Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"I think..."!!!

Since last week, K has started using the expression, "I think". It came out of the blue & just like that, he was using it in everyday conversations. Not that he has any deep profound thoughts yet; he thinks simple things like, "I think we should go swimming"....but the expression itself is a big deal - an assertion of his individual self & his mind; and a reminder to us that he's growing up fast!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Being the modern Asian parent

Read this very insightful article in the New Yorker - it's not about parenting at all; but about the science of the mind. Coincidentally, in the same week I read a lot of articles on the superiority of the tiger mom - how a disciplinarian Asian mom raised two very accomplished girls.

Being a modern Asian parent is a tough balancing act, I would imagine. On one hand, we Asians are conditioned to believe - in varying degrees - that softness in parenting is not good. There is the argument that "we had strict parents & we turned out just fine". On the other hand, we have this growing exposure to the western thought of "the parents' job is to instill confidence & love in their child" and their style of treating kids like little adults doesn't come intutively to most Asians - to be honest, I am not entirely convinced it works. Asian parents today don't intend to be the sort who order their child to get A+; but they're also unable to be the sort who sit back and say, 'at least you gave it your best shot' when the child gets a C.

Going back to that article from the New Yorker though, this is probably what really counts:
"He’d been taught to think vertically, moving ever upward, whereas maybe the most productive connections were horizontal. He’d been taught that intelligence was the most important trait. But there weren’t even words for the traits that matter most."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Art galleries at home

Over the weekend, we went to the OH! Open House Walkabout - it's an art exhibit held in peoples' homes and this year the curators chose 5 HDB homes in Marine Parade as the venue of these exhibits. The concept was very cool - to bring art out of pretentious galleries and place it in unpretentious HDB homes associated with middle class heartland Singapore.

The artists drew their inspiration from the Marine Parade neighbourhood (born out of a large government project of reclaimed land, its dolphin sightings, the associated ghost stories and earthquake tremors) as well as the individual home owners & their personalities.

Some of the exhibits were quirky & imaginitive - a black curtain with small peepholes symbolic of the lack of privacy in HDB homes; or an upside-down room with a mirror-floor which gets one confused between reality & perception; or the visually deceptive image of a HDB lift landing. Some of the exhibits were beautiful - I loved the TV-painting in the second home with a lovely music installation in the background. And the paintaing of a team of gold-medallists was gorgeous.

And then there were some exhibits I didn't quite get - a peephole into the room of lonely girl playing piano in a room filled with outlandish stuff.
The tiny cluttered rooms of HDB apartments may not be one's idea of a perfect art gallery (some were not even well lit), but I thought it worked. What did not work, was that the number of people who turned up for the walkabout were way more than what the HDB could cope with; making the whole walk a bit of a drag with a tour guide filling the empty waiting time with some simplistic observations about Marine Parade & the art!

PS: How brave do you have to be to allow hundreds of strangers walk into your living room & bedrooms for a whole weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I don't get why men never drink Diet Coke.

Why do they consume calories for a drink which tastes almost the same? How different is one cola from another, really!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Back to Bombay

As always, the last week of December was spent in India. Every year, Bombay & Pune look different to us - We've been living outside India for long & its interesting to see these new versions of our much loved cities.

Almost every consumer brand in the world is drooling over the Indian cities and its amusing to see their "indianised" products. Wrigleys chewing gum has ayurvedic satva in it apparently and Domino Pizza's tagline is "Khushiyon ki home delivery" (a bit ambitious for a pizza company, no?). There were queues to get into shopping malls & it makes me a bit sad that the mall culture has arrived in India.

I love listening to radio in India; I miss Indian music in Singapore - didn't know that Sheila was such a phenomenon. And then there are the "countdowns" which I love. One of the radio channels had its listeners vote for the Top 10 scams of 2010 and most people had a tough time deciding whether the CWG or 2G scam did the most harm to taxpayers (All the scams have acronyms).

TV in India still sucks. I can't believe Akshay Kumar's experience as a cook in Bangkok makes him qualified as a judge on Masterchef India; and I can't believe how loosely the Indian news channels define "breaking news"!

Insurance is probably the most advertised product ever in India. And probably have the most creative advertising teams in the country. This one makes me smile...