Native Wisdom

Compassionate medicine. Cheerful fortitude. Love, oodles of love and care. Native wisdom. And leaps of faith. This, I find, is what works when you reach what seems like the end of the road. In the strangest and most stressful of times, there is wonder, discovery and learning … as when freshly-made virgin coconut oil and…

Singapore’s amazing ACRES

Last night a snake slithered under the washing machine and Sunday dinner was electrified by the gasping palpitations of the person who saw it as she walked past ; a breathless description of its tail to-ing and fro-ing, like a rattlesnake. A black snake, she thought it was. Anyone – like me – who has…

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…

Autumn becomes Spring in Singapore

2014 began cool and windy, unseasonal, a nip in the air … fresh mornings, bright sunlit days and the occasional need for a light cover in the evenings. This ? In tropical Singapore ? Yes, in tropical Singapore. And then, without warning, an autumn-like spell descended upon us, a browning of the green, leaves changing…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Urban Tropical : Golden Orioles, Parrots and a Cockatoo

Early mornings are special … and tropical Singapore mornings bring a ‘fresh’ perspective to urban living. (A summer morning remembered, in the midst of this ‘wet’ winter). Tropical summers linger in the memory as alliterative summer days: lazy, languid, lucid … sweltering, sultry, scorching.

 This morning, a breeze tosses the leaves of the rain trees….

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…

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…

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…

Is your python bigger than mine ?

Some people see them and many don’t – but they are there, the pythons, the cobras (spitting and otherwise), the green tree snakes, the garden snakes and all the in-between ones native to the tropics. I have a number of enduring stories – and recollections – which hold audiences rapt and disbelieving, all ophidian; sinuously…

The Metaphysics of Stone

Natural stone, when used as building material in a home – walls, accents, counters, floors – not only reflect the vitality of nature, but also contribute to general health and wellbeing. The preoccupation of purchasing a home and the putting down of roots (serious commitments, these) dominated our dinner table debates till the decisions were…