Mind over Matter

Designer fitness in Boat Quay ? Explore fitness education, sport specific training, consultancy, weight management and/or nutritional guidance with some of the nicest people in town. Asian body building champions, fitness aficionados and personal trainers, the Fitness Factory duo tread like mountain cats, a feral containment of muscle and energy, lightly, almost weightless. They are at it again, training for a competition, for the championship … Continue reading Mind over Matter

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

New Year Epiphanies

Sudden revelations and insights invariably visit us with the dawn of a new year, often segueing into fervent (and usually brief or soon forgotten) resolutions. They flare, subside and peter out all too quickly because high-minded resolve is far too difficult to sustain on a daily basis. A (sometimes rueful) contemplation of the detritus of the past year (and the many years preceding the last … Continue reading New Year Epiphanies

The Metaphysics of Stone : Revisited

Time spent with Mrs. Koh is a free flow, free association of ideas about stone … with some science, history, art and geography. She spends some workdays in her factory in an industrial estate in the Sungei Kadut Loop in Singapore, sourcing, cutting, polishing, honing, flaming, sand blasting, bush hammering, chiseling and/or chemically treating natural stone; customizing orders for interior designers, architects and house builders. … Continue reading The Metaphysics of Stone : Revisited

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

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. The air is thick and heavy but a daybreak zephyr … Continue reading Urban Tropical : Golden Orioles, Parrots and a Cockatoo

‘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’

A Frangipani in my Cappuccino : Three days in Bali

To visit Bali frequently is to rejuvenate the soul, to escape the glass and steel of metropolitan living to a world governed by exquisite harmony and balance. Possibly, the most easily accessed ‘instant nirvana’ in this part of the world, Bali is undisputedly the Island of the Gods; almost other-worldly in both geography and spirit. Its spectacular grey-black volcanic sand beaches along the northern coastlines … Continue reading A Frangipani in my Cappuccino : Three days in Bali

Luxe and beyond, in Singapore, in Sentosa.

John Gay declared ‘whether we can afford it or no, we must have superfluities’ … and so it is on Sentosa; visit and discover your nirvana. Capella, ah Capella ! Give us the luxuries of life and we will dispense with its necessities, goes the well-quoted quote and after a weekend (or more) at the Capella Singapore (+65 6377 8888), you begin to comprehend how … Continue reading Luxe and beyond, in Singapore, in Sentosa.

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

Singapore Fairs, Bazaars & Markets

Where bargains mingle with new ideas, products and unusual folk … and people with the interest and the time can browse and cherry pick. The bazaar, the flea market, the fair, indoors and out … … are often the quirks and caprice of people who see the odd, the whimsical, the uncommon (or the unexpected) and who bring it all together at a single venue … Continue reading Singapore Fairs, Bazaars & Markets

Art of the Heart

The Art of the Heart … slice and dice state-of-the-art technology paired with the symphony of natural stone at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. When the ticker needs some help and you need a clear, detailed picture of your heart, your doctor will probably suggest a Computer Tomography (CT) Scan, which is basically x-raying in slices, the machine rotating around the body as it scans and … Continue reading Art of the Heart

Water is Life, Water for Life

The Katrinas, El Niños and La Niñas do not significantly impact life in Singapore (yet), hurricanes, floods and droughts remain distant, disquieting images on flat screens and websites. We, in Singapore, only know a world of plenty – plenty of water, when and how we need it. In an unvisited part of our subconscious we know our survival depends on water but for many of … Continue reading Water is Life, Water for Life

Corsican candied clementines, anyone ?

Pick a neighbourhood and explore its casual-gourmet dining options – the smaller eateries located either just round or at a corner, near a thoroughfare, down a lane, or in an enclave; staffed with (mostly) charming young men and women, the chef perhaps from Normandy, or Tuscany; pleasingly done up, with handwritten or chalkboard menus detailing sophisticated ingredients and avant-garde, region-specific or cosmopolitan fare. Take the … Continue reading Corsican candied clementines, anyone ?

The Manganiyars Seduce

I was taken to a slum in Delhi, a slum of 1,500 families of artists and artisans. As I stepped out of the car, they began singing, children on rooftops, men in doorways, in lanes, everywhere, singing with the hope that their songs would take them out of their extreme poverty; singing, laughing and crying, their art, craft and helplessness contained in one impassioned offering … Continue reading The Manganiyars Seduce

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

A month long Heurigen (wine feast) : The Austrian Wine Festival

‘Bottled poetry’ said Robert Louis Stevenson of wine; and in Singapore, an annual event and a month long festival celebrates the sparkling, sweet, red and white poetry of  Austria, introducing new wines from an old world. Diversity, individuality and character describe the magic and the excitement of wines from Austria, and the Austrian Wine Festival is the chance to discover how perfectly Austria’s ‘liquid gold’ … Continue reading A month long Heurigen (wine feast) : The Austrian Wine Festival

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 …

Paris of the Axe Historique and the Hammam

Paris perspectives, Paris then and now; history laid out in a straight geographic line … and yet another kind of Paris indulgence. On a visit to Paris in 2009, Senator Yves Dauge, Sénateur d’Indre-et-Loire, extended an invitation to visit the Upper House of the French Senate in the Palais du Luxembourg. It was a fascinating couple of hours, the tracing of the past into the … Continue reading Paris of the Axe Historique and the Hammam

De-mystifying the Divinity of Money (3)

Everything in Life is an Investment (2010) The last of a three part stream-of-consciousness series from an armchair investor, the question/s raised here are how much money do we need, and why ? Do cars, condos, cash, credit cards and country club memberships define our life’s objectives ? Is there a higher reason why we might seek money ? PK lobs questions, notions and abstractions; … Continue reading De-mystifying the Divinity of Money (3)

De-mystifying the Divinity of Money (2)

The Ethics of Investing (2010) This is the second of a three part series on random thoughts regarding the creation and pursuit of wealth; a stream of consciousness from a financial free spirit and friend – PK – who has spent years investing other people’s money while making a lot of it – and a name for himself – in the process. This free-flow largesse … Continue reading De-mystifying the Divinity of Money (2)

De-mystifying the Divinity of Money (1)

The Politics of Trust (2010) The past many months of monetary shambles and pecuniary machinations seem to be over, the news, earlier unremitting and unfailingly dismal, is brighter; the spending is up and people are buying, buying, buying – most evident in the property market in Singapore, an explosion, a growth, flips, profits, government curbs, higher prices, and now, disenchantment amongst many as the options … Continue reading De-mystifying the Divinity of Money (1)