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The past week has been rather ‘mortifying.’ It started off with the Boston bombing, followed by the Texas explosion. Earthquakes terrorized Iran, then Sichuan, China. The threat of H7N9 lingers on, as well as the ricin letters. It was an easy week to give up faith for the future.

I am not trying to downplay the sufferings of all these victims, but it is usually the bad news that are reported, and the good news shrugged off. In part due to my current employment status (waiting for school), I have followed the news quite habitually. I would have my breakfast over the morning news – only to have my appetite dampened.

It is grim, but I’ll have to start with this upsetting article. The dark side of Dubai. This came from way back, but it recently re-surfaced on my facebook feed. It reminded me to think beyond what can be seen, sometimes to see the ugly truths.

On a lighter note about news, this graphic artist, LOGHIFICIO, renders intriguing illustrations from headlines.

A Sad Tale Of A Missing Stormtrooper.

Another photo series, somewhat bittersweet. In a few elaborate photos, Matej Peljhan sketched an Imaginary Adventure of Luka, a boy who suffers from muscular dystrophy.

In ending, a flip-through of a collection of photographs by Petri Artturi Asikainen. He photographed one man and one woman from age 0 to 100. There is such a long journey ahead.

100 YEARS IN TOKYO, flip through from Petri Artturi Asikainen on Vimeo.

At last, back again on my sunny island. The chilly weather in Seoul was reminiscent of the cold winter in Paris, but instead of ‘going solo’ this time around, I was with my family. In fact, Seoul isn’t one of my favorite cities for reasons I shall reserve to myself. Personal experiences only serve to perpetuate stereotypes. Nonetheless, I could use some family time after my absence for three months. It was a food trip, at least for me, in addition to catching the scores of cherry blossoms tree that line the streets. I wasn’t particularly impressed by these flowers, blooming in their copious amount, but that’s one thing off the ‘100-things-to-see-before-you-die’ list. My mum and my sister did some shopping, ‘some’ being an understatement to mask my partial discontent having to wait for them among the deluge of cosmetic products. Family time.

Anyway, it’s been some time for a ‘Take 5’, so I’ll come back to it, but in a slightly different format. I am extending the scope beyond art and design, so it’s pretty much just a collation of five things that I have found intriguing. It will be clutter with more words, as you have seen. I’ll cut to the chase.

First, an art installation by Ann Hamilton at Park Avenue Armory. The Event of a Thread. I don’t pretend to I know these artists at all – it’s a start, of nothing serious, just some dabbling. This was way back, stuck in my cache folder. Impressive by itself, made more so with this film by Paul Octavious.

Another interesting post from Inspirational Geek. Van Gogh Tilt Shift Photography.

Having tasted a deal of pastries in Paris, it is easy to disregard what we have back home. Nonya kueh. I can imagine people who have always lived with sophisticated cuisine giving scornful frowns upon plates of such wobbly Peranakan pastries. Food, shouldn’t be judged by how complicated it is, or where it came from. It is, however, difficult to be free of such prejudice. Bias affects taste, to some extent. This article on BBC magazine has done some justice to these delicious kuehs.

Google Street View Hyperlapse from Teehan+Lax Labs on Vimeo.

A recent discovery, Google Street View Hyperlapse.  Teehan+Lax Labs came up with this stitching programme that puts together street view images from Google Maps. You can make your own at the website, but be discerning when choosing the route, because I’ve tried it for an expressway spanning Singapore, and it was underwhelming. Somewhere with more nature works better. That just goes to show how a Garden City (or from a recent development goal – ‘City in a Garden’) pales in comparison with what the world offers out there.

I’ll end with a thought on the advertising industry. We can criticize the industry for all its lack of substance for all we want; it remains part and parcel of life. I can’t be certain what makes an advertising company successful, but if I have to advice a friend paving his/her way in the industry, I’ll recommend something associated with the cosmetic industry, especially so in South Korea, the Land of Cosmetics, as much as it is the Land of Kimchi. How did I come to this conclusion? Well… Advertising is all about persuasion (in my very limited perspective), and these cosmetics companies pulled off with their successes convincing women (and men of course) to put anything on their faces. Some things that some will never dare touch in their original form. For instance, snail cream. Here’s an article: Katie Holmes uses Snail Slime to keep her skin in top condition. That’s just one example. Bee venom, snake venom, 24k gold, truffle oil, clay, some elusive element from the periodic table and so on. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find a kimchi facial mask some day. Perhaps you can eat it before, or even after.

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(Apologies for the private video. It happened some time after this post.)

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It hits me sometimes, in the middle of the night, thinking about what it means to be alive. What am I here for? What am I supposed to do? No, this isn’t about existential depression; I am not approaching the subject from the side of pessimism. Mere curiosity and pure dissatisfaction with 42, brought this upon me.

I find myself deleting sentences except for this one. It is difficult to discuss about “the meaning of having a meaning of life” without sounding like an emotionally dysfunctional person.

After watching these, maybe it’s all about doing something that doesn’t make sense, to be unafraid of judgement, to do something to make people, and thus yourself, happy. It wouldn’t hurt to have dreams too; it makes you a happier person.

P.S. I don’t endorse rodeo.