LEE KUAN YEW, 1923–2015

23 03 2015

TODAY MARKS the end of an era.  Today, at 3:18 AM, Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore, died.

I remember telling my family yesterday how uncharacteristically it rained so hard in Singapore.  Not a ray of summer sunshine could pierce through the dark clouds.  And the heavens cried for hours on end.  Now I think I know why.  The heavens seemed to have wept with the people of this city state.

As a Filipino living in Singapore, all I know about the late Lee Kuan Yew, I had heard from my father who is outstanding in Math and World History; read about in books; and, heard from a Philippine Presidential candidate who promised to rule my country after how Lee Kuan Yew took Singapore from Third World to First.

His accomplishments and all the odds he had to overcome aside, I feel that what he possessed – which is the hallmark of any great leader – was charisma.  All things being equal, that unspeakable quality set him apart.  It is palpable from even the black and white photographs that have flooded the internet at the news of his passing.

Walking back to the office from lunch at the market, I passed by groups dressed in somber tones of black, grey, and navy blue, engaged in pocket discussions extolling the exemplary man that was Lee Kuan Yew.  It almost felt like the Little Red Dot is his one big family mourning his loss.  Having lost my own dearest grandmother a couple of years back, I couldn’t begin to imagine how today’s event must feel for the seven grandchildren left behind.  I’m an outsider and I do feel particularly sad too.

Singapore marks its 50TH birthday this year.  With its founding Prime Minister’s passing in the same year, it just further underscores what Lee Kuan Yew had helped make possible.  He left – and will always be remembered – as a most accomplished and beloved man.

I would never be able to lay claim to originality with this line: “Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore.”  But I think this is one of those things that transcend the boundaries of mortality.  I think Lee Kuan Yew is and will always be Singapore.

 

Farewell to Singapore's Founding Father, Prime Minister LEE KUAN YEW, September 16, 1923 – March 23, 2015.

Farewell to Singapore’s Founding Father, Prime Minister LEE KUAN YEW, September 16, 1923 – March 23, 2015.

Copyright © 2015 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Making a list, checking it twice

16 11 2014

I’VE BEEN searching the Christmas shop window displays so much lately that I must have seen more windows than a Medieval artist working on stained glass.  Not that I’m complaining.  I guess the phrase “the most wonderful time of the year” also does apply to the visual feast that is the vitrines.  Besides, whatever retail therapy I do is in the pursuit of making someone happy, my contribution to a little more altruism in this world.

And I couldn’t think of any other better way to wait out an hour–long torrential downpour than in the confines of well–appointed shops, ensconced and out of the rain.

Blue is indeed the warmest color.  Louis Vuitton always does an excellent job dressing up their windows.  For this holiday season, it coincides with the Delphine Arnault–Nicolas Ghesquiere–initiated project dubbed “Celebrating Monogram,’ in commemoration of the house’s 160TH founding.  This is my favorite – “F.G.” stands for the iconoclast, THE Frank Gehry.

Blue is indeed the warmest color. Louis Vuitton always does an excellent job dressing up their windows. For this holiday season, it coincides with the Delphine Arnault–Nicolas Ghesquiere–initiated project dubbed “Celebrating Monogram,’ in commemoration of the house’s 160TH founding. This is my favorite – “F.G.” stands for the architecture iconoclast, THE Frank Gehry.

 

If there is ever any doubt as to who is paying homage to the monogram at this display.

If there is ever any doubt as to who is paying homage to the monogram at this display.

 

Frank Gehry's celebration of the monogram is structured, contemporary, cutting edge.  Much like the Fondation Louis Vuitton, this bag is a "cathedral of light" and a "miracle of intelligence, creativity, and technology."

Frank Gehry‘s celebration of the monogram is structured, contemporary, cutting edge. Much like the Fondation Louis Vuitton, this bag is a “cathedral of light” and a “miracle of intelligence, creativity, and technology.”

 

I know someone very close to me who will love everything on this display.  I’ve never been one to fall head over heels over Louis Vuitton.  But these, I’m feeling like I could love these too.  Okay, “like,” I mean I could like these too.

I know someone very close to me who will love everything on this display. I’ve never been one to fall head over heels over Louis Vuitton. But these, I’m feeling like I could love these too. Okay, “like,” I mean I could like these too.

 

This is Comme de Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo’s interpretation of the Louis Vuitton monogram, seen on someone who obviously doesn’t have any qualms snapping it up for the US$ 2790 price tag it commands.

This is Comme de GarçonsRei Kawakubo’s interpretation of the Louis Vuitton monogram, seen on someone who obviously doesn’t have any qualms snapping it up for the US$ 2790 price tag it commands.

 

Frank Gehry’s works dominate print media.  The Twisted Box monogram bag, which retails at US$ 4400, on a magazine ad, vis-à-vis Fondation Louis Vuitton, that “spaceship” that was dropped on to Paris.  Both of these are new testaments to Frank Gehry’s status as a truly legendary architect – small– and big–scale.

Frank Gehry’s works dominate print media. The Twisted Box monogram bag, which retails at US$ 4400, on a magazine ad, vis-à-vis Fondation Louis Vuitton, that “spaceship” that was dropped on to Paris. Both of these are new testaments to Frank Gehry’s status as a truly legendary architect – small– and big–scale.

 

The Mulberry Men’s signature Brynmore Tote in Black, Evergreen & Midnight Blue Reverse Small Grain bovine leather tote.  Someone on my list wants this for Christmas.  Haha!  It comes with an adjustable woven cross–body strap and a set of three of the brand’s signature postman’s locks.

The Mulberry Men’s signature Brynmore Tote in Black, Evergreen & Midnight Blue Reverse Small Grain bovine leather tote. Someone on my list wants this for Christmas. Haha! It comes with an adjustable woven cross–body strap and a set of three of the brand’s signature postman’s locks.

 

I love that the Mulberry Brynmore Tote has a buffed up (“finished”) inner leather.  It can be worn across the body, or carried by the leather handles.  Really in love with this one.

I love that the Mulberry Brynmore Tote has a buffed up (“finished”) inner leather. It can be worn across the body, or carried by the leather handles. Really in love with this one.  I should be.  It costs almost S$ 3000!

 

The Mulberry Brynmore – in the Tote and Slim Messenger incarnations – in Grey Soft Grain leather.  Be still my heart.

The Mulberry Brynmore – in the Tote and Slim Messenger incarnations – in Grey Soft Grain leather. Be still my heart.

 

I have no complaints with my decades–old carry–on luggage, but then I saw this Mulberry Oversized Bayswater in Oak Natural Leather.  I am seriously considering to switch.  This has got to be the perfect weekend duffel or business trip bag!  You can’t help but love the antique toned metal components and that iconic postman’s lock closure!

I have no complaints with my decades–old carry–on luggage, but then I saw this Mulberry Oversized Bayswater in Oak Natural Leather. I am seriously considering to switch. This has got to be the perfect weekend duffel or business trip bag! You can’t help but love the antique toned metal components and that iconic postman’s lock closure!

 

This year’s Takashimaya S.C. Christmas Tree is brought to you by Cartier!  To me, Takashimaya’s is arguably one of the best – if not the best – on Orchard Road.  Its lighting up is an event on its own.

This year’s Takashimaya S.C. Christmas Tree is brought to you by Cartier! To me, Takashimaya’s is arguably one of the best – if not the best – on Orchard Road. Its lighting up is an event on its own.

 

If there is ever any doubt as to who’s in charge with this year’s tree, all you need to do is look closely to see the signature red boxes or the brand’s monogram in gold.

If there is ever any doubt as to who’s in charge with this year’s tree, all you need to do is look closely to see the signature red boxes or the brand’s monogram in gold.

 

…Or, you can simply look up to see the storeys–high scroll that brandishes a signature timepiece from, yes, Cartier.  Look, up in the sky.  It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  No, it’s the Ballon Bleu de Cartier!

…Or, you can simply look up to see the storeys–high scroll that brandishes a signature timepiece from, yes, Cartier. Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s the Ballon Bleu de Cartier!

 

The other eye–catching Christmas tree is all–pink, also located at Takashimaya S.C., and is by Laduree.  Yes, purveyors of some of the most scrumptious Macarons De Paris!

The other eye–catching Christmas tree is all–pink, also located at Takashimaya S.C., and is by Laduree. Yes, purveyors of some of the most scrumptious Macarons De Paris!

 

Copyright © 2014 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





#18 Risa Hontiveros

8 05 2013
Departure - Risa Hontiveros Baraquel 00

That’s me and Ms. Risa Hontiveros, candidate for Philippine Senate in Monday’s national elections. This was taken at the NAIA, on the day of my departure for Singapore in 2011. Ms. Hontiveros was on her way to the States for a speaking engagement, if I remember it correctly. We shared the waiting area and a hearty conversation. She was so nice!

THOUGH THEY do have it on recorded history, the United States doesn’t have a monopoly on the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Nor do they have exclusive rights on how these rights are secured – the governments instituted among men derive their “just powers from the consent of the governed.”  This is why we have elections.

In a world that has long stood as witness to people’s rights being trampled upon, I’m quite proud of those moments – yes, they may be far between – when my country has breathed life to a democracy that is alive, well and kicking.  The 2010 elections was the last testament to this.

On Monday, my countrymen will again go to the polls to elect leaders to national posts.  Politics has always been a topic for healthy discussion at home.  We’ve never been a “more divided” household than in the 2010 elections – though everybody’s opinions were heard and respected – but this year, we’ve come to agree on one name.  (“Agree” is the operative word.  And it is relative.)

Risa Hontiveros deserves to be in the Philippine Senate.  She is principled and independent with her thoughts, her words buoyed by the characteristic gentleness and affectedly modest demeanor of a true Ilongga.  But to me she is more.  She is Roosevelt’s words incarnate – she speaks softly but she carries a big stick.  Oh, make that her magic purplealampay” (scarf).

The power of the people is on the ballots.  May the force be with her on Election Day.

Risa Hontiveros is #18 on the ballot.  Let’s take her all the way to the Magic 12.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





For Boston

20 04 2013

THOUGH I’VE put a cap to my passion for distance running at 10 kilometers, my love for the sport and my appreciation for the men and women who are part of it extends far beyond the 42.195 kilometers set as the standard distance for the modern-day marathon.

When I don’t run, this love and appreciation take the incarnation of a spectator awash with vicarious thrill for his friends.  I would be there at the exact spot when the starting pistol is fired, and then I would be with the huddled masses – usually with a placard in hand – ready to scream my cheers at the finish line.

It has taken me the whole week to process what happened at the 2013 Boston Marathon.  And I am still in shock and disbelief.  My heart goes out to all whose lives were taken away or affected by this tragedy.

Boston, the Cradle of Liberty, and its people shall rise above the plume of smoke.

Standard_Chartered_2011_eNTeNG_Go_For_It_00

Nothing like this placard to show my support for my friends at the 2011 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Of a lady, iron and a speech

11 04 2013
Margaret_Thatcher_Headline_00

The headline. 09 April 2013. Singapore time.

A CHILDHOOD spent in the 80’s meant hearing quite a lot about Mrs. Margaret Thatcher – mostly from the evening news and the national broadsheets.  Mommy, my maternal grandmother, would often talk to us about her.  Usually, in the same breath, she would make references to the Marcoses and the Reagans whenever she mentioned the 11–year resident of Number 10 Downing Street.

The headlines a couple of days back read, “’Iron Lady’ of Britain dies of stroke at 87.”

Love her or loathe her, her impact to her country’s politics, not to mention the world, cannot be denied.  Personally, I had made one direct reference to her by way of that speech I delivered at that United Nations conference for students that I went to as a 16–year–old high school student.

The speech opened with a direct quote from the lady herself.  Up to this point, 22 years from when I first delivered that speech, it is something that I can recite, culled purely from memory.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Thatcher.

Speech - Asian Children's Summit 01

The opening part of my now 22-year-old speech. I opened with a quote from the Iron Lady herself. My eldest brother helped me with this speech.

 

Speech - Toastmasters International Best Speaker 00

Three surviving “Best Speaker” pins from Toastmasters International. I must’ve amassed a total of at least five. All these were won for impromptu speaking. You’d draw lots (“your topic or subject matter”) just before you go up to the front to speak. Everything is timed. So you’ve got to have an opening, a body and a closing… all under strict time pressure.

 

Margaret_Thatcher_Headline_01

Thank you, Mrs. Thatcher. May you rest in eternal peace.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Today on dates

14 02 2013

SPOTTED AT Royce’ at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.  And then at Montblanc.

Royce' - Valentines_021413_00

Blushing pink with joy at Royce’

 

 

Montblanc - Valentines_021413_00

There’s a ribbon in the sky – or at the window display at Montblanc – for our love.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Xīnnián kuàilè!

2 02 2013
Chinese New Year 2013 - Paragon Mall Ceiling Decor

Ceiling decor, Paragon Mall, Singapore

I LOOKED up the ceiling of Paragon Mall and realized that the Chinese Lunar New Year is upon us once again.  I took my sight back to eye level and swore that I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself on the steps of The Great Wall instead of at the doorstep of Gucci.

This season – for all the obvious reasons – brings to mind all things wonderful and Chinese.  And as I was poring over thousands of shots snapped in the past 19 months, I came across one photo of who could arguably be my Chinese best friend.  It’s set right in front of the Ferrari store at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and with all the red in this photo, it does feel very ‘Xīnnián kuàilè!

Here’s to another great year in the Lion City!  And in Shanghai where best friend is!

100912_Bin&eNTeNG_Ferrari

eNTeNG and his Chinese best friend Bin! Ferrari Store, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

 

Chinese New Year 2013 - Marc by Marc Jacobs 00

Speaking of all things red, I liked this styling on the window display of Marc Jacobs on Orchard Road, Singapore.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





A couple of wristwatch events and a reminder on what is precious

24 09 2012

“H” marks the spot. This huge logo hung from the ceiling of the Main Atrium, Paragon Mall, Orchard Road.

I GOT invited to a couple of wristwatch events this September.  The first one was to the soft opening of a brand new wristwatch store.  The second one was to the opening of a renowned brand’s first ever pop–up store in the world.

Just some invitations

 

I’ve gotten three pieces from The Hour Glass at Takashimaya. And from time to time, I hear from them.

 

So happy to get this invitation!

 

A close-up of the pretty invite

 

The flip side has details of the event.

Given that work has been crazy – crazy good, I have to say – I have totally dismissed any chance for me to make it to any of these two events.

I totally missed the first one.  The brand traces its provenance from the United States (if I remember it correctly) and the owner decided to bring it here to the Lion City.  I’ve seen the wristwatch up close on the owner’s wrist – he is, after all, his brand’s ultimate walking advertisement.  For me it sums up the three B’s I look for in something that tick-tocks – big, bold, and beautiful.

I was ready to miss the second one altogether.  But with the resolve of someone who has to beat the incessant teasing of a ticking biological clock, I suddenly found myself making the time to the event mere minutes before it would have closed.

HUBLOT presents BIG BANG, HUBLOT’s first ever pop–up store in the world, celebrating the Essence of Art & Fusion, at the Main Atrium, Paragon Mall, Orchard Road.  The event was presented by The Hour Glass.

I was running late. Since I didn’t have time to go to the restroom, I just made a quick check of my reflection on the mirrored wall of Coach. It has served this purpose perfectly well all the time. Haha! It’s just my hair I fuss about.

 

The event is right smack in the center of the mall, yet it exudes elegance. It’s the subdued hues, and of course, the timepieces themselves!

 

I loved this “celing” treatment. It competed with the watches for my attention. I just loved looking up. Haha!

 

I just had to take a snap of the decor. The photo doesn’t do justice to how these folded gray art paper looked stunning in person.

 

BIG BANG… HUBLOT pops up!

 

The Essence of Art & Fusion

Nothing says aspirational quite like ogling at the one–and–only 5–million–dollar Big Bang, covered all over in top quality diamonds.  It felt like hundreds – no, thousands – of engagement rings slammed on to a chunky timepiece.  I wouldn’t be able to afford it.  Haha!  For me, the concept of luxury starts with the words, “entry level.”  Haha!

It is quite ironic that lately when I seem to have been losing track of time, I get a couple of reminders that nothing is more precious than time.  I gave the price tag of the limited edition Big Bang a glance back and a long stare.  All I can say is I couldn’t agree more.

A paper bag on the purple line.

 

I like the attention to details. Even the paper bag handles are engraved with the theme.

 

I think this paper bag would look great in all calf leather. Then I would be able to use it to no end!

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Big bold letters in red

24 06 2012

If there is ever any doubt in your mind what season it is in Singapore.

I’VE LONG claimed in this space that I only shop where they say sale in big bold letters – as in SALE.  And being here in the Lion City, home to Orchard Road, ranked first in the list of 30 of the world’s most famous shopping streets, I’ve come to realize that sale does still come in big bold red letters, though they spell a different word:  GSS (the Great Singapore Sale).

The paradox of it all is that I seemed to have lost all urge to shop.  And when I do, it is to run an errand for family or friends back home.  But for myself?  Nah.  Well, not anymore.  My only little piece of heaven as of late is the second-hand wristwatch stores that dot the stretch of malls along the world’s most famous shopping street.  I fix my favorites with a long, focused stare that pierce right through the vitrines.  But before any of their beauty lulls me into a false state of security I would get by acquiring them, I snap right out of it with the screaming thought, “I cannot afford any of you!”  Haha!

For now, I’m quite happy and content to be able to strut down Orchard Road.  How often can one be in a place touted to be better than, say, Paris?

At Coach, Paragon Mall

 

By the Ralph Lauren store on Scotts Road. I love it for sentimental reasons.

 

Back at Ralph Lauren. I told you I love this store.

 

At Kate Spade, Raffles City

 

My Mama and Sisters-In-Law will be so happy.

 

At Louis Vuitton, ION Orchard

 

Me and mirror panels…

 

My reflection framed by funky timepieces and knick knacks.

 

One of the come-ons at Paragon Mall is live entertainment. This trio was good. I looked at them and thought up three names who can help put up a similar act. “Shall I start singing for my supper?”

 

It’s practically summer all-year-round in Singapore. The only other season is… GSS.

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





From three years ago: FALL is the operative word

14 02 2012

"Two Chairs" (Photo by one of my best friends, The Boy Wonder)

SOMETIMES, I couldn’t help but wonder that there must be a good reason we say it this way:  fall in love.

I guess that for the most part, the fall just happens.  Be it on the very first time you see each other.  Or be it on that one morning (after sufficient time has passed) when you wake up and realize that you just couldn’t be without each other.  When either of these two happens, the falling has started.  Don’t tell me it’s not that simple.  It is.

And I think, there’s nothing much you can do about it.  Oh, there is – fall.

To fall is to descend freely – a free fall, if you will – under the influence, that forceful pull, of gravity.  It’s reckless abandon at its best.  And as you move downward, lower and lower towards the new center of your world, you let go of reason.  You may even succumb to a great deal of things you don’t normally or usually do.  You suddenly pass into a state of being wherein everything seems right in and with the world.  Everything has profound meaning.  You start to care about even the mundane things.  And everything is beautiful.

To fall is to plunge with dizzying speed.  Unfortunately sometimes, while you may have earlier thought that you were plummeting towards that new center of your world, you are actually without direction.  And this is when you realize that you are like falling from the top of a tall tree – hitting every single branch on your way down.  You get yourself cut.  You get yourself bruised.  You get yourself beaten up until, with a resounding thud, you fall flat on the ground – broken bones and all.

I guess that’s basically why we say we fall in love.  It’s because that’s what we actually do.  And when we do, we run the risk of hurting ourselves as we fall.  We do let go of a lot of things because as we fall, we start to care more about somebody else.  We put someone else’s needs ahead of ours.  And probably for the first time, the word “unconditional” rings with truth and meaning.  With the rapid and free descent comes a deeper realization of the strengths that we never knew we had in us.  And should we end up with a broken spirit – not necessarily with broken bones – we are still fine.  After all, that is what healing is for.

To fall is to have mustered enough courage to put your feelings on the line.  And regardless of how it turns out, you will always be a great deal of a better person than from when you took that rapid downward spiral.

Yes, there’s no other way to say it than to say it as it is:  we fall in love.

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved