Archive for September, 2008

Film Colours, and Love

Today was about being a kid all over again, satin, leather and lace, and kisses in the rain.

Being sworn to secrecy, I suppose I shouldn’t say more about it – despite bursting at the seams at wanting to do so. And to even begin talking about it would probably lead to me renouncing my vow of silence.

It was amazing though, if to describe the entire day in a pithy line. Sean, perfectly coiffed and alternating between deliriously-happy grins and frantic looks of mild terror, most of the time both; Nikki, gleaming, breathless with excitement, breathtaking herself, drawing envious looks from the men who walked us by. And the women, wow, who looked on, dreaming and wishing.

It’s hard to find something to smalltalk about when you’re at the back rows, seeing things like this. And you give thanks, even for simple things like being able to be there. And more so, for His faithfulness and His goodness. When you bear witness to such a testimony of these two people, you begin to realise that it shall be the same for yourself.

God is always good, and His heart always for you.

And thank you, Sean and Nikki.

Eleven rolls of spent film in four hours. Heady stuff. Like I said, amazing.


Memorie Dal Futuro

Yasmin the Light would be your song.

What does it take to know someone? Maybe it’s long conversations past midnight, a turn of the head in the dimness and the closing of distance in that moment. Or unfortunate separation in afternoons best spent together, but with only bittersweet absence and the colours dulling in the long hours after.

Where is our start point? Or is it the lingering regret at the shore, staring at the shadow of the ship breaking the horizon?

Jesus risked it all. He took on weakness. Flesh. Heartache and mortal pain. He knew some of us would reject and spit in his face. But he did it all the same. Taking on the sweat of toil, blood and tears. He trudged up Calvary, let himself be hung on that tree, gave up everything. He risked it all. Even when the cost would be unimaginable pain, torture and suffering. Even when he would no longer be a son to his Father.

But he did it all the same. Because he saw your face, knew you, and loved you.

I wish I could walk away. Reason and logic demands practicality. But is in spirit and in truth that we must conduct ourselves, even when confronted with such irrationality according to the best of our human understanding. Still, it’s only maybes. And weak ones at best. At least not until you say ‘never’.

Happiness: We’re In This Together is for the unformed future.

The Appearance of Favour

Though it’s been a tiring two days of film shooting, and I’m back at home with aching feet, irritated by the brouhaha over the F1 and its consequence of snail-pace traffic, but my heart is full. Finished almost three rolls of film taking ‘production stills’ which reminded me of why I love being behind the camera. It changes the way I see and the things that take shape in my imagination; how I want the photos to turn out become the very vessels that carry all the meaning that I could not find the words to accomplish or express.

It’s been a privilege to have been part of his shoot. Don’t we all want to be part of something that’s bigger than ourselves? “Despise not the day of small beginnings”, as I was brought to remembrance today. Some people will see it as pure hard work and unappreciated labour, sweat and toil exchanged for nothing; but for myself I say that I see the mark of greatness, the very seed of promise planted and destined to bear much fruit.

I wish I could write more, but as I watched the various takes on the monitor, I was left wordless at what I saw. So much potential. So much said with no lines spoken. And only You can bring that potential to manifest in its entirety. Let it be so, Dad. This is my earnest prayer for my friend, brother and Your beloved.

Someone once said that film is the greatest art form of the twenty-first century. Maybe there will come a day when everyone, far and wide, will nod their heads in agreement.

Twenty-Six and Holding

I’ve kept this series of photos for so long (since November ’07) but the video never saw completion due to Mr Ong’s focus on the Adventure Camp filming. Since I’m helping out for his film shoot the next two days I figured heck, I’ll just post this. One of my fave shots of this brother and what’s even better, it was entirely candid. I live for shots like this.

Spent the afternoon helping load the equipment and gear at ZK’s campus, felt the fleeting sadness of never being able to experience that sort of student life ever again. Well if I ever was a full-time university student I’d probably not spend that much time on schoolwork, anyway..

One thing I’ve been pondering about – should I sell out to the suits for the next year or so while I earn many times more than a lowly photography/producer assistant, as I secretly connive to bail out with thick wads of money in the bank account as soon as I can afford a nifty DSLR and an assortment of lens that will usher me into a glorious age of autofocus photography? Those studio lights don’t come cheap, too.

In any case, the room is almost ready for my blank wall/canvas. Only left the furniture to assemble, some more storage solutions to consider, deconstruction of the existing double decker, before I will feel ready enough to begin work on creating a set for indoor shoots in my room. Anyone care to help?

Right now, I’m just looking forward to the day when I can say with thinly-veiled, poorly-concealed smugness and an emininently-annoying smirk on my face the following phrase: “I love my job”. Ideally, it should involve photography, writing, free internets, attire comprising threadless t-shirts and Nike Dunks, as well as good coffee.

And it’s coming, just as You have promised.

Breathless At Dawn

The next trip will be me on a beach, sand grains trickling in between my toes, alternating between surfing, throwing a football, snapping on the camera, reading or writing in the journal with wooden pencils. We’ll stay in a hut along the shore, sleep on hammocks strung across wooden beams or leaning palm trees, with straw hat and shades never far from reach.

I do suppose it’s a bit too early thinking about another holiday..

That Day On The Hill

Generation Kill might probably be the best television for me, ever.

I remember that day on the hill, rain pouring down in thick, grey sheets; huddled shivering in the shed, waiting for our turn as the sounds of gunfire streamed relentlessly past our earplugs, amidst pockets of silence; sweat and cold and mixed camo black and green on our faces, nervous anticipation and the thousandth tightening of velcro glove straps. Some were bored, scared, tired and wanting to be back in clean clothes and nursing a mug of hot chocolate; the rest of us young, bold, overconfident, hearts thumping underneath dogtags and the field dressing stashed in our left breast pockets..

Then it was me, rifle hung loosely by my side, the weight and bulk of four magazines across my waist

and in the centre of it all

took cover behind a tiny rise in the ground, boots crashing through puddles, feeling the cold and wet spreading across my uniform

in one corner of the ear the instructor yelled in a voice a thousand miles away


but I already knew that and grinned and the magazine was already in my hand
slapped it in pulled
heard/felt the familiar click of gunmetal, boltslide and chamber;

my turn now sir

shouted over the shkkkrrrrrttt of rain that seemed to blend seamless like nature’s finest orchestra
a few more moments as the rest of the section finished loading

and we begun our own song,

that gunmetal roar, the comfort of rifle butt digging into my shoulder with each finger squeeze; smell of cordite and gun oil and fresh grass and dirt in my nose, wood splintering as targets met 5.56; metal jackets clinking and exiting and cooling in the rain as green and red tracer zipped and sang through the air.

and then we ran up and on through the mud, black leather turning earth-brown, rain dripping off helmets, magazines released and fresh ones slapped in their places, and the dance began again

in muzzleflash and split-seconds through the sights, palms slamming the boltrelease as rounds chambered and sped in fire and hurtling metal..

That was us and the only moments then when we were truly free.


Unafraid Unashamed

Yesterday was my first runout with my new skates but before that it was chilling out by the beach with Bobby, sipping ice-blendeds and going shutter-happy with the XA2. I’m starting to like it already – ISO range going up to 800, easy-to-use functions without a manual, as small as today’s compacts and doesn’t weigh a brick like the Pen does.

My right foot started going numb as early as fifteen minutes after putting on the skates, though I resisted the urge to scream in abject terror just as the girls of our eager, bright-eyed party did, while Bobby, our pro-skater-come-out-of-retirement, looked on at our wild, flailing antics in silent bemusement betrayed only by the slight smirk on his face.

As I crashed for the nth time while practising braking and swivelling last night, kneepads scraping across concrete and my skates gathering a new set of proud, new scuff marks, I realised how much fun I was having. I wasn’t even embarrassed at trying my hand at an activity most people consider best reserved for kids ten years younger; come on, how many twenty-six year olds really grin with glee at the thought of grinding on curbs, jumping off railings or doing a cess slide or unity shuffle off a smooth and flat surface?

Each time I tried to gain as much speed as I dared to and try to do an equivalent of an e-brake or the swivel, instead of attempting it at a slower speed as a beginner should, I usually found myself crashing into the ground, probably as unglamourously as you imagine it to be. And when I got up, there was a natural instinct – call it self-preservation if you will – to try it slower the next time. But it really was just a fear of falling, and a fear of embarrassment; what if I get injured? What if I break my nose? What if I bust my knee? What if that person there is sniggering at the sight of me? What if, what if, what if..

Thing is, there never really was any danger of me getting hurt, especially with all the protective gear I was wearing.  And the more I fell, each time I went WHOOOAA and tumbled to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs, I realised that it got easier getting up again. And it never hurt. At least not in the way I imagined it in my head.

And thing is, our walk with God is pretty much the same, if to use a sketchy metaphor of someone learning how to use his new skates. We’re always protected. There’s never any real danger of us getting hurt beyond repair, because each time we fall, we get to our feet learning how to get up faster, easier; and each time you do that, you’re a little bit different than the person you were before you fell. And you especially don’t learn anything by not doing it or anything about it. You need to take that risk. You need to go that little bit faster to jump that little bit higher, and let go of the fears holding you back from doing so.

You know, I might not get to do all the skating tricks that I want to do, but it certainly won’t be because for the lack of trying. And at least I know that it won’t be ten years later and I’m still saying, “You know, I wish I had…” You get the idea.

Because in Him I always want to be unafraid and unashamed, when it’s all what He thinks about me that’s really worth anything in the world.