Art History: Week II Journal– Favourite Buddhist Temple

Foo Hai Chan Monastery

Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery (Chinese: 福海禅寺), is a Buddhist monastery in Singapore. The foundation was originally set up by Venerable Hong Zong of Taiwan. The present premises are located at Geylang, Singapore.


Main Deity 主神/佛
Guanyin 观音Other temples with this as main deity

Other Deities 众神/佛
Buddha 释迦牟尼佛

Siddhartha Centre 盘古圣皇佛堂
Pan Gu 盘古
Tai Shang Lao Jun 太上老君
Guanyin 观音
Mile Fo (Maitreya) 米勒佛
He Ye Yun 何野云
Ji Gong 济公

blogger-image--182301097 blogger-image--452791173

blogger-image--519468286 blogger-image-1521324037

Morning Gong –

“In the morning, the gong is set to create a stream of intense sounds followed by a slow pace. This is to remind the mass that they are have come to the end of a long night and do not indulge oneself in deep unconsciousness; in the evening, the gong is sounded in the reverse order, that is, slow then a faster pace, this is to remind everyone that they should be aware of illusions and unconsciousness; also that they must help relieve all beings in the nether world from suffering. The gongs in Chinese Temples are sounded one hundred and eight times each time, because sentient beings have one hundred and eight types of worries.”

With that being said, my father led my family up to the platform to sound off the gong so as to “scare off the demons” in his words. (I’m not sure if we’re allowed to do that but nobody came to stop us anyway.)

blogger-image-233493561 blogger-image--958561883blogger-image--1346861598 blogger-image--873031149

“Incense along with flowers and fruit represent some of the primary gifts that Buddhist practitioners offer during Buddhist prayer or on their altars. Incense in particular stands for ethics and morality. But these offerings only have meaning if the follower also has right conduct. Incense also reminds the practitioner of the path of the Middle Way, or moderation, and offers the key to enlightenment and Buddhahood. It creates a feeling of serenity.”

blogger-image-1622034651 blogger-image-1671906362

Guanyin –

“In Chinese Buddhism, Guan Yin is synonymous with the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the pinnacle of mercy, compassion, kindness and love.
(Bodhisattva- being of bodhi or enlightenment, one who has earned to leave the world of suffering and is destined to become a Buddha, but has forgone the bliss of nirvana with a vow to save all children of god.”

“Guan Yin is also depicted with a thousand arms and varying numbers of eyes, hands and heads, sometimes with an eye in the palm of each hand, and is commonly called “the thousand-arms, thousand-eyes” Bodhisattva. In this form she represents the omnipresent mother, looking in all directions simultaneously, sensing the afflictions of humanity and extending her many arms to alleviate them with infinite expressions of her mercy, while the thousand eyes help her see anyone who may be in need.”

Guanyin is a deity I can easily relate to as my mother has exposed me to her ways of teaching since young. To me, Guanyin is benevolent and kind, yet at the same time she is strong and in a sense, omnipotent.

On this trip, the interior of the temple was closed hence we were unable to enter and pay our respects hence I could not get a good photo of Thousand-arms Guanyin.

blogger-image-1920056770 blogger-image-1669777456

Bodhi Tree – 

From the photo above:

“A branch of the Bodhi Tree in Bodhigaya, India where Lord Buddha attained enlightment presented by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka


24 December 1991″

“The Bodhi-Tree is a symbolic representation of the individual’s journey to infinity. As the seed which begins tiny and hard grows open and free, so should the mind and heart. The tree is rooted in the ground as the self is rooted in matter. But the seed grows beyond the ground, as it perceives its environment, cares about it, and ultimately leaves the limitations of the body and matter behind. The branches reach towards the heavens yet the vines of the banyan reach towards the earth. Such is the state of mankind – always being pulled in two directions. One direction is freedom, ultimate liberation, and the transcendence of boundaries. The other direction is security, rootedness, comfort, and tradition – the self that will not turn away from the earth. Some people may justify behavior by Buddhist or other ethics and ritual, but will ultimately seek comfort rather than freedom. Such people should rest peacefully at the roots of the tree and never climb it.

For the others, the spiritual explorers, comfort and security are left behind. There will ultimately come a question: Which world do you choose? Only those who seek the upper branches of the tree and liberation can progress and follow the stages of the watches of the night.

There were many reasons for the historical Buddha’s incarnation. One was to provide a model for those that seek freedom.

The Bodhi Tree is easily characterised by the heart-shaped leaves and the tail of the leaf that curls up, towards the sky.



Pen sketch of the Morning Gong at Foo Hai Chan Monastery which I later went home to add some splashes of watercolour.

Overall, the visit to Foo Hai Chan Monastery made me feel peaceful especially in a hectic environment and schedule due to studying in a University. The simple yet modern(due to the marble flooring) architecture of the Monastery is pleasant and inviting.

Art History: Week I Journal

“Last week, we learned about different learning styles from Sir Ken Robinson. How do you learn best?”

Basically I took the easy way out by doing several surveys from websites such as Buzzfeed (, and education planner ( Links attached so you can try it for yourself!

Anyway, results were mostly Visual!

“You’re a visual, or spatial, learner. Charts and graphs have always been the best way for you to absorb information. Invest in a whiteboard because when you’re trying to learn, drawing a picture will help things stick.”

Education planner even gave some advices on how to improve my study methods:

“If you are a visual learner, you learn by reading or seeing pictures. You understand and remember things by sight. You can picture what you are learning in your head, and you learn best by using methods that are primarily visual. You like to see what you are learning.

As a visual learner, you are usually neat and clean. You often close your eyes to visualize or remember something, and you will find something to watch if you become bored. You may have difficulty with spoken directions and may be easily distracted by sounds. You are attracted to color and to spoken language (like stories) that is rich in imagery.

Here are some things that visual learners like you can do to learn better:

  • Sit near the front of the classroom. (It won’t mean you’re the teacher’s pet!)
  • Have your eyesight checked on a regular basis.
  • Use flashcards to learn new words.
  • Try to visualize things that you hear or things that are read to you.
  • Write down key words, ideas, or instructions.
  • Draw pictures to help explain new concepts and then explain the pictures.
  • Color code things.
  • Avoid distractions during study times.

Remember that you need to see things, not just hear things, to learn well.”


At the end of the day, everyone learns differently and I’m glad that I am aware of which learning style suits me best!



Chapter 2: Seven Minutes


She left the house hurriedly, fast, her heart throbbing, pounding in her head. She knew she had to leave least the Bratva take it on the Blacks. How could they have tracked her down here? No, not the same route. She had to take a detour, if she makes it to where the man found her before he did, she’ll know who was he and what he wanted. Into the forest she went. The snow is now knee deep and every step was getting harder to make. Her body was freezing and fatigue was getting the better of her. Slowly, oxygen was leaving her brain and the anxiety pangs starts to hit her. The blood continued to form between the sore skin. She bit her lips and pushed forward. The leaves of a pine tree three meters away, shuffled.

She stopped. Her heart sank. The silence enveloped her surroundings. She could no longer hear her panting as she held her breath and stood watching. The cold silence made her fearful to move. She crouched over, turning in all directions, wary and afraid. Her vision was blurring…

Playing Briony Grey, you can choose to use your powers and time-travel or to confront the encounter.

2D Foundation II – 3D Typography Research

Farhad Moshiri


Artist Farhad Moshiri’s installation “Life is Beautiful” was made by piercing 1242 knives of different colors and sizes into a wall at Pallazzo Grassi, Italy (2009).

3DTypographyBook_FarhadMoshiri_01 3DTypographyBook_FarhadMoshiri_02 farhadmoshirilifeisbeautiful1 farhadmoshirilifeisbeautiful3


Personally, I really enjoy the way Moshiri uses ready-mades in his typography to literally play out the phrase “stabbed-out with knives”. The optical illusion is also very interesting as from far, one would not expect the colourful and playful typography to be something so dangerous as weapons being stabbed into the walls.

In my work, I would explore using ready-mades to express myself (my name), in “and I am diminishing.” In the typography, I am slowly disappearing, as if back into the box where I first “emerged” from in the form of light.



Marc Quinn


Self is a self-portrait of the artist, but one that literally uses his body as material since the cast of Quinn’s head, immersed in frozen silicone, is created from ten pints of his own blood. In this way, the materiality of the sculpture has both a symbolic and real function. The work was made at a time when Quinn was an alcoholic and a notion of dependency – of things needing to be plugged in or connected to something to survive – is apparent since the work needs electricity to retain its frozen appearance. A further iteration made every five years, this series of sculptures presents a cumulative index of passing time and an ongoing self-portrait of the artist’s ageing and changing self.”

Chapter: Deciding who she is

The snow poured heavily outside, she’s in her room in the attic. The wooden furniture stood still and silent as the wind hits the glass window relentlessly. As she stood up from her dark wooden chair, it creaked softly. She hears the shuffling of footsteps downstairs. Judging from the time, she must have travelled an hour or so before the man chased up to her.

Who was he…? What did he wanted?

She leaves the room and heads for the first floor, where Sharma and Kotecha are cooking in the kitchen. They’re moving around the exact same way she had seen them before she left for the city. Sharma, dark haired, tanned and frail stirred the pot while she grinds the chicken bones she has hidden in the fireplace least the government does a raid on them again. The other time, Kotecha was forced to give up their canned goods they had bartered for the last of Sharma’s jewellery. They drank the hot water with grinded chicken bones silently. Kotecha came forward to offer her a bowl but she politely pushed the bowl back to her. The bratva were after her, if she were to stay in the house any longer, they’ll be after Sharma and Kotecha too. She had to leave, immediately.

Briony Grey can choose to run away, or to confront and find out who was it lurking around the house earlier.