Khat Workshop @ Esplanade [2017 APR 22-23]

Khat Workshop @ Esplanade: Tapestry of Sacred Music 

Beginners’ Arabic Calligraphy Workshop

2017 April 22-23 : Sat-Sun. 10am. Esplanade, Bay Room. Singapore.

From 2012 to 2014, we have been conducting workshops at the Esplanade. We did the “open” style, or open-workshop: open to public, free-flow seatings, first-come-first-serve seats, stay and play all you want, come and go as you wish, along with free flow of worksheets. With over 500 participants within total span of 6-8 hours, yes it was a hit. And also yes, very messy indeed. We have gatekeepers, headcount monitors, security officers, and massive queue and passing peeping traffic. Then, we moved on to “closed” style, a very controlled workshop: limited registration of seats, limited time, and a closed venue with much comfort, space and privacy for participants to breathe well with the activities.

So here it is 2017, we were called up for a comeback. We made a stronger emphasis on the objective for “beginners'” workshop. We cut off all visual aids, and we go back to the intimate basics of story-telling-demonstrations and follow-to-practise. With no gadgets involved, under limited 90 minutes, it went much better than expected. The primary objective: to foster relations between the person, the pen, the ink and the paper. Only then, they’ll be able to explore the alphabetic forms.

But seriously, we really hope for a good 120-150 minutes. It takes time for the participants to grasp the feel of the materials and the alphabet. While it’s a quiet world on the outside, it’s a world of multi-dimensional conversations on the inside.

It feels great returning to Esplanade. We discovered interesting frequencies and textures of different people. Some come being naturally curious and adventurous, and some may appear from a different whimsy wonderland. And there are those just appeared very stoic and sophisticated.

Thank you to the managers and producers for this opportunity of sharing calligraphy with the public. And thank you readers for dropping by exploring our photos. We hope to see you in our sessions!



To take a look on some of our past workshops by Faddho, feel free to explore the links here:






Introduction to Khat @ Esplanade: Bitesize [2014 Apr 13]

“A Brief Introduction to Khat”



Arabic Calligraphy Lecture & Workshop



We were looking at a figure of 30 participants or optimally, 25 at its maximum. Personally 15, is the best figure. However, of course Esplanade would like to cover even more participants if it could. In the past 2 years (2012-2013), our free open workshop-cum-trial booth for Arabic calligraphy has been a successful hit of an estimated 500 over participants over 3 days within limited hours. Since it was an open session, we had participants rooted to their seats for more than 3 hours, some stood around for a good 40 minutes, some dropped by for quick minutes of trials, some just picked up a handful of worksheets for their family and friends, and some passed by and passed by again. It was fantastic. We met artists, teachers, tourists, not to mentioned, religious people and few calligraphers themselves apart from the locals. Fellow calligraphy enthusiasts hanged around having fun with pen and ink and crafting letters. This year, Esplanade decided to have a closed session under its Bitesize programme. For a session of only 2 hours, we truly hope we could give the best.

So they opened it up for 50 maximum participants on tickets. Within the first month out of the 3-month publicity, they called us to spread more words on this programme cause they managed only to hit around 20. We felt that it was good enough to keep that way as we were concerned on managing and giving a substantial amount of attention to the participants individually and as a whole. We had booklets, worksheets and visual slides all prepared. In less than half month before the event, we hit 50. Full house.

Our hope for extension of hours could probably give more fruitful attention to the participants. That didn’t happen. The space provided was in a rehearsal studio, full of tall-glass-wall windows, at the top-most of the building, giving a cosmic feel to practicing calligraphy. Probably, a dream of every calligrapher to afford that kind of (expensive) atmosphere to have an intimate session with the pen crafting sacred verses. But in real history, calligraphers danced their hearts through their pen and ink, crouching solemnly in a quiet corner of walls full of books, away from people, away from the world. Then, the teacher attended to students one at a time. But here, its a duty to share and uphold it to the public.

We hoped for a better projection on our visual lesson slides to amplify the content to participants spread out to about over two basketball courts of space. We could see how much a participant yearned to feel the pen during the demonstration where 49 others crowded over one person demonstrating letters over a piece of A3 paper. And if we could, we would love to be able to equally attend to at least 10 individual participants at a time whenever they raised their hands for help and questions. One hour of theoretical history and visual lessons, and one hour of practice. Unfortunately, but fortunately, that’s all we could afford.

Learning calligraphy doesn’t work like technical software crash courses. Most of fresh students we knew, could never get over understanding the pen and its first dot even over their first two weeks practice. Nowadays, the culture of clicking and sliding with fingers is more overwhelming than the art and grace of handling pen and letters. Time spent for economical productivity is different from time spent for spiritual productivity. Nevertheless, the people in Esplanade has created great efforts to support traditional arts such as calligraphy for the betterment of the society.

Be it a dot, or long strokes, we hope this effort would be a blessing to everyone. Thank you for acknowledging our presence. We hope to see you all again.



Khat with Docents of FOM @ ACM [2013 Oct 05]

“Khat: The Journey of Arabic Calligraphy”




Arabic Calligraphy Lecture & Workshop



It was on a relaxed Saturday morning at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) where we gathered for another exciting session. It was truly a humbling opportunity to have a calligraphy session with a special group of people who are docents from Friends of the Museums (FOM). This private workshop is an exclusive session which begins with a visual lecture of exploring the history of Arabic scripts from semantics, concepts to theories of evolutions and reformations of letterforms which encompasses within a time span of more than 2000 years. Visual characteristics of the scripts were explored through visual specimens of The Holy Quran and various folios from different time and parts of the world.

The practical session followed on with an introduction to the pen, paper and ink; creating the first dot. The first dot, or technically creating the perfect rhombus is an essential fundamental step in developing a letterform. This includes the discipline and handling habits of a calligraphy practitioner. After trying out a series of practicing dots and lines, participants were introduced to try out the basic alphabetic bodies of Nasakh script. The momentum of constant dipping of the reed or bamboo pen into the ink well and writing continued through experiencing the practitioner’s drill. Here, participants will make an attempt to copy simple words such as “Salam”, “Hoob” and “Hikmah”, over and over again until it is close to clone perfection. The last practice was trying out the word “Salam” in 3 different scripts, namely: Riqah, Diwani and Kufi Mushafi. Through these, participants explored the various styles of writing techniques being used on different scripts to write the same word.

So there it goes, a fruitful Saturday morning, with wonderful theoretical sparring exchange and discussions with such a special audience. Thank you Arundhati Sundar for such a wonderful opportunity. We will be pleased to have more of these again!



Chalk and Ink @ Esplanade [2013 Apr 20-21]

“Faddho’s Chalk and Ink Fiesta”


Esplanade’s Tapestry of Sacred Music

Arabic Calligraphy Workshop 

20 – 21 April 2013. Saturday/Sunday. 4-9pm. Esplanade, The Concourse. Singapore.


Waiting for Friday to end, I was looking forward to my very own play-space in the world of alphabets. This is the second time I’m running a public workshop on Arabic calligraphy at Esplanade. Last year in 2012, my debut was a fresh scene apart from usual classes scene, roadshows or showcases that I’ve done with various organisations. At Esplanade, this festival “Tapestry of Sacred Music” is like a cross-celebration of arts and cultural performances. There are music, visuals, displays, and variety of textures and depths of showmanships; from mysticism, to stoicism, to romanticism and even things with elements that raises the eyebrows or could harmonise some giggles. Gratefully, I am part of this. The flow of people were mostly tourists and local visitors from all walks of life. Read More

%d bloggers like this: