Travelling Dreams and Sleep Paralysis

Travelling Dreams

Dream 1 – Rural Life: I dreamt I had gone to visit Valerie, my friend who had recently returned from Kazakhstan, who had somehow moved to Korea instead. I don’t know why I was in Korea. Valerie lived in a rural suburb in a big house. The floor was sandy inside the house, and outside, there was a donkey on the road and a covered cart with a mountain of giant white radishes on top. Val told me that she was moving out and if I was interested I could live there – it was an hour’s commute to Seoul and perhaps I could take over the rental. She told me the rent in a foreign currency’s number, and i took some time to calculate it in my head into something I understood. For some reason I simply understood it to be £200 per month which was very low so I said “why not!”, rationalising that I had reached a point in my life where I would love to live far away from the city so i could produce my own work in peace. However, when Valerie called her landlord, he said that he had other plans to build walls within the large space to make many rooms which he would rent out individually. Valerie said, “Oh no! I know i should never have mentioned that idea to him! Now he’s going to split up the space!” As the news broke, I also realised that for a moment there I had actually convinced myself out of living within a city. Imagine not being in a city, but in a place far away from civilisation?

Dream 2 – Airport Life: I dreamt I was stuck in a big airport, about to fly to London. There was a big concert inside for a thai skincare brand. They were using music to sell skincare products. I was stuck and I couldn’t find my way to the gates. I called up the concierge and told them of my difficulties in finding my gate, and that I was almost late for my flight. At this point, I realised that I didn’t know where I was going to stay in London. “Oh well! Its alright if my flight is delayed so I can go sort that out!” I thought to myself. But then the airport called me back and said “THE PLANE WILL WAIT FOR YOU! WE’RE SENDING SOMEONE TO PICK UP YOU NOW!” Their impeccable service would mean that I would get to London on time after all, but I still didn’t know where I would stay when I got there…  [I often get dreams of this nature; where I have begun to travel somewhere far but have been delayed, and then when the delay suddenly lifts and I can go on my way, I also suddenly realise that I have forgotten something very important that I should have tended to earlier…]


Sleep Paralysis

I have been getting sleep paralysis and other peculiar disruptions of sleep. For me, these attacks seem to have increased over the last two years. I guess this is partially because I am quite a workaholic and I also have a habit of sleeping in a supine position. What happens is that I seem to have woken up but then I cannot move. Sometimes I can hear the sounds around me as well, sometimes its all woven in together – when I wake up I’m in the position that I fell asleep in but I can’t move. My hand might be outstretched with my glasses at my finger tips. At first its terrifying, as if you’ve been horribly paralysed, but after a number of attacks, I’ve found that wiggling my fingers and being patient and persistent in throwing myself out of this state eventually gets me out of it. Recently I watched Lost Highways – the part where the strange man comes up to Fred and tells him “Call your house. Ask me how I got inside” – I feel like this piece of dialogue from the film perfectly captures how I feel about the sleep paralysis. It is both surreal as well as uncanny.


Temporal Displacement

I had a dream in which I was transported back to the year 2009. I was suddenly back at home, living at home in Singapore, and I was talking to S____ on the phone. I did not know how I had gotten to the past. It was horrible, because I felt as if I would have to relive all these intervening years again with the prior knowledge of what had come before. I knew that anything I said to S____ now was horrible because I knew what was going to happen eventually. I wondered if it would be insane to call P_____ if I had not yet met him at this point. It was utterly horrible. I tried to do all the things that they often say to do in order to test for lucid dreaming, like looking for marks on your hands or features on your body such as the small mole on my wrist. I pinched myself very hard and it felt so real. Worst of all, I didnt know if knowing the future would also affect the future from the past. In the end I began to dial M____’s number to ask him what time or date it was at his side because I thought maybe he might have the most accurate clock. Fortunately, while waiting for the call to connect, I woke up in the future or rather the present day.


Effie is Changing the Fabric of Reality

Phone Conversation a few moments ago – unknown number dials me up:

“It’s me.”
“What do you mean, its me.”
“Don’t you remember me?”
“No, who is this?”
“Do I know you?”
“Can you give me a clue?”
“I’m bad at this guessing game, who are you?”
“Who is this? My voice has changed? What? Who is this?”
“But I’m not Effie.”
“My name is Debbie.”
“Have you always had this phone number?”
“Yes, since the first day. I’m sorry this isn’t Effie.”
“Oh. Ohhhh. OH…. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay.”
“No wonder you don’t sound like Effie. For a moment there I thought Effie had changed since the last time I had seen her. It would be even more horrible if even her voice had changed and she had forgotten me completely.”

Coin Mechanisms

Thoughts on simple ways to build a coin mechanism:

While talking with a friend a few days ago I thought about switches and mechanisms and googled for coin mechanisms. This site underthepier has a great guide to how to make coin mechanisms on your own, and it seems like the best methods are as follows:

  • inductive sensor (triggered when metal is close)
  • opto switch (triggered when light beam is broken)
  • torque switch (triggered when a tiny lever arm is depressed by a small weight)

I also recalled that i once had a device with a “wind” detector. It was a electric candle which would “go out in the wind”, but it did not actually measure airflow. I took it apart one day and realised it was a microphone inside with an amplifier! When the wind blew, it blew against the tiny mic which was amplified. When another sensor detected the sound waves, this triggered the off switch.

I don’t know what are the local brands for coin acceptors. I suppose the toy capsule dispensers ought to have this sorted though! The ones that are popular here are the Gashapon (ガシャポン) machines, called so because of the “gasha” noise they make when you turn the lever and the “pon” when the capsule is ejected. I wonder if there is a cheaper localised version of this tikam tikam machine that one can buy and repurpose….

Curbside Markings – Penhas Road


Spotted on Penhas Road while walking from Kallang to Little India! It should be easy to figure out the meaning behind this set of bright red spray paint lines and dots which I found on a curb along Penhas Road – which also seems to have been newly re-tarred. When this road is re-tarred or fixed some time in the future, I wonder if the curb markings will outlive these current road markings and carpark lots measurements?









Yangtze Scribbler – Spotted again

Today while walking home from Arab Street, I walked through the route by the muslim cemetery along Victoria Lane. I saw a electrical box from across the road, next to the cemetery. These boxes are everywhere, but for some reason, I can’t explain, but I was attracted to look behind this particular box.


I don’t know why, but it was facing the cemetery and such a peaceful scene, that I imagined that it was the spot I’d imagine you’d hide a secret message, so I took a peek….


For some reason my odd hunch had been absolutely right. I was shocked. The back of this box was covered in a huge symbol by the Yangtze Scribbler. Completely… unreal. I think all the hair stood up on the back of my neck.



Flickr Set: More images of the Yangtze Scribbler

Hangeul – Korean Alphabet Chart

안녕하세요! I’m taking up korean and french lessons in preparation for artist residencies in Seoul and Paris later this year. After a chance encounter with a “Korean Festival” in my area, tomorrow I start a weekly class at Ganada Language School!

I have written the alphabet out here for my own reference here. I realised that there was a distant relationship between korean and chinese, and since I have no english-korean maps, but a lot of chinese-korean maps (they seem to give these ones out a lot more than the english-korean ones!), I actually find it interesting to look at the different place names and to see the hanja and its meaning in chinese. I have heard that educated korean people do know the root origins of their words although its alphabetised, so Korean Toponymy is well and alive (and not forgotten in the transition of writing scripts).

There always comes that time of year where I go crazy about learning a new language and download a bazillion iOs apps which promise instant learning and immersion and sounds and pictorials. Like in the case of russian and japanese where I needed to learn a new alphabet, korean also has its own alphabet which one needs to get to grips with before writing. A lot of the children teaching apps are useful for the short term, but so far the most useful was this odd, unassuming application with no explanation, but a very smart interface.

Its called Korean Ltrs, and you tap on a part of the word, and it blinks and reads out the sound of that alphabet. You tap it again, and it reads the entire word. It also features some rather contemporary examples such as this…


Creating a Flash app with a PHP script to upload webcam images to WordPress

This month’s challenge is to build a flash application that is able to take a photo, upload it, and insert it into a wordpress post so that posts can be easily edited later. (AND ALL WITHIN ONE OR TWO WEEKS!) I am building this for a museum exhibition that has just opened and it is going to be a kiosk with a large touchscreen that will be moved around from venue to venue, collecting photos of people’s pockets and stuff, and then digitally archiving them, while allowing one to also tag it collaboratively after that.

I am not a PHP developer although I understand PHP sufficiently well in order to make it do what I need to do, so if anyone more technically inclined can tell me if this is an efficient way to proceed with this, I would be glad to hear if there are other ways to do this!

1. Uploading Image to server

I used php’s mktime to generate a unique number for each photo’s filename. Each photo was encoded using JPGEncoder in flash, and then using urlLoader I sent it to my php file, which saved it onto my server with a filename derived from the mktime number.

After that, the posts were pushed to wordpress with the help of Incutio XML-RPC Library for PHP. You can post to wordpress with a php script with the help of xml-rpc. The following examples are my own mashup of bits and pieces found online, the most instructive guide being this entry: WordPress XMLRPC – Posting Content From Outside WordPress Admin Panel


$img = $_GET[“img”];
$filename = “images/booth_” . mktime(). “.jpg”;
file_put_contents($filename, $jpg);


$client->debug = true; //Set it to false in Production Environment
$title=’Pocket No. ‘.mktime(); // $title variable will insert your blog title
$body='<img src=”’.$filename.'”>’; // $body will insert your blog content (article content)
$category=”pocket”; // Comma seperated pre existing categories. Ensure that these categories exists in your blog.
$keywords=”keyword1, keyword2, keyword3″; // Comma Seperated keywords
$customfields=array(‘key’=>’Author-bio’, ‘value’=>’Author Bio Here’); // Insert your custom values like this in Key, Value format

$title = htmlentities($title,ENT_NOQUOTES,$encoding);
$keywords = htmlentities($keywords,ENT_NOQUOTES,$encoding);

$content = array(
‘mt_allow_comments’=>0, // 1 to allow comments
‘mt_allow_pings’=>0, // 1 to allow trackbacks
‘custom_fields’ => array($customfields)

// Create the client object
$client = new IXR_Client(‘’);
$username = “admin”;
$password = “password”;
$params = array(0,$username,$password,$content,true); // Last parameter ‘true’ means post immediately, to save as draft set it as ‘false’

// Run a query for PHP
if (!$client->query(‘metaWeblog.newPost’, $params)) {
die(‘Something went wrong – ‘.$client->getErrorCode().’ : ‘.$client->getErrorMessage());
echo “Article Posted Successfully”;

} else{
echo “Encoded JPEG information not received.”;


2. Retrieving images to put into gallery

This php script will retrieve the last 10 entries in your wordpress and help format them into an xml sheet that you can use in flash to display wordpress entries and images in a flash gallery.

// Echo the header (XML)
header("Content-Type: application/xml;charset=ISO-8859-1");
echo '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>' . "rn";
echo "<GALLERY>rn";

// Prepare the XML file
$client->debug = true; // Set it to false in Production Environment

// Create the client object
$client = new IXR_Client(‘’);
$username = “admin”;
$password = “password”;
$params = array(0,$username,$password,10); // Last Parameter tells how many posts to fetch

// Run a query To Read Posts From WordPress
if (!$client->query(‘metaWeblog.getRecentPosts’, $params)) {
die(‘Something went wrong – ‘.$client->getErrorCode().’ : ‘.$client->getErrorMessage());
$myresponse = $client->getResponse();
$i=0; ?>

//foreach ($myresponse as $key => $value)
foreach ($myresponse as $res)

//$times = new IXR_Date(); ?>
<image id ='<?php echo $i+1; ?>’ postid='<?php echo $res[‘postid’]; ?>’ title='<?php echo $res[‘title’]; ?>’ keywords='<?php echo $res[‘mt_keywords’]; ?>’/>
<?php $i++; } } ?>
<?php echo “</GALLERY>”; ?>

The resulting XML file will look like this:
Screen shot 2012-03-21 at PM 08

3. Tagging images in gallery



PHP: Creating automatic XML Sheet from ALL images within a folder

If you need to create an XML sheet from all the photos within one folder, this is a script you can use to create one! It will include any image with a image-related file extension. This is my script which I have customised for my own needs based on notes and tutorials found online.

// Set which extensions should be approved in the XML file
$extensions = array
  'jpg', 'JPG',
  'png', 'PNG',
  'gif', 'GIF',
  'bmp', 'BMP'

// Echo the header (XML)
header(“Content-Type: application/xml;charset=ISO-8859-1″);

// Prepare the XML file
echo ‘<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”ISO-8859-1”?>’ . “rn”;
echo “<GALLERY>rn”;

// Get the files from the current directory
if (file_exists (“./”))
if (is_dir (“./”))
$dh = opendir (“./”) or die (” Directory Open failed !”);

// Prepare the images array
$imgs = array();
while ($file = readdir ($dh))
// Only get the files ending with the correct extension
if ( in_array( substr($file, -3), $extensions ) )
array_push($imgs, $file);
Closedir ($dh);

// Sort the array

foreach ($imgs as $img)
// Return all images in XML format
echo (‘ <image FULL=”/images/’ . $img . ‘” THUMB=”/images/’ . $img . ‘” />’);
echo “rn”;
echo “</GALLERY>”;




there is an interesting article here that argues for OOP in PHP. i admit even in flash sometimes when doing something quick dirty for example i would use global code instead instead of encapsulation. but i guess i find the analogies arguing in favour of OOP rather interesting.

Ruins in Reverse

Today! Super Sunday Solo Brunching! I had breakfast at a cafe next to Pulau Saigon Bridge along the Singapore River and read Leon van Schaik’s Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture, which led me to look up Robert Smithson’s A Tour of The Monuments of Passaic New Jersey (1967) when I got home later.

Walked around the site of what would have been Pulau Saigon and I can safely say that the thing that has replaced that once-excavated site is a condominium called River Place. While standing there I saw only expatriates walking in and out.






The latter essay by Robert Smithson is truly most fascinating, using the phrase “ruins in reverse” to describe strikingly banal features of suburban structures, which he also chooses to describe in his essay on passaic the “monuments” on his tour.

Had a think, I guess the run-down appearance of old places is not part of the “past” or “memories” that one has for the place; it technically belongs to its future, because its “ruined” or “dilapidated” appearance is formed through the passage of time.

Thus, even construction of generic urban buildings can be seen as the physical manifestation of the “future anterior” – in some respect, like the “catastrophe” of the punctum as described by Roland Barthes. The essay ends off with this:

I should now like to prove the irreversibility of eternity by using a jejeune experiment for proving entropy. Picture in your mind’s eye the sand box divided in half with black sand on one side and white sand on the other. We take a child and have him run hundreds of times clockwise in the box until the sand gets mixed and begins to turn grey; after that we have him run anti-clockwise, but the result will not be the restoration of the original division but a greater degree of greyness and an increase of entropy.

Of course, if we filmed such an experiment we could prove the reversibility of eternity by showing the film backwards, but then sooner or later the film itself would crumble or get lost and enter the state of irreversibility. Somehow this suggests that the cinema offers an illusive or temporary escape from physical dissolution. The false immortality of the film gives the viewer an illusion of control over eternity but “the superstars” are fading.


“Excavation in Progress” opposite my house. I wonder what they will find down there.

McDonalds East Coast at Marine Cove – TUTUP FOREVER

Macdonalds East Coast (Marine Cove)

Macdonalds East Coast (Marine Cove)

Tonight at midnight, McDonalds at Marine Cove closes down forever to make way for National Parks “redevelopment plans”. National Parks Board has yet to disclose specifically what these redevelopment plans are, besides stating that they will be “developing the area as a recreational green lung and providing easy access to the beach”.

There is some talk that NPark’s statement of “providing easy access to the beach” is their diplomatic way of saying that they will be flattening this well-loved hangout spot into a carpark. If there is any truth to that I would be very very disappointed… so I hope it is not true. Aren’t they supposed to be the National Parks Board, not the National Parking Lots Board?

The Modern Ritual of Scattering Ashes: BBC4’s “Feed me to the Wind


BBC4 – Feed me to the Wind

The modern ritual of ash scattering is the subject matter of Amanda Mitchison’s BBC4 radio documentary “Feed me to the wind”, which takes a candid look at the bathos-filled ritual of ash scattering. It is interesting to note that in the UK most people are cremated rather than buried – I kinda thought there would be more space there, but seems the space for the living, let alone the dead, is limited everywhere.

Some useful facts one might take away from this program are (1) that cremated human remains are nutrientless and almost toxic for plants (so they should be mixed in and not dumped in great concentrations over a beloved shrub or plant) and (2) cat litter is a pretty close analogue to the texture of human remains.

The story of the family that was trying to scatter their mother’s ashes when the wind blew back and all of it got on their unfortunate pooch is utterly priceless.

At the end of the documentary, the search for the “definitive” ritual is brought to a surprisingly sensible conclusion – she asks people to describe how they want to be interred when they have passed on and reminds everyone that it should be the individual’s prerogative to decide on their own farewell rituals. The stories, methods and rituals are numerous and all quite different; some more practical than others, but still, all the responses were lovely in their own ways.

I guess this documentary fascinates me because it is intrinsically about dust; about the physical quality of our existence, that persists even when it has been reduced and whittled down into dust. There was an Hindu guru who spoke of water as a great medium for scattering ashes because water flows and one finds it easier to let go without a singular physical spot upon which one might centralize one’s grief… So here lies one whose name was writ in water…

Exploration and Science – BBC4’s “Scott’s Legacy”


BBC4: Scott’s Legacy

I was convinced this was going to be a boring series from the looks of the title which seemed to be a revival of interest in some other explorer on the 100th anniversary of his demise, but this turned out far better than I expected!

One might know of their ill-fated journey from the oft-used and quintessentially English quip “I am just going outside and may be some time”. These were the documented last words of one of Scott’s party, who voluntarily left the tent and walked to his death in the cold.

The documentary suggests that in the absence of the glory of being the “first” to reach the south pole, it apparently looks like Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition had calculated its potential legacy – and decided to gun for the science. Apparently no explorer worth his salt was allowed to avoid doing the science thing. While exploring new lands, the pioneers were also expected to be measuring, recording observations, conducting studies and experiments. This was the norm. I wonder, why shouldn’t it still be the norm? Why do we specialize and slowly lose our ability to see the big picture? Why can’t we be explorers and also scientists and also capable of poetry and art?

For Scott and Shackleton’s competitor, Amundsen, he had abandoned this scientific pursuit in lieu of greater speed, and Scott, knowing he was beat, decided to plod on with the scientific studies of fossilised plants and rocks. Unfortunately, Scott’s team froze to death while crossing the Ross ice shelf. But on the centennial of his ill-fated demise, the English have taken it upon themselves and their nationalist fervor to console themselves with their fossils and rocks saying “HEY! WE’VE GOT SCIENCE!”

Love it. I just wish I could sail.

Also, from Edward Wilson’s diary: “After lunch we all geologised until supper, and I was very late turning in, examining the moraine after supper.” – I love the use of the verb “geologised”.

OH! And the extract of R. F. Scott’s Diary on the British Library website actually comprises of ALL of his diary entries written right before they froze to death. MEANING, that this was indeed the book that travelled with him all the way there and was to survive him by giving us an account of the Antarctic – including the last page – “it seems a pity but I do not think I can write more. for god’s sake look after our people…” (See pages 164 and 165 of the document…)


Oates’ photo of Scott’s team at the South Pole. (from wikimedia commons)