PEr FYI

March 21, 2020

The Last Supper, Milan…one of art history’s greatest triumphs and biggest tragedies

The painting covers over 40 sq m of the wall of Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie and many think it may be Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest painting. Because it was painted using an experimental oil-based medium it gave the painting subtle tonalities but the downside was that the paint surface quickly deteriorated. And so for centuries it was subjected to invasive restorations and heavy-handed retouchings.

Leonardo’s masterpiece depicts Christ revealing that one of his disciples will soon betray him; horror and disbelief are etched on every face but Jesus remains resigned. (spoiler alert: It was Judas, who da Vinci depicts as spilling salt on the table). Each figure is unique and memorable, down to the smallest details. There is no doubt that The Last Supper is one of the world’s most poignant and beautiful works of art.

The phenomenon now known as overtourism is frustrating everybody: People don’t just want to see The Last Supper: they want the picture for social media to prove it. Many don’t look at the painting at all; they focus on their smartphone screens. Some even turn their backs, beam their finest Mona Lisa smile, and take a selfie.

Only 30 people allowed in at a time, so it is a challenge to get a ticket if you don’t book well in advance.

Do not to take conspiracy theories and Dan Brown novels too seriously….there are no hidden symbols. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 29, 2020

Cats, Singapore…Too slow, too tame, too threadbare

Filed under: Activities, Entertainment, Musical, Singapore, theatre — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 4:42 pm

From the moment I bought the tickets, I was filled with regret, thinking this musical is going to be hideously dated, boring, empty, meaningless, unfunny. For the entirety of the two hours I sat watching Cats, there’s no plot and no apparent point, but I travelled home afterwards humming the one tune – Memory.

Although the anthropomorphised felines, in their spandex leotards and furry leg warmers, prowl the aisles and glare in the eyes of the punters but somehow the show, with its trademark junkyard set, does not feel like an immersive experience. Whilst the music sometimes jarred a little, the choreography of this production was spectacular. However, there was several songs that turned out to be pleasant surprises

Cats is a musical unlike any other. If you are looking for more traditional West End or Broadway music and a clear plot, you perhaps ought to go elsewhere.

The “memory” lives again. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 8, 2020

Trio Original, Taipei…a snug drinking den

Looking for a watering hole with charm? Trio Original is the kind of place that’s primed for a pub crawl.

Staff are enthusiastic and eager – which I’d expect from a specialist bar – serve up a wide range of cocktails. It was a bar that make me feel welcome: superior bartenders and bouncers be damned. If you’re looking for somewhere quiet, pleasant and aesthetically pleasing, Trio Original is the absolute dream.

Just don’t blame me for the headache tomorrow. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 2, 2020

Disney Magic of Animation The Exhibition, Singapore…it tells a story

There is  much to admire here. Disney’s drive, the museum demonstrates, was relentless. Having mastered the basics of animation in the ’20s, Disney kept pushing at the possibilities.

Disney entered a new era with his first sound cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” the third starring Mickey Mouse. We take it for granted now, but at the time the work meant selecting an expensive technology, developing a technique for coordinating music and image, and convincing distributors the cost was worth it. Nothing about it was easy. By the time he created his first feature-length work, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” he had transformed the very notion of animation. Other exhibits cover the war years and postwar animation movies

Disney lovers, rejoice! The exhibition is almost leisurely in relating its narrative, and while children will quickly pass by many sections that will fascinate their elders, there are more than enough thrills for everyone.

This just may just be the happiest place in Singapore. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 1, 2020

The Cher Show, New York City…a mixed bag

If you grew up on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour in the mid-’70s, like I did, there is probably nothing I could write here that would keep you away from The Cher Show.

There were too many character arcs and agendas to serve — three Chers, several careers, 35 songs. All the songs were there – “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”, “If I could turn back time,” “Believe” – it’s impossible not to karaoke along. Stephanie J. Block’s spectacularly commanding performance – her take on Cher – goes beyond impersonation into respectful homage, and while the vocal likeness is uncanny. We get to witness all of Cher’s struggles and triumphs, but are not especially moved by them. Unlike Mamma Mia, the songs rarely tell the story. The costumes are simply sensational, ranging from the nostalgia trippiness of the 1960s to the famous feathered get-up of the 1986 Oscars. This, to me is just a fancy but empty jukebox musical.

I’m still left wondering what The Cher Show is exactly. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 31, 2019

Eranda Herbal Spa, Koh Samui…guaranteed rejuvenation

Filed under: Activities, Massage, spa, Thailand, Travel — Tags: , , — PEr @ 7:16 pm

Phone off, fluffy robe on.

If you’re looking to escape the city and relax surrounded by nature, you can’t go far wrong with Eranda Herbal Spa – a cocoon of sheer relaxation. It’s the ideal place to shut the door on reality. What this really means is you get a huge treatment room filled with dappled light and delicious scents. You fight as hard as you can to not snore as you receive a full body massage – your weary, city-worn muscles will thank you for it.

A visit to Eranda Herbal Spa will revive any weary soul. You’ll be so damn relaxed you’ll be floating all the way back to your hotel. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 14, 2019

Majesty Spa, Batam…This was a mistake

Filed under: Activities, Indonesia, Massage, spa — Tags: , , , — PEr @ 5:09 pm

You know when you had a good massage when you leave the spa with a happy, fuzzed-headed sense of calm to the point of feeling slightly zombiefied — to the extent you had to be careful not to walk into traffic.

However, my very first massage in Batam had a sting in the tail. The place itself is clean and neat, and the rate is not that bad. However, the massage was mediocre, to say the most. The masseur didn’t quite know exactly what she was doing. I told her before the massage started that I wanted her to focus on my lower back, neck and shoulders at least 75% of the time as this is where I experience the most pain and the reason I came in. She completely ignored this and barely touched any of the knots in my back.

Overall I was just happy to leave! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 12, 2019

Thai Imperial, Johor Bahru…that’s my hard earned money given to a stranger for nothing.

Life in Singapore can be tense. We gird ourselves for overcrowded commutes. We hunch over technology all day long, sit through stressful meetings. Every once in a bit, I permit myself a break and head to Johor Bahru with tired feet, tight muscles and shoulders in need of soothing.

Thai Imperial is in a house and they have three reserved parking spots right in front of their door but the therapist is below average and not very good at finding the spots that need work and nor working them thoroughly enough. There was no stretching or anything. I was hoping to sooth my muscle pain at my neck / back, but got 0 difference.

That’s my hard earned money given to a stranger for nothing. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 5, 2019

La Favela, Bali…get there

Nightlife can take many forms, but for Balinese and visitors looking to let off a little steam, nothing quite does the job like a night at La Favela.

The setup: There are semi-indoor gardens, artificial waterfalls and ponds, alfresco tables and chairs. Indoors the interior design is really amazing, a real work of art where antique furniture lines its floors, plants seem to be (artfully) overgrown and even old bikes and a Volkswagen van rounds off the appearance. There are cosy, intimate spaces that will have everyone spilling secrets within the hour.

Will I fit in? This is a night out for anyone and everyone, so the crowd is a real mixed bag. Oh, and more beautiful people than at a Victoria Secret’s casting. A word of advice, though: you will probably feel most at home here if you aren’t too far past your early twenties.

La Favela does a fantastic job of setting itself apart from the rest of the spots in Bali. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 28, 2019

Kitaichi Glass, Otaru, Hokkaido…put glass on the art world map

I am fascinated by glass ever since my visit to Kitaichi Glass Museum in Otaru, Hokkaido.

Over the years since it opened in 1901, Kitaichi Glass has earned world renown, with a collection of unrivaled glass works Japanese style, country style, and western style where you can view all the ways that light can sparkle and shimmer. The popular tableware and ornamental animals in motifs representing Hokkaido’s nature seem to be screaming, “Look at me!”

Kotaichi Glass has certainly raise the profile of glass as an art form. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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