Museum Insel Hombroich – “Museum on the Hombroich Isle”

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A meandering gravel path leads through pastoral fields, where groves of ancient trees whose gnarled branches and hoary boles evoke a sense of reverence and enchantment. Here, Nature is the landscape upon which Man layers his artwork, his creations of … Continue reading

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Aotearoa – The Land of the Long White Cloud

I’ve seen the land where the purple grass grows,

Watched oceans boil as the barbed wind blows.

I’ve seen the land where the dragon’s back rises,

Ridge upon ridge, against the clear horizon.

I’ve seen the land where the amber hills roll,

And Nature frees the fettered soul.

I’ve seen the land where the thunder falls spray,

A curtain of rainbows that shimmer and sway.

I’ve seen the land where the mighty peaks soar,

Head crowned in mist, deep roots by the shore.

I’ve seen the Land of the Long White Cloud,

Where countless stars glittered above a love unbowed.

(c) Mai Chi Tran, 2017

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Save Bukit Kiara & Beauty

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This morning, my husband and I joined several hundred residents and supporters in a peaceful rally to protest against the further development and destruction of Bukit Kiara, a tract of virgin rainforest within TTDI. This is the second such protest … Continue reading

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Music to Soothe the Savage Beast

I’ve hit the replay button over and over and over and over again. I can’t help it. There’s something that reaches out to me, creates a yearning, a desire, an obsession that can only be tempered by listening to its voice. Over and over and over and over again.

The object of my obsession is Michael Nyman’s, The Heart Asks Pleasure First. I first heard this during a high school excursion to the cinema. We were watching Jane Campion’s, The Piano, as part of our English studies. Back in class, we would dissect the plot, character development and the hidden motives of each individual. Mute Ada, whose passions and desires found their voice through her cherished piano, was an anomaly in an era where women were meant to be subservient and demure.

A swirling maelstrom of emotions

The music coruscates through me, igniting a swirling maelstrom of emotions. Soothe the savage beast? In a strange paradoxical way, the music seemed to ‘release’ the savage beast in me. Its sheer potency provided an outlet and by doing so, brought me back to where I needed to be – the present.


I’m listening to it again as I type. I’m imagining my computer keyboard are the piano keys and I’m typing to the rhythm of the music. Now I can’t play a musical instrument to save my life, but for a moment as I pound out these words with my eyes closed, I fool myself into believing that it’s my fingertips creating this magic.

That is, until I open my eyes and see all the typos and red lines across the page. I think I will need to replace my poor keyboard soon.

What song or music piece does it for you?

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A Cup o’ Happy Mood

There’s something about being gently woken from a night’s slumber by the roll of distant thunder and the pitter-pattering of raindrops. The world feels refreshing today, cool and refreshing. Perhaps it’s the body’s joy of emerging from illness, ready to embrace life with full zest again, rather than being enslaved in a torpid state of lethargy and sickness.

It’s GREAT to be well again!

The mist hangs on the outcrop of the neighbouring hills, wending its way up the green valley. My ivory tower is hidden from sight, veiled by a thick, grey curtain. Occasionally one spies the slender spire – no longer flashing brilliant but a dull, metallic grey – as the wind briefly parts the curtain of dewdrops. There’s a cool sprite of a breeze that dances through the green elephant ears, vigorously shaking the giant fronds in mischief.

There is magic in the air. One chances it through the corner of one’s eyes – a glimmer, a flash – but the full gaze fails to capture this elusive spark.

I’m drinking my ‘happy mood’, an enlivening blend of hope, giggles of childhood memories, the lingering scent of a loved one, a fistful of courage and a song of wonder.

This cool sprite is gaining strength. Spurts of energy lifting the tresses of my hair all around me. I can hear its voice now, a hollow sound.

A string of raindrops cling to the stem of an elephant ear, bent over by the force of the wind. Like crystal pearls, they bring back fond memories of a story I had read in The School Magazine – “The Girl Whom the Wind Loved” and this morning brings to my lips, a favourite tune from way back yonder;

“The Gypsy Rover came over the hill, down through the valley shady. He whistled and he sang ’til the green glades rang, and he won the heart of a lady”

The day is clearing, the rain – easing, and my cup o’ happy mood is warming the cockles of my heart.

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“Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”

I’ve only recently discovered Jim Rohn. He is to the mind what Notes to the Universe is to the soul. Listening and reading his words of wisdom, is a gentle reminder how blessed I am with the choices I have in my life.

Here is an excerpt from Jim Rohn‘s The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle.

“The problem with waiting until tomorrow is that when it finally arrives, it is called today. Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. The question is what did we do with its opportunity? All too often we will waste tomorrow as we wasted yesterday, and as we are wasting today. All that could have been accomplished can easily elude us, despite our intentions, until we inevitably discover that the things that might have been have slipped from our embrace a single, unused day at a time.

Each of us must pause frequently to remind ourselves that the clock is ticking. The same clock that began to tick from the moment we drew our first breath will also someday cease.

Time is the great equalizer of all mankind. It has taken away the best and the worst of us without regard for either. Time offers opportunity but demands a sense of urgency.

When the game of life is finally over, there is no second chance to correct our errors. The clock that is ticking away the moments of our lives does not care about winners and losers. It does not care about who succeeds or who fails. It does not care about excuses, fairness or equality. The only essential issue is how we played the game.

Regardless of a person’s current age, there is a sense of urgency that should drive them into action now — this very moment. We should be constantly aware of the value of each and every moment of our lives — moments that seem so insignificant that their loss often goes unnoticed.

We still have all the time we need. We still have lots of chances, lots of opportunities, lots of years to show what we can do. For most of us, there will be a tomorrow, a next week, a next month, and a next year. But unless we develop a sense of urgency, those brief windows of time will be sadly wasted, as were the weeks and months and years before them. There isn’t an endless supply!

So, as you think of your dreams and goals of your future tomorrow, begin today to take those very important first steps to making them all come to life.”

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Inner Core Strength

I’m going through physiotherapy at the moment. Chronic pain had finally reached a level that I could no longer comfortably ignore. Whilst the pain manifested itself over various parts of my body, the underlying cause was weak core strength. Bad seating posture, incorrect running technique and dietary neglect were habitual factors that finally manifested itself through bodily pain.

Pain is the greatest reminder that change is required.

This lack of awareness of one’s own body leads to a misalignment. Sometimes we listen to our body’s own innate voice and correct the misalignment. Other times we ignore it, until it becomes chronic and part of our lifestyle. A passive acceptance sets in and we live a life of pain and discomfort.

Inner core strength is our body’s centre of power and is the source of our stability and balance. Without this, our body’s own biomechanics rely too heavily on movement in the extremities. Therefore we turn to core strengthening exercises, we use tools, Yoga, Pilates, Physiotherapy etc; to build and sustain that centre of power, and to minimize and prevent further pain from occurring.

As it is with the physical world, inner core strength is also a critical factor in our emotional, mental and spiritual well being.

“Unhappiness is a function of misalignment. Misalignment to your core as a result of never contacting it. You can’t think your way to it, nor feel your way to it. We can only transcend to it”

Says Tom.

So how does one transcend to our inner core?

Pain (in every sense of the word) and the subsequent healing journey has taught me a level of mindfulness. Mindfulness of the body and mindfulness of the spirit.

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