Can’t Picture That Dream Flat? Put On This VR Headset

Virtual reality technology has taken the property viewing experience to a whole new level.

By Reuel Eugene Tay

Can't Picture That Dream Flat? Put On This VR Headset

I’m standing in the living room of a high-storey four-bedroom Highline Residences Condominium apartment. The home looks stunning. There’s gentle music playing in the background while I explore the premise from room to room. I can even see the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer from the balcony.

It’s all fantastic…except that the said condominium is still under construction. I have just viewed a show suite that hasn’t even been completed, thanks to virtual reality (VR). Keppel Land is the first developer in Singapore to create 360-degree immersive VR show suites harnessing the state-of-the-art Oculus Rift technology. Leveraging VR technology, visitors get an accurate visual depiction of their potential future home, and immerse in the sights and sounds of the charming Tiong Bahru district. Visitors can try out the Oculus Rift VR headsets at Highline Residences Sales Gallery starting 15 October 2016.

The technology is also highly mobile, allowing Keppel Land to bring the show suites to the visitors wherever they are at—the mall, at home, or even in another country. The VR show suites also allows visitors to view the four-bedroom and low-rise three-bedroom layout which are not available at the current Highline Residences Sales Gallery.

Can't Picture That Dream Flat? Put On This VR HeadsetThe entire VR setup–made in partnership with VMW Group—took two months to complete and cost approximately $250,000. While property portal Propertyguru might have launched the VR mobile showroom, a similar concept a few months earlier, the tech is incomparable to that of the Oculus Rift (the star product of a VR technology company bought over by Facebook in 2014).

Once I put on the Oculus Rift VR headset, I was transported to Tiong Bahru Market Hawker Centre—it was as though I was right there. Over the next three minutes, I was brought to the popular amenities surrounding the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood from Tiong Bahru Bakery to the popular bookstore BooksActually. Finally, I arrived at Highline Residences where I got to walk the ground in the realistic show suites in the comfort of my seat.

“Keppel Land is constantly exploring new ways to provide our customers with an enhanced experience. Harnessing Oculus Rift VR technology, we are now able to showcase different configurations and apartment types without having to create the physical show suite, which is a more efficient solution especially in land-scarce cities such as Singapore,” said Albert Foo, General Manager of Marketing at Keppel Land. At press time, Foo has also confirmed that Oculus Rift VR will be a standard feature for all Keppel Land private residential projects in the future.

While I may have visited multiple showrooms as part of my work, seeing a show suite via VR was a first for me, and it was a pleasant experience. Singaporeans will have something new to look forward to as we see developers innovate the show-flat viewing experience, even if it means bringing the show-flat to them. Who knows, it might even be a standard feature for resale property viewings in the near future.

Can't Picture That Dream Flat? Put On This VR HeadsetThe 500-unit Highline Residences 99-year leasehold development is located just minutes away from Tiong Bahru MRT station and upcoming Havelock MRT station. Opened two years ago, the Highline Residences Sales Gallery showcases three physical show suites–one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, although there are four-bedroom units available too. Approximately 88 percent of the 320 launched units have been sold as at end-September 2016. Prices range from $1700 to $1900 per sq ft.

The virtual show suites will be made available to the general public at the Highline Residences Sales Gallery at Kim Tian Road from 15 October between 10am to 6pm daily. For more information about Highline Residences, log on to https://www.keppellandlive.com/highline.

 

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in City News on October 16, 2016.

[Giveaway] Larger Than Life: Celebrating the Human Spirit, Book by Belinda Lee

[Not Sponsored] Here’s how you can get your hands on the inspiring sellout book by Belinda Lee as my Christmas gift to you.

This is not a sponsored post. In lieu with Christmas which is coming up in less than 3 days’ time, I am giving away a copy of Singapore TV host, Belinda Lee’s latest book titled Larger than Life: Celebrating the Human Spirit. The latest book is also Belinda’s first hand at writing a book. In it contains 10 inspiring and heartwarming profiles of individuals Belinda met while hosting ‘Find Me A Singaporean’ (2007) and ‘The Land We Live In’ (2013).

PHOTO: TNP

Belinda is a household name in Singapore for travelogues that often deals with social impact and community outreach. Many of which took/takes her to ‘untouristy’ places where accommodation arrangements are far inferior to that of Singapore’s. Getting rough and dirty could be her unofficial mantra for all the off-beaten tracks she has bashed through to get those inspiring stories – which we enjoy at the comfort of our homes. In an interview with The Straits Times, it is revealed that the 38 year old has slept in a Manila cemetery and had to face her fear with bees in Uganda. That was definitely not a ‘perk’ of being a celebrity.

 

Belinda’s is currently hosting the new Channel U documentary travelogue ‘地球那一边’ (Somewhere Out There) together with Allan Wu. According to Belinda’s Instagram post, the show looks at the ‘purpose of life by 走向”地球那一边”寻找答案吧 (venturing to the other side)!’

IMHO, these travelogues are assignments that typical celebrities would try to avoid. “Why get down and dirty so that my fans will think that I’m compassionate? Not worth it.” But Belinda has embraced it and through her act, allowed us to watch inspiring stories and interviews from people around the world, and taught us to be grateful for being a Singaporean (better safety, security, jobs, standard of living, etc) which they don’t get to enjoy.

Belinda is my all-time favourite MediaCorp celebrity and I have personally interviewed her face-to-face twice. She is very humble and pleasant to talk to. (You can read my interviews here and here).

PHOTO: TODAY Online

As mentioned at the start, this blog post is not sponsored. While it’s not really expensive, I did pay for the book myself. It was bought from and gift-wrapped at Kinokuniya. I have not read the book though so can’t tell you much about it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the book signed for you (as this giveaway is really spontaneous).

I’m doing this giveaway because Belinda’s new book and travelogue deserves more recognition. All proceeds from the book goes to World Vision to which Belinda is an ambassador. Honestly, I was very inspired by Belinda’s travelogues and was reminded of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’.

There are many people hurting in this world. We need to be grateful for living in a country like Singapore. After being grateful, some of us may ask ourselves, “How do I make a difference?” This is my way of making a difference; to inspire others to make a difference in the little ways that they can.

Last I heard, Lee’s book is largely sold out in many bookstores. I visited Popular’s Toa Payoh branch today and was told by the staff that it has been sold out. Fortunately, one copy is with me and I would like to give it to one of you as a Christmas gift.

Wrapped in Kinokuniya's pretty wrapping paper and comes with a Christmas greeting card

Wrapped in Kinokuniya’s pretty wrapping paper and comes with a Christmas greeting card

How To Participate in Giveaway

Congratulations Abigail! Hope this book will be a blessing to you. Merry Christmas!

All you need to do is to leave a comment on this blog post, tell me what is the change you would like to see in this world, and how you would like to contribute to making that change possible.

Please also indicate your email so that I can contact you if you win the Christmas gift.

The winner of the giveaway will be announced at 12noon 25th December 2015, Christmas day itself. I will personally hand you the gift that very day and will make arrangements with you to meet at one of the MRT stations in central Singapore.

The following paragraph is not a requirement.

Last August, I visited a few orphanages in Myanmar on a mission trip and found that the orphanages are struggling with keeping the orphans fed and educated. S$35 keeps one child adequately fed and school fees paid for 1 month. I have set up a fundraiser for Burmese orphans and I would like to invite you to share and contribute to my cause. You can read all about the fundraiser in this link. You can follow the stories and interviews on Humans of CHC Facebook Page or Humans of CHC Instagram Page.

Thank you for reading and participating.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! RW

 

Most memorable profile featured in the book

PHOTO: The Straits Times by Belinda Lee

I would say it’s the story that we filmed in Mongolia in 2012. I met terminally ill Duurengaral Togmid, who had a pituitary tumour and other ailments.

She left a deep impression on me because I was going through the lowest point of my life. I had just ended a six-year relationship. I was supposed to get married, but it didn’t happen. I was depressed and even thought of ending my life.

Duurengaral gave me the most beautiful smile in the world. She was a dying patient who was fighting to live. I was a healthy human being who wanted to die. There was that irony. At that moment, I felt so ashamed of myself. Sadly, she died a few months later.

Interview with The Straits Times

 

Exclusive: Interview with Sezairi Sezali

Reuelwrites interviews Singapore Idol Sezairi Sezali on his latest role in The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Since winning Singapore Idol  Season 3 and serenading his fans with his first single ‘Broken’, singer Sezairi Sezali has been off the radar. Now that he’s done with National Service and has put a ring on it (Sezali proposed to his girlfriend of six years on the film set of 1965), he’s ready and the world is his oyster.

The Emperor's New Clothes by W!LD RICE pic 2

PHOTO: W!LD RICE by Albert Lim KS

 

I speak to Sezali on his latest gig which isn’t singing but acting in a W!LD RICE pantomime production, The Emperor’s New Clothes (read my review here).

Directed by Pam Oei, The Emperor’s New Clothes starring Lim Kay Siu, The Sam Willow’s Benjamin Kheng and Sezali is W!LD RICE’s fourth and final production under its 15th anniversary theme; ‘ImagiNATION’. Sezali stars as Khairul, one-half of the orphaned tailors in the Christian Andersen’s timeless tale with a Singaporean twist.

Check out my interview with Sezali below. RW

PHOTO: W!LD RICE

RW: We last saw you as ‘Adi’ in your debut film, 1965. Tell us what have you been up to ever since winning Singapore Idol?

SS: Wow, that was 5 years ago, time flies. I’ve been doing a lot of things but recently I have been working on a self titled EP that’s due for launch soon. It’s my first English release since “take two” in 2010.

RW: And you accomplished something else on the set of 1965 didn’t you? Congratulations on your successful proposal! Now tell us how did that idea came about?

SS: Honestly, I just thought it’d be really cool to propose on the set of an epic movie. Then I started asking myself all these questions like, “are you really ready for this, this is the rest of your life. “ When I checked all the boxes, I just went for it.

RW: W!LD RICE’s The Emperor’s New Clothes is the first pantomime you are starring in right? What’s your biggest challenge in the production?

SS: The biggest challenge for me was really the physical aspect of having to sing, dance and act at the same time. Having to get my motor functions to listen and work together was quite a tough time.

Ben Kheng and Sezairi

PHOTO: Sezairi Sezali

RW: I saw you and Benjamin breaking out some serious bromance in that cheeky ‘kissing’ photo. You guys are really ‘close’ (Laughs). Tell us honestly, what’s it like working with The Sam Willows musician both the good and the bad.

SS: Lets start with the bad. Working with him sucks because he’s so ridiculously good at everything he does he makes you question your own capabilities. But seriously though, Ben sets a new standard for what a leading man has to be, you can no longer just be good looking. You need to be smart, forward thinking, creative and hard working all at once.

RW: Complete the sentence; “I love ___”

SS: Ben.

RW: What’s your favourite line from the production?

SS: The empress’s line “ I ask myself Jeanette, how? I slap myself, Jeanette, owww. “ get’s me everytime.

RW: Lastly, tell us why we should catch The Emperor’s New Clothes?

SS: You’ll leave the theatre having laughed until your chest hurts. And also realizing things about your country, your surroundings that might not have been reflected on to you. It’s a real sensory experience.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Drama Centre Theatre

Opens 20 November to 12 December 2015

Following our smash-hit production ofMonkey Goes West, W!LD RICE puts a Singaporean spin on Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless tale about the ultimate fashion victim. Directed by Pam Oei, The Emperor’s New Clothes is a brand-new musical with a razor-sharp script by Joel Tan and a sparkling score by Julian Wong. Its stellar cast includes Lim Kay Siu as the Emperor, Benjamin Kheng of The Sam Willows, Singapore Idol’s Sezairi and Siti Khalijah Zainal – all playing musical instruments live on stage!

Ticket Pricing: $45 – $80

Web Link: The Emperor’s New Clothes

SoftMachine: Rethinking Asian Contemporary Dance In The 21st Century

Singapore artist Choy Ka Fai presents 4 intimate portraits from contemporary dancers in Asia.

What is Asian Contemporary Dance? That question intrigued Choy Ka Fai and set him on a long and arduous expedition to discover just that. SoftMachine is the result of Choy’s 3-year dance project which also brought him to 13 cities in 5 countries across Asia.

Part-documentary, part-dance, SoftMachine investigates the contemporary status of dance using the documentary form and mixed media.

Interestingly, Berlin-based Choy was inspired to pursue SoftMachine while out of Asia. “In Sadlers Wells in London in 2011, there was a series ‘Out of Asia. The future of contemporary dance’. They made a 5 minutes long promotional video for that program and when I saw it I was disturbed and intrigued at the same time. Out of like 10 artists only 2 artists were actually from Asia.. I became anxious. I wanted to find out what is actually inside Asia, not what came ‘out of ‘ Asia. The Western perception of what is Asian, does not interest me so much.” (tanzconnexions, 2014)

Dancers from China, India, Indonesia and Japan were featured in the Singapore leg of the performance and were presented in 2 parts.

Xiao Ke and Zi Han (China)

PHOTO: Choy Ka Fai

PHOTO: Choy Ka Fai

“Occupation?”, the narrator asks. “Artist, also unemployed” replies Xiao Xe. A video documentary expounds the grim future of contemporary artists in China. The artist explains that they do not actively seek to create a politically-charged performance but everything pertaining to daily life in China goes back to the country’s political situation.

The relationship between China’s brutal censorship and artists is explored using a huge red fabric. The red fabric was set properly on the floor only to be curled up by the artist. The artists tear away at the fabric, an act of defiance and rebellion against the motherland’s control. Even then, the artist was bonded by the strips of fabric. Xiao Ke and Zi Han’s performance represents a relationship between two opposing forces which is being constantly renegotiated till this day.

Using dance to explore underlying socio-political issues is not usually under the premise of dance, which makes Xiao Ke and Zi Han’s honest performance an intriguing and painful eye opener into their lives from their perspective.

I wonder what lies in their fate as they ready themselves for their first homecoming performance in Shanghai next month.

Yuya Tsukahara (Japan)

PHOTO: shift.jp.org

PHOTO: shift.jp.org

Yuya Tsukahara’s Contact Gonzo is one mind-boggling art form. In Contact Gonzo, two or more performers engaged in an improvised form of physical contact by pushing and punching the other. The art form is usually performed in the streets, parks, the woods, or anywhere. Coined the “philosophy of pain”, the performers’ reaction from the blows is the performance itself.

It is difficult for me to call Contact Gonzo a ‘dance’ form. As Choy and Tsukahara engage in the performance, there is this sense of irony in the audiences’ reactions. We exclaimed, we sucked in our chest, we laugh, with each successive blow.

While I was exhilarated by Tsukahara’s performance, I found my own reaction rather disturbing at the same time. We reciprocated pain with laughter. In this day and age where sex and violence plague our television screens, is it right for us to laugh and get excited by Contact Gonzo, which could easily be mistaken for a street fight?

But aside from dance technicalities, Contact Gonzo reminded me to simply see the body as a spectacle of sorts. The body is the canvas and how we create art should be unrestricted and liberal. I do hope however that Tsukahara and Choy will further explore pain and it’s resultant expressions away from humour.

Surjit Nongmeikapam (India)

PHOTO: Choy Ka Fai

PHOTO: Choy Ka Fai

Surjit Nongmeikapam questions the labeling of exoticism through the differing techniques of Indian dance forms. Choy engages Surjit Nongmeikapam in a manner that was different from the others. Their exchange was often humourous. “Can you show us the traditional Manipuri dance?” “I think it’s better if you show more expression in your fingers and your face.” “I like this.” Nongmeikapam and Choy subtly brings up the topic of ”packaged culture’ in the face of Western imperialism, perhaps?

Towards the end of his segment, Nongmeikapam combines Manipuri traditional, Indian contemporary, Western contemporary and Bollywood dance into one long solo which became almost indistinguishable. This leaves us with this question, “Do we see what we want to see? Do we only enjoy what we can comprehend?”

Being Choy’s staple in SoftMachine, I do hope that the artists develop the depth and narrative of the performance beyond playful banter. However, by doing so, do I go back to my question, “Do I see what I want to see?”

Rianto (Indonesia)

PHOTO: Choy Ka Fai

PHOTO: Choy Ka Fai

Rianto is no doubt one of the top Javanese traditional dancers. Opening with a Topeng (mask) performance of Princess Kirana, I was spellbound by his gentle and painful portrayal of the princess pinning for her lover. But Rianto explains that he can also do “Masculine”. Taking away the makeup and shimmering jewellery, Rianto transforms into Prince Panji whose every movement was forceful and purposeful, a 180-degree shift from the demure and gracious princess he was a moment ago.

Rianto’s life is as colourful as his dancing career. Married to a Japanese lady, Rianto relocated to Tokyo in 2003 where he explored contemporary dance, departing from his traditional discipline. Rianto is essentially a walking paradox. He embodies the tension of dance in the traditional and the contemporary, the feminine and the masculine, the village and the city.

Striped to his skin in the final moments of the performance, Rianto breaks out of the mold and performs freely, leaving us to form our own narrative.

Overall, I love the general feel of the 2-part performance. da:ns festival clearly made a good call commissioning this item. I can only hope that we show more love to contemporary dance pieces which may be slightly difficult to comprehend, but often more profound and empowering.

Many thanks to Esplanade for the invite.

da:ns festival 2015

Opens 9 to 18 October 2015

Celebrating the spirit of movement since 2006, da:ns festival 2015 presents a world of dance that inspires and makes you fall in love with dance all over again. With world-renowned dance icons such as Sylvie Guillem, Akram Khan and Israel Galván, specially commissioned original works by Singapore artists Kuik Swee Boon and Choy Ka Fai, and a host of free programmes including our What’s Your Move? mass dance sessions and Rasas, a platform showcasing our rich Asian dance heritage, you are sure to find something that will take your breath away.

This year, da:ns festival invites you to release and to discover, through movement, your true self.

Copy: Singapore Yacht Show 2015’s Lucanna Art Auction Catalog

Lucanna I think all content creators, journalists and copywriters can agree that nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing your work published and printed for mass circulation. While the former jobs mentioned may not receive a fortune in exchange for the amount of effort put into each article and assignment (the extensive research, transcribing and sourcing for leads if need be, giving a refreshing spin on an ‘uninteresting’ or overly-saturated piece of information, etc), the ‘bigger’ payout comes in the form of the mass public receiving and reading a copy or article which you have had a role in piecing together.lucanna (1) I was recently engaged for a mini freelance assignment to write the copy for Lucanna Auctions’ Art Auction Catalog. The art auction took place at the Singapore Yacht Show 2015 from Thursday to Sunday. The copy didn’t require lots of word count but it did require a lot of research into the arts industry.

The Art Auction was held at ONE°15 Marina Club (good thing my company is located at Harbourfront). Entering ONE°15 Marina Club is like stepping into another country – many thanks to Michele for the invite. It certainly didn’t feel like Singapore! I dress appropriately for the occasion and fitted right into the crowd, except I was obviously younger than everyone gathered there. Quite a number of the artworks on auction caught my eye, especially Sebastiano Navarra’s gorgeous ‘Those Flowers so Beautiful’ but none I can buy with my meager salary. Hahaha.

The champagne were complimentary and endless of course, although I only had just one glass. All in all, good experience mingling with the socialites. Hopefully more freelance assignments will come my way!

3-Step Guide to Writing A Good Arts Copy / Article :

1. Read. Read. And Read

Do lots of reading up on the Arts Industry. Don’t know where to start? The Straits Times’ Life! section publishes Arts articles and stories regularly – I go to the office half an hour earlier just to read the news. Follow Museums, Art guides and arty-farty people on Facebook and Instagram. Be in the know of the latest Arts event. You can’t write about something you have no clue about.

2. Do Your Homework

If you have been engaged to write about an important artist, historical figure and event which you are unfamiliar with, don’t just rely on the few brochures here and there to write your copy. Do your research. Know the history, the aspirations, everything. A bad copy reveals how ill-prepared the copywriter is while a good copy makes the artist or event stand out from the rest.

3. Immerse Yourself in the Arts Industry

You can’t write about something that you have not experienced. Unlike math and science, there’s no formula to give you a general understanding of the industry. You must, must, must put in the time and effort to visit galleries and exhibitions, attend musicals and performances, or even engage in conversation with the industry practitioners.