Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ms Sim + Origins of SPAM + Electricity

Hope you are all having a nice, relaxing Sunday! Today, Sir Fong continues with Ms Sim, the relief teacher. Ms Sim is a composite of a few really pretty teachers in school, one had left RI, the others are still pretty and pretty inspiring. :)

Starting this week, I will be posting a Sir Fong 2 Special. I was giving a few classes remedials for the Final Exam, and I discovered that some students are still quite unsure of what electricity is about. I hope this set of Sir Fong will help you appreciate some basic stuff about the powerful little electrons that enable your computers, handphones and mp3 players. Without them, Maple Story, World of Warcraft and Utube will not be possible! So do drop by in between preparing for your exam and read about Electricity!

Here's another hilarious Monty Python skit on Utube.

This, my friends, was what inspired computer geeks to call email junk mails 'SPAM'.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Introducing Ms Sim + Killer Bunny Origin

All killer bunnies can be traced back to Monty Python, a comedy group which also invented the modern use of the word "Spam". If you click on the Utube link below the hand puppet, you can see where the idea of the Sir Fong bunnies came from:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sparky + Things I'm Missing

I know it's still weeks before End Of Year, but I'm already putting cash aside for a number of things to fill my Christmas stickings:

1. Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 DVD.
I don't have cable tv, so I haven't seen the season finale when some of the regular human characters realise that they themselves are Cylon sleeper agents! Can the local censors hurry up and slap a sticker on this dvd already?!?!

2. A new Eminem solo album
He may be foul-mouthed and politically incorrect, but noone comes close to creating really exciting, memorable rap tunes and lyrics. There are three kind of artists: the kind that sweats, the kind that bleeds and the kind that churns out rubbish. Eminem is a one-artist blood bank.

3. South Park Season Eleven
Still the funniest show on Earth for me. As loved and reviled as Monthy Python's Flying Circus.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Just Sir Fong

Have a great Sunday! :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

CDC Comic 2001

Kayne West and 50 Cent released their hip hop albums on the same day, and 50 claimed he would quit the music scene if West outsold him in the first week. West's "Graduation" sold 957,000, while 50's "Curtis" sold 691,000 in the United States. I bought both artists' previous albums, and was as drawn to West's intelligent grooves as I was unimpressed by 50's worship of gangsterism. Stronger, Mr West!

The above was a piece I did for a Community Development Council comic book project.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

881 vs Ratatou-something

The last two movies I watched were Royston Tan's 881 and Pixar's Ratatouille.

To me, these two films sing to two different groups of Singaporeans. Ratatouille's main guy, Remy (above), has a great gift: his keen sense of smell. It qualifies him to be a great chef, except that he's a rat! That didn't stop him, because he believe he can overcome that handicap. In 881, the Papaya sisters are talented Ge Tai singers, qualifying them to be the top act during the Chinese Seventh Month, except that one sister is destined to die of cancer. The similarity in the two movies is that both heroes/heroine shone despite their personal obstacles.

It's the difference between these two movies that I felt is most instructive in understanding Singaporeans. Now, this is just the crazy in me talking, but 881's hidden message is: "I am going to die soon, please let me hog the stage with my traditional act." Ratatouille's message? "We may look like little punks to you, but we're taking over the kitchen!"

Which ever movie you prefer after the viewing, don't miss either.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

First Comic Competition

Social grace was the theme of the comic competition Toon Craze Toon Grace organised by The People's Association in 1999. I sent in the below. It won the first prize.

And today's comic is about laser animation. :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

God + Teachers Part Six

Stikfas is a successful toy totally created by Singaporeans. They are, like Stephanie Sun and Sim Wong Hoo (Creative Technologies), Singaporean heroes.

So I'm glad I was given an opportunity to post a Stikfas figure relevant to Sir Fong here.

On Tuesday, as things got a little rocky for me, I got a call from Warren.

"Sir, we're all outside the Staff Room. Can u please come out?"

Lowell, Jing Sheng, Benjamin, Wei Han, Warren and Marco were all there. They were in my laser animation team, and now they're all studying at RJC.

They knew what was going on, so they came to give me a little blue trooper. Using a Lego brick with a green tip, they approximated a green laser box.

"We're behind u, sir!"

Looking at these students, I knew right then and there that the future of Singapore will be in good hands.

So, here's to all Singaporean teachers, including myself!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I-S magazine + God and Teachers Part V

Here's the portion of last issue's I-S magazine about myself. It contains a picture of my new comic work: Alpha Gorilla.

click for larger image!
As I ponder recent events in my life, many out of my control, it didn't dawn on me how relevant the following series of comic are. Today, six of my ex-students popped by, and I can tell you, nothing pleases a teacher more than a visit by his favorite students. I'll show you what they gave me in the next post. :)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sunday Special! - Young LKY 3.0

Haha, mysterious ways indeed! Now, back to my promise to share a revelation inspired when I drew a comic of a Young Lee Kuan Yew:

Most of you will have no idea who this bushie-headed guy cuddling a duck is:

He is Matt Groening. Still don't ring a bell? He created 5 of the 6 characters below:

Yes, he is the creator of Marge, Lisa, Maggie, Bart and Homer: The Simpsons!

Groening didn't start off with what is still considered the greatest television show on Earth. Back when I was a freshman in university, the campus newspaper was showing snippets of a comic strip called Life Is Hell. It's a really weird but lovable comic about a bunch of rabbits. These rabbits are very depressed -- their lives are full of misadventures and lost opportunities. But they made book worms like me laff out loud.

That helped Groening catch the eye of a tv producer. He was asked to create a series of short clips for a comedy show. But the tv producers do not want rabbits. They want human beings that more viewers can relate to (esp rabbit haters). The comedy show is history, but Groening's human creations went on to have a regular tv series of their own.

When I drew young LKY, I realised what was missing in my comics: human beings! Rabbits are cute, but no self-respecting adults will admit they like the cuddly creatures! Even teenagers, eager to show how grown up they are, will ultimately (albeit reluctantly) chuck little bunnies aside.

So you see, it is inevitable that the little bunnies will eventually evolve, like the wooden puppet in Pinocchio, into little human beings. I'm not saying Sir Fong 3 will suddenly be all about real kids (maybe I should consider), but definitely I must learn to draw more humans.
With that, I wish you a happy Sunday and may your End Of Year be smashing new records!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Young LKY 2.0

To kick off today's blogatron, my dear ex-student Walter Wong went overseas and sent me a really hilarious letter. It is a kind of joke, cos he knows I like funny stuff. It's the Ultimate Thank U Note for busy executives and toilet cleaners alike. All u haf to do is fill in the blanks. And you can thank ur mother, grandmother, girl/boyfriend, pet chihuahua etc. Enjoy!

Here's today continuation of GOD + TEACHERS!

Now, back to my promised update of So Singapore Toons at Discovery Centre!

So, there I was. After George Nonis, author of Hello Chok Tong Goodbye Kuan Yew, drew the Man himself, and Miel drew his Valentine of Singapore driving the Globe, I wielded
my marker . . .
The smart kid behind me instantly recognised the ears and head.
"Bunny!" he exclaimed, and the adults gave him a standing ovation. OK, they were already on their feet, hence the 'standing' part.

To create some suspense, I drew the bunny pointing at Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and my teacher Sir Fong covering his eyes as if he can't bear to see what happens next. This, my avid, young blog readers, is one lesson you can learn: creating suspense will grab your audience's attention.

When I finished, the audience's reaction put a big (handsome) smile on my face. It is a combo of pride (I pulled it off! I drew LKY without rehearsal!), relief (I didn't goof up! My young LKY looked real cool! I drew something that doesn't look too bad amongst the two master artists!) and . . . revelation! Yes, revelation!

But what is that revelation? Will it affect Sir Fong 3? Will I start drawing political comics (Young Goh Chok Tong? Young David Marshall)?
To drive my point of suspense across, I will stop my post here and continue this weekend. :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

James Bonnet

Singaporeans don't like to read or buy local story books. Books on politicians and ghosts are the bestsellers. That's a fact.

Can't blame Singaporeans. In the pursuit of more wealth, our pragmatic little nation has neglected to buy some local Soul (and I'm not referring to those souls we burn lots of paper offerings for during the Ghost Festival). Tell a good story, and you bet Singaporeans will support (see, so many go see Royston Tan's 881!).

It's really up to the local artists to sharpen our skills.

I'm lucky my stories moved some modest book sales and plays, with, like, minimal dollars spent on publicity. But ask anybody on the street, and it's like, Otto who? Haha.

So, in the midst of setting End Of Year exam and preparing for a comic drawing workshop, I signed up for a one-day course in the Singapore International Storytelling Fest organised by National Book Development Council and The Arts House.

The seminar I attended is called The Creative Process and the Art of Storymaking. The speaker is James Bonnet, writer, teacher and story consultant.

He also wrote two editions of the book Stealing Fire From The Gods: The Complete Guide to Story for Writers & Filmmakers.

It's amazing how inspiring a short session with a master storyteller can be. I used Bonnet's creation the Storywheel and the Golden Paradigm to think deeper about my next comic project on the Monkey King. And here's some of my lecture notes:

So, my Monkey King is someone who never got approval. Budhha and the Heavens may have helped him in his Journey To The West, but nothing he did was ever good enough.

Er Lang, a formidable God, is like some privileaged kid with wealth, powerful parents and cool cars. Why, he even has more eyes than the Monkey King (like all the be-spectacled 'four- eyed' intellectuals). My Monkey King is the quintessential Chow Ah Beng (local version of the under-educated, low-class underdog).

So, I'd like to thank the Book Development Council and the Arts House for their wisdom to bring in James Bonnet. Thank my leaders in Raffles Institution for their foresight in allowing me to sign up for a course not directly related to my teaching subjects. Thank James Bonnet for generously imparting his knowledge.
Thank goodness for all your wisdom.

Cover of Sir Fong 2

Cover of Sir Fong 2