Events to Catch in Singapore: The Youth Series-2017/18


It’s time to move away from that couch, and put your phone away. Singapore has an interesting line up of events in the next few months, and it’s worth looking into! So, apart from the usual suspects, ( Universal Studio, Bird Park, Gardens by the Bay, and the various malls) that have lined up some great family friendly events, there are few more line up of events that the young at heart can look forward to. So, go on, go on! Book now!

JURASSIC PARK IN CONCERT – FULL MOVIE WITH LIVE ORCHESTRA

When: 22 to 23 December 2017

Where: Esplanade Theatre

Jurassic Park in Concert

Presented by the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, Jurassic Park in Concert has been organized in celebration of the 25th anniversary of this iconic Steven Spielberg film. During the concert, the film will be projected on a large screen whilst the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra plays alongside and in sync the movie.

Tickets range from S$108 to S$255, exclusive of booking fees.

 

FLYING THROUGH TIME

When: 09 December 2017 to 21 January 2018

Where: Resorts World Theatre

Fly through time at Flying Through Time at the Resorts World Theatre. Directed by world-renowned Director Choi Chul Ki and helmed by local artists such as Joshua Tan and Melody Low, this non-verbal action comedy tells the universal tale of good versus evil and how love conquers all.

Tickets range from S$30 to S$118, (SISTIC).

 

A TOUCH OF WILD: ADEDANCE AERIAL 2017 STUDENT SHOWCASE

When: 03 December 2017

Where: Gateway Theatre

Presented by Adedance Artistic and Aerial Productions, A Touch of Wild: Adedance Aerial 2017 Student Showcase is their first ever student showcase. This showcase will consist of performances by aerialists, bellydancers from The Angelina Tay School of Bellydance and more. All ticket proceeds will go to SOSD Singapore and finger food will be provided for guests throughout the performance.

Tickets are available at S$35 each and can be purchased via their Facebook page or via call or WhatsApp at +65 9787 6948.

 

A CELEBRATION OF YOUTH ORCHESTRAS: SNYO IN CONCERT

Singapore National Youth Orchestra

When: 12 December 2017

Where: Esplanade Concert Hall

Show our young talents some support at A Celebration of Youth Orchestras: SNYO in Concert – To London From America on 12 December 2017 at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Conducted by Peter Stark, this concert will bring you on a trans-Atlantic musical trip through the works of Gershwin, Copland and Vaughan Williams.

Tickets range from S$25 and S$15, (SISTIC).

 

ZOUKOUT 2017

Zouk Out

When: 08 to 09 December 2017

Where: Sentosa Siloso Beach

The biggest party of the year is here again. Zoukout 2017 is happening from 08 to 10 December 2017 at Sentosa Siloso Beach and this is one of the best ways to conclude 2017. This is the 17th edition of ZoukOut and artistes that you can expect in this year’s line up includes Axwell, Robin Schulz and Claptone.

Tickets are going at S$228 for a two-day festival pass and S$138 for a Day 1 ticket and S$148 for a Day 2 Ticket. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for S$158 for Day 1 and S$168 for Day 2.

 

TREASURES OF THE NATURAL WORLD

When: 25 November 2017 to 29 April 2018

Where: Art Science Museum

Treasures of the Natural World brings you back in time and on an adventure of discovering the various scientific breakthroughs throughout history. A total of 200 prized treasures from the Natural History Museum in London will travel all the way to Singapore for the first time ever. If you intend to visit with children, there will be an ongoing treasure hunt just for them!

 

Shawn Mendes Illuminate World Tour 2017

Shawn Mendes

When: December 9, 2017, 8 PM

Where: The Star Theatre, The Star Performing Arts Centre

Multi-platinum singer-songwriter and global sensation Shawn Mendes is bringing his acclaimed ‘Illuminate World Tour’ to Singapore.

 

Laneway Festival Singapore

Laneway Festival

When: January 27, 2018 10 AM /

Where: The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay

As with previous years, the 2018 festival – also the 8th Laneway in Singapore – promises to be a full sensory experience for music fans, with a focus on the best new and established live acts in the game.

2018 Line up: Aldous Harding – Amy Shark – Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals – Billie Eilish – Bonobo – Father John Misty – Loyle Carner – Mac DeMarco – Moses Sumney – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Slowdive – Sylvan Esso – The Internet – The War On Drugs – Wolf Alice

More about Laneway Festival

 

Art from the Streets

Felipe Pantone (b. 1986).
(Untitled mural in Montreal, 2016. Spray paint)

When: From 13 January 2018

Where: ArtScience Museum

From 13 January 2018, the galleries of ArtScience Museum will be invaded by some of the world’s top street artists in one of the boldest exhibitions to be shown at the museum in years. Art from the Streets traces 40 years of Street Art, from its countercultural beginnings to its extraordinary rise as a major phenomenon in contemporary art.

The show features the world’s best known street artists including Banksy, Shepard Fairey (aka Obey), Futura, Invader, JR, Blek le Rat, Swoon and Vhils among others.

Curated by Street Art expert and gallerist Magda Danysz, Art from the Streets reflects the evolution of street art, charting the diverse artistic techniques employed by artists through the decades and showing how technology has created new expressive avenues for artists. One of the highlights of Art from the Streets will be a series of live paintings and installations created on-site by iconic names from the field. Nearly a dozen artists, including upcoming new street art sensation, Felipe Pantone from Spain, have been invited to take over the galleries of the museum, creating new artworks especially for the show. Illustrating the vitality of and diversity of the movement, the show also includes large-scale mural paintings, installations, videos, prints, archival material, drawings and sketches.

 

 

 

 

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My First Ever Human Library Experience!


The Human library

 

I was intrigued the very first time I had heard, or rather read about the Human library. The Human Library, for those who don’t know, is a concept birthed in Denmark in 2000. It is now organised all over the world. In a Human Library, real people are on loan to readers, giving readers the opportunity to listen to their stories first-hand. The hope is to break down social barriers by providing a safe platform for individuals to challenge the stereotypes and prejudices that they may have.

I was so enamoured by the very concept, that I wanted to experience it first-hand. It all sounded so dynamic and empathetic! And so, I waited for the next event to take place. Finally, I got my chance last week, when I heard about The Human Library @Duxton, Singapore. All I had to do was register through email, and let them know my preferred time slot, and my preferred human book. In two days, I had my conformation. I was ready for my experience.

However, as I made my way to the event after a long day at work, I began doubting my intention to attend. What if I am disappointed? What if it’s a hype? What if I don’t reach on time? I was agitated enough as the taxi uncle slowly, and very cautiously inched towards the address that he clearly didn’t know. Eventually, I got down from the snail-like-car, and made my way, flustered and late to 99 Duxton Road.

The place was abuzz with activities. “Are you a book or a reader,” I was asked. The question was both intriguing and unexpected. I smiled. My very first Human Library experience had begun. “Reader,” I replied. The volunteers at the registration table handed me my library card, and I made my way to table 4. The book title was, Single Mum. As I hurried to my designated book, I had company. Another lady was late, just like I was and we happily spoke to each other, both glad to have company as we entered the “library” late.

 

 

My first thought was, wow, this place is full of bright energy, and lively conversations! There was absolutely nothing dull, or forced in there. What kind of people would come here? Who would want to be a book, and who would want to be a reader? I looked around at the room awash with warm light and smiling faces. There were people of different age groups and backgrounds, but they all had one common trait it seemed, they were all open to know more, and they were all open to share. Yes, that is exactly what was striking in this room. Everyone in the room was a communicator in some way or the other.

I found table 4. My human book, Sherlin, was a bright and vivacious lady, who introduced herself: “Hi, I am a a single mom. A widow.” Then she went on narrating her experiences of loss, pain and of bouncing back. The bouncing back bit was emphasised. She was clearly a lady who enjoyed communicating. The questions poured in, one after the other. The readers were clearly people who enjoyed communicating as well! There were no awkward pauses, or lack of interest. Those 20 minutes were enriched with constant and seamless sharing of ideas, thoughts and experiences. Questions directed at her ranged from financial situations, to grieving process, to even dating experiences, and oh my, my book was not shy! There were no euphemisms and no pretenses. There were also no barriers to communication. The books were there to share their stories, and the readers were there to know these stories. The goal was achieved brilliantly!

By the end of it, I started feeling a kinship with my book. I was proud of her, and thankful to have heard a story that was this personal. Few things stayed with me though, from that conversation. They were my lessons learnt that day.

First was on loss and grieving. Most people are uncomfortable around those who have suffered a loss, she said, and having lost a parent myself a few years ago, I could empathise. “Also, most people don’t know what to say to the one grieving”, she added. I agreed to that too. “I hate the phrase, stay strong,” she finally said, exaggerating the woeful face of a sympathiser trying to deliver a condolence message. We all laughed, guilty of having said that phrase to many people ourselves. “ You don’t have to say that, you know. Because, grieving is allowed, and it’s okay to be sad, and vulnerable, and weak sometimes.”

Lesson learnt in what not to say in a condolence message.

​Secondly, she spoke about volunteering as an act of empowerment. According to her, the act of volunteering made her feel good about herself, and infused her with a feeling of positivity. “The more you help others, the better (and stronger) you feel about yourself.”

Lesson learnt in empowerment and volunteerism

Lastly, I couldn’t help but notice, what a positive and bright energy she was. “How do you maintain this energy in spite of all the problems that you face in your personal life?” I asked. “I have a role model, she said, my mother.” Her mother, she informed us, was bright and active, and lived life to the fullest, inspite of many personal setbacks. Sherlin had learnt to do the same. “I want to be a role model too,” she said. Well, Sherlin, I already think you are!

Lesson learnt in living life to the fullest, in being inspired by those you look up to, and lesson learnt in aspiring to be an inspiration to others.

And thus my first experience of being at the Human library ended. If I had known it would be this invigorating, and informative, I would have registered for few more slots. There was so much more to learn, and so many stories to hear. And like always, the more I know about new experiences, and new things, the more I realise how less I know.

Lessons learnt in humility.

Read Sherlin’s story here

Learn more about The Human Library SG here

Origin of The Human Library

I lingered a bit more to take pictures, to speak to the organisers, and to look around at many new conversations that were breaking barriers, shattering the stereotypes, and bringing people together. After all, we are all stories separated by barriers of ignorance.

 

 

Teach Kids about Empathy


Empathy. I can’t stress on it enough, and I can’t stop talking about it. Thanks to TheAsian Parents Magazine for publishing my article. Read my original article here.

 

(Text: Prionka Ray. Source: TheAsianParents)

(Text: Prionka Ray. Source: TheAsianParents)

Majulah Singapura! (My Singapore)


From the HDB art to the sophisticated art festivals, from the magnificent sky scrapers to the neighbourhood parks, from the humble food courts to the gourmet delights, and from fast city lanes to the kampong style living, presenting the place I call home. Happy 52nd Birthday Singapore!

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My Singapore! Sentosa cable cars (Image: Prionka Ray)

Gardens By The Bay

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Gardens By the Bay (Image: Prionka Ray)

Orchard Road

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Orchard Road (Image: Prionka Ray)

Din Tai Fung

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Din Tai Fung (Image: Prionka Ray)

HDB Art

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My Singapore! HDB Art (Image: Prionka Ray)

Old Supreme Court

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My Singapore! Parliament House (Image: Prionka Ray)

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My Singapore! Neighbourhood Parks (Image: Prionka Ray)

My Singapore! (Image: Prionka Ray)

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Singapore Colours! (Image: Prionka Ray)

Singapore River

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Singapore River, Clarke Quay (Image: Prionka Ray)

Arab street

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Street party @ Arab Street! (Image: Prionka Ray)

Marina Bay Sands

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Marina Bay Sands (Image: Prionka Ray)

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Near China Town (Image: Prionka Ray)

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My Singapore! Singapore Port (Image: Prionka Ray)

My Singapore!(Image: Prionka Ray)

Clark Quay

Singapore River (Image: Prionka Ray)

My Singapore! (Image: Prionka Ray)

My Singapore! (Images: Prionka Ray)

The Orchard Experience

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If I have known you long enough or even if, you and I are recent acquaintances, chances are that I have met you at Orchard road for a coffee or a meal at some point of time. I love Orchard and I can’t get enough of it. I love its vibe, its grace and its familiarity. My personal favourites there? I like Cedele at Wheelock, Wild Honey at Mandarin Gallery, and PS Cafe at Palais Renaissance for their feel-good food and ambience. I have also developed a new fondness for the Korean dessert, Bingsu at 313. If it’s shopping, then it is Paragon, Ion, Tangs, and 313. My daughter was born at Mt Elizabeth Hospital, so a special mention of the friendly Doctors and nurses there and finally, I really like the stretch near Zara and Wheelock. That’s the place where I love to sit and watch the world pass me by. Yes, I love Orchard, and if I get to write about it, I kinda love it even more.

(Read the original article here, page 5).   

The Orchard Experience (Source: IndoConnect)

The Orchard experience (Source: IndoConnect)

The Orchard Experience (Source: IndoConnect)

And if you flip over to page 17, you will find my interview with Prita Kemal Gani (Founder of LSPR). It was a beautiful afternoon at Mandarin Orchard where we chatted with Ibu Prita. Yet another memorable rendezvous at Orchard!

Interview with Prita Kemal Gani (Source: IndoConnect)

Singapore International Film Festival: Fantasy & Female Empowerment


The longest running international festival in the region, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is back in its the 27thedition to offer a ‘feast for the senses,’ with films that narrate unique stories from the region. This was announced by the Festival at a media conference held at the National Museum of Singapore on 27th October, 2016. This year, SGIFF will screen 161 feature and short films from 52 countries, with 16 world premieres, 9 international premieres and 18 Asian premieres.

Yuni Hadi and Zhang Wenjie at the SGIFF Media Preview (Credits: 27th SGIFF)

Yuni Hadi and Zhang Wenjie at the SGIFF Media Preview (Credits: 27th SGIFF)

SGIFF Executive Director, Ms Yuni Hadi said that the SGIFF continues to be a discovery ground and platform to connect independent films in Asia and beyond. As the leading international film platform in Southeast Asia, the festival strives to foster the understanding of regional cinema by giving a voice to individuals through stories and dialogue. SGIFF is part of the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF) that brings together a rich mix of independent filmmaking talent to showcase the region’s stories through film, throughout Asia and beyond. SGIFF also allows established and emerging filmmakers and industry players to interact and exchange ideas, in order to contribute to the growth of cinema in the region.

(More on my write up on SGIFF. This article was first published in Indoconnect)

SGIFF by Prionka Ray (First published in Indoconnect)

SGIFF by Prionka Ray (First published in Indoconnect)

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Stories and Us!


Stories and Us!

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Our world is made of stories and we are defined by these stories that we tell ourselves. Who then would know if the stories became reality or reality inspired these stories! Exploring the art of storytelling and the unique stories in us all is the The Singapore International Film Festival and nurturing this storytelling in the young students is the National Story Challenge.

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Asian premiere of Interchange at the 27th SGIFF. (Photo credit Bonnie Yap, SGIFF)

Asian premiere of Interchange at the 27th SGIFF. (Photo credit Bonnie Yap, 27th SGIFF)

Championing the voice of Asian Cinema, the 27th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) rolled out the red carpet for its gala opening yesterday at Marina Bay Sands. Celebrated Malaysian auteur, Dain Iskandar Said opened the 12-day celebration of independent cinema with the Asian premiere of his fantasy noir thriller Interchange. Present with him were award-winning Indonesian TV personality and actor, Nicholas Saputra, husband-wife duo Iedil Putra and Prisia Nasution. Other noted guests were last year’s SGIFF Cinema Legend Award recipient, actress, Michelle Yeoh, Korean director Lee Sang-woo, acclaimed Southeast Asian filmmakers Eric Khoo, Joko Anwar, Brillante Mendoza, and Vietnamese-born director Tran Anh Hung, who will be receiving the IWC Filmmaker Award – the first to be presented in Singapore – on 26 November 2016.

Michelle Yeoh and Mike Miluan (Credits: Bonnie Yap, 27th SGIFF)

Michelle Yeoh and Mike Miluan (Credits: Bonnie Yap, 27th SGIFF)

SGIFF Executive Director, Yuni Hadi, said, “It is heartening to see the gathering of so many passionate film lovers at the opening of SGIFF. While the industry witnesses the transformation of cinema reflected in how we watch and make films today, the timeless stories told through film will always continue to engage and captivate us.” Over the next two weeks, SGIFF will present 161 films from 52 countries, and a varied slate of panel discussions and masterclasses with renowned filmmakers and industry experts.

I am excited to catch some of the movies. Having interviewed Indonesian Film maker, Nia Dinata recently, I am looking forward to watching her movie, Three Sassy Sisters!

National Story Challenge 2017

Story Challenge

Story Challenge

Meanwhile, to nurture the stories while young, is the The National Story Challenge Tournament. The challenge is an original improvisational storytelling competition created by The Theatre Practice, and is open to students in all primary and secondary schools in Singapore.  Registration starts from 19th December! Details here

And last, but not the least, here’s my contribution to the stories: reading stories to the children at the community centre, where I am part of the committee that organises programmes for youth and children.

Storytelling at the community centre (Source: Prionka Ray)

Storytelling at the community centre (Source: Prionka Ray)

The wise said, that we become the stories we tell. If that be true, then let the voices be heard and let the stories define us again and again and again…

Reading now: Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Human Library: Read with an Open Mind!


human-lib1The largest Human Library event in Singapore took place yesterday at The Red Box and 400 readers were in attendance! The event, organised by volunteer group, Human Library Singapore, comes from a Danish concept, in which groups in the community exposed to stigma, prejudice and/or discrimination become the “Human Books.” And thus the readers get that rare opportunity to challenge prejudices through respectful conversations. Human Library aims to establish a safe conversational space, where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and hopefully answered by the Human Book.

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Among the Human Books at the Singapore event were people from a wide range of diverse groups. They included a former sex worker, migrant workers, a bipolar sufferer, a journalist, a foreign business consultant, a Muslim, MMA fighters and individuals with cerebral palsy and alopecia. Event lead organiser Kelly Ann Zainal said, “We are incredibly encouraged that so many individuals not only registered their interest in the event, but even set aside time to volunteer with us. The success of this event really shows that people are willing to have open conversations to challenge preconceived stereotypes.”

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Similarly, the discriminated group felt equally fortunate to have the opportunity to share their personal experiences with others. Shafiqah, a Human Book and a suicide attempt survivor was surprised that there were many, who earnestly wanted to know about suicide, and they also wanted to know ways in which they could help in such situations. In a society where such topics are considered taboo, the event urged people to open their minds and to understand things that went beyond their experience range. Though some conversations were uncomfortable, there was a compelling need to understand and respect others by withholding prior bias or judgement.

A society can only succeed when people lay their differences aside and forge ahead together. It is therefore, not just advisable but also essential that people accept others sans judgment. The 400 Readers and the 48 Books at the Singapore event yesterday began such conversations. And this may just be the step in the right direction!

(To read other posts, click on ‘prionkaray’ on the title bar)

Lessons in Humility


Right before the Hindus celebrate the festival of lights, Diwali, here’s an endearing sight! This video, which is an initiative of Tamil Murasu, featured the MPs of Singapore, decked up in saris to wish the residents a happy Diwali. What a beautiful gesture, Singapore!!

And also happy to see my ex- neighbour, Mrs Josephine Teo in here. Those days, I was totally clueless as to who she was. My bad! We spoke about schools, kids and many other things. When we got talking about work, she informed quietly that she works in the ministry and in Finance. No unnecessary elaborations were provided. By the time I figured out that she’s Senior Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Ministry of Transport, I was too embarrassed to let her know that I had goofed up. So, she remained, Josephine, who stayed in my estate briefly and I remained her clueless neighbour, Prionka. Dear MP, Josephine, you, as well as the other ministers that I have met so far, and found completely approachable, make me feel proud of this nation that I live in. On a personal note, lessons in humility learnt!

The Miracle of Big and Small


Today’s post is dedicated to a precious little boy we loved. Knowingly and unknowingly, he touched as many with his presence as he did with his absence. What I remember most, is his unconditional angelic smile. That smile prophesied and the smile said, “I know.” He did. He knew more about giving back than many of us put together. He inspires me to look around for more of the exceptional, the miraculous and the unconditional. He inspires me to look around for what he perhaps already knew and what we will only begin to comprehend little by little, with time.

They say miracle can only be extremely outstanding or unusual. They say that miracle goes beyond the ordinary, beyond the normal and sometimes even beyond comprehension. Put across like that, it seems almost impossible to believe that miracles exist and even more absurd to expect that it will ever cross your path. However, it does. Perhaps, it depends on what you call a miracle. For me miracle is in the exceptional as well as in the ordinary. It is in the unconditional as well as in the intentional. In a way, it is as much in the act of an organ donor as it is in the story of a student’s resilience. Somehow, it is as much in the act of kindness as it is in the extended hand of friendship. Miracle is both big and small.

Organ donor (Singapore)

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(Image: The Bone Marrow Donor Programme, Singapore)

Herlina was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and would have died but Xu Kang, her bone marrow donor saved her with his extraordinary act of kindness. For Herlina, Xu is nothing less than her “angel from heaven.”

 

2) The miracle baby (New York)

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(Image: The Buffalo News)

4 days old Wyatt Eli is the, ‘miracle baby’ born to mum, Kim Vaillancourt. Kim is currently battling terminal stages of brain cancer and for her the baby is exceptional in all ways possible.

 

3) Charity Worker (Nigeria)

(Image: Anja Ringgren Loven/ Facebook)

(Image: Anja Ringgren Loven/ Facebook)

This Nigerian boy was found emaciated and riddled with worms after wandering streets for eight months. His family had deserted him but he was eventually rescued by aid worker, Anja Ringgren Loven. She gave him food and water and took him to the hospital.

Hope

Hope

Now named Hope, the little guy has put on weight and is doing well. As Loven says, ‘He’s a little strong boy. This is what makes life so beautiful.’ It does!

Student (India)

(Image: Hindustan Times)

(Image: Hindustan Times)

Born in the outskirts of Lucknow, India, Sushma’s father was a daily-wage labourer and mother, a homemaker. Financially, there was an acute struggle. The opportunities were abysmal too but that didn’t stop a little girl interested in books and Sushma went on to create history as the youngest student, aged 7, to pass the class 10 Board exam. This exam is usually taken by 15 year olds. Sushma is now 15 and enrolled in a PhD course!

Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis (Singapore)

(Image: Prionka Ray)

(Image: Prionka Ray)

And lastly, the miracle of creation, hope and beauty that is ubiquitous. Like this little flower that chose to come to a plant long forgotten and long barren. And like the angelic little fellow we loved. And like that lady who lends her voice to the books for the blind, the man who sponsors education for the needy and many others who in their small and quiet ways, reach out. They remind us that sometimes exceptional is not about how little you are but it is about how you impact the ones around you.

 

Coming up next…

Singapore International Festival of Arts