Wednesday, March 29, 2006


oni's in a hide-out retreat till 3rd April !!!

here's somethings to fill the gap, plug in the earphones! :

Tom Waits for Nobody sound excerpt -
Tom Waits for Nobody video excerpt -

we'll be back with golden feathers for Conference of the Birds.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This egg will not corrupt me

Right after Tom Waits for Nobody gig I saw myself in Tanah Merah ferry terminal the next day. There I have Ong Ken Seng, Vivian, Otobong, Ka5 and Vincent waiting for me. The trip was meant for OKS project (Diaspora) with Ka5 as the video artist documenting me and OKS dialogue (it's not an interview). Detail of what Diaspora is all about will surface sooner or later so I will not talk about it so much. I had a great length of conversation with OKS (which I can't put it all here) and it felt like a long lost professional and personal friendship, brotherhood. This is partly the reason why I agree with OKS to be part of this show. I know him since …perhaps 1987.

At first I rejected Diaspora because it is part of IMF meeting but later I decided this is a good chance to know how both of us work and think concerning many issues in the arts, history and humanity. So strangely I put together my sentiments of wanting to protest against IMF & WTO and of opening up myself to work with OKS at the same time...Recently, especially after I attended and received the Life! Theatre Awards and having onistudio's first gig in Arts House, I have a couple of people who said

‘Oh zai is not very underground any more. Not like before’.
‘Now Zai has been sucked by the system'
‘Once your work is accepted by LTA your work are not edgy anymore’.

These comments made me laugh and very much entertained.In fact when I appeared with X’ho in Art Central about two years ago where I ‘acted’ as his mentor teaching him what ‘performance art’ is, I am accused of being sell-out. Sell-out to whom? I don't really know. I will write more on this issue (my favorite) concerning the so-called underground and mainstream when the time is good. But I must make a blunt statement here that nobody in the art scene here can claim that they are underground artist because there is no such scene except for some performers who don’t usually have enough audiences. Why? Just fucking boring performer that’s all and that’s how it become underground and completely unappreciated.

In the first place when I started living as an artist I never considered myself as underground. At the most I would say that I'm under-estimated.Anyway let me tell you a story, I'll make it short. Once a Korean friend came by and put up at my place for a couple of days. I know him for some years and I had stayed with him (Munmak/seoul) last September for a collaborative project. He usually made a wonderful noodle late at nite after so much drinking which he called ‘monk noodle’.

I asked him why it was called 'monk noodle'. Well, he learnt it from a monk that's why. Like many other vegetarians, monks don’t eat 'hard food' and one of the way for them to enjoy ‘instant noodle’ is to cook them soggy. They also use 1 egg, by which the purpose is to bring the soggy noodle, the soup and spice together. So my friend ask the monk :

'Why do you eat egg when you are vegetarian?'

And he replied:

‘I'm already so old. This one egg will not corrupt me.'

I can reckon to that when you are very strong in your mind and spirit you may appear once in a while doing something rather contradictory. And thatcontradiction has always been my interest because it challenges the ‘norm’. Mine and others. With reference to the Diaspora project I don’t mean that OKS is the egg and I'm the monk.

I think the ‘money’ is the egg, in our case.

I'll talk more about Riau later and to all artists who are too busy and exhausted who can't even have time to meet their own selves.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I Have Escaped Even Myself

I Have Escaped Even Myself
Presented by sporesac/Flux Us,
Supported by 72-13


For more information

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sending Off Toms

onistudio wants to say thank you and bye bye to Koichi who's leaving Singapore today back to Bangkok.

Zai's off to Riau this morning for one week.
Chee Wai's preparing for his tour starting April 1st station Bangkok About Cafe.
Leslie's performing with The Observatory next week. (19th March 8pm, Art House Play Den)

This is the picture they took for The Straits Times Life!Music article :

(From left: Chee Wai, Zai, Koichi, Leslie)

Till we meet again.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Tom Waits For Nobody Soundtrack

Yes we spoilt you.
Here is the complete collection of the excerpts we have introduced the past two weeks for Tom Waits For Nobody.

Tomorrow/Today (FRIDAY) is the big day at The Art House (Playden, 8pm)

No we won't do it again until many many months later, so you come (latest. full ensemble in rehearsal)

Tom Waits For Nobody Poster

Tom Waits For Nobody A2 poster is out (S$30.00) featuring
Khalil Gibran's writing from The Prophet.

Email to make a purchase.
Only 100 prints available.

Tom Waits For Nobody is opening this Friday (one night show only).
onistudio is also pleased to offer a package consisting of

1 entrance, 1 poster & 1 T-shirt for $65 (U.P $85)

This package is only available through email to, offer will not be available at the door.

No Talking On Monday

O.k guys im back but still not very sober yet. I drink every night but since the fringe started I drink two times more. I’m very happy last 10 days meeting so many people and I felt the new energy among many people in the visual art scene and sound oriented people. It felt more ‘positive’ and people seem trying very hard to be more open to each other. I think that is the spirit of any kind festival. Like wedding people go with good intention and great spirit to hug each other well of course some people will still complain aiya the rice is abit hard the juice are not sweet enought the music is not happening etc etc. it’s just normal for wedding. There is always to bite about it.

Some people saw me hugging Jason lim and they ask have you guys patch up back…that’s funny as if we are long lost gay partner. Anyway yes we talk now.

It is unfortunate I can’t visit as many show as I could because im all loaded that even if I have the time I could not consume information and not to mentioned art work. My bottle is full if you pour it just drip out quickly and so some people find it weird that I sit a lot at foodplus drinking beer with chee wai while the show is going on. We both are just overloaded that we need to sit for beer though it look like we are an alchoholic. For those who know evan tan when he used to work at the Singapore archive, I think almost everyday he will tekan beer and occasionally he will ask me to come as his kaki. Now this landmark had gone because evan finally quit his job. Im certain everybody miss him the beer included.

And I did tell chee wai after he had said that he is tired…wow man I think im tired of telling people that im tired. I got to stop it before it become a habit and slowly nag and complain. Remember anti complain campaign I talk about? So I start from myself.

Well of course if you are tired means you are tired but the thing is when you always bum on people on the substation street ‘how are you’ is the first thing and ‘ahh tiredlah’ is the natural reply but after 10 reply… that too make me tired so i guess i have to find new line. im fine im fine and good. I think the same when you are happy about your work the more you say how happy you are the more you dig a grave for it. You kill it. SO the thing is i learn to keep it inside me.

The fringe Fest is about to finish soon but im already packed with load of goodies to unload. when im told that I can have the pink table and chair I do get a little panic because I don’t usually like pink as a colour. It’s too girly for me. But hei this is from Chumpon and Noi so how could I reject it? Well of course I ask for it and so now I have to deal with it.

Yesterday when I look at it again I begin to like it somehow maybe there is some girly part inside me hahaha. Next I got to challenge myself to wear labour sans frontiers tshirt Noi gave me. She must be wondering why I did not wear it. Gosh it’s pink man and im a punk! I have to wear it someday but unless there is cute girl’s opening I will do it but again im afraid all the young girl will think ‘is there anything wrong with Zai?’ and someone will reply on behalf of me ‘ there nothing right about Zai actually”

Then came Audrey hang out with us abit when we set up the pink table and chair next to the glass door and I suggested maybe once a month onistudio set up our ‘bar’ there. 'Yes can!' she say ‘make it an art project. It should be o.k’ and so Yes we sell beer and tit bit’s and now here is what I think. It will be

No Talking on Monday

There is no dj but we have myself, chee wai and leslie to play our kind of music. We don’t rent sound system but I will bring my house sound system. I try to get two more small set of table but chair I borrow from substation. I hope to get someone to show some drawings on the signboard which oni will terrorize it. We will cover it with big white paper and so there will be no information on Monday night at sub except for oni’s friends drawing’s. it is for sale.

I have not talked with Audrey but I think it should be fine.

Next is mrs chua.

For those who is not familiar with the term ‘no talking on Monday’ it means don’t talk cock too much when you are there. You can just be quiet for the music and beer or juice but you can also talk quietly with your friend. We are not telling you not to talk because in case you fall in love you can always chat. We will give more details about this but for now just look forward for tom waits for nobody, conference of the bird and more as for me its not going to be easy to keep quiet. i talk alot sometime and sometime to much.

the glass have lost its way to my lips. give me the bottle please.

This is a rush report soon long one on the way about the fringe experience with so many people and MONDAY

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Tom Waits For Nobody

The page has been updated featuring Zai's drawing and design by Ferret.

New uploads (you'll be wanting for more) from Jamming session 03.01 (new)

Leslie and Chee Wai will be on air tomorrow (Friday) at 5.30pm, WKRZ to talk about the show and more music excerpts will be aired too. Check out latest issue of IS magazine and next week's Straits Times for more articles on the gig.

The gig is on next Friday 8p.m, email or visit The Art House to get your tickets.

We've also confirmed that the show will be kindly supported by d&b audiotechnik

Empower and Concrete House

Chumpon and Noi Apisuk were invited by Zai to come to the island (driving all the way from Bangkok) to present their project Labour sans Frontiere as part of the Fringe Festival. The project deals with the issue of migrant rights.

On 26th March, both of them gave a session to talk about Thailand's only performance art venue, Concrete House, founded by Chumpon in 1993 and EMPOWER (Education Means Protection of Women Engaged in Re-creation) foundation, founded by Noi in the 1980s, to educate and empower Thailand's sex workers.

... art is always interested with people, we must have a method to deal with and understand the struggle of the society, knowing about the common folks. So when you say something about humanity it connects to your real feelings and thinking of the community. It is not necessary problem, but a kind of sentiment. Because idea is just a concept thing. In many case I see artists are not really connected to the issue they are talking about (...) So Chumpon and Noi have been doing that for many many years and I always wanted to learn from them but I don’t have much opportunity... -Zai Kuning

(they ask) Are you teaching English to promote prostitution?” we don’t really answer them but the women who come to our English class will put their questions and responses to British Council, AUA or Alliance Francise, that they officially teach language, are they promoting prostitution? And what matter the women if they can speak English? No matter who they are, what profession they are (in), they have the right to learn about how to speak English, or what the education means to the society. - Noi Apisuk

“ For me, I think it’s a problem when only the people doing business with sex are able to negotiate sex. What about people who are not doing business with sex, doing sex for free? (…) If you look at the other perspective, many housewives actually don’ know how to fight back with their husbands. Many of the good girls don’t have it.” - Chumpon Apisuk

Follow this link for full transcript of the forum

New tables and chairs!

oni received our first funky table and chairs from chumpon and noi all the way from bangkok to singapore by land. some of you who went for Labour sans Frontiere may have seen it:

oni will be at substation once every month to sell keropok and play loud music at our pink station. it's not an art project and you can bring your ashtray, beer, ba chor mee, mee goreng from foodplus to join us (ok we know the table's not so big, but we know small is beautiful!)

see you at sub!

(the model in red is Alvin, who helped Zai at the substation during Fringe Festival)