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12 Frames in a year - 2010

I'm not sure if any of you remember this post which was posted on the last day (31 Dec 2009) of the year 2009 where I challenged myself to this 12 frames project.    The film I used was Fuji Provia 400X at ISO 400.  I actually challenged myself by not using the light meter and use my instinct to judge the exposures.  Luckily none of them are blanks or over.  Only 2 of them are severely underexposed while 1 is overexposed.  The rest are still acceptable. 

When I received the developed slides. (Yup, not X-process)  I find that Provia 400X seems to have a green shift when its underexposed.   Not a trait I see before with Provia actually.. might be the new X.  Another thing I am not happy is the theme. I did not actually thought of a common theme for this 12 frames.  Just shoot and go for each month.  So its not a very good re-collection for me in the year 2010.  There are records of important events and some family shots.. but  the 12 shots just does not hold strongly together.

I might do it again but it would be in 2012 :)  Since it also ends with a 12 and I have a whole year to plan on the theme of the 12 months of what I intend to shoot.. hehe

Anyway, enough chat and here's are the 12 months of labour and patience.  Descriptions are below.  You may also click on the picture to see a bigger version of it :) 

And wish my readers a Happy New Year!!

January - Frist day of 2010 - suppose to shoot sunrise but its all covered :P
Feburary - Chinese New Year lanterns at Eunous
March - The kids I taught at North Spring Secondanary Photography Club
April - Family photo session at home in Thailand during the Songkran
May - Trip to Pinnicle Duxton
June - Fooling around in the office after I took some photos of the datacenter at my former job (taken by friend)  Underexposed, not my friend's fault.. he just trigger nia..
July - Mum with boy boy.
August - Took this during the Youth Olympics. 
September - New Camera !!! My Nex 3.. :P
October - Back at home in Thailand.. Girl is in the photo too but this is underexposed
November - Bangkok International Airport
December - The kids with their neighbour Pi Nok. (Overexposed - forgot I was using a 400 film :P)

Boys will be boys

Before you read the rest of the entry.  You might want to watch this video of my boy whacking a balloon with his plastic sword.  Pretty fierce.

My wife bought that toy for him.  She's a bit worried that he would not be "man" enough as he's surrounded by girls (lucky chap).  Its true, the whole neighbourhood around my area has very little boys.  For eg, my street has only a boy living at the extreme corner who is already going into his teens.  :P  The next street is better but all of them are much more older then my boy (about 7 or 8 years older).  In short, no kids around the block are around my boy's age.  

It also does not help when his sister's friends are around.  Again, all of them are girls of course.  Here's an old picture of the gang of 5 (now 6 with Nawng Fit who is not the picture)   Which makes my wife feels that he's a bit lonely and needs some toys that brings out the manliness in him (face palm)

Of course, I'm a bit concerned about this, but not on the manliness area but more on the bullying area.  Girls can be quite harsh in bullying too you know. :P  And being the only boy is an easy target for the girls to pick on..

Anyway, after a few days with that toy you see in the video, my wife starts to regret in buying it.  Why? Because the little bugger has progressed to whacking us with his sword instead of inanimated objects.  I just snatch it away froim him if he does it to me so he actually starts to select his targets.  So my home maker, his sister and my wife are receiving the blows more often then me.  Wife tried reasoning with him (hehe.. like it will work), of course he just continues to whack to see our painful expression and thinks its fun.  

Anyway the solution was simple.  I just hid the sword somewhere so he stopped.  For a while of course. Now he actually looked for sticks and stuffs to bang on.  Wife and her bright ideas......

My Girl

I have not posted much of girl girl lately.  Not because I did not want to but its her reaction whenever I point my camera at her.  She would, most of the time just run away or stop whatever she is doing and strikes a pose for me.  I don't mind her posing but I prefer to take photos of her while she is playing instead.   So its harder for me to get good shots from her nowadays.   Think I should switch to machine gun mode to get some interesting pictures of her.

Anyway, here's 4 photos of her I took just in my recent trip.  And of course, a video of her stealing her friend's bike.. hehehe


Not sure why they always like to sit on drain covers...

Prepared! All ready to go to school :)Tendering our friend's vegetable gardenPosing again.. This one is taken with a digital cam.

Anh here's a short video of her :)

My Boy

I have a strong feeling my boy will be the same nut job like me when he grows old.:P  The traits are already showing.  He throws up milk like me (just cry a bit and he will vomit like a merlion liao).  He's cheeky and likes to laugh.  (My mum says I'm like that too before I went to primary school)  He do weird things.  Just like this series of photos I took on my last visit.  Macham those Chinese people doing the welcome dance.... hehehe 

 Preparing the flowers...

Bloody clever of him to seat at the cleanest drain covers.. :P

Waiting for the VIP


The series were taken with my Dynax 7 using Sensia 100.  My last roll in my stock, think need to go stock up again... There are more photos of the kids,  I will post them later maybe in facebook.

And here's a short clip of boy boy monkeying around for those who might have missed it... :P  Taken with my Nex 3 with 50mm lens



A Boring Day in Bangkok

Besides collecting my slides from IQLab.  I have nothing else to do today.  I am not a window shopper so Bangkok's shopping centre does not interests me at all.  I do like to view tech stuff but Pantip Plaza is just another Sim Lim square with sellers who speaks in Thai.  Camera?? Well,  let's just say for more than 8 long years I know Thailand.  No camera is cheap here. (Only HK is the cheapest so far in whole of Asia)

So I tried taking some street photography with my a900 but alas.  This city just does not spark any interest in me anymore.  Its not Bangkok.  Its just me.. I took out my camera and walked down Silom and just saw beggars and street peddlers.   I saw heavy traffic and stunt drivers.   None of them I wish to record down.  

I'm not sure what's wrong with my attitude of this city.  I went to have lunch at a Sizzler joint to indulge myself in a cheap dining experience.  Hoping my mood would turn better.  Salad bar was pretty good and then that's it.  Finished my food and I decided I really need to get out of this city asap.  I went to the nearest Internet Cafe and tried booking a flight out on 23rd.  I don't care if the documents are not endorsed by Singapore embassy.  I just want to get out of this depressing city.  To my horror I left my Singapore phone with my other bag in the hotel.  So I could not complete the transactions.  I took a train to Phaya Thai and visited the Airport express train station.  Wierd location to have it ends here.  I then took the same rail to Makassan station (the express train service I wrote last time)  and tried walking towards to the Petchuburi MRT station.  Its actually pretty near but the pavements are horrible. If you have a lot of luggage then that option is out.

I then reached back my hotel and was in my room reading and surfing (I topped up some money to my DTAC phone) by tethering my Nexus one to my Acer netbook.  Pretty good connection actually. And also completed my flight booking transactions.  I would be out of here tomorrow during this time (just 24hours more to go)...


Stuck for another day....

I have been in Bangkok since Monday morning and I actually planned to have all my things sorted out on Wednesday.  Day 1 is to have my document translated while Day 2 is to have my translated documents certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  (that is today)  Day 3 supposingly to have my certified documents endorsed by the Singapore Embassy. 

But due to the amount of documents need to be certified.  I was denied the express service (double charges for each document submitted) so it will take the usual of 3 working days (inclusive of the day you submit).  That means I could only get my document back from them on Thurday.  Which makes me totally free today and tomorrow.

As I mentioned countless time before.  I don't really like Bangkok.  And the extra time here makes me suffocate more.  Thai people elsewhere are extremely kind and helpful but over here, most of them are just plain rude and dishonest. 

For egs.  The Taxi I took to  MFA just kept the tollway money to himself (just 10B but he just assume I would give it to him)  So no tips when I reached my destination.  The motorcycle taxi young chap who drives like a lunatic and trying to squeuze through the traffic.  I actually nearly fell off the bike while he just chided me in Thai " What you afraid of, if you are afriad we would just hit something".  I just ignored him.  Another Taxi driver drives like a lunatic, cutting lanes after lanes and have near misses at almost every min.  Not sure how he pass his test.. And really wonder if he is skillful or like what I said before.  The invisible force field of the blessing surroudning the Taxi definitely is in full force. 

Not to mention another joker at the MFA.  I was writing at the counter with the pen and put the pen beside me as I was sorting out the documents.  This joker just grabbed it from me without even asking if I have finished.  Naturally I just stared at him and he just ignored me.  He finished and I took back the pen and continued.  I would easily pass it to him if he had asked.. but Noooo... he just has to snatched it.

I'm really not sure why people in Bangkok are like this.  Feeling superior as they are in the city?  As they say dog eat dog world in Bangkok.

Of course,  I'm not saying all the people in Bangkok are such state but sincerely, ,majority it is.

So now I'm stuck in Bangkok and typing this in a small Internet Cafe charging 40B an hour.  Hopefully I get to meet some better people in the coming days to offset my negative feeling to this city.

Off to Bangkok ... again..

I think I wrote serveral times about my feelings about the capital of Thailand so not going to repeat myself.  Instead,  just want to note down and write my coming plans.  I will be taking a bus (yup a bloody bus) to Bangkok.  The journey will start tomorrow at 1700 where I will board from the Maesai bus station and the trip will take me 13 hours.  (Reach BKK Mo Chit at 6am morning)

To be frank, its not the first time I did this and I did not enjoyed the last trip (about 4 -5 years ago).  So I'm not really looking forward on this journey.  The reason I'm doing this again is 3 folds.

First, Its cheaper.  The bus ride only cost 700Baht comapre to 1200B (at least or more). 

2nd, The timing is pretty good.  I reach at 6am so I could drop by my friend's place early and drop my baggages.  I could then immediately proceed with my errands.  If I'm taking the plane, I could not do that as the earliest flight that I could reach BKK is 10am.  So it might be possible that I could have the documents translated in one day so I could spend less time in BKK.

3rd, I actually save more money!! (again) hehe.. lodgings in BKK is expensive, although I do know a pretty good hotel at Rachadapisek at a good old 700Baht/day rate (There are cheaper lodgings but the room conditions are normally cannot make it).  So the bus trip should let me save a night's stay in BKK.

I have not get my return tickets for Singapore.  Most probably will do that once I submitted the document and hopefully I could do it by Wednesday, if not Friday (Chirstmas Day) should be a peak period and I might have trouble getting out of the country.

And for those who are asking why so few photos of the family this round.. Well, I actually took a lot, most of them in slides and black and white negatives so I need to have them developed.  I have learnt of a place in BKK that develops slides and I plan to visit that lab if time allows.  Will post the photos once I have them scanned :)

Have to wish me luck on that long bus ride.. Think I really need it  :P  A bit too old for such adventures.

Translations and more translations

The one thing extremely bad and inconvinient about Thailand is the official language is not in English. Which means, if I have some official documents from Singapore, I need to have them translated to Thai script and vice versa if its a Thai document, I need to translate them back to English.

The tedious part is only embassy or the MFA are able to officiate my translated document.  Which means I need to travel down to Bangkok.

Initially, I was planning to have my visa run this coming end of the month so I could stay until end of January and bring the family back to Singapore for Chinese New Year.  But the runs no longer gives 30 days visa.  They are only giving 15 days so its a miscalculated move.  

So I changed my plan and decided to head back to Bangkok for a day or 2 to get my marriage certificate translated and notorized.  Then a flight back to Singapore to prepare the house for the incoming kids.  I will be back again in Thailand in late January to fetch the kids and wife.  So I wasted some money on another flight back to Singapore again... Sometimes no matter how much you plan it still screws up somewhere. :)

The best gifts I received in year 2010.

I would say these 2 items you see in the photo are the best presents I ever received in year 2010.  Although both are just only made up of paper and ink, its really something very significant for me and I received them both of them this week. 

The first one is the little card hand made by my daughter in school.  She drew the cartoon (with her teacher's help of course) and wrote I love my Dad in Thai in that little card.  I got it on Monday and she hand it over to me personally after school :)

The second one (larger document) is my marriage certificate which I received yesterday evening.  Yup!  I am officially married!! No more being Single any more.. hahaha

Its has been a great week and it ends earlier as tomorrow is another Thai Public Holiday.  We plan to have a short trip to Chiang Rai if the weather permits.  Will write if times allow. 


Finally some good news.

This morning after fetching my girl to school.  We went to the clinic to get my boy his shots (vaccine).  While waiting for our turn.  Wife received a call from the local amphue asking us to drop by the office today to have our Marriage Certificate signed.  Its seems that the Nai Amphue has finally signed our document.

Just dropped by the district office and signed the last 2 pieces of papers.  Tomorrow can go and collect the certificates (I hope so :P)

Finally settled another long due piece of document.  With this certificate.  I could officially apply for a long term O visa at the Singapore Thai embassy.  No more lousy 1 month stay in Thailand! Whoo  hoo!!

Father and Daughter

As promised.  I am writing shorter posts to allow me to keep my post volume up and don't bore you to death with my longer posts.

5th Dec is the Thai King's Birthday and the whole country celebrate the day as Wan Po (Father's Day).  Yup, so today is my big day actually and sadly but truly, this is the first Father's Day I ever celebrated with my kids (I was in Singapore most of the time during this period).  So My girl is very happy that I was around.

A few days ago, her school wanted a photo of me and her for a father and kid competition.  They actually do this every year and last year, my wife could only digged out an old photo of me with her while she was just a baby.  This year, wify took the photo for us and I printed it for her.  Our photo actually got first prize in that class :P (Don't ask me why, I also blur blur why we got 1st prize...)  So our big head shot (the one you see in this post) got displayed on the school's notice board..  A bit paiseh(embarassed) when I fetched girl from school as lots of kids were pionting at us.... Macham Celebrity liao.  The other 2 winning photos were actually taken in a studio environment.. Seems like my wife's skill not bad leh, like that still can win.. heheheh.  BTW.  camera used was my Nex 3 with Kit lens. 


Here we go again.....same old shit again...

One bloody week.. I have waited for one bloody week and still my marriage papers are not signed yet!!! These are the times I really miss Singapore's  efficiencies.  I have another option is to go to the state office in Chiang Rai to do it.  Heard it can be done in a day and not stuck by the stupid Nai Amphur's signature.

I guess they really like to test the patience of the local people here in Maesai.  Coming Monday is a public holiday again so I guess I have to wait till Tues.  Sigh.....  

Good Morning Everyone!!

We sleep quite early here in Thailand.  Around 8.30pm (SG 9.30) and we wake up normally between 6am to 7am.

The morning air is extremely refreshing, average temperature is around 18 degrees celsius.  My wife normally wakes up a bit early to go Gam Lang Kai (exercise for Thai).  Her new routine involves a gigantic Hula Hoop.. hehe.. Yesterday morning the kids woke up early and we got to have some fun with her.

Here's a short clip of them..

PS. I will be posting more often in short posts. Think it will be more efficient for me and you won't get bored reading them too.. :)


4 days in Thailand already.

And it seems bloody fast too :P.  I came back and have spent most of the time surprisingly, not playing with the kids but resting.  I slept more than 10 hrs a day for the first 2 days and the weather here was extremely good.  Cold in the morning and at night while sunshine in the afternoon.  It's also quite dry in the afternoon too!  Just love the weather here!

I think I was lazy for the pass few days as I knew I will be staying here for a longer period. (No more time limits of going back to work!!)  And girl girl is very happy that I am staying for long.  We have played computer games, watched TV and some other physical activities.  Ah boy also seems to be happy that I'm around.. but he's  a bit more shy and always glue to my wife whenever I'm around.. I guess he's a bit worried that mummy going to dump him to me... hehe

Another unusual spot of me is that I have not taken any photos since I came back!  It's only this morning that I took a few of them when my wife was exercising and the kids were fooling around her.  The break was great but there are tons of things to do too... We had just resubmit our marriage registration to the local Amphur and we are waiting for the Nai Amphur to sign again.  Hopefully we can complete it within the week.

I guess I will be able to write more often too... 

Time to move on.

About 3 years ago. (acutally its much shorter then that).  I decided to come back to Singapore to work while waiting for my wife's status to change which at that time, seems like going to be a long wait.

I was lucky to know a friend from my photography Alumnus in SLCC who introduced me into DC to work as an Insite Engineer.. (basically its a Call centre and network monitoring job)

The shift based job allowed me to adjust my off days so I could fly back to Thailand pretty often to see my wife and kids.  Its a hectic job and pretty long working hours (12 hours shift) but it was suitable for my situation.

A lot of things happened during my work here.  Like I actually got my 2nd child, Ah boy in 2009 (and it was a bit unexpected one too.. :P)  And getting some of my team mates picking up in photography (kena poisoned jialat jialat).

There were of couse, many other differences and dislikes about the job environment (as usual if you work in a corporation) but of course, the friendship and companionship outweighs all these differences.  And this is the 3rd point I wished to highlight.  I managed to get to know some great people during my stint here in DC. I'm not going to list them out but I guess you know who you are (if you are reading this post) and I am eternally grateful to getting to know you all :)

Nevetheless, I wish to thank my friend Mr Dog (his nickname) for introducing me to this job so at least I get paid whille waiting for my wife;s status and at the same time,  being able to go back frequently to Thailand to be with my family.

There's an old chinese saying "天下没有不散的宴席".  (All good things come to an end) So I guess its time to move on and return back to where I belong.  Thanks for the 2 years 7 months of fun!


In the Western part of Singapore - Chinese and Japanese Garden

I have very fond memories of these 2 gardens as I still remember my parents brought me to visit these two gardens when I was just a little boy.  The main Pagoda, the lake and the old classic Chinese stone bridge is something refreshing from the boring conrete jungle of Singapore's landscape.

My last post was about Joo Koon station and on my way back.  I just dropped off at the Chinese Garden station to visit this garden again in broad daylight.

The last 2 times I came was actually at night during the mid-autumn festivals.  The park always organises some lantern festival during the mid-autumn festivals and really can't recall why I went to these events..

Anyway, its much more of a blast to visit the parks during daytime.  The main pagoda is finally opened to visitors (8am-7pm) so I get to climbed the pagaoda again!  

View from the top is a bit dissapointing actually as most of the landscapes you see on the top are just more and more and more HDB flats... I remember it used to be a jungle out there when I was just a boy.  I did took some slides this time but as I have not finished the roll.  Can't post them here until the roll's finished :P

However, I took a lot of shots using my NEX and 25mm CCTV lens combo.. I am getting to like this lens a lot.  Its lighter and more compact then the kit lens. But it just produce very interesting and unqiue photos.  And its still quite sharp at the center too :).  The only major complain is the severe CA and I found the best workaround is to convert those affected by the strong CA by converting them to black and white.  So its actually not as distracting as it used to be.

You can view the rest of the photos in my facebook album :)

In the Western part of Singapore - Last MRT station Joo Koon

Last Friday was my day off from work and being bored of shooting Singapore's cityscape.  I tried a different approach in documenting Singapore.  If you have been following my blog or facebook activities lately, you will understand that I will be leaving Singapore for long periods of time again.  Yes, I will be back in the Land of Smile mostly in the coming months and I wish to record something down for myself this time.  To see how much Singapore will change once I'm back here again.

While I was away, the west side of Singapore was constructing 2 more train stations.  Pioneer and Joo Koon.  I believed I was in Thailand when they officially opened it and I was surprised by the new name of the train station Joo Koon replacing the old Boon Lay station.  Joo Koon.... What a funny name... (That was my first impression when I saw and heard it)

Now I know why its called Joo Koon... Its above Joon Koon CircleBoon Lay was an area I was quite familiar with during my National Service in 1998.  I was with the 30th Singapore Combat Engineer and later HQ SCE at SOCE (School of Combat Engineer).  Both of the camps are in Jurong Camp 3.  Basically I spent about 1 and a half year of my life there before I got myself disrupted for my studies.  Its actually quite hectic in the morning during week days as a lot of factory workers would be taking the train to Boon Lay and transfer a bus at the bus-station to work.  Moreover, another University (used to tbe called NTU) is there so you get to see a lot of students too.  Its also filled with army camps so thousands of people like me serving NS are around that area too.  So although its a small station but its always crowded.  

I took a train all the way from Cityhall to Joo Koon.  Passing Pioneer station and actually saw the entrance of my old camp (30 SCE) along the way.  Not very fond memories of those days :P.  

Railway tracks....I was actually expecting myself to be in Tuas when I reached Joo Koon but it seems that is not the case. It is still about half an hour ride from here to Tuas checkpoint. (I checked the bus services and its still quite a long way).  I'm surprised to find it actually quite a near walking distance to SAFTI MI.  So Singapore Discovery Centre is just next door!  Finally that poor Centre is more accessible to the local crowd.  I did not spend a lot of time there of course.. Since its basically in the middle of nowhere.. hehe..

The tracks do continue furthur west and I believed one day there will be a station called Tuas (just next to 2nd link maybe?)  Then Joo Koon and Boon Lay will slowly be forgotten as the last train station at the West side of Singapore.

Do feel free to view more photos taken with my NEX and 25mm CCTV lens below :) 


Pathway to Singapore Discovery Centre and SAFTI

For those "Owicer" who spent at least 6 months in SAFTI MI. Can see that bloody tower clearly from the station.Road that will leads to Tuas (2nd Link)Singapore Discovery Centre!!! I have been here so many times (kena forced to by army) and till this day.. I still have not "discovered" whats in there... :PThe station is surrounded by factories. This was a funnel like structure beside the pathway. Belongs to The Union Container Pte Ltd... Lots of bicycles are parked at the bicycle bay. Belongs to the factory workers (night shifter?) I guess...

Federated Malay States Railways - Part 2

The journey from Woodlands onwards were actually a bit boring.  We do stopped at various interesting locations.  The Johore Bahru station is also the new station (no longer at the old one).  I was a bit concerned at first as the Malaysian Immigration did not stamped by Passport.  So I dropped off and asked one of the officers at the JB station.  Kena suan by him say that we already pass immigration and customs at TP liao.  So why need to do it all over again?

Hehe.. A bit mountain turtle feeling.  So what if I lost my immigration card in Malaysia?  Better hold on to that white card as my dear life depends on it.

We slept a bit on the car and actually moved to another carriage.  Ours were a bit warm.  The A/C seems to be leaking.  We found most of the seats to be empty so we just helped ourselves to the coolest carriage and took a nap.  Later we explored the dining carriage.  A bit dissapointed as it only serves tidbits and drinks (at extortion price of course).   So we just bought mineral water and sipped slowly on it.  We actually spent almost an hour at the dining area chatting and observing other people.  The seats in my humble opinion, is actually more comfortable then the one we had.

We discussed about what we plan to do when we reached KL and we actually have a little bet on whether the train will be on time. 

The train continues towards Gemas and thats where we went back to our carriage to sleep.  But this time, surprisingly the flat screen TV was on (each train carraige has a flat screen TV leh.  And it was blasting Malay move (more like propaganda) and KTM's history plus its train's schedules.  The train schedules are actually just slides but its background music is quite interesting.  Bloody Malay traditional music being converted to TECHNO!  Wonder whether its a hit in Malaysia Disco joints anot? hehe

We did reached KL Sentral on time at 3pm and we proceeded to go to the ticket couter to buy our return ticket.  This time we purchased the sleeper carriage which only costs us RM43 each (bloody hell, so much more cheaper then what we paid at Singapore)

The train departure time is 11pm so we had about 8 hours spare time to jalan jalan (take a walk).  We went down to Jalan Petaling to grab out late lunch and took some time to walk around that neighbourhood and visit the old KL train station.  The photo you see is actually taken inside the old station with the 8mm Peleng on my NEX.  Pretty fun lens to shoot with.  You can even see my feet in one of the shots of the train tracks in the gallery.

After that we took a cab to Sungei Wang area to shop around.  We were a bit shacked out actually because we did not get enough sleep last night and also the train ride was pretty exhausting.  We took a break at starbucks and started to people watch.  KL a lot of pretty girls leh :) hehehe..

Anyway, we took off again and head for a SPA around that area.  The SPA facilities not too shabby.  Got facials, massage and even a buffet spread!! So we just showered and get ourselved all cleaned up.  Refreshed and whack the buffet.  Never bothered about the facial and massage though.  After getting oursleves all freshened up.  We took a short walk to Jalan Petaling again to buy some local products before we hit back to KL Sentral.  I also bought 2 Ramlee burgers as a snack on the train.

I actually finished the 2 burgers even before I board the train... hahaha.  Not because I'm hungry but actually bored of waiting.  We were at the station a bit too early and we bought some magazines to keep ourselves occupied.  Photography magazines in Malaysia is pretty cheap wor.. But mostly are just advertisement.

The train was ontime and we boarded the sleeper bunkers.  Pretty cool actually.  Each bed has its own curtain shades and its actually very clean.  Initially I was a bit worried it will be dirty but its actually really very clean.  Mr Dog was actually very happy with his bed and once on board.  We got into sleep mode immediately.  I could not sleep actually due to the fact I have 2 more burgers in my stomach :P  The punishment for Gluttony.  But I just lied there and enjoy my little private space and watched the passing lights and shadows out of the window. 

Its a matter of time that I just dozed off and slept.  The repetitive rocking motion of the train actually helps too.  I woke up in the middle of the night when the train stopped.  It seems like more carriages were added to the train.  We are supposed to be in Singapore TP at 7am.  But around 630, we still have not reached Johore Bahru yet.  We only reached Woodlands checkpoint at around 9am and Mr Dog dropped off from Woodlands because he needs to get back to the office.  I continued onwards and the train stopped again at Bukit Timah for more than 15 mins to wait for a passing train to pass by us (its a single track in Singapore)

I only reached TP at around 10pm and exhausted.  The train ride is actually quite comfortable but the long waiting time is a killer.  Overall, its a very interesting experience and I wouldn't mind taking the train again.  Maybe for the next time, I would try a jouney all the way to Bangkok. :)

Hope you like my little journal.  My gallery is updated with photos of the journey.  Do feel free to browse through them.


Federated Malay States Railways - Part 1

When I heard the news of the exchange of land between Malaysia and Singapore a few months back.  I know I have little time to kind of getting a chance to visit this old train station and try taking a train from this station to Malaysia.

Luckily I had 4 days off last week so I took this opportunity to take a train to KL on Thursday and then back again during the night.  So literally its just a 24 hour trip back and forth.

This may sounds crazy to some but I really like trains.  I think they are elegant and a very efficient transport (in terms of going green).  The thing is that we always heard a lot of negatives comments on the train services and the last time I took the train to JB was during my secondary school days.  And its actually not a very good experience the last time.  Train was late for almost 2 hours.. :P

Nevertheless. I believe this old structure and the railway will be gone soon.  There are already notices at the station informing the closure in end of July 2011.  I will be away from Singapore in December so I guess its the last chance for me to experience the track for one last time. Do I roped in my photo buddy Mr Dog (u saw hime a few times in my travels) to have this little trip.

Pricing wise is crazy.  The price is $34 SGD and $68 for VIP.  All air-conditioned but here's the funny part.  If you buy at TP (Tanjong Pagar).  The price is in SGD.  But if you buy in Malaysia (like JB or KL) Its the exact same amount but in bloody Malaysian Rinngit!!! So for those who want to try the experience and want to save some money.. Maybe you can board from JB instead.  I decided to go ahead as I want to go through the whole process of buying the tickets at the station and board the train at TP.. :P 

I bought the tickets a day earlier and the gentleman at the counter is very helpful.  Do remember to bring more cash.  No nets or credit cards at the station.  The nearest ATM is DBS and its 2 blocks away from the station.  (I learnt my lesson.. :P)

I bought the morning train which leaves TP at 8am.  The ticket mention it will reach KL at 14:56.  We reached there around 6.30am and had our breakfast at the station canteen.  Nasi Lemak and a cup of Kopi.  We board the train at around 7:45am and here's  the funny part.  The immigration for Malaysia (not Singapore hor!!) is at the station and we have to cross the immigration and customs of Malaysia before boarding the train.  I still need to fill out the arrival card.  No stamp was chopped on my passport.  Only on the arrival card and they did not even tear the arrival part. 

The train departed on time and as usual, Mr Dog went to sleep while I enjoyed the scenery.  Its really an old track and not really well maintained.  Technically, we are in Singapore but legal wise, we are in Malaysia.  Very strange feeling... What if the train breaks down and I stepped out of the track... consider me as illegal immigrant anot har?? :P hehe.  Along the way we cross some bridges and I spotted a few homeless people sleeping there.  I was not fast enough to take a picture.  Moving trains and the dirty glass panel is a pain in the ass. 

The train took about 45mins to reach Woodlands checkpoint.  Here all of us got out and have our passport scanned.  They have a waiting area after you finish clearing the Singapore immigration.  Here we wait for the rest of the passengers and they will only open the gates for us to board the train until everyone of us are cleared.  

Below is a GPS snapshot of the track.  I recorded it while I was on the train back from KL.  Will continue part 2 in another post.   Some photos taken during the trip are in my gallery.  Do feel free to browse through them.

View Ktm Railway Track in a larger map


Cheap lens does not mean lousy photos.

I recently accquired a cheap brandless CCTV C-mount lens from E[vill]-bay for the grand total of SGD$41 plus shipping.  I already have the C-mount adaptor from JLphoto so naturally since the flange range of the Nex is the shortest (18mm) which means I can mount literaally all known lenses ever produced in the market...

I picked 25mm as I already have other various 28mm, 35mm and 50mm in other mounts (mostly in M42 or Leica M-mount) And before the purchase, I already suspected that there will be very strong vignetting if I used this lens on the Nex.. This is because it already shows strong vignetting on the Oly/Panasonic m4/3 sensors which has a 2x crop factor.

Nevertheless,  I already have a plan to reduce the vignetting by composing my shots in square formats :)  So basically I took a shot and crop it later in lightroom.

The lens is pretty sharp.. at the centre of course as you can see in the pictures below.  Colours are pretty vibrant too! Its bloody multi-coated some more! hehehe

I would say its the cheapest arsenal in my lenses (about same price as those Diana lenses but much much better built of course)

Its a very good buy to me and I actually quite like it as I did not need to spend time PS other then crop and adjust a bit of contrast or brightness.  At first I could not get the lens to focus sharply because the mount seems to be too close to the sensor.. Might be the adaptor fault but after I put a rubber band on the mount and slightly increased the flange distance. It works marvellous.  It also comes with an extension tube too, allowing me to go macro :P

And the good part is that with the tube extended.. the Vignetting actually was actually lesser.  So I could get a full square photos with little falloff. Another funny thing about this lens is the aperture.  It is round all the way till f/2 but starts to become rectangular after f/2.8 ... hehe.. So you might experience wierd bokeh if you stopped it down .  I shot mostly wide open in these photo so maybe I will post some examples later.

Highly recommended for those who like special effects in their shots without the hassle of photoshop.  And yes, of course you can use your thousand dollar lens to shoot and edit the effect in PS. But I rather spend $40 to have a less of a hassle.

The point is.  Know your equipment and shoot accordingly to the strengths of the equipment.  As the post title says. Cheap lens does not mean lousy photos :)

You may enjoy the rest of the series here in my facebook album.

The new airport railway to Suvarnabhumi Airport

Life Size Paper Board Cut out!! :)My last trip in Thailand gave me a chance to test out the new airport rail link to the city in BKK.  My flight back to Singapore was late at night and I had 5 hours to wait for my tranist.  So bored I am I decided to just try out this new rail link to see how fast it was.

The entrance to the station is actually at the basement level of the airport.  Its actually was there for quite some time.  Actually I should say its there since the airport was opened but the railway tracks were not finished yet.  (Remember the coup and everything??)  The delays were massive and only recently they managed to complete it.

I was a bit lost at first because the sation is actually has 2 platforms and 2 different entrances for 2 different services.  One is the normal train and the other is actually an Express train.

I took the wrong turn and end up at the normal service.  Which stops at every station in between the air port and Makkasan station.  So blur blur I bought the ticket... 15B !!! Wa... bloody cheap!!! I thought I heard wrongly so I gave a 100B note.. the change was 75B...

So off I go and hit the platform to wait for my train...


Suvarnabhumi has very confusing signboardsThe platform is actually quite short.. Definitely has less carriages then SingaporeThe train was preparing to leave when I went down the platform and the security stopped me from boarding the train.  The waiting time is about 7 to 8 minutes for the next train.  Its actually a bit crowded for the normal service as it stops at every stops.  Total of 4 stations in between the next interchange Makkasan(for MRT) and 2 more at Phaya Tai (for BTS).  So basically if you stay near Nana and MBK.. you can take this train all the way to Phaya Thai and changed to the BTS light rail. 

Inside the standard normal train carriage.Outside the window of the train... The expressway that links the airport to the cityBy the 3rd Stop the train was packed like Sardines. It was about 4pm and people seems to be knocking off. Took this lady without her noticing me.. She's engrossed in her messages. By the time I reached Makkasan.  Its actually over 40minutes of travelling time.  Pretty slow compared to the Taxi but at this price.. no complains.  And its actually quite a good way to enjoy the atmosphere of the locals on how they commute.  It's a really good experience if you enjoy people watching :)

I got out of the Makkasan station as I was a bit afraid I could get delayed and I saw on the board that the express service starts from this station.  I want to try the express service so naturally I got out here.

The station is very new and looks too sterile for my liking...

The roof of the station is pretty well desinged internally... Not sure how it looks on the outside though

Ticket counter for the Express train,I followed the directions and got to the ticket counter and entrance of the Express service.  Its 100Baht per pax!! Hahaha.. almost 6x more than the Normal service.  I paid and went into the empty platform.  At first I felt a bit stupid like Kena con liao.  Until the train arrives.....

Interior of the express train... kind of explain the price differenceThe train was fully carpeted and there are places for you to store your luggages.  The seats were also nicer of course.  REALLY very big difference so kind of justify the huge price difference.  The express train departs every 15mins or so and it takes only less than 20 mins to hit Suvarnabhumi.  So for those in a rush, its quite worth it.

I'm already planning that if I could actually take this express service and drop off at Makkasan then changed to a taxi.. It should be cheaper and you should be able to avoid some jams.. A metered taxi with toll normally costs aroun 200B to 350B (depending on your locations and traffic) so I guess this is actually quite a good alternative way to get into the city :)

And finally, just for the record, here's the route and the stations in this line.


My new Rangefinder - Konica Hexar RF

I was hunting for a better RF (short for rangefinder) ever since my Bessa R3M's shutter got stuck one fine day.  Its normal now but I kind of want to have another spare body just in case I need to send the Bessa for service.

I also wanted a RF with AE mode rather than full manual.  The reason is that if I mount a wide angle lens onto it (like 21mm), it could function as a Point n shoot film camera too (like the GR21).  Of course there are contax G series RF which even have AF but that means I need to invest in new lenses which will not be affordable to me.  So I want to stick to M mount as I already have a collection of M lensesSo my choices were quite limited. 

Minolta CLE (small and affordable but not very well built, so it might not last that long)

Leica M7 (too expensive! and I hate the film loading mechanism of Leica)

Zeiss Ikon by Cosina (also expensive, more than 2k SGD brand new so its not really within my budget.  I don't want to spend more than 1k SGD on a film RF body which I mainly used for fun, hoobyist shoot)

Another Bessa R2 or R3 (a bit bored with Bessa and as mentioned, I'm a bit concerned with the reliablity of the camera too.)

And finally the Konica Hexar RF.  Which itself is a very well built cam.  

I was looking around on e[vil]bay and when the $US was so low since last week,  I took action and got one used from ebay at a very attractive price of $800++ plus shipping.  

Back Alley. Self portraitI got it since last friday and I have to say the initial impression on the cam was WOW.  Heavy like a brick and feels like handling a Leica :P hehe.  But there are lot of technologies in this camera that is not found on a Leica M6.  Such as motorized film advancer and winder.  LED batt indicator and frame counter.  Centre weighted metering with AE and AEL mode.  Shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder, exposure compensation dial in 1/3 steps up to +/-2.  And of course, burst mode and self timer mode.   These are features seen often in DSLR but if you are into RF, you would know its quite rare to see all these features in a small, dense packed body like an RF.  (Even the latest Zeiss Ikon does not have a motorized film advancer and winder and it cost a bloody 2k SGD!!)

At Suntec City. Focused at the first Hello Kitty. Shot at f/2So everything is perfect until I checked the focusing patch and found it to be misaligned vertically.  Hard to explain this to layperson.  Just simply; there is a problem with getting accurate focus when using this cam.  At first I thought it was just vertical misalign (which would not affect the accuracy, just a nuisance).  Until I mounted a lens and found its also horizontally mis-align... jialat..

Shot of my friend "Dog" wide open at 1.1So on the same night I received my camera.  I popped off the top part of the cam and performed surgery on the used Hexar. Re-aligning the focusing patch of an RF is a very tedious job as I need to measure the distance of 1m to the film plane and move 2 little screws in the camera to align them correctly.  After that, I still need to shoot a roll of film to confirm everything is alright.

Infinity Test. Seems ok on the scan. Still need to examine under a loupe to confirm.I loaded an Ilford XP2 400 as a test roll.  I chose this film because its sharp and I mounted my VC 50mm f1.1 so I could have a very shallow DOF to check if my alignments were correct.  Finished the roll yesterday and sent it for developing and scanning today and was glad its spot on accurate :D.

Its been a while since I'm so ever happy with a purchase.  The last serious camera I am very happy with was the Hasselblad 500CM and the last digital camera was my Sony a900 (I found out I actually didn't wrote about my a900!).

My colleague and friend. Mr Mok 少posing for meBuying the Hexar also means I would give the Fuji X100 a pass.  I still prefer my M lenses and I prefer film over digital anytime.  And I already have the Nex-3.. so I just can't justify why I would need the X100... Damn Fuji!! why they never announce it sooner!!!  :P

*Photos posted on this entry are some of the shots from my XP2 test roll.  You can see more here.  The Nokton is really a very sharp lens!! :P