Life by Design | 11-170716


Equilibrating Fitness. After a fairly active weekend in Bali, I feel energised as well as aware of the importance of keeping exercise as the opposite of a stressfactor, something that I do not have to spend too much time planning and that keeps me balanced rather than exhausted. I’ll prioritise my natural, antisocial preferences (run/Kayla/swim) and then do classes (fancy yoga/pilates/rock climbing/kayaking/bootcamps/whatever) when someone asks me to come along. Monday-Friday this week I jog the 3-5k to the gym in the soothing dark just before the break of dawn, do my little drill routine on a mat in the sunrise by the pool and finally swim butterfly laps for a whole or half hour, sensing how the movements and water resistance work and stretch my core, leg and arm muscles and posture as well as spur clear thinking and a healthy breathing rhythm. After work on Monday, I go for aerial yoga with an English friend. As opposed to Sunday’s zen session in Canggu, this isn’t at all to do with breathing exercises or spiritual mantras, but purely the technique behind getting into gravity-defying poses facilitated by a hammock. It’s super fun hanging there, awkwardly/elegantly entangled in nylon! An American invention, of course, just as the hip hop yoga session my friend who’s holidaying in Atlanta, joins later in the week. Anything to spice up the ancient Indian discipline. On Friday, work takes us out to the ballgame of teambuilding – netball. A whole afternoon of being dressed in neon-coloured Asian-cutsie T-shirts in a sports hall that’s as steaming as it’s radiant with a cheerful competitive spirit. Saturday is for recovery and a few lazy exercises at home. Sunday I get up at 7 with my flatmates to jog the 11k circuit of MacRitchie with a big group of their friends. Such a beautiful run, blue- and green-coloured, ranging from dusty dawn to deep acidic shades, all filtered by clear golden sunlight.

Urban Flora. In the post this week, I receive the newly-launched fifth issue of my graphic designer and botany enthusiast friends’ magazine, BLAD, on house plants, green fingers and gardening in the city. Along with the neat little compendium of facts, anecdotes and DIY tips, and a sweet handwritten note on a leaf-covered card, they’ve sent me a poster print of a checkered snake’s head (fritillary) – the first piece of decoration to go up on one of my bare white walls, brilliantly combining the desirable qualities of being a personal gift, possessing a special kind of beauty and looking befittingly tropical while simultaneously representing something that thrives in Scandinavia.

Sketching Girls. In my holiday mode last weekend I started drawing a little in the evenings, and this week I add a few sketches to the small pile of differently styled posing female figures that I managed to produce. I’d forgotten how relaxed and happy it makes me – something I used to spend hours doing when I was a child and teenager, imagining I’d want to pursue a career as a fashion designer or women’s magazine illustrator. I should start taking paper and pencils with me on walks for some inspired breaks and captions!

Design Manual. And speaking of design – most of the weekend I spend translating a marketing segmentation and design manual. All elements of this job is something with which I constantly surround myself more or less consciously because they interest me, and yet it’s all fascinatingly new knowledge to me – you can’t go wrong with that mix for a little leisure time activity.

Multicultural City Eats. And speaking of leisure time activities – eating out this week sends my tastebuds around the Singapore globe to places that are now all familiar: lunch at Hawaiian Aloha Poke with an English friend, Mexican dinner at Lucha Loco with a Taiwanese friend, lunch at a Korean joint on Amoy Street with my Indonesian/Thai/Chinese/Korean crew from work, with whom I also have a bland American mall buffet dinner, Saturday brunch at Australian Forty Hands with a friend from Vietnam, Sunday brunch at Australian Luxe Sydney with friends from Sydney, Denmark, Holland, Kenya, and the UK and, finally, Sunday evening takeout from the expat classic PS Petit with English friends – we crouch around the livingroom table in their condo flat with a panorama view of Tiong Bahru, eating our spicy seafood pastas, drinking chilled white wine and watching The Sound of Music.

Spaghetti alle Vongole. The only home-cooked meal of the week is conjured up by my flatmate on Saturday night, when the household gathers around the dining table for a delicious salmon carpaccio followed by fresh yellow pasta with little clams and tonnes of garlic. Chilled white wine. Favourite songs on youtube. Vegan vanilla ice cream with fresh cherries on top for dessert.

Actions, Perceptions, Will. On Sunday I go for a walk along the river in the sun while chatting to a friend who’s dealing with quite a lot of stress and unknown factors of moving to a new continent by immersing herself in Ryan Holiday’s ideas of stoic optimism, believing that our life is controlled by how we choose to act (actions), how we choose to view the world (perspective) and what motivates us (will). We reflect on that for a bit…

Learnings of the Week. The importance of what you are hoping to accomplish, of vessel size for your success and happiness, of the idea of transformation and of finding your way by getting lost, according to my new favourite blogger, Seth Godin. // Still flicking through the summer issue of Monocle every night before falling asleep, I smile at the notion of how the pretty magazine caters to an extremely niche privileged creative class while preaching integration and inclusion of all demographic varieties in their Most Liveable City survey that has affordable accommodation as one of the top criteria – it’s very modern to ask the question, Who Are Cities For? // In Copenhagen, two comedians are doing what they can to make sure that Muslims are an integral part of society – their Copenhagen Model seeks to get a group of immigrant boys interested in comedy and improv theatre. The idea is that these forms of interaction and performance may install a sense of empathy in them and prevent them from becoming radicalised or criminals. // And bits and bobs.



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