Inspired on Friday: Beautiful Illustrations by Michele Maule

These lovely creations are being sold on her Etsy shop. The first two are original works. How I wish I could draw and paint like that. What a gift!

The super talented, pretty artist blogs on How to Draw a Cup of Coffee.  Don’t you just love her glasses?:

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Only 12 and 14, Little Kylie and Kendall Kardashian Look So Grown Up

Can you believe they are only 12 (Kylie on extreme left) and 14 (Kendall on extreme right) years old? I don’t watch much of the Kardashian sisters show but I remember that the two youngest sisters, daughters of former Olympian Bruce Jenner, were just little kids.  They seem to have shot up overnight.

{Huffington Post Image}

I always feel sorry for Bruce Jenner when I watch the show because he always seems pretty bullied. I can’t get the older image of him winning all those Olympic gold medals out of my head. Why did he have to go and mess with his face which is now overly plastic surgeried and botoxed!

I am still traumatized by Kenny Rogers’ boxed face lift. He looked like Santa Claus before – why mess with that? Even Kenny Rogers himself was disappointed with it – poor guy!

{Google Image}

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Swiss, Oliver Fricker is Sentenced in Singapore: I Feel Overwhelming Sadness at the Verdict


The jail term I can understand, even though it’s harsh as there was no malice in the act, but why the caning (seems more like flogging) as well? In my mind, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. I am also disappointed as I hoped the laws might have been modified as a result. Set a new precedence, make us more progressive, but alas no. And it’s not just Oliver I feel sorry for, but anyone who faces a punishment that is too harsh for what they committed, as I ask myself where is the rehabilitation factor? I worry about the mental suffering this will cause him and others who will be mentally and physically scarred for life. I just feel really sad and fearful for him and hope against hope that his appeal will work.  For anyone who says he deserves it, I say where is our compassion people?

{Getty Image}

Channel News Asia reports:

The court was told Lloyd allegedly masterminded the plan, and had corresponded with a spray paint supplier before his arrival in Singapore on May 15.

The next day, the pair looked for a dimly-lit area of fence surrounding the depot and cut a hole in it. They then painted the two carriages nearest to the fence.

Fricker had allegedly been “extremely nervous” when entering the depot, and needed to be coaxed by Lloyd.

They fled in a taxi and went to Boat Quay for drinks, before ending up at Fricker’s apartment at Sail@Marina Bay.

Lloyd showed Fricker the photographs he’d taken, before they went to sleep.

On May 18, the pair left for Hong Kong for a holiday.

The court also heard that Fricker was an experienced graffiti artiste. He had painted graffiti – legally – at Singapore’s Youth Park before.

The case saw hours of mitigation and repeated delays in court.

Fricker’s lawyer Derek Kang said his client had made a one-off mistake, while under the influence of alcohol.

He added the graffiti had not incited hatred, and left no lasting damage.

But the prosecution said Fricker’s sentence should act as a general deterrent for the public.

Fricker’s lawyer said his client had shown genuine remorse by cooperating fully with police.

“My client has commenced serving his sentence. We are filing an appeal because we feel that it is on the high side. We hope that the papers can be expedited, and we will see how things go at the appeal,” said Lawyer Kang.

Singapore sentences Swiss to caning for graffiti
By ALEX KENNEDY Associated Press Writer © 2010 The Associated Press
June 25, 2010, 8:34AM

Oliver Fricker of Switzerland, right, arrives with his lawyer Derek Kang, left, at the subordinate courts for a court hearing on Friday June 25, 2010 in Singapore. Fricker was charged with trespassing and vandalism of a local subway train after allegedly breaking into one of the depots and drawing graffiti on a train last month. If found guilty he faces caning and fines.

SINGAPORE — Singapore sentenced a Swiss man to three strokes of a cane and five months in prison Friday for spray-painting graffiti on a subway car, reinforcing the city-state’s reputation for severely punishing minor crimes.
Oliver Fricker, 32, pleaded guilty earlier in the day to one count each of vandalism and trespassing for breaking into a train depot with an accomplice and drawing graffiti on two subway carriages on May 16.
Fricker’s lawyer, Derek Kang, said his client would appeal the punishment.
“He feels the sentence is too high, and so do I,” Kang told reporters.
Fricker, who had been free on bail of 100,000 Singapore dollars ($72,000), was immediately taken into custody by court police. The information technology consultant didn’t speak to the media. He was silent and motionless throughout the hearing, but sighed heavily as he was led away.
“The offenses were planned and carefully executed,” said Senior District Judge See Kee Oon. “These were not impulsive displays of youthful bravado.”
Vandalism in Singapore carries a mandatory three to eight strokes of a cane and a fine of up to SG$2,000 Singapore dollars ($1,437) or up to three years in jail.
Singapore boasts one of the lowest violent crime rates and highest standards of living in the world, but human rights groups often criticize the government for excessive punishments such as hanging drug couriers. Singapore also reiterated a ban on the sale of chewing gum this year and announced a crackdown on littering last month.
Singapore caned American teenager Michael Fay for vandalism in 1994 — ignoring pleas for leniency by then-President Bill Clinton — in a case that drew international attention to the country’s harsh punishments.
Fay, who was 18 at the time, was sentenced to six cane strokes and four months in jail.
The Swiss Embassy in Singapore is in contact with Fricker’s family, said spokeswoman Sandra Chawla-Gantenbein.
“All Swiss nationals living in Singapore must expect to comply with the law,” Chawla-Gantenbein said after the sentencing. “Corporal punishment is not part of the Swiss legal system.”
Prosecutors said Fricker, who has worked in Singapore since 2008, committed the crimes with Lloyd Dane Alexander, a British national based in Hong Kong. Police issued an arrest warrant for Alexander, 29, earlier this month, and prosecutors said he fled last month to Hong Kong.
Fricker and Alexander cut through a security fence and caused about SG$11,000 ($7,900) of damage by painting “McKoy Banos” on a train car, prosecutors said. Kang said Fricker agreed to pay all damages.
The “McKoy Banos” slogan has appeared on graffiti found throughout the world. Fricker’s lawyer said his client had copied the name after seeing it elsewhere.
Fricker and Alexander first met in Australia in 1997 and during his time in Singapore, Fricker spray-painted at one of Singapore’s government-sanctioned graffiti walls, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors didn’t specify how Fricker was identified, saying only their evidence came from police investigations.
Kang argued during the sentencing hearing that Fricker was by persuaded by Alexander to commit the crimes “while inebriated” after consuming “several beers.”
“It was committed for fun, not malice,” Kang said. “It was purely graphic art.”
Prosecutors pointed out Fricker admitted to bringing the wire cutter used to breach the fence and joined Alexander in scouting the location earlier in the day.
Fricker and Alexander were involved in “graffiti tourism” as part of a group of international underground artists who travel the world seeking new places to tag, said prosecutor Sharon Lim.
“The defendant acted brazenly to add Singapore to his trophies,” Lim said. “This is not a mere prank.”
Singapore’s subway operator, SMRT Corp., didn’t report the incident to police for two days because staff thought the brightly colored graffiti was an advertisement.

Posted in Singapore Headlines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Oliver Fricker Pleads Guilty and Singapore Floods Again

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Gosh, I find Oliver Fricker really pitiful.

The Telegraph reports:

Damning evidence, including emails ordering paint, photographs and a wire cutter used to cut through the fence of a train depot, left Fricker with little choice but to plead guilty in the hope of getting a more lenient sentence.

The prosecution said his laptop computer contained 53 images and one video file of vandalised trains.

Prosecutors said Fricker and Alexander became friends after meeting in Australia in 1997 and the vandalism took place when Alexander visited Singapore as a tourist.

He was in fact about to leave for Switzerland when he was arrested. Facts of case from The Straits Times indicate that Oliver pleaded guilty but didn’t think it was illegal to paint the train. Perhaps he only thought breaking and entering part was illegal?:

In his May 13 e-mail, he indicated that he was going to do something with his Swiss friend and some ‘non-legal things also”. Lloyd arrived here on May 15.

The next day while he and Fricker were waiting for a man to deliver the carton of paint at City Hall MRT station, Lloyd asked if it was legal to paint graffiti on trains in Singapore. Fricker said yes.

The accomplice had told Fricker that he had found out from Google where the MRT depot was and where all the MRT trains were parked.

That evening, the pair proceeded to SMRT Changi depot to recce the place and left shortly because of the rain.

Late that evening, DPP Lim said both men, each carrying a small bag with a few cans of spray paint, entered the depot after cutting a hole in the fence.

Fricker sprayed the word McKoy on the left of the train carriage. The other word Banos was spray-painted on the right. Lloyd took some photographs of their work before they left through the gap.

Fricker was arrested on May 25.

The court heard that SMRT’s estimated losses totalled about $11,000.

The case was adjourned to later in the afternoon for mitigation by his lawyer, Mr Derek Kang.

According to Bloomberg Business Week sentencing is due at 3pm:

“In this case, Singapore should thank Oliver instead of some terrorist for exposing the security lapses in our public transportation system,” said Subhas Anandan, head of the criminal law practice at KhattarWong in Singapore. “That should be one of the mitigating factors.” Anandan isn’t involved in the suit.

The Swiss embassy in Singapore was providing consular care to Fricker and will attend the court proceedings as an observer, said Peter Zimmerli, deputy head at the embassy. He declined to comment on whether the embassy will plead for leniency on Fricker’s behalf.

“Oliver Fricker has been suspended until he returns to Switzerland,” said Christoph Oggenfuss, a spokesman for Zurich- based Comit. “We are supporting him as an employee.”

Meanwhile there are more Flash Floods in Singapore.

{Images: Twitter}

{Straits Times Image}

The rain caused trees to fall and standstill traffic in the morning rush hour.

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Oliver Fricker’s Alleged Trespass & Vandalism Case Pushed to Friday

Oliver Fricker’s much anticipated day at court today did not provide any relief. The poor chap has to face the media again on Friday as the case was adjourned once again.

The local media reports he was visibly annoyed, but I think he is just reacting like any of us would in his situation. I think he is holding up well, everything considered. In the photos the media appears to be really hounding him in order to get a statement.  The odd thing is he will forever be etched in the mind of Singaporeans.  To some of us he is a victim who probably didn’t fully understand the laws and didn’t know how much trouble he was getting into. He is also a hero to others for exposing a weak security system that has since been reinforced.

Meanwhile in a parallel universe, The Straits Times reports that MRT CEO is the highest ever paid which also highlights her deputy’s responsibilities include safety, emergency planning and security…..hmmm (not too subtle)

I noticed that among the search referral words that people used that directed them to my last post on the matter was ‘SG MRT painting’ which also connotes that they felt that he has created Art and not ugly graffiti associated with Vandalism.  The fact that even the MRT officials thought it was an ad, is a case in point.  His case made us think about when graffiti becomes Art amongst other issues about our laws.

On a lighter note, some other interesting search terms, show that there are some teenaged girls out there with a crush on Oliver Fricker.

‘Oliver Frickers’

‘Oliver Fricker cute’ ( I saw 5 of these!!!)

‘Fricker Oliver is so cute’

I also got  ‘I rly rly love you’ (I wonder if that was directed at the poor guy too?)

Some other funny ones:

‘Is Oliver Fricker punish’ (some teen again)

‘Fricker spray Singapur’

{Getty Images}

Swiss vandal’s case adjourned again
By Claire Huang | Posted: 24 June 2010 1854 hrs
Channel News Asia


After Monday’s adjournment, Fricker’s case was to be have been heard at 3.30pm on Friday.

The media had camped outside the Subordinate Court from as early as 2pm.

But the 32-year-old Swiss national and his lawyer Derek Kang only showed up at about 4.40pm and he was visibly annoyed.

This afternoon, lawyers from both sides met in chambers for about ten minutes and left in a hurry.

No details were given as to why the case was adjourned once again.

Fricker, who is out on S$100,000 bail faces three charges.

He had allegedly spray-painted two carriages of an MRT train and damaged public property by cutting the fence of Changi depot in May.

Fricker also faces another charge for trespassing a protected place.

Fricker is accused of these offences with Lloyd Dane Alexander, a Briton, who skipped town after the incident.

If convicted, Fricker faces a fine of up to S$2,000, and or a jail sentence of up to three years and caning of not less than three strokes, on each vandalism charge.

And for entering protected property, he can be fined up to S$1,000 and or jailed up to two years.

Posted in Singapore Headlines | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Who is Julia?: Just the First Female Prime Minister of Australia!

Just some tidbits based on Wikipedia:

1. Born on 29 September 1961 (48 years old)
2. Born in Wales.
3. Her father was a coal miner in Wales
4. Sister Alison’s three years older
5. Migrated to Adelaide in 1966 when she was 4 years old. (She suffered from bronchopneumonia as a child and her parents were advised it would be good for her to live in a warmer climate.)
6. She attended the University of Adelaide and studied Arts-Law and graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Laws degree and with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990
7. In 1987 she joined left-leaning law firm Slater & Gordon, working in the area of industrial law
8. Julia Eileen Gillard is her full name
9. Never married before. Her current partner is Tim Mathieson, a hairdresser (she does not have any children).
10. Tilda Swindon lookalike, according to bloggers

I like that she mentioned decent treatment at work:

I believe fundamentally that the basic education and health services that Australians rely on, and their decent treatment at work, is at risk at the next election.

I love this country, and I was not going to sit idly by and watch an incoming opposition cut education, cut health, and smash rights at work.

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Inspiration for Thursday

I love gazing at beautiful photos. Decor photos that impress me the most are the affordable, simple clean scandinavian influenced rooms with a burst of color that gives it warmth. Also I like rooms that look cosy and lived in. A high end model show room can be visually beautiful, but feel uncomfortable and hard in reality. I get a lot of inspiration from Apartment Therapy which features cosy and chic homes.  Wish my home could be that pretty, airy and neat as well (I am also trying to get inspiration to do a major spring cleaning).

I love the splash of fushia and green in this room.

Pretty wall vases. What a nice idea.

{Image: Google}
There’s that gorgeous pale pink vintage rotary telephone again. I really like the two stacked vintage suitcases as a bedside table. That would be great for storage too.

I just had to add the picture of Carrie and Big’s New York apartment from Sex and the City 2, just so I could quote the fabulous line “I’ve been cheating on fashion with furniture”. I love the shade of blue of those armchairs too.

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Rare Photos of Michael Jackson

First it’s hard to imagine that it has been almost one year already since Michael Jackson’s death. To me the tragic event seems to have taken place just a short while ago and I think the world is still reeling from it. I feel there is no other artist that is comparable to him today and the loss to the music industry is massive.

A French photographer Arno Bani is auctioning 12 unseen before new photos of Michael in December. This photo below is on the site and is pretty incredible. It’s one of the 12:

Michael Jackson photos to be auctioned in Paris
(AP) – 1 day ago

PARIS — A Paris auction house says it plans to put 12 never-before-published portraits of Michael Jackson on the block in December.
The portraits were shot by French photographer Arno Bani in 1999. One of them, called “Michael Jackson’s Blue Eye,” depicts Jackson with a sad expression and a blue ring around his eye.
Jackson contacted Bani, only 23 years old at the time, after seeing his fashion photography in a newspaper.
Auctioneer Frederic Chambre said Tuesday that the bidding is expected to start at euro1,000 ($1,228) for each portrait.

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Fragility of Singapore’s Food Culture

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K F Seetoh our foodie TV show host, the man behind the food guide Makansutra, who travels on a scooter and Singapore’s answer to Anthony Bourdain has said some interesting things in a recent article in Time Magazine. I have extracted the interesting bits here and must confess I never realised how fragile and taken for granted out existing hawker stalls are:

{Image: Makansutra}

“The story of food in Singapore is one of desperation,” he says, describing how some now accepted constituents of popular dishes were originally added because poor migrants couldn’t afford any better. One example is hemoglobin extracted from blood cockles — a species of clam that could be freely scavenged on any beach. The liquid was (and still is) used to add piquant flavor to char kway teow.

Seetoh also makes the wider point that such culinary improvisation never compromised craft, and one of his favorite eating spots illustrates this amply. It’s a closet-sized stall run by a man whom Seetoh says has repeatedly declined million-dollar offers to expand his business because he wants to retain its homegrown authenticity. Every day, the stall’s Hokkien mee is prepared in the same painstaking way: the noodles are seared in an egg-rinsed wok before shrimp, squid and bean sprouts are added, then they’re cooked in a salty seafood stock and refried with garlic. “He’s like an artist,” Seetoh says.

But just as Singaporean cuisine was born in humble circumstances, so the country’s current prosperity might prove its undertaker. Singapore does a creditable job in presenting a lively food culture to tourists, however the reality is that the advent of branded fast food, and the proliferation of more lucrative careers for the descendants of food-stall owners, is pushing that culture to slow extinction. “I’m clinging onto an era that I can’t get enough of,” Seetoh says sadly.

{Image: New York Times}

I learnt something new from this interview. I never knew the blood of cockles was used to make Char Kway Teow. I also hope our incredible old world food culture doesn’t die out. My preference is always for authentic food and I don’t really like the new fancy fusion cuisine which is expensive and doesn’t taste as good as those served in the hot stuff hawker centres in the narrow lanes of our red light district or other obscure corners of Singapore.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

Today I found out in the newspapers, that a very old iconic coffeeshop (Cardon Cafe & Restaurant) at Serangoon Gardens will be closed and a awful citibank outlet will replace it. The aging owner who ran the coffee stall for 30 years could not refuse the 40% more in rental of $30,000 Singapore dollars a month.  (This place used to sell the most incredible Nasi Briyani I have ever tasted in my life in the 70’s and 80’s and my uncle used to treat us to it  every Christmas. I don’t know what happened to the Indian man selling the Nasi Briyani since, he might have gone back to India.)  I am all for variety, but not at the expense of our heritage.

What Seetoh expressed is so true, and it seems to be happening all around me, with the closure of the old railway station at Tanjong Pagar as well. Affluenza will change our landscape, driving our food culture into extinction. This is just so sad.

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Pad Thai and Red Rubies

After reading a freshly pressed blog on Thai Iced Tea, I was tempted to have some Thai Food myself.  I decided to try out Diandin Leluk which seems like an authentic place with chefs from Thailand. Thai Food always features a strong element of fish sauce, lime and sugar which gives it the unique sourish, sweetish, out of this world, spicy taste. The curries are coconutty and spicy sweet too.

photo by bookjunkie

The first thing that caught my eye was the lunch special for $7.50 (including the $1 top up for dessert). I was majorly craving for Pad Thai and a dessert called Red Ruby.

photo by bookjunkie

The restaurant is spacious on the inside with huge teak tables with ornate flowers carved into them.

photo by bookjunkie

The Pad Thai which is a sweetish flat noodle was so yummy I wished I could have had a larger portion. Maybe I’m greedy but the portion size for the set seemed rather small. This is very close to what I had in Thailand. It is a dish of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, tofu, prawns, chicken, fish sauce, tamarind juice. You garnish the dish with a squeeze of lime and you can add the condiments provided like crushed peanuts and grounded chilli peppers to it.

photo by bookjunkie

For the other set we chose pineapple rice for the main course which was lovely too. The pineapple rice is garnished with pork floss and is usually served in half of a hollowed out pineapple (sadly it wasn’t done here maybe because the portion size for the set was too small.) The pineapple which the rice is cooked with gives it such a wonderful flavour that if you haven’t tried this, you just must. It’s quite a taste sensation.

photo by bookjunkie

We ordered a green curry with chicken off the ala carte menu. It was so good, but so decadently rich with coconut that we were quickly filled up. This cost $8.50 Singapore dollars.

photo by bookjunkie

It was great that we could share the 2 starters and we had selected Tom Yum soup and Mango Salad. The Mango salad of half ripe thinly sliced green mango, was a great accompaniment to the potently spicy Tom Yum soup which is basically a spicy seafood soup with mushrooms and lemongrass added. Luckily they provided us with a free flow of iced water.

photo by bookjunkie

The set also came with a choice of drinks and we had Thai iced coffee and lime juice. The iced coffee was just right and not too sweet, while the lime juice had a intensely sourish sweet taste that we liked. A great counterbalance to the deceptively spicy meal we were having. And believe me, the both of us can take a lot of spice. It’s just that the spiciness takes a while to hit you.

photo by bookjunkie

The red ruby which is water chestnut and tapioca balls in ice and coconut milk was so divine I would definitely choose this for dessert again. If you are hankering for a cold refreshing dessert I would recommend coming here for just this. Although my favorite Thai dessert is actually warm Thai sticky rice with mango, but this was not one of the selections on the set menu. Well maybe next time.

photo by bookjunkie

This steamed sticky sweet tapioca dessert was lovely too, but I was incredibly full by then. I would chose the red ruby over this the next time as I found this a little bit too sweet. It would be ok if you share it with a few people and just have a small portion.

The total cost of the very satisfying meal was S$23.60, with no service charge or any extra charges, which was great! The waiters were polite and attentive. Although it helped that the restaurant was quite empty, and they didn’t have many customers to handle.

Diandin Leluk
68/68A Serangoon Garden Way
Singapore 555964
Tel: 6286 6768

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