FYP Ideation: Food waste part III

Research and more research:

Talks: Food Waste symposium at NTU

It was great timing that the school actually put together a symposium on food waste last Wednesday that invited social enterprises over for a 3-hour talk to give audiences insights as well as a panel discussion.

It was a public lecture where I found the attendees to be PHD students, bioscience students or groups of students that were interested to tackle Food Waste as an FYP topic.

I looked forward to Ms Nichol Ng’s talk who is a co-founder of Food Bank. She projected some fascinating insights and figures of food donations her organization deals with:


  • Two full lorries of onion rings were donated to them because 2 customers complained they found onion skins in them. Therefore, they can’t be sold
  • The Food Bank received snacks in huge amount  because of minor packaging errors or because the product’s flavour was not selling too well.
  • Supermarkets are able to return 90% of their items to the manufacturers. Therefore, its the manufacturers are the ones that are stuck with this food wastage
  • Incineration is cheap in Singapore hence it is the easy way out. These incinerated food are perfectly edible but are being burnt because it is the easy way out – do not have to account for food waste

Also, during the Q&A session there was an angsty man that expressed his anger and kept questioning who were the ones that could change policies.

I found it rather funny as if the panel was able to answer that, there would not be food waste anymore.

Hence, it really got me to understand that for this issue to start improving, we have to start with ourselves.

Also I was glad that I managed to have a chat with the founder during the break and realize that the food Bank actually organized worked with artists and  organized art competitions. Hence, this serves some possibility of collaborating with them for the FYP

More research!

Documentaries: Channel News Asia – IT Figures on Food Waste

After watching a CNA documentary on how households overbuy, I decided to check out my own stash on the dining table.


Here’s what I found


And indeed, these were all expired.  I am feeling so guilty.

In just one container of items, there was already this amount of food waste, because of overbuying. Indeed the figure, 40% of food being produced is never eaten truly struck me.

Would you want to check out your kitchen right now?


Essentially, I would continue to think about what is the best way to get this figures presented to masses. Currently, it is to use its actual multitude to create a voice and show this ‘unseen’.

And on a leaving note, this issue of food waste is too infamous that even the number 1 top hit Shape of You has a parody version about food waste.

#itstotallynotsex – The Sex Mudra Paradox

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Vajradhara and Prajnaparamita Nepal/ Tibet, 14th or 15th century Gilded copper alloy

Key things to note about the object

  • Vajradhara is a form of the historical Buddha found in Esoteric Buddhism
  • Prajnaparamita: the Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom; Union represents attainment of knowledge
  • Yabyum posture: tantric sexual embrace (tantra)

What we see is an object from Asian Civilisation’s Museum. Let’s bring our attention to the posture itself. Despite being known as the sexual union, the yab-yum position is not about sex.

Hmm..so what is this Yab-yum all about?

Yab-Yum is the symbol of divine union. It is the posture in which man and women are united between Heaven and Earth: a classic meditation posture

But when taken too literally, its meaning is misunderstood and translated entirely opposite.

Ha, gotcha sick minds.

But pardon yourselves, when we saw the object at ACM, our reactions were epic:

Ruotong: I thought both are homosexual or something, no offense

Val: *rolling on floor laughing* while wondering if this is a legit museum item or someone just did something blasphemous

Tiff: Holy **** <- well, literally.

Why we chose it

This definitely stood out among the rest with the reaction and attention of other museum goers that walked past it. Also, everyone else was choosing Yakshi and we weren’t really inspired by the pieces of ceramics. We knew we needed something that could capture the attention of audience for the purpose of educating them. (not making use of a glib sexual visual *cough* *yakshi*)


Short-term goal: Let our audiences know more about Tantric Buddhism and learn to view things in different point of view.

Long-term goal: Make the society more open to different form of arts/culture/point of views.

Essentially, to educate the audience on esotericism in art and perhaps religion, since both are interdependent.

And finally, The Claim

From the above, we gathered that A yab-yum icon is misleading in many ways due to its anthropomorphic form, hence the idea of it is sexualized. 

Revised claim

After more thought process, I’ll argue that the Yab-yum is actually about gender and not sex.

Why so?

  • Yab-yum literally translates to “father-mother” in Tibetan.
  • In Indian Tantra it is about the masculine as a passive meditator with the feminine as a dancing shakti in his lap… pure awareness meeting pure energy.
  • And more points to be added in the artist statement

So what’re the mediums?


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We are most likely going with the motion poster, where it will be projected on the walls somewhere around level 2 of ADM.

There will be physical flaps of black paper which invites people to open them; description of the poses will written to enlighten the audience

Social Media Movement

Also, we aim for beautiful visuals for the projection so students will take photos in front of the projection and create their artsy Instagram shot, coupled with the hashtag #itstotallynotsex to start the ball rolling on educating the public about esoteric buddhism.


Anderson, Sam. Watching People Watching People Watching. New York: Times Magazine, 25 November 2011.

Niyogi, Puspa. Buddhist Divinities. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 2001.

Shaw, Miranda Eberle. Buddhist Goddesses of India. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006

Shaw, Miranda. Passionate enlightenment: Women in tantric Buddhism. Princeton University Press, 1995.

Davidson, Ronald M. Tibetan renaissance: Tantric Buddhism in the rebirth of Tibetan culture. Columbia University Press, 2005.

Special Thanks

For all the great fun this sem G7! You guys were a hilarious and fun group that made me excited for art history tutorials on Thursdays! And thanks Sujatha for the tea parties and samosas! Appreciate the thought! See everyone during the critique next week!


Research Paper: Final

A strong belief in the afterlife among the ancient Chinese has played a significant role in Chinese tomb art. They believe in the importance of providing spiritual companionship in the afterlife, and this is expressed through various mediums and diverse forms.1 Some examples include chamber paintings, ritual bronzes and guardian statues. Focusing on statues, we see such an expression of spiritual companionship in the terracotta surrogate soldiers buried with the Qin Dynasty’s Emperor (r. 246-210 B.C.).2 Yet though they share several similarities, of which spiritual companionship for the Qin Emperor is one, the various terracotta warriors also bear several differences. Thus, this essay seeks to compare two such types of figures, a cavalryman (Fig 1) and a charioteer (Fig 2), with regards to their appearance and positioning. Ultimately, it suggests that a charioteer is deemed to be of higher status than a cavalryman terracotta figure.



We first identify the similarities. Both the cavalrymen and charioteers are the only figures accompanied by horses. A charioteer, then called a yushou, drives a war chariot pulled by four horses, which serves as a moving platform for soldiers as they launched their attack onboard. This was a supreme military weapon. Similarly, a cavalryman rides on top of a horse. This serves greater mobility, a larger impact, and a higher position. Furthermore, ownership of heavy cavalry horse and chariots was also a mark of wealth and often associated with higher social status. Hence, this classifies both cavalryman and charioteer into a specific group of above-average status that focuses on agility with their advantage of greater height and speed, setting them apart from the .


Despite these similarities, further analysis on appearance such as clothing and headgear of the two terracotta figures disclose a charioteer’s superiority over a cavalryman. With regards to Figure 3 & 4, a charioteer wears a high hat, and special armor, with sleeves that extended over the hands and a high collar to protect the neck, whereas a cavalryman wears a circular cap and simple armor. The high hat worn by the charioteer demonstrates a higher form of hierarchy with its height as compared to a cavalryman’s flat circular cap.3 Moreover, the charioteer is also equipped with armor that has better protective features as compared to a cavalryman, which only puts on light armor. Hence, the higher grade of clothing and headgear suggests that a charioteer is more elite than a cavalryman.
Next, when observing the two figures in their entirety, it can be seen that there are certain additional objects and features on the chariot, that are absent from a cavalryman’s horse which hints a level of superiority of the charioteers. Firstly, a total of four horses are assigned to each chariot, whereas a cavalryman has only one. Furthermore, a parasol sheltering a figure is noticed on a chariot (Fig 5), while a cavalryman horse does not have. According to Parker, “The use of parasol (chhatra) is an age-old sign of royalty and rank in China, Japan and India” (435).4 Hence, this person is indeed of importance as the use of an umbrella is an indication of high rank in China.

We also get to understand from Chen that this figure on the chariot is a general as “a few charioteers had the honour of taking a command chariot containing a general or high-ranking official” (46).5 Therefore, this exclusivity of the charioteers getting assigned to drive a high-ranking figure suggests a form of superiority over cavalrymen.


Moving on, we address the placement of the two terracotta figures. The positioning of the charioteers was strategically assigned to a more superior part of the formation among the pits. A total of 116 cavalry terracotta soldiers were found in pit 1 & 2, consisting of mainly lower ranked foot soldiers. In contrast, the 130 war chariots were found in all three pits, where pit 3, the smallest of the three is believed to represent the army headquarters or a command post for officials, as there was no sign of attack formation.6 Furthermore, among the war charioteers, high-ranking officials were found in the same pit. This implies that the charioteers were of certain status to be assigned in the same pits as the higher ups.


In conclusion, due to the appearance, features and placement of charioteers and cavalrymen in the terracotta army, it seems that the former has a higher status level compared to the latter. As these terracotta soldiers were created as representations of the soldiers of the Qin Dynasty, we can thus infer that this status difference also existed for the ancient Chinese of the dynasty.

(844 words)



1 Martin Powers, A Companion To Chinese Art (Blackwell Publishing, 2016),105.

2 Ladislav Kesner, “Likeness of No One: (Re)presenting the First Emperor’s Army,” College Art, accessed March 8, 2016, http://www.collegeart.org/pdf/artbulletin/Art%20Bulletin%20Vol%2077%20No%201%20Kesner.pdf.

3 Chen Shen, The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army (Canada: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2010), 46-48.

4 Brandon Parker, The Serpent The Eagle The Lion & The Disk (United States: Lulu.com, 2016), 435.

5 Chen Shen, The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army (Canada: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2010), 48.

6 Jane O’Connor, The Emperor’s Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China (New York City: Viking Books, 2012), 575.


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Figure 1. Terracotta Warriors & Horses Exhibition: Cavalryman and Horse. February 16, 2009. Museum of Maaseik, Belgium. www.flickr.com


Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 2.51.52 PMFigure 2. A Charioteer and Chariot Horse. Digital image. TheEpochTimes. Accessed March 10, 2016. www.theepochtimes.com


Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 2.52.01 PMFigure 3. Charioteer (detail), Qin dynasty 221-206 BCE. Terracotta. Royal Ontario Museum, Canada. From: Royal Ontario Museum, https://www.rom.on.ca (accessed March 10, 2016).


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Figure 4. Cavalryman (detail). Qin dynasty 221–206 BCE, terracotta, H. 180 cm (70 7⁄8 in), Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Shaanxi. From: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, http://www2.artsmia.org (accessed March 10, 2016).


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Figure 5. Geert Lamers, Bronze Chariot of Emperor Xian Terracotta Army Museum. 221–206 BCE. Source: Geert Lamers. 2010. Digital Image. Available from: Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/pipjub/[…] (accessed March 10, 2016).



  1. Powers, Martin, and Katherine Tsiang. A Companion To Chinese Art. United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing, 2016.
  2. Ladislav Kesner, “Likeness of No One: (Re)presenting the First Emperor’s Army.” College Art. Accessed March 8, 2016. http://www.collegeart.org/pdf/artbulletin/Art%20Bulletin%20Vol%2077%20No%201%20Kesner.pdf.
  3. Shen, Chen.The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army. Canada: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2010.
  4. Parker, Brandon. The Serpent The Eagle The Lion & The Disk. United States: Lulu.com, 2016.
  5. O’Connor, Jane. The Emperor’s Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China. New York City: Viking Books, 2012.