Monday, December 18, 2006

studio LDA - SRJK (Chinese) education fund

Can’t remember the date, but it was a few days ago when I read on a news paper reported that the ministry of education would be funding 96 SRJK (Chinese) schools a total sum of RM2 mil.

That means each of these schools would be getting an average of RM20,000 (twenty thousands ringgit).

I was disappointed and angry, because I read a few months ago; DBKL was building public toilets that cost a million ringgit each.

It made no sense to me on how government expenditure is planed.

It made no sense to me that I heard nothing from any Chinese community representative.

look fr studio LDA

Friday, December 15, 2006

studio LDA - looking through life - giving

Not able to give is a lot more painful than not able to get.
So is christmas ... such as life.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

studio LDA - looking through life - gap to bloom

Despite just a gap, would still bloom life to the fullest.
look fr studio LDA

studioLDA - I think I am an idiot !

That’s a common table conversation; who and who are so smart that they got away with the law and make so much out of it. Such praises would upset the social order, as a normal citizen would think he is an idiot to be an honest citizen.Unfortunately, such table conversation is quite common here in this part of the world.(Wonder if it happen else where?)

Maybe not the worst yet as people still make a point to make things seems right, while doing them illegally.

There will come a time when the urge to benefit from illegal deeds is so strong, even the gesture (seemingly right) would no longer be a concern. Who care, after all it’s now only a gesture.

look fr studio LDA

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

studio LDA - Finally got it :/

Yes! I finally got it!

This is a bit of a joke. Though I hated it, I sincerely hope you like it(this joke). Have a laugh!

Just a few days ago, I noticed this piece of scrap on my desk. It’s a record of phone numbers of people that I was directed to call to get some kind of “standard” for design. So I was tossed around from the 1st number to the last on the list, and the last person on the list said he would call me later to clarify. So 2 days later I had to call back and there was no answer to my question/ request.

So I searched the web (badly designed pages, as the key words keep giving you pages posted by the authority but give no answer to you). Finally, found something, made payment for the purchase, card payment done. Now I can download the info I needed ! Guessed what? Missing link !

What’s next ? I e-mailed the authority. Quite a few days later, I got a pdf file of the info e-mailed to me. But it’s was a corrupted file that cannot be opened. I replied to ask for resend. 3 days later, got it. Now,I finally, truly, surely, got it.

studio LDA - what does art concerns?

What does art concerns?
As far as artists concern; red dots on the galleries’ exhibits.*
As far as the public concerns; is it entertaining?
As far as the government concerns; how grand is the opening ceremony.
So art is living in malnutrition.
Unlike starvation, it won’t die immediately.
It dies a slow death.

*the red dot stickers normally use to mark on reserved or sold items.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

studio LDA - looking through life - a cup of heart warming ice cubes

My wife was still carrying the 3 months old while I was trying to sit Xiao Yi for her breakfast. You know, it’s always a little hectic with the kids in a busy morning coffee shop. Then, a waiter came smiling and left a cup of ice cubes on the table, and quickly went to other customers.
“Did you order this?” I asked my wife.
“But I did say the chocolate is very hot!”
It’s strange. The heart warming thing is not the steamy hot chocolate. Instead, it’s a cup of cold, tasteless ice cubes.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

studio LDA - no more UMNO meeting broadcast?

A personal opinion: it is a backward development for the country.

If there were things so wrong that that they should not be broadcast, they should be checked and rectified. Not covered up.

Stop broadcasting will eliminate the checking process, and allow the wrongs to be nurtured quietly. This is harmful to the country.

fr look

Friday, November 24, 2006

studio LDA - what's art? add on..

Art is about living sensitive, inquisitive, explorative, and most important of all, have a good heart.

fr look

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

studio LDA - looking through life - morning smile

At the very least, I can give myself a morning smile.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

studio LDA - looking through life - modern marriage

It was supposed to be a union. Then there is this "inter-dependence", and eventually it leads to "freedom".

�F �� �� �� - ԭ �� һ �w, Ȼ �� ׃ �� "�� �� �� ��", �� �� ��" �� ��".

studio LDA - looking through life - take off

Hopefully, it takes me somewhere.

studio LDA - looking through life - birthday everyday

"Birthday" in Chinese actually reads life-day too. Thus, I give myself a little celebration every day.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

studio LDA - looking through life - untitled

Look carefully and you will feel. When you try too hard to explain, you would see no more; one day I saw my three years old daughter caressing her one month old sister.

studio LDA - looking through life - no snow white

A bird got into our house one day. My sister told me “Don’t be silly! You are no Snow White.”

studio LDA - looking through life - dancing in the storm

Let’s dance. Even in the storm.
Life is not going to get better because you are sorrowful.

studio LDA - looking through life - past search

Search for the search of the past, not the past.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

studio LDA – Architecture means business

Yes, of course architecture is a business. But when there is no more architecture but business, would you still do it. What does it mean?

1. A friend said he is a high class draftsman. ( The client is the architect)
2. …………………………….. (You may fill in this blank. )

look from studio LDA

studio LDA – Learning from my daughter

-Picture of my 3 years old daughter and our baby girl-

While my wife and I tried to teach the 3 yrs old daughter everything we know, we can, we often get some ridiculous non compliance. She tested our patience and our principles of parenting and education. That’s only one.
Look at the non compliances carefully; I realize it may be just a different way of looking at the world that we can learn from.

look from studio LDA

studio LDA – The making of mass model

Malaysia’s buildings are often lacking intensity in detail. No money? No time? No concerns?
The end results? Looked pretty much like mass models.
Truly massive, I mean in real scale.

look from studio LDA

studio LDA – The beginning of night mare

Do you notice?

It is not necessary right to do things right. And it is not necessary wrong to do things wrong. When these scenarios happen so frequent, and taken for granted by some “willful” and powerful people, the social order changes.
This marks only the beginning of a night mare….. It worries me.

look from studio LDA

Saturday, September 02, 2006

studio LDA - Write and share

Write and share.
I have a confession.
I have always been fearful of writing and I have succumbed to this fear for a long time. I write only very slowly and my writing is bad. But the urge to share my opinions and learning has grown much larger than my fear these days. And I decided if I could write sincerely, it’s still worth it if everybody else thinks my writing is rubbish. That’s how hard it is writing for me.

Look from studio LDA

studio LDA - Flying the national flag

Flying the national flag
Come 31st August 06, “Merdeka”, the Malaysia independent day. A minister reported to have accused the public of not raising the flag for the month of celebration.

Well, I think if the deed is not out of appreciation from the heart, it really make no sense flying the flag.

However, as the minister is so sensitive, he might have already begun to ask himself why. This might be a good gauge for the current pool of votes going to the ruling party. Maybe it got to do with the oil price, the inflation, unemployment… I don’t know.

I think most people kind of mixed up between the concept of country and government. Most, I believe would not have any problem loving this land, the people, the culture, even though they may not agree with the government. As a matter of fact, the more you love this country, probably the more demanding you would be out of the government.

Just to let the whole world know, I love you, Malaysia.

Look from studio LDA

studio LDA - a crooked bridge

A crooked bridge.

A group of friends happened to talk about the much disputed new causeway bridge connecting Malaysia with Singapore. There were some interesting opinions raised about this bridge. They said if the curve bridge is built;
1. It would be a permanent symbol of disagreement between the two countries.
2. It would be a neat sculpture symbolising the contorted politics.
What do you think?

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studio LDA - living a life

Living a life
We all work so that we can live a life. But you are only given 1 day off every 20 working days, I guess there is very little life out of this living. Unless you love this job so much. Really, live a life, my friend.

Look from studio LDA

studio LDA - Two short stories about a can of coke

The original script is contained in the coke can.

Two short stories about a can of coke

The first is a memory snapped off a movie I watched long ago: “Not one less” by Zhang Yi Mou. The scene of the can of coke was but a side event. Shot of a group of students and a rather unqualified, made good temporary teacher hesitated if to buy two cans of coke to be shared among ten to twenty students. They did. So everybody had a sip of it. That had in turn reduced the fund they were trying to pool as bus fare for the teacher to go down town to look for a student, whom had been sent by his father to work in a factory, illegally, as he was underage.

The second is a scene of which I have part witness at my father’s provision shop on 19/8/06. My young cousin aged 13 lend a Game-boy machine worth about RM500 , which don’t belong to him, to his friend. His mum urged him not to do it. In frustration of my auntie’s nagging, he conveniently took a can of coke and threw it on his mum, just as convenient as he took this drink whenever he wanted, usually during breakfast at my father’s shop. My auntie later relayed the story to me and my wife. Her eyes were red, almost with tears.

When she was gone, I noticed a dented can of coke on the front counter. I asked my mum if this was the can. “Yes” my mum said. I drank the can of warm coke, sharing it with my mum, and my three year old daughter. My daughter loved it. I didn’t ask my mum. But it taste horrible. I think maybe because it wasn’t chilled.

Look from studio LDA

New family members

New family members
Proudly present two new family members (puppies).
Milo and Vico with me and my daughter.

Look from studio LDA

Saturday, August 05, 2006

PEPS - public education programmes

Public Education Programme

Forthcoming: In month Sept we shall be starting with our PEPS ( Public Education Programme) :-

PEP 1- SAY WHAT YOU WANT Have you any problem on speaking out your opinions of a painting in an art gallery? Worry about your opinion not educated enough? Silly? Just don't have the gut? ...What ever reasons it may be.. You now have a chance to do so in our web gallery. We will be introducing a free comment section for our virtual gallery. Say what you want, in any name. After all,that's the spirit of art.

PEP 2 - SLIDE VIEWING-WHAT"S ART?We will be organising a slides viewing session: What is art ? For the local community.Venue and time shall be confirmed in Sept.Opened to all.

look from studio LDA

"Alright, alright" is not alright !

Mushi-mushi and a bit of historical snapshots

Check out the AV download at miscellaneous or direct to page.

An opinion about Japan prime minister visit to war shrine.

You just have to respect mistakes, however ridiculous they are. So you can learn from it and don’t let it happen again. “Alright, alright .” is just not alright.
“Mushi-mushi” in Cantonese (You could hear the words sound again and again in the song.) which literally means “nothing has happened”, when read in the syntax of Japanese, means “Hello, hello”. Cynical ?

“Beyond”, a former Hong Kong rock band, was once my favourite. Their popularity declined after the death of lead singer, Wang Jia Chi. Jia Chi was indeed talented and a main player, but it doesn’t mean the other team members: Jia Chiang, Guan Jung, Se Ruong, are not as good. In fact the subsequent productions from the band were much more explorative, creative and imagery in approach. I have clipped a little bit of one of the songs compiled in the album “Surprise” produced in year 1997, titled “Alright, alright”, read “Mushi-mushi” in Cantonese. Every bit of the song conjures images of what I saw in a powerful documentary below. I hope you enjoy it.

The movie clipped from “A faithful record of world war two” is a rare historical documentary. It makes a comprehensive review on significant events of the Second World War in 12 cds . It’s a solid educational yet entertaining 24 hours programme produced by World Star AV Int’l Co. (H.K) distributed by MTV production (Mal) S/B.
The album “Surprise” was produced by Rock Records Co. Ltd

by look

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

studio LDA - 炸东京 - Bombing Tokyo and others


(一)炸东京 Bombing Tokyo

(二)鸡“温”牛“呵” ──粤语 chicken earning cow spending
“Surat.” 章叔放下手中的虾米,赶忙上前收信。信上贴有英女王侧影的邮票。

(三)湿材 Wet wood
我赶紧开铁门让她进来,Bobby 还是不停地朝她吠叫着。

Words and pic by Tan Sook Yin

Thursday, June 29, 2006

studio LDA: 100令吉的阉鸡 -- A 100 ringgit capon



A 100 ringgit capon (castrated rooster)
First time ever seen such a huge rooster.
Living in the grandiosity with shining feathers, weighed almost 4 kg.
Under the light of a knife, it could only squat and cock-a-doodle-doo, and finally becomes a delicacy on dining table.

Note: a rooster would normally costs about 15 ringgit in a wet market.

Picture and writing by Tan Sook Yin

studio LDA : 河堤上一黄叶 - A yellowed leave by the river bank



A yellowed leave by the river bank
By the river bank, a young shoot stamps out from gap of a stone wall.
On this little shoot, there are three pieces of leave, covered with innumerable holes.
Struggling in the barren land, it withers, drying up, almost emaciated.
It tenaciously stands up for life, leaving such beauty.
It reminds me of grandma; incidentally her name is “ Huang Ye”, meaning yellowed leave.

Picture and writing by Tan Sook Yin

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

studio LDA : He's my papa.

---He’s my papa.

Ever heard this from your son or daughter?
“He is my papa.”
My less than 3 year old daughter often said to her little friends with a little air of arrogance.
While it embarrassed me a little, it makes me even more determined to bring her up well, to give her my life.
I need to look after myself well for my life belongs not only to me.

look from studio LDA

studio LDA : Not my cup of tea, but I love it !

---Not my cup of tea, but I love it !

It’s not my cup of tea, but I love it.
Of all the stages in the development of history of arts, I probably love the “art and craft movement” in U.S best. I love it not for its aesthetics, its intellectual capacity, but more for it’s easiness, it’s ability to invite greater participation of all classes from society, it’s wide ranging influences on objects and spaces. I think this is the real era that spread the foundation of art appreciation, and prepared the society for the future art development.

look from studio LDA

Thursday, June 15, 2006

sudio LDA : “挑战”,致 "Ching Sui"的哀悼

“挑战”,致一位马来西亚艺术家――"Ching Sui"的哀悼

23日5月06年下午,收到汉龙的简讯说:“Ching Sui 昨日下午6:30在古晋去世了。”那天下午,我的心情随着这则讯息一直往下沉。我无法解释为甚麽。由始之终,我和这艺术家属未谋面。



studio LDA : “他是我爸爸来的。”



look fr studio LDA translated by Sook Yin

studio LDA : 非我所好,却是我的喜爱。

非我所好,却是我的喜爱。(Not my cup of tea, but I like it.)

非我所好,却是我的喜爱,在艺术史的所有发展阶段中,最为我喜爱的莫过于美国的“艺术与工艺运动”(art & craft movement)。让我为之倾心的并不是它的视觉美学或学术上的吸引力,而是它的随和,一种容纳各社会阶层参与,并得到巨大回响的能力。我也很欣赏其对物与空间广泛的影响力。我认为这时代才是真正为美国社会散播艺术欣赏的基础,为将来的美术发展扎根的时代。

look from studio LDA . translated by Sook Yin

Friday, June 02, 2006

studio LDA :交通罚单


淑燕from studio LDA

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

studio LDA :探索就是海阔天空

撰写:look from studio LDA.

Friday, May 26, 2006

studio LDA : Condolence to Yong Ching Sui

“Challenge” 51cm x 61cm oil on canvas by Ching Sui, a Malaysian artist

(Due to the dark painting, it may be necessary to adjusting contrast of your screen to have a better view of the pictures published in this blog.)

23rd May 06 afternoon, I got a message from Hon Loong read “Ching Sui passed away yesterday 6:30pm in Kuching.” That afternoon, my heart just went down and down with the news. I couldn’t quite explain why. After all, I have not even met the artist. I got a painting at his medical fund raising exhibition few months ago. And I read a little about him and know he was a pleasant guy, and I know he made good cakes. That’s about all. That night, I excused myself from the LAM exam group study session to go home earlier. I wanted to look at his painting “Challenge” again.

The painting hung in the store next to our living area. As the store room door was left ajar, light cut right into the store room when I came into the house switching on the living area wall lamp. The store room was barely lit, and I could see the dark silhouette of the canvas hung heavily on the wall. It looked pretty much like the black heavy canvas I first saw during the exhibition, isolated and lonely on a gloomy dimly lit wall. Other than the heavy blackness, I couldn’t possibly make up anything else from the distance. In fact, it’s so heavy, so dark, neither my wife nor I could bear the weight, so we decided to hang it in this store room, where I keep my working tools and books. The store room used only a 60watt yellow bulb, so I brought in a torch light to view the painting.

The pontoon ( partt picture )

On closer look under the torch light now, I noticed the background was filled by a two tiers steep cliff, with a choppy seascape set at the bottom of the painting. There was no sky in the painting. It felt stifled and there was no way out. Right on the top of the cliff, was a little timber shack. I had seen this shack now and then in Ching Sui’s other paintings. I liked to believe it must be somewhere close to his heart, somewhere he was familiar with. Where he grown up maybe? Extending from the shack, there was a timber gangway connecting all the way to a pontoon rest at mid height of the cliff. The platform was dry and covered with colorful shingles barely visible even under the strong torch light. I could not understand why was the pontoon set at this height. I don’t believe the sea water would reach this height even at the highest tide of the year. There was no connection link way from the pontoon to the rough seascape below. So I imagined the swimmer took a cliff dive to jump into the sea. My torch light moved on and shined on to the swimming figure. It suddenly came to my mind that the swimmer after taking the dive, was swimming away from the cliff, in the choppy black sea. And there would be no return.

The swimmer ( part picture )

My friend, rest well. Maybe you could now rest on a pontoon on a sunny day, where the colorful shingles gleam like corals under calm shallow sparkling sea.

look from studio LDA

Friday, May 19, 2006

studio LDA - Dora Maar with cat

"Dora Maar with cat"

So it was auctioned for millions!

I am only willing to pay half of my miserable salary, though; I would still pay half if my salary is a corporate ceo's figure. I think it’s a relative matter. The painting do have certain intriguing and haunting quality.
BUT I certainly won't hang it in my house for I have no affection to the person of this portrait. Besides, it is quite ugly. I mean it is really ugly. I don't think Picasso ever love Dora Marr. She was probably just a tool to his exploration in cubism. Nobody would paint a person he truly loves with such distortion!
The figure with the hat, the cat, and those long sharp nails looked more like a witch to me.

look fr studio LDA

Friday, April 28, 2006

studio LDA : making-talking-thinking

I think I was more a drawing board designer by training (an architect). There is always this gap between the making and my drawing board. And model making is just not enough to close this mental gap. About 4 months ago, I started a piece of wooden sculpture. I began to study the grain, the texture, orientation of cracks.. of the material. I felt like coming to know a friend. And I would feel sorry for the wood when I make a wrong cut. Somehow that exercise helped me to understand the relationship between the real built, the building process and design.

I think when you make, you try to talk to the thing you make. I guess that talking is thinking.

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studio LDA : market value comes with appreciation ..

Appreciation of market value comes with appreciation from society

Sounds offensive and money minded? It's my opinion anyway.

A piece of art work fetches any market value is always supported by next lower price affordable by more buyers. In a society with more matured cultural and artistic development, the triangle above gets bigger and taller than the less artistically developed society.
All these wants, either supported by actual purchasing power or pure urge to own or just enjoy the art work, make the cushion that holds the basic value of an art work.

I told my friends that this is the basic that sets a highly valued piece of art work in France, a much, much lower priced product in Malaysia.

So if the artists are not helping the society, they are not helping themselves.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

studio LDA : Rocky 去了哪里?






by Tan Sook Yin

Friday, April 21, 2006

studio LDA - Opinion on Guernica by Picasso

Guernica, oil on canvas, 349x776, Museo Reina Sofia.

Have you seen the painting?

I haven’t been lucky enough to see the real piece. In any case, its only sharing my personal opinion. By seeing the piece from books and magazines, I think even if I forget the political aspects of the painting, I would still like the painting. It’s “crudeness”, “distortion” and “jarring presence” are quite appropriate. I believe seeing the real piece could be possibly more disturbing.

In my opinion, this piece of work is generally better then the other portraits drawn with the same crudeness and distortion. Picasso's works are generally not my cup of tea, but then maybe that was exactly how he felt about people and the world ?

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studio LDA - Just maybe :(

I have lately heard about complaints on drastic climate changes.
I have lately heard about how a friend stresses importance of education....on how it would affects his kid's future social status, earning.
I have ...

It all started from our minds, from how people set their scales of value.
Whether it’s about art, weather or a social environment,things of no immediate impact to us are often trivialized. We are too often blinded by immediate material gains.

Unfortunately, when there is a consequential impact, the process is almost irreversible.
Maybe it's a cyclical natural happenings. But, maybe, there is a point of no return!
Maybe design helps. Just maybe :(

look fr studioLDA

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

studio LDA : Is design really design

studio LDA : Is design really design ??

RICK POYNOR -- Art's Little Brother
Essay for Icon magazine about the relationship of art and design. As a cultural force, design is taken less seriously than art. Why is that, especially when the distinction between the two disciplines is becoming increasingly hard to locate? Isn’t it time we celebrated design as the meeting of art and everyday life?
Posted by Rick Poynor on May 17, 2005 06:37 AM

I read an outdated blog titled “Art’s little brother” recently from the blog page Designobserver. It is paste on as above. It intrigues me if the case is really so in the United State?

I haven't read the Icon magazine. So I don't know the actual content of the essay.
But in most developing countries, design is definitely not taken less seriously than art. In fact it is very much the other way round. For one obvious reason; design often has much stronger economic influence than art.
Well, I really think it is quite needless to distinct the two (design and art); as art can be design and design can be art, quite freely interchangeable.
What concern me more would be whether design is really design? Often, design (especially in the third world countries) is just a little more than duplication exercise. There is no innovation, exploration, consideration of context… Oop! Sorry, there are definitely consideration on the context of marketing and profit margin. Don’t you think?

不速之客- by Tan Sook Yin

当我拿起莲蓬要冲水时,竟然又让我发现它藏在莲蓬架旁。我又呼叫先生赶紧拿相机来拍, 但总是取不到


伟明- “隐藏的道路”
什么是艺术?LDA工作坊之探索-translation by Tan Sook yin



1, 我看到的整体艺术发展过程是一种服从而不是创作。
2, 除了物质改善,我看不到文化与人性思想的提升。

在此探索阶段,我给予部分艺术一个定论是:除了诚实之外(因这班追求的人都忠于心里的诚实),艺术必须是有创作性和好追根究底的精神。(我不是意味要不同,因为个人的创意探索可能经过某人曾寻探过的道路。谁又会在意我的作品看起来和某人一样呢?这是另一个我们将会在下一次谈论的问题。) 生产的能力必须是从感觉意识中引发的。有意识地去看、去嗅、去摸、去试和去听的能力,再结合个人的思想以形成一种追究与创意的能力。



我不是天生作家,对我而言将事实想法转化成文字是蛮难的。在接触任何艺术品时我会先去想。我自然会克制取悦我的感关而去做判断。同时我也试着去了解艺术家所想要表达的。当我第一次看到伟明的绘画是我们第二次见面时,我想我看到的可能是在沙丘环境的一个生息。他告速我这幅画叫“隐藏的道路”。这是关于所有艺术吗?在沙丘后面是什么?那抽象的天空与海洋在作者的定义是什么呢 ?……这是他对生活和马来西亚艺术学艺术情况的看法。对他这是艺术,那你认为艺术是什么?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

studio LDA - What's art? studio LDA explores:

Wei Meng’s Painting 2005 – Hidden path, 73x60 cm, acrylic on canvas.


It is probably the most common question for a first year art student and a full time artist alike.
Simple it may seem, the answer to this question, the search of the answer, and even the question itself, implicate actually a main force that makes the frame work of civilization and existence of humanity. Should this force dissipate, so would the quality and the well being of a society. As the subject itself bears such an important social function, it really should have been a concern of more. Not just of me, and you that stumble upon this article. For this simple reason, this article is written with no reference to any theory or philosophy of art. It’s for all, just like art.


Having found the studio LDA in late year 2005, and started the web page early 2006, I have always wanted to explore this topic. Thinking this exploration could be an appropriate life long project of the studio. And I believed the topic is very much apt for the Malaysia context too, as Malaysians are generally materialists whom either consciously or subconsciously, knows little or none about art. Sorry, really no malicious intent, its only a fact. On the contrary, I would love to see disagreement, and someone prove me wrong, because I love this country. I might have no material statistics proving the case, it is however not difficult for one to feel, see, and then judge for oneself, whether there is a significant presence of art in this society. After all, feeling, seeing and judging are the fundamentals of art, not the statistics and words. Art is not an intellectual matter; this is a matter of living a life. I hope through the study of this subject, I can empirically deduce a better understanding of the meaning of art.

Asking a question

Maybe you could start by asking yourself on how would you value art:
By the cost of the material that produced the art work?
Maybe with a little more on the cost of time spent by the artist?
Putting affordability aside, what is your level of willingness to invest in a four thousand ringgit painting that you like versus a hi-fi set of the same market value, assuming you haven’t got a hi-fi set already in your house?
Would you object to an art college education of your children’s choice knowing that the course is likely not “money making”?

Looking away from yourself,
Do your friends think art is important to their life?
How would your friends evaluate art works?
How would the society in general assess status of artists and their works?

You could go on and ask many more questions to help yourself in assessing the Malaysian art scene. And you might be lucky enough to stumble upon an exception, but in general I am sure your conclusion of the general art scene in Malaysia is really pretty…. gloomy. The existence of art in the country is pretty decorative to a living room as well as in the society.

Embarking myself upon this exploration, I and my wife first started on conversation with friends, colleagues and family members, which sadly prove our speculation right. While we were in the midst of this exploration, we came to realize our main concern is probably not to get an answer. We have through conversations; identify a bigger problem with all these people. Contentment, yes, I probably could not find a better word to describe this scenario. Any how, most of the people we talked to are pretty contented with the current status. And now they have lost the capacity to be curious, suspicious, and the ability to question.

What seem to have been left in these people’s life is the “pursuance” which is nothing more than a process of compliance to a predefined framework that allows these people to gain acceptance to the “high society”, titles, privileges and promotion. This has become the biggest scale for valuation for all. To the extent that it dominates the very fundamental of works was originally meant to serve life! To this group of people, art is seen as a refinement of material enjoyment that they will spend on, provided all the material needs have already been fulfilled. Ownership to art works becomes an endorsement of wealth and confirmation of tastefulness of high society. That is life. That is art. This is the current definition. And this is a fact.

Well, this is the truth, at least to those who believe in it. However, lingering within my mind still one or two problems that I cannot come to term with. Otherwise I would have been comfortably fitting in the scene.

1. I find the overall process of art is of compliance rather than a creation.
2. I could not identify the idea of elevation in culture and humanity other than material improvement.

At this stage of exploration, I conclude in part, art must besides being honest, for these people in the mad race are honest and hard working people ; art must also be creative and inquisitive. (I don’t mean just being different, as an individual’s creative exploration may land on some body’s old path of exploration. Who care if my work looked like somebody’s work? This is a different question to be discussed in other session). This capacity of productivity must arise from a conscious sense of feeling. The conscious ability to see, smell, touch, tastes, and to hear, which when combine with an individual’s thinking, becomes the capacity to be inquisitive and creative.

Giving an answer

So that’s only answer in part. What’s more of art?
Here are some of the answers attempted by my colleagues from an architectural consultancy:

Art is a profession. I like this answer very much and I find it interesting. A professional maintains his integrity, and he's integrity is at all time under jurisdiction of a law and professional board. So what is governing the integrity of an artist and his work? It must be self conscience.
Art is something for people to appreciate.
Art is something you feel and it’s refined.
Art is my name. It’s cool.
Art is an expression of opinion.
Art is something to do with your left brain.
Art is life and soul.
Art is contradictory and slow.
Art is about value.
Art is …..

I can perhaps go on and on quoting, but you should have an answer for your self. Think carefully before answering the question, and answer it honestly. There is no grading for it. It’s simply a matter of making an honest decision or forming an opinion. Art making is also a decision and opinion making arises from the senses and feeling of an artist.

So I noticed. The answers sometimes refer to a product, sometimes refers to a process. And it sometimes refers to characteristics. Is art a product? It is really difficult for me to conclude in this case. Rene Descartes said “I think therefore I am.” While we look at an object, thinking is imposed upon it by us, the viewers. While the artist is creating a work, thinking is imposed upon the work through process. But one thing for sure, without a product, an artist is not able to express his opinion. If the product cannot be captured in physical form, it might have to be recorded in photos, scripts, and video. Maybe whether art is a product or not, is a non question. It is whether it has the pulse of life and thinking behind to be qualified as art? That is more appropriate as a question.

Senses (with different level of sensitivity) -> Adding individual thinking -> Feeling -> Analysis (conscious or subconscious) -> Respond (art work as poem, painting, sculpture, installation….)

The search over the rainbow is within the hidden path

Maybe we all are dreamers. It is just we all dream different in one way or another from each other. What ever dream we dream, there is always motive, pushing us and sustain us to somewhere over the rainbow. The motif of art is not quite defined by an individual. It is a natural character of art. This character has kept on pushing the development of human civilization. Using knife as a metaphor, it has been changing from a simple stone knife to a metal knife, to a more functional knife, and a more beautiful knife…and on and on. This spirit of change has brought up many civilizations, leaving behind many beautiful art works when the civilization collapsed. And this spirit works again and again to evolve us to what we are today. It is not the development of technology and science that change the world. Science and technology are but tools, it is this soul of kindness, which always seeks to elevate things to higher plane, search for truth and beauty that built this civilization. The name of the soul is called art. Strictly speaking, any thing without this soul is not qualified to the noble name.


I am not a spontaneous writer. Writing comes hard through thinking of facts. I often think first when I come into contact with any art work. Usually, I would refrain myself from judging on what pleases my senses, and try to understand what the artist want to say. When I looked first at this painting by Wei Meng during my second meeting with him, and it was my first time of seeing his work, I thought I saw possible sign of life in a sand dune. He told me that painting was named “The hidden path”. If this is all about art? What’s really behind the sand dune? What does the abstract sky and sea indicate to the artist……? Is this his view of life and the Malaysian art scene? This is what art means to him. So what is art to you?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

studio LDA - For politics, religion or for life?

For politics, religion or for life?

A tv news on19th Feb 06 reported somewhere in a middle east country, there was a call to enlist human bombs.
I was shocked to see on the video clips, so many men and women responded so fervently. My sister said these applicants have probably in the war thorn country lost all their family members. So there is little for them to worry about in such engagement.
I think this might be the biggest reason that fans the heat of the enlistment. It is not for the belief in religion, not for politics. It’s when you live on without your love ones, life is meaningless. Hatred left in the hearts becomes weapons of politicians.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

studioLDA - Views on middle class art development in Malaysia

Friedrich ( a blogger from 2blowhards) ventures some broad generalizations of middle class art scene, his part writing quoted below in italic:

(1) Looking at Romanticisim, Symbolism, Art-Nouveau, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism—and how such art-movements differed from the art of earlier centuries dominated by aristocracies—one would have to conclude that middle class people are particularly fascinated by their own inner mental world. Possibly as a result of their highly disciplined economic lives, they seem endlessly intrigued by irrationality, or what Victor Hugo termed “the grotesque.”
(2) Looking at the many varieties of “social realism” that have been hardy perennials of middle-class art, middle-class people are avid students of, and apparently rather insecure about their position in, the social order.
(3) Middle-class art seems far less interested in grace and finesse (i.e., in “workmanship”) than art produced by working-class artisans. It also put much less emphasis on being ingratiating or charming. Indeed, middle-class artists seem to be actively suspicious of charm .

Views from look of studio LDA in Malaysian's context :
I really envy the coherent and consistent art development of the west. In my opinion, the art development of the east has much been interrupted by political instability and social up heaves. Maybe the learning from the west could be used as a tool for reconnection.

(1) I do not think the middle class of Malaysian are fascinated by their inner mental world. Instead mindless economic ( material) pursuit of the middle class at large is contributing to the grotesqueness.

(2) The insecurity is both self created by the artists and also due to general lack of appreciation of art by the society . What art can a society talk about when the emphasis of life hinges only on economic gain, and success is measured by how much money is in your pocket ?

(3) Its always easier to please with grace and finesse . That’s what the Malaysian “ high society” love best for now. Some artists work on that… but I am glad there are still some artists that choose to question the society and trying to make things visible for others through their works. I guess it’s easier to make graceful art work for religion (and my wife and daughter).


look from

Monday, January 09, 2006

studioLDA -life design art- call for a little movement

A message from the studio founder - Look

I am working as a senior project architect in an established consultancy in Malaysia. Sad over the art scene and the generally low apppreciation level of art in our society. I have recently decided get extral days off to set up this studio.
The studio is a platform for promotion, collaboration, production of artists / designers and education of art and design, in small scale. ( It's the only scale this studio can afford for now). .. but I believe we can still make it big in a different way. Maybe some time it would be big in scale..... a movement ?? For young frustrated Malaysian artists who don't seem to find way out, please contact me at maybe we could start from knowing each other and to collaboration in works. You may find out more from my site

My best wishes to all these rainbow seekers.