Teng|Kok Wai

"The world is for us to interpret." is a strong belief of a seventeen year old student.
Here I am interpreting my own circumstances in this beautiful world in my own way, using words to
express thought. I read and shoot lomographs to satisfy this curious mind.

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[X] 20111013, 9:23 PM


[X] 20110924, 10:56 AM
Optical Distortion.

(Image taken using LC-W, Ektachrome 160T)
The name of the 11th roll of film.

 After writing my last post, "Why Lomo?", I am challenged about the validity of my words. I wrote, "every exposure is truth within its frame" because it is "the natural reaction of the light with the chemicals of the film."

But really, how true is that statement?

Just take a look at the photo I took above. Yes, it is boring, the lighting isn't that great as well. Take a second close look at the photo again. Logic will tell you something is very wrong with this photo. Who on earth constructs a bench by the pond/river (it is a reservoir, btw.), facing away from the water body! In reality, the bench does face the reservoir just that the photo shows otherwise.

Allow me to illustrate the situation that day. I was happily taking photos that day, but I can't seem to reach the end of the film despite taking way more than 36 exposures. Fearing that there is something wrong with the mechanism in my camera, I rewind the film quickly. Then, I realise I am on HF (half-frame) mode on my camera. That explains everything. Blame my itchy fingers the night before, tweaking the modes out of boredom.

The exposures I took turned out to be a panoramic roll. Since the lab I went was not able to scan panoramas, I asked them to scan whatever they can. And so, we have a strange photo like the one above. In fact, it is actually two exposure in a frame. That means my statement is correct to some extent, just that I didn't consider the possibility of multiple exposure in a single frame.

I am fascinated by the added sense of unpredictability in this type of photography. So if I continue to take full frame images at half frame, and allow the lab to scan whatever their machine can scan, I have added two folds of randomness in my photos that I can't control.  That translates to more mistakes and more surprises as well.

(Image taken using LC-W, Ektachrome 160T)
Check out this photo that I named the mannequin and the golden crane. I really liked this photo very much and it is such a surprise, the golden crane is from another exposure but had blended in pretty well. In fact, it looked as if it flying through the alley, which provided some depth to the photo

Now forget rigidity and embrace randomness!

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[X] 20110915, 2:36 PM
Why Lomo?

(Image taken by Lawypop)

In contrast to all the technical comparison on why lomography or analogue photography is better, I chose to look at it from a different perspective, my point of view.

I see it as a deeper concept, somewhat philosophical

Similarly to questions like "how do you know whether you exist", or "how do we distinguish between reality and a dream", my question is "How do you know whether what you see is the correct preception of something when it is your only perspective?"

This question is in fact, similar to a question when I was a young child. When I was small, I wondered on the question, how do the child really understand that the colour he is preferred to, is the exact colour he/she perceives with his eyes. For example, when a mother tells the child that the patch of grass over there is green, but maybe the child sees a different shade of green, like bright green when it is supposed to be dark green. (or even another color if he is colorblind, I didn't know about colour-blindness then) Then, he will grow up identifying the wrong shade of green because that is his only perception, no one sees what he sees, neither do he see what others sees.

Back to my point, often what you see is not what you get in lomography, because one uses a X-pro slide film or the parallax error of the viewfinder and what not. Maybe the camera or film is correct that the sky is really green and we are fooled by our eyes that the sky is blue. Okay, bad example.

My point is to judge the "truth" with our eyes with a pitch of salt, see our beautiful world in even more perspective and colours. It doesn't have to a perfect shot, every exposure is truth within its frame, you can't deny that it is a natural reaction of the light with the chemicals of the film, with you as the strategic catalyst. What's more, since there is a little time lag between the shots taken and the time you send it to the lab. Looking through the exposures against the light can be an exciting experience. I always hold my breath when I load the cd of my scanned exposures.

Pablo Picasso's paintings includes many uniquely deformed shapes. One cannot argue that his human faces are biologically inaccurate without being laughed at for lack of artistic sense. In fact, these shapes are manifestion of his artistic inspiration as he is able to look at reality from different perspectives.

Whether this is a ridiculous or artistic evaluation of lomography, it is just a 'lomocommendation' for your reading pleasure. :)



[X] 20110909, 11:30 PM
What A Vicious Cycle.

(Image taken using Holga 135BC, Superia 400)
In comparison, with the determination I made in my previous post, A Wakeup Call, things really went really bad.


For days I am stuck in this never ending cycle. Sleep late (past 1am), to wake up late, usually around 10-11am, which passed my 8-9am quota, to my astonishment! And because I woke up late, things dragged past midnight and I am still jumpy as ever. And the cycle goes on and on.

But what is the point of writing it down?
That's to push on no matter what little we had. That should be the spirit.

With some 40 over, 50 days to A Levels, there is bound to be many disappointing moments, but what is important, is to rebound immediately. I can't emphasise enough on this point.

And so, I transformed a what seemed to be a negative article to one filled with positivity.

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[X] 20110902, 11:34 PM
A Wakeup Call.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook this morning. Half-awake, I clicked this seemingly harmful link. Little did I know the content in this video is going to hit me so hard that I can't stop thinking about it.

"I am here to tell you, number one, that most of you say you want to be successful, but you don't want it bad, you just kinda want it. You don't want it bad that you want to party, most of you don't want success as much as you want to sleep!"

This sentence really hit the nail right on the head! How bad do I want to be successful? How bad really?

I had a habit to set three alarms when I am not needed to wake up early. 8.30, 9.00 and 10.00. Why did I set three alarms when ultimately I am going to wake up at 10.00? Yes, it is to prevent me from missing the first alarm and sleeps till godknowswhen, since I am quite a heavy sleeper. However, implicitly I am giving too much leeway to myself! Did I not wake up when it rang at 8.30? I did. What did I tell myself? "Oh it is 8.30, another alarm in 30mins, get some sleep." And then, I will always regret that I had too little time in the day because I hadn't wake up earlier. Why that agony? One alarm, no leeway, sprung up to work. "How bad do I want to be successful really?!"

My penfriend once told me that I am just waiting for something to change. Truth, indeed. Why do I keep fishing for new avenues of knowledge, when I had set sight on skills that I want to achieve and far from its mastery? Don't I know that I will only get better when I spend time practicing it? Truth be told, I am impatient! Inherent in my mind, I told myself, just the next second or minute, I'd find something new to learn. Why don't I spend more time searching then? It is easier than practicing! All this led to a superficial, surface level knowledge. I rather look for new pools of knowledge and be awed by my accidental discovery rather than carefully examine  one's delicacy and dive into the wonders of a single pool.

Why didn't I learn my lesson? It is all about additional math in O Levels. It used to be my nightmare that bugged my upper secondary years. No matter what I do, I can't seem to get anything above a F9, which is the lowest possible grade. As the days of the national exam close in, I have no choice but to keep practicing, papers after papers. Eventually, I scored a distinction for it. How did I achieve it? Soon, I forgot this very important life lesson.

Why had I been so stubborn? Again, it is time to call for such desperate measures. This time for the A Levels. Twice in a roll, I must really succeed and most importantly, internalize this essential life lesson. Only by putting the concept into daily practice will I be one step closer to becoming a better person. Which could be said to be another empty promise of mine without action...

"When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, you will be successful. The only thing you'll try to do is to get some air, you wouldn't care about the basketball game,  you wouldn't care what's on tv..., the only thing you care about is to get some fresh air, that's it.
If you go to sleep, you might miss the opportunity of being successful. That's how bad you got to work. Don't try to quit, you are already in pain, get an award from it?"

Deep lessons, Kok Wai, when will you start to understand?

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[X] 20110901, 9:04 PM
Books I Read: New Human Revolution Volume 1

(Taken using Canon A3100, B&W mode)
Books I Read, is an ongoing feature in which I document my thoughts about the books I had recently read. Writing this column had encouraged me to think even deeper into the content of the content, and serve as a driving force to read even more.

I should have read this book a long time ago.

With a little bit of spare time I had after my prelims, I decided to finish at least a book from my reading list. In fact, I had accumulated a couple of half-read books as I coped between revision for my examinations, and some light reading to allow myself to think out of the difficulties in my schoolwork.

Well, the first book I had finish is the New Human Revolution Volume 1 by Daisaku Ikeda Sensei. Let me talk about the events before I acquire the book. It was in March-April, during the SD Kenshu where I decided to join the SD Publications. During the interview, few questions were directed to my relationship with Sensei, how I felt about him, or have I read the Human Revolution or the New Human Revolution. I am dumbstruck! Even though I am a fortunate baby (the fortune to be borned in a family who practice Nichiren Buddhism), I cannot answer the question. To me then, Sensei was a wise leader and he did a lot of great things. That was my answer. Upon listening to my answer, YingJie, the vice SD Chief, encouraged me to read the NHR to find out more.

I forgot about the matter until the June holidays when I decided to visit the National Library regularly to read and  widen my knowledge. Coincidentally, I found that there is a copy of the HR in the library. Little by little, I read about strong determination of Toda Sensei to rebuild the Soka Gakkai from scratch after his release. Unfortunately, I did not managed to finish the book. It was only in July when I finally picked up a copy of the NHR.

Finally, about the content of the book.
Volume 1 marks the period when Ikeda Sensei first inaugurated as the third president of the Soka Gakkai and covers his trips from Hawaii, and various American cities to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Under these circumstances, Ikeda Sensei offered key guidelines on how one, be it a leader or a member, should act in various situations.

1. Buddhism should be flexible to the tradition and customs of the area.
2. Members should not judge one's character as good or bad according to whether one is practicing or not.
3. Money matters are sensitive in Soka Gakkai.
4. Leaders to uphold the spirit of "desiring little and contenting ourselves with what we have" and should not forget about frugality and purity of intention.
5.Leaders must also carefully consider what the are going to talk about and how to present it, so that members can readily understand and accept what they have to say.

Although I cannot say by reading merely the first volume, I had learnt enough about Sensei to provide my answer to that question. It made me ponder deeply and raise many questions that I bugged my Dad with for several nights. With the SSA book fair held this weekend, I can't wait to pick up volume 2 and other books Sensei had written.

For those who haven't started reading the NHR, it is never too late to start reading! Pick up your courage and enter the Sensei's world.

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[X] 20110830, 7:07 PM
One with Nature.

(Image taken by Derrick Chin, using Canon 450D at Macritchie Reservoir)

"Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand."
- Thoreau

Definitely, there are no snowflakes at the macritchie reservoir.

Since the Presidential Election just ended on the 27th in Singapore, we get to enjoy a school holiday in-lieu of that. It is a perfect time to go out and let go a bit, especially after the exhausting preliminary examinations, so I arranged with Derrick, my amazing photography friend and school mate, to go for a photography outing. He had always wanted to shoot the sunset at macritchie, and we go ahead with it. I think we have an affinity with the reservoirs, the last trip we went together was probably the lower seletar reservoir, which is a long long time ago.

We catch up with each other along on the bus since we aren't seeing each other in school very much, especially after we stepped down from tech council. It was drizzling by the time we got there. Fortunately it didn't get any heavier, but the plain sky without any clouds or sun isn't good for shoots. This continued till evening, and it was then we realise something. Not only the day isn't good, we are on the wrong side of the island. We are at the north of the island and the sun set in the west, that means we would have better chance if we opt for a closer location such as the chinese garden or west coast park.

I made a grave mistake as well! A caution to all LC-W owners, please please check the format before shooting. I was shooting full frame shoots at half frame format. That explains why I cant finish scrolling when I clearly have more than 36 exposures. So I guess all my shots are grumbled up together, I don't know what I get. Hopefully, the uncle at the develop lab is in a good mood when I have the time to send the roll to develop. Should I call this a film tragedy or the unpredictability of the lomo?

I was reading 'Creating Waldens', a book of the dialogues between Ronald Bosco, Joel Myerson, Daisaku Ikeda about the American Renaissance. The book focuses on the works of Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman. Honestly, I didn't know anything about the American Renaissance or Emerson, Thoreau when I bought the book a month back. I am trying my best to understand and appreciate the ideas the intellectuals had discussed, and was thinking about some of them during the trip.

Finally, we cannot escape from some camwhoring during our long walk on the seemingly endless trail. (I needed one for my new profile picture anyway)
Here are some of them that I liked the most.

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Only when we learn to channel the energy we direct toward winning over others into winning over ourselves can we begin to develop our humanity. - Daisaku Ikeda