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 …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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’

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

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 ?

Antipodean Dining

Epicurean evenings versus local fare versus dining with friends : dissimilar, consummate and expansive dining experiences.   Progressive tapas and quaffs, suggested Ilanit, for the perfect middle-of-the-week dinner, considering its been months and a break from the tedium and minutiae of the weekday is absolutely in order. As in what ? As in beers and champagnes, wines (red, white, rosé, sauternes), spirits (absinth, aperitif, Armagnac, … Continue reading Antipodean Dining

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 made and the home was ready. Over pasta, pizza and … Continue reading The Metaphysics of Stone

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 of the process ? At 1º north of the Equator, … Continue reading Art Doctors : Restorers & Conservationists

Total Fitness : It’s a Mind Game

‘Champions in Fitness’ they say, and not a single person who has met them will argue the fact. Singapore’s bodybuilding champions Joan Liew and Augustine Lee walk the talk and look the part, fit beyond belief and definitely on top of their game.   Discipline the mind first and the body will follow, we’ve been told, and if you think this is another bit of … Continue reading Total Fitness : It’s a Mind Game