Saturday, March 21, 2015

OH! Open House Joo Chiat [21/03]

It is the time of the year again for OH! Open House. It is held on average once every 1-2 years. And this time I found out about it from FP. It will be at Joo Chiat, our regular hangout. Getting the tickets is quite difficult as we thought, as with the previous years, we can only get it at the entrance. But this time round, the tickets are sold online and it was all sold out when we tried to get it a week before! Lucky for us, the organizers were allocating additional slots and FP manage to get 2 tickets for the 3.45pm slot on the 21st March (Saturday).

I met up with FP for tea at Dunman Food Center at 3.10pm and we left the Food Center for our rendezvous point at No Man's Land. It's actually an open field just next to the Haig Girls School, opposite 136 Tembeling Road. There is this vintage sign that greeted us when we arrived.

Registration is simple. FP just indicated his name at the 3.45pm timeslot and we received the tour pass.

The crowds are starting to gather. There are 20 people in each tour group. And the tour groups leave every 15mins. There is an average of 3 guides per group and they are all dress in the blue t-shirt below, with OH! Open House Joo Chiat words printed on it.

While waiting for the tour to start, we cross over to the opposite where we can see lots of pictures and painting on display. This is the 'Love Letters to Joo Chiat'. There is a local guide taking charge of this area and she enthusiastically explain to us on what this is about.

Our first stop point is Boon's Boat. This is a 8-metre long boat, where the artists evoke Noah's Ark, a place of rescue, refuge and salvation.

As we go into the boat, there are artifacts taken from residences around the area. These different objects evoke memories behind them. 

As we walk to the back of Boon's Boat is a series of scaffolding with letters slot randomly into the pigeon holes. We can open up the letter and read the different aspirations of people. From there, we can see and read the many voices of people that is hidden from us, and being kept away like a scroll.

The passage leads to the backyard of Mr and Mrs Tan house. We walked in from the kitchen area where we were greeted by plastic flowers on the floor, and leading all the way to the way to the front of the house. According to the guide, this depicts the unhealthy obsession with all things fake and plastic. Singapore itself consist of many artificial buildings and structures. In itself, it become a type of nostalgia and uniqueness to Singapore.

We are at the front of the house.

Let's take a full picture view of the house. These houses are conserved by the Preservation of Monuments Board.

The next house is shared with us by Andrzej and Evie, who live at the Sandalwood Condominium. Here we see the many pictures of people in Joo Chiat. 

There is also a unique Tall Bike in the middle of the room.

We are invited to write our thoughts on the bike.

The famous artist Ng Eng Teng used to live and have his workshop at 106 Joo Chiat Place. But all that is left is a small area, and Golden Sultan of Pahang is being exhibited here.

While walking to the next stop, our guide told us we are passing by the famous Everitt Road where disputes between neighbours drag on for more than 10 years. And the North Korean embassy is also around the area.

The next house belong to Jason and Gigi. It shows a very beautiful interior bamboo garden. The artist is Alecia Neo, where we can see her below. She combine sounds and sights of the many religious places of worship that can be found in Joo Chiat - the chinese temples, mosques, churches, hindu temples as an exhibit in this house.

Here, she is explaining on the moon cycles and the bodhi tree.

Our next stop is Fragrance Hotel, where we visited 2 rooms in the hotel. There artists depict the rooms as disconnecting from the external world and in each room, a different space exist where people interact with people of different nationalities differently. The rooms are exactly the same, but it's different living spaces to different people.

Our final stop of the day is visiting the house of Wei Chun. Below is a space with a history behind. The guide told us when the owner move in many years ago, a Thai lady crash landed from above into this open courtyard. She is actually escaping from a raid upstairs. The numbers in the exhibit depict the date at which the population white paper is passed. It raises the question whether with 6.9million people will Singapore be a comfortable place for everyone to live together.

The artist who decorated the room is Sean Lee. It shows himself dressing up as a ladyboy persona working in the red light district of Siem Reap.

And the many photos pin up on the windows and the wall.

At the end of the 2-hour tour, we have a group photo.