Saturday, December 28, 2019

4045. Creative Writing - Writing for dchildren: I'm hooked!. What is voice?

Writing Magazine. April 2019

What is your writer's voice?
Your use of grammar and sentence structure.
Your use of language.
Your tone.
And fundamentally, your personality and attitude.
     How you see the world - and your own individual personality will shape your voice. It's absolutely crucial to be yourself when you are writing.  It is OK to have different voices for different types of fiction.

A strong voice and a stunning idea underpins a gripping plot and brilliant characters. Without voice and idea, your story is unlikely to take off.

An author with a strong voice is confident in knowing what they want to write and how they want to communicate it. If you read further books by the same author, it is like meeting up with an old friend. How do you gain confidence?

1. Don't try too hard. - more authentic voice to shine.
2. Be natural. Eg. If you write funny fiction, write things which make you smile and laugh.
3. Don't be afraid to be you. Your voice is unique.
4. Don't overedit. When writing pours out of you, it's more likely to be your natural voice. Overediting leads to you feeling insecure, unconfident


1. Child-friendly - informal, conversational, exciting
2. Funny - humour (if done to your style) always works well with children
3. Playful language - dynamic and exciting.
4. Energetic tone - word choices that crackle and sparkle.

James and the Giant Peach

   Aunt Sponge was enormously fat and very short. She had small piggy eyes, a sunken mouth, and of  those white flab by faces that looked exactly as though it had been boiled. She was like a great white soggy overboiled cabbage. 

1. The language is childlike - pggy, flabby
2. Humour - comparing James' aunt to a cabbage. Not a particularly nice cabbage.
3. Conversational tone.-  that looked exactly as though it had been boiled. She was like a great white soggy overboiled cabbage. 
The 2nd sentence is like sharing secrets between friends, creating a bond between the author and reader.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

4044. PHOTOS. Butterflies, Grass blue butterfly

1. Butterfly - Happy New Year greetings

Not a lesser grass blue butterfly-
Video of butterfly 
 Usually spotted hovering no more than a few centimetres off the ground, the Lesser Grass Blue (𝘡𝘪𝘻𝘪𝘯𝘢 𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘴) is one of Singapore’s more common butterfly species! 🦋

To tell apart this species from the other two ‘Grass Blues’ that have been observed in Singapore, check for the position and colouration of the submarginal markings on its wings.

While it may not be obvious here, it is also easy to tell apart the male and female butterflies! The male butterfly has a dull purplish-blue above while the female is brown and unmarked.

2. Butterfly - Everything happens for a reason

 Print the butterfly in a mug as a gift

Video of butterfly

Other photos




Relatively common in Singapore, the Malayan Eggfly (𝘏𝘺𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘯𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘢) is often spotted in forested areas in our parks and nature reserves

Contact:  Dr Sing Kong Yuen
+65 9668-6468



Saturday, December 21, 2019

4033. Singapore Wildlife Stories. A large purplish moth, Hubner's wasp moth and a small golden moth seen in 2019, 2020, 2022

Dec 21, 2019
A Saturday. Sunny and bright.
I walked along the Seletar Simpang Kiri River.

Seletar Simpang Kiri River   21 Dec 2019

Blood-thirsty mosquitoes landed on my hand stealthily and on my long pants.

I had stopped wearing shorts to protect my legs from mosquitoes.
I was surprised to see this bigger moth and managed to take a sharper image.  It is at least 3 inches wide.

A bigger moth of around 6 cm wide.

For the past days, I see numerous smaller moths on the vacant grassland edge. One of them is shown below.  It is very difficult to focus on the eyes are the moth is thumb-sized or 2 cm wide.

Around 2 cm wide. Is this the younger version of the above?

17 Nov 2020 morning Seletar Simpang Kiri River


MORNING STROLL along Lentor Crescent. A golden moth about 2.5 cm wing span fluttered and landed on the wall; near Bullion Park. I took several photos with my Canon DSLR 90D, 18-200 mm lens. Very difficult to focus. 

8 OCT 2022. 8 AM.  Yio Chu Kang Cres forest, opp. Seletar Bus Depot.
Lots of mosquitoes biting me today.
Image and video made.

8 OCT 2022. 9 AM. TRIPOD. CANON R5.  to buy this photo.

A Hubner's wasp moth is seen after more than 12 months.
2019 MOTHS SEEN in Lentor Plain. Images not focused.





Thursday, December 19, 2019

4032. FINAL VIDEO. A female hamster's passes a lot of fresh blood. Why?

Thu Dec 19, 2019
Dr Sing Kong Yuen


"My hamster keeps on passing blood daily," the tall lady owner said. "She will clean herself. So you do not see any blood at the consultation room!

The female hamster passes a lot of fresh red blood for some weeks. What is the problem?


The vet felt the hamster's abdomen.with his two fingers.  "I can feel a small lump of 5 mm across in the lower abdomen," the vet said. "It could be the swollen uterus or a lump in the uterus. At the end of palpation, lots of fresh red blood gushed out of the hamster's private part, staining the paper with multiple red spots.  

The daily vaginal bleeding is likely from the uterus as the urine is not discoloured as seen on the bedding. The normal sized stools are solid and has no blood.

Two possible causes of the bleeding are here are uterine tumour or pyometra (uterine infection). As the hamster is old, surgery to remove the uterus is not advised. Daily cleaning and massage of the uterus will be done for the next 3 days. Antibiotics and pain-killers will be given for the next 7 days.   

4031. FINAL VIDEO. A hamster's right ear is itchy after wart removal. Why?

Thursday consultation
Dec 19, 2019
Dr Sing Kong Yuen - The hamster keeps scratching his very itchy right ear


NINE days ago, Dr Daniel excised a large ear wart and stitched up the wound. (Image below). A skin wart was not cut away at that time. The owner came today as the hamster keeps scratching his right ear obsessively.
Ear wart was excised by Dr Daniel 9 days ago

The two stitches had disappeared now. The hamster keeps scratching his right ear.
"Is it possible that the stitches had got into the ear canal?" the owner asked.

The hamster has a very itchy right ear. What is the problem?



1. Open up the right vertical ear canal by electro-incision.

The hamster is examined. There was fluid inside the ear canal.  Under general anaesthesia using isoflurane and oxygen, electrosurgery is used to cut open the ear canal vertically. Ear drops are used to drain out any stitch remnants.

2.  The hamster's other large wart lower down the face is cut off and stitched up with 5/0 absorbable sutures.

The hamster has recovered fully from gas anaesthesia within 5 minutes of completion of stitching.
He will go home tomorrow.

As you can see in the video, electrosurgery is effective in preventing bleeding after excision of the wart and also in opening up the ear canal. A scapel blade can be used as an alternative. But there will be profuse bleeding from the skin vessels.  Follow up 2 weeks later. The owner is happy that the hamster is not itchy anymore.



Monday, December 16, 2019

4030. The 3 D's of selling a product via story telling

Mon Dec 16, 2019
Heard from radion cna

The 3 Ds of story telling to sell a product or service.
1. Details
2. Dialogue
3. Discovery
All wrapped up in Drama.

Eg. How to sell A4 sized paper.

1. Details - This is a true story told by her customer. Her boss urgently wanted a report, paper got stuck inside printer. Boss commented on such poor quality thin paper.

2. Dialogue - "Why is the paper so thin? Poor impression...." If there is no dialogue, poor story telling

3. Discovery - What do you sell? High quality A4 printing paper.


1. Details - Two parents who love me very much.

2. Dialogue:  When I was 8 years old, my father in his deep commanding voice spoke to me in Mandarin: "You study hard, be down-to-earth good student". My mum, half British said: "Don' worry about Dad's advice. Follow your dreams

3. Discovery. Both parents love me. I studied hard and work in my business - consulting. .....
Dialogue is very important. Tone etc.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

4028. Advices to Young People. 3P's - Positive, Practise, Persevere

An inspiration image for you.

The quotation is not my original. A mother gave the 3 P's to her son with disability. Some advice in these 3 Ps to him. Think positive when you encounter setbacks and challenges. Practise till you become perfect. Persevere till you have perfected your tasks.  Now he is a successful children's author.

4027. Creative Writing - Anatomy of the sentence.

Dec 15, 2019
Writing magazine  Aug 2019
Anatomy of the sentence - James McCreet

The ability to craft sentences is the basic element of good writing.
The effective writer must always identify why and how a sentence works (or doesn't).

He ran a kitchen-help union. He rigged low pay. He had coin. He had pull. He pushed right-wing tracts. He hobnobbed with fat cats. He knew J Edgar Hover.
James Ellroy, The Cold Six Thousand

Too many short sentences can look childlike. Ellroy's percussive short sentences (all starting with 'he') create a relentless rhythm that generates low-level anxiety. Powerful effects.  The repetition of 'he' heaps layers to what we know about the character - most of it bad. He's a bad man. He's also a powerful man, which makes him dangerous. Ellroy provokes tension. Ellroy turns his literary gunshots into brutal music. 

Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. 
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness 

A great sentence does not only describe an experience - it is the experience. Conrad turn his sentences about a voyage into a voyage itself.  The lst sentence is leisurely and long. The second is not grammatically a sentence at all. Its triplet of adjective-noun pairings sets is disjointed and incoherent. Why?

Narrator is dumbfounded at the scene and can't sort his thoughts or express himself. He lists breathlessly what he sees. Conrad opts for four adjectives in the next sentence, not one. The narrator is overwhelmed and so must we. The final sentence sees our storyteller grasping for something to summarise the sense. He uses this masterpiece of ambiguous paradox. Unnerving.

I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive. A year ago, six months ago, I thought that I was an artist. I no longer think about it. I am.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer.

Henry Miller, lived a virtually homeless life in 1930s Paris produces a unque anti-novel. Here, he expresses both not giving a toss and the glory of creation. How?
The commas and repeated 'no' of the first sentence  create a series of waves that lead to the striking contradiction of the subsequent one.  He repeats the effect again with the commas of the third sentence and another partial reversal. He's writing the loops of a roller coaster. He's encoding his triumph not only in his description of it but in the expression of it. The italics cap the effect.

All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true. One guy I knew really was shot in Dresden for taking a teapot that wasn't his. Another guy I knew eally did threaten to have his personal enemies killed by hired gunmen after the war. And so on. I've changed all the names.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhosue 5

V is the master of deceptively simple prose. It's as if he's talking directly to us in his own voice. Partly, this is the halting conversational rhythms he establishes within and between sentences. How does he do it?
A combination of long and short sentences. Also how he inserts throwaway asides ('more or less,' 'anyway', 'and so on'). The repetition of colloquial 'really' and the italics that add his emphasis. The final sentence comes as an afterthought that has the punch line without a preceding joke. It's absurd, but then so is the entire story.

The mother and the father in their crumpled clothes and greasy hair, him flicking at the dandruff on his collar, her fiddling with her wedding ring, both twitching at the bang and the wail of a microphone being switched on, looking for all the world more the sinners than the sinned against.
David Peace, 1974

What a long sentence. At 52 words, it is twice as long as a typical long sentence and it contains a lot of information.  this long sentence is NOT rambling or unfocused. It is as focused as the seat of fear.
Peace created a sense of unease and anticipation. He does this by building momentum into a wave that doesn't break.

Note the initial repetition of 'and' and the way that clauses are joined by commas that preserve the ceaseless flow. The pronouns ('him,' 'her,' 'both') draw our attention to details within the larger scene but without giving each their own focal sentence.
The sentence is alive with detail and movement. Verbs - 'flicking,' 'fiddling,' 'twitching,' 'looking' - that create a sense of constant activity when in fact everyone is waiting for something to happen. Peace has described bustling activity that itself bustles with activity.

By telling us the true facts, by sifting the little from the big, and shaping the whole so that we perceive the outline, the biographer does more to stimulate the imagination than any poet or novelist save the greatest.
Virginia Woolf, The Art of Biography. 

Why VW preface her basic point that biographers stimulate the imagination more than poets with a plethora of clauses and that dangling disclaimer at the3 end?

She summarises points made previously and add emphasis by stacking reasons ahead of her conclusion. The sentence has more force by containing everything within a single, focused whole. Its length is a rational onslaught without the possible equivocation or hesitation of full stops. That final phrase is an important truth. That is why W relegates it to the end as a kind of parenthetical ahem.

In summary, the sentence is a world in itself, but a world that operates within orbits and systems of other worlds.

Harmony is key to the cosmic order. We must ensure that every single sentence is effective. Maybe it is stunningly powerful. Maybe it is a single beat. Maybe it's self-effacingly simple. Always, it matters.

4026. Photography Tips: Transform + cropping v. Cropping only

1.  Original image of the first image in ...tiff

First two images are just cropped. No transform tool is used.
Cropped only. Colours more green and blue

Cropped only

2. Using the above original image, the same large image has been transformed to close in on the kingfisher and then cropped.
The width and height percentages have been almost identical to original image dimensions.
Transformed and then cropped

3.  The following 2 different images have been transformed to close in on the kingfisher and then cropped.  The width and height percentages have not been identical to original image dimensions.

Transformed and then cropped. Looks fatter

Transformed and then cropped. Looks fatter
 When using the transform tool, ensure that the Width and Height percentages are identical to the original images. Otherwise, you will get distorted shapes as in the last 2 images.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

4025. Photography Tips. How I use the Transform Tool to get higher quality images - damselfly in Singapore

Dec 12, 2019 on using the Transform tool to get the higher quality image.

I have had described the steps taken in the blog:

In summary:
1. Save Original image as ...tiff

2. Press Ctrl A, then Ctrl T to transform image

3. Press Crop tool. Then "Original Ratio". Crop image.
    Save it as ...tiff at 72dpi. Use the Brightness/Contrast, Shaows/Highlights, Sharpen/Smart Sharpen etc as described in the above-mentioned blog.

4. Use image in Point 3 and convert to ...jpg at 300dpi (for printing offline if required as 300dpi makes sharp images when printed) 

This blog shows the similar steps taken and compare the "Transform" image with the "Crop only" image.

Original image as ...AA.tiff

Transform and save as ...KK.tiff