Whitechapel to Cambridge Heath

A Freecycle encounter. Lovely to say hello to a stranger and she handed me a cork board. (Whitechapel)

Walked along Cambridge Heath Road to north, dropped by Natwest and HSBC, checked out York Hall gym, noted a few cafes and restaurants along the road, dropped the cork board at East Tub, and ended up in Footnote Cafe on Vyner Street.

Lady was happy to see I use a keep cup. Delighted to find a maker space Machines Room behind where a Scapitar workshop is taking place. 

This city still delights me so unexpectedly. I just never stop discovering new things. Just walk along the road and you’ll see.


The value of things

When I started to declutter my place, I didn’t have too much trouble discarding items. I do love the feeling afterwards.

The only things that I couldn’t throw away are those that are associated with my “family” and “friends”: “I couldn’t throw away this plushy because it was given to me by my mum when I was 12, and not that book either, it’s from my dear friend from the States.”

But when I thought about it carefully, there is to be a funny gap between:

keeping these items because of its “value” (“because it’s from my mum!”)


the things that I do that give “value” to relate to these people

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@LivingArchitect on @LondonRealTV

(I don’t know how the hell @LondonRealTV started following me, but thank god it did. I watched an episode before bed till 2am, and another at 10am once I woke up.)

“Time is a creative force that stops things from being irreversible The irreversibility of things is where creative opportunities lie.”

“Co-construct your future by bringing things together.”

“Science, technology and culture… work together… Attempting the unknown is creativity.”

“We should be very flexible about ‘what is a good idea?’.”

You would imagine that these quotes are from artists. In fact, they came from Dr Rachel Armstrong whose biography read as follows:

Rachel Armstrong is Co-Director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research) in Architecture & Synthetic Biology at The School of Architecture & Construction, University of Greenwich, London. Senior TED Fellow, and Visiting Research Assistant at the Centre for Fundamental Living Technology, Department of Physics and Chemistry, University of Southern Denmark. Rachel is a sustainability innovator who investigates a new approach to building materials called ‘living architecture,’ that suggests it is possible for our buildings to share some of the properties of living systems. She collaboratively works across disciplines to build and develop prototypes that embody her approach.

She might have a biography of stuffs, but listen to her speak – she is just someone who is not boxed into the idea of “who I am, what I do”. Lively, explains science in a way that I can actually understand on a Sunday morning, hopelessly optimistic and just a generally exciting person.

Watch the video: http://www.londonreal.tv/episodes/dr-rachel-armstrong-earths-bright-future/

Is it OK to be a middle class?

I got my first Les Mis experience yesterday – on movie. (Yes, shamefully, I hadn’t watched the musical let alone read the book.)

Whilst I enjoyed the multilayered story, I was made uncomfortable and on a certain degree, questioned the fact that Marius who “pretended to be poor” and fought for the revolution, after the whole thing failed terribly, he married Cosette eventually in a beautiful home which I guess it’s his family’s and that they lived happily ever after. A friend said that that’s the self-indulgent part of middle class productions, no matter what the context was, the ultimate message was that we all would be seeking our own happiness.

I joined BERSIH movement since last April. Whilst I believed in the cause, was what I did – walking on the streets and spreading the word online – enough? Why did I believe in the cause in the first place – was it because I was a bored middle class where I needed some entertainment and hobby that made me feel good? Just like going volunteering for a day in Uganda, something that really just makes me feel like I’ve done something great and worth a pat on my own shoulder? And is this – being a middle class – OK?

(Does this relate to class, generation, upbringing…?)

Amazing Apps

You must know someone who has the latest piece of technology, but it has never been fully utilised and reach its potential. In fact, if you know me, then I am one of the someone.

So my eyes were wide open when I attended the Creative + Digital event “Mobile Apps Showcase” #attheSpa yesterday, organised by @TheLoopVideo at IdeasTap HQ.

The apps that were showcased really went beyond the function of utility, and beyond my imagination. They were beautifully made, well-thought out, and gave information in a way that only an iPad app could give. They provided a whole new user experience.

Rethink the terminology of app. Make one very well.

Explore Shakespeare is the one particular app that got me really excited. It broke down the barriers between Shakespeare in a really contemporary way. Word clouds, mood charts, built-in Apple dictionary; visuals and sounds in comparison became outdated.

I shall be downloading the Macbeth one and use it before I watch the adapted theatrical version played by James MacAvoy in March. Can’t wait!

Screenshot of the app

Explore Shakespeare App: Romeo and Juliet





Screenshot of word cloud and character circle

Contemporary way of explaining Shakespeare

Image source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/appsblog/2012/oct/31/shakespeare-ipad-apps

Birthday Wishlist

I am not a big birthday celebration type of person but this year, 2012, I am using it as an excuse to draw up a wish list.

If you are reading this, please would you be kind enough to help me a step closer to what I want to do?

  • Travel funds: Airmiles, air tickets, hotel vouchers
  • Memberships to art institutions (e.g. Tate Modern, Royal Academy of Art, Barbican other membership schemes that I didn’t know existed)
  • A sturdy, lovely umbrella
  • Camera accessories: tripod; flash gun; camera shop vouchers
  • Books: Your favourite book – poems collections (Charles Bukowski?), personal development, or any Jonah Lehrer; Amazon vouchers; Kindle vouchers.
  • iTunes voucher – to download and keep my favourite films
  • Apple voucher – to get a new laptop