Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009

Happy New Year to you and yours
...and be safe over the holiday!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Upcoming Events Around the US featuring Todd Boss

I've been following the work of Todd Boss, who has managed to make his way into my short list of favorite poets. Boss's work has impressed me over and over, and I am very excited about continuing to watch his progress in upcoming years.

Boss has recently released his debut solo poetry collection (he had released a collaborative effort previously) entitled Yellowrocket. In conjunction with that release, Boss will be busy making appearances all over the country, it seems. You can check out his schedule of events for 2009, and if you get the chance to see him somewhere in your area, don't miss it! You'll really enjoy hearing his work.

If Boss's schedule and yours don't quite seem to match, you might like to pick up a copy of Yellowrocket instead. You can read my review of it here, watch his animated poems here, or visit Boss's website for more information.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Remember all that talk...?

Remember all that talk about smart rabbits and three holes?

There is another side to the story...
Maintaining three homes is tiring.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ke Center, Shanghai 2009 Programs

You can get tickets to shows at the Ke Center in Shanghai at their website. In 2009, there will be even more programs lined up for theatre lovers. You can catch more readings, more performances, and more lectures at the Ke Center, so just watch the website for details.

The Ke Center is an excellent place to support the arts, and to keep an eye on some of the up and coming talent in Shanghai. And the programs you will find there are generally quite good quality, and very enjoyable.

If you make your way to the Ke Center in 2009, keep a lookout for me! I'll be there from time to time, keeping up with what's new.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

In a Bad Economy

It is amazing to me to see what has been going on over the past few weeks in regards to the bad economy in the US. I haven't spent much time here (and am now on my way home), but I've heard nothing but bad news from family to family, all in regards to the bad economic situation.

Of course, there is always bound to be one exception, and in this case (as it often has been), the exception is the New York Yankees. In this bad economic situation, the Yankees have now committed $430 billion to 3 players this off season! (And that number might increase yet.) It is amazing the figures that this team is able to spend, even now when everyone else is tightening the belt.

During a few exhibition games that will open the season in 2009, tickets will roll back to the prices that were the norm at the opening of the old Yankee Stadium — that is 25 cents for the bleacher seats, with the expensive seats being just over $1. (During the season, some seats will sell for $2500 per game!) A friend of mine said that on that night you can expect everything else to be priced with an anticipation of what it will cost 100 years from now — $250 hot dogs and $500 beers. What can I say... he's a funny guy.

It is frustrating to a baseball fan to see the Yankees able to buy whatever success they enjoy, especially while everyone else is struggling just to make ends meet.

And, here's the really sick part.... the Yankees' payroll is actually going down in 2009, due to the completion of several big contracts in 2008. Ugh.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

A Mother's Woes

On December 27, you can enjoy the story of the boy who was named "most filial," Wu Xin. Of course, this only comes about after he has gambled everything away — including his own wife! And as if that isn't enough, he tries to sell his own mother too, and uses her supposed death as a way of making a little bit of extra pocket money.

If you'd like to see Wu Xin's story unfold, you might can still get tickets for the performance at the Esplanade Theatre. Performance time is at 8 pm.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

I hope you and your family are enjoying a wonderful holiday season, and that Santa's been good to you!

(And if he hasn't, please don't blame him. That much air travel in such a short time makes anyone cranky. Trust me.)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Half Marathon

On New Year's Day, there is a half marathon coming up in Houston. Someone we know is planning on joining in the event, and it has been fun reading along as she trains for it. I have been hearing her talk about her training, and hearing the milestones she hits is pretty exciting.

And, by the way, today is her birthday too! Happy Birthday. silken! And I hope the extra wisdom and experience gained in this extra year helps you while you prepare for the big event!

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Monday, December 22, 2008


At NTU, there is an annual competition for Singapore's emerging talent. Impresario 2009 is coming soon to NTU's campus, and there will be more than $10,000 in prizes to be won!

Impresario has gained national recognition as one of the prime avenues for new talent in Singapore's music, dance, and performing arts scene. One of last year's participants in Impresario, Huang Jing Lun, has gone on to enjoy a measure of success in Taiwan.

You can sign up now to participate in the event. Who knows... maybe you'll get your shot at fame, just like Huang!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Tale of 4 Cities

Near the Ke Center (home of some of the good stage productions I've seen this year) on Kai Xuan Lu, you can visit A Tale of 4 Cities. It is a newly opened Indochina restaurant.

3rd Floor
613B Kai Xuan Lu
Shanghai, China

Stop in and enjoy a delicious meal at A Tale of 4 Cities, and maybe catch a show at the Ke Center while you are there. It will make for a very nice evening out.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hort Park

Last week when I was back in Singapore, I spent a day with some friends walking from the new Hort Park on Alexandra Road. We started out at the new place, and all of us found it very nicely put together.

From the Hort Park, we began our walk eastward, crossing the big bridge over Alexandra Road, and then continuing along on the elevated steel path constructed up amongst the tree tops. We walked on to Henderson Waves, a beautifully constructed wooden bridge that lets you descend to a point on Mount Faber, where you can continue the hike. (We did, anyway!)

The new parts of the path are really very nicely done, as is the Hort Park. I was impressed with all of the facilities, and was reminded of how good Singapore is at putting technology to work to allow Singaporeans to enjoy nature, even within the city. It is truly a city that exists in the jungle, instead of a city that has simply displaced the jungle. The "clean and green" image of Singapore is much more than just a stereotype, it is the reality. Seeing the way they've set up the Hort Park and the surrounding facilities made me feel very proud of my little island-garden home!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Reminder: The Deer and the Cauldron

The Deer and the Cauldron began its run at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center yesterday. It will continue through January 10, with nightly performances at 7:30 pm.

Tickets cost from 100-280 RMB. It's not too late to get yours now.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

30 km Run

On Jan 18, you can join a 30 km run in KL. Registration forms are available for download here.

Venue: Tapak A, Lake Gardens, Kuala Lumpur. It should be a good event to participate in. Sign up early... and good luck!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Days Living With an Airline Hostess

At the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, in the studio, you can catch the production of Days Living with an Airline Hostess. The show runs now through January 3. Performance time is 7:30 each night, and tickets begin at 100RMB.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chinese Opera at the Esplanade

You can catch a Chinese opera performance of The Dream of Han Dan on Saturday, 20 December at the Esplanade. This Yue opera piece will be staged at 8 pm, in the Recital Studio. It is produced by the Chinese Opera Institute.

Lu Sheng is a down and out scholar with dreams of fame, wealth, and power. He is on his way to the capital to sit for the exams that will begin him on the road toward achieving those dreams. As he makes his journey, he stops at an inn on an old Han Dan street, and there has an encounter that might just change his life.

Lu Sheng's dream in the inn is the last piece recorded in Tang Xian Zu's famous Four Dreams cycle. It should provide material for a very entertaining evening at the Esplanade on 20 December.

The performance will feature both English and Chinese subtitles. It is 105 minutes long, and there will be a 15 minute intermission.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Rock Music in China

I am a rock music fan, and have enjoyed discovering China's rock music scene over the past 7-8 years. Living in Singapore, there's not a very large rock scene, and most of the Chinese music here is very "pop" in sound. When the world of China's rock music opened up to me, I was very excited. There are several bands that I really enjoy, and have found that Chinese musicians do some very interesting things with instrumentation and style.

Cui Jian is known as the father of Chinese rock. I've recently read an article about him in a Chinese magazine, and came across this interesting piece on the web that I thought might be of interest to many readers here. Enjoy!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Good to Be Home

My present stay at home here in Singapore is a short one, just touching ground upon coming back from Shanghai, and then turning around to go to the US, it seems. Actually, I have about 10 days here, but it's just about over now, and has flown by quickly.

It has been good to be back, even briefly, getting to see my friends and family here before heading off to see friends and family in my other home. It's also been good to sit down and have some good local food! I always miss it when I am away. I made sure to fill my menu over the past 10 days with things like
laksa and carrot cake (the first meal back)
tie ban dou fu at the coffee shop near my home
XO fish noodles at Holland V (wow! delicious)
naan at the Curry Garden (Turf Club)
lots of home cooked curry that a friend brought by
and plenty of home cooked meals at my godmother's house

It makes me sad to be going away again so soon!

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Show Must Go On

I was pleased to see that the annual program of Dickens on the Strand continued in Galveston this past weekend, despite the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Ike. It is good to see the community doing its best to move forward, and seeking to go on with life despite the fierceness of the recent storm.

Hang in there, Galveston!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

In Silence

You still have a couple of days to catch the drama and opera "In Silence" at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. The show will be running through the 14th, with ticket prices beginning at 100RMB.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The International Guitar Festival 2008 (Singapore)

A couple of years ago, I got to attend a concert by Juan Martin during the International Guitar Festival in Singapore. It was a great concert, and the location was really beautiful too. My sister's family was here, and we all went together and thoroughly enjoyed the evening out.

We are right in the middle of the International Guitar Festival here in Singapore this week. I am in the midst of a very hectic time, and have not gotten to attend any of the performances yet, but it is definitely something worth going to see, if you can.

This week at the DBS Auditorium, you can catch
Italian guitarist Andrea Dieci (tonight)
French guitarist Jeremy Jouve (Friday)
Spanish guitarist Angel Romero (Saturday)
Serbian guitarist Uros Dojcinovic (Sunday)

All shows begin at 8:00 pm. If I can get things together to attend either Saturday or Sunday, I will make my plans to be there too!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back to Routine Soon

I've spent a little time over the past couple of days getting the new blog at Tai Shan together. I've just posted an index there that might be of interest to readers of this blog. It includes a long list of entries across the range of my blogs that are China-related. It was a little tedious to put together, but it is nice to have it all in one place now. (Even though I know it is not 100% thorough.)

I'll be back to my regular routine around here now, trying to post a little something every day.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Tai Shan

Tai Shan, in Shandong province, is not only beautiful, but it is one of the most historic sites in China. Nearby Tai Shan is Qufu, the hometown of Confucius. And Confucius is just one of China's famous people to have climbed Tai Shan and engaged with the land from that perspective.

Tai Shan was the center of the imperial cult in China for about 2000 years. For this central role it has played in China's history and culture, it is classed a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. The UNESCO website says of Tai Shan that "the artistic masterpieces found there are in perfect harmony with the natural landscape. It has always been a source of inspiration for Chinese artists and scholars and symbolizes ancient Chinese civilizations and beliefs."

I've borrowed the name of Tai Shan for that of my newest blog, which is attached to the literary ezine Sloth Jockey. Visit my Tai Shan for some thoughts about my experiences in and with China.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Christmas Carol around the world

It's the time of year when a lot of troupes are putting on the most famous Christmas play of all, A Christmas Carol. TNT Britain will be taking this show on the road (and over sea and air, I suppose). You can check their schedule here to see if there will be a show near you.

TNT Britain is one of my favorite performing groups. I have yet to see one of their performances miss. If you have the opportunity, do make sure and catch them when they come to your neighbourhood!

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Celebrate December program of events

At the Esplanade, there will be a series of events to celebrate the upcoming holiday season (which will stretch through early Feb here in Singapore, with the Chinese New Year coming up too). You can have a look at the schedule here and see what might be of interest to you.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

looking for a new home

During my most recent stay in Shanghai, one of the highlights was getting to meet the group that does an Open Mic session for both poetry and music. I really enjoyed the interaction with the people who attend, and was very excited to get to know them a little.

The event has been held at Creek Kitchen for some time, but that is in the midst of change now. When I met with the gropu earlier this week, it was in a coffee house in Xin Tian Di, which is not exactly ideal for such a session. We didn't get to have a full Open Mic session, but did discuss possibilities for a new site to host the event.

I'll be away from Shanghai for a short while, but will keep up with developments via email. Watch for the details here, when they are finally ironed out.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thoughts on Departure Day

One of my friends always tells me that "a smart rabbit has 3 holes," referring to my 3-homed life that I live at the moment. Today, the time has come again to make my trip from one home (Shanghai) to another (Singapore). I'll be heading back to Singapore, but as it turns out, it is going to be a shorter stay in that home than I expected. I've got to head to my third home on the other side of the globe within the next week or so, and so will be away from Singapore for a little longer than expected.

The stay in Shanghai this time around has been fun and profitable. I feel like my language skills advanced much more on this stay than I first thought they would. I've gotten to read a lot of Chinese poetry with my teacher, and gotten my feet wet with classical Chinese language. I can remember a day about 16 years ago when I told some friends that I'd like to learn the language to the level that I could read the literature in the original language. The two responded differently, one merely laughing, and the other saying very coolly, "That's ambitious." It was rather deflating, as I was just beginning to study the language then.

Well, here I am 16 years into my studies, and I still have not quite achieved that level of reading. But at least now, that goal is in sight. I am not there, but I am getting there. And I am very pleased that I have begun dabbling with translating Chinese poetry too, with varying degrees of success.

I'm presently planning my next stay in Shanghai to be sometime shortly after Chinese New Year. I'll do more language studies then, and probably sit for the HSK exam in May. My teacher thinks I could already pass level 8 with a good score, and probably achieve passing marks on level 9 too. I plan to put in a good deal of effort over the next 6 months and get to a place where I can actually manage a good score on level 9 by May 2009. (There, I said it... I guess that makes it official.) If I achieve that, I will be very, very pleased.

Looking back over the past year of splitting my time between Singapore and Shanghai, I have to say it has been time well spent, and a very good experience for me over all. I am very thankful I have been able to do this — it is something that seemed so unattainable at one time, but turned out to be so natural when the time arrived and it was done.

Funny how life works out that way, isn't it?

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Beautiful Sunday, Dec 14

Beautiful Sunday

Catch Ruan Expressions, performed by the Ruan Ensemble at the Esplanade on December 14, 3 pm.

Admission is FREE!

The performance will be in the Concert Hall. It is a 1 hour show (no intermission). Ding Xiao Yan will conduct the ensemble.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Xiamen International Marathon

The Xiamen International Marathon is coming up on Jan 3. There will be some big names there running, and it looks like a really fun event to watch.

Having recently been to Xiamen, I can say this is a pleasant location for watching a marathon. The weather is always great there, and I think it would be a good site for the run.

The event looks like it will be a very big-scale one, something very much worth watching and enjoying.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

December Cycling Events in Malaysia

Here are some events you might want to watch for this month in Malaysia, if you enjoy watching top-notch cyclist compete:

6-7 Dec
TPS MTB Challenge 2008
in Sabah

13-14 Dec
Kejohanan Berbasikal Sempena Pesta Pulau Pinang
(Road Cycling)
in Penang

26-28 Dec
Kejohanan Mountain Bike Terbuka Terengganu
in Terengganu

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fujian Specialty: Sha Cha Mian

When I was in Fujian last week, I really enjoyed trying the local specialty called Sha Cha Mian. It is a peanut-based thick soup, with just a little bit of a spicy twinge to it. You get to choose from a wide selection which seafood items you want to have included in the soup, and then it is all added together with noodles and veggies. It comes out to be a very nice dish! For my Sha Cha Mian, I added in a shellfish called "hai li" and some shrimp, and it made a very nice combination. My two godchildren were excited to get to add duck's heart to their noodles, being the ever-adventurous sorts. We all tried the duck's hearts, and they were quite good too.

"Sha Cha Mian" is literally translated into "sand tea noodles." We asked around trying to find out why the noodles are named this, but didn't really get an answer. The response we got when we asked "Why do you call this sha cha mian?" was something like, "Because that's it's name."

Oh well. It is really good stuff, and not to be missed when you travel to Fujian province! As with any seafood dish we had while there, the seafood was really fresh, making for an excellent meal. If you are a seafood fan at all, I think you will really enjoy travel in Fujian! And if you are at all like me, I would suggest that you stop in the small noodle shops and try what the local people are eating instead of only looking at the bigger establishments that most tourists frequent. The food is better, and the prices much more reasonable at the local shops.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Love Story of Sam and Sally

Don't miss out on the upcoming staging of The Love Story of Sam and Sally at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. Shows will be December 4-6.

It is billed as "a karaoke journey of a Hong Kong style love story." What could be more fun than that?

Book tickets online here.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Shanghai Marathon

The Shanghai International Marathon is coming up in 2 days' time!

Obviously, it is too late to register, but you might enjoy watching the event on November 30. Check for details at the website.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Kuala Lumpur International Buskers' Festival

It will be bright. It will be noisy. It will be exciting.

In December, the annual Kuala Lumpur International Buskers' Festival will take place in KL once again. This is a huge street entertainment extravaganza — one you won't want to miss if you have the chance to see it.

When:Dec 2008
Where:Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours:5.30pm-10.30pm

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Health Museum

In Houston, you will find some of the finest hospitals in the world, especially those dedicated to treatment and care of cancer patients. It is fitting, then, that there is a Health Museum in Houston, The John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science. It is an interactive center where you can learn more about the history of medical and health care in one of the country's finest cities for medical research.

The Health Museum
1515 Hermann Drive
Houston, TX 77004

PHONE: 713.521.1515

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dream in Shanghai

A Midsummer Night's Dream, always a favorite, will be coming to the stage in Shanghai. It will be staged December 4-7 at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. Tickets run from 100 to 200 RMB.

Sadly, that begins right after I depart from my present stay in Shanghai, and I am going to have to miss it. But if you are going to be around, I'd think this would be a very fun one to catch!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Putrajaya 12- Hour Walk

The Putrajaya 12-hour Walk 2008 is coming up on 13-14 December. You can download a registration form here. The walk will take place from 8 pm to 8 am. It should be loads of fun, and Putrajaya is a great place to walk. I especially love the views at night.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cooking Classes in Shanghai

The Kitchen at Huaihailu offers cooking classes for all learning levels, and for all types of cuisine. The school is located in the old French Concession, at House 40 (ground floor), 1487 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai 2000031.

I've met some of the staff from the school, and was quite impressed with their approach to it all. They offer a very wide variety of courses, including both Western and Chinese styles. There are several guest chefs who come to teach their specialties at the school, and so many of the courses are very focused.

Whether you are a beginner or already an accomplished chef yourself, there is a lot to learn at The Kitchen at Huaihai Lu.

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Friday, November 21, 2008


While staying in Fujian province, I have plans to finally visit the Hakka Round Houses. These amazing buildings represent a traditional style of architecture dating back some 1000 years. The lifestyle maintained there is very traditional, with many people having spent their whole lives there oblivious to the way the outside world has moved on.

It should be loads of fun seeing this place!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Seeing a New Place

It's been a while since I have had a proper holiday to a new location. Ironically, that seems to happen when you live a migratory lifestyle. You get into the routine of traveling, but it isn't so much for holidays and seeing new locales.

I will be heading to new territory today, uncharted on my map. I'm off to see Fujian, a province in the far southeastern corner of China (the one nearest Taiwan). It will be a nice break, and a nice chance to see something new.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Deer and the Cauldron

Beginning Dec 18 (shortly after my departure from Shanghai this time around), you can catch The Deer and the Cauldron at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Theatre. It will run until Jan 10 (not quite long enough for me to catch it on my next trip, I am afraid!).

Tickets run from RMB 100 to 280. You can visit this site for a little more information.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hysteria in Shanghai

This past weekend, I saw one of the best performances I have ever seen. Hysteria is a funny, funny play, and I don't think I have ever seen such remarkable timing from a troupe of actors and technicians. The use of the actors' bodies, lighting, sound, and even audience participation, all work to make the show top-notch. The script is brilliant, but would also be very easy to botch. The group from Inspector Sands didn't botch it at all, but played it out perfectly.

But the play is not only funny. It also has a lot of depth to it, and will certainly make you think long and think deeply.

If you get a chance to see this play inspired by T. S. Eliot's poem of the same name, don't miss it. This really was one of the best performances I've ever been to (and I've been to a fair number).

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Monday, November 17, 2008

A Christmas Carol in Houston

You can catch the most popular Christmas play of all times, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, at the Alley Theatre from November 21 through December 28.

A Christmas Carol is always a fun play to watch, no matter how many versions you might have seen over the years. If you get a chance, get your family together and join in the fun at the Alley Theatre. It will be sure to be a fun night out for all.

By Charles Dickens
Adapted and Originally Directed by Michael Wilson
Directed by James Black
Previews start November 21, 2008
Opens November 22, 2008
Ends December 28, 2008
Hubbard Stage

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Penang Jazz Festival

The Penang Jazz Festival is coming up on 4-7 December at the Bayview Beach Resort. This is Malaysia's most popular jazz festival after the Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching. Lots of tourists gather to get a feel for the local musical talen, and just to relax and enjoy the show.

Some names and events you'll find on the programme:
Denise Mininfield
Jimmy Boyle Young Talent Jazz Competition Finals
“Jazz With A Heart” Gala Dinner
Community Drum Circl
Local and international artists on the three stages
A variety of workshops

Tickets to performances on the main stage are RM53.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Nutcracker in Singapore

The Nutcracker is coming to Singapore!

12 to 13, 17 to 20 December 2008
Esplanade Theatre
8 pm

Ticket Prices: $48, $68, $88, $108, $138

Tickets can be booked at Sistic. "Sweet 16" tickets are available for full time students and NS men

SISTIC Hotline: 6348-5555
Or email Singapore Dance Theatre at

If you are lucky, you can buy tickets at the door on performance nights.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Poetry Reading

The most recent poetry reading at Creek Kitchen was a lot of fun for me. I read a poem I'd written that seemed to fit in with the theme set for the night, transitions. After reading it I was explaining the form to the other participants. One of the regulars, a guy from Taiwan, is a professional guitarist. He looked it over and said, "This one could be set to music." We all talked about it, and our Taiwanese friend took out his guitar, played some "mood music," and one of the other guys (an American) read the poem again, fitting it in with the music. It was, to me, a lot of fun!

This was the last session at Creek Kitchen. We will be moving to a new venue for the next session. Keep a lookout here. I'll definitely post the new location. And I will look forward to seeing you there!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Announcement of Rescheduled Performances

The Grand in Galveston suffered a good deal of damage in Hurricane Ike. They have been working overtime to get the place back into operating condition, and are planning to reopen in January 2009 for performances. They have announced the dates for all rescheduled events, and you can view that information at their website.

This is a good opportunity to support the community as it rebuilds. If you haven't purchased tickets to view shows at The Grand yet, maybe doing so now would be one good way to help them get back on their feet and back into the routines of life in Galveston.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good XinJiang Cuisine on Nan Dan Lu

On Nan Dan Lu, you can find the newest branch of Yeshari Xinjiang Restaurant. The food is very nice, and the atmosphere is quite comfortable. It is usually a little crowded, so you'll want to be prepared to wait for a table, if necessary (I didn't have to wait when I was there, but there is often a queue.)

I enjoyed the lamb on a pita-type bread. The bread alone is very good too, and I didn't see until after I'd ordered that they also serve it with a plain dip, if you are not a fan of mutton. The bread and lamb are both specialties of Xinjiang cuisine, so it is well worth trying.

My favorite dish of the day, though, might have been the eggplant. It was cooked just right, and all of us enjoyed it very much.

The Nan Dan Lu branch of Yeshari is at number 147. There are several other branches, including one just down the road on Xie Tu Lu. I have heard that the atmosphere is not always as nice as this one, but that the food can be even better!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Drama Reading at the Ke Center

Over the weekend, I had the chance to attend a reading of Martin McDonagh's play The Pillowman. It was a Chinese translation (nicely done), and the readers were very good.

The stage was set up with the three characters involved in the early scenes sitting front and centre, while the narrator sat off to the side. Later, the narrator played the fourth character in the drama, with one of the other actors taking over as narrator, and the action moved to the left side of the stage then. Of course, in a drama reading, "action" is a bit of an overstatement. It is more that the readers relocated, and so the audience's attention followed.

Having said that, I was impressed with how active this reading was. The voice is much more than just a container for words and ideas. These actors really used their voices to perform, and it was impressive. Equally engage was the use of facial expressions, gestures, and body language. You could see that the text was alive for the readers, and they did a nice job bringing it to life for the audience as well.

There will be more dramatic readings coming up at The Ke Center. If you get a chance, it is very well worth attending.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Todd Boss Upcoming Poetry Readings

I was very excited when I first learned about the release of Todd Boss's poetry collection Yellowrocket. Boss is one of my favourite contemporary poets. In conjunction with the release of this collection, he is giving several readings in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I just received an email about the events. Since it isn't exactly in the vicinity of Shanghai, I won't be able to attend the readings, but thought I'd put the information up for those who can.

Boss's poetry is fun to read, and especially fun to listen to him read (I subscribe to his podcast). If you like hearing poetry read aloud very well, then Boss is someone you will enjoy very much. And if you get to hear him read in person at one of the upcoming events... I envy you!

The following information is taken from the email I received. (You might check in at Boss's website for updates. It looks like there might be a few more events listed there.)

November 17 (7pm)
Micawber’s Bookstore, Como and Carter Avenues, St. Anthony Park

November 20 (7pm) with Tim Nolan
Loft Literary Center, Washington Avenue, Minneapolis

December 16 (7pm) with a long list of other great local poets
University Club, Summit Avenue, St. Paul

There will be books available at all these readings, and we’ll probably go out for a celebration drink after each, depending on who’s around.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Biomedical Thriller Onstage

You can still catch Secret Order at the Alley Theatre in Houston now through Nov 23.

Biomedical thrillers are often fun to read and watch, but I don't think I have seen one onstage. Clyman, the plays author, doesn't necessarily go in for that label place on the play, seeing it instead as a dark play "with a science backdrop". Either way, it sounds like a fun night at the theatre!

The Neuhaus Stage, where this play is performed, is set up nicely, with the audience seated all around the stage. This sort of viewing is always lots of fun, and I think it allows for very innovative staging techniques.

Here are the details, if you'd like to catch the show:
By Bob Clyman
Directed by Charles Towers
Previews start October 24, 2008
Opens October 29, 2008
Ends November 23, 2008
Neuhaus Stage
TUE - THU, SUN evenings 7:30 PM
FRI and SAT evenings 8:00 PM
SAT and SUN matinees 2:30 PM

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Chinese Art Gallery Tea & Cafe

Tucked into the alleys off of Taikang Lu, you can find many tea houses, cafes, restaurants, bars, and art galleries. I have a favorite spot there, the Chinese Art Gallery Tea & Cafe at Number 34. It is a bright spot, and can be very quiet in the afternoon. I've spend some afternoons there working in the quiet space upstairs, and found it pleasant to sit and daydream, read, or perhaps even doze off, when I've finished up whatever work I have to do. The art pieces hanging in the upstairs room are very pleasant, perfect company for both work and daydreaming.

The tea and fruit juices I've had there are all quite nice. The owner of the spot makes her own cookies, and they are both tasy and nutritious. She always gives a couple away free if you order a drink, and is quite proud of her handiwork (and rightfully so).

If you go into the alleys off 247 Taikang Lu looking for this spot, the best way to do so is to go in from Taikang Lu itself at the first entrance after Ruijing Lu. You won't have to walk too far before you find this place on the left. Take a book with you (unless you prefer daydreaming and dozing off) and plan on spending a quiet afternoon. It is a perfect place to relax in the middle of the big city.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

SAF Yacht Club, Sembawang

The SAF Yacht Club in Sembawang is a pleasant spot to sit in the afternoon with friends and have a nice cup of lime juice. I've been there often with different people, and we always enjoy the quiet spot to chat in a breezy setting by the sea. It is not the most picturesque location you will ever see, but the view is not all that bad, and it is a pleasant, cool, and quiet spot.

At night, there is sometimes a live band. I have not actually eaten there, mostly only going for an afternoon or late night spot to sit for a refreshing cup of lime juice, but I have heard that the food is not too bad. It is a good spot for cyclists to stop and cool down too, though they don't allow you to bring your bikes into the area near the jetty anymore. You'll have to make sure and bring your lock if you plan to stop here nowadays (pity, because I hate leaving my bike out of sight in places like this).

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Xi Bei Lang

I've passed by the Hong Kou branch of Xi Bei Lang many times, but only recently finally ate there. It is mostly BBQ, and the food is quite nice. I was surprised to see how much the people at the tables around me could eat — it is very filling, but it seems they had more and more food coming to the table all the time!

The condiments bar at Xi Bei Lang is nice. You have lots of different sauces available to accompany your flame-grilled goods. There were several spicy types of chili, and I took a good mix of those. The red cut chilies were good, as was the Guizhou-style chili sauce.

You can find the Hong Kou branch right next to the football stadium. If you take the lightrail, you can alight at the stadium, then walk north, and it will be in the first strip of shops as you walk. (No. 500 Jiang Wan Lu)

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Something Pretty

It's been a while since I took this picture of a dragonfly in Singapore, but I thought it was pretty. The contrast in the greens of the trees and the red of the dragonfly doesn't show up nearly enough here, but maybe just enough to give you a feel.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Booking Air Tickets in China

If you are traveling from China, you can book tickets at really good prices from C-trip. I recently bought tickets to travel from Shanghai to Xiamen at the end of the month, and got the tickets for a little less than half the normal rate. I think that as long as it is not peak season, it is not hard to find deals like this.

Also, I made a rather stupid error when booking the tickets, but caught it right away — unfortunately, it was after I'd paid for the tickets. I immediately called the number on the email. The staff was quick to help, and extremely polite. And it is no problem if you don't speak Chinese, as they speak English too. So far, I am very happy booking through C-trip. It is some of the best service I've ever seen in China.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival

It's that time of year again... time to get ready for the Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival

This year's theme is Celebrating Cultural Diversity." Films will come from all over the world. Watch for more news on the screening of films from 26-29 November in various venues in KL.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Faust at Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

On Oct 26, I was at the final show of the recent run of Goethe's Faust. I actually very much prefer Marlowe's version of the Faustus myth, but still enjoyed this show very much. As a text, Geothe's version is a bit melodramatic for my tastes (which is part of why I prefer Marlowe — what an amazing wit the man possessed!), but the actors did an excellent job of bringing the story to life. It was some of the best acting I have seen in a while.

The three main characters, Faust, Gretchen, and the devil, were wonderfully enacted, and the audience was clearly appreciative of the actors' skills. The play was a bit long, and slow at some parts, but these three made it work all the same. The ending was a beautiful montage involving these three actors, and I thought it to be one of the prettiest effects I have seen on the stage in a long time.

The choice to use traditional costume and sets might have made the play seem slower in parts than it had to. But, with the mix of some special effects for the Devil's tricks, and a hugely extravagant spectacle of dance and music appearing from time to time, it all worked out quite well. As with most shows I've seen at the Dramatic Arts Centre, this one was well done, and certainly worth the cost of admission.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Something Else

Something Else is an event kids won't want to miss. It is at the Ulu Pandan Community Club Theatrette, running 10 to 15 November. You'll get to see The Players Theatre, Singapore's leading children's theatre company, follow up on their previous successful events, including Ferdinand the Bull, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Alice in Wonderland, and Roald Dahl's "The BFG".

Tickets are $20 per person, or you can get a family package for $68 (4 people, including at least 1 child).

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Friday, October 31, 2008

My "Scary" Story for Halloween

Being as it is Halloween, I suppose I should tell a scary story. Hm.... here's the best I can do at the moment.

I've found over the past couple of weeks that something has changed in my experience in China. In the past, wherever I went, if there was English on a signboard or something, I couldn't keep from reading it. As I'm sure you've seen on other blogs that talk about life in China, that can lead to some very amusing experiences with the English language. It gets all twisted and garbled up, and comes out as something very fun to engage.

What has changed for me is that I've begun to notice English words less, and find myself reading the Chinese more and more. I guess the Chinese words have (finally!) become more "real" to me through my language studies, and so they stand out to me as language now in a way that didn't seem to happen much before.

As a result, I've come across some "scary" revelations. I thought that I knew Shanghai quite well, but it seems that there have been some things that remained "secrets" that were kept from me, just because the written language didn't really click much in my mind in the past. Now, I'm finding that it is working in my head much like the spoken language did when I first came here — allowing me to hear the language used in a way very different from what I am used to in Singapore.

The "scary" part is what I have learned about the neighborhood in which I live. I knew there was one massage parlor near my front gate, as it has "Massage" written in English. I wasn't entirely sure whether "massage" is really the best word for their main business, but I also didn't feel much like going in to check it out. Since I've been noticing the Chinese words more lately, I've found that there is an "adult health" shop (which may be a massage parlor, but may also be something else) at the back gate to my housing estate too, and a block of about 10 similar establishments along the path where I run several times a week (along with a slew of shops advertising "adult health care products" — none of them being the kind of spot you'd stop in to pick up your prescriptions or daily vitamins). It is funny that since I noticed the wording on the sign at the back gate, I've started seeing such shops everywhere around where I live. It is the kind of place one might not think would be displayed so openly in China, but the signs and ads are actually quite prominent (even if the wording is somewhat euphemistic), making me wonder how I ever missed them in the past.

The scary part of it all is that I had no idea that my neighbourhood was surrounded by such "interesting" shops. Who knows what I might find next.

One way or another, it has certainly given me an incentive to keep up my language studies.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Joe's BBQ

Alvin, Texas, is not the sort of place most people would drive to for a good meal. In fact, in my growing up days in Alvin, eating out for a nice dinner meant leaving our small community for some of the more happening places in the area.

But there is one place that can't be beat. Joe's BBQ. When I am visiting, we almost always either go for a meal at Joe's, or buy BBQ home from Joe's. Hardly anything on the menu will ever be a miss with us. The ribs are the best around. The chicken fried steak is always good. Their special BBQ baked potatoes are wonderful (and very filling!).

It is always good to visit Joe's BBQ. It seems that every time I am there, we always bump into old friends from my hometown, which is not surprising since just about everyone in town eats there from time to time. I have even bumped into Nolan Ryan there a few times, though it has been some years since I saw him there. I guess our social schedules just run in different directions these days.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cinderella at the Majestic (Shanghai)

Cinderella completed its run in Shanghai last week. The final show, on Tuesday night, played host to a very large, appreciative audience.

The Broadway hit was well-received in Shanghai. Lea Salonga made a beautiful Cinderella — beautiful to both eye and ear. The songs were fun, the pageantry was amazing, and the whole spectacle of the theatre was just right.

The magical elements of the story were very well staged. Early on, when Cinderella was singing in her kitchen alone, there was a nicely staged piece where she walked away from her shadow, and the shadow kept performing its own transformations in the background as she sang. It was very cleverly done, and you could hear all the "oohs and aaahs" of the audience. But nothing was more amazing than the transformation of Cinderella's rags into her gown for the ball. It was so well-done that it was not hard at all to suspend one's disbelief for this show.

I am glad that Cinderella made a stop in Shanghai. It was definitely a show worth seeing!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Waiting for Godot

I got to catch a showing of Waiting for Godot over the weekend, a contemporary Chinese version. It was a lot of fun, with several really hilarious segments. The cast was quite young, but still managed to handle the piece quite well.

I was overall impressed with what I saw at Ke Center, the venue for the event. I've got tickets for a couple of more activities that will be held at the center over the next few weeks, and am really looking forward to seeing what they will be like. If their production of Waiting for Godot is typical of their work, then it should be a lot of fun!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Chong Qing Ji Gong Bao

There are several branches of Chong Qing Ji Gong Bao in Shanghai. It is really good food, with hotpot selections from spiciest to mildly spicy. I've had the medium and spiciest, and neither is overly hot. Even if you aren't a big fan of spicy food, the flavor of this one is good enough to go for the mildest of all. That's not always true of Sichuan food, so this is a good one to try.

This hotpot is a bit different from the traditional Sichuan hotpot. Here, you eat as much of the meat that is first served to you as you can (or would like to), and then add water to start cooking the other ingredients you've ordered to go in the hotpot. I've been with bigger groups, or with just 1 friend, and either way, it is a good spot to eat. You can order as much or as little as you like to go into the hotpot, and it will still be a nice experience. When there are just 2 of us, I usually just go for 1 vegetable and an order of 'fen tiao' and that works out just right when added to the chicken (or beef or pork), onion, and celery base. But of course there are lots of other things you can choose from. And whatever you choose, it's almost sure to be a hit here.

There are branches all over the city, but I most often dine at the one on Wan Ping Lu or the one on Xie Tu Lu (very close to each other, but with a very different atmosphere at each spot). At both locations, I've had a good experience every time I've been.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekly Poetry Open Mic Session at Creek Kitchen, Shanghai

I was at the weekly Open Mic session at Creek Kitchen in Shanghai for the first time last week. It is a great location for this kind of gathering, on the 6th floor of Creek Art on Guangfu Lu near Datong Lu. The decor is quite pleasant, situated in an old warehouse turned arts centre. The food is good, and the company was very nice!

The poetry open mic session is a weekly event. Stop in at 423 Guangfu Lu every Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:30, and bring something to read. (There's also material available there, if you don't want to read your own work.) It is a lot of fun, setting up a very non-threatening situation to do some poetry reading.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Curry Garden

The Curry Garden, located at the old Turf Club (Singapore), is a really nice spot to stop for lunch. Although it is outdoors, it is in a breezy, comfortable location, and makes for a pleasant spot to eat. And the food and prices are very good. On my last trip to The Curry Garden, I had the vegetarian naan set (one of my favorites). With a drink, the whole meal cost less than $4! And it is very, very filling. It's hard to find such a good deal these days, so I was very pleased.

There are lots of nice eating spots at Turf City, but The Curry Garden has to be one of my favorites. It is a perfect spot for lunch, and I especially like it on weekdays.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Lake Pend Oreille

I haven't been to Lake Pend Oreille before, but found the facts shared at silken's blog about the place to be quite fascinating.

Just how deep does this lake need to be to house a Loch Ness-type monster and to test submarines? Well, it is 350 m (1,150 feet) deep in some spots. That is amazing! The depth of the lake make it acoustically similar to the ocean, so some Navy testing is still done there.

The wildlife that lives in and around the lake is extensive. The scenery, they say, is spectacular. It sounds like the perfect spot for a vacation, if you ask me.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Poetry Reading

The recent poetry reading at xiao xiao was a fantastic event. Lynn and Jen both did a great job with the reading. Each has a rich, resonant voice, perfect for reading poetry. Xu's approach was, to me, the more somber of the two, while Jen had a bounce to both voice and body that brought a lightness to her sometimes heavy ideas. Jen has a tendency toward clever, disruptive twists of language, and that made her reading quite fun.

The location at xiao xiao was completely unexpected for me, and I heard several other first-timers express the same feeling. It's in a little dark alley off of Fuxing Lu, and there is no sign on the door to announce that the place even exists. It gave it a nice cozy feeling for the event.

It was a lot of fun mixing with the crowd there. I was excited to meet up with Lynn and a couple of her fellow Fullbright scholars, and hope to meet up with them again soon to hear more about their work here. It was refreshing to hear about their experiences of their first month in Shanghai.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Hey Kids and Parents!
a-tishoo is a program for 3- to 6-year-olds, running from 30 Oct thru 9 Nov.
It is a visual fantasy... all about having a cold!
You're sure to enjoy the show, put together by ACT3.

Tickets are $20 per person.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pesta Raya

The Pesta Raya Malay Festival of Arts will be hosted at the Esplanade beginning this week. The festival runs from 24 Oct through 2 Nov. Events will include a concert by Indonesia's popular band Ungu. It will be their first time in Singapore. Tickets are $55 per person ($35 concession price for students). It will be a good way to end the month, as the concert is on 31 October at 8 pm.

There are lots of other exciting events to be held at the festival. Here are some you might want to watch out for:
A Love Story between Jazz and Gamelan (Oct 24 & 25)
Sidang Burung (Oct 24 & 25)
Fatskunks (Oct 26)
100% Cilik (Oct 27)
Infinita (Oct 31)
Perempuan Itu Rawanhiba, Rawanhiba Itu Cinta (Nov 1)

There will also be numerous free events throughout the course of the festival, including singing and dancing in various traditional Malay styles.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Upcoming Running Events in Malaysia

There are still a few big runs coming up in Malaysia this year. Here are some you might want to be aware of:

25-26 Oct
Sarawak Adventure Race 2008
Kuching, Sarawak

2 Nov
Genting Trailblazer

9 Nov
Powerman Malaysia
(includes cycling)

21 Dec
Malakoff 25km, Johor Bahru 2008
Dataran Bandaraya, Johor
organized by Pacesetters

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Riders Cafe

There is a nice little dining spot in Singapore called The Riders Cafe. It is nestled in a nice little spot, so scenic it is hard to believe you are in Singapore when you are there. There are lots of horses, and sometimes you might see someone riding past as you eat.

Besides the beautiful scenery, you'll enjoy the food there as well. I had the chef's special the night I was there, a spinach ravioli. It was very good. The highlight, though, was probably dessert. When it's called "Death by Chocolate," you know you can't miss with me. I was really glad we shared it though, because it is a huge portion!

Overall, The Riders Cafe is a nice spot for a quiet and enjoyable meal. It is located near the old Turf Club. Just turn in off of Eng Neo Road (you can't miss the turn off when you are on Eng Neo Road headed to the PIE).

Riders Cafe
51 Fairways Drive
6466 9819

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

A (Last Minute) Reading

I just received an announcement via email about an upcoming event that looks very interesting. I will just post the whole announcement verbatim (with thanks to Monika for sending it along):

Please join us for the third round of A (Last Minute) Reading @ le
petit xixoao. As usual, it's an informal (and informally bilingual)
reading and discussion of experimental writing & translation to be
followed by free-form discussion. Includes delicious xiaoxiao snacks!

Our featured readers are Shanghai-New York poet Lynn Xu, currently in
Shanghai on a Fulbright grant, and visiting Los Angeles poet and
translator Jen Hofer, currently in Shanghai on pleasure, but willing
to do "business" for an evening (to our pleasure). See below for more
info on both poets.

Time: Monday, October 20 – 7:30pm
Place: xiaoxiao: 626 no.2 Fuxing Zhong Lu, between Maoming Lu and
Ruijin Er Lu (closer to Maoming. Turn into the lane and make your
first left - the building is to your right.)
Cost: 25rmb includes one drink + snacks
Questions? call David at 134 0211 2418 or email him at

Jen Hofer's recent publications include an epistolary and poetic
collaboration with Patrick Durgin, The Route (Atelos, 2008), a
translation of books two and three of Dolores Dorantes by Dolores
Dorantes (Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions, 2008), lip wolf, a
translation of Laura Solórzano's lobo de labio (Action Books, 2007),
and Sin puertas visibles: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by
Mexican Women (University of Pittsburgh Press and Ediciones Sin
Nombre, 2003). Her forthcoming books are from the valley of death
(Ponzipo), Laws (Dusie Books) and a book-length series of
anti-war-manifesto poems titled one (Palm Press). She has published
poems and translations in numerous small-press publications, including
1913, Aufgabe, Black Clock, Bomb, DISASTER, The Brooklyn Rail, eough,
Jacket, Mar con Soroche, Primary Writing and War and Peace. Jen Lives
in Los Angeles, where she teaches poetics in the MFA Writing Program
at CalArts, works as a Spanish-language interpreter with the Los
Angeles County Superior Courts, and is happily a founding member of
the City of Angels Ladies' Bicycle Association, also known as The
Whirly Girls.

Lynn Xu was born Shanghai. She co-edits Canarium Books with poets
Josh Edwards, Robyn Schiff, and Nick Twemlow. Her poems have appeared
in Best American Poetry 2008, The Walrus, Tinfish, 6x6,Eoagh, and
forthcoming in 1913: A Journal of Forms, Court Green, andZoland. She
currently lives in Shanghai, on a Fulbright, and she hates to admit
it, but she really misses her books and, well, all the other things
floating in a storage room somewhere in lower Manhattan.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

8 Femmes in Shanghai

The drama 8 Femmes will be staged at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Theatre on Fengxian Road. The show begins on Oct 31, and will run through Nov 23. That's lots of opportunities to catch this popular program.

Tickets begin at RMB100, and you can book online.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008


Windswept Seafood Restaurant is one of my grandparents' favorite spots to go for an nice meal out together with the whole family. It is one of those spots where we gather for any of a variety of special events, which included Grandpa's 80th birthday a little over a year ago.

The seafood is good there. It is hard to beat the buffet, but there are also a lot of platters to choose from. My favorite, when I don't think I can manage a buffet, is the fried shrimp. It is good.

The staff at Windswept is always very nice too. We've always enjoyed our meals there, and I'm already looking for the next visit with my grandparents!

Windswept Seafood Restaurant
(979) 233-1951
105 Burch Cir
Freeport, TX 77541

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Singapore Sun Festival

The Singapore Sun Festival - Singapore's premier music & lifestyle festival!

250 international artists and celebrities
90 events
10 days

Celebrate the art of living well!

People to look for at the Singapore Sun Festival:
Robert Redford
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
Murray Perahia
Sergio Medes
Charlie Trotter
Fredrica von Stade
and you can also see
the Los Angeles Philharmonic

There will be many indoor and outdoor concerts, films, and events, along with excellent food and wine. Make your plans to enjoy the show(s) from 17-26 October.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TNT Britain: Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew at the Lyceum Theatre, Shanghai

The performance of The Taming of the Shrew at Shanghai's Lyceum Theatre (57 Mao Ming Lu) this past Saturday was brilliantly put together by TNT Britain. The troupe travels to Shanghai once a year, but this year we were lucky enough to host them twice (they were here for Hamlet in the Spring too).

The Taming of the Shrew is one of those plays that can be quite uncomfortable for modern audiences (actually, it has always offended some viewers), but the troupe managed it in such a way as to redefine it in their staging. The audience ate it up. You could hear loud laughter throughout the performance, and several times the actors provoked spontaneous applause for an especially good display of talent (like Richard Keightley's "racing" through the description of Petruchio's dress at the wedding — very funny!).

TNT Britain travels all over the world, and I imagine they are as warmly received everywhere they go as they are here in Shanghai. I am eager for their next visit, and wouldn't mind it one bit if they made their 2 performances here this year a norm!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Camera Obscura in Singapore

At the Esplanade Concert Hall, you can catch the Camera Obscura concert on 29 Oct at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $58 (concession prices available).

The music of Camera Obscura has been described as "poppy," "catchy," "confident," "jaunty," "shimmering," and "folk-twee-pop."
If that sounds fun to you, then you won't want to miss this event.

Book tickets through Esplanade or through Sistic.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Menu at Ginger Cafe, Shanghai

At a party at Ginger Cafe on Fuxing Lu last week, an expansive new menu was unveiled. The food is very well prepared, and the atmosphere is fantastic. Ginger Cafe describes its fare as "panoramic cuisine with a Japanese attitude." You can tell someone put a lot of thought into that little tag, because it is very accurate. There are plenty of sushi-type items on the menu, along with more European-style fare too. I think my favorites were the quiche and the salmon dish. Very good stuff!

The atmosphere at Ginger Cafe is quite lovely, especially this time of year. The weather was just perfect for the party, making the outdoor patios an ideal spot to sit and sample all the fare on the new menu.

There is also a branch of Ginger Indochine on Taikang Lu.

299 Fuxing Xi Lu
Between Huashan Lu and Gaoyou Lu
(86 21) 64339437


Lane 248 Taikang Lu
(8621) 5465 7355

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kayne West

Here's something that looks like fun!

Kayne West Glow in the Dark Tour
in Singapore 29 October
Singapore Indoor Stadium
8 pm

You can book your tickets at Sistic. Prices range from $88 to $188.

This is making its way across Asia now. After Singapore, it will hit Beijing (Nov 1) and Shanghai (Nov 3).

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Friday, October 10, 2008

October Eco Films in KL

Palate Palette in KL will be screening shows for the 2008 Eco Film Fest this month. Palate Palette is located at 21 Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, 50200 Kuala Lumpur. You can take the train to Raja Chulan to get there.

Here's what's on the agenda:

October 16, 9-11 pm
Anything Goes, Anything Shows! (Part I) featuring What Happened to Green? and Wasiat

October 23, 9-11 pm
Anything Goes, Anything Shows! featuring the film A Crude Awakening

October 26, 1-7 pm
Junkyard Sale (a hands-on recycling effort)

The film screenings are free, so make sure and pop by to have a look at what's going on. It should be a fun time for all.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dance Festival

At the Esplanade, beginning tomorrow, you can enjoy the Dans Festival 2008. The festival will run from 9-19 October, and there is a great lineup of events available. You can watch the Russian Ballet Gala on Centre Stage on Oct. 15 and 16, or move over to the Theatre Studio to see Albert Tiong on 10 Oct at 8 pm. Perhaps the Recital Studio's 17 Oct Cambodian and Malaysian collaboration between Hun Pen and January Low is more to your taste?

Whatever sort of dance you enjoy, you're almost sure to find it at the Dans Festival. All of the venues at the Esplanade will be filled with events for the 10-day festival, beginning today. Check the website for more details on the events that interest you.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Faust onstage

At the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, Faust will be staged from Oct 18 - 27. Tickets run form RMB 100 to 380, and are listed as "hot selling."

I am planning to be there, and really looking forward to it. I've not seen any version of Faustus staged before, so it will be quite a treat to finally have the opportunity to see what will be done with it onstage. You can watch for my reflections on the show here in the next few weeks.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cuckoo in Shanghai

Just off of Chun Shen Lu, you can visit a nice Hunan restaurant called Cuckoo. The food is not bad, and the atmosphere is very amusing. Mao Zedong's hometown is in Hunan, and the restaurant uses that in its advertising. The place is set up with very traditional style buildings, and all the staff wears the drab green army-style uniforms that were the norm in China 30 years ago. It is kind of a cute idea, and I couldn't help but smile when I went in.

The food at Cuckoo is not as spicy as you normally would like for Hunan cuisine, but the flavor is not bad otherwise. It's worth a visit, just to enjoy the cute concept underlying it all.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Blonde Bombshells of 1943

The musical drama Blonde Bombshells of 1943 will be showing at Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel (Singapore) 29 October - 2 November. The play is by Alan Plater, and will be performed by the British Theatre Playhouse. There is lots of great music from the 1940s, including hits by Glenn Miller and Fats Waller. It really looks like lots of fun!

Tickets range from $105 to $125. If you want to have champagne cocktails before the show on 29 or 31 Oct, tickets will range from $145 to $285. Seats at the Charity Gala will cost $350 per person, or $3500 per table.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Motley Crue in Singapore

It's not to late to get your Motley Crue tickets for just S$150 (prices will go up to $160 on the day of the show).

See Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, and Nikki Sixx live at Fort Canning Park on 16 October. Tickets are on sale at Sistic.

This is a show you won't want to miss!

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Catch it Before it Ends

Winding down this month at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts is the Houston Collects: African American Art. The exhibit, held in the Caroline Wiess Law Building, will end on October 26, 2008, so you'll need to make plans to attend very soon.

Houston Collects: African American Art examines the institutional and private efforts at collecting, documenting, and preserving African American art during the 20th and 21st centuries in Houston. There is a very diverse grouping of pieces at the exhibit, making it very worth seeing.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Wizard of Oz — book early!

You'll definitely want to book early to avoid disappointment on this one:
The Wizard of Oz is coming to Singapore!

From October 24 - November 15, the Drama Centre at Victoria Street will play host to this popular musical, presented by I Theatre Ltd. Shows will be at 10:30 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm, or 7:30 pm (see schedule for the times on the day you are interested in), and tickets begin from $28.

Check the Sistic website for more details, or call at 6348 5555. Book early. Tickets are sure to go fast!

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

KL Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

The KL Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour lets you see KL through the glass rooftop of your bus. And, as the name implies, you can get on and off the bus at the various sites that might be of interest to you.

The bus will take you to all the major sites in Kuala Lumpur, including KLCC, Twin Tower, Bintang Walk, Merdeka Square, KL Tower, KL Sentral, Lake Garden, Petaling Street, Jamek Mosque, Sri Mariaman Temple, St. Mary's Cathedral, and many more. That's lots of sight-seeing and shopping to do in the city!

Seats are RM19 for locals, RM38 for tourists. Children below 5 are free, and ages 5-12 pay RM12 for locals and RM 17 for tourists.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008


On October 6, Brothers will be showing at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. Tickets begin at RMB100, and are selling quickly. You can book your tickets online.

The show runs through Oct 12, so there are a few chances to catch it. It looks like a good one, at one of my favorite locations.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

8-11 October: Dangerous Obsession

N. J. Crisp's psycho-thriller of a play, Dangerous Obsession, will be performed at the DBS Arts Centre in Singapore 8-11 October 2008. Showtime is 8:00 pm. Bob Corwin will be directing this Stage Club performance.

You can book tickets form Sistic, with tickets priced at $32 on Wednesday, and $38 for all subsequent performances ($19 for students).

The show looks like it could be a really gripping mystery, full of lots of twists and turns. Book your tickets now.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

The Singapore Biennale 2008

From now until 16 November, you can view Singapore's premier international contemporary art event. The exhibition is installed at the Central Promontory Site at Marina Bay. We are already about 2 weeks into the event, and I have heard lots of good things about it.

This year's Singapore Biennale features artists from all over Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Names include Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Willy Koh, Deborah Kelly, Isak Berbic, Herman Chong, Hans Op de Beeck, Anthony McCall, Sherman Ong, Isaac Montoya, Faisal, Samra, Fujiko Nakaya, Ki-bong Rhee, and Felice Varini.

The theme for the Singapore Biennale this year is "Wonder."

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Before You Go Galavanting

Before you go galavanting about the globe, you might like to have a look at the online travel magazine Galavanting. It is a travel magazine written by women for women. There are some very interesting articles there, with lots of good tips and advice.

The women who contribute to Galavanting are well-traveled, and write well too. I only came across the magazine recently, and I am very glad I did. I've been enjoying it ever since I found it, and I think you will enjoy the articles there too.

This is the only women's travel magazine I have ever come across. It is not exactly what I expected when I first started reading. In fact, it is better! I like the blend of articles there, and have especially enjoyed some of the travel tips and perspectives of women who travel often.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

The Pristine Veneer

Gotta do whatever it takes to keep up the pristine veneer.

I think I understand what they were trying to do when they designed the hospital to feel more like a shopping mall, but sometimes the incongruity is just too close to the surface.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Borneo Marathon

The Borneo Marathon will be held in KK on 12 October. That should be a very pretty site for a nice long run, with the towering Mount Kinabalu visible from the trail.

The Borneo International Marathon is planned for in October so that it is comfortably scheduled between the Penang Bridge Marathon in June and the Singapore Marathon in December.

You can still sign up, though the window is very tight now (another couple of days). The sign up fee is RM100.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Welcoming the Stranger

The feeling of being a stranger is not unfamiliar to the frequent traveler. It's a concept that has been on my mind a lot lately too. That made it a sure thing that this event would catch my eye:

Welcoming the Stranger in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

1 to 3 October 2008
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Hosted by the Australian Catholic University
Contact name: Dr Bronwen Neil; Dr Geoffrey Dunn

Plenary speakers:
Dr Anna Silvas, University of New England
Dr Wendy Mayer, Washington DC

The period from late antiquity to the early middle ages was one of great social movement, of both individuals and people groups. How did people respond to demands made upon them for hospitality and charity?

Organized by: Australian Early Medieval Association

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mizuno Wave Run (KL)

On October 5 in KL, you can join the Mizuno Wave run 2008 at Padang Merbok (Kuala Lumpur). You can download the entry form and other relevant information (including a route map) here.

The event is organized by the Pacesetters Athletic Club, a group that promotes running as a healthy lifestyle.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Live Music Competition at the Melting Pot in Shanghai

For the first time in Shanghai, Chinese bands will join the worldwide live music competition. The contest will be on 28 September in Shanghai at the Melting Pot on Taikang Lu, and the world champ will win US$100,000.

If you've never been to Taikang Lu, that is something you should remedy soon. It is a unique area of town, with all sorts of very artsy shops and venues. The buildings are mostly older, but the atmosphere is generally bright and lively, giving it a good feel of yesterday meeting today.

At the Melting Pot, there is a regular open mic session each week, with a parade of young local and foreign musicians who entertain the audience.

The Melting Pot
288 Tai Kang Lu,
near Sinan Lu

Open 8:30pm-1am
Price Less than Y99 per couple
Accepts International Credit Cards

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Polo Bar, Singapore

Every Thursday night at the Singapore Polo Club, starting at 7:00 pm, you can enjoy a nightly drink special. The musical soundscape is hosted by DJ Chris Ho of LUSH FM 99.5.

You can come early and watch the Polo from 5:30 pm, and then enjoy the drinks and music.

The dining and bar facilities are open to the public, so non-members are welcome!

Singapore Polo Club
80 Mount Pleasant Road
Singapore 298334
Tel: 6854 3999

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Subscribe to Expat and get free wine

If you subscribe to The Expat magazine in Singapore, you can enjoy $120 worth of wine (2 bottles) from Rubicon Reserve Wines. Your subscription to the magazine costs $53.50 for 12 issues. The Expat includes loads of information that many foreigners living in The Lion City find very useful and entertaining.

Rubicon Reserve Wines specializes in wines from Australia, New Zealand, France, and Italy. They have a reputation for digging up some of the world's best wines and bringing them right here to our home in Singapore.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Nutcracker Ice Ballet

The Nutcracker, performed by St. Petersburg State Ice Ballet, will be at The Shanghai Grand Theatre in the Lyric Theatre on October 5 at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at RMB180. The tickets are selling fast, so make sure and book now to avoid disappointment!

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Applying for a Visa to China post-Olympics

I've been waiting for an announcement regarding the changes for the regulations to apply for visas to China have now that the Olympics are over. With the end of the big event, travel in and out of the country will be much less hectic, and the reversion back to a less rigid system is welcome for those of us who make the trip often.

In theory.

I was at the embassy today in hopes of renewing my multiple entry one year visa. Not possible. And, on top of it, it all still requires the same rigamarole that was needed during the Olympics, with an added difficulty — you can no longer get your visa on the same day you apply, even if you are willing to pay the fee to expedite it.

It looks like we'll have to stick to the more rigid regulations a while longer. One can only hope that it will revert back to pre-Olympic conditions again soon.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ASH in Singapore

Ash will be performing in Singapore October 2 at Fort Canning Park. If you get your tickets before October 1, you only pay $95. On October 2, prices go up to $110.

Ash will be performing live at the Singapore Beer Festival. The first 500 tickets will receive a free ticket to the Beer Festival.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One of the Best Ways to Defeat Jet Lag

Jet lag can be a real killer on long trips, and it can feel like "jet lag squared" when you do a turn around trip to the other side of the globe. One key to surviving a trip like that, if you have the option, is just to not really adjust to the time zone that you travel to. Catch your sleep when you can, and just survive through the hours you have to be awake. That worked out nicely for me on my recent turn around trip to the US. I managed to catch short naps here and there when I was able, so waking at 4:30 every morning wasn't quite as painful as it is when you are really trying to adapt to the new time zone.

It isn't always possible to avoid adapting to the new time zone, though, and that means finding the best ways possible to adjust quickly and painlessly. For me, I generally force myself to stay up until a little after my normal bedtime in the time zone in which I am located. If I go to bed at the normal time, I am almost certain to wake up very early in the morning (usually around 2). If I can stay up at least half an hour past my normal bedtime, and preferably a full hour, that helps a lot.

But perhaps the biggest help in recovering from jet lag is to spend time in natural light. Go outdoors during the day, and let your body know that this is the time to stay awake. Last week when I returned home from that crazy trip around the world, I went running in the middle of the afternoon. It was hot, and I was very tired, and so I ran rather slowly, and not very far. This helped me adjust to the idea that this is daytime, the time I am supposed to be awake. In addition, a little light exercise really helps loosen up joints that have grown stiff on the long flight. In many ways, a long walk or short run can be very helpful in defeating jet lag... but don't do it on a treadmill. Get outdoors and soak up the natural light. That is one of the most important ways to defeat jet lag.

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