Monday, July 26, 2010

Your first piece of Plastic

When you first entered the workforce, which one of the 5 "C"s did you target for? For most of us, it had to be the credit card. It was like an affirmation that you have reached a certain point of your life and owning one elevated your status in society. Back then, the card to own was a Citibank Credit Card. Their marketing campaign made me desire to own one more than any of the other cards. Two years after I started work, I owned my first piece of plastic, one from Citibank no less :p Check it out, member since 1995, that's 15 years!

The credit card has certainly come a long way since 1995 as I learnt from an evening out with some folks from the bank. I didn't know that my Citibank Platinum card earns me 5X rewards at every department store, supermarket and hypermarket islandwide! And that I could redeem for absolutely anything with my reward points! Had I known this, I would have been using my card more often when grocery shopping, DUH! There's also complimentary travel protector, 5 years validity of rewards and this I know because I shop at TANGS occasionally - you receive 6% rebate at TANGS all year round. Another card that caught my eye, the Citi SMRT Platinum. It turns your daily spend into savings, combining the convenience of an ez-link card and the benefits you enjoy as a Citibank cardmember. This card earns the most rebates islandwide at your favorite merchants and you can use these rebates to redeem for vouchers and free rides. This is great for me because I take the MRT to the studio and getting rebates for each trip sounds pretty good to me!

There are quite a few other cards to suit your lifestyle, choose one that suits you with the Citibank Card Recommender. For example if you drive, there's a card that offers you cash back on petrol. If you love to travel, there's a card that offers you 2 Citi Miles for every S$1 spent and no expiry on Citi Miles! For the shopaholics, there's the TANGS card that gives you 10% shopping rebate at TANGS all year round and there's also the Paragon card.

I think the best part about Citibank Credit Cards are the dining deals offered in their Gourmet Pleasures program. As we eat out a lot during the weekends, getting a great dining deal with each meal for our family of 4 really adds up every month.

From my own research and with a bit of sentimental background involved (since Citibank was my first credit card), I really think Citibank Credit Cards offer some of the best deals, rewards and even cash rebates. I know I know, if you are my age, you probably don't want another card but they truly do have a good range of cards to suit your lifestyle. You will definitely find one that suits you better than your existing card. Do check them out and if you are convinced to sign up for one (or more!), you can do so via this special link to get these exclusive benefits:

* Successfully apply for both a Citibank Credit Card & Citibank Ready Credit to enjoy a $40 TANGS shopping voucher plus first year annual fee waiver.

* Successfully apply for either a Citibank Credit Card or Citibank Ready Credit to enjoy a $20 TANGS shopping voucher plus first year annual fee waiver. (Comparatively, offline signups will not get any vouchers. Online signups will only get to enjoy a $20 Wisma Atria voucher.)

* Get double the chances for the "Win with Citi" promotion. (Only applies to online signups and through my referral link)

Do contact me if you need more information. Plastic is great when you spend within your means and the rewards and privileges that comes with it are absolute bonuses!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

No Vacancy

Making friends is like looking for a nice pair of shoes. They have to fit, they must be comfortable, they take your s**t (haa) and some can last for life. People my age have a circle of close friends made over the years usually during our education years. And after those years, it becomes difficult or rather, we become less open to making new friends. It's like a "No Vacancy" sign is put up once you are past 25 years old :p Making new friends become a chore, you are happy with the ones you have so why accept any more?

Last week I had the privilege to be invited to a dinner hosted by 24Seven and Citibank at Coriander Leaf. It was only my second time to any event on account of me being a blogger and it was a blast! The roomful of famous bloggers made me feel so small, most of them had won some blog award or other and there I was trying to act like I've heard of those awards they were talking about :p I'm just a mother and wife who photographs for a living, I never thought that my blog would have an audience, let alone make it to this group and I was elated that it did!

Thanks Kris, Diana & Claudia for making this happen.

Two bloggers that made my "No Vacancy" sign flicker off was Eunice and Edmund (hey their names start with the same alphabet!). Eunice blogs about her many travel experiences *envy!* and she was just too friendly to ignore :P She even announced to the rest that I was on TV, very embarassing! But she was so genuine in her comments about my pictures from India that it touched me. Feels good that your work is appreciated by a stranger. Ed is a father of 3 adorable munchkins and he blogs about them :) I checked out his blog on the train ride home and was laughing out loud at the "poo poo has no ears" story, very funny! He was very down to earth and easy to talk to and the three of us had a fun time throughout dinner chatting and sharing stories. We also won for ourselves an iPod shuffle each during the games segment! Very productive night indeed. There are some people you meet and when you click, you click! And guys, you both make the best two pairs of shoes that evening ;) I hope we can continue to be friends past this event.

That's Eunice

And that's Ed. I really like this shot of the 3 of us by the event photographer!

For you my dear blog readers, I have a tie-up with Citibank for you which I will announce soon. Till then, keep making new friends and take your "No Vacancy" sign down :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Check out this cute teddy who dropped by the studio this morning! :)
Shot in our new natural light shooting area with a few new props, isn't he just the cutest little bubby?

Lumiere Au Natural

Since June of this year, we have taken over a new area of the shophouse and have converted it into our natural light shooting area.

We also bought new furniture for use as props during Teeny Weeny shoots.

Here's one of our Teeny Weeny client shot in the new studio area using natural light only. I don't think I have had a baby shown me the middle finger before! Guess he wasn't too pleased to be disturbed hehe :p

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the Pictures

Generic shots of India
Street kids wise beyond their years

Breastfeeding is bestfeeding

Cheeky peek

A million smiles

Howdy neighbour!

Down in the slums

Hand-operated ferris wheel

@ Koovagam festival

My muses


this is my fav shot of Shreya but most prefer the one above

For more photos, please visit my Facebook album.

the Experience

After watching the telecast of my episode, I was still a bit stunned. With the boys screaming "MUMMY!" each time I appeared on screen, it was quite difficult for me to concentrate throughout the half hour. So while they slept, I caught the repeat telecast.

Ok great, I sounded like Donald Duck, danced like Elaine from Seinfeld, the doublechin made it's appearance a few times, they used the shot of my squinting eye looking through the lens like a billion times and arrgh! they didn't show my favourite shot of Shreya. BUT other than all that, I thought the documentary was so well shot (that's you Mike and Malar!), well directed (that's you Raja!), well written (that's you Jaclyn!), sound was great (that's you Godly!) and well produced (that's you Azira, Manoj, April & Oman!). I was plesantly surprised at how it all turned out but was missing some parts which I felt could have been included in the documentary but I guess it's hard to fit so much into 30mins.

I've received many messages from friends and strangers after the telecast and they were all very encouraging and heartfelt. Thank you all :) I will share a few of them in the comments of this post later. There was also one that mocked me. I wasn't saddened by that, as I was proud of what I have achieved and done in India for this documentary and will not be put down by people who don't know better what I went through during the filming process.

We did not stay in a posh hotel, we were in a modest inn in the outskirts of town. We shot in very hot conditions for long hours and most of what I said were unrehearsed. I have always been behind the camera and being infront of it was a new experience and I was very uncomfortable. Yes, I studied film & TV production, I should be better at this right? No, I was terrible! But I did my best and was glad the crew could put up with me. After this experience infront of the camera, I have a newfound respect for actors!

Funny NG moment 1:
It was the scene where I was supposed to be looking for the NGO's office and the director told me to walk along the streets looking lost and confused and then after a few meters, to flag down the auto (tuk tuk). I did as I was told but obviously not good enough because after a few steps came the dreaded "CUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Raja came up to me and said,"Maryann, I asked you to look lost and confused but there you were looking like you are the Queen of Mumbai!" haaaaaaaaaaa :p

Funny NG moment 2:
During one interview, I was supposed to talk about why I was using the fabric for the shoot. Raja said I should, as I talked, slowly bring up the fabric to screen level. Ok sounded simple enough. But I don't know what got over me, as I was about to bring up the cloth, I said,"Let me show you." "CUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" "Hey, this is not a cooking show alright!?!" Raja yelled. bwahahahahahahah! I think I couldn't stop laughing for a minute :p

So all you actors out there, I RESPECT you!

The entire experience was enriching, eye-opening and great for my photography but one which I will not repeat because it was too heartwrenching and I missed my boys terribly. I was glad I did it and blessed to have met the people I did. Shreya, Nisha, Gauri and the others, you are all beautiful individuals inside and out and I wish you nothing but happiness no matter what gender you are. You are humans. We are all humans.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ASIA Exposed episode 2 - Unveiling the Third Gender

"Baby photographer, Maryann Koh, who is used to capturing the innocence, purity and well-defined genders of her subjects, sparks a personal interest to break away from gender-biasness by photographing “The Third Gender”, the Hijras (transgenders) in India."

Yes! After weeks of waiting and in the making, tonight will be the telecast of my episode on Channel Newsasia. I don't know what to expect as it will be my first time viewing the episode as well. I am hoping that in any small way, I have made a contribution to the Hijra community by raising awareness of the prejudice against them and may they live in a world without prejudice in the near future.

View the episode trailer.

View the opening sequence.

Do join me in my journey by tuning in at 830pm tonight :)

You can also get more information and follow the rest of the documentary series from their Facebook group.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

3 Inch Sinners

Last Sunday, while waiting for Kay to finish his chinese class, I had a walk around Cluny Court and saw a small shop there that's painted all white with orange text on it's wall. No other signage to give me a clue of their product. Curious, I went in to see what they were selling. Actually, the aroma wafting from the shop already told me it's something to do with chocolate!

I was right, they sell 3 inch sinners :p Molten chocolate cakes to be exact! You know the kind that has liquid chocolate oozing out once you punch your spoon through the layer of chocolate cake. YUMMY! I decided to buy the mini versions so I can try the various flavours they had. Baked fresh on the spot, I was delighted by the texture and taste of the little cakes. Dylan had a couple too :) I love the hazelnut and mint versions.

A week later, I decided to get another box of 4 minis for Kayden to try as he had none last week. Damn there was a price increase :s So i just bought one 3 inch cake for $6 (instead of 4 minis for $8) and 2 Death By Chocolate cupcakes. They were a hit with the boys and I was left with just one tiny bite from scrapping the bottom of the bowl.

Oh the shop name is "3 Inch Sin". Run by a brother sister team who can't get enough of chocolate that they want us to have some too :) Check them out if you are in the area.

3 Inch Sin, you keep us sinning!

(apart from the 2nd pix taken with my iPhone, the rest of the pictures in this blog post taken from their website and facebook)