Monday, November 29, 2010

14 Nov 2010: Bondi and Sculpture by the Sea

14 Nov 2010 (Sun):

After lunch, my very thoughtful friends and hosts, RL and her fiance, brought me to Bondi area to catch the artistic event called "Sculpture by the Sea". Bondi is located in the east of the Sydney central business district. The "Sculpture by the Sea" seemed to be a very popular event as my hosts took a while to find a suitable parking lot.

Bondi Beach is spectacular.The word "Bondi" (pronounced "BOND-eye") is an aboriginal word meaning "water breaking over rocks". This literally describes what visitors are likely to expect to see at the Bondi Beach. The waves that hit the shores of Bondi Beach are often huge and powerful. I was drawn to the vast area of its sandy beaches. It was very windy when I was there. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the breezes and the wind.

Photo courtesy of my friend, RL.

I was very lucky to be in Sydney to catch the last day of the fourteenth annual exhibition of "Sculpture by the Sea" (28 Oct - 14 Nov 2010) at Bondi area. This exhibition stretched from Tamarama Bay to Bondi Icebergs.

I was definitely delightfully overwhelmed by the large numbers of artistic and inspiring sculptures that were on display at the event. I read from the catalogue that there were more than 100 sculptures on display in this year's "Sculpture by the Sea". The exhibition was extraordinary as visitors could view the sculptures in the dramatic natural setting of Bondi's coastal areas. The walk along the coastal areas was in itself breathtaking and inspiring. I realised I like the sights of cliffs. The sculptures that were on display were very diverse in their styles and forms.

Here are a few of the sculptures that have caught my attention:
(The information on the artworks is taken from the catalogue.)

Tony Davis
Chimney Totem (Monument to Woodfiring)
Art Gallery Society of NSW Volunteer Taskforce Artist Subsidy.
Statement: "Manifestation of carbon credits as fuel for thoughts."

I just like the way it looks against its natural background.

Jacek Wankowski
Statement: "Inspired by observation of pattern and form in the natural world, activated by the distribution of mass, Pauanui embodies movement, anticipation and a sense of unfolding."

I like the simplicity of this design and its rather ancient-like look.

Tim Macfarlane Reid
Supported by Leonie & James Furber.
Statement: "Standing at the beginning."

I was intrigued by this camel-like sculpture. There are interesting items hidden inside its body.

Suzie Bleach and Andy Townsend
The Adaptable Migrant

Supported by precision oxycut.
Statement: "A resolute exodus over epic distances into the unknown. Precious cargo: culture, history, memories. Searching for a place to belong."

 I wonder if I would like to sit on such chairs and use such a table?

Sally Kidall
At the table: are we sitting comfortably?
Statement: "Challenging the predictability of expectations and 'cultural homogeneity', informed by issues relating to human ecology, consumption and materialism."
Photo courtesy of my friend, RL.

I thought that it was really well-done in its attempts to enlarge everyday objects. Photo courtesy of my friend, RL.

Tomas Misura
Statementt:Explores the dynamics of a moment in time, in the form of a contemporary piece.

I have found the idea of see-through sculptures to be interesting. Furthermore, I like dogs.

Geoff Harvey
A French Litter
Supported by Sell And Parker Metal Recycling Services.
Represented by Robin Gibson Gallery.
Statement: "If I could have a dog, it would be a French bull dog."

Matthew Harding
Helen Lempriere Scholarships.
Statement: "When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about. - Albert Einstein"

My senses and mind were aroused by the huge number of sculptures and the beauty that Nature has to offer. Here are a few more photographs that I had taken as I walked along the coastal paths of Bondi. Many thanks to RL and her fiance for bringing me to such a beautiful and inspiring place.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) My friends brought me to a very inspiring and artistic event, "Sculptures by the Sea".
2) I was in Sydney in time to catch the very last day of "Sculptures by the Sea" at Bondi 2010.
3) The weather was perfect and full of sunshine! I was told that a week before my arrival to Sydney, it was raining almost everyday.

New things that I did:
1) I attended "Sculpture by the Sea" at Bondi!
2) I visited Bondi for the very first time.

Sculpture by the Sea

Please click here to be linked to the virtual tour.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

14 Nov 2010: A church service and an interesting lunch pack

14 Nov 2010 (Sun):

I woke up pretty early in the morning, possibly before 5 a.m. as I realised I was one of the first few customers to turn up for breakfast at the Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour's Ceezons Restaurant. Breakfast had been a wonderful treat each and every day. Breakfast starts from 6.30 a.m. everyday till 10.30 a.m.

After breakfast, I took a short stroll to the nearby Darling Harbour to enjoy the beauty of the morning skies. Life at this pace goes well with me.

The morning was special. I had requested to join my friend, RL, for her church service. We attended the church service that started at 9.30 a.m. The message for the day was "Ravages of Religion" (Revelation 13:1-18), if I could infer correctly. I do not fully agree with all the messages that were shared. Nevertheless, I feel that spirituality is important and I hope to learn more about it. The service somehow reminded me that the people who command the power in the various religious institutions have very sacred roles to play to ensure that they use their power wisely for the betterment of humanity and their own community. We humans are more similar in our universal needs than we think.

I later learnt from the news that in Sydney, there has been a parliament motion over whether to legalise gay marriages. I prefer to see this issue from a value-based perspective. Whatever choice that was made, I hope that it was founded upon the values of love and respect, not fear and condemn.

RL and her fiance were wonderful hosts. They brought me to have lunch at Westfield Bondi Junction (I hope I have gotten the name correct), which was one of the biggest mall in Bondi area of Sydney. I ordered the Warm Vietnamese Chicken from Sumosalad located within a food court. The packaging was interesting and attractive. One could carry the packed salad very conveniently and smartly. The salad was fresh and crunchy. I ordered a serving that was too large for me, and I only finished the entire salad by that evening. The next time, if there is any, I would just order the regular size. For me, I could not quite imagine how my dear friend, RL, finished so many rolls of sushi during lunch.

Moments to be grateful for:
1) RL travelled all the way to the city to accompany me for the church service with her fiance.
2) Breakfast was delicious each and every day.

New things that I did:
1) I attended a church service in a foreign land.
2) I ate Sumosalad and found the packaging so interesting.
3) I walked into a shopping mall in Sydney that I have not visited before.

Kiosk 4018, Westfield Bondi Junction
500 Oxford St.
Bondi Junction, NSW 2022

Saturday, November 27, 2010

13 Nov 2010: Arriving in Sydney

13 Nov 2010 (Sat):

I woke up early in the morning to get ready to leave home by 6.10 a.m. for the Singapore Changi International Airport. It was rather busy by the time when I reached the Terminal One. I checked in and board the flight after spending some time browsing the Terminal One.

Thank goodness for good luck, I had a window seat. In fact, technically, I had the entire row to myself. No one else was allocated the two seats that were just to my right at the same row. One smart-looking German-speaking gentleman decided he wanted a aisle seat, and he changed his seats to the same row as me. So, I get a chance to converse with someone during my ride to Sydney.

Most of the time on the plane, I was either intrigued by the view from the window or I was enjoying my read of Char Margolis' Discover Your Inner Wisdom.

What would the trip to Sydney be like this time around? I have no specific expectation except that I hope to achieve the following:
1) Catch up with one of my good friends, RL.
2) Catch a glimpse of whales.
3) See dolphins in the open sea.
4) Listen to a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra playing the Second Symphony composed by one of my favourite composers, Johannes Brahms.
5) Enjoy some special time to myself.

Guess what? I feel so lucky that I have achieved all my set objectives, and came home with more wonderful learning points and experiences.

Clearing the customs was smooth. Many thanks to a friend Randy who has helped me to check on the customs regulations. I had brought along with me prescribed medications, health supplements for my personal consumption and a packet of green tea for RL. All these items are considered food items. These items were the items that I would need to declare. I have learnt that when visiting Australia, honesty is the best policy. The people at the customs are absolutely helpful as long as we are honest and sincere in helping them ensuring that no prohibited item is being brought into Australia. Thanks to being honest and as helpful as possible, I cleared customs pretty smoothly.

On the arrival at the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, I purchased a sim-card from Vodafone. I was later told that the charges were a little steep, and one of my friends recommended Virgin Mobile instead. On the good side, I was very lucky at the airport. The Vodafone shop was closing but the staff member present attended to me nevertheless.

I met a couple from Singapore on the pre-arranged airport shuttle bus to the Sydney city. They were visiting Australia for holiday and more so, to visit their daughter who is on exchange in Adelaide. I hope they have an enjoyable vacation.

Checking into the Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour hotel was quite a breeze. I was hungry for dinner and wanted to get myself drinking water to quench my thrist. With great luck, I asked one of the staff members of one of the convenience stores that I had bought a bottle of drinking water from, and I was given the recommendations to check out the Japanese restaurant, Wagaya. Using the touch-screen technology at Wagaya, I ordered a bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen. The taste was average to me perhaps because I generally do not like noodles and ramen.The following day, I found out from my friend, RL, that Wagaya serves the best and most affordable Japanese food in Sydney city.

After dinner, I eased myself into a relaxed mode, took a shower, and went to slumberland. The day was blessed with good luck.

Moments to be grateful for:
1) I arrived in Sydney, safe and sound!
2) Smooth customs clearance
3) I have got a sim-card even though the shop was closing (in fact, it was closed).

One new thing that I did:
1) Ate Japanese food in Wagaya, a restaurant that is totally new to me.

Level 1, 78-86 Harbour Street,
Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney
Open 7 days, 5 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Tel: +61 (02) 92126068

Friday, November 26, 2010

Adventures in Sydney

I realised that I am happier going for tours that allow me to plan my own schedule, go at my own pace and find my way about independently. Furthermore, I have been wanting moments of solitude to recharge and to rejuvenate. At the same time, one criteria for the choice of my tour country is that it is relatively safe to travel about independently. So Sydney, Australia emerged the choice. Furthermore, I could use the time to catch up with good friends should I visit Sydney.

In this series of posts to come, I shall share my adventures and learning points in Sydney with you.

Enjoy this journey with me please.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Read: Discover Your Inner Wisdom

Title: Discover Your Inner Wisdom: Using Intuition, logic and common sense to make your best choices.
Authors: Char Margolis with Victoria St. George
Publisher: Fireside, Simon & Schuster, 2008.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-9789-9

This was the book that I had read largely on my flights during my journey from Singapore to Sydney and vice versa. It was an accessible book to read. I marvel reading at some of the stories that were shared.

Personally, I believe in the power of the intuition, and have to continue learning how to use it wisely for good reasons. In short, the author seems to be stating that in order to make the best choices, we often have to use our intuition, logic and common sense hand-in-hand.

The most practical chapter for me was that on "Four Steps to Accessing Your Inner Wisdom" which are:

1) Create the right atmosphere for tuning in to the universe.
2) Focus on the present and clear your mind of thoughts.
3) Ask your question without being emotionally involved.
4) Pay attention to what you're getting.

If you have found the above four steps to be worth your time to learn, do read this book. The next thing would be to practise using intuition wisely.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blog holiday

Dear readers, I will be taking a short holiday outside Singapore from 13 - 21 Nov 2010.

In the meantime, here's wishing you good health and peace.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A weekend of Quantum Touch

In the hope to improve my state of health and learn ways to enhance the healing of my loved ones, I took up a basic course on "Quantum Touch" during the recent weekend. The course was taught by Nancy Ho, and I have praises for her clear presentation of ideas. Most importantly, I like Nancy's approach in facilitating us students to gain confidence and professionalism in using Quantum Touch.

What is Quantum touch? For me, I would simply explain that it is a method of healing using energy. However, dear novice me is still learning the vocabulary necessary to share this practical and easy-to-learn alternative method of healing with friends and family members.Whatever it is, what I think is more important would be making time to practise this skill. Good practice makes perfect.

For more information of the Quantum Touch course that I have taken, please refer to this website:

If you are interested in learning more, I will be happy to entertain some simple queries and offer to give you a short healing session.

Wishing you good health in the meantime.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Watched: The Complete History of America (Abriged)

Dear JY was very generous and kind to invite me to watch The Complete History of America (Abridged) on 6 Nov 2010. Jubilee Hall has a very Victoria design which appealed to me. Somehow, it reminded me of the many places that I had visited in United Kingdoms.

The performers of The Complete History of America (Abridged) were outstanding in that they sang well, danced, and were in some ways witty. The thing is that I was such a novice to their sense of humour, many of the times, I was still in need of help to make sense of their humour. Nevertheless, it was a good exposure to both the history of America as well as the performers' sense of humour.

Many thanks to JY for the invite and the company for that evening.

*Imaginary photo: Delicious spread of dinner consisting of salad, onion soup, garlic crusted dory fish at Miss Clarity Cafe*

And here's the real photo (uploaded on 8 Dec 2010):

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Read: In the Company of Rilke

Title: In the Company of Rilke
Author: Stephanie Dowrick
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published in 2009
ISBN: 978 1 74237 180 1

Sometime ago, I had the great pleasure to read a number of books written by Stephanie Dowrick. I like her thoughtful and clear writing style. As such, although my first impression of the book "In the Company of Rilke" was not very favourable, I decided to pick up a copy of the book anyway because it was written by Stephanie Dowrick.

This book is in short about a poet, Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926), and his writings. While this is not the kind of book that I would usually read, I am glad that I had made the effort to read it eventually. Reading the booking reignited my interests in poetry. As Rilke wrote in German and not English, all of the quoted poems in this book were translated. I felt his poems have qualities of depth and yearning. Some I have read a couple of times, and could not quite comprehend their full essence. Anyway, it is still nice to do something new and read a book that I may otherwise not have read.

On the side, I have found a website that lists the various poems written by Rilke. Here's the link:

Friday, November 05, 2010

Breakfast at Wild Honey

Technically, the title of this post should be "Lunch at Wild Honey". The breakfast lover in me however would prefer "Breakfast at Wild Honey" because Wild Honey serves breakfast all day long, and more importantly, it has a wide selection of breakfast dishes inspired by various cultures in the world.

It was my great honour and privilege to have my good friend, Mystic, to celebrate her birthday with me at Wild Honey. Wild Honey does not entertain reservation. We had to wait for about one hour before it was our turn to enjoy our treats to 'breakfast'. Thank goodness we need not have to wait in the queue. We could leave our names and contact details behind. Once it is our turn, we would get a call from Wild Honey. With this arrangement, we browsed about Mandarin Gallery.

When it was our turn, I felt pretty spoilt for choice. I ordered the Mexican breakfast while my friend ordered the Canadian breakfast. We also ordered the "natural remedy" drink which we were told was made up of royal honey boiled with cinnamon.

The food was good. The company was great of course. I like the ambiance, the generous serving of delicious breakfast and the fact that this place serves breakfast food all day long. I shall try other breakfast set when I next visit Wild Honey.

Last but not the least, many thanks to Mystic for her unexpected gifts.

Wild Honey
#03-02 Mandarin Gallery
Orchard Road
Tel: 6235 3900

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Dona Nobis Pacem

"Dona Nobis Pacem". This is Latin for "Grant Us Peace".

I came across this BlogBlast for Peace 2010 and would like to contribute my humble part to adding to world peace.

Here's a simle poem to wish for peace.

The Angst
The Rage
The fears
Fueling a war

Compassion sets in
And love prevails
Dissolves all fears
Strengthens our hope
That in a world blessed with peace
All needs could be met
And progress is made
For the highest good