Tuesday, March 08, 2011

when i grow old...

I want to be like Jan Morris. I ddidn't know who she is until I read this feature on the Travel section on the Guardian. I think she used to be a journalist who has travelled around the world in her younger days, and she is still travelling to collect materials for her books. Below is her beautiful account of her travel experience post-WWII. When I grow old, I wish to have such recollections of my journeys around the world too.

Here's her story:
I began travelling professionally soon after the end of the second world war, and I travelled mostly in Europe, where the hyperbole of victory was fading, and disillusion had set in. Seven or eight of Europe's eastern countries, so recently liberated from the Nazis, now found themselves under Soviet oppression, and the so-called iron curtain divided the continent, as Churchill put it, from Stettin to Trieste. Everywhere was shabby. Everything was threadbare. Famous old cities of history lay ravaged, still in ruins.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

improv everywhere

shared my love for Improv Everywhere on the harpie design blog

here's one of my favourite pranks by them

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

haha, that's not supposed to be there...

Harpie shared recently a TEDtalk by one of the modern design masters Stefan Sagmeister:

what striked me the most was the fun that comes from the surprise of discovering stuff that's out of your expectations. as in the case of the refreshed new york subway stickers, he described, "nobody ever looks at these signs, you're really bored in the subway and you kind of stare at something and it takes you awhile until you realise it says something different from what normally says..." that's when your subway trips suddenly become more fun, because you are constantly playing "spot the difference" along the way.

and for the "collaborative street graffiti" (speech bubbles on the street posters), i think it's fun for the designer who paste the blank speech bubbles; it's probably more fun for the participants who spot the stickers and decide to be "partners-in-crime" and fill in the blanks. and it's very funny for the passers-by who see the poster put out of context and wonder who the hell were the jokers who created this fun (and in their mind, imagined what they would have written). the entire process is so engaging and dynamic! and fun!

then again, what's happy for some people may not be happy for others. for example the new york subway authorities and the advertisers of the advertorial posters. oh well... :p


is a blog created by an ex-colleague who is also a design researcher. I'm joining her and her friends to share things that make us happy. it's like, the opposite of the "Fail" blogs where they feature things that don't work. instead of focusing on bad designs that make people roll their eyes, why not make the effort to highlight good designs that make you smile? it's actually more difficult because people tend to notice the things that don't work or remember grudges instead of kindness. like myself, in the morning i become so upset with the considerate commuters on the MRT that i don't see the people who offer their seats to others.

so, give us a hand! if you see something that makes you happy, remember to save it or take a picture and send it to us... there's no right or wrong here! :) before i forget, here's the link: and you can send your contribution to this email:

spread the joy!

hello 2011!

this is somewhat belated, but still, it's my first post of the year! so it's always nice to start it off cheerful and friendly.

it is already approaching the end of January but to be honest, i feel like i'm still not back from europe. yes, it was a very good trip and something i read from the trip sent me thinking hard about the meaning of travelling. it was an interview of philosopher Alain de Botton on a lufthansa inflight magazine and he talked about traveling as an invitation to change one's life. so since i came back, i've been thinking about the impact of the 16-days long journey on me. was it purely materialistic? i like to think it's more than that! heh i believe i have gained more confidence from the experience and i'm ready and determined to make some changes in my life. incremental changes that go a long way in my life.

with that, i hope that 2011 will be a better year, and that i will see positive results from my efforts to change!