produced, shot, edited.

in collaboration with rice creative for marou, faiseurs de chocolats and national gallery singapore
– a chocolate/design/art project using a 500 year old hand-made printmaking process
that utilises all natural resources, originated from a small village in the north of vietnam.

an excerpt.

entire video here with article.

savannah, georgia

oak trees suffused with spanish moss and muffled trumpet melodies.
this past weekend down south defined my nabokov happiness
– “a sunny, simple happiness and not an altogether common one.”

wormsloe, savannah, georgia

currently listening to:

new york city

been wandering around foreign countries for the past couple years
and now that i’m home,
i’ve been doing all the little things i’ve taken for granted,
like checking out new restaurants with my funny friends,
movie nights in the park,
summery late evening walks through lower manhattan

and amazing live shows at intimate venues.
i got to see born ruffians, one of my favourite bands, perform the anthem to my entire last year of london.

“away, away, a way to always belong. belong, belong, won’t be long until i am gone.”

i also met luke afterwards.
that was pretty cool. :)

sunday with alena.

veanne cao

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saturday night in dumbo.

2016 is proving to be a rather charming year.

manhattan bridge, brooklyn bridge, dumbo

currently listening to:
all the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run….

henri turned seven years old

and in the past year he’s lived three different lives:
sir henri of east putney who tried to herd sheep in the english countryside
(if you look closely, he’s the little white speck hopping behind the sheep),
ong-ree of saigon who likes sightseeing from my backpack on the scooter

and now mr. muffinhead is back in his hometown of new york,
in our little corner of soho after a trek through the city with his old shiba inu friends.



new york city buildings

tahoe, california

ending 2015 with a trip to the mountains with two of my best friends.
we were the last ones on the slope.

northstar tahoe ski lift
lake tahoe snow mountains
(vi chugging her vodka-filled water bottle before the big drop.)

snowboarding in zero visibility and fresh powder is the closest thing to flying;
i couldn’t think of a better way to say goodbye to the year (and such).

currently listening to:
if you keep your options open there are places you will go.


i miss my dog.

i’m concluding my six months in asia.
and i somehow managed to schedule five days of video shoots my last week here.
a few frame grabs.

during the french colonial period,
the cyclo/xích lô (bicycle taxi) was the primary mode of transportation in vietnam.
with the advent of scooters and cars, they’re now restricted to only a few tourist areas.
within a decade, they’ll be obsolete.
a story rarely told is that of the cyclo drivers,
who are often seen as a nuisance, scoffed and rudely brushed off by tourists.

back in august when truc-anh and i were shooting b-roll in bùi viện for the soul archive video,
i met, by chance, a cyclo driver named nghia.
there was a sincerity about him; i wanted to hear his story.
so vu and i spent tuesday with him.

bui vien

i’ll share the video later next month,
but really, despite numerous cruel adversities and heartbreaks… such a kind, resilient soul.

DAY 2:
jewellery making with charmés.

charmes jewellery
charmes jewellery

DAY 3-5:
marou and rice for the singapore national gallery.
a flight to hanoi.

west lake hanoi

then an hour drive east to a little village called đông hồ
to produce a video on a 500-year-old printmaking tradition
using pattern carved wood blocks,
seashell, stone and plant fibre based ink.

dong ho village vietnam

last day in saigon to settle affairs and then onwards to the next chapter.

hong kong

hong kong causeway bay

teresa teng warmly reminds me of grandma and grandpa.
from the taxi cabs to the intercom at the mall, her songs murmured,
which made for a sentimental week on the island.

i had one free day from shooting and mac said we could do whatever i wanted.
eat through the city, duh. six restaurants in one day.
we went from the most extravagant portuguese barnacles (apparently men risked their lives to fetch our lunch)

portuguese barnacles

to the most humble spam and egg sandwich.


(and dim sum, dumplings, everything yummy hong kong had to offer in between.)
this guy mac, he’s all sorts of good people.

mac ling

somewhere in soho
i stumbled upon an antiquarian shop called indosiam that specialised in rare books and paper goods
and picked up these huge 2×3′ maps from the 1920’s


and a book on french colonial territories in southeast asia, published in 1930.


amid heaven and earth.

window seat airplane
currently listening to:
the most appropriate teresa teng song for this post.
香港 香港 和你在一起

wayne wang

director of joy luck club
and JLo’s fatuous romcom, maid in manhattan.

wayne wang

siem reap

how magical would it have been to have wandered deep into the cambodian jungle centuries ago
and stumbled upon these extraordinary ruins enveloped, hidden in foliage.

angkor wat.

angkor wat, cambodia
angkor wat, cambodia
angkor wat, cambodia

it was a bit eerie seeing the majority of statues missing their heads,
was told they were hacked off during the siam invasion.

angkor wat statues no heads

ta prohm.
if brooks had been there, he would’ve been screaming, “OMG tomb raider!”

ta prohm, cambodia
ta prohm, cambodia
ta prohm, cambodia
but all i kept hearing in my head was this.

angkor thom.

angkor thom, bayon temple, cambodia
angkor thom monkeys, cambodia

in saigon, again.

two things.
1. people can be cruel, life can be quite unfair.
you can play victim and whine incessantly about how the world owes you something, spreading negativity
or you can just not.

2. the term “việt kiều” is used to describe vietnamese from overseas.
dad once told me there were generally two types of việt kiều who return to vietnam:
the first, to brag.
the second, to make the country a better place.

i’m not the first of either, but i will try to do both the latter.

veanne cao
[shooting from a dippy little truck with rice creative and truc-anh.

belgium part ii

i promised thomas we’d go to bruges
before he moved back to the states to settle down, find a nice girl and start a family
and before i do whatever it is i’m supposed to do.

bruges, belgium
bruges, belgium

but our daydreams of a little fairy tale town felt more like a disneyland cesspool of tourists.

bruges, belgium
[picture by thomas]
but we did try to recreate the picture he drew for me.

[picture by jason]


jason bickley, cristina munteanu, thomas loder


our last day there, jason had to spend some quality time with his family

jason bickley

so cristina took us around the city for the day.

brussels, belgium
(brussels from an elevator, via iphone.)

we’ve named our squad #teamhoodies


and sometimes #teamchucks.


seriously, how can you go to belgium and not try a waffle?
it’s like going to new york and not eating a pizza or philly for cheesesteaks.


a cute goodbye.


you take me by the heart when you take me by the hand

doel, belgium.
an abandoned ghost town taken over by graffiti artists and a playground for photographers.

doel belgium

cristina, thomas, jason, little annabelle and i scaled walls, hopped fences and crawled through cracks
– the second most perfect way to spend a damp, dreary saturday.

doel belgium, cristina munteanu
doel belgium
doel belgium
doel belgium, thomas loder
doel belgium
doel belgium, jason bickley
doel belgium
doel belgium, cristina munteanu
doel belgium
doel belgium
doel belgium
doel belgium
doel belgium, jason bickley
doel belgium, cristina munteanu, thomas loder, jason bickley

ce-cil-ia, how i can’t wait to fu-feel ya

lux bought out lighting magazine and revamped it into this slick…
it looks and feels almost like a coffee table art book.

lighting magazine

i think it happened one afternoon during production of the first [re]issue
when ray asked me to hand-sketch some installation diagrams for him.
and now once a month,
i get to escape my computer screen for a few hours,
blast born ruffians in my headphones and zone out.

i’ll never not get excited seeing work in print, even if it’s just a bunch of doodles. :)

lighting magazine
lighting magazine

also, from this photograph,
i discovered the most amazing, abandoned asylum just an hour south in surrey

lighting magazine

and decided i would trick mark into taking me there this bank holiday weekend
for what could possibly be the most awesome picture taking adventure,
only to be heartbroken when i discovered the building was demolished last year. :(

currently listening to:
been singing the same song for months.


park saturday

it’s finally starting to feel like spring in london.
had planned on going to st. james to see the daffodils,
but decided on hyde instead so henri could chase his squirrels.

hyde park london
hyde park london
hyde park london
hyde park london

i can’t believe my saturday afternoon was determined by a funny little animal with a stupid haircut.

edges are beaten drift wood, whittled down

sometimes i’m caught off guard when i see a picture of myself
because how i look in my head vs. reality doesn’t always match up.

i wonder what it’ll be like when i’m 80, standing in front of a mirror
and an old lady is staring back at me.

veanne cao

ps. i’m wearing a tube top.


dad joined the south vietnam army at eighteen
to be with his friends.

several years ago,
mom told me a story of their late evening in the trenches
smoking opium, playing cards
when a bomb explosion obliterated the foxhole.
gory details are superfluous,
but because of where dad was positioned,
he was the only survivor.

so when i meet uncles – chú, bác, ông – once were soldiers,
i inadvertently feel a connection towards them,
as if they were dad’s comrades, dad.

i have a 20-hour flight back to saigon today.

*my apologies. dad wanted me to make a correction on this post.
he was not smoking opium that night with them, “just cigarettes. don’t make me look bad!”

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first draft of screenplay done.
in pre-production, jack and i are shooting a movie this summer.

screen test.
casting is my least favourite part of the process, but i love how mark looks on camera, love his nuances.

mark wainwright

currently listening to:
snagged from mark’s spotify playlist.

grass stains on my knees for you, holes in my new jeans for you.


happy birthday to me.

my friends are scattered around the world,
but i found a way for twenty of us to do something together for my birthday this year.

the request was simple.
1. blast wreckx-n-effect’s “rumpshaker”
2. hit record on the camera
3. dance
4. send me the footage