Francis Siew is interested in all things beautiful and subtle in the form of evocative paintings or photographs. He is a self-taught photographer learning new things daily. In the beginning, he relied on photo labs to develop his prints. It is today a novelty to still
send rolls of films to the lab for processing but nothing beats the anticipation after wondering how one captured the photographs and the excitement of seeing the negative unlocked from film.
In 2003, Francis developed an interest in black-and-white photography. This extended to a scrutiny of printed books of black-and-white photographs. His faith in relying on labs to develop his visions was shattered by an unfortunate substandard print that led him to take up the challenge of developing his film and printing the photos himself. Three years into his new passion, he took up a darkroom course that would deepen his
understanding and passion for the world of black-and-white. The learning process was inspirational, and the printing process therapeutic.
Tanglin Huat — See You Is Good
About the Memoir
Tanglin Huat is a place where I am able to sit down, daydream, write and doodle,
without anyone taking a photograph of me or asking me if I need another drink.
Observing people and eavesdropping on their conversations for inspiration is my forte. I love food. I love it when chefs or cooks do their best to bring out the natural taste of the raw ingredients. So I am amazed when I can eat sub-standard wanton mee week after week without complaining. I guess humans are adaptable to some extent. Thank God it happens only once a week.
That Tanglin Huat kopitiam is where people speak to each other openly, candidly, with plenty of local lingo and singlish, but more importantly, they maintain eye contact when they yak yak and their eyes are never glued to their phones. The world is out there and not on your screen. As in most places, the regular patrons will smile at you and nod at you when they see you. Of course, sometimes we talk. One just stands in front of the wanton stall wordlessly and a bowl of steaming noodles will appear in front of you. Once you finish your wanton mee, a magical cup of freshly made hot kopi will make its way to your marble table.
I am thankful the Tanglin Huat kopitiam crowd teaches me to be non-judgemental and pick up the finer art of subtleties in conversations.
Jireh Koh (Jai)
Artwork: Wanton Me, Wanton U.