One of the best durian seasons in years

 This year’s durian season is amazing.  I wonder if the uninterrupted dry season had to do with the proper development of the luscious aril.  Here’s to the custardy “smelly” king of the fruits!   


Venus and Jupiter


Venus below and Jupiter.  Seeing these planets evokes some wonderment.

Gotong Royong


Had the privilege of bringing this author around the Gardens. We exchanged books that we wrote and of course she got the shorter end of the deal.

My, this was one of those books you don’t want to finish so fast, so as I was reading it, I kept eyeing the remaining pages with anguish that it wasn’t many times thicker. Do books come with different speeds? Why did I read the 236 pages in such a short time? It was such an enjoyable book, like kachang that once you started eating is very hard to stop.

I was transported in time to a kampung in Potong Pasir set in the 1960’s mainly where the author lived and grew up as a child. Little things like how her mum cooked nasi lemak and how she described the smells but yet could not have the satisfaction of eating it because it was meant to be sold off as a means to make ends meet really gave the book the “dramatic arc” the author had mentioned about writing to me.

You also get a glimpse of the political history of Singapore as the stories and struggles of kampung life she writes weave the kampung peoples’ lives with Singapore’s independence and how aspects of their lives are affected by the riots, konfrontasi, elections and separation from Malaya. Tan Howe Liang’s sporting achievements are featured especially in the last chapter “The Lion must learn to roar again, 1965”.

Not only did I appreciate water running from taps, books that litter my home and flushing toilets after reading her book but the greatest take-away from the book was mostly about soul, the kampung spirit, friendship where no one is afraid or inhibited to lend a hand or to share in burdens and joy. The paperback is light in the hands but you can feel its weight in its words and stories.

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