Kickstarting December with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

[Bandung, December 2013]

"When everything is going down
Nothing seem to feel same
No one seem to know my name
No one seem to go my way

But who knows if I'll see you again..


Time won't save our soul." ♫

DSC_3238

An early cheap flight took me and a colleague to my hometown on the last day of November 2013. It was nearing lunch time when we landed and our stay in Jakarta was only one day old as we headed straight to Bandung the next morning.
It was the weekend we've been looking forward to. We took a travel van and and spent good three hours blasting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on our iTunes all the way, I kept saying to my friend, "damn we'll be seeing them live in a couple of hours this is pretty awesome!", and I kept mentioning how I tend to spend my cash to travel for concerts and short getaways and I'm pretty sure I'd still be doing this even when I'm older. We reached Bandung in the late afternoon. Planning to be on time to the concert, dinner became early and short, and we headed straight to the venue to get our pre-ordered tickets first. Bandung was drizzling thin raindrops and it got colder in the evening. While waiting for more crowd (hence, more local friends to say hi to), we got ourselves cheap coffee and tea from a stall just outside the entrance gate. Dago Tea House was packed with people in leather jacket (that includes me) and I was trying so hard to kick away the chills from the freezing air. I spotted my best friend Nara among the crowd and before he even came closer I ran and jumped off for a hug (I told him I was in dire need of emergency warmth (although I'm sure he knew it was partly because I missed him too). Gate opened around 9 PM and everybody rushed in and started filling up the hall. Nara used to live and grew up in Bandung so he gets around pretty easily. He managed to steal a press/photographer ID from his friend, so I handed him my camera and said "have fun, you know what to do."
The crowd settled in and suddenly the room dropped dark. Red beam slowly started filling the entire hall, like an intro to a hot night ride, welcomed by the screaming from the longing audience and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club went on stage and from that very second onwards, I couldn't remember anything else but experiencing 2 hours of pure soul-feeding. I had a list of songs I wished they'd play and almost all of them were ticked. Their performance was very entertaining and the exchange of energy between them and the crowd was beyond amazing, they definitely have what it takes to get people addicted to rock and roll. I undoubtedly walked out of the hall when the gig ended with sore throat and tired legs, but my soul was well fed and I was completely satisfied. Nara appeared out of nowhere and handed me back my camera with at least 900 photographs and right away I thought about a blog post that will easily be filled with a collaboration between his amazing shots and my editing.
And as we made our way home, exhausted yet content, I replayed those echoing melodies over and over again, the most favourite punchlines, the grunge of hard rock, messy love,
"Red eyes and tears no more for you my love I fear
Red eyes and tears no more for you my love I fear
No more fear, no more fear, I'm in love".

DSC_2796 copy
DSC_2798 copy
• Treating my Dad and my friend French brunch before heading to Bandung, got to make sure my old man never feels abandoned by my youthful weekend plans •
bagette
• Wan, instagraming food •
DSC_3103 copy
• When our rock and rock weekend really began •
DSC_2864 copy
 "She brings the cold and scars my soul
She's heaven sent to me.." ♫ •
DSC_3007 copy
• Peter Hayes and Leah Shapiro totally set my night on fire •
DSC_3197 copy
DSC_3489 copy
DSC_2953 copy
DSC_3181 copy
DSC_3382 copy
DSC_3351 copy
brmc
DSC_3439
DSC_3399 copy
• The crowd •
DSC_3472 copy
• Heart warming photo •
blackrebel
DSC_3513 copy
DSC_3474 copy
• Spotted: Somebody stealing a #selfie with Robert Levon at the back •
DSC_3538 copy
DSC_3555 copy
• "So was never known on which they choked where books of old and time
It's a complicated situation.." ♫ •
DSC_3647 copy
• My regular companion in Bandung •
DSC_3652 copy
DSC_3654 copy
• Dropping by Aldi's shop to stock up some 'ammunition' before heading back to Jakarta •
DSC_3664 copy
• Midnight quickie with this red hot beauty before departing the next morning •
DSC_3686 copy

linice
DSC_3691 copy
DSC_3693 copy
frame 2 x A4
DSC_3700 copy
DSC_3704 copy
lin1
• Treating my good friends and brother nitrogen ice cream several hours before my flight back to Singapore •
gonzoo
• Not forgetting to cuddle Gonzo goodbye too •

Months of festivity, Natsu Matsuri [夏祭り] 2013 & The S.I.G.I.T live in Singapore

[Singapore, November 2013]

November sky is painted grey and rains out heavily almost everyday. Days are dark and time seems to be passing so slow. During night time, after a heavy washout, I would hear lonely laughters echoing among the buildings I see on my first sight out my window, the little bright lives whose existence I never really expect in the dead hours, yet lately I am one of them too. There would still be people playing in the playgrounds around my HBD neighbourhood, I would still be pausing in between fleeting stories. My feet had been wondering around this dark city past midnight these days.
As I lay my head I wonder about the endless word vomits I've been having in the past few months. 

I am now writing this from memories of August 2013,
this town is small yet stories are spilling out from every corner, time is limited yet everything's changing everyday and when life passes too fast and stories end too soon sometimes it spins me inside out and my overwhelmed head feels heavy and all I want to do is close my eyes and let the heavy clouds above my head pass and only open my eyes when the sky clears out.
But I didn't. I never could.

On a beautiful afternoon I was putting on my brand new Yukata for Natsu Matsuri. I was sitting straight while getting my hair did by my ex housemate, Dhira, when the fat cat named Bobo covered my ankles with his thick golden fur. Today last year I was here, living shortly in a small homey room, surviving on my own. And being back in that room I felt like I was reminded of all the brand new starts I've had, and the bravery I had to find and choose endings to some of them for good. In between the reminiscing, Dhira made my hair bun and applied eyeshadow on my lids. Natsu Matsuri this year was just as festive as last year, and through memories I made my ways easier through it all this time, I knew which stalls to get the best food and which spot is the most convenient to sit down with drinks and park our Geta. I joined Bon Odori (盆踊り) and danced with strangers, and my tummy was spoiled as always. Unfortunately I didn't get to take as many photographs as last year.

I remember stories of September 2013,
disconnection has been befriending me. Beautiful, troubled, escape-craving souls came and left and I can't remember having companies that would stay long enough to wake me up before nightmares eat up my mornings alive. These detachment side effects had left me lost in the air of solitude, I was a grasshopper, jumping from one green leaf to another. Everything remained a give-and-take, numb and free.

On a windy evening I was strolling along River Point with a best friend of mine, drinking away and loving everything that kept us together like this. He was in town for a job, and I'm happy that he gets to travel while doing something that he loves for living. Later that night he passed out on my couch while I was drowning on pilling deadlines myself. The next evening was spent on a gig of one of my favourite Indonesian musicians down at Boat Quay, my best friend on duty with camera on his hands and I, on mine. The night was short yet it was always pleasing to spend an hour or so with good music, while greeting new familiar faces and getting involved in conversations that felt like home.  And of course, it's always pleasing to be taking photographs again. I haven't been spending enough time to take photos out of passion, and although I haven't been too passionate on stage photography myself, I collected amazing images of amazing talents wrapped in amazing energy on stage and I had an amazing time. All's good.

I felt the sudden energy rush from being back on track on spray painting and it was great to be doing mural art again. I spent several good months being surrounded by crazy talented local street artists and the amount of motivation they gave out whenever they're down for spray painting sessions had been contagious, mostly during their Singapore Biennale preparation. I got an offer to get involved in Jogja's street art project/exhibition for January around the same time, and the fact that I haven't practiced mural painting for years now made me nervous yet I was very excited for it. These were the times I spent my days being at school and working part-time and saving up money for new year trip and plane tickets, and my nights preparing sketches for the Jogja exhibition while drinking cheap coffee with people who had spray paints all over their fingers and nails until sunrise. Everything felt so young and timeless. But in fact, time was going just as fast as ever.

It's approaching the end of the year again as any other years before but this time I've been too overwhelmed to get excited about anything a brand new year would have to offer. This town is small yet stories are spilling out from every corner, time is limited yet everything's changing everyday and when life passes too fast, and stories end too soon, sometimes it spins me inside out and my overwhelmed head feels heavy, and all I want to do is close my eyes and let the heavy clouds above my head pass and only open my eyes when the sky clears out.
I tried.
And when I opened my eyes, it's another December for the lost and found...

DSC_1918 copy
• Rainy season was hard to handle •
DSC_1734
• Ammunitions for the hungry •
DSC_1758
• Colours and people •
DSC_1773 copy
• Custard Taiyaki ((鯛焼き) in the making •
DSC_1781 copy
• Cotton candy face •
yukat
• Gulping peach sangria on my new Yukata •
DSC_4174 copy
• The only bright afternoon on September •
DSC_2524 copy
• A very Bon Iver kind of morning •
DSC_2366 copy
• ZnC preparation for Singapore Biennale •
DSC_2367 copy
DSC_2378 copy
DSC_2412 copy
• ZnC crew on duty •
DSC_1912 copy
• I quite like Haji Lane •
DSC_1914 copy
• Dinner in between pilling assignments •
DSC_1954 copy copy
• Acil The S.I.G.I.T on their rehearsal night, photo taken by Nara •
DSC_2038 copy copy
• Apparently, Jim Beam won my best friend over me •
DSC_2040 copy copy
• The S.I.G.I.T's gig at Homeclub •
DSC_2052 copy copy
DSC_2107 copy copy
DSC_2232 copy copy
DSC_2106 copy
DSC_2101 copy copy
DSC_2064 copy
DSC_2102 cop1y
DSC_2208 copy
DSC_2153 copy
DSC_2093 copy
DSC_2114 copy
DSC_2178 copy
DSC_2133 copy
DSC_2156 copy
DSC_2165 copy
DSC_2158 copy
DSC_2098 copy
DSC_2184 copy
DSC_2214 copy
• Some photographs I took of them on stage. I forgot how good of a band they are, and I definitely had fun •
DSC_2480 copy
• Endless storm every single day and night for months •
L1004246 copy
• Self portrait I made for a project, taken with my Dad's Leica M-E / f 1.4 •
DSC_2773 copy
• My fruitful deathbed, 25 hours to assessment day •
frame 22x A4
• Mom bought be a warm wool top when she visited •
DSC_2245
frame 2 x A4
• Made it back home to spoil my main man with homemade chocolate ganache cake and dinner on his birthday that one long weekend in September •