SWF 2018 : the experience of …

Singapore Writers Festival 2018 : nine days of unplanned but full-on immersion. You buy a Festival Pass, collect a Programme (150 pages or so) and go whither whim dictates.
Some events are free; the Pass gets you admission into others and a few are ticketed. Continue reading SWF 2018 : the experience of …

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 betel leaves combine to heal, as they do in the … Continue reading Native Wisdom

The Singapore Coffee Festival 2017

Baristas and cafes of Singapore came together for a weekend in August, in the expanse of the Marina Bay Cruise Center; two levels of artisanal coffee, tea and bites. It was about conscious consumption, choices, grounded pleasures, wildlife friendly beans, a barter market and an aeropress championship among other things … with balmy winds off both decks and a deep sunset slanting colour through the … Continue reading The Singapore Coffee Festival 2017

Everything I needed to know about Saké

Imagine life without alcohol. Civilization would drive us mad. We’re only human, after all. – Michael Hoffman The Japan Prestige Sake Association organised an evening of free-flow saké tasting to introduce various breweries and their premium products to Singapore. (There are over 1500 saké breweries in Japan, with 40,000 to 50,000 different brands). So, at the Fairmont Hotel, there was enough saké to satisfy the … Continue reading Everything I needed to know about Saké

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 no desire to co-habit with reptiles will empathize with my … Continue reading Singapore’s amazing ACRES

A fine balance of space, air, light and water

Simply put, this is vertical farming. Where all environmental factors (air temperature, humidity, water, nutrients and light) are controlled through computer automation and optimally customised to suit particular plant varieties.  Also known as CEA or Controlled Environment Agriculture.   Remember Ridley Scott’s 2015 film The Martian ? You recall the plot line. To survive, botanist Mark Watney, stranded on Mars, has to grow his own … Continue reading A fine balance of space, air, light and water

‘WOMEN: New Portraits’ by Annie Leibovitz

A part of a project that began over 15 years ago visits Singapore on its global tour. An exuberant and vivid celebration of women and womanhood, these are Ms Leibovitz’s portraits of women, many influential and recognizable, some not; and include past work from the original series as well as some unpublished photographs. The venue is an art deco building, a national monument and a … Continue reading ‘WOMEN: New Portraits’ by Annie Leibovitz

Bear Aware, Bear Beware

The few days at the ski slopes of Whistler, British Columbia were limned with suspenseful anticipation; the hope of a sighting of the common Ursus Americanus aka the American black bear. An occurrence completely unimaginable in tropical Singapore – meeting a wild bear, by perfect chance. Each morning, as we trudged-clambered-hiked through the woods around Lost Lake and along Blackcomb Mountain, it was with the … Continue reading Bear Aware, Bear Beware

The Arts House, Singapore

The Arts House More Than Words : A Visual Playground of Chinese Characters A serendipitous visit and a delightful room of eye-popping art. The Hanzi characters of the Chinese language, square block and originally derived from signs and pictures, now find expression in kaleidoscope-like motifs … reminiscent of geometric abstraction.  Millenia-old logograms (signs or characters representing a word or phrase, such as those used in … Continue reading The Arts House, Singapore

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

Dog Day Afternoon

When friends visit, the visit expands to more friends, new friends and much food. Beginning with a breakfast of Veron’s special frittata, a perfection of eggs, cheese, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and onion. A Mediterranean salad with french beans, grilled peppers and more. Sausages. Rocket tossed with raspberry vinaigrette and pomegranate arils. A jug of crushed green apples, ginger and cucumbers, topped with mint, apple juice … Continue reading Dog Day Afternoon

More than just a Bulbul !

Our Nilgiris (blue mountains) experience was defined by the ubiquitous red-whiskered bird, ever present in the garden, whirrings and flappings and busyness in the trees alongside Oriental White Eyed’s; tireless good cheer in the occasional summer sun. “go via mysore-bhandipur-masinagudi-ooty. at bandipur, after the police checkpost is a left turn over a narrow bridge to masinagudi up the sigur ghat (36 hair pin bends). if … Continue reading More than just a Bulbul !

MAD Museum of Art & Design, Singapore

The MAD side of life, a private museum that is both an art space and a modular event venue. The MAD Museum of Art & Design is worth a visit for the quirky, curious and revelatory pieces tastefully curated and exhibited on two levels; paintings, graffiti, sculptures, furniture and the odd this and that. It is more than just a gallery of contemporary art, featuring … Continue reading MAD Museum of Art & Design, Singapore

Bikers in the Kitchen

Pan Asian in ITC Grand Chola, Chennai exemplifies a culinary wanderlust, which, if you pause to think about it, is a perfect embodiment of the spirit of adventure you would associate with avid bikers – which is what the restaurant’s Chef and Sous Chef are. Chef Vikramjit Roy and Sous Chef Lambert Chiang, ride captain and ride lieutenant (to borrow biker jargon) of this gastronomic … Continue reading Bikers in the Kitchen

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 …

Salvador Dali : Twice in Singapore

Surrealist Salvador Dali (1904 to 1989) ‘channeled the unconscious to unlock the power of the imagination’. His Paranoid-Critical method (the basis for most of his artworks) went further – creating art from a state of self-induced paranoia, putting the artist in touch with his subconscious and ‘systematic irrational thought’ in order to escape conventional understanding of reality and the world. Which is a brief and … Continue reading Salvador Dali : Twice in Singapore

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 colour, dropping … carpets of red, bronze and brown with … Continue reading Autumn becomes Spring in Singapore

Window Dressings

London is many things to many people. The ‘retail’ experience is as much the art that goes into seducing customers, as the products themselves. Behind the glass, a city’s edge and imagination comes to play with whimsy and fantasy. The ideas are brilliantly inventive, over and over again, the juxtapositions are quirky and the mis-en-scenes suggest that the unorthodox is as much a part of … Continue reading Window Dressings

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

Luminecse : Art in Glass and Light

The main allure of a Fringe Festival is the opportunity it affords to broaden one’s thinking : the chance to engage with new art forms, stumble upon new ideas, marvel at new uses and depart with a new appreciation for passion, technique and creativity. So it was at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Exhibition, which concludes this 31st of August. In the category of visual art, … Continue reading Luminecse : Art in Glass and Light

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 ?

When well-being is more than mere medicine

The new, professional Singapore is more than a sum of its people who are increasingly beginning to look and talk different; it is seamless efficiency in heterogeneity. The necessity for a minor surgical procedure was a revelation of sorts; a face-to-face with the new Singapore of ‘foreign’ and ‘local’ talent (that has been the subject of much press and debate); Chinese-Indian-Malay Singaporean, China Chinese, India … Continue reading When well-being is more than mere medicine

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