The Bookmarkers Affair: The event for book lovers. Because we are one of them.

“Let’s exchange books” is a simple idea that came about from a casual meeting with a few friends in the creative industry. TBA will give an opportunity to people to gather at a place on a weekend to hang out and learn and be inspired.

The Bookmarkers Affair

One of the first community events this year conceptualised by a collective of people who love art and design, this “affair” is for all to experience. The Bookmarkers Affair is an attempt to engage people in a conversation about the books they have read, and willing to exchange their books with another person for a new experience. This experience may be unwelcomed by some, but it is also this kind of experience that, to others, will become a way to lead them into a new friendship and a new realm of knowledge. Not just that, books as a conversation starter can really become an engagement tool in fostering ties and understanding between people.

As there will be varieties of books on display brought in by different vendors, we will leave it up to them to decide how to introduce their books. One thing is for sure, that we will be confronted with stories about art, design, and living. The Bookmarkers Affair is comprised of an array of engaging talks, sharing sessions, and film screenings, including a book/art market that presents a group of people who are ready to share/exchange with you their books or craft products. They might even try to find a new owner for a particular book they have owned for some time, and if you’re up for that kind of experience, be sure to bring along something (a book at best or some kind of print collateral e.g. vintage posters, collectibles, cool souvenirs) valuable to trade with. Books can even be on sale although this depends on the vendors (aka Bookmarkers), and the bartering between the Bookmarkers and the interested buyer.

I hope got you excited about this event already! Find out about the place where we’re putting up TBA here: Event: The Booksmarkers Event @ Sunway Nexis on 11th March 2017

Audiences will enjoy a preview of a design documentary (film title to be announced later), which depicts the design collective’s attempt to create awareness about design as an art, a skill, an interest, a passion, and also an escape. For certain people, design is seen to be an adventure of the inner soul – like art. For others, design is a profession that is to be respected for its ability to empower a person, corporation, and the society – basically, the world. Therefore, The Bookmarkers Affair will engage visitors in a series of public talks that focus on the significance of books in the community from the perspective of a designer or a crafter.

The Highlight
The primary component of this event is the book swap. We gather people who are interested in exchanging books with other people, provided that those books are educational, informative and/or entertaining and generally healthy for reading by the general public. Book swaps are a fun way to meet new people and learn new things whilst improving literacy.

Other than the book swap, there will also be:
– Design documentary screening
– Talks on design by designers and crafters
– Special appearance by Doof Industries (cool bean bags to lounge on for reading)

Get instant updates here: The Bookmarkers Affair – Facebook Event Page

The reason for The Bookmarkers Affairs is to build a tight-knitted community of book lovers. As the saying goes, know thy neighbour as thyself. So, let the book become a conversation starter for you and everyone else!

To find your way there, click here: Show me the map to Sunway Nexis, Kota Damansara

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E V E N T

T H E
B O O K M A R K E R S
A F F A I R

Venue: Sunway Nexis (Ground Floor, near Coffee Bay)
Date: 11th March 2017 (Saturday)
Time: 11am – 5pm

Bonus: Complimentary (free) booth for vendors*

*If you have books to swap, you can get a table at no charge. If you’re a crafter, artist, coffee maker, homemaker, bookbinder, etc, it’s free too.

Reserved for the first 20 vendors.
For booking, kindly email to info@tsubakistudio.net

Recent discovery of an obsessed theatre darling

There is nothing happier than knowing another person who comes across as smart, confident, articulate, jovial and likeable with larger-than-life personality and hardly no air about him – at least when he’s around me and I mean, I really do enjoy his good company.

He’s my dear friend, Richard Chua.

There are many lessons about life, theatre and relationship that I learned from him. Design matters, dogs, and people become the staple of our conversation.

When we talk, I want to see the world as he sees it.

His words and gestures dance along even when he rants about petty things, but here I am – like someone in the audience watching an actor acting out a script in front of me – beginning to create scenes in my head and the experience would seem surreal.

In case you haven’t checked out Theatrix Asia (founded by Richard), I am amused by the amount of entertaining articles that I can find about entertainment arts here.

It is still unbelievable how I came about writing a piece for the web portal, which I would cringe every time I think about it. Just because you hadn’t done up a review about a show, it doesn’t mean you can’t, Richard said to me.

And when he told me to write what the heart desires at the time of writing and let it flow, don’t stress it…I listened.

On a serious note, here are some of his reviews that I enjoy reading:

HIROSHI KOIKE’S TRANSGRESSED BODIES IN THEATRE
http://www.theatrex.asia/hiroshi-koikes-transgressed-bodies-in-theatre/

PRECIOUS LITTLE: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS WITH BECKETT WORLD IN THEATRE | A REVIEW
http://www.theatrex.asia/precious-little-brief-encounters-with-beckett-world-in-theatre-a-review/

BUMIPUTRA CINA | A REVIEW
http://www.theatrex.asia/bumiputra-cina-a-review/

Richard also appeared on radio to speak about a production he loved very much, which I was privileged to watch when it premiered at DPAC. Here’s the link to the radio interview.

THE NUANCED HIDDEN LIFE – The Weight of Silk on Skin – Interview on BFM radio station
http://www.bfm.my/richard-chua-dominic-luk-weight-of-silk-on-skin.html

I heard that he would be travelling around Asia this year to witness some of the best art events and theatre shows.

How wonderful!

The Richard Chua I imagine
is a traveler with a backpack and a book/journal in hand,
observing people and things as he goes along, and
enjoying a tête-à-tête at a coffeehouse
now and then.

Can’t wait to catch up with this theatre darling and have our own tête-à-tête when he’s back!

“Must do” — before the first meeting

Every time that I have to speak to someone new about branding and my design business, I get thrilled about the first meet. I enjoy the time I have to spend before the meeting.

I would thank the universe for working in my favour and for sending me a lead. (so important, I tell you. We must be grateful.)

Do a background check on this person aka client.

Trash out the design collaterals we had done and check whether we have portfolios relevant to this client’s brand or business.

Share some links from our Tsubaki Studio on Behance site prior to the meeting.

Go through my brand slides.

Think of all the possibilities that can happen during the meeting.

Prepare questions beforehand and keep them in the notebook for use during the discussion.

Glance through my wardrobe and work out that “glam enough, confident enough” look.

Give myself a pep talk in front of the mirror while I ‘paint’ my face.

What if I’m late?! Well, I usually don’t, but maybe it’s worth to share with you in my next post on how I get out from this embarrassing situation. Till then!

The cashier girl asked me to sing. Here’s what happened.

What day is it today? Cause’ I feel like it’s freebies day.

I just went in to the Guardian store hoping to, you know, pick up that BB foundation and go. Proves again that shopping for me is always never that easy.

I think I ended up with 10 items; but, I was given 6 other items that I didn’t pay for.

The store cashier said that it’s “complimentary from us”.

Aren’t these a lot for just one purchase?

Feels like it’s a lucky day indeed, isn’t it?

Plus, I got rebates from today’s purchase, cash voucher for my next purchase and a chance to buy an electronic weighing machine for much less (if I want to).

I never asked for anything, didn’t think about it, and am not even Guardian member. Well, here’s what I think.

When you’re loyal to a brand, you don’t need to register lah, kan (unless it’s really worth the time filling in the application form because let’s face it, we don’t really make use of the member card, anyway, except for AEON – the perks are great).

Coming back to my day at Guardian today, I am thankful for the gifts. From a branding perspective, Guardian (particularly this store in Raman Sri Rampai) had captured my heart with good service, and the staff were courteous to me.

The gifts from Guardian
The gifts from Guardian

I like the jewelry box the most. I have new glasses I got from previous JB trip, so I have a nice place for them now.

I was a little chatty with the staff (just being myself); we were talking about things over the counter other than a business transaction. The cashier girl seemed to have warmed up to me and she saw that I was carrying a guitar bag behind me, so she asked “Awak pergi jamming ke nanti?” (Are you going to a jamming session later?)

I replied, “Tak de la. I tengah belajar gitar.” (Nope, I am learning the guitar.)

Now, we’re talking like neighbours.

I think I got her excited when I told her that I like to sing Malay songs. There was a twinkle in her eyes. I guess that maybe she was bored at work and you know, work can get boring at times. Solution to boredom is –> Make friends with your customers. You’ll start to love your job again.

“Ye ke? Nyanyi sikit boleh?” she asked.

“O.K.A.Y.”

When it comes to music, it’s pretty easy for me to become the singing jukebox right away. I welcome people into my world. So, to feed her curiosity, I gave away one line. Just one line, mind you and we talked even more. We even said goodbye to each other. I thought: Hey, that was awesome. I went in as an ordinary customer and I came out as a valued customer.

Staff should be encouraged to interact with their customers. It’s a motivation to do a job well. It’s also a message telling the customer that “we always welcome you into our world”.

That will be a very convincing move with happier staff and customers as the result. That’s for sure.

LOL…this long post to describe my unplanned visit to Guardian on the afternoon of April the 2nd. What an experience! I AM a lucky girl :)

P.S. Curious to know the song? Hang on there…I’ll tell you that in my next blog post. 😉

So, apparently, flu can build up asthma and lead to pneumonia

Telling from my experience.

This year, I got into trouble with my health. Got my lungs checked and I was found to be showing signs of pneumonia, where there was fluid in the lungs. “Oh no,” I thought.

If your flu is not being treated with medication in a timely manner, you could possibly get your lungs into big trouble and endure a whole lot of pain. I went through that. The feeling is like a stab to your lower rib cage for every cough you make. When the coughing continues the pain escalates and you’ll feel as though a burp is going to come out but it’s not. The itch in the chest caused from all that coughing can really work up your system and give you false alarm that you might eventually throw up. The harder I tried to prevent myself from coughing, the more I was gasping for air and my chest began to feel really tired and sore.

Staying in the hospital bed can be boring and that's when I started to see colours around me. I had my Jelly Bunny shoes with me and H&M socks to keep my feet warm 24/7. Living with pneumonia means one week in a 4-bedded ward under antibiotic drip and shut away from the outside world with loud neighbours to keep me up at night and no sun.
Staying in the hospital bed can be boring and that’s when I started to see colours around me. I had my Jelly Bunny shoes with me and H&M socks to keep my feet warm 24/7. Living with pneumonia means one week in a 4-bedded ward under antibiotic drip and shut away from the outside world with loud neighbours to keep me up at night, no sun and homesick.

I mean, I have had flu before and I would be able to function as normal after two to three days of rest, but this time was major. I ponder if age was catching up because my recovery rate was surprisingly slow, or had I not been taking care of myself? I’d say both. I love my job and I enjoy staying up late sometimes to finish a few more jobs.

Anybody making a living in the creative industry will understand that nighttime is always a good time to do any creative work. Be it writing, scripting, designing, generating idea or slicing video frames. When my doctor told me that I have mild asthma, I almost had a major lung spasm. I hoped it was like what she said, that it was going to be temporary.

You won’t know when your body gets weak. Virus attacks you before you know it. #notfunatall

Flu these days have mutated and can stay inside your body much longer, which makes it harder for a speedy recovery. You will get back to your normal self and enjoy your usual lifestyle but it’s depressing to realise that now you tend to catch for air after taking a few flight of stairs.

I know you love your job as much as I do mine, but my advice to you is, the next time you think of burning the midnight oil, think twice for health’s sake. Flu can be nasty nowadays!

My little pup, Cara Mel, understands sleep well. She's at her most comfortable state when resting on my lap, and she makes the cutest sound I've ever heard - snoring!
My little pup, Cara Mel, understands sleep well. She’s at her most comfortable state when resting on my lap, and she makes the cutest sound I’ve ever heard – snoring!

Can you believe this story? One of my ex-colleagues told me that her cousin who’s healthy and buff now was once asthmatic because he drank too much of 100 Plus. #weirdbuttrue

Moral of the story: You see, there will always be work, so what? I’m saying – Get well rested and have a nice dream.

Make an effort.

Start with tonight.

Telling myself to do so more often.

Good night!

Tis the season to be grateful

Cheers to a nice first Winter Solstice celebration with both my family and the in-laws! What an evening it was! Full course Oriental dinner and lots of selfie going on between my sister-in-law and me.

In just a matter of days, the New Year will begin. If I were to describe 2014, it is an uphill battle with a wondrous pursuit at the end. If felt to me like another round of red velvet cake, bite after bite, with icing on top to soothe my sweet tooth. There are days you can choose to cherish. There are also days you wish they perish.

I’d say, be grateful for all you have!

Material or not.

Love or otherwise.

Be kind to yourself.

Once in a while, indulge!

Having said that, it’s that time of the year to shower the people around me with kind gestures and nice sayings. And, let yours truly put up with an all-time favourite movie, The Holiday.

A couple of years ago, this is what happened. I picked up guitar for a while. I had a tutor who thought that I enrolled in the wrong class when I should be following a vocal trainer. I like to go back to my guitar once in a while for old time’s sake. This one here was found idle in a backpacker’s inn where we stayed in Kaohsiung. I think I was strumming to the chords of a Dia Frampton song.

Knock, knock Mr Postman is at the door

Oh, I know, that parcel is not for me. Of course not, it’s written in Chinese with our address. I highlighted this to my husband over Whatsapp.

He hinted: IT’S THE CERTIFICATES FROM THE GOLDEN PIN DESIGN AWARD!

So, I went on and did the unwrapping of the parcel aka the gift like Christmas came early 😀

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 12.21.19 PM
*oin=pin – typo error; always happens with the auto correction

With permission, I cut open the top of the parcel, and gently tore apart the top flap of the brown envelope (it’s thick, good quality kraft paper). I don’t know why I do that with envelopes but I’m the kind of person that wants her soon-to-be discarded items to still be as neat as can be.

Yup, confirm sure. It is the certificates from the Golden Pin Design Award that we’ve been waiting for, and oh my, look at the finishing!

Gold stamping at the right places...
Gold stamping at the right places… (front, the cert and back)
Then I put two of our latest covers together with the certs
Then I put two of our latest covers together with the certs
Then, I grabbed the awards from the black cases where we put them...checking out the natural lighting from the sun
Then, I grabbed the awards from the black cases where we put them…snap snap with backup from the sun’s natural lighting

What a way to end the year! I hope to see our new friends in Taipei again. Also hoping that there will be many more designers from Malaysia participate in next year’s Golden Pin Design Award and lavish their life stories with moments like this.

谢谢金點設計獎! 我们会做的更好! (Thanks to Golden Pin Design Award! We will do better!)
谢谢金點設計獎! 我们会做的更好!

Thanks to Golden Pin Design Award!

The team at CUTOUT Magazine and TSUBAKI Studio are thankful for the recognition you’ve given us and we will do better! 😉

Throwback to 2007

All this while the voice that have been talking to me is actually an old acquaintance of mine pre-CUTOUT days. And all this while the sound of her name didn’t trigger anything at all. Until I met her at a meeting recently. Can’t believe my eyes! It was unexpected, surprising with a nice feeling put into the mix.

What was I doing that time?

I don’t know but I think I tried to make up a smooth sentence so I could greet her nicely but I couldn’t. I only remember smiling from ear to ear, and swaying like a walking penguin towards her and gave a big hug.

For a moment, I know that face looked oh so familiar but my brain’s speed was at a low that morning (just downed a hearty breakfast meal before that). I just couldn’t make a connection about where we’ve met. And then…bingo! I do remember her anyway – just hidden deep inside my head.

20141217_112526
Me and my friends from the arts scene meeting to discuss projects for the 2015. The trio who rock Publika with their wit, humour and cool ideas. (R-L) Sunitha whose voice I didn’t get to recognise at the first place, Nani whom I respect and admire for her boldness and natural self, and to Alex, welcome back! Also a surprise to see him there. Double throwback.

She was actively involved in the arts scene and I was about 21 then and setting up a designer T-shirt business with the better half. We somehow crossed paths and stayed distant because we only came together when there was a collaboration.

I want to believe that our friendship sort of took a long break before we eventually cross path again after 8 years. Too good to be true but faith is kind :)

Fancying a concrete kitchen for our home

I wonder how far can we go with this concept for our little kitchen.

I can easily find my better half’s favourite colour here all over. If this could make him visit the kitchen more and maybe offer to cook me a meal, I wouldn’t mind it, really.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 6.50.28 PM

Seriously cool. For me :)

Kitchen or pantry, grey tones that are almost white are worth considering.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 8.09.12 PM

Our kitchen is smaller than this space, but I like it compact and I’ll settle for something simpler and of course, practical. Have wooden shelves drilled to the wall and the kitchen hood covered from sight.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 7.48.45 PM

But most importantly, the space allow more great kitchen moments, like…preparing a meal for my furry friends! I enjoy blending juices so there big jugs , woven baskets and a table bin are wonderful to have.

At our little home, anything goes really. It’s about time to make up some time together to discuss the possibilities of a kitchen reno before the Big Day arrives 😀

A phone call that got me thinking about the triviality of graphic design

Like the image of a light bulb over my head, there came a question from a brief chat with a professor today. We were talking like old friends coming together after a long time of absence in each other’s life. Greetings were exchanged. He heard about the news and congratulated me and my team. I, on the other hand, was thinking that a stage experience of this magnitude shall be felt by many more Malaysian graphic designers (or visual communicators) in their homeland Malaysia, if not overseas. I wanted him to know that.

Believe it or not, such experience can truly change a person. After all that talking, I wanted to know if there is any award out there in Malaysia that dedicates a design-driven category for visual communication. One which the eyes meet the visual, see the breadth and depth of it, change the way we look at things graphically and forget about the monetary returns that you make out of that design. Turns out to be the answer is no. Or maybe, not yet. 

DSC_0260
This is a replica of a production set used by artists and their backup dancers when they are making a music video. I was standing there and thinking what a life it could have been for me if I had followed my childhood dream.

I want to believe what Tommy Li believes that Malaysia is still in its infancy when it comes to design, and the room for innovation is as big as space can get. If you want to do a products-based business anywhere in the world, the originality and authenticity of a product is always favourable. Whether it is marketable is a puzzle worth your time spending on and piecing it together.

Back in Malaysia, the next best thing we can possibly hope for is obtaining a Good Design Mark. The Good Design Mark is neither an award or competition but rather a respectable recognition given by Malaysia Design Council to manufacturers and makers of furniture, interior design, industrial design and products with an aim that the Good Design Mark can help boost commercial marketability and profitable opportunities.

I certainly think that visual communication and graphic design is part of the game plan. Well, they just don’t get the same airtime, so to speak. I’ve said this before and let me reiterate that graphic design is not art. Graphic design is a way of communication through graphics, where part of its role is to break down hard facts and information into digestible formats, which can be called as infographics, illustrations, typography, wayfinding and others.

Where do graphic designers stand in the hierarchy of design? How is one being perceived in society? A tough job with undesirable working hours – is that what it’s all about being a graphic designer? Questions, questions, and more questions.

DSC_0231
A sleek idea to show people the way. Can you tell? The Eslite Spectrum Songyan Store in Taipei is located within the vicinity of the Songshan Cultural & Creative Park.

Of course, I want to think that they are problem solvers and culture integrators. I know of those who integrate graphic design in their work and they are called visual communicators (because their aim is to design well to communicate well); and those who can operate a computer to create mind-blowing graphics are called graphic designers or crafters (because they spend plenty of time crafting their skills / brushing up on their talents until they forget the basic human communication). Regardless, like manufacturers and makers of furniture et al, any kind of designers – as long as they design for a living – are thinkers (and emotional beings, too) and should be recognised for their work – whether it be in the form of an award, a promotion or a bonus.

Although some may think that graphic design is but a fleeting moment – either setting trends or following them, whose works are usually produced from emotions of the heart – the word permanence cannot be applied to design, tangible or intangible. To say that design will be recognised and awarded for its permanence or durability is like hiding truths and telling one side of a fairytale when there are more sides to it. Design is not antique. It’s not destructive. It builds things such as concepts, art directions and styles. It changes according to time and experiences.

Forget about permanence and learn to appreciate graphic design even for a fleeting moment.