Monday, January 30, 2006

Chinese New Year Tea

Despite my misgivings, I went to a quiet Chinese New Year gathering last night. I was a little hesitant as I did not know the host and was worried about intruding. But my friend Calvin convinced me that it was just the type of arty gathering that would appeal to me.

Isn't it annoying when your friends know you better than yourself? Fortunately for me, Calvin is not one to say "I told you so". The host's apartment was an architectural beauty. I really regretted not bringing my camera as I looked around his apartment. Clean lines, open concept, high ceilings evoking a Soho loft, tastefully exposed brick work in feature areas ... the apartment appealed to me despite it's masculine and industrial feel.

I love lofts but I typically eschew the hip, industrial look (which I think has become uber common now) although I have no problems creating that feel for others. And in Singapore where the lack of creativity has led many homes to sport either the clueless corn-fed country look, the So-Zen-that-I-forgot-furniture look or the industrial meanzcheap look, this apartment scored high in my design books. With its blend of industrial and natural materials, it still managed to exude a fresh appeal despite the overdone design concept. It was a true showcase of the archiect host's talent and skill as well as a real home.

The fact that he was very cute helped too - no, I am not ashamed to admit I am that shallow! I really liked the fact that he had an open bathroom that was encased in industrial bricks that faced the main road! The man definitely had an exhibitionistic streak in him but he assured me the large plants positioned strategically on his balcony saved him from being arrested for public and indecent exposure.

I adored his kitchen which was completely open on one side, looking out into the row of low houses and the trees that lined his street and letting a cool night breeze weave through the entire house. The cement block island was functional yet modern looking. Everything was very stylish yet functional - there's nothing worse than style without form or function. The other side of his kitchen opened into a small indoor garden while another led to his cavernous dining and living room. The balcony was a reading nook that was a simple cement slab overlooking the main street with lush tropical plants on the ledge that prevented you from falling from the "infinity platform". The sense of space he managed to create by using scaled down proportions on his fittings, which still effectively functional, was the crowning jewel of this handsome apartment.

It is apparent he has mad talent and I felt really lucky I managed to see this apartment before he moved out. Yes, the host has just sold the apartment. Apparently, his thing is to buy, design, build, live in for a while and then sell his apartments and houses. How I envy him! I can't wait to see what he would come up with next. It also made me eager for the next art and design gathering where he would show me some of his previous projects.

Another bloke I met last night was wildly hilarious and I was giggling hysterically all night as we discussed some of the design fiascos sported by supposedly high-end resorts and spas. Imagine my surprise when he turned out to be an amazing singer.

There was an architect who turned out to be a fellow yoga practitioner and a neighbour of sorts; a Frenchman who spoke better Chinese than I could ever hope to learn who discussed Chinese poetry and the documentary on Zhenghe on Discovery Channel; and an interesting conversation led by Calvin and another bloke about Thai history and fashion. All these were helped with copious amounts of red wine. All in all, it was a brilliant night.

Waking this morning, I decided I might want to avoid wine today and have a bit of a detox by just having Chinese tea - I remember Mr Tan's little lesson! Looking at my little tray of cookies and oranges, I began playing with the composition. I think being surrounded by so much talent last night made me unintentionally begin to put together a still-life composition. The lighting was just soft enough to make it interesting too and I could feel my hands itching to open up my paintbrush box.

It was a hard struggle to bat down the urge to paint. I knew if I started I would not be able to stop and it would be days before I emerged. I had things to do so I valiantly pushed down the urge. But I could not resist taking out my camera - if only my camera skills were better. Sigh. I definitely did not do justice to the light. But here is what I did during my Chinese New Year tea.

If I give you these mandarin oranges, will you give me ang paos? Please? Well, bah humbug to you too then!

Categories - Rambling Prose


Anonymous Lera said...

Hi MM , Greetings for the chinese New year!
Best wishes & happy blogging for whole of 2006 :)

11:41 pm  
Blogger 3A Gurl said...

Sorry hor...even with those golden paos, can still recognise you. You look good.

8:07 am  
Blogger strawberry said...

I read your post about the confused Sup Buntut. I like oxtail soup but never really tried making it over here =p

Gong xi once again!

10:03 am  
Blogger MM said...

Hi Lera, thank you so much and the same for you too in 2006!

3A - Really ah? I was trying for one of those Austin Powers shots you know ... thanks for the compliment!

Strawberry - strangely enough I have not made Sup Buntut here in Singapore. I think the last time I made it was in Germany. Maybe it's time to try again. Hope you are having a great Chinese New Year!

7:51 am  

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