Monday, September 18, 2017

I Love our Local Coffee


The freshly brewed coffee here is S$1.70, black and thick just the way I like. The shop just added the glass door and glass shopfront for a new air conditioned interior but the glass door never shut properly for that kind of heavy traffic to the shop.

In the past, the local coffee used beans that were drum-roasted with sugar, margarine and maize. The beans were sticky, shinny in dark black brown before they were ground and brewed with a sock-like cotton strainer.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Teo's noodle at Bedok


It is weekend and such a long queue at Teo's noodle at Bedok. Everyone in the line was looking at the smart phone except a few middle-age aunties.

Must try since we were not in the hurry. I could also do a sketch while my hubby in this sketch in red top was waiting in line. The noodle was really good except getting a little salty towards the end, still yum! Will definitely come back again and again.

Even my other favourite local dish was seeing a even longer line. It was not too long a queue when I last visited the stall and did a sketch here

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Good Vibes Only


My very first cup of coffee for the day at 1pm here at cafe called "Stamping Ground Coffee", no wonder I was feeling strange in the morning without my coffee. This cafe outside my house has a rather long name. There are only three big tables inside the shop but if you don't mind the heat, there are seats outdoor.

Good food, good coffee, hope I have a sketching company next time. Good Vibes Only!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

First Outdoor Sketch after a brief hiatus


my demo piece for the students from LaSalle on a Saturday, so there were overlapping shapes, lines and washes here and there as I spoke.

As I talked about learning points for the students such as line qualities (thick, thin, continuous, broken lines), composition (mountain, valley, vertical, horizontal and oblique), tonal values (scale 0, 2, 5 , 8 and 10) and accent colours at 3 spots with washes, I finished a sketch with ink and washes.

This is also the first outdoor sketch after my eye surgery, such fun!

Friday, September 08, 2017

Pan Pacific and Conrad Hotel


I sat at the indoor cafe and looked through the window without wearing my sun glasses for the first time even it appeared to be very hot outdoor.

Sketching Pan Pacific Hotel on the right brought back fond memories. My office was involved in the Marina Square Master Planning in my first job as a junior and young architect in 1979. Pan Pacific Hotel together with Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Marina Mandarin Hotel were the first three hotels at Marina Centre designed by John Portman widely known for popularizing hotels and office buildings with multi-storied interior atria. I remember I saw John Portman briefly at the office boardroom and admired the large and detailed models at that time. I heard his sketches done on the spot were kept by the bosses and they were probably no where to be traced by now.

Within a short span of over 30 years, Marina Square at Marina Centre is now fully developed with so many new hotels and mega malls sprouting out here and there, Portman's hotels still stand timeless and modern in this cluttered world of new buildings.

On the left is the relatively newer luxurious Conrad Hotel designed by another famous American architect, Philip Johnson. Far left is Millenia Tower by Kevin Roche, Pritzker Prize winner. All such luxurious and expensive buildings.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

View from the Library


This is the view from the Marine Parade Public Library. You can spot the Church of the Holy Family easily from the low rise surroundings. The entire stretch of land opposite the library is currently under construction for the new Thomson East Coast Line (TEL) so it was boarded up and construction equipment are seen everywhere. The TEL will open in 5 stages from 2019 onward, and interchanges with all existing lines. Across the Library will be the Marine Parade Station which is under stage 4 scheduled to open in 2023. Another 6 years!

More information on TEL at

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Sunday Breakfast


So many uncles gathered together at the coffee shop for Sunday breakfast, are their wives at the wet markets nearby?

The old uncles spoke so loud about a ghost story at the old Tampines Road and used phrases like ”电脑合成” (digitally manipulated) and other proper Chinese terms rather than mixtures of Mandarin and English or Singlish, I was impressed.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Craftmen Specialty Coffee at Siglap


I am on long medical leave for my eye op, its the best period to explore neighbourhood cafe since I only have 2 hours before the next eye drop which has to be stored in the fridge at home. Here is a very good write up about the cafes in Siglap written in Feb 2015 and updated in Aug 2016 I found out that one of them, FLAVA Asia Bistro and Grill, had already closed recently.

Food was very very good at Craftsmen though I hope the long black could be a little stronger. Illustration on guide to coffee was excellent and professionally drawn on top of the red coffee machine.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Starbucks again


Added digitally colours later. It was quiet at Starbucks because it was a Monday when students were not here today.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Starbucks at Siglap


Added colours today, can't gauge the correct hues and tones yet but I wanted to remember this interesting neighbourhood.

I noticed people were queuing up at the shop opposite the road for a few Sundays. I overheard from a customer at Starbucks it was for free whiskey. The crowd made noise and whistle that i could hear across the road at Starbucks. I checked it out online it's was for 'fight week' on TV! The crowd started early in the morning and they were mostly Caucasian men at Bambooze Tarven having some fun times over TV with free drinks after spending $20!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

East Coast Road and Upper East Coast Road


So bored at home after my eye op that I went to Starbucks near to my home. I could not get a seat indoor as this outlet was known for students 'chopping seats' to study for the whole day. I ordered a hot drink and sat outside the shop and watched and tried the 'art of doing nothing'. This neighbourhood is so interesting. I remember it used to have two road sign plates 'Upp East Coast Rd' and 'East Coast Rd" on ONE post but I saw two separate road sign posts now.

Does it mean the road between the two road sign posts have no road name? HA!

Friday, August 25, 2017

August Sketchwalk at Tanglin Halt

Tanglin Halt is an iconic old estate that holds a special place in the memories of many residents of Singapore.

Boardwalk at Food Centre
3A Commonwealth Drive
Singapore 141003

9:30 am — Sketch leaders kick off with a short intro
12:30 pm — Gather for "sketch gallery" to gawk at everyone's work

The estate is in the middle of a seven-year decommissioning, at the end of which much of it will be razed by 2021–2024.

Lots of food, quaint shops, old-school things and big mature trees to take shade under. Enjoy your visit!

Credit: sketch of old-school shopfronts by Francis Theo.

P.s.: We're going to Tanglin Halt this weekend, although Raffles Hotel won in the poll, as access to the building might get more restricted by the weekend.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Adding Tones


This was done earlier of the year but grey tones added later. Nothing changes for the cafe interior except the people and perhaps the menu. I will be going for my cataract surgery on Wednesday, not sure my sense of tonal values and colour intensities will change after that.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Poolside Sketch


I sketched Steffi, my younger granddaughter as she posed for me at the poolside. I had to add Nicole, my elder granddaughter next to Steffi later when she was looking for herself in the sketch. My younger son was making the 'V' sign on the yellow float and the princesses were telling stories pointing at the young uncle. So fun.

Total 8 pages Seawhite Concertina Sketchbook. This sketch got the family talking during the vacation, we are making memories together.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Village Cafe


Very tired today and didn't feel like going out of office for lunch. So I went to Village Cafe in the office building for a nice hot soup and sandwhiches and finished up a sketch I started long long time ago on the last page of the Moleskine Japanese Album.

It is truly a celebrations of diversity when you see students and staff of different ethnicity and background in the cafe. Sometimes we have overseas visitors from Loas, Cambodia, Japan, Finland and many more.

Vacation Trip to Vietnam


It's a family vacation in Lang Co, Vietnam. We spent real quality time with my two granddaughters aged 5 and 3 who are staying in Hong Kong. We spent 7 days together from 4 to 11 Aug in Lang Co, Hoi An, Da Nang and Hue. We are building family memories together and some are collected in this long Seawhite Concertina Sketchbook.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

at the airport


Going to meet the two princesses for a family holiday in Vietnam, spending quality time with them and may not sketch much. One sketch at the departure hall and splashed some coffee later plus sticking something to remember like Jetstar flight details etc.

Visitors here at PUAL inside the airport lounge are very well groomed with branded handbags for ladies and expensive wrist watches for men.

I may look out of place with my t-shirt and jeans but who cares, I am on vacation.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

office meeting

Monday office meeting in a room filled with boxes of images of ASEAN after our Global Community Day event. Everyone was working on laptops as the boss read from the paper.

It's ASEAN50 this year. We just completed an event and these are the boxes with ten flags of ASEAN countries. There are (from the top left): Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Loas, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.

Monday, July 31, 2017

my favourite local dish


Two popular dishes are found next to each other at Bedok Food Centre.
Chwee Kueh or 水粿 is a type of steamed rice cake. To make chwee kueh, rice flour and water are mixed together to form a slightly viscous mixture and served with diced preserved radish and and chilli sauce.
Soon Kueh or 笋粿 is a dumpling-like cake filled with fragrant mixture of shredded bamboo shoots, turnip and dried shrimps wrapped in a smooth rice-tapioca flour skin.
These are cheap and good local dishes and the chwee kueh here is very big and very soft - double the size of the usual size found in other food centre.
When I was little, the chwee kuehs were steamed in clay moulds but it was changed to aluminium moulds in the 70s by the National Environment Authority.