Book Bites: 24-Hour Comics Day

Book Bites

Last weekend was that time of the year where thousands of comic artists around the world create 24 pages of comics in a span of 24 hours. This year, I was grateful for JF letting me handle a new aspect of this year’s event – the sales table.

It was a passing suggestion, mostly to boost the independent comics, especially original comics being made by our artists. Thanks to JF, we had a main table for various 24 Hour Comics Day (24HCD) participants to sell any works they would like to put out.

And the response was amazing.

And the 24 hours start!
And the 24 hours start!

Apart from the Tiger, Wayne and Gene came to peddle their own publications (Yellow Princess, Pitchers etc…), and artists like Derek Chua, Kelvin Chan, Priscilla & Chai, and Paul Pereira came to sell their prints and comics. James Leong even had a corner for people to buy his comics by pledging on his Pozible.

The flag-off came after the participants had an early lunch, and since we were in the main room, the energy started tense – with everyone concentrating on their thumbnails and stories. JF himself was going through a few last-minute admin prep.

Over at the sales table, Wayne and Gene were being themselves. Which meant I was entertained. A lot.

A conversation I had with Wayne out of the blue:

Me: I couldn’t really sleep last night so I had a few random thoughts.
You know what truly doesn’t discriminate? Hellfire. It takes whatever’s been thrown in, regardless.
(points to the door) Go home, you need your rest.

At the same time, a guy from Campus, Jethro, was making his rounds to cover the event and decided to talk to us. It was a good conversation about the local creative scene, and how we as individuals can do to diversify it genre-wise.

This year’s prize table was also quite full, with sponsorships from Kinokuniya, Basheer, Books Actually, and Absolute Comics to name a few. A big thank you to Chris Shaw and his team at LaSalle for the nitty-gritty aspects of the event and the logistics too!

My experience with 24HCD so far has just been nothing more than a spectator. I have gone a little further this time, being behind a table of some sorts, and it was an amazing albeit sleepy and tired experience by the time Sunday afternoon rolled along.

I was also incredibly pleased that the best sellers at the sales table were original artwork, and I definitely hope this is a trend which will continue to grow in our arts scene (regardless of fiction, comics, film etc…).

All their wares out for sale.
All their wares out for sale.

This year’s experience was definitely different for me. For one, I was there for a good 12 hours, something I wasn’t able to observe for the last few years. And I do look forward to helping out again.

Many thanks to the sponsors, Chris Shaw and his team, veterans like James Leong, Paul Pereira, Clio, and Wayne and Gene for cutting through the silence, all the artists who put their work up for sale, Derek Chua for setting up the table on Sunday, and definitely, JF for tirelessly organising 24-Hour Comics Day for us in Singapore.

See you all next year!

For more information and to keep informed of upcoming events related to 24HCD, click here.

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Signal Boost: Escape from Reality + Pulp Toast / Roti Bakar

Signal Boost

October is a month signalling the wind down of the year. It’s also the month leading up to the National Novel Writing Month and the Singapore Writers’ Festival.

Therefore, I am incredibly excited for this month’s Signal Boost, where I shall unveil the fruits of what I and a few of my other friends have been doing all year!

Nanowrimo (Singapore Chapter) Kick-Off!

It’s that time of the year again! And it’s on Halloween so dress up according to our theme and see if anyone of your friends go along with you.

The National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) is where people write 50,000 words in 30 days, a novella of some sorts, in the month of November.

Title: Is this Real Life? Is this just Fantasy?
31st October 2015
6PM to 7PM
NLB, Level 5, Imagination Room

To register for a Nanowrimo account and/or RSVP for this event, click here.

MAP Showcase

This year has been a great boon for me, creative-wise. And I am incredibly excited and honoured to be part of the Mentor Access Project (MAP) Showcase during this year’s Singapore Writers’ Festival as well!

After a year or so of working on our projects, it has come to this showcase.

Come watch us as we present snippets of our work, and a glimpse into the journey we went through with our mentors, our coordinator (The Writers’ Centre / Word Forward), and each other.

Title: Mentor Access Project (MAP) Showcase
4th November 2015, Wednesday
8:30PM to 9:30PM
Hall, The Arts House

Hope to see you there as we regale you in the prose and poetry we have in store for you! For more information, click here.

And while I have news for appearances during the Singapore Writers’ Festival and right before Nanowrimo, I’m just going to leave this snippet here, and give you a glimpse of what is coming this December.

(P/S – We have something for SWF as well, we just need to work out some kinks first!)

Pulp Toast Back Logo

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Book Bites: Matchbox Mayhem – Freaks & Geeks

Book Bites

I heard about this even through Rosemary (Two Trees), who was unable to go and extended the invitation to Sarah and myself. With one of my projects on the way, I thought it would be a good avenue to do a bit of networking.

Our two guests answering questions.
Our two guests answering questions.

So I went with Val and were quickly whisked away into an ice-breaker, where we met freelance writers, students, educators, and people who want to get started on creating. (Admittedly, I felt a little old in my group because most of them were students. LOL.)

And after we were all introduced, the kind folks at NAC introduced the speakers for the day – Firebird Communication’s Samantha De Silva, author of the Daywalker Chronicles, and Super Cool Books’s Don Bosco, also author of the Sherlock Hong series.

Samantha and her notes on writing fantasy
Samantha and her notes on writing fantasy
Don before he had to speed through his presentation
Don before he had to speed through his presentation

Both of them, together with Peixuan from NAC’s Literary Arts department, gave informative and entertaining presentations on writing, getting published, promoting themselves, and the grants available to help independent writers. Regardless, these were my key takeaways:

  • Being a writer expecting to just write has become a thing of the past – self-promotion, enquiry, reader engagement, and collaboration are important in getting seen in a saturated market.
  • At the same time, your attitude is important – you may be good, but shoving that into everyone’s face will make them less inclined to work with you, regardless of how brilliant you are.
  • Always, always, always read the rules to submissions, query letters, and adhere to their formats – editors and agents read thousands of letters a day so something out of format will hardly be entertained.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help – financially, creatively etc…
  • Sometimes, the best things erupt from making something you’d like to have but have yet to see in the industry.

After the talks, Jau Chern (from NAC’s Youth Arts) got us to head for tea, but not before introducing myself, a freelancer named Ju-Lyn, and Val to the rest of the audience. This triggered Samantha to tell Val, “Omgosh you became one of the special people” during our tea break. LOLOL.

The networking towards the end was highly enjoyable, and the positive energy felt from the ideas and passion around these other creators gives me a lot of hope for our creative scene.

Many thanks to Youth Arts in NAC for organizing Matchbox Mayhem. To find out more about them, click here. Also, to see Don Bosco’s take on this event, click here.

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Updates [September 2015]

Featured Posts

September has brought a lot of emotion, but a lot of gifts as well. With STGCC and the last quarter of the year coming, our to-do lists for 2015 seem to be catching up with us.

So these are my favourite posts for this month:

Writer-y Endeavours

This month seem to really take off writer-y wise, especially with all the events happening. While I’ve written my short story for a project I’m doing for December, I managed to write a quick short, inspired by the issues and arguments brought up during the General Elections. At the same time, I’ve managed to read a great collection of stories by my friend, Wayne Ree and his friend, Anna AB.

Coming Up Soon!

  • A sneak peek into what Sarah and I will be launching during the Singapore Writer’s Festival
  • More sneak peeks into something I’ll be doing in December too
  • More board games and book reviews to come!
  • Prep for the National Novel Writing Month
  • And more posts!!!

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Blanket Fortress Play: Alhambra

Blanket Fortress Play


I really needed to put a pic of that because I thought this has to be one of the most perfect plays I had for a while.


Alhambra is fairly straightforward, except a few instructions when it came to shuffling cards. The board we had had:

  • 2 scoring cards
  • 1 deck of currency cards
  • 6 different stacks of building tiles
  • Fountain tiles – the starting point of our Alhambras
  • Playing / Reserve mats with final scoring points
  • Colour counters (2 for each colour)
  • Playing board to place buildings, currency, and keep track of points with

For a start, each player chooses a colour and places their counter at 0 on the scoring board. Then each player is dealt with:

  • 1 fountain tile
  • 1 play / reserve mat
  • Currency cards, dealt face down until the player has reached the total value of 20 or above

The board is then set up with 4 building tiles (taken blindly), on each currency slot.

Currency cards are then shuffled and split into five piles. Between the first and second pile, the first scoring card (with only 1 column) is placed. The third pile is placed below these two piles. Then, between the fourth and fifth pile, the second scoring card is placed.

The first 5 cards from the top of the currency deck are revealed, and the game starts.

The Game We Played

In Alhambra, the player with the least cards goes first. Gameplay is as straightforward as the setup – you either take money (or currency cards) up to value of 5 (so if you want to take a card with value 6-9, you can only take 1 card), or buy buildings.

Each building is priced according to the number on the bottom left corner of their tile and their corresponding currency. Players who pay exact change of that particular currency is entitled to a bonus action during their turn, and this can result in players clearing the building board in one turn.

Our setup while playing for the first time.
Our setup while playing for the first time.


We messed up the rules on our first game because our instruction manual was in German and we were relying on whatever we remembered on Tabletop to get us through. It was also funny when we realised we were placing our buildings in the most preferably orientation possible – not upright. The end of our first game ended up in weird-looking alhambras which looked like someone got desperate trying to beat a Tetris score.

Our second game was slightly better, with the three of us each at least taking a turn to reshuffle buildings in the most optimal way possible. While both Eisu and the Tiger laughed at how their Alhambras looked like, I was really proud of mine.

The forever wall.
The forever wall.

Gameplay Winners: The Tiger won both rounds…

…with myself and Eisu coming in second place for each of the two games we played. However, considering that the rulebook was in German and almost no one free had played the game before, Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop and Google helped us get through both games.

Experience-wise, I was glad I finally got to play Alhambra after I watched it on Tabletop. It’s multiple scoring mechanic makes the end game uncertain, but all the more exciting. Leading in the first round of scoring doesn’t guarantee higher points later on.

I loved the need for constant strategizing through the game, especially with the free-play-because-of-exact-change mechanic. And I’m sure the Tiger had fun too, because he had fun doing what he loved to do with regards to resources in board games – HOARD. LOL.

The non- big box box.
The non- big box box.

Nonetheless, Alhambra was designed by Dirk Henn. For more information on the game, click here.

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Museum Escapades: Madame Tussauds Singapore

Museum Escapades

This wax museum has made its way across the globe since the 1800s. With its displays of uncanny doppelgangers to celebrities, politicians, musicians, sportspeople, and international figures, I was rather excited to visit Madame Tussauds Singapore. (I say this despite my prone to the creeps when it comes to wax figures)


Sharing the same building as the Images of Singapore, the museum sits atop Imbiah Hill, Sentosa. Val decided to join me this time.

After a winding entrance, we entered the chamber of the political figures, greeted by the first president of Singapore – also known as the Yang di-Pertuan Negara – Yusof Ishak. Down the entrance passage, we came to a circular room showcasing local and international political figures and leaders (including the late Mr. and Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew). Designed very much like a top-secret meeting room, Val and I had a good time meeting some of the most admirable people in the world.

There were a lot of people when we went.
There were a lot of people when we went.
Mr. Yusof Ishak welcoming the crowd
Mr. Yusof Ishak welcoming the crowd

The exhibition later segued into a sports locker room, with Beckham in the middle of a crunch, looking perplexed. Regional and International sports stars like Fandi, Yao Ming, and Ronaldo (the Cristiano version) were featured here.

Amitabh Bachchan - Bollywood veteran and bigwig
Amitabh Bachchan – Bollywood veteran and bigwig
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
I don't want to ask what his favourite drink is.
I don’t want to ask what his favourite drink is.

Sports then gave way to television, music, and film, where staples like Brangelina, Jackie Chan, Amitabh Bachchan, Audrey Hepburn, and even ET were mixed with our local faces. While many of these figures were set up for selfies and photo opportunities, dedicated photography areas were peppered through the museum as well.

So I got this pic of myself and Arnie.

So yeah, he's back.
So yeah, he’s back.

While smaller than I’d expected, it was understandable considering space constraints. What I appreciated the most was how transparent and hands-on the whole process of putting the museum together was.

With an entire section on how each wax figure came to life, as well as the chance to engage and create our own wax hands, it shortened the distance between us, the people behind the exhibitions, and the people featured in the exhibitions. Perhaps Madame Tussauds has gone beyond just showcasing people of the world, across genres and demographic.

Creating your own wax hand
Creating your own wax hand

Instead, I felt that it now shows us that regardless, we are still human – our characters crafted, influenced, and developed by and with each other.

Madame Tussauds Singapore is located on Sentosa Island (nearest monorail station: Imbiah), sharing a building with the Images of Singapore. For more information, click here.

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Muse Moment: Ministry of Society

Muse Moment

Usually, I would write a story in summary of the photographs I’ve been taking for my 365 Days of Singapore project. However, in light of the recently-passed General Elections, I wrote a short dystopian story instead.

Hope you’ll enjoy it.


Ministry of Society

Farrah’s fingers almost crushed the edges of her envelope, her hands wrapped around the manila paper tight. She ascended as the entrance escalator of the Ministry of Society brought her to Client Services, after passing the metal detector and the security guards at the foyer two storeys down.

Eyes on the floor, she looked up in time to get off the moving stairs and witness a tall, Chinese man, probably younger than she was, crying and reaching for another lady. And as their cries echoed through the queuing hall, she caught the lady scream back in a foreign language, pleading as she was led away by expressionless officers. As the man collapsed to the floor, she turned away.

“IC,” the officer behind the desk asked.

Farrah handed her identity card to Adina, if the shiny tag above the stone-faced officer’s right breast pocket was correct. Awkward silence disturbed with shuffling papers and feet ensued. A few beeps later, Adina handed a number printed on thermal paper, together with the IC, over.

“Thank you,” Farrah said.

Adina did not.

Leaving the queue, she entered the waiting area, rows upon rows of plastic seats placed in 4 by 4 blocks. Numbered counters formed a barrier between the sparse individuals dotted all over the corners of the waiting area and the officers from the Ministry of Society, with their expressions a mixture of molded smiles or zombie-like resignation. Number boards hung periodically at the front, displaying queue numbers and their corresponding counters, interchanging with whatever was on Free-To-Air television that day.

Her ticket grasped together with her envelope, Farrah shuffled to the left corner.

Sliding into a row of seats, she placed herself behind another man, this one now looking slightly older than she was. A tanned, lanky man holding his phone up, his cheekbones high. Upon hearing her taking her seat behind him, he quickly slipped the gadget into his pocket, hiding the picture of him and another man in the middle of a tender kiss.

She turned away again.

The minutes passed with only two counters open and three other individuals waiting with their necks craned, and eyes glazing over mid-morning news. Farrah closed hers, letting her head hang as the anchor droned on, only jerking upright at the sound of each number being called.

Almost nodding off for the third time, she lifted her half-closed eyes in response to the beep.

It was her turn.

The tag on her attending officer gleamed against the fluorescent lights. And as she took her seat opposite Brenda, Farrah responded to the officer’s plastic smile with an awkward one.

“Good morning!” Brenda greeted, “How may I help you today?”

“Hi…” Farrah started, “I came to submit this?”

With a raised eyebrow, Farrah plonked the recently-opened envelope on the black counter.

“I made an appointment to get help for my fiancé’s visa,” she said. She swore Brenda’s smile barely moved as the officer took the contents out. Scanning through the documents, including Farrah’s and her fiance’s citizenship information, curriculum vitaes, and a list of miscellaneous, for-audit-only documents, only Brenda’s eyes were visible as they darted from one end of the page to the other.

Her hands clasped, Farrah stretched her neck and straightened her back until the silent reading ended in a thump. Looking up, she met with Brenda’s smile, now reduced by half a mouth and her eyes losing their glitter shine.

“I see you have made an application for your fiancé to stay in Singapore,” she said.

Farrah nodded.

Brenda put the documents down.

“Miss,” she peered at the photocopied birth certificate, “Farrah Lim?”


“We see that your fiancé has been in our country for the last five years. Is he considering citizenship?”

Farrah shook her head.

“Not in detail,” she replied.

Brenda smiled again, this time her lips seeming to tear at the corners. Farrah leaned back, her brows furrowed. The officer settled the documents on the countertop and retrieved a green plastic file from below the table. Farrah’s eyes widened.

“I understand your predicament, Miss Lim,” Brenda said, “But one of the best ways out of your current situation is to consider our list of registered local bachelors.”

She opened the file, cracked at the spine, holding dull plastic pockets featuring the lives of registered men, summarised and forced to fit into a single sheet of paper. Farrah put her hand over the plastic reports as Brenda flipped past the third profile.

“No thanks,” she said, “Our registration for marriage is set.”

Brenda stopped, her smile disappeared.


“Yes, it has been set and approved. I just need his visa so he can stay here.”

Brenda closed the file and slipped it off the table, looking away with lines on her forehead and her mouth struggling against the frown tugging at its edges. Her lips parted, and she mouthed a few, barely visible words.

“I’m sorry?” Farrah broke in.

The officer jerked upright, her eyes in shock, and turned to Farrah.

“Nothing miss,” she said, “But what you’ve told me doesn’t make sense.”


Hope you’ve enjoyed the preview! To read the entire story, you can find it on my Tablo, or click here.

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