Monday, 22 December 2008


A nice outdoorish place with hot off-the-wok food, and nasi lemak, too. Some corporations use it for team building outings, etc. Adventure activities such as white water rafting, jungle trekking, caving, body rafting (see pics), available. Orang Asli style accommodation with clean bedding. Good for back-to-nature destressing.

spa jacuzzi from stream water...with rainbow

chalet over the stream

sleeping accommodation...

interior of chalet...

the best of home cooked....

...soup cooked in bamboo

recreation for the mind...

body rafting...

Transportation to the rapids, refugee style...

(To Get to the resort:
Exit the NKVE at Gopeng and head for the town. Turn right after the bus terminal on the right, go straight till the roundabout. You'll see the signboard for the resthouse. Just follow the signs for a few km. Further in, the road is not so well maintained but still ok for cars.)

Friday, 5 December 2008


Hi Nat, in response to your request… I’d better write this before it gets useless... haha!

To your question, “Is it better to get an architectural degree from the UK or from Australia?” I’d have to offer my thots from an absolutely non-pragmatic and highly personal level. I mean, it won’t be about
  • Affordability
  • Comparative costs
  • Course alignments with PAM’s recognition
  • The worth of repeating a year in the UK
  • Comparative ‘course difficulties’
  • And that sort of thing

For that…the students will be better served by student counsellors from our College and any number of private set ups here and there. They have the uptodate info.

How I can be helpful will be perhaps to relate how it feels like to have practised architecture as a British graduate for the last 20+ years, and, I suppose, generally what it (still) feels like to be a British trained person.

In the new days when I first came back, there was a general prejudice amongst employers that Brits were on average ‘more thoroughly’ trained for the profession than others. By that ‘they’ meant that we’d been very well-groomed in ‘how to put a building together’, and would be more readily aware of the practicalities of doing the job. We actually had subjects called ‘Professional Practice’ and ‘Building Regulations’ in 3rd or 4th Yr. And, as u know, our Malaysian building regulations and fire regulations are a kinda handmedown from colonial days. The fact of the matter—our actual training and the corresponding public perception—made us feel good. In contemporary parlance, we were cool, felt cool, too.

Of course, sure, sure, some of that has changed now. And in any case any bright young woman can easily pick up those rules and constructional skills in a jiffy even if she’s never eaten the original roast beef and Yorkshire pudding in her life.

It’s changed because of the near-virtual borderlessness of the architectural flow of information and flight of pollination. Take Datum, for example: We heard from Scandinavians, Americans, Brits, Japanese, Malaysians, etc. and we all, more or less, reverberated with the same wavelengths—which means that we could just as easily get a degree from Tokyo and feel at home practising in New York or Ho Chi Minh City, no?

And it will get increasingly that way, I’m sure you’d agree.

It’s the other things, then, those things that enrich the other, larger side of us that will be the criteria, in the end.

I remember getting cheap theatre tickets every summer and frittering away all my allowances at the West End in London. (The Student Union Card did wonders for getting discounts!) I saw the original Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita, Starlight Express, Rose, Duet for One, The Romans in Britain, amongst more other plays and musicals than I can remember, sitting so near the stage you could reach out and tickle the soprano.

And standing on THAT rock in the Yorkshire Moors that Richard Gere stood on in the film Yanks… yes, that, too. And, of course, the Lake District, the northern Welsh countryside, and dipping into the Scottish stream to test my resistance to cold… All that somehow changed our skin: I mean, our large osmosis membrane. Perceptive senses. Things didn’t feel the same after that, we didn’t feel the way we felt before, or for the same things. The landscapes of post-youth, it seemed, transformed the certainties of childhood.

We were a little ‘left-off-centre’ even if we, overseas students, weren’t particularly proactive. It was in the air, the attitudes and assumptions behind every expression, be it the newspapers, tv documentaries, or the visit by Sue Slipman, the National Students’ Union president, to working-class Leeds, where I was. We were ‘surprised’ that a representative for all university students could be Red. We all read ‘Where Monsoons Meet’, published by FUEMSSO which was based in London.

Pervading this relatively strange milieu was the wonderful British humour which I love to this day—from The Two Ronnies to Not the Nine O’clock News, and much more in between, and all around. Wonderful!

And then, of course, the irreplaceable music in its home country, in its myriad variation: you could never imagine that the same word or phrase could be inflected so differently depending on locale in that tiny country. You either hated it with postcolonial vengeance or embraced it as part of humanity. I listened to the English language then, its music and its nuances. Total immersion, they call that method.

Ok la, what’s all this got to do with our objective at onset?

Well, this ‘other’ education afforded by the place, I think, on reflection, moulded a certain pliability of task-approach, a certain egalitarian slant to world views, and a certain jolly quirkiness to circumstances; and made the subsequent practice of architecture creative in the broadest sense of the word.

And I think people saw that, even if they couldn’t put their proverbial finger on it.

And I wonder if it would have been the same if I had gone to Australia.

And what does it feel like now?

It’s one of those strange experiences. You attire yourself with a garment of everlasting beauty; but come a time you realise that there are many, many others, and that you perceive its beauty only because it is next to your skin. What might have been gloriously splendid may now appear a little dated, or at best must now take its place in the kaleidoscope of fashions parading the globe. And that’s ok, Babe, that’s ok.

The other little matter (well known to all) is interesting. Students who finish in December don’t ‘lose’ any time by going to Australia, and the same applies to those finishing in June for the UK. Mix that up and you hang around for 9 months or so. Well, what’s the hurry? I did Form 6, taught the Remove for a full year, and then messed about and loafed around for the 9 months before starting 1st Year Architecture in September. I ‘lost’ 1 year and 9 months. But it was a case of seized opportunities. That year’s teaching, at that age, and that once-in-a-lifetime bingo to be a 9-month samseng were priceless.

That’s the larger education.

About the specific education, I should say just one thing: Above every criterion stands one—the tutor. The chance to work with an inspiring tutor is reason enough to go even to Timbuktu.

Hehe… says the tutor, seriously.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Well, it's done! And it wasn't too bad either, was it?

Well done All!

Last minute preparations before the 930h still preparing at 910h!

.... finishing touches to the model or what?

Khang Siang bows to his stunner

Hamilton shows the way

Don't pose, can or not?

Heavy stuff from Teck Hao

"Here's how you present with sign language." (Mr Choy, Karlson & Sze Kee)

Commemorative Centre to Rain in Taiping [I mean the watery sort, not the Korean Singer.](Chze Yoon)

Datuk Kamil Merican, CEO of GDP Architects Sdn Bhd

The tall and short of it... (Chi Ming &

"Black is in." (According to some.) (Hong Joo)

One of the 2 prison presenters (Way Wen)

David goes pink. (Pink is also in)

Er.... New clock tower for old! ....for Taiping

Lakshmi hopes and prays for the best

Kwan Kin wonders...

The Jolly Gang was there...

So was the Naughty Boys' Gang...

Danial casts his spell...

Azleen dishes out a relaxing show

Sheikh grabs his chance

Who's surprised by what, eh? (Van Yenn)

Joseph makes full use of our Taiping model
Er....are the grades the joke...or what? (Kid, Karlson & Veron)

Hotshot confuses, I mean impresses, the Datuk

Minimalism can also be worn (Samantha)

Stressing a point....or stressing out Hotshot?

Joseph pulls the crowds,

& entertains, too!

Suja needs a massage after seeing all those schemes

Kamil actually said, "I am impressed!"

Summing up... at the end of a long, 3 week slog

Khang Siang isn't impressed

Monday, 1 December 2008

Ian's request name list

Ian, this is the list you have requested at 7.00pm submission in both the studios.

1 Chi Ming
2 Khang Siang
3 Saber
4 Shang Rong
5 Azrul
6 Preshan
7 Hamilton
8 YanEe
9 Hong Joo
10 TeckHao
11 Afiq
12 ShiQi
13 Charlene Tan
14 Liem Leonardi
15 Chua Say Hang
16 Vincent
17 Kwan Kin
18 SzeKee
19 Chong Kok Siong
20 Chze Yoon
21 Lakshmi
22 Azleen
23 Chy Horng
24 Yee Lim
25 Yu Wei
26 Ooi Tze Pin
27 VanYenn
28 Amanda Cheah
29 Jillion Soh
30 Toh Yi Hong
31 Bryan Chew
32 Daniel Seliong

most of us are here =)

Friday, 28 November 2008

Presentation Board + Model tips

I was chatting with Ian on msn and these are few tips he gave me.

1. To compose a REALLY REALLY NICE board cos that will REALLY sell your scheme and get u the marks

2. choose ur BEST image and make that the biggest dominant image on the board. bleed it to 3 sides if u canit means like the image goes right to the edge of your board without borders

3. plans are important so they should be prominently placed and large enuf with just enuf essential info

4. make the plans punchy by putting in shadows. shadows should be v light to give a 3 d effect

5. have a series of images taking ppl for a walk thru the building cos the ROUTE is v important in this project

6. u must put in the TEXTURAL QUALITIES in your bld to show what kind of textures ur bld materials r made of and always ask urself "Does this material have a texture? or is it just flat? flat and white? or has colour and shade? and good to touch?"

7. montage building to site - that's v important to show context how it fits in. with google earth don't make that too big. That can be a "SITE PLAN" 1: 300 OR 400 OR 500

8. HAVE a variety of scales of image parts. that's why it's important to plan ur board layout V V carefully. it's a MAKE OR BREAK situation

9. NO don't do detailed site model. that's to show form and space. to show relationship to site 1:500 and fit it into the Town model and photograph will do. show archtectonic element d at 1:100. 1:500 is blocky

10. nite shots usually more sexy than day shotsso go for it. your Main image can even be a nite shot and the overall colour tone of your board can be dark

11. you need to have A FEW image from inside looking outwards and if u can manage it make it a NIGHT AFTER THE RAIN image cos you'll get lots of nice reflections on wet surfaces

12. Minimum words. think hard about your DESIGN INTENTION and talk about ur design intention. a short "architect's statement" will do. as long as u have many captions, one for each image and illustration so that ppl will fully understand what ur trying to show on the board

13. sections usu work better if they are a bit bigger than plans. but u have to use ur discretion

14. u need to show some planting in ur scheme. to make it more "friendly, green, nice". try to make ur spaces flow into the outside green

15. Impt that u TEST PRINT tomorrow or ur colours and clarity make shock you

****** all my studio mates...please keep ur sanity check always. I'm already goin insaneeeEE!