It’s Art if it Touches Your Heart


Hello, it’s been a while. And I feel like asking how have you all been, knowing fully well that the answers are limited and the medium here, quite public. Yet, I ask.

How have I been, you ask (or so I assume), so let me tell you. I have been sitting here, watching the world, doing all sorts of wonderful things, learning, reaching out, and breathing in life. Living. Living well. I have filled my world with colours, and with things that I like. And each time, I find myself deflated, I gather few more beautiful things. It’s my kind of art if it touches my heart. Offering you all a glimpse of my kind of beautiful.

On a personal front, presenting my version of Hygge 

A flower presented to me, rather shyly by a 6-year-old, my work desk where I create, I design, I write, I imagine, and I learn (doing an online course that deals with colours currently), and the last one is a picture from a fashion house that I am consulting for. All in all, it’s my happy mix of colour palette.

Next, I would like to present to you, one of my favourite artists, Ziyue Chen. There’s just something so wonderfully warm in her work, that I keep coming back for more.

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She can’t use her words, but art is heart, so just feel. Watch her here

And finally, let me introduce you to a special 2019 calendar by artist, Manas Arvind

Manas is a 17 year-old budding artist, who plays tennis, is a quiz enthusiast, and also the one who faces challenges typical to those who have Down’s Syndrome. Though painting is difficult for him (due to cognitive challenges that limit his ability to imagine or translate), he has mastered quite a few water- colour strokes with the help of his mother. This calendar (above) is a proof of his mother’s tenacity and his determination. Manas’ mom will be donating all profits from this calendar towards charity. Please pre-order now and pick the calendar (location: East Singapore) from Jan 1, 2019. This calendar can be mailed to you too (in Singapore). If you wish to support this initiative, contact +65 9617 8524 before 30 November. Please note: payment is by Pay lah! Price of calendar is $10. For local postal delivery, please add $3. 

If the art touched your heart, please support the artists.

Breathe. Feel. Live.

P

 

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Once Upon a Time


Once upon a time, I starred in the school play, called Cinderella. And that’s where the fairy tale ends. What happened next was part comic and part reality check (not the fancy, magical tale that I expected it to be).

So, this was at the time when I had messy hair, scrawny limbs and a pronounced slouch. But they said, that I could be this character. So, I felt immensely gorgeous (in my head). After all, who doesn’t want to be Cinderella at 15 going on 16! I certainly did! I was looking forward to the glass slipper, the ball, the gown, the prince, and the importance of being the princess, and that too in a school play!  However, it turned out slightly different to what I had imagined it to be. (See below)

 

For starters, it was a spoof, and a deliciously wicked one at that. But unfortunately, my starry-eyed younger self was dim-witted enough to have missed the intended satire entirely.  I felt lost. This particular Cinderella was supposed to be a scheming, conniving, opportunist, whose ultimate aim was to snatch the prince (in a wig), from another woman (her own lovely step-sister). Oh, the devious, devious Cindy!

Anyway, then came the second shock. We performed the play for the junior school, a day before the opening night. And these little righteous people were out and out indignant. Their faces fell when they saw the play. Part of it was probably my bad acting, but the other part was my deviousness. I was a wicked Cinderella! I had single-handedly maligned a good and beautiful character for them (perhaps forever). They just wouldn’t forgive me. “Bad Cinderella,” they taunted me as I walked down the corridors. This went on for many days. So, as you can see, this fancy idea of being Cinderella was not that fancy after all.

On the brighter side, I got to convert my mother’s beautiful orange and white chiffon in to a flowing skirt. I also got to borrow my friend’s billowy white blouse (which I adored), and I got to say that atrociously clichéd but sweet line, “Of course, I will marry you!”

The truth is that I enjoyed this bitter sweet, comic-tragic play. So much so, that I re-enacted it for my Trinity Guildhall Exam performance much later in life. The memory of that first fairy tale remains though. As an adult now, I look at the lessons learnt from that. Lesson 1 is that life turns out differently to what is expected. Lesson 2 is that people will judge you. I also learnt that I don’t need shoes, prince, and a ball, as much as I need a fairy god ma with a sympathetic ear. But to be on the safer side, I always return home before my carriage turns back into pumpkin.

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Photo by Francis Seura on Pexels.com

 

 

 

Conversations with the Teens


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As a facilitator and a mentor, I get to speak to the most interesting minds of all: the teens! Conversations with them are always interesting. Strangely though, they are guarded with those they love the most, however, that should not stop anyone from knowing what’s going on in their minds. Here’s a compilation of things that teens wish their parents would know about them.

Dear parents,

We want you to know that…

* Times have changed: You keep telling us  about what you did when you were our age, but everything is so different now. We just can’t relate to that. So, please don’t expect us to behave the way you did at our age. We have to move with the times.

* We need help to manage the stress and pressures in our lives, even if we show that we are very independent and capable. Do check in on us from time to time.

* Give us space to be ourselves. We do need help sometimes, but that does not mean that we need constant monitoring.

* Trust us and give us few responsibilities. We might fail at times, but we will try real hard to stand up to your expectations.

*  Even “good” kids act out every once in awhile. That does not mean that we have turned “bad” now.

* We need to unwind. Please allow us some personal time to do whatever we wish to, or to ‘do nothing’ if that’s how we unwind.

* We want you, our parents, to be proud of us and accept us for who we are. Please don’t compare us to others.

* We hate to see you fight. It shakes our faith and scares us a lot.

* We do care what you think of us. Even if our peers influence us, what you think of us, matter a great deal to us. Sometimes, even more than our friends (though we may not show this to you).

* Please understand that the internet plays an important and positive role in our lives. It’s not always a bad influence.

* We will make mistakes – but you can guide us through this.

* It’s hard to fit in with people and that’s why we act out sometimes.

* We have a lot going on at school, sometimes more than you realise.

* Sometimes we can’t express our feelings when we are hurt or upset, and that’s why we find ways to release our anxiety (sometimes in ways that you do not approve).

* We love you. We may pull away so that we can establish our own identity, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t love you.

(This is a teenspeak section. For mentoring enquires, contact sequelsingapore@gmail.com)

Celebrating Partnerships & Human Links


India’s mega diaspora show, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, was held in Singapore on January 6-7, 2018. A joint effort by India’s Ministry of External Affairs and the High Commission of India in Singapore, the event celebrated 25 years of ASEAN-India Partnership, and explored centuries-old cultural, social, and human links. The theme of the PBD was “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN India Partnership” and was aimed at promoting closer ties between India & ASEAN and deepen the diaspora’s relations with India.

It was exciting enough for me to be part of the official ‘Ancient Route, New Journey’ writing team, but what made it even more exciting was the fact that I could (with this writing piece) have my own little symbolic celebration of partnership and human link. As ASEAN, India and Singapore celebrated their long term partnerships, I celebrated my own long term collaborations with Sunmedia and Chitrakala (Chitra Shankar of Chitrakala is featured in this article through sheer coincidence, thanks to our photo editor, Mr J).

Partnerships, collaborations and friendships are not just words that sound nice in theory, but they according to me, form the very core that sustain human success, both professionally and personally. This piece remains an ode to that.

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This article was first published in Shikhar

Bringing Families and Communities Together This June


It’s not everyday that one gets to bring people from different walks of life, and different age-groups together. However, that’s exactly what I am in for. It began with a simple idea of bringing people together through art, play, fitness and food, but it soon became more elaborate with a trustworthy collaborator. We began reaching out to more people from different walks of life. We also wanted to promote family bonding and initiate the idea of giving back to the community as a family. June happens to be special for fathers, and thus the event, Dad & Us was conceptualised. I dedicate this event to all dads, especially mine (who is an angel somewhere, watching over me).

I have always believed in collaborations, and this event proves the power of collaborations. A big thanks to all who are participating, and thanks also to Families for Life and Dads for Life for endorsing this event. So, here’s presenting an event that I am looking forward to, an event when families will stay away from gadgets (hopefully) and make memories through interactive activities.

The event will power start with Muay Thai Family Fitness. There’s also community colouring of the Singapore landscape poster by Singaporean artist, Ziyue Chen.

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Especially for the dads, there’s a stand up comedy show by a dad, and he calls it, ‘Dad’s Special’. For a little father-kiddo bonding, there’s a 2 minute Talent Showdown (happening at 11.45 am and again at 2.15 pm). Moms can cheer their home teams. It’s not a competition though, it’s just a celebration of togetherness. There’s no age restriction and the only rule is to have fun. There are shopping booths, interactive play stations, food stalls and face painting at the event too.

There’s also an awareness talk for the parents, where physicians and therapists (from traditional medicines) will talk about simple massage techniques that can ease common ailments in kids. Free consultation will be available for the day.

Parents are children’s first role models. Therefore, it is apt that families give back to the community together. A charity gift drive has been initiated to give back to those who might do with some help. Dad2Dad Charity Gift Drive will be collecting gifts for dads (transient workers in Singapore) who are away from their families. This charity drive is in collaboration with Transient Workers Count Too. 

Gift Wish List includes: International Phone Calling Cards (for them to call home), basic supplies (toothbrush, toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, shaving kits etc) and items of clothing (new). If you wish to contribute, head over to the TWC2 booth at the event between 11 am to 5 pm. Present also at the event will be the animal rescue awareness booth. So come over and join us!

Register for the event here

It’s on 2nd June at No 2 Stadium Walk (Waterfront), right next to Kallang mall. The nearest MRT is Stadium.

Dad & Us: Know more about the event.

Endorsed by:

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