Category: Life

Modeling a Heideggerian Valentine’s

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Anemone, roses, and two pinkfluffers on a carrot cake. St. Valentine’s Day 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

For philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), human capacity to think cannot be the most central quality of being, since the very act of thinking is in itself but a reflection of what in essence is. For Heidegger, the human being is intrinsically structured by Time and our relationship with Time [1]. Human beings are in essence existing at the edge of possibilities-for-being. If considered in that light, humans tend to exist in a mode of constant intersubjectivity [2], between tending to the pressures of the external world and of other minds, and of themselves experiencing tending to the external world and other minds. In my view, the essence of Heideggerian philosophy resonates much with J.A. Wheeler’s one particle theory, and Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. And it is this constant play of intersubjectivity in Heideggerian perspective, that forms the spacetime fabric of the possibilities-of-being.

Continue reading “Modeling a Heideggerian Valentine’s”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2016

At Tjolöholm Castle for a Swedish yuletide table sitting, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“Upon first reading A Christmas Carol there appears little evidence of anxiety. The protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge would seem to be the least anxious person imaginable. A belligerent, spiteful man, he seems strikingly sure of himself. However, a closer reading of the text from an existential standpoint shows that this is hardly the case. Scrooge, from the outset, is a cold, nasty and mean-spirited character. As the story opens, he turns down his nephew’s invitation to Christmas dinner; begrudges his clerk’s only holiday in the year; refuses to contribute to charity; frightens a carol singer; and violently claims that “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart” (48). Where is anxiety to be found in such a stance? Everywhere, I suggest.” [1:744]

A Christmas Carol is a story I grew up with, having first watched Walt Disney’s version Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983. The Charles Dickens read came later. A characteristic of narratives by Dickens is how I’ve found to be able to revisit protagonists and characters presented in his novels from various perspectives. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2016”

Stream of consciousness: an evolution

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, T-back crochet dress by Rita Yong Cordeiro

In a crochet halterneck T-back dress made by my mother, Rita Yong Cordeiro.
The dress was made in mid-1990s.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

For as long as I can remember, my mother crocheted. Well, yes. She had made her own wedding dress a whole two years before I was born. Thing is, having handcrafted frills of dresses since baby in arm, I never really thought about the rarity of the skill of the producer or rarity of product/s as such. That I had access to these time-consuming handcrafted clothing made by my working mother from the time of my Christening till when I graduated with a doctoral degree was something I had quite taken for granted.

I read in Richard Feynman’s 1985 self-biography [1] that whilst at MIT, he had to take mandatory humanities courses, of which one of them was philosophy. He got deathly bored during philosophy classes that having happened to be in possession of a small drill, about one-sixteenth-inch, he made holes in the soles of his shoes by twisting this tool into the sole of his shoes, week after week. Continue reading “Stream of consciousness: an evolution”

Latticework for little gherkins

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Latticing cucumbers in the garden patch, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

One of the fun things to discover in Sweden is that small cucumbers, originally an Asian fruit, are easy to grow here once you have some land available in a warm corner of the garden. They do like warm weather and are actually very picky with that. Below 15 degrees centigrade in the soil and you can as well save yourself the trouble of even planting them.

Swedish summers are not always tropical warm. You can likewise experience 10 degrees centigrade at Midsummer’s as on New Year’s Eve. So usually, it is from middle (to late) in the summer season here that the gherkins suddenly decide life is worth living after all and start growing leaves. They stretch upwards and throw out small lassos to use for climbing. You know that they’re doing fine when small star-shaped flowers that are a vibrant yellow begin to light up the spaces among all the large green leaves.

Looking at the tiny tendrils, you’ll also know when it is time to give them a little direction in life – upwards – or they will end up in a big entangled mass. We have noticed that they have no qualms using each other for climb support, so given enough space they might probably be fine growing directly on the ground. But we prefer that each has its own climb support and giving them a string each skywards enables you to see them in their full sunny disposition once they start bearing fruit. Continue reading “Latticework for little gherkins”

A little bit of Midsummer

Garden

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

We thought a wonderful way to use the strawberry harvest is to have it on the family’s absolute Swedish summer cake. This verily all-occasion cake is made of three layers of sponge cakes with a filling of fresh fruits and strawberry jam.

This cake is sheer joy. So much so that it tends to wash away any misgiving in conversation that might arise in these sittings of cake eating, such as when addressing the heavier life philosophical questions of – if you needed to choose, would you rather have room temperature beer, or room temperature beer with ice?

The answer to that took quite a bit of cake eating to solve.

Continue reading “A little bit of Midsummer”

November cats

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

An evening with homebaked Lussekatter or saffron buns that are usually made in Sweden in celebration of St. Lucia’s Day that falls on 13 December.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I love when Christmas comes a little early. In this case, I thought to settle and bake a batch of saffron infused buns called Lussekatt that in the tradition of Sweden, are baked in celebration of St. Lucia’s day that falls on 13 December. This, and a cup of glogg sounds pretty much a good start to the jultide season. Continue reading “November cats”

Time in circles, Baden, Switzerland

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Baden, Switzerland

View from the top of the Stein Castle ruin, whose foundations were laid some time before the 1100s.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It was about a decade ago that I sat in the Singapore regional headquarters office of a Swedish owned multinational enterprise, speaking with its Managing Director. The topic was about the general managing of conflicts within the organisation, when we touched upon the concept of Time, and whether that was viewed in linearity:

$1: what happens if you disagree
$2: well you tell / you tell and eventually you do agree / because all disagreements end with an agreement if you’re lucky / or you become / enemies /
$1: do swedes generally see time as a straight line
$2: well no / i would see it as a circle / my time is a circle / i have no idea what others do / and strangely enough that the year and the day / goes in different directions /
$1: is that [understanding of time] a result of [an understanding of a certain philosophy] or
$2: i have no idea / if christmas is six oclock then april is three oclock / and summer is noon / october is nine oclock / but if you’re asking if we are on time or not / yes we are

Baden is a town with a long history. A history that you are made aware of as you walk its small, winding cobbled streets from the banks of the the river Limmat Continue reading “Time in circles, Baden, Switzerland”

Life speeds up when you slow down

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, lingonsylt

At market today, fresh lingonberries to make a batch of traditional Swedish lingonberry jam or lingonsylt.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I have now watched with interest, several documentaries on individuals who have chosen to live alternative lifestyles. These documentaries feature individuals with a different type of life philosophy, where some for example choose not to own any property but rather live in a vehicle that gives them the freedom of adventure and of getting in touch with themselves whilst on the road. Others featured spoke thoughtfully on how individuals in society often did what others wanted and expected of them and not what they wanted themselves. They chose a different way of living in order to do something for themselves. These documentaries then reminded me of a paragraph in the book Walden, written by Henry David Thoreau in 1854:

“Most men even in this comparatively free country through mere ignorance and mistake are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers from excessive toil are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has no time to be anything but a machine. How can he remember well his ignorance which his growth requires who has so often to use Continue reading “Life speeds up when you slow down”

Philosophies of summer drives

Laxå

View from sitting at the edge of one of Sweden’s many waterways.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It seems like summer decided to begin just as the tail-end of its official months with many regions of Sweden feeling warm as toast. If not too warm, a favourite thing to do is to get in the car and do small road trips, anywhere from between two hour to three hour drives from Gothenburg that leaves quite a radius of interesting exploration.

While there’s been a culture of second-hand findings where Swedes readily barter or trade at low cost things tired of or unwanted to what they want, it has only been in the past couple of years that antique shop hopping and second-hand goods browsing has really taken off, much due to the hipster culture and greater awareness of the sourcing of ecological produce. It is just about these past years that see the those born from the 1990s and forwards step out of school and into the labour force, bringing with them their own awareness and motivations into their living interests and entrepreneurial ambitions.

It was on one of these summer drives where we decided to absolutely ignore the voice of the GPS nicely suckered onto the windshield insisting that we go where we should go that we found an interesting farmhouse set up with several barnyards for different needs. There was the family house of medium size, then there were two barns that housed a vintage shop and a café. Continue reading “Philosophies of summer drives”

Project Atman

Cheryl Marie Cordeir, Trinidad Tobago 1999

Carnival! was the first thing introduced to me the minute I touched base at the airport in Trinidad back in 1999, as Singapore’s delegate to the international Miss Universe Pageant 1999.
Text & Photo © R Yong Cordeiro, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

2015

The seminar ended and a colleague, Stefan, and I walked out of the room. The topic of the seminar was about Southeast-Asia (SE-Asia) and its developing context in the latest wave of globalisation.

“What did you think about the ideas from the seminar?” I asked.

“Well it was interesting. All very interesting.” Stefan said.

I knew Stefan to be of a brilliant mind, and knowledgeable on the region of SE-Asia, “But you said not much at all in feedback.” I queried.

“Yes, well there is not much to say. The entire perspective is different from how I see it. So the departure point for argumentation is different. I would not have approached the topic of SE-Asia from that point of view.” he said. Continue reading “Project Atman”

Finally, a strawberry harvest!

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, strawberry harvest, strawberries and cream, 2015

Enjoying strawberries, the Swedish old fashioned way.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

This year, Sweden saw one of its coldest and rainiest Junes in twenty years. Between 1920 and 1991, it has happened only once that temperatures in the month of June had not gone upwards of 25 centigrade, until now. The Västerås cucumbers know this, so they’ve refused to grow, insisting on a bedding temperature of at least 14 centigrade before showing themselves. It was a pleasant surprise however, to have found that the strawberries thought it was alright to unfold their leaves, flower and produce fruits that are now ripening heavy on the soil beds.

In traditional Swedish farmlands, strawberries as with most other fruits, were summer luxuries. Their presence at all on the outdoor tables depended much upon the proper amounts of rain and sun. As soon as the strawberries were ripened and picked, it would also be customary to go into the barnyard and get some fresh cream straight from the cows.

If there was a favourite way of enjoying freshly picked strawberries, it would be that time honoured manner in having them with cream, generously dusted over with sugar.

That, and curling under the bed covers with a good book and a hot chocolate. Best summer evening doing. Continue reading “Finally, a strawberry harvest!”

Singapore Management University BSM Scandinavia 2015 visiting the Swedish west coast

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Styrsö v2015h

As part of broadening student perspectives in business and organization management education, Tom Estad, Associate Dean Undergraduate Student Matters from the Singapore Management University (SMU) had his students visit Swedish SMEs and learn about the history of trade between Scandinavia and Asia for the Business Study Mission (BSM) 2015 out at the southern archipelago of the Swedish west coast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Some pictures to share of a study visit from a university in Singapore to the Swedish west coast.

Part of the narrative and evening’s conversation revolved around the historic trade relations between Sweden and China, and how Singapore en route continues till today, to be an important trade partner for Sweden.

The historical voyages of the Swedish East India Company (1731-1813) more often than not started from this very spot where we now stood in the garden. Known as Vargö Håla, water was taken on board the ships from the surrounding fresh water wells, and good sailing winds were awaited in the waters between the islands right here, that through a peculiarity of the Gulf Stream was kept ice free even in the winters. Continue reading “Singapore Management University BSM Scandinavia 2015 visiting the Swedish west coast”

Separating the perennials from non-perennials

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, home garden 2015a

Working with Lovage (known in Swedish as libbsticka). Lovage is a perennial herb with anti-inflammation properties, used in Sweden since the Medieval times by monks in apothecary concoctions. It also makes an excellent flavour enhancer to soups and stews, if not just tossed fresh into salads.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It’s finally starting to get warmer outdoors. Spring will officially turn into summer in two weeks, so there is a lot to be done by nature in order to make that materialize in a convincing manner.

Outside of research in academia, I spend my time reading literature of various interests, these days interspersed with planting out some vegetables and flowers, that now seem grown up enough to have their feet plunked down in proper soil, from the plant nursery in which we have kept them the past few months. Continue reading “Separating the perennials from non-perennials”

Enneadecaeteris

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro April 2015

Easter vogue.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

On my mind, the Metonic cycle or Enneadecaeteris, from the Greek astronomer Meton of Athens (5C BC), who observed that a period of 19 years is almost exactly equal to 235 synodic months and, rounded to full days, counts 6,940 days. His calculations are used in most arithmetical lunisolar calendars to calculate the year, and to track the movable feast of Easter of the Julian calendar. Continue reading “Enneadecaeteris”

Heartbeat

The universe exists within the frequency of a heartbeat. Before the ‘big bang’, crossing point zero, after the ‘big bang’. That in that billion years heartbeat, we exist, because of what time allows, is the anomaly. Another heartbeat, another time, another existence, all different from each other, never to be repeated. The power of creativity, of creation itself, lies in this one heartbeat. That too many of humankind do not realise that they too move within this one heartbeat during this one span of time with all other things that currently are, is to miss out on this anomaly. The anomaly that is, life.

In celebration of 40 on Valentine’s Day

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, ValentinesDay2015

In celebration of 40 on Valentine’s Day.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I was seated in a tutorial session of a module in Philosophy 101. I had not a clue what the tutor was trying to explain about the Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism, where it came to that one should practice not thinking anything as part of the ten grounds towards Enlightenment. I remember asking, how it is that one could think nothing? At age 9, I asked my parents what Time was. At age 10, they branded me “little Margaret Thatcher”. Would the very act of thinking not nullify nothingness? And according to what was discussed in tutorial, it is through thinking nothing that one comes into the essence of knowing. Every evening for the entire module on Buddhism, I went home and tried to practice not thinking anything. Every evening, I failed. Continue reading “In celebration of 40 on Valentine’s Day”

Empiricism

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

In Pronovias.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Most forms of meaning-making grounded in empirical endeavors have yet to place postmodernism in their perspective. Truths based on empiricism in whatever of its hundred guises remain not only context-dependent, but intersubjective, constructive and aperspectival [1]. With this comes the grounding realisation that what is seen remains, what was seen. Continue reading “Empiricism”

The trajectory of no madeleines

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A batch of tarts made in the semblance of Spanish pieces of eight, using just three Sarawak pineapples.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Life is a weird fleeting moment of a very long now. You’re in a trajectory and there’s much less room for you to move than you have been led to believe. Still you’re able to influence things and some people manage to change the world in their trajectory, to get everyone onboard with them, because reality is a conjoint decision. This perspective of reality bars the perspective that Everett’s multiverse is a theoretical infinite alternative of parallel realities where everything is possible in the same instant. In this perspective (of conjoint decision reality), Everett’s multiverse is manifest as a web of infinite possibilities mapped simultaneously unto what is perceived as current reality, resulting in a highly restricted movement of any one individual in the system. Such is the quantum multiverse at work in a material world. Continue reading “The trajectory of no madeleines”

In belle époque, the eve of 2015.

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In belle époque Dorsia, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

“The conception of nature as fundamentally semiotic is certainly not new; what is new, rather, is the nearly unanimous repression of this conception by learned society.” [1]

Language fills in when semethic interaction fails. But here, I would say that language tries to fill in what human cognition fails to connect and decode in nature. Because language is more often metaphor for living than living in itself, what is described is at best, approximate. Continue reading “In belle époque, the eve of 2015.”

Tjolöholm Harvest Festival, October 2014

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Maria Förssell Six

For the seventh year in a row, Tjolöholm Castle, a country house built towards the end of the 1800s in Halland, Sweden, hosts its skördefest (harvest festival). Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, with Maria Förssell Six, the person behind Tjolöholm Castle Harvest Festival 2014.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2014

This year marked the seventh consecutive open harvest festival held at Tjolöholm Castle, along the coast just south of Gothenburg.

Tjolöholm was the last private mansion to be built in Sweden large enough to be denominated a castle. The area around the main house that has been tilled and farmed from medieval times, continues to remain prosperous as farmland today. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Harvest Festival, October 2014”

Apple cake, Swedish west coast autumn harvest 2014

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Apple cake served with vanilla cream sauce.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Thanks to generous neighbours, we once again had an abundance of apples to enjoy. Of the many recipes to choose from, cinnamon flavoured apple sauce to last throughout the winter, is a given.

Then thinking about the meal just enjoyed during my recent visit to Singapore, in the hands of the Valtulina family of Ristorante Da Valentino, where Perla Valtulina of Perla’s Pastry Boutique served up a most delicious apple tart as dolci, I decided to try my own hands at making an apple cake. Not that I can ever dream of matching hers, but lacking the possibility of having her gorgeous desserts in Singapore, this will have to do when back in Sweden. Continue reading “Apple cake, Swedish west coast autumn harvest 2014”

Uttervik waves, Swedish westcoast archipelago

At the Swedish west coast archipelago, Styrsö.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

“It seems like the more I read, the less I understand of things and how they work.” was the exasperated comment.

He looked up from the daily broadsheet, his expression curious and silent.

“For example, if people knew about Gravesian theory, would they then choose to not intervene without first understanding the larger circumstance of society, how it worked in that context, and with that, the consequences to follow, following certain actions? Would they not know? They should know, no?”

He smiled then and nodded, “Things, go in waves. So I’m a little more optimistic than you are in that sense.” Continue reading “Uttervik waves, Swedish westcoast archipelago”

Tjörn and Orust, Swedish west coast

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The Tjörn Bridge is the landmark bridge that connects mainland Stenungsund
with the northern archipelago islands of Tjörn and Orust along the Swedish west coast.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Sweden is a large and not very densely populated country. Summers are as made for long drives and long conversations following the sun to see it touch the horizon before rising again.

Where increasingly, time is considered a personal luxury, Swedish summer months seemingly uninterrupted by nights are when you can truly feel the endless stretch of time ahead of you. Today we decided that we’d go barrel hunting. And for that, we headed towards the northern west coast archipelago of Tjörn and Orust, driving across Tjörnbron.

The modern bridge replaces the original Almöbron, built in 1960. In 1980, the bulk carrier MS Star Clipper hampered by heavy fog during the night, collided with the span of Almöbron. That night, several vehicles plunged into the sea before they were able to close the bridge. The foundations of Almöbron, can still be seen sitting directly under Tjörnbron. These foundations now seem to provide the perfect angling spot and in the nearby park, an Erik Nordström’s memorial was built to acknowledge his initiative for building Almöbron. Continue reading “Tjörn and Orust, Swedish west coast”

Reflections on black, white and gold

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro Metro Singapore 3477 598

Christmas advertising for Metro, ca. 1981.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

When I was young my mother worked in the advertising industry. Between the ages of five till about twelve and then again at around sixteen I got to model in several Singapore print adverts that included Metro, McDonald’s and Nintendo.

In one photoshoot, several girls were lined up neatly in a row, the purpose of which was to get us to take a hop forward and land on one foot, looking excited and into the camera. Out of twenty odd takes I looked up only once, much to the exasperation of the photographer, “Why can’t you look forward? There’s nothing on the ground! Look forward! Look forward!”

Even at the age of six, I found myself curious as to why it was that I just could not look up when I jumped. I simply had to see (and thus know) where I was going! I concluded that it was due to the rules of hop-scotch, a game that I played almost everyday when growing up at the Convent that I could only look down whilst hopping. You always watched where you hopped because stepping on a line would get your turn forfeited in the game, plus, that you had to re-draw the rubbed off area of the squares in the sand once you had stepped on the lines and recess time was only that brief.

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For one photo shoot a large number of fluffy small yellow chickens was brought in.
Featured in the picture above is just about a third of the feathered little things. My mother brought home two little darlings from this shoot, one each for my brother and I to care for.

Continue reading “Reflections on black, white and gold”

Art, wine and a reading

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The Swedish East Indiaman Gotheborg III, by a Swedish Marine artist, Niklas Amundson.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

The smiles were friendly and the smell of – what? – newly lacquered frames? filled the air as I walked through the solitaire gallery. Bright lights, strategically placed, to accent the finest of details whether of paint on canvas or the deep burgundy of the wines against the glasses in hands.

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I studied frame after frame of paintings on the walls of the gallery, my gaze pausing slightly longer at – a surrealistic Miró. With wine swirling in the glass in hand, that wasn’t for my drinking, the picture on the wall sent my mind into a vortex of thoughts, with the words of Charles Bukowski’s South of No North (1973:85-86):
Continue reading “Art, wine and a reading”

Itinerizing Hong Kong

Hong Kong street signs

Street in Hong Kong.
The moment you realize that navigating this scene will require much more
tacit knowledge skills than years of actually living in Asia affords.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

– Don’t worry, once you’ve learnt how to ride a bicycle, you’ll know it forever. Bicycle riding becomes you. You are the bicycle!

So I was told when I was about five or six years old at the time, riding a bicycle with small trainer wheels at each side of the back wheel, that gave me no security in feeling in balance with the mechanism because I felt I was going to tip over one side or another at any one time.

Perhaps I’m not of the adventurous sort.

Bicycle riding proved traumatic enough for me as a child that was compounded by the fact that as I grew up, I never really got to keep any of my bicycles for one reason or another. I still mourn the demise of my muffin cute pink, purple and white racer, and no, it doesn’t matter if the colours of the bike has nothing to do with its function, that bike looked good enough to eat and as a little girl, that’s all that made my day just staring at it, not wanting for it to get a slick muddy in the monsoon seasons of Asia.

So at the back of my mind, not only was I worried I would never be able to balance without trainer wheels on a bicycle, but I wouldn’t actually have the contraption to ride anyway. Why spend time mastering riding then when I could be playing with my Cabbage Patch kid?
Continue reading “Itinerizing Hong Kong”

Summer perennials

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro Aug 6 116a 598


Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

A noticeable feature of the houses found in the Swedish west coast archipelago are the picturesque gardens that look unkempt. Seemingly forgotten and left wild, it is this visual feature that I find gives the gardens their defining, core beauty.

Since settling in Sweden more than a decade ago, I have now had ample opportunity to admire these grounds whether it is via seasonal garden parties or from long evening strolls around the neighbourhood.

The garden closest to my heart, was once under the care of a professor in botany. To that extent, set in an undulating landscape, this garden has some interesting varieties of plants from Iceland Poppies (papaver nudicaule) that every year shed red petals after only a week of intense efforts of drawing attention to themselves from the local bee population, to sprawling crawlers such as the Grape Ivy (parthenocissus tricuspidata), that come autumn covers nearby branches and facades in a fiery red and green.
Continue reading “Summer perennials”

A Swedish fika over cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls, well loved at Swedish fika sessions.
Text © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

It is usually around the small gatherings along corridors and the Swedish fika or coffee sessions that you’ll get a chance to candidly exchange ideas. Today’s fika sessions revolved around puntarella salads, a salad that I would never have discovered before today and might never have if one of us did not walk in with a delicious looking light garlic and anchovies infused box of puntarella leaves.

§1: so what else goes into this salad
§2: i don’t know / just found this yesterday / looked up the internet for a recipe [and i have it here today]
§3: [you don’t know] // but that’s very swedish isn’t it / to not know things / or / not know everything
[@all: laughter]
§4: but we have the structures in place / and that’s pretty solid
§2: think of us like a big ship / slow steering / but most certainly going somewhere // and there are many captains
§5: too many captains sometimes / and some not knowing the structures
[@all: laughter]

The North Sea

At the diving board, along the Swedish west coast.
It seemed I stood there for the longest time. In the wind.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2002 and 2013

This series of pictures were taken in the first summer that I was here in Sweden in 2002 and just before my very first swim in the North Sea, and just about my last too.

The average temperature of the waters in the North Sea in summer is 17°C (63°F) and 6°C (43°F) in the winter. I believe on this occasion it was a reported cozy 18°C. I much prefer if waters were a tepid 26°C, like those along the East Coast of Singapore or pick any white sanded beaches of the tropics from Langkawi to Bali.

The winter months see frequent gales and storms along the Swedish west coast, and apparently on this occasion, it was the usual windy – and cold.

Just before the push. It seemed I needed some encouragement.
Else, I was just taking too much time on the plank.

I think I saw the sea come rushing right up at me. No time for further thoughts!

Continue reading “The North Sea”

Easter spring breeze 2013

Feeling bohème in a light spring breeze, March, Swedish west coast, 2013.
In a cashmere top, made in Japan, and silk-mix dress, made in Italy.
A belt with two long strands of cultured pearls bound as one, in light pink to deep purple lustre.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

As the earth turns on its axis, the Land of the Midnight Sun is awakening to spring at a cozy -4 to 1 centigrade outdoors. Not warm by any standards but sunlight is here to stay for the next few months in a stretching of daylight.

The colour yellow marks Easter in Sweden, as red marks Christmas. And while in previous years, Easter decorations on tables consisted of the sunshine marigold of Easter Lilies with likewise colourful feathers and eggs, the symbols of the spring equinox, of new beginnings and fertility, this year in shops – black feathers – that were fetching enough for me to bring home where they immediately found a place on the dining table together with the bright Easter lilies.

Black feathers, available at the florists, find their way to interior decoration in Sweden this year at Easter.

On Swedish tables this Easter weekend would be piscatorial staples such as sill, herring and anchovies in the form of Janssons Frestelse (Janssons Temptation), a potato gratin laced with heavy cream, sauteed onions and anchovies.

And eggs.

Apart from the moulded bacon and eggs dish I’ve prepared, I would love spending exquisite time exploring some of the more delectable looking egg recipes. Softly poached and creamy to the palate, Eggs Benedict makes it high on the breakfast list and Shakshuka on the lunch list.

Cooking is as therapeutic as it is an adventure to the senses. Poached eggs are not always easy to prepare to perfection, but I figure after some experimenting, I might finally get it right.

With a not too impressive zero degrees in the shade, there is always a fairly warm spot to seek out in the sun. Strange for me, to try to seek out a warm spot when in Singapore the basic rule is to stay in the shade whenever possible.

An annual fun thing to do at this time of year is to sit and decorate Easter Eggs, where one of my first art classes in primary school in Singapore when I was six, was to decorate egg shells with paint or crayon – any design, any colour of choice.

The result from the class of an average of 40 girls, each with their own colourful painted egg, all collected at the back of the class in large baskets rendered such a pretty picture, I still remember it till today.

Art class: Easter Egg decorating techniques got really advanced this year.

Easter in Singapore in primary school was also marked by the annual Easter Egg hunt in mid-morning recess!

Teachers at the convent where I grew up would paint and hide hard boiled eggs, perhaps as many as ten eggs, in a small cordoned off garden that was situated between a rectangle of classrooms. This garden in particular, had low cultivated fruit trees, where girls could climb up and sit if they wished, though we were never encouraged to behave in such tomboyish ways.

I think I only ever picked up one Easter Egg in my years in primary school on such egg hunts. I remember spotting several pretty eggs, but never tried to pick them up as ‘prizes’, always preferring to watch as someone else picked it up and what delight she got from having that egg in her hands. Priceless.

Easter Lilies.

I remember that closed garden fondly because while it was surrounded by classrooms, very few girls would choose to spend their recess time playing in that garden, preferring instead to play in the large field adjacent to the school canteen.

Wonderful memories from school days at the convent, in Singapore.

From the Swedish west coast, Glad Påsk 2013!

World Water Day and a walk down the CHIJ memory lane, Singapore

Watercolour of CHIJ Katong Convent.
The Infant Jesus (IJ) schools were founded in heritage by the Minim Friars or the
Order of Minims, that was in turn founded by St. Francis of Paola (1416-1506). The Order is still active in France, Germany and Spain.
Text and Photo © Samantha Lim, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

The 350th Anniversary of CHIJ
The 16th of March 2013 marks the 350th Anniversary of the Congregation of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), and CHIJ Katong Convent, where I spent my days as a student between the age six to sixteen.

Today CHIJ celebrated this anniversary in conjunction with the United Nations World Water Day with an early morning Walk for Water event, that took teachers and students from CHIJMES near Raffles City to the Marina Barrage. Continue reading “World Water Day and a walk down the CHIJ memory lane, Singapore”

The Cordero | Cordeiro affinity to islands

Do You Sleep?
Text and Photo © A Neikter Nilsson, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Judging from the numerous books launched by Eurasian authors on their heritage and family history, it seems that the Eurasian community in Singapore has a general strong interest in research on genealogy, which in itself makes for interesting study due to a mixture of cultures, ethnicities and even traditions in cuisine.

The Portuguese with their sense of inherent adventure, had close ties to the East India trades already in the early 1600s. It is probably these factors in combination that landed the Cordero / Cordeiro family in East Asia in the first place. The genealogy of the Cordeiros can be traced from the highlands of Andalusia in Spain during the Medieval times, to the autonomous archipelago of the Azores of Portugal (ca. 1600ff), right through to Macau (ca. 1800ff) and then to Singapore during the early 1900s. To that extent, one could argue that the Cordeiros have flown flags of many colours, the most prominent (for the older generations of the family) being the vibrant colours of Portugal.
Continue reading “The Cordero | Cordeiro affinity to islands”

Valentine’s Medley 2013

To the sounds of Rhiannon,
in an emerald green qipao / cheongsam, St. Valentine’s Day 2013, Sweden.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

This year, the girls thought it a wonderful idea to triple celebrate in Sweden, ushering in the Year of the Snake whilst at the same time, celebrating St. Valentine’s Day that which is also my birthday. I couldn’t myself have thought of any better than this.
Continue reading “Valentine’s Medley 2013”

J.A. Wheeler’s one particle, the eve of 2013

Through the looking glass.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2013

One of my favourite lectures of 2012 comes from the field of quantum physics, entitled The End of Space and Time?, delivered by Robbert Dijkgraaf on 20 March 2012 at Gresham College in the United Kingdom. Dijkgraaf was President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and is currently Director and Leon Levy Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

Amongst numerous interesting theories of quantum physics presented by Dijkgraaf, it was this lecture that pointed me in the direction of the works of J. A. Wheeler, where a fascinating read for me was a chapter entitled “Law without Law” (Wheeler 1983). I thought the suggestion given by Wheeler in the mid-1900s on why electrons had identical charges and mass – due to that they were in fact a single particle that goes up in time and comes down again in a flux – was most interesting since this idea captured in essence, the non-linearity of the concept of time (see article by Alasdair Wilkins on why the single electron universe does not hold on experimental grounds).

Wheeler’s proposition focused on a radical point about particle physics, in which the directional flow of time is immaterial and in fact, completely reversible, much in my view like Gödel’s rotating universe (Barrow 2011). He also pointed out that each electron traces a unique path through spacetime, in its own world line. By use of metaphor, I could perhaps liken Wheeler’s one particle thought to how each individual traces their own world line path through spacetime, creating realities and shaping destinies as it were. It is this too that most of us would also tend to contemplate at year end via New Year’s resolutions or when faced with life’s important events / challenges, to sit down and re-evaluate, re-contextualize life vision and goals.

Continue reading “J.A. Wheeler’s one particle, the eve of 2013”

A Walden moment

My Walden moment, of “home-cosmography”.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

It’s just a few days before Christmas, the Christmas weekend in fact upcoming. It is also that time of year when my mailbox gets filled with greetings alike from friends and relatives, many of whom send out a year-end summary of activities gone by as a tradition of keeping in touch – I delight in reading all narratives on how everyone is getting on in their lives no matter how large or small those changes are, from the feeling of accomplishment from a job well done at school / work to moving into that dream home of theirs and starting a family. Many updates also contain New Year’s resolutions, of goal setting for that constant strive to improve on life, on themselves, lending insight into what motivates each and every individual around us.

Continue reading “A Walden moment”

Dining across cultures and the Chinese mid-autumn festival, in Sweden

In celebration of the autumn equinox in Chinese tradition in Sweden, mooncakes. In the background, crème caramel.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

This weekend marked the mid-autumn festival celebrated most notably by the Chinese and Vietnamese cultures in Asia, in conjunction with the autumnal equinox and autumn harvests. Associated with the full moon, what makes part of this festival fun is the varieties of mooncake available as culinary adventure.

I read and viewed with interest, CNN’s story on the modern Mooncake by Ramy Inocencio, where I couldn’t help but notice how the three featured modern mooncakes were in themselves, a result of a fusion of culinary cultures, from using sweet white wine with custard to incorporating salty Itailan parma ham with sweetened nuts in another version of the hand moulded mooncakes.

Continue reading “Dining across cultures and the Chinese mid-autumn festival, in Sweden”

Light in the Scandinavian summer

A breezy summer staple in Scandinavia – sill and grädde with a sprig of chive.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

In the course of research, when speaking with people from different backgrounds on working across cultures, a common theme that arises is mismatched holiday times between Scandinavia and Asia.

Scandinavia doesn’t quite understand the Chinese New Year and spring celebrations in Asia for example, where in China, huge migrations of population can take place between cities and rural regions, and likewise Asia doesn’t quite understand summer holidays in Scandinavia, where a similar trend in migration occurs, except in Scandinavia, the movement would be towards the coastal regions, the waterways and fjords where plenty have their sailing boats. The logistics of mismatched holidays where Asia seems to run full steam during the summer months in Scandinavia could be potentially disastrous if you’re running a production line or seeing to that a delivery order is to be on time. In the automobile industry, July is the designated month for factory plant maintenance when the plant is shut down.

But as noted, it is only when you are there on location that you understand the local situation and thus view things in a different perspective, and where what once were problems and challenges now seem ‘natural’.

Whole grain bread, toasted with olive oil to get that perfect croûton base to sill and grädde.

When in Scandinavia, it becomes easy to follow the reasoning behind these long summer vacations, where most things go with the lightest of practical touches if need be. The very pragmatic reason behind being that true warm weather (July being the warmest month in the northern hemisphere) only comes in these short summer months, and if you wanted to get any enjoyment out of being outdoors for example, then these months would be it!

As deliveries of all kinds are put on hold, a priority shift takes place and the luxury of summer is to put time into spending on your own or with family, allocated to activities everything outside of what you’d classify as ‘work’.

A simple personal luxury – fresh light meals, no cooking needed – which leaves plenty of time to indulge in good reads, books unrelated to my research (a task difficult to accomplish) set aside since last summer or two, to indulge in the pleasures of the mind.

Winter’s Sunday brunch along the Swedish west coast

Swedish west coast winter in February 2012

February scene, Swedish west coast.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

February is usually the month in which visitors to Scandinavia get to witness the Nordic winter in its full regalia of climate beguile, the whipping winds and cold pelting rain that now turn to delicate snow crystals upon falling down, blankett the entire landscape in crisp white, turning the dull grey of the surrounding in just a few hours, to a scene that is breathtakingly beautiful, even if at the same time being unforgivingly, impractically and cruelly cold.
Continue reading “Winter’s Sunday brunch along the Swedish west coast”

Dulce de Leche thoughts in the stillness of the first week of 2012

490 Dulce de Leche 048

A dulche de leche breakfast with homemade rye bread.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

The first day of the New Year is usually known as ’Pizza Day’ in Sweden, only because people here have partied too much, too fast, too hard the previous night that ordering pizza to the home, or simply settling down in a restaurant for one seems to put into command everything else that is not, for the moment. It’s worry free. Continue reading “Dulce de Leche thoughts in the stillness of the first week of 2012”

Triumph’s Street Triple in matt graphite

Triumph Street Triple R, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson, Sweden

On the 2009 Triumph Street Triple.
Photos © Jan-Erik Nilsson, Cheryl M. Cordeiro-Nilsson, Adrian Cordeiro for CMC, 2009

I grew up with having bikes around me, where as far as I could remember, I was hopping on and off a bike, to and from school mostly, with my dad in the rider’s seat.

The pictures below were taken in the early 1980s, in the East of Singapore. They show my brother and I on my dad’s Suzuki GP 100A, taking turns to be in the front seat of the bike. It wasn’t a big bike at all, but it was a stretch for the both of us, to reach its front handles!

And when I turned 18, encouraged by my dad, I went out and acquired both my car and bike licenses. I took the lessons simultaneously and the bike license came to me just two week after I received my driver license for cars.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Suzuki ca 1980s in Singapore

On darling little turquoise tanked Suzuki GP 100A. Small, fast and fun to ride, this bike’s an absolute classic in today’s auto world. Both my brother and I grew up to love bikes as more than a means of transportation. My brother has had several Hondas in the 750 cc range, both to himself and shared with my dad.

Continue reading “Triumph’s Street Triple in matt graphite”

De Fyra Kungliga Klubbarnas Fest 2009, a Swedish Royal event at the Grand Hôtel, Stockholm

In a sea of tailcoats, in the Hall of Mirrors, Spegelsalen. I am wearing a red silk dress with pearl appliqués, designed by Francis Cheong in Singapore. The purse; a Louis Vuitton Monogram Vernis Sunset Boulevard in Amarante, from the LV shop in Stockholm. Kungliga Klubbarnas Fest, Grand Hôtel, Stockholm 2009.
Photo for CMC © J-E Nilsson and Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, 2009.

On Friday the 13th, March 2009, the bi-annual event of the Fyra Kungliga Klubbarnas Fest was held at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm. Grand Hôtel is situated in the very heart of Stockholm beautifully overlooking the River Strömmen, which is such a defining feature of the city. Just opposite, on the other side of Strömmen, is the Royal Palace and Gamla stan (the Old Town) of Stockholm.

The event was hosted by the Royal Swedish Motorboat Club and co-hosted by the Nation of Italy, and was most notably graced by the presence of H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro and Jan-Erik Nilsson at the Fyra Kungliga Klubbarnas Fest at the Grand Hôtel, Stockholm 2009.

Champagne reception in the Hall of Mirrors

The evening began most pleasantly with a Champagne reception in the Hall of Mirrors (Spegelsalen), a magnificent ballroom decorated in gold, white and red. Ever since its opening in 1899 it has been the scene of countless conferences and brilliant parties. This evening was no exception as it held all the splendour of a White Tie event, a modern ball filled with a touch of magic! Ladies arrived dressed in their best fur coats only to reveal even more beautiful ballgowns in jewel toned fabrics. The men came dressed in full evening dress, some even with a top hat, and some in their mess dress. Continue reading “De Fyra Kungliga Klubbarnas Fest 2009, a Swedish Royal event at the Grand Hôtel, Stockholm”

Winter casualty: how do you save a hotbod?

A ladybug hotbod or warming buddy, filled with natural wheat, from Australia.
Photo for CMC by: Jan-Erik Nilsson © 2009.

As the temperatures dipped for this winter season in Sweden, I’ve been using or rather, abusing this little ladybug hotbod. These hotbods or warming buddies are Australian made and are filled with natural wheat.

They give off the most wonderful scent when heated in the microwave and can stay warm for up to 3 hours at at time. I find them absolutely perfect to have on my seat when working or having them between blankets to warm the blankets.

This little bugger though, has suffered quite some this winter season. Instead of giving off a wonderful scent of wheat, it has now started to smell of burnt popcorn when microwaved. I think it needs saving of some sort but I don’t really know how to save one of these hotbods.

Any ideas?

Midsummer’s Day 2008, in the Western Swedish archipelago

Brrrrr! My first toe-dip of the season, and possibly my last.
Missing the warm beaches at Singapore’s Sentosa Island. It would take quite a lottery win for me to go swimming in the sea this summer if the weather doesn’t let up! Outfit: A white crochet halter neck dress by BCBG Max Azria.

This island in the western Swedish archipelago has its own tradition on Midsummer’s, where it was here that the Society of Arbores literally brought back forests and green life.

For a number of decades every century, as long as anyone can remember, huge shoals of herring used to suddenly appear along the western Swedish coast. It is said that the sea was so full of herring that they could hardly find space to swim amongst themselves. During winter the fishermen could cut a hole in the ice and the herring would pour up onto the ice by themselves. While this might be of a slight exaggeration, the thing was that year after year the herring did indeed come back, by the millions. The most important periods were between 1747-1809, and then in 1877-1904. Continue reading “Midsummer’s Day 2008, in the Western Swedish archipelago”

Midsummer’s Eve 2008

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine

~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, II (i).

Sitting at the foot of the Midsummer pole. Western archipelago of Sweden, 2008

The weather is ever changing this Midsummer’s Eve, which marks the ancient middle of summer or the summer solstice. It is during this time that even south of Sweden experiences hardly any night and where night is marked these few days with a long dusk that turns to dawn. Continue reading “Midsummer’s Eve 2008”