The Biggest Wall Yet...
Dimension:approx. 30m x 12m
Location: SLNG 6 Meranti View, Jurong Island
Start date: February 3, 2018. Date completed: 24 March 2018
Duration: Approx 125 hours
Never would I have dreamed that I will be doing such a mega project. I guess I am lucky that the CEO is someone who appreciates art especially on walls and to be exact it's fine art on terminal walls!
They sent me for a 1-day safety Work and Height training (WAH) which is compulsory if you are doing walls that are more than 3 metres high. There is a total of 6 levels even tho the Wall is technically only three storeys high. This is so I don't have to stand on ladders from second level up. It's all about safety. Each time I had to work from the second level that I have to wear the protection gear, with helmet, boots and harness.
As at 10 March, we are into the second month and the second last weekend. I am on track and target to finish the last level ie the ground floor by next weekend. I was a bit concerned and apprehensive at first about being able to finish but I focused and set target timelines for myself.
The first month was spent populating the wall wth large sea animals especially giant groupers, mahi mahi, dolphins, whales, tortoises, and rays to fill the space and also included smaller fishes.
The second month was spent mostly texturing the walls as they look kind of 'flat' and I had to add a lighter blue versus a darker blue to show the contrast in the water.
The weather is a thing to factor as each time, there is a Cat 3 announcement re lightning that we MUST stop work and get indoors. I got a bit flustered whenever black clouds loomed ahead and kept checking at the weather forecast for the island. There was one weekend where we had to vacate the building and spent only 3 hours. Whenever there is rain like this - the Chinese call it 'Long life rain' where it rain all day, there is no point in staying. The workers left the premises and so we called it a day, BUT made it up the very next day when it was cloudy which I made it a productive and fruitful one by doing as much as I could!
This experience is another lifelong learning one where character building is concerned. It taught me to Learn to WAIT....Each time the rains stopped, I rushed to finish whatever is needed.
Another thing about this place is that the island is like a no man's land. You need a pass to enter as security is super tight. They had to apply for a permanent pass for me to expedite each journey there. Going there and going home - the staff had to make separate arrangements each time if they don't want to wait till 7:30 pm to catch the company transport out.
18 March 2018 The positive side of this is I got 'chauffeured' sometimes by the staff in charge of this project. I am grateful to her for lending me a hand at varnishing the two top most floors today. I feel blessed that I was able to hitch a ride back with her when she leaves. The rule is someone HAS to accompany me whenever I am there. As I hold a full-time job, I can only come in on weekends and she had to take time from family just to be around the terminal.
I also got to make friends with the security and the construction workers. There was one particular guy by the name of Sarti who assisted me on day 1 by helping me to bring my stuff up and down. I treated him like a son.
The first month in Feb was good in that there was no rain at all and I thought it will stay that way. Then the rains started to come last weekend. But it always ended and I had some time to at least do a little...To get to the island you have to take a cab and only Comfort not Uber not Grab...To get into the island, you also need to have a permanent pass which is way faster than getting a temporary one each time you visit.
All in all, I am truly grateful that this project is coming to an end and I had done this singlehandedly except for the few half days where there was another staff who wanted to dabble a little on the wall and I let her concentrate on the ground floor with the corals and stuff. I had to mostly return to touch these up when I take over.
10 & 11 March - As this is fine art on walls, I had to texture the background on each level. I was afraid I might get carpal tunnel syndrome at one point. The background was kind of flat and I really wanted them to look more like the sea. It was a good workout for me as I got to climb up six floors if I want to reach the top and down. I went all the way up and painted clouds on the top 2 levels. Enlarged Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer, and painted the sea from the shoreline.
Apart from the weather, the other downside was I had my encounter with the crawlies the first two Sundays I was there and I kinda freaked out, and had to buy Baygon for preventive measures...
17 & 18 March - Into my last weekend which I have to finish the second level when I suddenly felt a sharp pain on the left side of my back after climbing up onto the scaffold and carrying a bag of paint tubs. I don't know what exactly happened but I had to stop moving for like half a hour before I could slowly get back slowly into movement again...I was feeling quite frustrated as I couldn't do anything. The staff who was there readily came up in her PPE gear and helped me paint a little under my guidance and supervision as I was unable to even bend down to get hold of the brush and paint!
After nearly 45 mins, we both managed to add some more small fishes onto the second level and then I went down to continue on the last level which is the ground floor. That was a wake up call for me to respect my body more and to be aware and be more careful when carrying heavy stuff and especially climbing up and so on. It could happen to any one, young or old, and it's another lesson for me. I guess I have to stretch every day and especially before I climb up to paint...
20 March Tuesday - they will finish varnishing all the walls up except for round level as well as bring the entire scaffold down this week. I will get to see the finished product when I go in this weekend to finish the last level.
24 March 2018 Last day I spent about 5 hrs touching the ground floor level and it felt so good not wearing the PPE and safety boots and harness...I got a good suntan too. The rain came right after I stopped.
I don't know what the future lies ahead after this...but will take a break to France mid April and hopefully, something else will happen....Looking forward to new projects...