Project Repatriation 2014-2015
Post Date : 2015-08-14
The most significant event in 2014 was making the decision to repatriate to the United States after living in Singapore for the past 10 years. Admittedly, leaving a well-paid job was difficult but there were other more important things in my life. Singapore has continuously changed since my arrival in 2004 and it has since become overcrowded and prohibitively expensive to maintain a space to live, work and play, if any. When it finally became a reality with a job offer as an assistant professor of graphic design at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana, I jumped on the opportunity.
Landing a teaching position has always been tough but for the past 10 years, I was shielded from the realities of the competitiveness in academia. Adjunct filling in as non-tenured new hires, tenured professors getting fired, budget slashes, just to name a few and when I finally decided to join the dog-eat-dog academic world, it literally took almost a year from April 2014 when I applied for the first available position. All in all, some 90 positions, averaging about one interview per 7 applications. Once a job offer was finally a reality with a contract signed, sealed and delivered on on April 9, 2015, it was time to pack up. I was unable to negotiate relocation as part of reimbursement and as a result, I had to find an affordable forwarding company. Eight companies later, I finally settled on Orient Express which came and picked up part of my belongings on June 2, 2015.
Preparations and appointments were next to meet with friends, ex-students and other family members to rejoice for one last time before my departure. Most of my relatives in Malaysia were aware of since I had made the trip home late March. Even my ancestors were informed as I timed it be on Cheng Beng Festival (Tombs cleaning day). Mom who was visiting me in Singapore from April 6 onward before my departure almost 2 months later had no intention to stay to witness all the commotion as it had become painful for her but she couldn't go home as my brother was in Tibet and we were worried about her being alone. It still brings tears to my eyes when I see that picture of her rubbing tears off her face. When June 5 arrived, she was on the plane bound for Malaysia and a day after, on June 6, 2015, it was my turn to board China Airlines for a long flight to America. Looks like I would be missing my niece, Zi Xin's birthday again this year...
Design and Emotion 2014
Post Date : 2015-08-14
Oct 8, 2014, Bogota, Colombia
"To learn is to experience: How our daily interactions with objects, events, the environment and people can be a classroom" was a conference paper that I presented at the Universidad de Los Andes which hosted the 9th International Conference on Design & Emotion in Bogota, Colombia from October 6 - 10, 2014. This year, there were submissions from 24 different countries and all submissions were double-blind reviewed by at least two experts and was carefully assessed by the program committee. The paper was based on the "Creative Visual Experience and Design" course at Nanyang Technological University. To find out more about the course, click here.
Testing a premise put forth by Nathan Shedroff (2001) that there is always an experience created by an object, an event, the environment and people, this paper is a report for an experimental course at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information in Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. Using experience as a form of pedagogical technique in bridging our experience to what could be learned and shared, 144 students are presented with five predetermined categories to choose from, followed by an individual assignment derived from their interpretations of Shedroff's six dimensions of experience. The course is an attempt to add newness to problem-based learning which engages students in contextualized and authentic problems with realistic real-world expectations. By adding our common sensorial and cognitive experiences that we come across everyday as a catalyst for learning and discoveries, the students are also exposed to other learning outcomes--creativity, collaboration, team spirit, artistic appreciation, photography and crafting.
Click here to find out more about Design and Emotion 2014.
Congratulations The Real Reunion!
Post Date : 2015-04-30
March 9, 2014, Singapore
I attended an event organized by my final year students on March 9, 2014 where 40 families gathered to bond through meals at Blisshouse Singapore. Guest of Honor, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ms Low Yen Ling encourages families to support The Real Reunion's movement and plan dining dates with our loved ones! It was not the Chinese New Year reunion dinner but a reminder to encourage families to dine together more frequently and the resiliency of families come under attack from the stresses of living in a modern society which requires families to fork out many hours in the professional work life.
Out of 303 respondents (aged 18 to 25) their survey indicated that today's youth might not find dining together a necessity. Work, school and other distractions make it harder for a family to sit together for a meal. We might have experience one of these scenes during our meal times:
- the parent who could not stop updating his social media status
- the child who needs an Ipad to settle down
- or the kid who refuse to eat if TV is not turned on.
As the supervisor of the project, I was invited by the students to say a thing or two about family and I harked back to the time when my mother who rushed home in her motorcycle alongside the entourage of the Sultan of Kedah in Malaysia, only to be pulled over by the police. They let her go because she kept stressing her desire to come home with a meal for both my brother and I. It was truly a memorable event especially when we realized that she had worn her helmet the wrong way!
Photo Credit: Pink Blue Photography.
Check here for their Facebook link.
Typography Day 2014
Post Date : 2015-05-01
March 1, 2014, Pune, India
The consecutive 7th Typography Day for 2014 at the Symbiosis Institute of Design in Pune, India was annual peer-reviewed international conference for typo enthusiasts. The theme for this year was "Typography and Culture." I presented my paper, titled "Hawking Gawking in Singapore" on March 1, 2014 for the event which ran from 28th Feb - 2nd March 2014.
Here's an abstract of my paper: This paper is about a comparative visual and typographic analyses of culinary signage that display secondary languages of Mandarin, Malay and Tamil in Singapore in addition to the main English language at hawker centers. A hawker center is a collection of stalls selling different types of affordable foods, housed in a covered but open complex, with a common seating area. A list of hawker centers located at different locations in the island, particularly those that offer popular traditional dishes, as identified in the Lonely Planet publication are compared and contrasted as a study to ascertain the underlying layout and design structures employed especially when multiple languages are used as a supportive/graphical form with the purpose to inform and persuade. This is where different compositional elements such as fonts, colors, image, and principles of organizations, materials, craftsmanship and rules are analyzed to ascertain a pattern to provide an understanding of how hawker center signages are designed in a multilingual environment. There are also cases of unintended puns, typographical errors, mismatching fonts, applications of minimalistic approaches as opposed to rarely radical, but safe, tidy, and usually bland designs.
Link to Typography Day 2014.