Hermes, Nobel Prize, Collider Exhibitions at ArtScience Museum

Last week I had a chance to catch a few exhibitions at the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. They are: Leather Forever by Hermes exhibition, Ideas Changing The World (about the Nobel Prize) and Collider (yep, the Large Haldron Collider built by CERN… if you read Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons before, this thing was a major element in the plot, and it is real…). Anddd… it is free admission for the first two! (check out the museum site for the ticketing and opening periods http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html)

I had looked forward to visiting all 3 of them so much, as someone interested in leather, art, science and in general stuff and affairs…

We all know and have heard about Hermes, the household brand of luxury leather bags (as someone who is not really following haute couture, I could even vaguely mention the names of the bags… like Birkin, Kelly…). I kinda had some expectations about the exhibition… lines of its famed bags… some history…

True, it is like that – and so much more. The historytelling is packaged in the 12 rooms that take place in the fingers that lend the museum its famous lotus shape. As we move from one room to another, we transcend to another realm that emphasizes on a particular aspect/ feature/ philosophy of the company, thanks to the thoughtful space design, innovative exhibition design and apt (hint: fun) interactive parts 😆 all these help create an immersive world for the audience who want to get more of the taste of Hermes – the high-rank fashionistas and the fashion noobs alike. True enough, I saw an impeccably stylish female tourist taking pictures of every single bag on display (forgive me for the stereotyping, but this is the first time I saw someone who might rather spend time shopping at Marina Bay Sands being too engrossed with specimens in a museum). And I have enjoyed it myself as well.

Here is a teaser photo from the exhibition. I should not spill the beans too much, as it takes away some of the delight derived from unexpectedly seeing something for the first time😆

A glimpse to the quirkiness of the display

 

The Nobel Prize exhibition showcases the history of the prize and its recipients over the year – the notable ones that we read in the encyclopedias when we were young (Marie Curie, Guglielmo Marconi…), and the relatively less heard or more recent ones (Francis Crick, Sydney Brenner…). I came to admire the vision of Mr Nobel, who included literature and economics as two of the fields to be awarded along side physics, chemistry, medicine and peace-making. Scrolling through the interactive monitor, I also marvelled at how people dedicated their lifetime for a cause, something that has brought significant impact to the world.

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The 4-page (real?) Alfred Nobel’s will on display. Standing in front of it, I was overwhelmed with a moment of immediate reverence.

 

Coincidentally, Collider seemed to be like the extension of the Nobel one, as it starts by showing the big figures of the modern physics like Niels Bohr and Schroedinger… (who also received a Nobel Prize each). To put the collider in my own inept words: it is a ring-shaped tunnel in which electrons are accelerated to a very high speed and by doing that, more sub-atomic particles are generated, and then examined. This project has led to the confirmation of the existence of Higgs bosons, or what commonly dubbed by the popular media as ‘the God Particles’ and are believed to be the particles which give mass to matter.

Unlike the first two exhibitions, Collider gives a more toned-down display, purposefully giving a sense of being in its lab in Geneva to the audience. The passageway is recreated like that of the corridor of the office. It’s humanizing one of the massive, pivotal projects in the human history.

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Interesting trivia facts found in the notice board of the ‘office’:)

 

It was indeed a good afternoon at the museum:)

The Wonder of A Tea… and Its Copywriters

A few days ago, as I was waiting for the time to go to sleep after a round of jogging and a dash of shower, I decided to do something that I had not done for a while: sipping a cup of tea. Drinking tea is usually my favorite company when I am rushing work in the middle of the night; it is as if my inner being can find solace when that warm liquid flows into my mouth cavity, throat and my stomach…… hmm… Moreover, what’s good about tea is that it has no calories;) and does not leave your mouth feeling dehydrated. Finishing some work targetted for the day and setting my mood to retire to bed, I rummaged my stash of teabags and found Gryphon Tea Company tea bags that were given as teachers’ day souvenir last year.

This year’s teachers’ day was around the corner, so I was amazed for a split of second that it had been one year since I received them (how time flies!). And for a moment I was wondering if they were still drinkable, then I remembered that tea leaves lasted very long. So I decided to get the ‘Hanami’ one.

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You see, it is quite rare for me to drink such a fancy tea. Usually my daily choices revolve around ice tea without sugar, black tea, oolong tea, Chinese tea, ocha… But what on earth is ‘Hanami’? Apparently, as the packet suggests, it is ‘Japanese sencha (not even sure what ‘sencha’ is) with cherry blossoms…’. I started imagining how it tasted like. I was just hoping that it did not taste strong and ‘spicesy’ (because I can’t really take chai tea). Then I flipped the packaging and read some more…

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Created by our master blenders, this green tea blend celebrates the coming of Spring and the beauty of Japanese Cherry Blossoms.

I was impressed with the sentence. It made me want to try this tea more. How would a tea that ‘celebrates the coming of Spring and the beauty of Japanese Cherry Blossoms’ taste like? And it was created by their ‘master blenders’ ! I imagined a group of taste artisans being involved in the process of mixing tea leaves to get a perfect, unique combination… which now was in my hand.

The taste should not go so wrong, I thought. So I took my chance.

 

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My cup of Hanami tea… with some specks of dust trapped

As I was enjoying my tea, I marvelled at the text on the tea packaging.

Character: Medium bodied. Soft floral notes with a hint of umami on finish.

I didn’t even know what it meant by ‘umami’, but when I swallowed the liquid, it seemed I could instantly understand what it meant. The description was so convincing. Medium bodied… soft… floral smell… umami… I could literally taste all the words in the tea.

I imagined being the copywriter of the sentence, tasting the tea and trying to come up with a description of the taste. I would have probably come up with something far more boring like, “ocha with a tinge of flower smell”. People who wrote these things are really gifted in their area, I thought as I drained my tea.

The package even came with some cakes that are perfect to go along with Hanami tea:

Tea pairing suggestions: perfect with strawberry shortcake, white chocolate desserts, panna cotta.

Too bad I did not have any of those. But then again, if I had, I would have ingested more calories:P

A cup of tea, a blanket and a comic book

 

 

 

A Reflection for The Country

 

Last week my home country celebrated the 70th Independence Day. I could not particularly remember what I did on that day, it was a Monday, the  beginning of the week, and I sluggishly brought my pieces back together to work. In the morning as I was scrolling through the social media absentmindedly, posts of greetings and poems about the Independence Day poured out, wishing the country the best in its effort to progress towards a brighter future.

I sighed at the thoughts, not so much because I do not believe in a brighter future at all, but because of the reality that we are faced with presently: the fact that the 70 years that have passed are not a good enough time to make it a competitive country. This sentiment of mine might have been exacerbated by what I experienced in the country that I am currently residing: Singapore.

The week before, Singapore just celebrated its 50th National day. A special one, the golden jubilee, it was a very, very big deal. The preparation had gone a long way back, and the country had many events in store that led up to the jubilee week: SG50-related exhibitions, The SEA Games, Youth Celebrate, coordinated celebrations in schools… And on the night of the National Day, my relatives and I decided to bring our picnic basket and head to the Marina Bay Financial Center, in the hope of getting a good spot to watch the culminating firework show. The whole celebration was a display, a testimony of how much the country has become, from the little fishing village to a country admired globally. I was stunned, looking at the fireworks shooting in the air, and in my mind I was admiring the significance of that testimony.

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Glorious fireworks…

Of course making a direct comparison between the 2 countries is not very fair. Indonesia is 2600 times bigger in size than Singapore, therefore the technical difficulty in building the former is bigger by many folds. But I think you may agree with me that the smaller country has other qualities that we are lacking e.g. a more transparent public sector,  a heavy emphasis on good quality education…

Now, before anyone accuses me for being whiny and unpatriotic, let me say that my point here is NOT to denigrate my own country. In the contrary, I want to share my pensiveness and invite everyone (wherever you are) to reflect on how much this country has become after all these years, and what we can do (in our capacity) to make it better. Let’s use our talents and do our best in our work.

Here is a comic that I did on this subject (featured in Fillet Minis August issue. To read the whole 4-page mini magazine: http://issuu.com/filletmagz/docs/fillet_minis_aug_2015_issuu).
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Happy 487th Birthday, Jakarta!

Happy Birthday Jakarta!!!
This post will be in Indonesian to commemorate Jakarta’s anniversary.

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Gak terasa Jakarta ude berumur 487 tahun… Tapi di dalam tahun-tahunnya yang panjang aku cuma mengamati perkembangannya di 26 tahun terakhir. Sebelumnya, ya, cuma denger dari buku-buku sejarah apa yang terjadi di kala kota ini masih bernama Sunda Kelapa, terus Batavia, lalu Jayakarta, dan pada akhirnya Jakarta (mestinya bener.. haha).

Sebagai orang yang lahir di Jakarta (nenek juga udah lahir di sini), rasa kepunyaan terasa tinggi walaupun udah beberapa tahun tinggal di luar negeri. Walopun mengalami segala macam penyakitnya (polusi, kotor, ga tertib, MACETTT, ga menentu), toh Jakarta tetep Jakarte kite. Penentu masa depannya adalah, ya, kite-kite ini hehehe.

Aku percaya perubahan dapat diawali dengan sebuah harapan. Harapan membangkitkan rasa optimisme, rasa mencintai, rasa peduli, yang setidaknya bisa memercik sebuat api permulaan sebuah tindakan. Untuk itu aku bekerjasama dengan Koci Academy (sebuah anak organisasi Koko Cici Jakarta yang baru diluncurkan bertepatan dengan HUT Jakarta 487) mau mengajak teman-teman untuk menulis your birthday wishes for Jakarta di twitter dengan hashtag #kociacademyJKT487 atau langsung mengisinya di website http://www.kociacademy.com/wishes-for-jakarta.

Aku mau menutup post ini dengan sebuah pantun…

Eh ujan gerimis aje
Ikan teri diasinin
Eh jangan ngelamun aje
Birthday wishes ayok ditulisin…

Sekian.