Friday, January 9, 2009

Pampered in Singapore

The airport here in Singapore really pampers the traveler -- and for those with long layovers there is plenty to do. There's a free shuttle into the city -- which takes about 35-40 minutes -- depending on traffic, there are free nap areas, free gaming, massage, a free movie theater with comfortable seats that shows films 24 hours a day, free WI-FI, tons and tons of free internet portals -- and lots and lots of shops.

This is my third visit to Singapore and it is always a pleasure to spend a few hours or a few days here.

Yesterday, I visited the Singapore Art Museum, where there was a new exhibition on modern Korean paintings. One painter, Kim Tschang Yeul, uses droplets of water on his still wet oil canvas to create an amazing transparency. The sprinkles of water give his paintings lots of depth and texture.

Water and oil mix well in this medium.

Before the art museum, I stopped by two temples -- one Hindu, the Sri Krishnan Temple, and the Chinese temple, The Goddess of Mercy. They are almost side-by-side -- located on Waterloo Street in the City Center.

The photo on the right is one of two statues that guard the entrance to the temple. There is a rather large Hindu population in Singapore.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Returning to Timor

Tomorrow I return to Timor Leste after a long, somewhat relaxing, break in the US. I had a chance to hike a few hills and mountains, commune with nature, visit some friends and spend a lot of time with family.

In some ways, it was a difficult visit. My grandmother, the woman who essentially raised me, passed away two days after Christmas.

I was lucky to be able to spend time with her beforehand. She lived a long, rich life. She was 99, but looked much younger. At times, she was amazed at her long life. She told one of her health care workers just a day or two before her death -- "can you imagine living 99 years?"

I would joke with her that she was around before the Bolshevik Revolution -- and then she outlived it. My grandma passed away almost five months to the day that she would have been 100.

My other grandma, who is 91, lives in a nursing home and I was able to visit with her every day. When I first saw her, she was lying in her bed, curled up, eating almost nothing -- and when she spoke -- it was in a whisper.

I was so lucky to see her come out of this -- her appetite came back -- at first I fed her, but she was soon sitting up in bed and eating on her own. She loved for me to push her around in her wheelchair -- and she loves to laugh. It was very difficult to leave her. She is in good hands with my mom.

I think it is so amazing how we humans love to be touched -- I rubbed my grandma's face and forehead -- and held her hand -- I could feel her responding to being touched. It is so vital to human life and re-generation.