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Another favourite - SOLD -

I did a crazy thing yesterday. I saw a minty 250mm f/5 Press lens at an incredible price and condition which I could not get my eyes off in E(vil)-bay.  

Since I do not have a day job at the moment, I do not have the luxuries to buy it on the spot.  You may asked "Didn't you sell off your Hassy for 2k?"  Well that money is actually used to pay off the credit card bills that I incurred from purchasing the Press Camera.  And actually I spent another $500 on another Super 23 with lens and back :P  So the 2k already down the drain liao.  Not to mention I restocked a lot of 120 film for my new camera.

 As I was venting my fustration in facebook.  Some RF photog friends gave me an idea.  Sell off my Hexar!  Its a great RF I got just about a year ago.  I think less than 10 rolls were passed through it only and I actually re-calibrated the RF patch myself.  Its a great camera and actually I used it more often then my Bessa R3M.  Actually, I totally stopped using my R3 after I got the Hexar.  Its that good.  

But I don't really need 2 RF bodies at the moment.  I'm shooting MF more often in Thailand and with my NEX 3.  The only time I find I'm using the Hexar was in Singapore, where I do street photography in an urban environment.  I also really need to downsize as all the lenses and gears I have that are mostly in my dry cabinet.  The Press cameras are huge.(and so are the lenses).. :P So I made the hard decision, sell the Hexar away and get the rare 250mm.  Anyway, I still have a Bessa if I need to shoot RF style. 

The dotted line of death.

I can't sleep.  I think its because quite a certain amount of friends ask me why I am so against Tan Cheng Bock (Yes, he's a nice grandfatherly figure and to a certain extent, trustworthy) after I thrashed him in my last post and decided not to vote him.   Why I am so against the Mandatory Death Penalty(MDP)?  Well first thing first we need to understand what is MDP in Singapore.  It's the capital punishment where someone would received if he breaks certain laws in Singapore.  And yes, its mandatory.  Why? According to their thinking, its because once they know there is such a harsh penalty, you won't even dare to try it in the first place.  Sounds good hor?? Use scare tatic leh.

But this world is not as black and white!  Certain people did not convict these crimes because they wanted to.  Or even worst, they are not even aware they were commiting the crimes!  Examples are these 3 recent cases tajken from an article by 2nd Chance.  Full article is here

Yong Vui Kong is 23 years old this year. He had been arrested at the age of 19 in possession of 42.27g of heroin. Unlike Ahmad Zahir Ismail, a gang member who was spared from jail and caning earlier this month, Vui Kong was sentenced to death under the Mandatory Death Penalty. Vui Kong is now repentant, and has spent the past 4 years studying, meditating (he is now a devout Buddhist) and trying his best to atone for his mistakes within prison walls. He is not asking for acquittal and release. He is only asking to be allowed to live, so that he may continue in his self-improvement and meditation.

Cheong Chun Yin was charged with trafficking in over 2kg of heroin. However, he maintains to his day that he had been under the impression that he was only smuggling gold bars for a friend from the pasar malam where he worked. He also cooperated fully with the investigating officers, giving them details and even the phone numbers of the man who had arranged the whole job for him. However, the investigating officers made no attempt to trace this man. The trial judge also ruled that it was “immaterial” that the officers did not make “adequate efforts” to do so.

Like Chun Yin, Roslan bin Bakar also continues to insist upon his innocence even though he is at the last stage of the process. Besides the testimonies of others, there was no concrete evidence proving that Roslan had been at the scene. Roslan also provided an alibi. His mother and step-brother testified in support, but the judge did not believe them.

Ok, So what does this have to do with the President of Singapore?  Well if you have read the book by Alan Shadrake, Once a Jolly Hangman.  The Death Warrant,  which is the last piece of document thats need to be signed and endorsed needs a signature.  Whose signature?  None other than the highest office holder, our President of Singapore!  Thats why TKL asked for a review in this matter as he do not wish to sign that peice of paper!!  

Because its a joke.  The canbinet decides but the last piece of paper is signed by our President!  With no power to grant clemency or ask for a retrial!  

So now you see why its relevancy in choosing one who blantanly believes in Mandatory Death Penalty?  Again I am not asking you to change allegiance and vote for TKL or TJS.  Its YOUR CHOICE and I have MINE :)  Maybe if you try to believe TCB would think about it later and change his mind when he is President but I can't take that risk.  He has givein his views and his views are clear. Just follow the consitution and sign the dotted line of death.

And that's sad.  I wonder Nathan has he ever went down personally to the gallows to talk to the convicts before their demise?  $4mil a year to sign death warrants.  What a job!







2 down. Just left 2 to choose.....

This post is about politics in Singapore so again, if you are not interested, please redirect to somwhere else :)  


I loved political forums and I am so happy TOC managed to rope in all the 4 Tans for a good face to face debate.  If you, as a voting Singaporean have not watch the videos, I implore you to take some time to watch these 2 parts of the forum to have a better understanding of our 4 candidates.


Part 1

Part 2

In my previous post, I mentioned that all 3 candidates besides Tony Tan are credible and are much much better options as an elected, independant President.  This was a pre-conceived idea from the information I have gathered from online readings of their blogs and other writings by their respective supporters.  

But there are some very fundamental answers to certain particular principles and beliefs I have that I wished the other 3 candidates would answer before I could make a sound decision.  And all thanks to the TOC forum, I have more or less reduce the 3 Tans to become 2 Tans (actually more or less have decided on mine but I still want to know more of the 2 left. :)

As I have known all along, Dr TT was the usual PAP puppet, he beats around the bush on certain tricky questions and his views are the exact same copy of our ruling gahment.  

The one that surprises me most in this forum was Dr Tan Cheng Bock.  I actually like that guy (so was my sister).  I do have some reserves at first as he was still a bit tad too close to the ruling party but hey, so is the later Mr Ong Teng Cheong.

He did an amazing job in the 1st part of the video.  Such as seperation of PMO from Istana,  removing the election department to be under the PMO and directly under the President and etc.  It was really good stuff and his composure and the way he carrys himself was flawless.  I was truly impressed!

Then part 2 came yesterday and I found myself totally in shock.  This joker just shot himself with a handgun (and a bazooka later :P ) and that's it, he's out of my list.

He made 2 points that gave me the decision not to choose him.

Firstly, the death penalty.  He beats around the bush a bit but finally gave his final thought that he accepts it as a form of punishment and he would not even consider it to table a change in our harsh mandatory death penalty law in Singapore.  This is totally against my belief so I was a bit dissapointed.  If he did mentioned that he plans to bring it up to the PMO on looking into tweaking this issue or like TKL's smarter answer (totally forgoing the President's role in who is going to the gallows) then I might still give him some chance.  But the way he answers tells me he is just not going to rock the boat on this issue.  As I have once said, no human being has the morale judgement to end another person's life.  

The 2nd one is the killer.  At 1:00 hr where a lady asked about women involving in politics (especially in higher decision making roles)  Even Tony Tan did a wonderful job in handling this question.  But Dr Tan Cheng Bock has to shoot himself with a bloody Bazooka!  What did he say?

 He said:"Well, I think its a difficult area for women in Singapore, it's because the commitment is really heavy, so you need to get your permission from your husband."   

Then the crowd goes... Whoooaaaaaaaa.. I had to rewind the tape a few times to confirm what I heard.  This old joker is a classic male chauvanist in the new age!  Which independant and strong modern woman would vote for such a person???  My sister defintely won't after she heard this and she express shock and disbelief.

What's even more funny is that he knew he screwed up big time and while Dr Tony Tan quickly added a point (to save him from total embarresment I guess) that he's confident that one day there will definitely be a women PM or President in Singapore.  Dr Tan CB quickly agreed to this.  This is uber sad.  This is so low..  This is so PAP like...

Then it dawned on me, he's just another President who will not rock the boat enough.  He will try to persuade and inform but once he gets shot down.  He would either keep quiet or quit (as in he mentioned he will quit if has a great disagreement with the gahment) .  In short, my feeling is that he will not try hard enough to do something about it.  This is my reading and understanding of this man from the results of this forum.

Again, these are all my personal views and judgment call.  Although Dr TCB is out of my list but I still think he is still much better then choosing Dr TT.   So vote wisely my fellow Singaporeans.  Choose a President that could represent your beliefs and principles rather than who can really win Dr TT.     

The Four Tans.

Politics again!!!  Do quickly close this tab or browser if you heck care about the upcoming Singapore Presidential Election.  If you are really interested in my opinion, go ahead. :)


I'm writing this piece because a lot of my friends are asking for my opinion and again, I hate repeating myself so I post here and ask you all to read my blog instead :P.  Its a big event this time as there will be four contestants, not just 2.  If 2, it will be easy lah.  You guys/gals will know I anti-establishment (especially PAP gahment) so generally I would vote for the "other" one that is not endorsed by PAP.

Well, it really depends.  As the President is supposes to be independant.  And the late Mr Ong Teng Cheong has proven to us that although he was a former PAP and strongly endorsed by the PAP ghament, he still stood up for us and had a good brief "encounter" with the PAP gahment last time.  So to be fair, I don't just brush off Dr Tony Tan yet :).  I need to research a bit first ,and thats what I think all of us as a responsible citizen of Singapore should do.

If the candidate is truly independant.  Then its a non-issue at all if he has been a PAP member.  And actually, out of the 4 of them, only Tan Jee Say (TJS) is not a former PAP member.  But TJS also joined SDP during our latest election leh... so oso not that independant.  The major concern here is partisan politics should not be brought into the PE.  Its a different thing totally.  So if you start off from this point by understanding the underlying concept that PE is supposed to be non partisan, then it will be easier for you to choose.

From recent reports from TOC, TR, FB postings and even the main stream media.  We could already see that although PE is a non-partisan election, it has turned out to be Anti-PAP versus the Pro PAP camp again.  Not that healthy and smart actually and this is quite bad for our political awakening as an apathetic Singaporean.

So here's my breakdown of the current situations and see if you guys could guess who I am voting for :P

Dr Tony Tan
From what I gathered, he's a bit too close to the PAP and has the most number of "Unions" supporting him.  One of my friend and I chuckled when he mentioned that its the first time he realised we have so many "Unions" in Singapore.  From his past acheivements, I would say frankly that while he was the Minister of Defence, he did brought in a lot of good changes to the military and NS benefits.  But that was just the past, we need to look at his future post and frankly, I would say he's suitable for the job (for his stylo milo hairstyle and looks) rather than substance.  If our President is a figurehead with no absolute power, I actually dun mind him being our President.  But that is not the case actually, our President do have some limited powers ands o definitely, I won't be voting for him :P

So one out,  3 more to go and this is the tricky part.  All 3 of them to me are credible and much more independant then the former.  So I would vote any of the 3.  But I am not going to tell you which one I picked :P  hehehe

A lot of people say because of so many choices, the opposition votes are diluted and the above mentioned DR TT would win.  Maybe so but I sincerely believe we should choose on our own beliefs rather than being irrational and think that we have to have anyone beside Dr TT as our President.  That means asking around and see who people might vote and ask them to change allegiance.  Or worst still, asking 2 of the candidates to withdraw from the race.  (Luckily no one did!)  This is in my view, a bit shallow and not that good for politics to flourish in Singapore.  This is partisan politics and we should avoid it at all cost.  

People have their own minds and we need to repect their choices.  That is true democracy.  Althought sometimes I bad mouth those 60% who voted for the PAP in the last election in my blog of FB.  I sincerely don't blame them as it's their vote and choice.  I just do that for my own amusements and fun (rather unlike Thailand where they march the streets and stage military coups).  I also take my benefit of doubt that they had made their decisions through rational and informed choice rather fear and plain ignorance.  I sincerely hope the next 5 years will be better and there are some positive changes I see in recent events.  Maybe we just give them more time? 

So 3 Tans for me to choose.  Maybe I should take out my D&D dice to do some rolling.. :P  


Goodbye! My companion for 2 years

Almost 2 years actually.  I bought my used Hasselblad 500CM camera in 2009 in late Sept (see post).  I have been shooting over 40 rolls of film with the camera and I was very happy with it.  So happy, during the course of shooting.  I accquired another lens, a prism and another A12 back to compliment it as a shooting system for me.  

I loved how it handles and the safety features that prevents you from accidentally exposing the film (not so smart for the Mamiya Universal in this department),  The  lenses were pretty good too.  But 6x6 is really not a good format for me particularly in landscape.  I found that I shot most of the rolls with my family and portraits rather than serious landscapes(original intention of purchasing the camera).  I found that most of the shots I took needs to be cropped to 2:3 to be good for me.  I found that I spend more time trying to frame a shot in a square that it disrupts my original intention of angle of view or pre-vis.  Its a great camera but I just find myself struggling with it.  Maybe if I took more time to master it then I might get used to it.  Actually I think I am getting used to it but I just find that the slides are still small considering the fact there are 6x7, 6x9 or even 4inx5in.

I started to look for a view camera that accepts 120 roll film (easier to load the film, easier to develop, easier to handle and cheaper)  in 6x9.  Not 6x7 as I want to prevent myself trying out another aspect ratio.  I am so used to 35mm and so 6x9 should be the way to go (as explained in my previous post).  I plan to buy it mainly just for landscapes and keep my Hassy for other things.  Then after some research, I found out about the Mamiya Press system.  Its cheaper then a Hassy system and its very modular like a Hassy too.  So naturally I got one and after using it for just a week.  I know its a keeper.  I started to neglect my Hassy because besides shooting landscapes, its great for family shots or portraits too :P.  For the pass 2 months, it was in my dry cabinet and the thought of selling it came when I find my drybox in Thailand is not big enough for both of them.. :P  At first, it was a bit reluctant sale until the developed slides of my Press camera came back.  The colours and sharpness actually are equal or I dare say, even more superior then the Hasselblad!  So I made up my mind to sell away my Hassy system to get back some cash to invest in more lenses and accessories for my new Press camera.

Anyway, here are some landscapes/nature shots I took with this companion of 2 years,  Its has been great having you serve me but I guess you have a better home now.  One who might use you more often to create great images rather then sitting idly in my dry cabinet :)





Same old routine again.

My visa runs out tomorrow.  I actually planned to extend it but my NS deferment for coming September was rejected so I guess I have to return back to Sillypore.  So I got my bus ticket to Chiang Mai and a ticket out of LOS.  

So I guess I got to vote in the Singapore Presidential Election. :P  Just read that all four "Tan" were granted their "CoE" (Macham buy car like dat) hehe

I guess I will have more time to blog once I'm in Singapore as I am jobless over there.  Someone want to hire me?? 

Anyway, will write more once I'm back in SG.  I won't be hauling the "Beast" back as I have my Hassy system with me.  Plan to sell it at a reasonable price and confirm my move to 6x9 format. Its a reluctant sale actually, but I need the moola more then anything else.  Maybe one day I will buy the whole system back but at the moment, rather than letting it rot in my cabinet.  Just sell it to someone who would make use of it :)

Just for a record.

I am actually a very camera shy person (all the way back since I became a teenager).  And its only these recent few years that I started teaching photography at SLCC that I actually allowed my students to take photos of me.  Slowly (and painfully) this camera shyness erodes away....

My father is an avid photographer and he took many many photos of me and my sister when I was a baby and child.  I have sorted most of my old photos and its a bit sad when I had difficulty finding a photo of him with me. The reason, of course you should have guessed it.  He was the person behind the camera.  

I went through the hundreds (maybe thousands?) of photos I took of my family and sad to say, those photos with me in it are just sucky... hehehe.. mainly because the person behind the camera sucks... or maybe the main reason is I look sucky :P

But I do want to have more photos of me with the kids, for record purpose and so I did.  Took some 3000B today.  Just 2 shots left in the back so I set the camera on tripod and focus the camera beforehand.  Posed with the kids while my wife triggered the shutter.

So for record purpose.. here are the photos.. :)  Taken on the night of 6 Aug 2011 @ 930PM. 

Both photos taken with the new 100mm 2.8.  Yup the lens vignettes on the Instant 100 film but I just loved it!

One goes, another comes...

Personally, ever since I started holding a camera in my hands.  I had never ever dropped one while shooting.  Ever!

Well, maybe except once when I was fooling around with my friend's kid and my bag dropped and broke my Bessa R.  But it was not when I am holding or shooting with the camera. 

Anyway,  I dropped my "Beast".  That was about 2 weeks ago during a shoot . The whole camera was 1.7m above the ground on my tripod when it dropped.  And it hit the ground with such a large bang I thought the whole thing was gone.  Luckily (not sure to say if its lucky), only the lens was damaged.  But it was a lens I was having great fun and results with.  My 75mm!! Its physically looking alright but the shutter and aperture was jammed.  I managed to release the jammed shutter and aperture later by pulling the lens barrel by sheer force.  It was a straight down drop so the lens seems to slightly pushed into the helicoid.  It still focus well but the shutter just won't fire now. :S

Feeling sad, I was thinking of looking for a broken 75mm or Seiko S0 shutter part on ebay when I saw a lens being listed. The legendary and rare 100mm 2.8!  The only 2.8 lens in this Mamiya Press system!!  And it was in pristine condition!  Without thinking, I emailed the guy for a shipping quote and bought the lens.  While waiting for the lens, I was stuck with my backup copy of the 100mm 3.5 for the pass 2 weeks to shoot with.  I was using the 75mm more often as it provides full coverage to the Instant FP100c and FB3000B without any vignetting.  The 100mm has slight vignettes if open wide but once stopped down to f5.6, Its literally gone. 

Shooting with the 100mm 3.5 on film makes me excited.  Why?  Because from the viewfinder, the angle of view was very very familiar to me.  I was wondering why then I found out that its Field of View (FOV) is actually around 40mm angle of view on a 35mm system!! Which means it's my favourite RF focal length!!!  (My favourite RF lens is my VC 40mm 1.4)  This means the new 100mm 2.8 would be almost an exact same lens (FOV and DOF too!) on my "Beast".  So I was waiting in agony for the new lens to come... f/2.8 will be like f/1.4 on 35mm or greater!

It also means I can get to shoot handheld with my 3000B Instant indoors and at night :)    Anyway, I planned to bring the damaged 75mm back to Singapore and see if Steven of Camera Hospital could fix it.  I just absolutely love how the lens renders colour.  Its FOV is about 35mm but the main issue is its speed.  Its only a 5.6 lens so I plan to use it more for landscapes and outdoor shoots. 

Here's a great link on the Mamiya Press camera system overview for those who are interested in this camera :)

And finally a test shot of the lens indoor at f/2.8 with 3000B.  Sharp and sweet!  Bokeh is wonderful too!