Author: annechan

I'm the last of four girls in a family in Singapore. I built this website to create a whimsical world of my own for myself and hopefully others to enjoy.

August in Melbourne: Mulled Wine Winter Nights & the Warmth of Strangers

August in Melbourne: mulled wine winter nights and the warmth of strangersOn the Literary Quest  

It’s a summery Christmas season Down Under as I write. I had ventured on a literary quest in Melbourne in the last winter days of August. In case you didn’t know, Melbourne was appointed the 2nd UNESCO City of Literature in 2008. There are now 20 of such cities! Each commissioned to foster literary exchanges on all fronts and pursue excellence in literature locally.

With four literary festivals and two of my favourite magazines: Smith Journal and Frankie based here, the adoring literati fan in me simply finds the brimming creative vibes of Melbourne irresistible!

And a taste of the ‘best cafe culture’

I’ve heard so much about Melbourne’s coffee and cafe culture. Just this year, 2 colleagues had visited this bookish city, raving about the great coffee or cafe culture on their return.

Does Melbourne have the best coffee indeed? This GoodFood guide sure claims so. As anyone knows, books and coffee – like lovers, go hand-in-hand. It remains that I make a trip to explore this exciting City of Literature fueled by wondrous caffeine 🤓 !!

Bunking with strangers too …

I decided to take my experienced traveller friend’s advice to stay in a hostel, as this saves money (lots!) and I’ll also get to make friends with other travellers 😊 . But I was damn worried, to say the least. My first time to stay in a room with 3 other perfect strangers (I booked only female dorms with 4 beds) and for 10 nights !! 😬 but try I must, for I’m an adventurer.

 

Getting to know Melbourne

So here we are! There is no doubt that the cafes are impressive, I love the layout of their counters! The sandwiches and salads had much Middle-Eastern flavour – I like that. Had long blacks most of the time. (I’m a big fan of it – thanks to McCafe!) Markets are a big thing here. I went to both the Queen Victoria Market (the largest!) and the South Melbourne Market that have loads of stalls. You must come here on an empty stomach with free hands cos they sell Everything, not just food!

I fell for mulled wine, a European winter staple, at the night markets. More importantly perhaps, was the company I had. It made all the difference.

At the European Night Market of Madame Brussels Lane, I managed a lone standing spot (with my mulled wine and sauerkraut sausage) next to a middle-aged lady, chatting on her cell with a glass of Sauv Blanc (which I learned later was her favourite). It was a Friday night. The air was warm from throngs of people chatting, eating, drinking, laughing; heaters set up all around (a nice feature of all alfresco dining during winter in Melbourne).

“So what you’re doin’ here?” the lady beside me (Maxine) chatted me up! I was waiting for her to put down her cell and chat with me actually. A strange thing happens once I hop onto a plane: I actually crave small talk with strangers! (Back home, I’m an introvert who’d much rather not be disturbed.) So I was glad to talk, especially with a Melburnian! Mid-chatter a few of her colleagues joined us, they worked in a school just like I did (before I left).

So they were my kind of people 😊 and we went on like that till almost 10. Maxine walked me back to the hostel, lucky me! (For the free tram service was over and she lived just a block away) We exchanged notes and chatted all the way, took a Wefie with ‘Chloe’ at Young & Jacksons; then as we reached the hostel, hugged and bade farewell.

Oh Maxine, I won’t forget the welcome and generosity you extended me. Thank you so much for the mulled wine too, and making my time at Madame Brussels Lane memorable! 

The Perfectly Genial Strangers 

You must wonder how my hostel stay turned out, hey? Well, it wasn’t perfect but much better than I thought 😉

I stayed at 2 different hostels. 4 nights at United Backpackers – 250 Flinders Street; then 6 nights at Urban Central – 334 City Road. Flinders Street was a great way to start – right next to Degraves Street, my favourite!

It was pretty exhilarating spending those nights with girls from all over the world: South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Holland, Hong Kong, France and China. Back home, I wouldn’t get to meet so many people of such diverse nationalities within 2 weeks! I didn’t get to know all of them well of course, some stayed for just 1 or 2 nights while others stayed beyond a week.

I suppose we were bonded by the same sense of wanderlust, curiosity, and a certain need to escape from the daily grind and have fun. Fun we did have! I won’t forget the 3rd night when my Japanese room mate handed out these fun facial masks (with Japanese drawings) to the rest of us and everyone donned it and laughed at each other! We even had a wefie of us with the funny mask on (but I’m not posting that here, ha ha 😝 ) !!

A big thank you mates 😍 for the company you provided, for the warmth towards a stranger – me.

Special thanks to my Dutch mate, Nancy, for hanging out with me so many days! How would I survive Melbourne city without you! To Tiffany, my HK mate, for lunch at Movida’s and evening at St Kilda’s Pier. To my beautiful Hangzhou mates, Tina and Candy, for the lovely conversations we had and for making me comfortable in your room.

Also my ex-classmate, Michelle (who lives now in Melbourne), for the impromptu brunch! It might have been just a few hours but it was such quality time we had! I absolutely loved Abbotsford Convent !! Thanks for sharing this gem with me.

Last but surely not least, Dorothy from Calcutta (whom I met on my 1st day), you remind me of Mother Teresa with your concern and generosity. Yes, I still have your Myki card. I’m keeping it to remember you.

It’s mid Christmas, readers! I wish you peace, health, and all the good things you’d wish on your loved ones! It isn’t easy to be vulnerable and kind to a stranger, but remember you are the One who can make a difference ..

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year !! 

 

P.S. the irony 😕 I got the dates of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival wrong so I didn’t get to attend the literati event!! (Boo hoo!) I arrived way too early in August and couldn’t possibly stay for a month just to attend it – Melbourne is an expensive city. For the life of me, I simply couldn’t locate the bookstores I wanted to visit. (Gee! am I that dumb?) The Wheeler Centre was closed just when I found it. Sigh! No literary trip …

For the loner (or perhaps misanthrope) that I usually am, I surprise myself always when I travel. I daresay the highlight of this trip was the people I met. Not the literature, not the attractions, not even the coffee/cafes. Melburnians I think are generally kind and really hospitable. Thank you for offering help whenever I was or appeared to be lost!

 

 

24 Hours in Singapore: the AccorHotels Challenge !

An Ambassador for the Little Red Dot

I might never become a professional tour guide. But I could always be an ambassador for the little red dot: Singapore, the garden city I was bred and born in. I just love to bring and show people around!

So here I am, taking this opportunity to tell you what to do in Singapore 😜 because AccorHotels are running a competition!! And I have entered it.

To enter: Pick your favourite city, then blog or vlog on how you would spend 24 hours in the city of your choice. Submit your entry by the 7th Dec 2016 and notify AccorHotels via Twitter using #AccorHotels24hrs.

The prize is 9 days in Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin with transport, accomodation and city passes included. And a Go-Pro camera to go with it!! 

Here we are then, say you are a tourist on a one-day transit in Singapore and I am your tour guide for this day, ready? 

 

8 to 10 am : Breakfast in the east and a stroll along the coast

15 mins down from the airport is Singapore’s undisputed food haven – the Tanjong Katong/Joo Chiat district – hotspot of every self-respecting foodie 😋 . Some of the most raved about cafes that offer breakfast here are:

Do.Main Bakery, an authentic French Bakery Cafe, offers great bread and pastries at 226 Tanjong Katong Road

Baker’s Well, specialises in lovingly home-baked goods at 35 East Coast Road

Craftsmen Speciality Coffee, offers hearty European fare with hipster vibes at 2 First Street, Siglap V

Explore the East Coast Park after your coffee and breakfast! Rent a bicycle from any of the bicycle rentals. Or simply stroll or sit along the beach, and people watch. Early morning brings many strollers, joggers and skaters to this park 😊. Relax and just gaze at the great wide sea, that’s the Straits of Singapore.

 

10 am to 1 pm : Trailing the heart of Singapore 

The heart of Singapore encompasses the civic and business districts. Feeding this heart with life is the Singapore river, like a giant artery, along which Singapore’s greatest historical, cultural and architectural icons are found.

I suggest we trail this river first by bus, then on foot. Singapore’s buses are all air-conditioned, don’t worry! I love taking buses as it avails me a great view of the streets and a feel of what’s happening.  

In this instance, I would hop onto bus #196. We’ll get to see the monumental Sports Hub, an integrated sports-entertainment-retail complex, quite the first of its kind in the world (you can’t miss its retractable 310 m wide dome roof!); then my most favourite Esplanade: Theatres On the Bay, a breathtaking spiny twin-domed structure which I think looks like Saturn, with its ring! Of course I love The Esplanade for what it houses inside – Performing Arts and more arts, from both international and local acts!

From here on, the view is just spectacular (though more so at night – yes, we are coming back in the evening!) Don’t blink for the next few minutes .. look out also for the iconic Merlion along the bay – a great favourite with tourists! 

Diagonally across the road is The Fullerton Hotel, once the General Post Office of the British government, now a distinct landmark depicting old world splendour since its refurbishment into a grand heritage hotel. 

We’ll alight at the next stop: the historic Clifford Pier. It was this former jetty where waves of immigrants (Singapore’s pioneers) arrived to carve out a new living for themselves. What would catch your eye, is the exquisite facade of the Fullerton Bay Hotel and the refurbished pier itself – now a restaurant in art-deco style! 

From here, we take the overhead bridge and walk right into the “Wall Street” of Singapore – Raffles Place. Feel the buzz of this financial hub as we walk through the Square, and head towards Empress Place to meet Singapore’s founder: Sir Stamford Raffles (his statue rather) 😉 and the grand dame of Singapore’s cultural scene: Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.

It’s worth visiting the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) just round the corner. The good news is, admission is free to all this month even for special exhibitions. Hurray! ACM also won the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Award for Museums in 2014 and 2015. 

Within walking distance too is the magnificent National Gallery Singapore, housed in the former Supreme Court and City Hall. A must-visit! She is said to oversee over 8000 works that narrates the art history of Singapore and that of the region, from the 19th century to the current day. Expect to spend more than an hour here marvelling ☺️ .

 

1 to 2.30 pm : Lunch time!

Hainanese chicken rice is an absolute dish to have in Singapore! Unless you’re a vegan. I recommend Tian Tian stall at the Maxwell Hawker Centre, which has been running for decades – both the stall and the centre. There are a hundred over stalls to choose from. If chicken rice is not your thing, there are still plenty of other good food to try .. tuck in!

 

2.30 to 4.30 pm : Tea culture along Neil Road

I’m not crazy about Chinese tea though I find the tea experience at the Tea Chapter irresistible. It isn’t just the premium tea they serve or how they educate patrons on proper tea appreciation; perhaps it’s the serenity of the teahouse and the arrangement of the seats with its varying styles. Queen Elizabeth II couldn’t resist it too! “Queen’s Corner” was named where she had graced the teahouse with her presence. It’s easy to spend a few hours here, if you’re like me ..

 

5 – 8 pm: Let the night uncover her diamonds! 24 Hours in Singapore

Tis the golden hour to visit Marina Bay! In my opinion – and I’m quite sure I’m in good company – this is just the most beautiful spot in Singapore.  Think of Rihanna’s song “Diamonds”. This is a million-dollar view. You heard me right.

To Gardens by The Bay we go! This 101 ha garden tops the list on TripAdvisor as the #1 thing to do in Singapore! Home to more than 1 million plants in its various themed gardens: the Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes, Flower Dome, Cloud forest and Supertree Grove, I reckon you would be rather awe-struck .. just like Alice in Wonderland 😝 .

We’ll proceed to the neighbouring Marina Bay Sands, a triple-towered structure topped with a winding ship (the SkyPark)! Designed by world-acclaimed Israeli architect, Moshe Safdie, this hotel-casino features a 200m high skypark with an infinity pool and observation deck.

It costs $23 for adults to enter the deck but I can assure you this bird’s eye million dollar view is worth it! A few of the striking landmarks you’ll see are the Singapore Flyer (observation wheel), the SuperTrees and glasshouses from the Gardens, ArtScience Museum, the Fullerton Hotel and a massive host of lights from other structures around the bay.

 

8 – 9 pm: Dinner time at Lau Pa Sat

A market since the 19th century and now the prettiest hawker centre: Lau Pa Sat is a true-blue institution in its own right. Mention Lau Pa Sat and one thinks of satay, stingray, mee goreng, hokkien mee and plenty other sinful local delights, with al fresco seats! The locals usually down these greasy favourites with another favourite – coconut juice or sugarcane juice (with lemon juice added to aid digestion). And why not try one of our local favourite desserts like ice kachang or chendol? Have a food adventure!

 

9 pm – 12 midnight : Your Choice of Fun

Options ..

Would you like wildlife fun at the Night Safari: “the world’s very first night zoo” ? Love nocturnal creatures? Enjoy tram rides, exploring various geographies and trekking? If yes, we’re headed to 80 Mandai Lake Road. Hoot hoot!!

If no, we could continue to shimmy with the stars … Bar-hopping, yes!

Bars to hop:

Post Bar at The Fullerton Hotel 

Lantern Rooftop Bar at The Fullerton Bay Hotel

Loof atop Odeon Towers

There are many more bars around but these would be my favourite.

 

Snooze time: 1 – 8 am

I would love to lay me down at So Sofitel, a short distance away along Robinson Road. It’s boutique and yet so elegant and luxurious! Methinks I shall dream of being a princess tonight .. 

 

What did you think of my itinerary? I might have been too ambitious .. it doesn’t hurt to aim for the stars, I might just land on the moon. Let me hear your comments!

 

To Paint with Soul is an Act of Love

Art is love expressed in colours.

And to create is to love; that is how I see it. (Don’t ask me why) It’s just how a hard-core romantic must think. 

I was privileged to know 2 amazingly talented artists lately. Looking at their beautiful paintings, I could not but think (and conclude) that painting with soul is an act of love 🎨.

The Portraitists

Who are they? Firstly, painters with a burning passion for people; they specialise in portraits 👤. Secondly, art teachers and healers: Margaret Sloan of Mockingbirds at Midnight, and Natasha Nashadka of The Art Remedy both teach at their home studios, and seek to heal the world by adding meaning to people’s lives through art. Thirdly, they are (just like me) nature, animal lovers and fellow bloggers 😍 !! 

” … What fascinates me most, so much more than the rest of my craft, is the portrait, the modern portrait …”   – Vincent Van Gogh

Margaret SloanMargaret Sloan, inveterate story-teller & watercolour expert

Wild at heart with a compulsive obsession for stories, Margaret paints primarily in watercolour for its lucid translucent quality, to render lifelike portraits of faces. Painting a portrait, is to her, like a conversation she’s having with the person, the paint, and the paper. 

”  I love painting portraits and people more than anything else, because humans are inherently about story, but I’ll branch out to inanimate objects and landscapes if they have an interesting tale. “

Visit Margaret’s portfolio of watercolour portraits here 🎞 .

She is now working on a series of cloud paintings, because she feels that clouds tell the narrative of our blue planet. A series about humans and their relationships with other animals and the land is also in the works.

MargaretSloan_BeginnersReelElephants, just like the great wilderness, have always held a special place in Margaret’s heart since young. For the Love of Elephants (her blog post) showcases her soulful rendition of this complex and intelligent mammal. It’s no surprise that Margaret had offered a portion from the sales of her Etsy shop 🛍 elephant prints (very beautiful !) to support the elephants at Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

It’s been 25 years since Margaret began to pursue her art seriously. Working tirelessly at her visual and writing skills every day, she reflects ” I find that my muse will only come knocking when I’m working hard. She only drops inspiration in my lap if I’m sitting at my desk; she only hands me an idea when I’m standing at my easel. “

She is equally enthusiastic about playing Irish tunes, or cooking madly ambitious dinners for friends when not at work 😋 . To get updates on what Margaret Sloan is up to, do visit and follow her Blog, Instagram or Facebook !

” To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist. ”    

   – Robert Schumann

Natasha Nashadka, guardian of memories & problem solver

Adept at artful solutions for life’s problems, Natasha (whose aptly named business is The Art Remedy) is on an all-out quest to reach out to anyone who needs some help. After all, for one whose personal motto is likely ” Art equals life “, help is just an imaginative spark away 😜 .

A self-appointed keeper of memories, Natasha is more than happy to immortalise your loved ones (whether two-legged or four-legged 🐕) by creating realistic portraits that capture and reveal their essence. Well, portraiture is one of her favourite subjects …

I really adored her portraits of those loyal dogs , the way she captured the texture of wavy fur, the expression of those melt-your-heart doggy eyes; also the wide-eyed guileless innocence of the children portraits, and not forgetting, her oh-so-pretty ballerinas ! And free colouring sheets !

“Maryssa” © 2016, 8×10, oil on canvas

Like many creative types, Natasha’s early creative adventures were sporadic and unfocused. Working infrequently, she tried her hand at many things. Woodworking, gardening, jewelry making, and scrapbooking to name just a few. Painting for her came about when she volunteered to paint a mural for the Salvation Army – of Jesus Feeding the Five Thousand. A huge undertaking but she was hooked !! So how did she finally specialise in portraits? The story according to Natasha is:

” Early on in my painting adventures, I painted whatever caught my eye. Then a man at an art show told me that he only bought landscapes that had people in them. A light switched on for me at that moment: we humans identify with humans (who knew?). Think about when you flip through family photos – the scenery is nice, but we are way more interested in and linger the longest on the ones with the people. Science confirms it. So this is what I paint: people. ” 

Next in line, Natasha aspires to become like the daily painters; not just for their dedication that is motivating but the mastery that evolves from so much exercise. Why not visit and follow her efforts on her Blog, Instagram or Facebook ?

Are you inspired to have a portrait for yourself? For the elder or little ones? or how about the furry ones? A song came to mind as I wrote this post. As you might guess, it is Don McLean’s ‘ Starry, Starry Night ‘. Vincent loved his art and subjects so much it tore him apart. (I am thankful, however, my painter friends here are soulful but not angsty.) Here is the (You-tube) video-slide of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings to the lyrics of this melancholic song.

Cheers to art, love and life 🍷🧀 !   Till next!

One Busy Sloth and the Creative Soul

One Busy Sloth and the Creative SoulThere lived a creative tribe.

A family of dreamers and makers named Chan in Singapore. Granddad had apprenticed to a tailor, daddy dreamed up and made amazing lantern designs – ones that could roll on the floor 😍 that he would sell during the mid-autumn festival in Chinatown. Mommy held her own: sewing dresses and kimono-styled nighties for her children, four lively girls, on a Singer treadle sewing machine. She had even sewn her own wedding dress!

The said lively girls were, of course ☺️, my sisters and I. We loved drama, amusing ourselves play-acting and singing in mum’s lovingly made kimono night dresses. And we grew up creative people, loving design and working with our hands – like our parents.

One Busy Sloth, an oxymoron

In her own words, my sister, Jo, “was the laziest person One Busy Slothwhen growing up”. Doing as little as possible, like a sloth. These days, as a mother of two, she could not be more different. Productivity is the rule of the day; she would have ants in her pants if she had to sit around doing nothing 😮. So she is now One Busy Sloth!

The Creative Soul

Like many makers who ventured into starting a small creative business, Jo started out happily dabbling in all kinds of crafts; starting with scrapbooking, card making, then jewellery making. One fine day, Jo found herself staring at her Ikea easy chair and the tired looking cushion cover peered sadly back at her. She decided it was time to learn to sew. It was dad, who taught her how to sew on a sewing machine, on her next visit home. Jo bought her first sewing machine 3 months later, a 2nd hand 1970s Husqvarna. Then she was just unstoppable. One Busy Sloth-2

One Busy Sloth: beautiful bags for practical souls was born 3 years later. Jo handcrafts every single item from both her MadeIt store and her Etsy store. From the shopping for fabrics (which she finds terribly addictive!) to the sketching and design of a new range for her brand – that could take weeks or months to tweak, to seeing the finished product: each process brings joy, challenge, and a satisfaction so immense that dear Jo simply cannot put into words.

Community and Joys of the Creative Life

Apart from the joy of handcrafting all her gems from a little studio amongst the gum trees, with the sounds of kookaburra laughing (in a beautiful suburb of Sydney), her business has introduced her to an amazing new world of creative souls out there, some of whom Jo is privileged to call friends. One Busy SlothShe is now a long time member of the Handmade Cooperative: a collective of like-minded business women working together to celebrate the best in handmade for kids. Last weekend, Jo was delegated to attend the Etsy Captain Summit in Melbourne, a two-day workshop where she was overjoyed to connect and bond with fellow leading Etsy entrepreneurs and administrators as they discussed ways to thrive and grow their businesses together.

“A creative life is an amplified life” as Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear quipped. “It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life … Living in this manner — continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you — is a fine art, in and of itself.” 

Sharing this creative, enchanted life with Jo are her wonderful husband, two vivacious kids, and her very grumpy but gorgeous old cat, the Dowager! (Not forgetting the cockatoos and kookaburras too.) Sleeping DowagerI must add here that my family and I have been the  happy and grateful recipients of many of her hand-made gifts: from Christmas cookies, cards and jewellery back then, to bags, quilts, purses, and pouches now. Yipee! 😜 

If you would like to see more of my sister’s work and keep in touch with One Busy Sloth, why not follow her on Instagram or join her Sloth club here 📬.

Here’s wishing you reader, a great start to the week! I hope you were inspired in some way to live your own creative life too, so what’s your creative outlet? Leave me a comment.

Till next!

Thank God It’s Good Friday!

Annectar's Room-3Bubbles drifted merrily above borne by the tender evening breeze. Little lit trees and street lamps illuminated the broad square where I sat on a bench, sipping a bottle of Bacardi Breezer. It was Friday – the end of another week of clerical slavery – and I was in real need of soothing my strained senses.

It was my duty at work, on the last working day of each week, to send the training schedule of next week’s to all staff; I had affectionately called this weekly mail: my “TGIF” mail, for it always began with “Dear All, TGIF!” So I came to be the herald of weekend: the time for rest and leisure 😊.

German Catholic philosopher, Josef Pieper, who wrote ‘Leisure, the Basis of Culture’, claimed leisure is the key to reclaiming our human dignity in a culture of workaholism. Not only essential to the human spirit, “leisure is a condition of the soul .. a form of stillness” that disposes one to receptivity, being at peace and letting go. It certainly is the fount of creative impulses – without, there would not be great works or genial inventions that many of us so enjoy and take for granted. Mark Rowlands, professor and writer of philosophy did most of (his) serious thinking while running, and Einstein got some of his greatest inspirations while playing violin. 

It wasn’t any ordinary Friday night – it was the one before Good Friday. I was sitting there and just thinking about what to write (if I would write a post for Good Friday?) when a girl and a boy approached me and offered a prayer. (I’m afraid I politely declined them even though I appreciated their goodwill and faithfulness.) Dear sister and brother in Christ, if you get to read this: please know I was touched that you came over to reach out to me, however, I was simply not in the frame of mind to talk to strangers and certainly not about to share my cares then (yes, I’m terrifically introverted).

So they left and I continued thinking … It wasn’t long before two girls approached me this time. “WelI, I was approached before”, I told the girls. “Could we just give you something?”, she handed me a folded paper heart on which wrote “God loves you more than you can ever comprehend. God bless! ☺️”  I was grateful, “thank you!” and Amen!

Surely God’s love is much more than I can comprehend, why else would He send His son to die so cruelly for us on a cross?  God, I feel your love tonight even if I was not that receptive to your servants, I’m sorry .. I know you care for me, you sent your love to me twice tonight. And I know Jesus is the greatest gift and best friend I could ever have, because He is freedom. 

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” 

(Matthew 11: 28 – 30)

It’s Easter Sunday, I hope you have a great one! 

Tend to your soul as you would your favourite garden 🍃🌲☘

Leave me your comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Saying Goodbye: Sylvester, the ‘Cow’ and other farewells

Sylvester, the 'Cow' and Other Farewells-2A family had moved away for 3 months now; along went their cats, Sylvester and the ‘Cow’. They were not particularly fond of me, like I was of them.  Sylvester never allowed me to pat him though I stopped by daily to salute. Molly (whom I called the ‘cow’) greeted me at times: strolling over to rub her head against my ankles 😊, or rolling over on her back when she spied me.  Still, I learned not to pat her. For often her initial coyness changed to an eerie hiss!! a conduct I could not fathom.. was there something wrong with me? Nevertheless I adored them. Their mere presence made my neighbourhood – just that much lovelier.

Around this time of my neighbour’s exit was another one: at my work place. A group of colleagues whom I had come to know – for almost a year, and genuinely like – were leaving the office, one after another; trickling out the company and from my life.  

Yes, life and work still goes on. The adult in me moves on, shakes the dust off and continues the daily march. (Or maybe, grind.) The child in me aches for the time – not so long ago, when work was almost play – filled with daily streams of laughter, mischief, and plain wackiness 😉😜 .

Heraclitus said ” the only thing that is constant is change “. How about farewells? No one said anything about what to do with these half-sown relationships. The constant ebb and flow of people in our lives – like shifting sands over the Saharan desert. Is it easy to just say goodbye? 

If ” to say goodbye is to die a little “, how much of one is left when those whom we connected with are no longer found?Are not friends witnesses of our lives, whether in little or great moments? 

Being alone sometimes feels unreal. How can I be sure – if what I saw, or what I did – wasn’t just imagined, without a companion or witness? When I stood over the beautiful Seine river for the first time, 5 years ago, I had asked myself – is this real? Was I really here in Paris beholding this beauty? No one was with me to share that blissful moment. So I took lots of pictures, as souvenirs and witness of my journey, many of which appear on pages in this blog. 

Looking back at the many chapters of my life, I found treasure in the motley collection of persons encountered through my shifting trades.

From my wild ‘hairy’ days at Toni & Guy, to days of song and dance backstage of musical theatre, to where I presently am in a corporate academy: this is a tribute for all the boys, girls, men, women, whichever race and sexual preference you are of; who have crossed my path. I am the sum of these memories of you.Saying Goodbye to the 'Cow"

Like differing shades of a painting, you have coloured my world .. 

I dedicate to you a luminous performance of Cole Porter’s ‘ Every Time We Say Goodbye ‘ (YouTube link) by the multi-talented Lady Gaga

Did you know she sings jazz and classics really well?

I hope you enjoyed this post and the dedication.

Leave me your comments .. 

 

Till next!

 

One in a Trillion You: remembering LKY on SG50

The clock just struck twelve. Today marks the 50th year of independence for my country, Singapore; known also as the little red dot 🙂 . I can't remember how this cute name came to be but it has stuck to the national psyche somehow. An earnest pride of our achievements in spite of all limitations - of land, of resources.

And here, a man. A great man. Of immense energy and charisma, but not just that - a steely will; brave heart; a master of both great and small - Lee Kuan Yew, led this pygmy nation to this day. He is not here to celebrate with us today sadly. He had departed on 23 March 2015.

I recall distinctly the raging tempest, the night before the dismal announcement. Fiery claps of thunder. Wild lightning bolts. Torrential sheets of rain (they might have been tears from heaven). It was the same on the day of the State Funeral Procession. Throngs of thousands waited in the downpour, lining the streets to bid their last farewell to the dear man, our founding father. 

I kept one particular illustration of Mr Lee (picture on the right) that moved me most, among the copious articles surrounding his death (which had set both local and international media abuzz substantially). He is depicted with his back view in the midst of a garden; seemingly inspecting it with both pride and caution: this garden he planted by his sweat and blood.  The blue jacket is one he often donned while in office. This garden - is both my country, the Garden City, and perhaps, paradise. I'm quite sure Mr Lee would be peering from heaven today, watching if everything is well with his garden; and may I add, with pride at our National Day Parade in its Jubilee year. Rest in peace, Mr Lee. 

And to all my fellow citizens and residents, I wish you all a wonderful Jubilee Weekend!!

 

LKY in the garden
Picture: Lianhe Zaobao
(line is caused by newspaper fold)