Old Lines and New Voyages: Thoughts en route to Jakarta

From Singapore to Jakarta, it is about 1hour 40minutes. I spent the flight crammed into a tiny little AirAsia seat. As I flipped through the in-flight magazines boredly, the spectacular Bromo Massif caught my eye. I’d been here in 2013, and recognised the iconic scene: Gunung Batok squatting primly in the foreground, Bromo simmering lazily […]

Read more "Old Lines and New Voyages: Thoughts en route to Jakarta"

The Hubris of “Eternity”, and the fate of Old Gods

Seeing the fallen columns of Zeus’ Temple today, I couldn’t help but contemplate the hubris of “eternity”. All gods must die: and one day, if they are un/lucky, they return to be sold as trinkets to Chinese tourists. Millenia ago Horus, Demeter, Minerva were once loved, feared and venerated. Today we read about them not […]

Read more "The Hubris of “Eternity”, and the fate of Old Gods"

The Little Stories in a Surrender

​​74 years and several hours ago, Lieutenant General A.E. Percival and his staff, exhausted, spent and broken, conceded Singapore to the forceful and brilliant General Tomoyuki Yamashita, after a breathtaking campaign that was supposed to have lasted 100 days, but took only 70.  The “impregnable fortress” is a rather ripe term for the British to […]

Read more "The Little Stories in a Surrender"

Love after Love

I suppose you were expecting a Valentine’s Day post from me. As is probably apparent, now that the occasion has been deceased for nearly twenty-four hours, I don’t have one. If you have known me longer, perhaps you would be a tad disappointed. I have a history of adopting seemingly ‘anti-establishment’ positions, especially on social […]

Read more "Love after Love"

The Titan of Naples: Contemplating Vesuvius

It’s a bit like taking a picture with a superstar. Except astronomically older. Mighty Vesuvius and me, about a year ago. Set small upon the great flanks of this Decade Volcano, I felt deeply humbled: silenced in contemplation at the sheer scale and history of this ancient, ancient and immense Titan. 1500 years ago this […]

Read more "The Titan of Naples: Contemplating Vesuvius"


Some time ago, I donned the (exoskeleton: long-sleeved shirt, dress pants, black shoes) appropriate carapace of a Working Adult for an interview. I watched a whole population mobilise blearily for work: that daily migration out from our little crannies, as predictable as watching the fruit-bats of Malaysian caves sweep out in great clouds every evening […]

Read more "Atlas"

Work in Progress

Perhaps we are all metaphors of ourselves. Perhaps we start life like sketches, which slowly get filled with with daubs and washes of colour – huge blobs of primary colours, two-dimensional and flat. And then as we progress life anoints us with some shadow and nuance, so we don’t rust so much as weather; we […]

Read more "Work in Progress"