This blog post is part of the Random Sampling Singapore project. The Project aims to sample 100 places on the island of Singapore over a one year (+) period in order to gain an unbiased and holistic view of the city state.
น้อย [pronounced “noi”] is Thai and means “little” or “few”. It is the name of the artist I dedicate the coordinate 98. The coordinate 98 is located at the Tekong Island, the inaccessible area at the very north-east of Singapore. With Tekong’s distance I was dealing with already in coordinates 21_perspectives or 73_Random_Notes, where we could transform the separation into wonderful music. But this time I almost reached my goal only within a few or “น้อย [noi]” meters.
My family and I were flying in July 2022 to Koh Tao, Thailand and the route of the plane along the shore to Koh Samui went exactly over coordinate 98. “Let’s be open minded and see how this trip provides me with data.” I thought by myself.
There were lots of material to work with on this paradise-like island. It really would deserve a own Random Sampling project, but for now I chose a location or a “data-point” which was dear to me. Do you know this feeling when you pass something and a notion tells you to stick there and look more closely? I had this moment when we drove with our rental bikes along the main road on the way to a beach.
A Corona-Pandamic abandoned restaurant with a bamboo-construction street-sided was offering necklaces made of carved bones. Signs “HANDMADE” and “150 Bhat” were placed to the display. Behind there was a little workspace on the floor, a motor bike and all the stuff from the given up restaurant. NOI was sitting there, working on a necklace. He is a 67 year old Thai, born in Chiang Mai – the traditional art and craft center in Thailand. He came to Koh Tao 20 years ago, first to escape the everlasting rain season on the west-coast, where he was working before. Then he met his wife and they had a daughter and stayed in Koh Tao.
I was asking him if I could learn from him how to make such skillful necklaces. He was pointing to me that I could sit next to him, watching him doing one necklace. It was nice to watch him skillfully drill, saw, smoothen and polish the bone. He told me that he is ordering the whale bone from Japan and the few pieces left on his side are the rest. After 2 years of no income through the pandemic he will switch afterwards to the cheaper alternative of coconut wood.
I made a video of him doing each step of how a piece of bone and a black cord become a necklace. The whole procedure (plus the talking about Corona, family , Austria, Thailand and Singapore) took about 1 hour. The video is shortened to about 7:30 minutes. In this link you can see Noi carving a whale bone and making a necklace.