Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Video on Camino Frances and Camino Fisterra (Summer 2014)

In summer 2014, almost 4 years to today, I completed the Camino Frances and Camino Fisterra pilgrimage. While it was an amazing experience, its real meaning did not come to me until I was able to connect my Camino pilgrimage with Scripture. I realized that as I was walking the Camino as a pilgrim, I was also walking in the way of truth. Motivated to spread the good news of the gospel, I decided to create this video. I have used scenes from the Camino as a backdrop to introduce God’s Word in this clip. It is my hope that as you “walk” the Camino in this video, you will become hopeful, energized, motivated, fulfilled, and inspired by Scripture.

Some facts about my pilgrimage:
  • Camino duration: June 14 – August 1, 2014 (49 days)
  • Main possessions: 1 backpack, 3 sets of clothes, 1 pair of walking boots, and 1 pair of sandals
  • Camino routes and distance: 
    • 1. Camino Frances - St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, in the French Pyrenees, to Santiago de Compostela in Spain; 784 km (487 miles)
    • 2. Camino Fisterra/Finisterre – Santiago de Compostela, Spain to Fisterra/Finisterre, Spain; 90.4 km (56 miles)
  • Total Camino distance walked: 874 km (543 miles)
  • Average walking speed: 3.9 km/h (2.42 mph)
  • Number of refugios/albergues stayed on the Camino: 46
  • Average refugio/albergue cost per night: €10.40
Let me end with Paul's prayer:
I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God's love, and to know the Messiah's love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19, HCSB)

Friday, July 7, 2017

A Day at Koh Dach (Silk Island) with Light of Mercy Home, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 2 July 2017

Light of Mercy is a home for young boys and girls aged 9-25 who are blind, deaf, disabled, or vulnerable. The home can accommodate 30-35 children. There, the youth learn life skills such as personal hygiene, environmental sanitation, health care, and being self-sufficient by way of helping out with domestic tasks. The children and young adults attend schools that are appropriate for their needs, and when they are not at school, they participate in extracurricular activities such as traditional and modern music, dance, language course, and simple crafts at the home. Most if not all of the children come from and have families in the Cambodian provinces. During long holidays like Khmer New Year and Pchum Ben, many return home to be with their families.

The home relies solely on the generosity of benefactors. In this instance, the children and youth went on a sponsored field trip to Koh Dach with 11th-graders and their teachers from 2 schools in New South Wales, Australia. The children sang, played games, and swam in the muddy Mekong River. Language was mostly a barrier, especially for the young ones, but for the few who spoke English relatively well, they were able to interact with the foreigners, and vice versa. Some Australian students took the opportunity to practice sign language with a few children from Light of Mercy. Through these exchanges, some of the youth became Facebook friends.

The home operates purely on donation-basis, so if you are inclined to make a donation to the home, kindly contact me at [at] gmail [dot] com for details. Thank you in advance.

Naturally, one of the things to do at Silk Island is to go on a silk farm tour. I learned a bit about the worm-to-silk process when I was there. Some interesting facts: 

1) Silkworm moths allegedly mate for 8 long hours. The male eventually dies from fatigue while the female remains alive long enough to lay eggs before she too succumbs to the ordeal. 

2) The eggs turn into tiny silkworms that feed on mulberry leaves. It usually takes a number of days for the worms to grow in size and to spin a cocoon. 

3) Once the yellow cocoons take shape, the producers kill about 80 percent of them before the pulpas metamorphose and hatch into silkworm moths. They kill the pulpas by putting the cocoons under direct hot sun or by boiling them in water.

4) The producers allow about 20 percent of the cocoons to hatch into silkworm moths to continue the breeding process. Cocoons where moths are hatched from are rendered useless as they no longer contain the raw and fine silk.

5) In the next stage, the producers separate the raw and fine silk from the cocoons in hot water. Then they retrieve the silk thread with an eggplant leaf and spin it onto a large spool. The dead pulpas are cooked and eaten as a delicacy.

This is the traditional way of retrieving silk from cocoons. 

Previous post: National Gallery Singapore, January 9, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

National Gallery Singapore - January 9, 2017

Above: Portrait of Lim Loh by Chinese painter Xu BeiHong (1927)

I visited the National Gallery Singapore on a recent visit to Singapore during my term break, and my mind was blown away. I had to write a post about this place. The Gallery, which opened its doors to the public on November 24, 2015, is housed in two prominent national monuments, Singapore's former Supreme Court and City Hall, which are both attractions in and of themselves.

I was impressed and proud of the extensive collection of Asian artwork that is being showcased in the Gallery. With an emphasis on Singapore and Southeast Asia history and culture, the ceramics and artworks featured in the Gallery are distinct from the western religious and medieval artworks that dominate the western museums and galleries that I had visited in past travels. It was both refreshing and captivating to see such unique Asian body of work that I could personally relate to, such as the kampung surroundings, the simple everyday life and tools of the ethnic people, and the traditional attires of the people in the region. I felt at home in this space as I could identify with these aesthetics.

Admission is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) to the Gallery's permanent exhibit. To see both the permanent and special exhibits, the ticket is S$15 per Singaporean/PR. Non-Singaporeans pay a standard general admission fee of S$20 to visit the Gallery's permanent exhibit or S$30 to see both the permanent and special exhibits. There are concessions (discounts) for overseas students and teachers. The Gallery is conveniently located in front of the Padang, a mere 5-10 minute walk from the City Hall MRT station. Highly recommended!

The Gallery -
Housed in the beautifully restored and transformed former Supreme Court and City Hall

Featured Art

Above: Ceramics by Singapore's leading ceramicist Iskandar Jalil

Above left: In The New Millenium by master potter Iskandar Jalil - each delicate scroll is actually molded from a thin layer of clay; Above right: The Pleasure of Being, Crying, Dying, and Eating by Thai artist Montien Boonma (reconstructed in 2015)

Above left: Pagodas II by Malaysian artist Latiff Mohidin (1964); Above right: Serenity by Chinese immigrant artist Chen Wen Hsi (1960s), who was influenced by the Vietnamese artists' use of lacquer

Above right: Cigarette Vendor by Malaysian artist Dzulkifli Buyong (1968-69)

Above left: Perusing a (Political) Poster by Indonesian artist S Sudjojono (1956); Above right: Landscape of Vietnam by Vietnamese artist Nguyen Gia Tri (1940)

Above left: Rama, Sita, and Laksamana in the Forest by Indonesian artist Anak Agung Gede Meregeg (1930s)

Above left: Market at Marmot by French artist Louis Rollet (1940); Above right: Pirogue Races in Bassac (French artists)

Above left: Family Portrait by Myanmar artist Saya Chone (late 19th - early 20th century); Above right: Royal Family by Myanmar artist Saya Chone (1880-1900)

Above left: Espana y Filipinas (Spain and the Philippines) by Filipino artist Juan Luna (1884); Above right: Boschbrand (Forest Fire) by Indonesian artist Raden Saleh (1849)

Above left: An Indonesian Village at Sunset by Indonesian artist Abdullah Suriosubroto

Above left: Malay House, Malacca by Singaporean artist Mohamed Salehuddin (1960); Above right: Wayang Kulit by Singaporean artist Choo Keng Kwang (1950)

Above right: Artist and Model by Singaporean artist Liu Kang (1954)

Above left: Sentosa Island by Singaporean artist See Cheen Tee (1966); Above right: Lotus in a Breeze by Singaporean artist Georgette Chen (1970)

Above left: National Language Class by Singaporean artist Chua Mia Tee (1959)

Above left: Tiger's Whip by Tang Da Wu and participants of A Sculpture Seminar (1991)

Next post: A Day at Koh Dach (Silk Island) with Light of Mercy Home, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 2 July 2017
Previous post: Chisor Mountain, Takeo Province, Cambodia - May 13, 2016