Project 2 Part I Visual Research – Telok Blangah

1. Your site/neighbourhood – some history/background/what is it known for?

Telok Blangah. It means “Cooking Pot Bay” in Malay and is known as “North West Gate” in Hokkien.

Primary Research after a day’s visit at Telok Blangah: telok-blangah-research_01

2. What is ethnography and participant-observation? What are some ways of collecting data?

Participant Observation: A method of data collection method typically used in qualitative research. One of the many methods used for Ethnography. Aims to gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals and their practices through an intensive involvement with people in their cultural environment, usually over an extended period of time. E.g. Informal interviews, direct observation, participation in the life of the group, collective discussions, analyses of personal documents produced within the group, self-analysis, results from activities undertaken off or online, and life histories.

Ethnography: The systematic study of people and cultures, where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study. A means to represent graphically and in writing the culture of a group. The recording and analysis of a culture or society, usually based on participant observation and resulting in a written account of a person, place or institution. E.g. Narrative interviews and artefact analysis, recording observations with due attention to the cultural context and the meanings assigned by the culture’s practitioners.

3. What is qualitative and quantitative data? What is the difference between primary and secondary sources of data? How would you go about collecting the two?

Qualitative research: Gathers information that is not in numerical form, typically descriptive data. To find out the ways in which people think or feel. E.g. Diary accounts, open-ended questionnaires, unstructured interviews and observations.

Quantitative Research: Gathers data in numerical form which can be put into categories. It can be used to construct graphs and tables of raw data. E.g. Experiments, observations and questionnaires.

Primary Sources of Data: Provides Direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person or work of art. E.g. Historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches and art objects. Interviews, surveys, fieldwork, and Internet communications.

Secondary Sources of Data: Describes, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyse, evaluate, summarise and process primary sources. E.g. Articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that discuss or evaluate someone else’s original research.

I visited Telok Blangah on Saturday with a friend who lives in Telok Blangah Drive. He gave me descriptions and history of the neighbourhood and I witnessed the “kampung” culture of the residents there. I have documented my findings using photography and will elaborate with the photos.

After the neighbourhood visit, I tried to find scholarly articles that talks about the history of Telok Blangah and statistics reports of Telok Blangah. It should be able to support my on-site findings.

4. What are infographics and how are they used to effectively communicate data? What other ways can we visually represent data?

Infographics – Information Graphics. It is a form of content marketing that can help to simplify a complicated subject or turn an otherwise boring subject into a captivating experience.

It should:
– Be visually engaging
– Contain a subject matter and data
– Appeal to target audience
– Build awareness
– Easy for readers to engage
– Include a diversity of sources and statistics

Ways to visually represent data:

Indicators – Displaying one or two numeric values such as a number, gauge or ticker, using the Indicators visualisation.

Line Chart – (1) Comparing data over time to view trends. (2) Comparing changes over the same period of time for more than one group or category.

Column Chart – Comparing items and comparing data over time.

Bar Chart – Comparing many items/categories.

Pie Chart – Aiming to display proportional data or percentages.

Area Chart – Display absolute or relative (stacked) values over a time period.

Pivot Table – Quickly summarise and analyse large amounts of data.

Scatter Chart – Display the distribution and relationship of two variables.

Scatter Map/ Area Map – Visualise geographical data across a region as data points on a map.

Treemap – Displays hierarchical data in the form of nested rectangles.

Distribution plot – Lets viewers see where each media outlet lies on a spectrum. (Fishbone)

Simple Visuals – Using scale, static data visualisation to illustrate your point, using length (depth).


My friend, who is a resident in Telok Blangah, brought me around the neighbourhood to understand its culture, history and background. There were a lot of interesting discoveries which were covered in the pdf document attached (in the hyperlink) in the first section of this post.

Telok Blangah
Click to enter photo gallery

Major Interesting Findings

  • Community formed mostly by Malay
  • A lot of old people
  • Very quiet neighbourhood, but its property price is expensive due to the availability of amenities
  • Red Rhino will respond and reach within the vicinity of Bukit Merah in 10 minutes
  • Merger of neighbourhood primary school
  • Neighbourhood swimming complex closed down, but opened in Mt Faber SAFRA when it was moved into Telok Blangah
  • Blocks of the same digits caught my eye (mostly 2-digit Block numbers) E.g. 44, 55, 66, 77, 88
  • Running trail of 17km connecting from Hort Park to Mt Faber
  • Kampung Culture
  • Very near to Gillman Barracks
  • Story of “Sticker Lady”

Que Sera Sera – Final

Dreams & Reality

Overall Composition


The tone for my assignment is element of surprise, challenging the assumptions that the audience have, comparing both Dreams and Reality of an individual.

Animation Curator

Animation Curator [Final]
Animation Curator [Final]
Animation Curator [GIF]
Animation Curator [GIF]
Message: Singapore restrains the creativity of Singaporeans, thus, we have to take risks and pursue our goals.

Concept: Yes, Singapore encourages creativity, but government still censors the media. The plate of gold represent the incentives that encourages artists in Singapore to generate creative content. The Merlion represents Singapore trying to devour anyone who drops into the water; limiting the creative contents. I showed the character jumping off the platform to grab the gold, this illustrates that we should should not be afraid to take risks. We should venture out of Singapore to pursue our dreams and make a name for ourselves.

Naval Officer

Naval Officer [Final]
Naval Officer [Final]
Message: Having a job in the government sector doesn’t guarantee a stable career.

Concept: The rice bowl represent the job I am earning a living from. It is of porcelain material, which shows that it is fragile. Many people think that people who signed on to the military earns a lot and is well taken care of by the Government, but it actually depends on the performance of that individual. The responsibility is huge and we must be tactful and capable in whatever we do. Thus, this composition is to force the audience to think in our shoes.


Hairdresser [Final]
Hairdresser [Final]
Message: Not all hairdressers are college drop-outs.

Concept: Many people think that hairdressers are those who could not get into universities, thus resorting to Beauty and Wellness industry. I beg to differ, I feel that it is a job for anyone who has a passion in it. Students who graduate with a degree can also step into this industry. The brush strokes represent creativity and hard work of an art student who is still pursuing his education. It represents hair too, the colours apply to both elements in a design (that a student studies) and the aesthetics of hairdressing patrons who wants their hair to be coloured with. The hair clipper represents “tool” – for job and education; a tool to get the job done.



Backpacker [Final]
Backpacker [Final]
Message: Parents doesn’t like their kids to explore around the world when they are young. They think that they should save up for Mortgage.

Concept: Most young adults have the desire to travel to foreign countries, as illustrated by the backpack. The compartments of the backpack represents the 5 “C”s of Singapore – Cash, Car, Condo, Credit Card and Country Club. These are the ideals that most parents want their children to achieve. Tied down by these expectations, these young adults’ freedom are restrained.

Challenges Faced

Naval Officer: It was difficult to achieve a balanced lighting for the porcelain bowl as the specular highlight (white spot) was too jarring. If I reduced the glossiness of the bowl, it will not look like a porcelain bowl, but a just a matte texture. Thus, I did post-processing to balance the image.

Hairdresser: It was a difficult time to come up with a good visual representation for the Hairdresser job as I have tried to use paintbrush bristles and real hair to form the composition previously, it just didn’t work out.

Backpacker: I wanted a minimalistic approach to the whole composition, but it was too limited to illustrate Country Club and Condo with just the compartments of the backpack. Thus, I had to display it in the background, which made the whole composition very cluttered.

During the printing process, it was a challenge to pick a suitable paper. I test-printed my designs on Toile-M, Zeta Hammer B and White Card. Toile-M had a canvas texture but it made the printing look uneven. Zeta Hammer B was the paper choice I used for last semester’s Ego project. In this semester, I felt that this choice will not work out as well because the texture appears to be like a cartridge paper, it had a rough surface, which does not work well with the glossiness texture I had with Naval Officer composition and other flat solid colour designs. I decided on using White Card for all my compositions, it have much a smoother surface and made the white colour in the compositions stand out more.

Que Sera Sera – Process

Animation Curator

I have decided that traditional animation can work for this design. It is able to illustrate the essence of being an animator and bring across the point of creativity being constrained in Singapore.


I have drawn them in different layers, namely: Background, Merlion, Character, Water and Pot of Gold.
It has a total of 26 frames, I have applied some of the 12 principles of animation in it. However, I will be only using some of the frames, to form the final composition. The final composition will be a Capital ‘G’ formed by the Gold pendulum and the Character jumping. The Merlion will also form a ‘G’ when it jumps out of the water.

Message: Singapore restrains the creativity of Singaporeans, thus, we have to take risks and pursue our goals.

Naval Officer

I decided to model a porcelain bowl with Navy pixelised texture in 3D. I searched for a pixelised texture and colour-corrected it to resemble a Navy military uniform. The intention of using a bowl is to represent a job that we earn a living from. I have added a pair of chopsticks for scale comparison. I have utilised the pixelated texture to form my name. The lighting was difficult to achieve as the material attributes is reflective; it was difficult to balance between a shiny texture and reducing the distraction of the specularity.

Message: Having a job in the government sector doesn’t guarantee a stable career.



This was my initial idea, using paintbrush, layering scissors, hair and hair clipper to form the letterform “G”. However, the backdrop seemed like from a surgical setting. Joy suggested to use the bristles of a brush to form the letterform. However, the post processing seemed too forced with digital imaging.


I have decided to reference from Jenifer Blanco Monzon as her style is minimal and yet best illustrates her message and object. My composition is made up with a hair clipper, brush strokes and a two toned background. I used “J’ as my initials as “J J CHUA” was the name that my peers in Navy call me.


This colourful brush strokes also represents Hair. Which links creativity, education and passion together.

Message: Not all hairdressers are college drop-outs.



This was my initial design. It was supposed to be an alphabet “G” formed by travel stamps and building chops on a passport. The background didn’t work out great, thus I had to change the entire look of it.


My inspiration comes from the different compartmentalisation of items. Each compartment can represent different things that we are concerned about. My composition is a backpack with 5 ‘C’s of Singapore, represented by the 5 compartments. The 5 ‘C’s of Singapore – Cash, Car, Condo, Credit Cards and Country Club. The backpack represents the desire to travel as a young adult, but the 5 ‘C’s are the mindset of parents, holding them back from doing what they want. They are the restraints that most Singaporeans have. As there are a lot of content in the composition, I decided to use solid colours to balance with each element.

Message: Parents doesn’t like their kids to explore around the world when they are young. They think that they should save up for Mortgage.

4D II Project 1 – Alter Ego


Upon my brother reaches home, there are a few items that are left around the house deliberately. Knowing his habits of using the toilet roll to dry his hands after washing, I left a note on the toilet paper, leaving him a message of my intention, concerns and reasoning of my actions. The items displayed in the film subtly shows my hints of who were in the house and where I will seek my refuge to. The look of the film is black and white, the filter out the unnecessary elements that will potentially distract the audience or mislead them. The soundtrack of the film is Irene Adler’s Theme from Sherlock which I feel that it is very relatable because it feels that there is a feeling of losing something valuable (in Sherlock, he loses the trust he have in Irene Adler). For my film, I feel that I could not take the chaos in the family, and feel that I should find my own dwelling, in order to find peace and tranquility.

Concept and Challenges

My alter-ego is Sherlock Holmes from BBC Sherlock, I find myself sharing some similar traits as him. Sherlock is mysterious, quirky, independent and witty; thus I portrayed the elements of mystery and not wanting to implicate others in this film. In coming up with the concept, I was stuck between choosing either Sherlock Holmes or Barney Stinson. I find myself having different personas in different kind of situations and felt that Sherlock was more relatable in my current phase in life. Initially, I wanted to have a very slow paced film like shots in Sherlock, but due to technical limitations, I had to compromise with the frame rate. One of the challenges I had while shooting the video is the sound quality of the footages and the background noises when I record using the Zoom audio recorder. Thus, I had to record the sounds at night where there are less activities in my neighbourhood. Another challenge for me was also what items to include in the film that will reflect where I will be going or dwelling. I wanted the hints to show in a subtle manner, like how John Watson develop his cognitive skills through his time with Sherlock.

Task 1

Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock) – Benedict Cumberbatch

Harvey Spectre (Suits) – Gabriel Macht

Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother) – Neil Patrick Harris

Dominic Toretto (Fast and Furious) – Vin Diesel

Shaun (Shaun of the Dead) – Simon Pegg


Task 2

Jack Ma

Emma Watson

Walt Disney

Rowan Atkinson

Rene Descartes


Task 3

Randy Peh

Nicholas Chan


Carlton Chng



Task 4

Sherlock Holmes: Observant, attention to details, mind palace, quirky.

Barney Stinson: Confident, Daring, Care for his friends

Jack Ma: Adventurous, Strive for the better

Emma Watson :Firm, believe in Feminism

Randy Peh: Attention to details, forward looking

Nicholas Chan: Established, Flexible, Resourceful