When Parents Age

  You see them in their fading days and years, in a state of grace that seems impossible to approach. They are frail, yet stronger than ever in spirit. They stumble, yet are resolute; unsure but trusting; in pain but serene; silent, mostly, yet smiling; enduring, patient, resting, sleeping, taking a few steps, a few spoonfuls. Mum sleeps, but reads mostly. Her prayer books are … Continue reading When Parents Age

Innocent, wounded, yet trusting

On a sunlit shore, seemingly nowhere in particular, framed by palms and blue skies, within thatched enclosures, lulled by the continual boom and ebb of waves, there is a little hub of passion and devotion where little babies struggle to survive and grizzled men lovingly tend to the wounded, the resting and the trusting. This is the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Centre, a serendipitous discovery beside … Continue reading Innocent, wounded, yet trusting

A beautiful Friday morning …

It was a rare convergence : a beautiful morning, clear skies, sunshine chased by a rippling wind into ‘shadow and seek’, the beginning of a weekend and an hour to spare. Carpe diem is my resolution for 2014. And so, when I find myself traveling alongside a lengthy, glinting stretch of silver fringed by green and framed by rain trees –  an unexpected vista between … Continue reading A beautiful Friday morning …

A Double Whammy

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. (Roger A Caras) Losing two family members within a month and a half of each other is one of the hardest things to survive; it takes time to come to the realisation that gratitude is in order because you were blessed, and blessed twice. Cadbury : 2001 – 2014 We never thought it … Continue reading A Double Whammy

Fluffy : 2000 – 2013

“Every life should have 9 cats” – Anonymous Our resident diva passed away on the 21st of November, having exhausted eight of her nine lives. (She donated one to our chocolate labrador). She lived a full life in her thirteen and a half years, more human than cat and more dog than cat (when she realised she needed to be the alpha dog, given that … Continue reading Fluffy : 2000 – 2013

Who is a Citizen, what is Citizenship ?

By government projections, Singapore’s population could well be 6.9 million by 2030. The recently released White Paper on Population set off a storm of comment and feedback, a lot of it around citizens, immigrants and foreign talent. Consider some other perspectives – those of first generation Singaporeans, of those who have not taken citizenship but nonetheless consider Singapore home, and of many children who have … Continue reading Who is a Citizen, what is Citizenship ?

The Ties that Bind

In a world that is getting increasingly smaller and diverse, what are the ties that bind people with peripatetic lifestyles ? It is the essence of family and friendship – universal ties that endure as a mesh of remembrances and experiences (much like a piece of intricate embroidery), created or recalled by a meal, a celebration, a remembrance, a festival or a new year. We … Continue reading The Ties that Bind

Then and Now

Social capital, passion for conservation, art to provoke, technology to please and ease … issues that have remained relevant over the years. Zero Dark Thirty is being screened in theatres. It is a gripping, nail-biting experience; gut wrenching because it is of the now and you know it happened, or most of it did. It stays in the mind. It reminded me of an exhibition … Continue reading Then and Now

Thoughts for a new Year

2013 sounds promising, especially as the end of the world did not happen, and as always, a fresh start prompts introspection and reflection.   End of another year and it is stock-taking time everywhere. The media is awash with articles, opinions, columns and blogs offering much pause for thought. A couple of years ago, I came across a stream of commentaries, almost in succession, that … Continue reading Thoughts for a new Year

Christmas

As people all over the world – secular and religious – observe this most celebrated of festivals; the reality that we are more similar than we are different (and especially at Christmastime) is reinforced by our geographies and cultures. The post-Hallowe’en November-long anticipation has yielded to Yuletide celebrations and menu planning, Christmas parties and Christmas spruces, pines and firs, taller, higher, brighter, twinkling away (faux … Continue reading Christmas

‘A Whole new Mind’

Does current education suffer from the ‘tyranny of common sense’ ? Will the perspectives and templates that defined our generation sufficiently equip our children for their tomorrows ?   Let’s face it, things have changed. We’ve lived the trajectory – agriculture to industry to information – and have entered an age of ideas and abstractions distinguished by blips, beeps, tweets and twitters, digitization, instant information … Continue reading ‘A Whole new Mind’

The Night of the Orange and Black

On the night of the thinnest divide between this life and the afterlife, when apparitions and spirits freely slink, skulk, stalk and sneak about, bring out the costumes to scare off the demons and carve your pumpkins and light them with candles and make your taffy apple treats.  Two thousand or more years ago, the Celts (in today’s UK, Ireland and northern France) had an … Continue reading The Night of the Orange and Black

Highland and Island : Malaysia Getaways

The ideal location for short (and long) getaways, Singapore must probably offer the widest choice of holiday destinations in the region. A visit to Kuala Lumpur should extend beyond urban, retail and downtown preoccupations; and according to the travel brochure, cool ‘Highland Resorts’, a few hours drive away from KL include Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Fraser’s Hill, Bukit Larut, Penang Hill, Bukit Tinggi – variously … Continue reading Highland and Island : Malaysia Getaways

A Family in Every Country

Families who move countries regularly share a certain spirit, an ‘impermanence’, which quite paradoxically can lead to strong and lasting bonds. The annual school hiatus – summer breaks, October breaks, Christmas breaks and Easter breaks – often signal transitions; departures, goodbyes and heartbreaks, friends moving away, pink slips and uncertainties (given current times), graduations and moving on. Transition and change, ever present in our lives, … Continue reading A Family in Every Country

Bringing Up Father : The Honeymoon Period

Parents as children and children as parents : FIL, all of 89 and feisty as he ever was, moved in with us for a while, and life changed. The Maintenance of Parents Act is under discussion and debate in the press right now, with opinions on ‘measuring’ filial piety, moral obligations and legal requirements. Those in the situation – parent to his or her parent … Continue reading Bringing Up Father : The Honeymoon Period

Those Were the Days …

Teenage summers are blithe days of a carefree existence, to be enjoyed, remembered and stored away for later years. With the start of school vacation, a Zen persona manifests itself in a certain teenager I am acquainted with. This is a deep contemplation that precedes the uncoiling that precedes any movement; an unwashed serenity (perfected by adolescent males); a vacant calm coupled with a gait … Continue reading Those Were the Days …

Discovering the Wake

Wakeboarding for the beginner and the pro … and a dolphin, otter or manatee, if you are lucky ! In the strip of water between Malaysia and Singapore, beside the Immigration checkpoint in Tuas, beneath the arc of the bridge that connects the two countries (the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link), alongside what is possibly the last of Singapore’s ‘green’ coastline unmarred by buildings (the land belongs … Continue reading Discovering the Wake

IQ & EQ

Education : the facts and the challenges, the new realities, contemporary parenting and non-traditional pedagogies. Singapore’s educational system has generated a lot of press lately, sparked by the Education Minister’s advocacy for a a student-centric, values-driven education. An article in the 26 September 2011 issue of the Straits Times commented that the country’s education system has always tended to emphasise quantifiables over qualitative factors. Grades, ranking … Continue reading IQ & EQ

Living Beyond Cancer : Remembering a Friend

Mahesh Mahadevan succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2002. Many – especially the many who never knew him – have reason to remember 29 October 2002. In his will, Mahesh expressed a desire that his friends do something in the area of pediatric cancer, specifically for children whose families could not afford the treatment. Cancers in children are different from those that affect adults and … Continue reading Living Beyond Cancer : Remembering a Friend

Exam Fever for Parents

Examinations (fortunately) have become the stuff of memories for adults, remembered and refracted through personality and experience. Our recollections have probably nothing to do with performance or results; it is the exam fever, the lead-up to the event that remains etched forever in the subconscious. Were you one of the fortunate, enviable few who had everything under control, knew your subjects, slept easily, exercised, ate … Continue reading Exam Fever for Parents