Steve Vai and the Stick of Destiny

The stick came tumbling in the air and it was the last one that the drummer tossed into the crowd. Finally all those years of playing catch with whatever objects was going to prove itself. It rolled, it yawed but my eyes were fixed on the axis of the spin. My hand shot up and the stick surrendered itself to the gravitational and destined grip of my pentadactyl limb. I could hear people behind me gasp in awe that I could make that catch with nary an effort. It was the stick of destiny, thrown by Steve Vai’s drummer – Jeremy Colson. I bequeathed the battered pola to Josh and in that moment passed down to him the love of the music of Steve Vai.

What a concert and what showmanship he engendered in the concert. The climax was really at the end of the show, after the encore when the lights of the hall were turned back on and he was on stage without a mike and talking to the crowd. There he was – one of the best guitarists of our time and immediately made everyone feel the camaraderie that was the love for his music.


20140322-082336.jpgThat’s one battered Vater drumstick with Vater grip tape. 



Garcinia nigrolineata – The beaked kandis

This is a wild mangosteen in cultivation at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Mangosteens belong to the family Clusiaceae (or formerly Guttiferae).  Some characteristics:  Opposite leaves without stipules, yellowish sap, branches emerging almost at right angles to the trunk.  More curiously is the “beaked” end of the fruit.  The bark is quite dark and makes this plant very distinctive. 

It is native to Singapore.


Garcinia nigrolineata

Garcinia nigrolineata


Garcinia nigrolineata


Garcinia nigrolineata


Garcinia nigrolineata

Garcinia nigrolineata

Terminalia subspathulata

It’s easy to see why this is a heritage tree.  It’s been here as a tree since 150 years ago – which must make this tree older than that by quite many years.  Such big trees evoke awe and some kind of wonder.  To imagine scenes that have changed around its existence is evocative.  It is one of the tallest trees in the gardens.

Terminalia subspathulata, Combretaceae

Josh and Matt in the foreground and tiny people on the left of the tree for scale.  This tree just makes you stop and stare – if you don’t, then perhaps you’ve missed having a moment of awesome sauce.

Terminalia subspathulata

A vertical panorama didn’t really do it justice but it did highlight its tall buttresses.  How does a tree get that tall, all 47 metres of it?  Imagine a forest full of trees these tall.


Terminalia subspathulata, Combretaceae

The crown is spectacular and the photo doesn’t do its massiveness and scale any justice.

Terminalia subspathulata

Here is a picture of the fruits, one-seeded, woody and 2-winged from the same tree which I took in 2005.





Photogenic prata

I can almost smell this again.  This post is dedicated to friends and ex-students who are overseas.   You know you are a true blue Singaporean if this triggers some hunger pangs.

IMG 4974

IMG 4973

IMG 4961

That’s Josh waking up to the eating of a prata.

Gandhi electives

Clearing out 8 years worth of stuff at work and unearthed some of the things I did in the exciting, beginning years as a teacher in RJC. This one is an elective teachers get to craft and conduct. I don’t have it in my conscious memory but this file certainly flooded my head with memories of my intense studies and readings of Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Rabindranath Tagore. I even made this class interactive and made them string a timeline of key events in Bapuji’s life.