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.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

‘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…

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…

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…

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…

Kuala Lumpur of the Senses

For a weekend, or three (or more) days of self-indulgence and excess, Kuala Lumpur beckons with every kind of luxury. Thirty five minutes by air and exactly four hours, door to door, if your destination is the Kuala Lumpur City Centre; and it is dusk and you stand in awe beneath Cesar Pelli’s soaring, magnificently…

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…

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…

Art Doctors : Restorers & Conservationists

Singapore is becoming a centre for art in the region, with monetary, historic, sentimental and artistic interests paralleling the explosion of art galleries, exhibitions, festivals, fairs, auctions, retrospectives, biennales and personal and institutional art collections. Collecting art has become de rigeur, but what happens after the purchase ? Is mounting, framing and displaying the end…