March 31, 2008
After all these years in Singapore, yesterday was the first time I stepped into The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the oldest Roman Catholic church here.
You don’t get the impression of great age that you feel the moment you step into Europe’s famous cathedrals, but the atmosphere once the service starts certainly makes up for that.
The choir adds much to the service. The resonant voices evoke the majesty of God, and the solemnity of worship.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever feel really comfortable in a Roman Catholic church, Methodist school girl that I am, but the trappings — the incense, the traditional choir, the formality of the service — struck a chord with me.
So if you’re visiting this church, try to go for its main Sunday service at 10 am. After all, a church is more than its architecture or the statues lovingly placed in and around it. It’s the communion of people coming together in worship, and only by attending a service will you ‘feel’ that.
March 30, 2008
We now live in such a consumerist society that often, we find pleasure in our shopping finds. Recently, though, I’ve found myself enjoying finding new ways to work with things around the house.
For example, we have a few of these corporate premiums at home, a kind of Rubik’s Cube:
I took stamps I collected over many years, stamps that didn’t make it into my stamp album for one reason or another (perhaps because of some tiny imperfection, maybe) and created this out of that Rubik Cube-like corporate premium :
It makes a handy paperweight, and it’s fun to twist the cube in different ways so that it’s never exactly the same. More importantly, it’s a wonderful reminder of the hours I used to spend on stamp collecting.
March 28, 2008
In the nineties, many of us thought that work should be our life. That we should find satisfaction and validation, passion, well, basically, everything… in our work.
Recruitment ads exhort you to not just find a job (implying work that you do just for the sake of earning a salary) but find a career (implying work that will consume your passion, your intellect and your capabilities in the long-term).
The fall-out from how people started thinking of work in the nineties? For many of my generation, the professional class now feel like the new ‘working class’. We work extra hours without additional pay, all in the name of passion, pride and professionalism.
There is another way, of course, to view work. Work for the salary, and find your interests and satisfaction outside of your work, in your family, in your hobbies.
There’s much to be said for each point of view. I now think that the middle way is always the best. When you’re at work, work with a passion, with the best that’s in you. But always be aware that you need time away from work too — to do things that nourishes your own spirit, that expresses the inner you.
I realise now that it’s important to have the time and the money to do things that are just for you. My scrapbooking project may be rudimentary, but there’s the satisfaction of using my hands, of creating. And I’ve found that writing just for yourself is rather liberating.
So, if you’re working for a salary, my advice is this: find a job in the field you like, at the best salary that you can find out there, and do the very best that you can in it, without sacrificing time for yourself, and your family. Life will be the richer for it.
March 26, 2008
Many people believe that in Singapore, life is good IF you have money.
True, to some extent, but I’ve found that it’s also fun to find out what you can enjoy for FREE in Singapore.
My favourite free thing to do is ‘Go to the library’. Public libraries in Singapore are clean, comfortable and quite well-stocked. I always enjoy myself going there, and browsing round the shelves for a few hours.
There are also actually quite a few free events in Singapore, performances, exhibitions and such. I’ve found, though, that the ones I enjoy the most have been those at the Esplanade Concert Hall – their ‘Lunchbox’ and ‘Beautiful Sunday’ programmes. Mostly local acts, but they’re actually quite good.
Comfortable seats, great acoustics, polite, helpful ushers — when I go there to see something free, it usually feels like something worth paying for even.
In fact, a friend and I went to a ‘Lunchbox’ programme just yesterday. We had actually expected to see John Molina, but they changed the programme to Wynne Sandosham singing songs from the Elton John songbook. All in all, it was enjoyable. When you watch him and his band, you really do appreciate just how good some of the musicians in Singapore are. I thought the main strength of the half-hour programme was the arrangements. Very strong work there. I loved the way they used the different drums to make Elton John’s songs just that little bit different. Wynne Sandosham had a little trouble with his falsetto at the beginning, but that smoothed out further into the set. And while I don’t think he’s an amazing singer, I do appreciate his musicality, his styling of the songs were very good.
And a while ago, a couple of months, perhaps, another friend and I went to a ‘Beautiful Sunday’ programme, a guitar ensemble performance. If I remember right, it was the NUS Guitar Ensemble. They performed a very good selection of music in their one-hour set. They presented classical and classic pieces from different parts of the world. Going to that concert inspired me to take out my classical CDs again, actually.