Friday, December 30, 2011


-This is the contemporary example about a singaporean musician who nowadays works in NL He explores the origins of Folk, maybe we could invite him for a coffe at Sandberg or in Amsterdam???

From OMN:

About Marc Chia > ONE MAN NATION

“Chia’s artistic identity is one that defies the artificial borders and boundaries of the modern nation state. Going beyond the notion of the individual simply as a constituent of a nation and its projected cultural identity, he bypasses the need for mass appeal or approval and instead subscribes to the independent nature that characterises folk – the resistance to a canon.”June Yap

Marc Chia aka One Man Nation (b.1982, Singapore) is a musician with a background in media and sound art who graduated from the Piet Zwart Institute (Rotterdam, NL). He investigates social and psychological situations related to tradition and its progression, the future through the eyes of history, and spirituality in technology via the medium of sound and performance.

He currently splits his time between Europe and Asia where he is developing The Future Sounds Of Folk in collaboration with Steim as well as co-directing The UnifiedField collective and art space in Granada (Spain) with Marta Moreno Munoz.

Past and current collaborations include but not limited to Pierre Bastien, C-drik Fermont, Dr Truna, Kato Hideki, Hilary Jeffrey, Richard Scott, Machinefabriek, Alfredo Genovesi, Soopa Collective, Iman Zimbot, Bambu Wukir and has performed internationally at the Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao), ISEA (Ruhr), Mapping (Geneva), Piksel (Bergen), MEM (Bilbao), STEIM Jamboree (Amsterdam), Makeart (Poitiers), Fete 0.1 (Orléans) and SummerLAB (Gijon) amongst others.

SAM and SB

Here is the link to the Singapore Art Museum and to the Singapore Art Biennale :

I think its really interesting to check what is going on in the contemporary art scene of Singapore to have a little overview about the cultural situation, this is maybe an standard, but by surfing the sites I'd found really interesting artists and ideas. Proust!!

From "SAM" :

About the Singapore Art Museum

Opened in January 1996, the mission of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is to preserve and present the art histories and contemporary art practices of Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. SAM has amassed one of the world's largest public collection of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks.

Housed in a restored 19th century mission school, the museum draws from its collection and collaborates with leading international museums to present shows covering both local and international art practices, as well as cutting edge art expressions. Contemporary art of the region is given international exposure through the museum's travelling exhibition programme and collection loan.

Through strategic alliances with international arts and cultural institutions, SAM facilitates visual arts education, exchange, research and development within the region and internationally. The museum has forged partnerships with institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, Guggenheim Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Seoul National University Museum of Art, Stedelijk Museum, Bonn Art Museum, Centre of International Modern Art, National Museum of India, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Asia Society in New York, Fukuoka Art Museum and Queensland Art Gallery. With Singapore becoming a global city for the arts, SAM's international networks bring about a confluence of ideas, and create a dynamic arts scene invigorated by international flows of ideas, talents, knowledge and resources.

Community outreach continues to be an important area of the Museum's function. Through the Museum's exhibition programmes as well as its education and public programmes which cover a diversity of art trends and practices, fringe activities and public lectures, SAM Museum promotes awareness and appreciation of contemporary art and encourages the growth of an active and stimulating cultural environment in Singapore.

The museum's extension building, SAM at 8Q, was opened in August 2008, expanding the museum's contemporary art space to present fresh, multi-disciplinary, interactive and community-oriented programming. Today, SAM is a place where the public can directly experience the diversity of contemporary art practices ranging from painting and sculpture, to installation, film & video, photography, new media, performance art and sound art, experience the work and ideas of living artists of Southeast Asia, and relate to the region's unique aesthetic and social context.

SAM is also the organiser of the Singapore Biennale 2011.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Introduction to Haw Par Villa

Here is the link to the mythological theme park that we will visit on the first day, Haw Par Villa, built by the Tiger Balm brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par. And a small intro: The Tiger Balm brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par were born in Rangoon, Burma in the 1880's, to a herbalist, Aw Chu Kin and his wife, Lee Kim Peck.  Their elder brother and father died when they were still young and they were left to run the family business.  Tiger Balm was a simple ointment claimed to be a cure for almost anything.  The original Tiger Balm formula was refined in the Aw's kitchen in Rangoon, but the business soon grew with their aggressive marketing tactics.  By 1926, the headquarters of Eng Aun Tong 'House of Eternal Peace' had been transferred to Singapore.

In the 1920's the Aw's Tiger Balm business grew rapidly.  Through innovative marketing it went on to become an extremely successful business venture throughout Asia and the world.  Today, sales of the ointment total over 20 million jars per year.

1. The Aw brothers; 2. Aw Boon Haw relaxes in the formal sitting room with his son, Aw Hoe, c. 1949; 3. The Aw family photo

Aw Boon Haw bought this very site to build a house that would be a unique and fitting residence for his beloved brother Aw Boon Par.  He commissioned Ho Kwong Yew, a brilliant young architect, to design a house that would complement the gardens which were to feature thousands of statues and tableaux depicting Chinese myths and legends and were to become well known all over the world as Tiger Balm Gardens.

Investigating Culture through Food :"Laksa" Singapore's National Dish

From WikiPedia:

Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan culture, which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Malaysia and Singapore, and to a lesser extent Indonesia.


The origin of the name "laksa" is unclear. One theory[1] traces it back to Hindi/Persian lakhshah, referring to a type of vermicelli, which in turn may be derived from the Sanskrit lakshas (लकशस्) meaning "one hundred thousand" (lakh). It has also been suggested[2] that "laksa" may derive from the Chinese word 辣沙 (Cantonese: [lɐ̀t.sáː]), meaning "spicy sand" due to the ground dried prawns which gives a sandy or gritty texture to the sauce. The last theory[3] is that the name comes from the similar sounding word "dirty" in Hokkien due to its appearance.[citation needed]
Discovering Laksa.

From / CW Magazine by Kenneth Tan
Tuesday, 28th June 2005

One dish - many varations - one country - how does one distinguish them from the next - much less decide which is Singapore’s favourite? CW takes a look at the different laksa on offer in the Garden City.

As with any dish which has been assimilated into local culture, laksa’s origins are hard to trace with many rushing in to claim ownership to the humble bowl of noodles. Furthermore, with the exception for laksa leaves, also known as the Vietnamese coriander, there isn’t one definite set of ingredients that goes into it. The stock, condiments, garnishing and even the noodles vary from one culture to another.

Ask anyone from Penang and they’d say that laksa is noodles served in a clear fish-based sour broth. Straits-born Chinese on the other hand would point out that laksa is cooked creamy with coconut milk, topped with prawns and fishcake. Others swear by the laksa with cockles dished out on the streets of Katong.

Laksa is arguably Singapore’s national dish but with its many different varieties springing from different sources, it is a conundrum of choice that many face when they want to try out the famous bowl of noodles when they’re in town.

Penang Laksa
Penang laksa, also known as asam laksa, is the most distinctive of the lot as it doesn’t use coconut milk and is sour instead of creamy. According to Penang-born Chef Loh Hong Chye, their laksa is different from the rest because the locals in the north-west city of Peninsular Malaysia tend to favour spicy, sour food. Loh, who has travelled to Australia, China and Hong Kong to teach chefs how to cook Penang cuisine said that a good bowl of Penang laksa has to have good stock.

“The stock is made of sardine fish for the gravy. What we do is to boil the sardine fish, and then we take it out and put in some tamarind and pineapple juice which makes it sour. There is also blended lemongrass, shallots, mint leaves, laksa leaves and red chilli, ginger flower, leng kuas (blue ginger) which we add and boil for at least three hours,” said Chef Loh who currently heads the kitchen at the Princess Terrace in Copthorne Kings Hotel which is noted for its Penang cuisine.

“Traditionally, the laksa is served without any meat or prawns. It is simply garnished with mint leaves, red onions and sliced pineapple and most importantly you must put shrimp paste,” he said. With such robust highly-flavoured ingredients, Chef Loh recommends that it is best eaten last in a meal because “the taste is very strong and tasty. If you take it first, it’d mask the rest of the food.”

He is unsure as to the exact origins of Penang laksa saying only that it is a Malaysian Chinese dish that was passed down pretty much like how his grandmother taught him when he was 16-years-old. History does not matter as much though, he says, as laksa is personal and is customised to suit individualised tastebuds.

“In Penang, the laksa is served with a special thick beehoon (rice vermicelli) noodles which are made fresh but over here, people may request to have thin beehoon, egg noodles or even a mix and we give it to them. It really depends on what one likes.”

Nonya Laksa
The Nonya refers to the female descendents of Straits-born Chinese known as the Peranakan. They retained most of their Chinese ethnic and religious origins but assimilated the language and culture of the Malays and they spread throughout the British Straits Settlements of the 19th century. Peranakan cuisine therefore tends to contain many of the traditional ingredients of Chinese food and Malay spices and herbs.

“Nonya laksa is based on lemak (coconut milk),” said Chef Raymond Yin, executive sous chef of The Line at Shangri-La, Singapore. “It’s very creamy and has a strong base of lemongrass so the fragrance is there. There are two things you have to prepare which is the laksa paste and stock. The paste is mostly made up of lemongrass, onion and chilli paste while the stock is made up mostly of chicken stock, coconut milk, evaporated milk and dried shrimp. With the laksa stock and paste in a pot, you have to boil and simmer the mixture.” The result is a milky orange gravy tinged with red from the chilli oil and a flavourful aroma which wafts out of the steaming bowl.

“Traditional nonya laksa is accompanied by an egg, prawns and bean sprouts with some laksa leaves,” Yin shared. Although it might seem unnecessary, he stressed that the most important garnish is laksa leaves. “Without it, it’s not laksa”.

While he tries to keep to the authentic Nonya style he says he has to offer what guests want and hence does provide a variety of noodles and toppings such as prawns which he says is interchangeable with other seafood such as lobster or crab although his personal favourite is boiled chicken meat, all of which he might consider implementing into the menu in the future.

While both Loh and Yin have adapted their cuisine to suit the taste of local diners, such improvisations have been taken note of by local hawkers and implemented into a local laksa dish in its own right – the Singapore laksa.

Singapore Laksa
If you go to any Singaporean hawker centre, you’d find most that most stalls have names accompanied by a particular road or area included such as Changi nasi lemak, Jalan Kayu roti prata and more often than not, the fiercely contested label of Katong laksa.

The Katong area of Singapore was traditionally associated with the Eurasian and Peranakan community and today, is still home to old shophouses which have been targeted for conservation. However mention “Katong” to any local these days and “laksa” is most likely the most associated word to follow.

Home to about four stalls adjacent to each other, Katong has been the scene of what the media dubs as the “laksa wars.” With Peranakan roots in the area, it is not surprising that that Katong laksa is very similar to Nonya laksa.

However, Nancy Sim, owner of 328 Laksa, is adamant that Katong laksa is not Nonya laksa. “It’s Singapore laksa!” she insisted. “It may look the same, but the cooking method isn’t and that makes a difference.” While it uses similar ingredients, it is thicker than Nonya laksa because, depending on which Katong stall you patronise, they use grated coconut which is fried and used in the gravy or has condensed milk.

You won’t find hard-boiled egg in the noodles either though it has tau pok, fishcake slices, prawns and unique to this dish, cockles. The laksa noodles are also usually cut with a spatula so that it can be eaten with only a spoon.

It is therefore an improvised, as opposed to an improved, version and highly popular with diners who come not only from the corners of Singapore but also from overseas. Judging by Sim’s wall of photographs, fans of the laksa include Caucasian tourists, celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain and even political bigwigs such as former Singaporean president, Mr Ong Teng Cheong.

Katong laksa, particularly Sim’s brand of laksa, has become so popular that she has already licensed out seven franchises which allows them to use her stall’s label and is even selling her homemade chilli paste.

The Best Laksa?
Singapore is a melting pot of races and perhaps in her culinary world there is no dish which crosses as many cultures as laksa. Singaporeans are not only well-known for their love of food but also their penchant of variety. While each chef I interviewed for the feature are adamant about their popularity of their laksa over the rest and stand by them as the best version in Singapore, locals will always remain divided on the issue and continue to patronise their laksa of choice – and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

So if you’re off to Singapore for a visit, the experience will not be complete without that bowl of laksa – every version of it! KT

Welcome to the working blog of PUI_SIN

Welcome to the blog of the Sandberg Institute Master Interior Architecture Singapore Project Blog. Here you will find all inspiration // preparation // reporting // documentation of this project. All participants will post their sources and results in video, text and still image. Mu-Chieh Chen, Sahar Mohammadrezazadeh, Lion Zeegers, Laura Charlotta Holzberg, Christine Marie Berg Just, Alonso Vázquez, WenQian Luo, Chanida Lumthaweepaisal, Sabine Ruitenbeek, Tom van Alst, Jack Chen, Ricky van Broekhoven en Dennis Schuivens. Enjoy & good luck.

- Image (copyright) Design Act - Finalist for Singapore’s
World Expo 2010 Pavilion -