Archive for the Literary Musings Category

The Cablecar

Posted in Literary Musings on September 13, 2012 by Eugene


The Cablecar

The silver box rose lightly up from the valley,
ape-easy, hanging on by its one arm;
in minutes, it had shrunk the town to a diagram,
the leaping river to a sluggish leat of kaolin,
the fletched forests to points it overrode.
It had you in its web of counterweights,
of circles evolved to parallel straight lines.

Riding the long slurs, it whisked you over
the moraine’s hopeless rubble. It had your heart
in your mouth at every pylon, where it sagged,
leaned back, swooped on. It had you hear how ice
cracked on the cable. It had you watch it throw
and already crumpled shadow of bent steel
onto the seracs. It made you think of falling.

By the time it lowered you back to the spread valley,
to the broad-roofed houses decorated with lights,
you could think only of what it was like to step
out, at the top, onto the giddy edge
of snowfields still unprinted, that pure blaze;
to be robbed of your breath by the thin air, by a glimpse
of the moon’s daytime ghost on solid blue.
— Lawrence Sail


Posted in Literary Musings on July 30, 2012 by Eugene

“Solitude, I reflected, is the one deep necessity of the human spirit to which adequate recognition is never given in our codes. It is looked upon as a discipline or penance, but hardly ever as the indispensable, pleasant ingredient it is to ordinary life, and from this want of recognition come half our domestic troubles. The fear of an unbroken tete-a-tete for the rest of his life should, you would think, prevent any man from getting married…Modern education ignores the need for solitude: hence a decline in religion, in poetry, in all the deeper affections of the spirit: a disease to be doing something always…”

–Freya Stark, Valley of the Assassins


Stone and Picture

Posted in Literary Musings on February 19, 2012 by Eugene

In the Pieta, Michelangelo finally solved the problem of depicting a full grown man held decorously in the arms of a woman.

The judges at the World Press Photo of the Year 2011 recognize its enduring appeal, even if they see Michelangelo’s sculpture subconsciously. The collapse of a man on the arms of a woman is hard to see chiseled in stone; equally hard to photograph in Yemen’s interiors.


The photograph I would spend the years trying to catch…

Posted in Literary Musings on February 1, 2010 by Eugene

Personally, I don’t think any other picture comes closer to approximating the beauty of a landscape, or that of a sad goodbye, or simply saying how far one should travel from home.

You have a wish.

Posted in Literary Musings on January 13, 2010 by Eugene

You wish that something might exist, and then you work on it until it does. You want to give something to the world, something truer, more beautiful, more painstaking, more serviceable, or simply something other than what already exists. And right at the start, simultaneous with the wish, you imagine what that “something other” might be like, or at least you see something flash by. And then you set off in the direction of the flash, and you hope you don’t lose your orientation, or forget or betray the wish you had at the beginning.

And in the end, you have a picture of pictures of something, you have music, or something that operates in some new way, or a story, or this quite extraordinary combination of all these things: a film.

-Wim Wenders

Shrinking Salzburg

Posted in Literary Musings on January 26, 2009 by Eugene

Just as I’m considering an expensive foray into the world of analog photography, some cool digital effect has come by to upset the apple cart. I’ve just learnt how to do this miniaturizing effect on photos. Especially good for landscapes and buildings taken from far. It’s dead easy to apply this in Photoshop CS.

Here’s the original – my favourite European town which I’ll hope to drive to from Singapore one day — a good 10,000km.


And here’s the toy version — You could take a picture of it using it tilt-shift lens, but I think it is not an accessory you find everyday in your camera shop. So thank Photoshop CS!


Sweet memory!

Posted in Literary Musings on September 30, 2008 by Eugene

I just spent an hour browsing through coverart of old games! Really felt so nostalgic after that, I mean it’s amazing how pictures can be such a hotline to memory.

How furious I was when I found out that my ’88 XT said NO to “Might and Magic” diskettes. There was something like an mechanical bronchitis coming from the steel casing that told me installation failed! I screamed at mummy, asking her to break the bank so I could play the game. Mummy said “Ok lor, you want to make us all poor for your game, go ahead.” I’ll never forget that.

Then I remembered the good old SJI days, when the seedy Katong shopping centre was the haunt for 5.5 inch diskette games, all wrapped up with their covers in nice sleeves. Who could forget unforgettable Pauline who worked at BASIC computer centre? Where is she now? 😦

Those were also the salad days when games like GOLDEN AXE, KYRANDIA were the staple of the EGA 16-color screen. This was something bigger than a quantum leap for mankind, bigger than anything else combined, especially for a struggling student like me trying to pay $6 a week for his gaming needs. I also recall fighting with papa over the purchase of the 256 VGA monitor, which I kept shouting to him “Photo Quality you know!” over and over again.

But having recalled all these wonderful memories, I’m glad I was such an avid gamer. Seeing all these game covers brings that flood of memories back again… long, long before love, academic and work began their assault on my future years.