catmasutra - angel & halo

Imagine if we took a wrong turn and went down a wrong path, wouldn't it be nice to be able to reverse things? Sometimes it's interesting to reverse the events just so that we can see stories unfold differently. Who knows? Maybe life's really a stage and all of us actors in the play. The trick of course is to allow for a possibility to step out of it, and in doing so discover the humor of it all. As it always has been, the more we try to control or possess life, the more it slips away from us. The more we let go, the easier it comes to us. That must be the greatest irony of life.

Imagine if you will, watching a World War II movie shown in reverse as described in Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slaughter-house-five : American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses, took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for the wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes... When the bombers got back to base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States, where factories were operating day and night, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals... The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.

Halo is a cat who lost its purr and then found it back again. She stopped purring when we got Angel. Even though Angel was just a kitten, Halo was always on her toes/claws/paws, wary of the new addition and as such, everything else around her. I'm not sure if I have done anything that affected Halo's personality or maybe she's just born with a more conservative personality haha. Angel is nonchalant about everything as if the world itself is his domain and playground. And now, I have no idea what triggered the change, even after being 'attacked' by Angel countless times (who loves to pounce on her and catch her unawares ), she suddenly found herself purring again. She has become more relaxed and sure of herself. Instinctively, Halo has begun to trust her environment, and doing so instinctively, she is able to be herself, playing more actively than I have seen her in years!

All beings are heirs to their own karma. Everything arises and passes away according to their own time. We are taught to chase after our time, to possess it, control it so that we can be happy. And in so doing, we realize there are so many things we need just to be satisfied, and when the satisfaction turns into dissatisfaction as it always does, we are at it again, looking for the next gratification. Our individual life is an expression of what is unique to each of us, a mystery which we should be comfortable with in the midst of all that happens to us.

And with Jack daniels and Coke...
cheers ;)


Catmasutra - true stories

"[T]he atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real;
they form a world of potentialities or possibilities
rather than one of things or facts."
~ Werner Heisenberg

How do we know for certain that the sun will rise tomorrow? Is that a fact or a potential? How do we know we will be here tomorrow? Is that a fact or a possibility? When everything is reduced to its fundamental basis, everything is change, everything is energy, energy contained within ourselves. How we use these energies shape each potential to its natural conclusion, for good or bad. It's funny how we can say with absolute certainty that the sun will rise the next day. There are so many things that could happen and yet we are cocksure that for us, the next day will be another day just like all the other days. By the same token, if we feel we will succeed in a certain endeavor as surely as we know we can walk downstairs, we would never have any doubt. Our energies are already being used to shape a new potential and awake a new possibility.

There is no discovery without risk and
what you risk reveals what you value
~ Jeanette Winterson

Then again, there is 'reality', a world made up of facts rather than possibilities, a world that reminds us of our place, our inadequacies, our limitations, and all its impossibilities. At the end, we all make a choice between what we believe to be true. At the end, we are all the same; we will draw our last breath and let go.

We are more connected than we imagine. There is this great big canvas, and our art work (good or evil, sad or happy, love or hate, war or peace) are all painted there - on this earth in this universe. We can never abuse, kill or ensalve what we really love. And what do we really love?

“Peace is not something you wish for;
It's something you make, Something you do,
Something you are, And something you give away.”



Catmasutra commission piece - Happiness!

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination. ~ Robert Fulghum

Of all the choices we can make... we can actually choose to be happy.
All it takes is a little courage.

So this is me, with the obligatory cigarette after the completion of the commissioned piece. Couldn't resist with the Double Happiness pack (one of two items the client wanted;) lying so invitingly on the table. This is a big piece measuring 122 by 81 cm. This is the biggest cat I've painted, and the size of the painting actually pulls you into its own space. Haha Really feel like lying on the cushion and cuddle the cat for a bit. This is actually an extension of "Dancers" done in 2005, which mimics Botero's except that this is the Asian version of 'smaller' people. This painting was for a client who bought "dancers".

The power of a painting is its engagement, not only with the eye, but with the body of both the artist and the viewer. It's a direct tactile experience as the idea is transferred onto the canvas, which in turn interacts with the artist to proceed one way or the other. When one looks at a painting, we're actually seeing the painting as the finished object and at the same time, the activity that is taking place between the artist and the canvas. The painting becomes a way of creating yourself afresh outside of yourself.

"The mind creates the abyss,
and the heart crosses it."
~Sri Nisargadatta

Our mind has a strong tendency to think, divide, plan, imagine - that is its very nature. It engulfs us in a constant stream of memories, plans, expectations, judgments, regrets, creating endless battles and struggles just to protect the semblance of what and who we think we are. Maybe the trick is to let the mind be for a while and listen to the heart instead. Beneath the busyness of thought, of every fantasy and fear, there is an inherent peacefulness. We will discover that we can let go of many of the things that we don't really need. Victory is rarely found at the summit of courage but freedom. "The freedom that comes with the knowledge that no earthly thing can break you.”

Stay happy.


Catmasutra - Mind Shaper 2008!

“Whatever you hold in your mind will tend to occur in your life. If you continue to believe as you have always believed, you will continue to act as you have always acted. If you continue to act as you have always acted, you will continue to get what you have always gotten. If you want different results in your life or your work, all you have to do is change your mind.”

Ever wondered why New Year's resolutions are always rather short-lived? Why after a period of struggling, life always return to where we left off, seemingly on auto-pilot and none the better? It's strange how we fight with ourselves. We tell ourselves we must do this and that, and yet all this serves to do is strengthen our addiction for the things we want to change! Maybe the trick is to stop fighting, but simply changing our thoughts and re-shaping our mind. Once we change our thoughts, everything else have to change with them.

As long as you trust yourself you know how to live
~ Johann Wolfgang Goethe

So take some time off, be a mind shaper;) Understand what you're trying to change intimately, organically, and find something that you love about the change. Haha I read somewhere that to stop smoking, it's better to be a non-smoker who smokes than a smoker who stops smoking. A non-smoker hates the smell and the very act of smoking; a smoker loves smoking and has to fight with himself to stop smoking. So stop waging the war! Be wise, be playful, and enjoy life's journey. Life is much more fun that way....

If you have time, don't miss Labrador Asian Tour with
Club 8 & Pelle Carlberg
I'm quite hooked to Club 8 songs...

Sistic Booking

Presented by KittyWu Records

23rd Jan 2008
Esplanade Recital Studio

Coming in from the cold to warm our hearts with songs dipped in charm and honesty, make a date with Club 8 and Pelle Carlberg of Sweden for an intimate double bill session at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Visiting Singapore for the first time on their Asia tour, they'll be bringing their unique sound as two of Sweden's finest indie pop bands.

$65 from SISTIC
(Excluding SISTIC booking fee)
SISTIC Hotline: 6348-5555
Sale starts 2 Jan



Catmasutra 101 @ cafe Domus

Across the universe, and here we are on a little island, in a little place, that shines from the inside. It is a strange sight indeed especially when you're looking in from the outside. A little shiny place in the midst of the quiet darkness of gloomy buildings, with motifs of butterflies hovering in between, grasping over the brightly lit flowers...

Outside, the street has given in to the tiredness. Foreign workers living in old shop houses, with laundry as flags of another existence. They are talking as we are. We talked about fashion in this shiny place. I wonder what they would be talking about. The conversation shifted to brand names that I've never heard before - Italian, Japanese maybe. It doesn't matter. These worlds are not foreign to us, those who are inside this shiny place. They are more of the same - lifestyle aspirations that don't mean anything more than what we already have.

We are more connected than we think we are. We are all responsible one way or another for all the sadness and happiness in this world. We are here, all the way from across the universe, on Planet Earth where the dinosaurs became extinct, where there were two world wars, where empires kept on rising and falling, where we destroy forests and trees, where animals are tortured and killed for fur and 'delicacies' we don't need, where 'livestock' are bred and slaughtered without dignity, for the loss of our sensibilities.

"We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves."

It's hard to move in this great big web of artificiality, as consumers, isolated and made bit part to interests of business and profit-making. We divide our life into so many compartments that our vision becomes fragmented everywhere we look.

There is always insecurity that keeps us in line, makes us afraid to be as we truly are. But we know it's never really about the place we find ourselves in. It's always about the light we carry inside of us, the path we choose, the choices we make, moment by moment, person by person. The more we believe, the easier it is to let go. Got light?

Catmasutra 101 is the art of nine lives - knowing that you live to die, and die to live again and again, allowing us to rest in the mystery of life. That's why life is an adventure, however you look at it - you only have to choose.

"Know that joy is rarer, more difficult and more beautiful than sadness." ~ Andre Gide

Join the Joy Luck Club!


Catmasutra 101 Painting Show!

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.”
~ Albert Einstein

Seasons come and go. Of course, it's hard to use seasons to gauge the natural cycles of things especially in Singapore. The seasons we get are probably more or less of a range of conditions popularly described as Sunny, Fair, Hazy, Cloudy, Partly cloudy, Rain, Showers, Thunderstorm, Windy. Perhaps that's why we don't really pay attention to our natural cycles but get caught up by the unrelenting artificial (9 to 5 + OT) ones.

I remember studying in Canada where you feel the natural cycles instinctively. In the depth of winter, people are more moody. We rest and sleep more. We don't move that much, don't want to get out of the house. In Spring, we feel fresher, happier as if everything has been renewed. Even then, there is a joy when we recognize a change in seasons. We rejoice to see the first snow flakes, or the first glimpse of spring or summer. And we begin to tire in the middle as we grow in anticipation of the new season. These are the natural up-and-down and in-and-out cycles. Once we understand this natural rhythm, we will be more able to ride both phases. Some days we feel down and I think we should be entitled to enjoy feeling down... haha SO enjoy it and let it past into the next phase!

Perhaps a new year resolution should be to live more intuitively, to sense the different transitions in our life, to let go of things that we don't longer need, and to keep each day fresh and filled with wonder (like taking a ride into an unknown part of little India and experiencing the art of nine lives... and feeling the sudden irresistible urge to own a eyes-wide-shut, ear-to-ear-grin Catmasutra painting ;)

“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life -
learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance
and play and work every day some.”
~ Robert Fulghum

Happy New year!


5th - 2Oth JANUARY 2008
@ café domus
124 Owen Road

((off Race Course Road in Little India)

Sun - Thu: 7pm - 12MN
Fri, Sat & PH eve: 7pm - 3am
Closed: Mon & weekday PH