happening this month, we will be heading down to Kinokuniya Main Store in Singapore to finally get a glimpse of this collection of comics and illustrations.

Event: The Launch of Liquid City Volume 3
Date:
19TH July 2014 (Saturday)
Time:
4:00 PM
Location:
Kinokuniya Main Store, Takashimaya

For more information on Liquid City Volume 3, click here.

See you there!

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Book Bites: Comic Artist Face-Off

Book Bites

There is a term in writing known as the “Round Robin”, where different creators pass a piece of work around a table to complete a certain portion of the work. Over the previous weekend, that was exactly what we decided to go take a look at. The only difference? This was done with comic artists.

An artist's rendition of James Tan, Drewscape, and Miel.

An artist’s rendition of James Tan, Drewscape, and Miel.

The event started with Sakinah from NLB introducing the three featured artists for the day – James Tan, Andrew Tan a.k.a. Drewscape, and Miel. After which, Andrew briefly explained the mechanics and the theme of the Comics Round Robin the various tables were going to do that day before it started.

With the theme of “Auntie Dapao!”, the artists got to work with whatever the library provided.

At the end of it, each table of three produced three different comics, with drawings and style from each artist in each comic. The Tiger’s (who registered for the event) table had a cute collection of stories, featuring devil fish and blue carrot zombies.

Before they all started work.

Before they all started work.

While it was a quick and simple event, I thought it was rather meaningful experience, especially for the artists – it’s good to work those creative muscles in a different way once in a while. Hopefully, we will get to experience this among other writers pretty soon.

For more information on other activities organised by Read! Singapore, click here.

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Next-in-Reading #20: How Was Your Day?

Next in Reading

Title: How Was Your Day?
Author: Various (Max Loh, Fenix, Reimena Yee, Choo, Kuzu, Sapphire Wong, Wrat, Hwei)
Year: 2014
Publisher:
Self-Published

“You’re only half alone.”

It actually sold out during the first day of CAFKL!

It actually sold out during the first day of CAFKL!

Sometimes, the pictures we see of other people’s lives seem to be rosier as compared to our own. This collection of comics takes a glimpse into certain windows – windows of different people, together with the joys, the worries, the fears, and the surprises of their own lives – and how things behind those windows happen. So, before going into the details of this book, how was your day?

Theme(s)

Simple Joys

More often than not, the simple joys in life either make our entire conversations, or fail to appear at all. Kuzu’s “A Dessert Diary” is a funny, light-hearted diary comic of a personal project, portraying the importance of her close-knit friends and the supportive environment she appreciates and derives encouragement from. And Sapphire’s “An Unexpected Visitor” shows the simple joy of letting be, especially after an action-packed round of getting through with life.

Self-Pity and Realisation

The line between self-pity and self-realisation are both fine and blurred. At the same time, it requires the balance of focussing on and appreciating a single tree in a forest, but not missing the forest for the trees – something gathered after reading Wrat’s “On Drawing”. Fenix’s “Of Sparrows” reflects a common issue faced by many creators – and talks about the importance of realising yourself, being comfortable with yourself, and the appreciation of peers in a similar setting. Lastly, Max’s “The Ballad of Self Pity” speaks of the almost unnoticeable difference between self-pity and realisation – the journey of crossing the darkest hour before the glimmer of a sunrise.

Individual vs. the World

Finally, individual significance and the want to be significant in the grand scheme of things are issues put down in a few of the stories as well. Reimena’s “Rat Race” acts as a mirror to humanity, personified as a character who is fighting to maintain her identity and authenticity in a world that does its best to drown it out. Choo’s “Nine Thirty A.M.” presents a similarly reflective piece through the eyes of an observer of happenings in a monotonous setting.

However, all hope is not lost in Hwei’s “Only Half Alone”, which shows that even the people who perceive themselves as the most solitary people in the world, are needed or wanted sincerely, somewhere.

Style & Structure

This collection of comics had a good mix of emotions and insights, the stories lined up similar to a full-course meal – starting with a short, but intriguing piece, then flowing into a few light-hearted tales before the full-bodied courses arrive, and ending with something simple, but substantial enough to tie up the entire mood. Almost representative of a full conversation, the anthology’s structure helped in easing the reader into the minds of the storyteller.

“How Was Your Day” is a collection of comics by eight different artists, you can find out more about them here:

At this moment, “How Was Your Day?” is going through a 2nd printing and will most probably appear in Smash (Australia) and Comic Fiesta (Malaysia). To find out more about the collection itself, click here.

In the meantime…

As Camp Nanowrimo for July is upon us next month, Next-in-Reading will be taking another break. Therefore, I’ll see all of you in August! Stay tuned!

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Update [June 2014]

Literary Event of the Month

This month passed quicker than expected, if you asked me. Book Bites itself has seen quite a few posts coming in quickly this month, covering CAFKL and the preview screening of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. However, I would say that the literary event of this month is probably Fantasy Fandom, held by the National Library and READ! Singapore.

Many thanks to Read! Fest and the National Library!

Many thanks to Read! Fest and the National Library!

Blanket Fortress Play

I think the Tiger and I have been trying to find more opportunities to play more analog games with our friends, and we might plan to head to a few meet-ups soon.

Jun-BFP

That aside, the Blanket Fortress Play sees “Glory to Rome” and “Takenoko”, a couple of my choice games, joining the collection.

Writery Endeavours and Wattpad

Let me take some time to forget about the rest of my writer-y endeavours and just say this:

THEY CAME!!! THEY FINALLY CAME!!!!!

1403176984647

After a couple of months from the launch in KLCC Kinokuniya, my contributor copies for KL Noir: Blue finally arrived! If you would like to find out where to get it, visit the Buku Fixi website or click here.

In the universe of Wattpad, I’ve managed to upload “Unwanted Utopia I”, previously published in Ayam Curtain, and “Assassination”, a flash fic piece I wrote with Lyn’s prompt of ‘genetically enhanced soldiers’. I hope you enjoy them!

Coming Next Month…

July brings another round of Camp Nanowrimo, so you won’t be seeing any Next-in-Reading posts for the coming month. They’ll be back in August though. Apart from that, however, here’s what we can look forward to in July:

  • Camp Nanowrimo
  • Book Launches and Events!
  • The Garfield Run
  • Hari Raya Puasa festivities
  • More posts and happenings

And I’ll see you all in July!

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Book Bites: Fantasy Fandom!

Book Bites

In conjunction with Read! Fest Singapore, Sarah was asked to host a fantasy fandom party at the Jurong Regional Library. With quizzes, photo-taking, and a fun time to be had, some of us made our way down to the library that evening. (Also, I was co-hosting. LOL.)

Fantasy Fandom in Jurong Regional Library!

Fantasy Fandom in Jurong Regional Library!

It was the summer solstice, so the air-conditioned interior of the library was much preferred. Raven brought her Harry Potter robe to dress up, but decided it was too hot to actually put it on. The Tiger, J, Mint, and Mintea popped by as well.

We managed to fill up a few rows with fantasy fans, some of them more excitable than ours. While Sarah and I went around giving prizes for the quiz questions and impromptu giveaways through our presentation, it was rather comforting to know younger people equally excited about the things we go crazy over as well.

(Note: And it is always cool to meet fellow Nerdfighters in the crowd.)

Turnout at the event.

Turnout at the event.

Sarah's Flygdrake guarding the slides

Sarah’s Flygdrake guarding the slides

I guess the best part of the event was when Sarah told us her version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” – getting a heck of a lot of laughs, it ended the event on a great note.

Therefore, I do hope that we will be able to participate in more events like these in the future – perhaps with different genres and more interest groups as well. Hopefully, it will provide that spark in our people, and that we will start to appreciate reading for leisure.

For more information on Read! Fest and other Library Activities, click here.

Many thanks to Read! Fest and the National Library!

Many thanks to Read! Fest and the National Library!

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Next-in-Reading #19: Les Miserables – The Fall of Fantine

Next in Reading

Title: Les Miserables – the Fall of Fantine
Author: Victor Hugo, adapted by Crystal Silvermoon and Stacy King, drawn by SunNeko Lee
Year: 2014
Publisher:
UDON Entertainment

“According to the Law, I am the judge in both of these cases. I order the woman released.”

The Tiger picked this up for me during Free Comic Books Day =)

The Tiger picked this up for me during Free Comic Books Day =)

Having to raise a daughter after the man who fathered the former left her, Fantine struggles to find a job in 1800 France in order to raise her. Leaving her with the Thenardiers, a greedy and selfish pair, she goes to another town to look for a job. Dealing with the extreme classism, socio-economic divide, and moral prejudice, she is eventually left on the streets, with only the clothes on her back to figure out how to provide for her daughter.

Character(s)

Fantine, Tragic Heroine

Though shunned by the general public for being an unwed mother, Fantine does not only emanate love, but courage, and with great juxtaposition to the people who have shunned her, faith.

Shown through her willingness to leave her daughter in the care of a seemingly well-to-do family, it took immense courage to part from Cosette, and a great amount of faith to trust that the Thenardiers are looking after her child properly. Therefore, while others may argue that Fantine is naïve to continue sending the Thenardiers money despite their false claims, it can also be said that her love for her daughter was so great that she is willing to place a good amount of faith on her caretakers, on top of all the sacrifices she has done for the welfare of Cosette.

At the same time, one can say that Fantine is rather wise about the situation at hand as well – knowing that having her daughter in tow while looking for a job to raise her was going to harm Cosette more, she ends up with the painful decision to let her be taken care of by others.

Theme(s)

Class

The idea of class and its influence on society is clear. And until today, such classism can be seen as people progress from one kind of classism to another.

Economic class – despite the progresses of society, economic class remains rampant, though subtle. Privilege and respect is given easily to those who are well-off and often, the benefit-of-doubt or leniency as well. As Fantine defended herself against a wealthy man who bullied her on the streets, Inspector Javert continues to be adamant in taking the side of the one who is more well-to-do.

At the same time, it can also be said that the Thenardiers, caretakers to Cosette, her daughter, had economic power over her as well. Thought to be better caretakers of Cosette, due to their business and the fact that they had a nuclear family, the fact that they could provide for her daughter better than she could was a kind of power over her as well.

Social class – closely tied to economic classism, social class is prominent as well. As mentioned above, Inspector Javert also continues to defend the man who abused her on the streets, making clear that this man was a ‘gentleman’, whose words were against those of a ‘prostitute’, a worker considered to be in the lower echelons of society.

Moral class – as we move from the general setting to the setting of the ‘working-class’, classism penetrates the ‘disadvantaged’ class as well. While everyone tries to set themselves apart, it turns into a self-righteous kind of moral prejudice – where Fantine is discriminated and eventually ostracized just because she is an unwed mother, and assumed to be immoral.

Style & Structure

Turning novel classics into comics and manga may not only serve as a visual aid or an easier option, but can also serve as a trigger to pick up the original and delve into the classics more. The simple lines and minimal background does well in placing the focus on the character – the most important aspect of the scene.

One of the great things about comics and graphic novels is the fact that the art does the ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ aspect for the story rather well too, such as in this case.

To find out more about these manga classics, click here.

In the meantime…

Hmmm... I wonder ;)

Hmmm… I wonder ;)

And I’ll see you next week!

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Book Bites: The Fault in Our Stars

Book Bites

Thanks to Golden Village Movie Club, the Tiger and I got the chance to watch a preview for “The Fault in Our Stars”, the movie adaptation of the John Green novel of the same name.

A little dark, but we're a happy couple =)

A little dark, but we’re a happy couple =)

Collecting our tickets from GV Plaza, we took our seats and watched as the movie unfurled in front of us.

And then we cried.

Okay, I cried more than the Tiger.

Despite all that, we enjoyed the movie thoroughly. Firstly, we have added (if it was not already in it in the first place) Amsterdam into the list of places we have to visit in the near future. Secondly, I think it’s safe to say that the screen chemistry between both Shailene Woodley (Hazel) and Ansel Elgort (Augustus) will be remembered by many teens in years to come. Thirdly, Nat Wolff (Isaac), regardless of his hair colour, is adorable, even when he’s breaking trophies and throwing eggs at cars.

In order to not spoil any part of the movie for anyone, I would just say this – the movie was well-cut. They cut out enough to maintain the essence of the novel without lengthening the movie for too long. At the same time, the deviation as a result from the cuts were close enough that fans who have read the book will not be disappointed.

As an aside, I would just like to say that ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ has inspired just more than our views. Both the Tiger and myself have created a fan Tumblr, titled ‘Imperfect Constellations’, where the Tiger has drawn an image for every page in the novel, and I have written 55-word stories inspired by a quote from each page in the novel. To read or take a look at what the Tiger and I have done in Imperfect Constellations, click here. (Note: We try to update relatively regularly. Keyword: TRY.)

To find out more about the movie, click here. To find out more about John Green and all the things he does, click here. To find out more about Josh Boone, click here.

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