Holland Village, Commonwealth/Tanglin Halt & Chip Bee Gardens - A Burst of Colors

Holland Village - Location: Blks 12, 11 and 13 (6 walls), wet Market at Blk 45-47, Junction at Chip Bee Garden and Holland V, and the Senior Citizens Corner (2 walls).  Duration = 6 months Jan-Jun 2016

Commonwealth Dec 2016 Duration = 4,5 days Location: entrance of Long John Silver. 2 walls

Junction of Chip Bee & Holland V end July 2017 - 3.5 days on at the larger 'parrot' wall outside Chip Bee Garden. 

Total = 12 walls

This series started after the Banda project in Chinatown, and it's upon the request of Member of Parliament Mr Chan Chun Sing who graced the official opening at Banda that he asked if I was keen to color and paint some blocks at Zone D in Holland V which is his constituency.  I answered unequivocally with a Yes! not knowing the extent of the project...

I explored the entire place from Blocks 12, 11, and 13 one day and selected the largest walls on both sides of each block making it a total of 6 walls with Block 12 as the most prominent one facing the main road and not far from where Cold Storage is. It's a bohemian neighbourhood where expats live side by side with locals most of whom had been living there for 40 years... I studied a bit of the history as I always do before I do any walls that maybe special for that constituency.  I realised that the name Holland was named after a Dutch architect who lived there and there were expats with their children studying in schools in the past where the present day Chip Bee Gardens blocks are. 

My first wall at Block 12 was a gate that I painted live at Fort Canning and thought that it would blend in with the seats and chairs by the wall making it look like a park.  As the wall is just by the Senior Citizens Corner that I had included a grandfather with his grandchild (which is a metaphor or me really as a child with my grandpa whom I hardly knew as he passed on when I was just two). 

 A Russian photographer by the name of Victor Boudioukine came by and took this pic of me at the wall by Block 13 which faces the North Buona Vista Community Centre. I am grateful for supporters like him who took the time and travelled all the way just to catch me in action!

A Russian photographer by the name of Victor Boudioukine came by and took this pic of me at the wall by Block 13 which faces the North Buona Vista Community Centre. I am grateful for supporters like him who took the time and travelled all the way just to catch me in action!

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 The wall by the Police Post at the other side of Block 13 taken by another mural hunter Lim Bee-Choo who is a avid photographer and she goes around taking pictures of most murals she could find on the island as well as overseas. I am grateful for her support too.

The wall by the Police Post at the other side of Block 13 taken by another mural hunter Lim Bee-Choo who is a avid photographer and she goes around taking pictures of most murals she could find on the island as well as overseas. I am grateful for her support too.

 A gentleman who passes by every day when I am at it. I learnt at his age, he works as a janitor somewhere closely and I will know he is around by the opera music he plays — note the player he was holding—hence the pose — it’s as if both of us are in a Chinese opera too.

A gentleman who passes by every day when I am at it. I learnt at his age, he works as a janitor somewhere closely and I will know he is around by the opera music he plays — note the player he was holding—hence the pose — it’s as if both of us are in a Chinese opera too.

 The entire wall - some day, I shall visit this place. Bring Kuekenhof to the heartlands right here in SG

The entire wall - some day, I shall visit this place. Bring Kuekenhof to the heartlands right here in SG

 The wall at Block 11 which is not that prominent but you can still find it as it's on the other side where the carpark is. This is after the style of impressionist painter Claude Monet who was known for his water lilies and water reflections hence bringing a bit of art to the heartlands this way.

The wall at Block 11 which is not that prominent but you can still find it as it's on the other side where the carpark is. This is after the style of impressionist painter Claude Monet who was known for his water lilies and water reflections hence bringing a bit of art to the heartlands this way.

 If you can recognise the lady, you would know who the couple is. I drew them at the wall at Chinatown too. At the time this was in process, it was prior to Chinese New Year hence the addition of the 9 koi fish. The house on the right is also a replicate of the house I did in Chinatown. The reflections and the bridge are influenced by Monet's paintings. The cat on the right resting outside the house is a picture given by a cat lover who lives there. Upon her request, I added a few of these cats that are so loved by the residents on all the walls.

If you can recognise the lady, you would know who the couple is. I drew them at the wall at Chinatown too. At the time this was in process, it was prior to Chinese New Year hence the addition of the 9 koi fish. The house on the right is also a replicate of the house I did in Chinatown. The reflections and the bridge are influenced by Monet's paintings. The cat on the right resting outside the house is a picture given by a cat lover who lives there. Upon her request, I added a few of these cats that are so loved by the residents on all the walls.

 Was very honoured to receive a plaque as a token of appreciation by Mr Chan Chun Sing himself at the end of the entire project. They held a carnival and hosted the residents at Block 12.

Was very honoured to receive a plaque as a token of appreciation by Mr Chan Chun Sing himself at the end of the entire project. They held a carnival and hosted the residents at Block 12.

 I made friends along the way. Lisa who bought me drinks (teh is) each time I was there. And Richard who lives just upstairs at Block 12. Notice that Lisa was wearing the same blouse as the one painted on the wall. This wall is in the Senior Citizens Corner itself and is an addition after I had completed the six walls upon the request of the Residents Committee. Holland V was like a second home to me. I miss all my 'babies' and the residents each time I am done with a project but do pop by from time to time just to catch up. The picture above was taken for a publication for HDB "Dwelling Homes".

I made friends along the way. Lisa who bought me drinks (teh is) each time I was there. And Richard who lives just upstairs at Block 12. Notice that Lisa was wearing the same blouse as the one painted on the wall. This wall is in the Senior Citizens Corner itself and is an addition after I had completed the six walls upon the request of the Residents Committee. Holland V was like a second home to me. I miss all my 'babies' and the residents each time I am done with a project but do pop by from time to time just to catch up. The picture above was taken for a publication for HDB "Dwelling Homes".

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 It began at this wall. It's a park where they can sit and rest. The grandpa with the little girl and the addition of the iconic windmill on the top right in the distance. The beloved cats on the steps and the gate give the ambience of quietness and serenity when one returns from home and a space to chill.

It began at this wall. It's a park where they can sit and rest. The grandpa with the little girl and the addition of the iconic windmill on the top right in the distance. The beloved cats on the steps and the gate give the ambience of quietness and serenity when one returns from home and a space to chill.

 Has anyone seen my twin brother? This is Uncle Wah whom I immortalised on the wall. He was playing chess one morning and I quickly took a picture and painted him on the same day.

Has anyone seen my twin brother? This is Uncle Wah whom I immortalised on the wall. He was playing chess one morning and I quickly took a picture and painted him on the same day.

 I was thinking of adding a singer onto the wall as this is also the place for karaoke and in walked this dynamic lady with that hairstyle! I quickly took a picture of her and instantly drew her on the wall!

I was thinking of adding a singer onto the wall as this is also the place for karaoke and in walked this dynamic lady with that hairstyle! I quickly took a picture of her and instantly drew her on the wall!

 Me at work on the other wall at Block 12. As you walked down the steps, you can see this.

Me at work on the other wall at Block 12. As you walked down the steps, you can see this.

 Heritage and memorable especially for the Malays living here as this reminds them of their homes in the kampong (countryside). Note the calendar in those days with a Chinese movie star or singer as the main image

Heritage and memorable especially for the Malays living here as this reminds them of their homes in the kampong (countryside). Note the calendar in those days with a Chinese movie star or singer as the main image

 The other wall at Block 12. I added the children (Chinese and Malay) playing an old game that I used to play either by myself or with a class-mate when I was young. Can you guess what it is? The playground on the right used to be where the present playground is. The adults who walked by were children back then and they remembered the playground when they saw this. The shop name Khiam Teck is supposedly the oldest building in the entire neighbourhood and is still there right smack by the park before Holland MRT. It sells all sorts of paraphernalia.

The other wall at Block 12. I added the children (Chinese and Malay) playing an old game that I used to play either by myself or with a class-mate when I was young. Can you guess what it is? The playground on the right used to be where the present playground is. The adults who walked by were children back then and they remembered the playground when they saw this. The shop name Khiam Teck is supposedly the oldest building in the entire neighbourhood and is still there right smack by the park before Holland MRT. It sells all sorts of paraphernalia.

 While painting the walls, I was approached to paint over existing artwork at the market by the Community. Centre. I obliged and spent one weekend doing this wall. Decided to just add more color to it by the inclusion of the parrots and cherry blossoms. After all, it was the Lunar New Year season.

While painting the walls, I was approached to paint over existing artwork at the market by the Community. Centre. I obliged and spent one weekend doing this wall. Decided to just add more color to it by the inclusion of the parrots and cherry blossoms. After all, it was the Lunar New Year season.

 To accompany the singer, I added the pipa player on the stage. I enjoyed the process of painting him and the instrument on a Sunday afternoon.

To accompany the singer, I added the pipa player on the stage. I enjoyed the process of painting him and the instrument on a Sunday afternoon.

 Just seeing the black pants the old lady is wearing will give you an idea of the time and era. I had fond memories of my childhood with this wall. I even went and asked the shopowner's permission to paint the shop before I start.

Just seeing the black pants the old lady is wearing will give you an idea of the time and era. I had fond memories of my childhood with this wall. I even went and asked the shopowner's permission to paint the shop before I start.

 Blk 13 the wall right at the other end and it's opposite the North Buona Vista CC. When it rains, I would cross the road over to Hans and take a tea or coffee break and then resume after the rain stopped. I like this area cos it's quiet and the residents would sit around and chill in the evenings when it's cooler. There is also a lot of greenery and less buildings here. I had a Dutch guy who walked past and commented that this is where the canals are in Amsterdam. But I added a twist in that three iconic buildings were added to the western architecture. Can you guess what and where they are in this work?

Blk 13 the wall right at the other end and it's opposite the North Buona Vista CC. When it rains, I would cross the road over to Hans and take a tea or coffee break and then resume after the rain stopped. I like this area cos it's quiet and the residents would sit around and chill in the evenings when it's cooler. There is also a lot of greenery and less buildings here. I had a Dutch guy who walked past and commented that this is where the canals are in Amsterdam. But I added a twist in that three iconic buildings were added to the western architecture. Can you guess what and where they are in this work?

 One year on...I got a request last year 2017 just prior to National Day from Passion Arts to paint a nature theme on this wall. It is higher and longer than all the other Holland V walls. They set up a tentage for me and I worked under it when the sun is up and worked outside in the morning and late evening when the sun is not so hot. I was surprised I was able to complete this on time in 3.5 days!

One year on...I got a request last year 2017 just prior to National Day from Passion Arts to paint a nature theme on this wall. It is higher and longer than all the other Holland V walls. They set up a tentage for me and I worked under it when the sun is up and worked outside in the morning and late evening when the sun is not so hot. I was surprised I was able to complete this on time in 3.5 days!

 Nothing escaped my eye. I just had to paint over the pipes in order to declare this as completed! I must say I have gotten quite used to standing on ladders now...

Nothing escaped my eye. I just had to paint over the pipes in order to declare this as completed! I must say I have gotten quite used to standing on ladders now...

 Just to let you see the size of the wall. In order to paint the topmost part of the wall, I was standing on the ground with the pole and treated it as a giant brush. My colleague took this picture as she was by the road that Sunday. The gentleman standing was my constant helper Mr Yip who is one of the avid volunteers in the Zone D constituency. He helped me to carry the ladder and stuff and even helped with the varnishing on the last day.

Just to let you see the size of the wall. In order to paint the topmost part of the wall, I was standing on the ground with the pole and treated it as a giant brush. My colleague took this picture as she was by the road that Sunday. The gentleman standing was my constant helper Mr Yip who is one of the avid volunteers in the Zone D constituency. He helped me to carry the ladder and stuff and even helped with the varnishing on the last day.

 The second adjacent wall at Commonwealth showed the flats that were either gone or stated for redevelopment in the future. Those days, there was the green bus and the ma-chieh (nanny) was one character I like to add to my walls. You see them around as they work for the expats looking after their children. Since Commonwealth is near to Holland V, there should be expatriates living there too. They hand clothes outside using long poles. Teh number 48 rings of prosperity in Cantonese. The flats behind and these will probably go soon when this place is totally developed. You will notice in most of my paintings that there are no modern buildings in the backdrop.

The second adjacent wall at Commonwealth showed the flats that were either gone or stated for redevelopment in the future. Those days, there was the green bus and the ma-chieh (nanny) was one character I like to add to my walls. You see them around as they work for the expats looking after their children. Since Commonwealth is near to Holland V, there should be expatriates living there too. They hand clothes outside using long poles. Teh number 48 rings of prosperity in Cantonese. The flats behind and these will probably go soon when this place is totally developed. You will notice in most of my paintings that there are no modern buildings in the backdrop.

 The railway that was in the vicinity and now long gone! Before I started this project, I was walking around the entire area and walked to the Green Corridor where the railway line used to be. The gas tower was gone too. It was moved to Jurong Island and so were others in the mainland due to safety reasons. The hut at the railway line used to be the living quarters of the guards I was told. In the distance is a oncoming train. Many people who passed especially the older folks fondly remembered these buildings that were gone. A tinge of sadness lingered for me when I see more buildings gone but hope that these will bring back not only memories for the residents but also so that the future generations will know of their existence.

The railway that was in the vicinity and now long gone! Before I started this project, I was walking around the entire area and walked to the Green Corridor where the railway line used to be. The gas tower was gone too. It was moved to Jurong Island and so were others in the mainland due to safety reasons. The hut at the railway line used to be the living quarters of the guards I was told. In the distance is a oncoming train. Many people who passed especially the older folks fondly remembered these buildings that were gone. A tinge of sadness lingered for me when I see more buildings gone but hope that these will bring back not only memories for the residents but also so that the future generations will know of their existence.

 The completed walls

The completed walls

 Varnishing on the last day. This wall is sheltered and so even when it rained usually end of the year, I still could paint. It was here that I met a generous resident Johnathan who bought me kopi and we became friends. I am humbled by the many friends I made whom I met when they were just passers-by and who appreciated what I was doing for the community.

Varnishing on the last day. This wall is sheltered and so even when it rained usually end of the year, I still could paint. It was here that I met a generous resident Johnathan who bought me kopi and we became friends. I am humbled by the many friends I made whom I met when they were just passers-by and who appreciated what I was doing for the community.

 Pictures courtesy of the residents. Am grateful for the Commonwealth CC and Mr Chan for giving me another wall in the Tanjong Pagar constituency.

Pictures courtesy of the residents. Am grateful for the Commonwealth CC and Mr Chan for giving me another wall in the Tanjong Pagar constituency.

 Happiness was when we played with our friends who were mainly our neighbours in the fields. There were no phone, iPads, etc but just plain, pure, fun just running around amongst nature! I remember there were tall, lalang grass and we used to play hide and seek also behind trunks of big trees...Memories of childhood came flooding back again for this wall. Racial harmony is another thing I want to portray in my work as you can see here - the Caucasian and the Indian child playing together.

Happiness was when we played with our friends who were mainly our neighbours in the fields. There were no phone, iPads, etc but just plain, pure, fun just running around amongst nature! I remember there were tall, lalang grass and we used to play hide and seek also behind trunks of big trees...Memories of childhood came flooding back again for this wall. Racial harmony is another thing I want to portray in my work as you can see here - the Caucasian and the Indian child playing together.

 The last addition to the wall before I signed my name and varnished it was this cat. I know many people are cat lovers here I had grown fond of cats since I started doing walls. The cats were mostly strays but much loved and well cared for by the people.

The last addition to the wall before I signed my name and varnished it was this cat. I know many people are cat lovers here I had grown fond of cats since I started doing walls. The cats were mostly strays but much loved and well cared for by the people.

Welcome to My Neighborhood

Location:  Lions Home for the Elders, Bishan Street 13

Duration - 11 days

30 Sep-18 Nov 2017

Dimension- approx 20 m x 8 m

The wall at the Lions Home was the second largest I had done so far.  They provided me with a scaffold which I used for the very first time as all the other previous walls - I merely used the long pole as if it's a giant brush to paint.  

The theme was heritage and I decided to take up the challenge even tho I never thought of how I was going to reach the top seeing that it was actually two storeys high.  

In addition to the height, I had to withstand the water coming in when it rained as there was no cover from both ends of the entrance to the building. 

The spot at the top left hand corner was the hottest and I had to bear the brunt of getting the sun at its hottest in the morning.  As the platform is not barricaded and the size of it was only halved the entire space of the platform, I had to be careful and my movement was restricted as I had to make space for the paints.

As it was my first time climbing up on the vertical ladder, I had to manoeuvre myself around getting on top with a sure footing. Come to think of it, it was pretty scary and dangerous as I wasn't in protective gear...

But the time to myself was a blissful one as I spent to be exact 5.5 weekends ie. 10.5 days ie. 8 hr full day like a working day each time I am there from 10 to 6 pm with a deadline to finish by end October.  The opening launch was the first weekend of November with MP Josephine Teo being the Guest of Honor.  I had to return when one side of the wall cracked and had to redo after the launch 1 weekend later. That was when I added more children symbolising my cousins. 

I made friends with the guards, the chef and the kitchen staff.  I had lunch served to me from the kitchen as I work non stop and they just want to make sure I eat. I felt quite a home each time I spend a few weeks or months at a place.  

Just wanted to share that the world is a very small one especially in a small country like Singapore. I also wanted to share that I got to meet old friends. On my very first day, I saw someone I recognised from like more than 10 years  back and he is now a resident at the Home.  A few weeks down, I met my ex-colleague who is an active volunteer. 

This wall is a memorable one as It resonates very much memories of my childhood. 

 I always added my maternal grandmother on my walls as she was the one responsible for taking care of me when my mom was busy working.  I believed mom only came on weekends to get me as memories with grandma were more vivid.  In those days, it was multi-generational under one roof those days, and I played all day with my cousins whom I lived with and the kids in the neighbourhood. The man in the shop is a metaphor of my 10th Uncle and the kids above represented my cousins.  The Chinese lived harmoniously with the other races.  We ran free and never had to care about studies or homework or tutorials.  I had a happy childhood.  We bought treats and snacks from nearby for very little those days and our friends were multi-racial.  I was told to add different races to the wall and it was a delight to add the little boy peering out from where his mother is.  

I always added my maternal grandmother on my walls as she was the one responsible for taking care of me when my mom was busy working.  I believed mom only came on weekends to get me as memories with grandma were more vivid.  In those days, it was multi-generational under one roof those days, and I played all day with my cousins whom I lived with and the kids in the neighbourhood. The man in the shop is a metaphor of my 10th Uncle and the kids above represented my cousins.  The Chinese lived harmoniously with the other races.  We ran free and never had to care about studies or homework or tutorials.  I had a happy childhood.  We bought treats and snacks from nearby for very little those days and our friends were multi-racial.  I was told to add different races to the wall and it was a delight to add the little boy peering out from where his mother is.  

 The kacang puteh seller used to carry the peanuts on his head those days and can be seen especially outside cinemas.  I am also drawn to the little girl here as I see myself when I was little in her clinging onto her mother and looking shyly out at you.  The figures were all drawn to life sizes and you can almost feel they are alive and that you just one of them standing there waiting or in line for your teh Tarik.  I was told my maternal great Great Grandmother was a Malay matriarch in Malacca whom my great Great Grandfather from Swatow married...

The kacang puteh seller used to carry the peanuts on his head those days and can be seen especially outside cinemas.  I am also drawn to the little girl here as I see myself when I was little in her clinging onto her mother and looking shyly out at you.  The figures were all drawn to life sizes and you can almost feel they are alive and that you just one of them standing there waiting or in line for your teh Tarik.  I was told my maternal great Great Grandmother was a Malay matriarch in Malacca whom my great Great Grandfather from Swatow married...

 Before and after...How the wall came 'alive' after it's being painted...

Before and after...How the wall came 'alive' after it's being painted...

 As you can see, the size of the platform to stand on was halved and I had to be careful each time I move around.  The space was quite limited with the paints and stuff around.  There as one time when I came down after standing and not moving for like 1.5 hrs and felt a sharp pull on my right leg due to inactivity for that period of time.  I then do stretches after this before climbing just to warm up the muscles before climbing up...

As you can see, the size of the platform to stand on was halved and I had to be careful each time I move around.  The space was quite limited with the paints and stuff around.  There as one time when I came down after standing and not moving for like 1.5 hrs and felt a sharp pull on my right leg due to inactivity for that period of time.  I then do stretches after this before climbing just to warm up the muscles before climbing up...

 Shall we check out the place further by walking down the lane or join the queue for a cup of tea? 

Shall we check out the place further by walking down the lane or join the queue for a cup of tea? 

 Finally a look at the entire wall.  On my last day, I added the. bicycle and the pots of flowers to fill up the space in the foreground.  The paint was tearing on the top left due to the heat, and the contractor had to repaint over it.  The weekend after, I had to go up again to touch it up.  That's when I painted my cousins. 

Finally a look at the entire wall.  On my last day, I added the. bicycle and the pots of flowers to fill up the space in the foreground.  The paint was tearing on the top left due to the heat, and the contractor had to repaint over it.  The weekend after, I had to go up again to touch it up.  That's when I painted my cousins. 

 Details showing the vase I saw in the garden with the dragon motif which I added onto the wall.  The cat is looking at the bystander. and since the auspicious words that are commonly seen at entrances of Chinese houses. 

Details showing the vase I saw in the garden with the dragon motif which I added onto the wall.  The cat is looking at the bystander. and since the auspicious words that are commonly seen at entrances of Chinese houses.