Thursday, September 27, 2007

Booth 82 will open at about 4.30 today (27/9/07)

Dear folks, I need to open at about 4.30pm today to take a rest as well as to make more pieces at a more restful state. Sorry for any inconvenience caused. Thanks for your understanding.

Best Regards,
The Clay Sculptor

Reflections on a "Hand-made" Craft

First of all, i want to bid farewell to Piggy who showered for a few days and then was hijacked by a hard-driving (teenage) couple who drove a hard bargain for it, even though i explained to them that the Piggy is a full-bodied one, meaning to say i used up a lot of clay for it. Anyway, they wanted it at that price so i let it off at that price. Now i am sighing a little over it. But life's like that - this kind of entrepreneurial decisions are irreversible. And i am the better for it because i learnt something precious about being an amateur entrepreneur.

In general, people want a good (cheap) bargain for things, including hand-made stuff. Every project takes time and time means money. So it boils down to how much value you place on the time-taken to achieve the colours and the effects that you want and the handiwork that is created.

Next, people have shrewd eyes - and one thing i have learnt - the passion that i put into my creation is immediately noticed by people who appreciate the work put in. But then comes the irony - they also want it at a good price - like what our former PM said about Singaporeans going to Aussie-Land - we go around saying "Cheap, Cheap."
These are things definitely not available in those Value shops.

So i conclude positively that people still have to be educated about hand-made, original, one-of-a-kind artistic stuff. Art galleries nearer to the heartland may be one solution to this malaise.

For the Piggy, i am glad that he's found a home.

Anyway, my booth-venture ended last night with a Greek lesson - "Dunamis" - my company name, is not pronounced "Doo-na-mis" but "The-na-mis" (The correct pronunciation of "the" and not the usual way many people say it). That's fresh and that came from the mouth of a Greek - A handsome Greek young man, that is.

Just great - i have learnt TWO lessons - one on entrepreneurship and they other a language lesson. May the God of Greeks be praised! ;-) Oh i forgo -the greeting in Greek is "Jesu."

In Hebrew, it's SHALOM - PEACE inside and peace outside


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

SOLD OUT - Back in stock soon!!!

Second day into the pushcart venture : stocks are selling fast. I'm very encouraged by the turnout and response. Praise the Lord!

All glory goes GOD; to the one who made it all possible.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Girl in a small town in Xinjiang, China

This was first published on Nov 6, 2005, on my other blog in Blogsppot
This picture is being published for the first time. I took this picture in Urumqi, China, in the late nineties. I had my camera in ready position when this little girl in red floral dress came out of the shop in the background. With a seasoned green kettle in hand, she stooped down and poured the water onto her little hands and then started washing them. She wasn't shy - she just looked at me as-a-matter-of-factly. Framed by shadows of men with torquoise-green eyes from the Uigher stock with natural light coming from the left, illuminating the street and the texture of the street and culture, this is perhaps one of the nicest pictures i had ever taken.

Times Of Your Life (first written on Spt 26, 2005)

Our favourite songs help us to feel comforted and they are our shelters in times of storms. Songs, like perfumes, help me to anchor specific moments and phases of my life. Nice scents almost inevitably cause me to recall the time and the place when someone wears them; similarly, when these songs are being played, they always remind me of the particular vignette.

Some of my favourite songs which are burnt into my long-term memory are the ones which paralleled the time when i was in primary school. My primary school is no longer around - but the building and the land surrounding it still exists. The groups which grew up with me through primary school are : Abba, Bee Gees, Carpenters (very melancholic songs) and many others. There are songs by solo artistes which are etched into my hard-disk. Here is a specific mental clip which is associated with the singer Paul Anka - Times of Your Life. Some lines of the song:

(Intro music: Violin - Piano)
Good morning, yesterday
You wake up and time has slipped away
And suddenly it's hard to find
The memories you left behind
Remember, do you remember

The laughter and the tears
The shadows of misty yesteryears
The good times and the bad you've seen
And all the others in between
Remember, do you remember
The times of your life (do you remember)

The mental clip: I was on my way to school on a Saturday morning (Saturday mornings were only meant for soccer and classmates and friends; nothing else) when i heard this song. The air was fresh - morning dew intermingled with frangipanis and joss-sticks incense. In fact, If you walk along Guan Chuan Street today you will probably have the same feeling. The short hand of the clock was about to reach 7 in the morning and the rest of the world around Tiong Bahru Primary School was asleep but who cares? The excitement of kicking a soccer ball with my usual kakis in my class surpassed anything which required any of my attention.

Some fellows were already wearing their boots on College Field. I did not own a pair of Addidas or Puma - i only had a pair of rubber-studded hockey canvas boots - Made in China. My family was not well-to-do.

Very few people of this generation know or care to know that College Field had a one-storey red-brick building next to my Primary School which looked like a stable. Yes, a stable - where horses dwelled. But by the time i knew about this building - which was essentially dark and had long passageways- like a longhouse minus the traditional legs of the kampung house, it was already in a dilapidated condition.

My football 'club' followed a strict warm-up regiment. A few laps around the squarish College Field, followed by leg-raises, star-jumps and push-ups. The leg-raises were the toughies - quite a number of us were close to tears while counting aloud. But surely after the routine body-pushing, character-inducing exercises, we were rewarded with the magical time of matches, together with the thrills and spills.

All these would last up to 11 am and we would trot up the wide steps to the left of the brick-red building (about 30 steps?), dropping dirt off our boots and perspiration off our bodies to enjoy the next highlight of the day - Ice-cold soft drinks (in glass bottles, of course). Besides the usual brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, we had the once-famous brands like Kickapoo Joy-Juice, Sinalco, Fanta Grape and Fanta Berry, 7-Up and other lesser-known ones. BUT there was no isotonic drinks yet. For 30 cents a bottle, we would have ice-cubes in glass cups. Some of us would have 'Sng Buay' (Sour plums-basically for the salt) to go with the Coke. It is known to prevent muscle cramps after a 'Siong' work-out session.

After the boys' talk, we would bid farewell to each other to go home or, if energy permitted or the general mood prevailed, to go a friend's house in Lim Liak Street to carry on our chit-chat for a second round of small goal-post soccer at the badminton court near his place.

That's the Times of Your Life video-clip which plays itself out in the recesses of my mind everytime this song is played over the airwaves - usually in Gold 90.5

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Territory and New Possibilities

It's 11.35pm and my two kids are asleep, having participated in a collaborated story on their favourite carpet - the one with roads, hotels, carparks, a football stadium, a hangar - you know, boys' favourite things.

It was an exciting day at booth 82 as i made new acquaintances and discovered new possibilities. It was tiring though. Just recalling the stress of packing the things needed for the store was stomach-churning and mind-boggling. A few freaking pimples have found their freaking way to my face, no thanks to stress (just when i was all ready to face the crowd and it pops out. (i must say it hasn't happen for a long time).

I was encouraged very much by the turnout and the purchases that the after-five crowd bought. Of course my spirits were buoyed by by two students around four-fish. And hey, it made my day. Must think of the clay products to make and replenish. Sleep first then say...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My First Pushcart Venture - Pushcart Number 82

After learning clay for a good number of years, and particularly the last two years, i've mustered enough courage to do this one-week thing at National Library Board at Victoria Street. I was also inspired by my Jumping Clay teacher, Bee Luan, to do this little 'street survey'. The rental is not too scary and it's in the city area, plus the fact that NUS is having the one-week recess, motivated me to do this.

I just came back from NLB to store some things in my pushcart assigned to me. And i must say it's a very good location. Right in front of the Library entrance.

Look at the map! Hey people, this is an open invite to all to come down to booth no. 82. Check the booth out okay?

Gtg and load more stuff. See Ya!