Monthly Archives: March 2014

To Home Via Singapore Day: London 2014

Foods

 

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Last Saturday was Singapore Day, the annual reunion for overseas Singaporeans. SG Day goes to a different city every year, and we were lucky to have it here in London this year.

If there’s such a thing as a perfect day, this might have been it. Though the preceeding days had been chilly, on Saturday the weather was perfect. The food was amazing, and it was real comforting to share the day with all the people who I love in this city, whether I knew them from home or from here. Our phone services immediately failed us when we stepped into the venue because of the sheer number of people there, but that couldn’t ruin our mood. It was rather fun, in fact, to wander around with different groups of people through the day, listening to nostalgic national day songs as groups fluidly split and reunited – everyone’s a friend. Even the Prime Minister, who was very busy taking selfies with eager Singaporeans.

I actually felt rather touched that the government would go to so far – bringing over all the crew and the artistes and hawkers and sponsoring the food and freebies and other little gifts just to make us happy, and organizing it all so well! We were all very impressed, and I felt like a well-loved kid.

There are times when Singapore feels like a past life, an alternate reality. As time passes, the hold your memories and connections have on you start to fade away. Familiarity is overrated, and you start to feel like actually, it’s not inconceivable to that you would settle down in a foreign place. I’m struck by how easy it is to forget, that there actually exists a place you know and cherish, how easy it is to grow accustomed to wandering.

And on heartwarming days like this, you remember. And it’s humbling, to realize, that though I usually don’t feel like I need it to get by, I might actually need home a lot more than I think.

Supermarket Favourites ☆彡

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Kent and Fraser Lemon Butter Shortbread cookies*. The first time I ate these was the night before I returned home for Christmas. Now their flavour reminds me very much of the chaos and ecstasy that came with pre-christmas shopping and packing.

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Seed & Bean Lavender Extra Dark Chocolate*. Because every now and then I enjoy something bitter. And the lavender adds some well-needed complexity to it.

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The Collective yogurt* – comes in flavours like Russian Fudge, Apple and Spice, White peach & Raspberry and others. I was really skeptical about how those things would taste like in yogurt, but it was surprisingly good. It’s a cup of  melt-in-your-mouth, creamy plain yogurt with a dollop of tasty flavour at the bottom. Fun to mix and lovely to eat.

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Forest Feast dried mango*. Not exactly something I can’t find at home. But it’s chewy and fresh with that fine layer of powdered sugar on top and makes for an terribly addictive snack.

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Greek Honey from Oliveology at Borough Market. I love a raw, rich, thick honey. So this is lovely. Plus, the store owners at Borough are always really friendly (:

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Milk. Strawberry Milk, Banana Millk, quite Essential Waitrose Milk.

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Fair trade bananas. This is a staple.

*Great taste award winners

Edit: I initially saved this post as a draft and am publishing it now more than a year later. I don’t know why I sound so much like a TV advert in this post, it’s making me feel really amused and slightly embarrassed. But it seems sacrilegious to edit it simply to save my own face, and also because I’m struck by the fact that there’s a degree of innocence here that I no longer have, I’m leaving the post as it is 😉

Snapshots from Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined

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1. Our names, tangled in colour

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2. A woven space, a safe space.

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3. “How light reflects and how light is contained is the stuff of architecture”

SAM_13104. The place where we began, will we find it?

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5. “…the proportions of the rooms, their sequence, the way they open – simple things, but which taken together suggest something more complex”

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 Visiting the Sensing Spaces exhibit at the Royal Academy today, I rather felt like I was in a gigantic playground. In that childlike state of mind, it was easier to understand what it meant to engage with the spaces – to take in their colours, shapes, masses, proportions and lighting and see how they made me feel.

 I thought I would try to give snapshots of what was meaningful to me in the spaces, rather than capture and upload the entire exhibit. (To see anything in a photo before experiencing it yourself rather spoils the magic, so I think.)

On the sunny side of your street

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Days like these, make me feel like I’ve been made new. Perhaps because I’ve never experienced seasonal changes before, the sudden improvement in the weather seemed like magic. It’s almost as though somewhere in my mind I had expected it to get colder and rainier forever. The sunlight, the colours – it feels like we haven’t seen them in forever. Unable to focus on working this weekend, I took walks, went jogging, and sat in parks reading, eating popsicles (which don’t melt as you eat them, here :o) and soaking in the sun.

Hana – Sonar Pocket English Translation

Song: Hana / 花

Vocals: Sonar Pocket / ソナーポケット

Romanji:

Shinjiteta hito ni uragirarete dareka wo shinjiru koto kowakute
Itsukara ka gaman bakka no mainichi darou
Dareka ga kureta yasashii kotoba mo uketomerarenai jibun ga ite
Sonna jibun wo kirai ni natte
“Dousureba ii?” “tasukete hoshii….”
“Jibun tte nani?” “mou wakaranai….”
Futo koboreta namida sore ga kimi ga kimi de iru koto no akashi dakara
Nanimo kangaenakute mo ii ari no mama no shizentai de ii
Akenai yoru wa keshitenai ndayo muri shinai de yasunde mo ii ndayo
Kagi kaketa kokoro no tobira sukoshizutsu aite yukou

Kimi ga kyou made nagashita namida kimi ga kyou made kakushita namida
Subete ga muda ja nai to boku wa omou
Datte kanpeki na hito nante sa kono yo ni hitori mo inai kara
Shinpai shinai de daijoubu dakara
Yukkuri to egao no tane wo issho ni sodatete yukou

Aru hito wa itta
“Chii ya meisei MANEE ga areba dare datte shiawase ni nareru.” tte
Sono shiawase hontou no shiawase na no kana?
Sono kotae wa kimi ga oshiete kureta ndayo motto motto taisetsu na koto ga aru
Omoiau sasaeau kimochi katachi naki ai
Nanige nai taai mo nai koto demo
Daisuki na kimi to issho da to yappa sunao ni egao ni naretari suru ndayo
Kimi ga ita kara boku wa tsuyoku nareta kara
Hitsuyou nara boku no kata wo zutto zutto kasu yo

Kimi ga kyou made nagashita namida kimi ga kyou made kakushita namida
Subete ga muda ja nai to boku wa omou
Datte kanpeki na hito nante sa kono yo ni hitori mo inai kara
Shinpai shinai de daijoubu dakara
Yukkuri to egao no tane wo issho ni sodatete yukou

Namida no ame ga niji to nari karesou na kokoro wo terasu ndayo
Furikaereba soko ni wa hora kimi no egao no hana ga saite iru kara

Kimi ga kyou made nagashita namida kimi ga kyou made kakushita namida
Subete ga muda ja nai to boku wa omou
Datte kanpeki na hito nante sa kono yo ni hitori mo inai kara
Shinpai shinai de daijoubu dakara
Yukkuri to egao no tane wo issho ni sodatete yukou

English:

Betrayed by a trusted person. Afraid to trust anyone again.

When did every day become something that could only be endured?

Even kind words, you couldn’t accept

And you came to hate yourself for being that way

“What should I do?” “I want to save myself”

“What am I?” “I don’t know anymore”

The tears that suddenly come rolling down, are proof that you exist, that’s why

It’s alright to not think about anything. It’s alright to just be who you are right now.

There’s no such thing as a dawn that never breaks. Don’t force yourself, it’s alright to rest.

Little by little, let’s open up the locked door of your heart

 

Chorus:

The tears you have shed until today, the tears you have hidden until today

None of them are wasted, that’s what I think

Because there isn’t even one person in our world who is perfect

Don’t worry, because it’s alright

Slowly, slowly, together let’s nurture the seed that will become a smile

 

There was a person who said

“With a position and reputation and money, anyone can be happy”

But is that kind of happiness real happiness?

You taught me the answer to that – there are many, many more things more precious than those

To love one another, to support each other, shapeless love

Even if we’re just doing casual, silly things

It’s being with you who I love that makes me able to smile for real

Because you are here I was able to become strong

If you need it you can go on borrowing my shoulder forever and ever

 

Chorus:

The tears you have shed until today, the tears you have hidden until today

None of them are wasted, that’s what I think

Because there isn’t even one person in our world who is perfect

Don’t worry, because it’s alright

Slowly, slowly, together let’s nurture the seed that will become a smile

 

Bridge:

From your raining tears a rainbow appears and shines on your withering heart

If you turn around, over there you’ll see – the flower of your smile is blooming

 

Chorus:

The tears you have shed until today, the tears you have hidden until today

None of them are wasted, that’s what I think

Because there isn’t even one person in our world who is perfect

Don’t worry, because it’s alright

Slowly, slowly, together let’s nurture the seed that will become a smile

-End-

Kid sketchNah, I’m not turning into a lyrics translator. There are many translator-bloggers on wordpress who are much more proficient than me. But strangely I couldn’t find an English translation for this song online, so one day when I was bored I did a very rough translation on my own. This is an old song, but a really happy comforting one (:

The present that mirrors all.

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Trains, like showers and other magic, are best taken in solitude. It rocks and rumbles as it starts, then the rumbles start to have a rhythm to them, and then the world is flashing by. You’re looking out the window and seeing beautiful things. Like the sunset sky spreading its wings over rooftops tinted gold, like dark rain glistening on the window, like morning mist bathing the trees as day takes first breath.

It’s not like a painting, where the colours are still. It’s more like looking into someone’s eyes, where the world swirls and pulsates with light. As you cut through the transient sky, there are a few seconds of dissonance where you are looking at the sky and the land but you feel like you are seeing somebody. The gold in the air, the glint in the dark, all appear as someone, someone dear, laughing in your memory. You realise this, and you feel a distinct sense of existential convergence, as though all the beauty and the wonder of the world were at once captured in that one moment, those laughing eyes. In your mind they sparkle, like bells. You’re aching because you’re wrong and you’ve always been wrong, yet you feel you must be right this time, brought back to a moment where you felt nothing in the world mattered more, except that the delight and the kindness in that face should never be lost.

Light and dark pursue each other and turn around a new day and you watch. Even as the train pulls into the station you are sure that somewhere out there, there must be an answer to your fears. You’re still relentlessly feeling your way through the distance with your eyes, trying to distinguish that tenderness that will restore your wonder and fill you with courage. As you search you realise that they were all wrong, who told you to look within yourself. Salvation, like an embrace, can only come from out there.

“You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them… In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..You, only you, will have stars that can laugh!”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince