Friday, June 20, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I saw a 'wall art' communication in Melb Uni Ballieu Library's toilet cubicle this evening.
"The first person in Australia is black you white bitch!"
There was an arrow pointing to its reply: "Do you think you'll be where you are now without us WHITES?"
It seems that racial discrimination is everywhere.
The fundamental difference, however, is that the relatively civilized informal form of discrimination is written on the toilet door while the uncivilized formal form of discrimination is written in the national law.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
"Ting, ting, ting, ting, ting..."
The tram driver must have been driven crazy by us.
He kept ringing the bell and I heard him saying: "Can you guys hear me?"
I think someone had also heard him asking: "Are you deaf?"
Ok Ok, I should tell the story properly.
Today, Nat, Chand, and me decided to join the Melbourne Big Freeze held in front of Bourke Street Mall.
We had to freeze for 3 minutes.
We couldn't think of a good pose but we got a good spot - tram track.
Yep. And there we went on the tram track and we posed for 3 minutes and the tram came and the driver chased us off and we didn't go away.
WE WERE FROZEN AND WE FROZED A TRAM!!!
Natasha, Chand, and Me freezing on the tram track. I was trying hard not to laugh. Photo: Ephraim
I shall upload more photos and video when they're ready.
Special Thanks to Chand, Felix, and Natasha for the courage given.
If I weren't with you guys, I would have ran off when the tram was still meters away. Nervous~~~
After that, we went to catch up with the Melbourne Zombie Shuffle.
They were soooooo cooool!
Everyone just dressed like zombie, walked like zombie, behaved like zombie, and looked definitely like zombie.
These people have terrific make up skills. I think they could become professional make up artists for Hollywood movies.
The Incredible Zombie Hulk. Photo: Shayen Wong
Zombie Family. Photo: Stanley Tjhie
Zombie City. Photo: Facebook
And our friend, not very well prepared, joined the game with his zombie-like-long-hair.
I think the tourists must have been frightened.
Welcome to Melbourne.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I have the chance to interview those people that I would never confront them without the pressure of assignment.
In my second feature, I random searched on the street and I thought, "Hmm... Street performers must have interesting backgrounds," and yea, I walked up to them and asked for their interview. Well, three out of five were willing to be my interviewee. Not too bad huh? Here goes my story:
Don’t just throw coins at them without giving an eye.
They are not beggars.
According to Melbourne City Council’s guidelines, a busker is considered to be a person who: actively provides a display of artistry in a drawing medium; plays instrument; provides a song, mime, statue, or creative performance; or engages in dancing routine.
The definition does not include someone who ‘asks for public sympathy and alms’.
To Lan Derrick, Alan Dang, and Jimmy Mcintyre, at least, busking lives are definitely not begging lives.
Lan: It’s a therapy.
An array of framed sketches is nicely displayed on the floor.
Passers-by sometimes hold their steps, look at the artworks, exchange opinions with their companion, and donate a few coins into the little box set in the corner.
Lan Derrick, 57, and his wife Beverley Derrick have been a resident of this pavement – on Swanston Street, between Bourke and Collins – for 18 months. Lan’s artworks have formed a part of Melbourne city’s scenery.
Three years ago, Lan worked in a barnyard and drawing was always kept as a domestic interest.
“In the (work) accident, I was kicked by a horse. I lost almost everything,” Lan says. “I lost my hearing, I had a skull fracture, I had a horse-phobia, and I could not control my emotion.”
“The worst thing was, I could not draw anymore. I had no artwork produced for almost two years.”
He was diagnosed for depression after the accident, leading to a suicidal impulse at the beginning.
“I had been really aggressive towards the people around me and myself. I attempted suicide several times. I became violent sometimes.”
His five children fled the scene of his emotional roller coaster.
Beverley could not cope with her husband’s condition initially: “I would say that I’m a pretty optimistic person. Everything could be solved. However it still took me a bit of time to adjust myself to a partner that I’ve never seen. He can get over the top for times and get under the hollow.”
“Lan had totally lost his motivation for life. I got to make him do something so that he had stuff to look forward to.” Therefore, after a long discussion with Lan’s psychiatrist, Beverley started to retrieve his previous artworks.
She cleaned them, photocopied them, framed them, labeled them, put them into a large luggage, brought the luggage, and together with Lan, they moved from Eastern suburb to Melbourne inner city.
Their busking life started here.
“Money is never a concern. I don’t care how much people give. I want my husband to feel useful. I want him to get along with people,” Beverly says with an extrinsic adamant and an intrinsic love for her husband.
Busking, in its nature, reveals your works to the public and opens up yourself to public feedbacks. Positive responses have been the greatest encouragement for Lan to pick up his drawing pen again. “They like my drawings! I never thought that my drawings will be appreciated by anyone else. So then I thought, why not draw more beautiful stuffs for them?” He says.
Lan does not sit on the pavement doing nothing for hours. He talks to people. He observes the environment. He listens to stories.
“Busking is the most effective therapy for my illness.” Through the interaction with people, Lan realises that he is not the worst case. He meets people with unbearably obstacles and yet they see things more positively than he does.
“There was a man in a wheelchair who came to us. He could not speak. Even though he used a touchpad to communicate with us, he was still very positive about it. Now he comes here every month to talk to Lan,” Beverly recalls.
Lan does not merely reap the benefit. He gives too.
“There’s a 14 years old young boy, whose parents are separated, who comes here almost every week. He usually withdraws himself from people. But Lan has made friend with him and now they draw together on the bench. Wow, now he’s the therapist instead of the patient.” This is Beverly’s satisfaction over her husband’s progress.
Alan: It’s an opportunity.
A huge crowd gathers in front of the 24 hour Café Lincontro on the corner of Swanston and Little Collins Street.
They cheer, they rock, they tap, and they clap.
There is a cap located in the middle of the crowd, filled with coins and notes. This must be a good day for KO Crews.
Since 2003, KO Crews have been blasting their combo and bopping and hopping on this suppositional dance floor every weekend.
Alan Dang, as the group leader, decided to introduce his group mates to the public: “I know they’d love to perform. All of us loves showing off. But nobody knows us, it is impossible for us to perform in any clubs or events. And so I thought, we shall busk the street.”
Busking on the street is not that difficult given the talent they have and the entertainment they are able to provide for Melbourne City.
“We went to the city council, filled in the form, chose our favourite spot, attended an audition, and there we went on the street,” Alan says.
To them, busking is multi-functioned.
“There weren’t many people in the first few months. But as time goes on, more and more people applaud for us hence more and more confidence we have.” Alan is happy to see the evolution of his group.
They have at least three training sessions every week in which busking is the major one. The combination of these trainings and the confidence that they gained is gearing them for an international breakdancing competition.
“Some audience enjoyed our performances and invited us to their events. We have widened our opportunity through the exposure from busking.”
While some of the buskers need the money for a living, KO Crews use the money for partying. Alan chuckles, “Although sometimes we earn as much as a few hundreds, we are able to spend it all in one night. But oh well, this is a way for us to hang out and have fun, this is all we want, isn’t it?”
Yes, their busking is all about showing, training, and partying.
Jimmy: It’s an alternative.
In the bustling Flinders Station, there is always a soothing voice from the corner that calms down our fidget, slows down our tempo, and asks us to take life easy.
“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,” Jimmy Mcintyre, in his 50s, strums his acoustic guitar and sings his favourite song.
He He has been singing here for a year.
He is one of those frustrated musicians that are not able to make it into the mainstream.
“There are very limited opportunities in this field. Among all the musicians, I think there’s only five percent who are able to make profit out of it. That’s why everyone wants to go to the US or UK,” He complains.
He was not exclusive. He had been to the United Kingdom to try his luck. He had been in 15 bands, playing as the guitarist, bassist, pianist, and even as the drummer. He had performed in many gigs. He had submitted songs to recording companies. He had tried to make connections with those already in the industry.
None of them signed him for an album or a single.
However, he could not just be tangled in his music dream without considering realistic issues including feeding himself and his family.
“I love music. But my love wasn’t rewarded.” Jimmy turned his track onto Chinese medicine, acupuncture, clothes retailer, and later on as an operating theatres technician.
None of them brought him to his desired lifestyle.
After the divorce with his wife, after he earned enough money, after he broke up with his girlfriend, after he found a new way to play his music, he got back to his music dream path.
Busking – the alternative way – has given him a new perspective to his music life.
“I love music as an emotional expression, as a way of communication. I don’t need to be popular for that. The public will get my message even if I sing only on the streets.”
“Whenever there is someone praises my singing, quietly listens to me, donates a gold coin, or simply gives me a glance, any of these can make my day. I feel that I can make it without the recording companies or a bombarding publicity.”
He has also creatively invented ‘Street Karaoke’ – a set of karaoke system equipped with a DVD player, a microphone, and a song list – for people who would love to try busking without the permit application fuss. “Waterloo! Waterloo! Waterloo…” The youngsters scream and dance on the street.
Jimmy’s busking career is never without challenges. “There are drunk and aggressive people who throw 20 cents at you and ask you to sing those bloody rock songs,” he said in anger. “Who do you think you are to instruct me on what to sing? Just with the 20 cents coin?”
Jimmy is not a beggar.
They are not beggars.