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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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”

Dinner onboard the Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg III

“You’ll be dinin’ with the captain.” – Pintel to Elizabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) But unlike that scenario, I wasn’t disinclined to acquiesce to the Captain’s request.

Just noticed in DN that Gotheborg III was now visiting Stockholm. The reconstructed 18th century Swedish sailing Ship Götheborg III has made its trip to Canton in China, and back. It was time now to hold a final Board of Directors meeting to close the books on the entire adventure of building the replica ship and its sail to China and back. On the agenda was also the ship’s future adventures. Her upcoming Baltic Sea Tour 2008 looks to be enough of a challenge to keep even the most hard core sailing enthusiasts happy, but even so, it sounds a breeze and a walk in the park compared to the high sea sailing to China.

After the meeting, it was dinner onboard the East Indiaman Götheborg III. Continue reading “Dinner onboard the Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg III”

April 2008 in the garden, in denim and lace

In April spring of 2008, in the garden, in a Brazilian made denim and lace bikini.
Text © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

April weather along the Swedish west coast is not always warm. This particular year however, the temperatures were just about alright for a brief visit with the sun in the garden.
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A cheese and wine dining

Cheese and wine brunch setting

A selection of wine and cheese with bread

I think Asians generally have a different socialization towards diary products than Europeans – we just don’t consume diary products all that much. My idea of cheese when growing up in Singapore was hard Cheddar or pre-packed sliced cheese, the kind you toast on bread and little cubed cheese in various flavours, which I liked very much.

I also think my encounters with milk and cheese would be more numerous than my classmates’ experiences since most of their lunches as I recall consisted of spam and bread, hard boiled eggs and baked beans and Bovril sandwiches as the most mainstream. Continue reading “A cheese and wine dining”

My secret garden

A picture of Spring in Sweden. Photo: Kevin D. Cordeiro

This picture, taken by Kevin D. Cordeiro, reminds me of the phrase, my secret garden, the loosely tied rope around the tiny gates that promises green pastures beyond.

My secret garden as a phrase that has about 1.5 million hits on google if you search for it. The most popular is a metaphorical use of the phrase in a book by Nancy Friday. Her books are recommended reads. And a favourite of mine is My Secret Garden, a restaurant by that name just beside Plaza by the Park in Singapore. Continue reading “My secret garden”

Fat common sense

In today’s Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet Dr. Annika Dahlqvist, who has her own blog on eating healthy argues in an open letter that children are stumped in their growth and intelligence development by a lack of natural fats in their diet. The Swedish public food authority Livsmedelsverket, retaliates on her standpoint, saying that Dahlqvist has no scientific grounds making such claims. Dahlqvist naturally retaliates right back and will do so on national live television later today.

The general standpoint that natural fats are good for the body and in fact help maintain weight, is a continuation of a more and more pronounced public opinion in Sweden, that questions the goodness of low fat products and a low fat diet.
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Easter weather


Photo: Jan-Erik Nilsson
A bouncy yellow despite the cold

It’s a snowy Easter for Sweden this year. A picture here of our poor Easter Lilies battling the snow in our garden. Stubborn resilience.

The editors of Göteborgs Posten loved the picture so much that they had it published in GP – Vårtecken on 22 March 2008 with JE’s corresponding caption

Vart tog våren vägen? frågar våra småpåskliljor som såg så hoppfulla ut så sent som i går

“Where did the Spring go?” asked our small Easter Lilies, bright and hopeful as recent as the day before.

Cinnamon Roll Day (Kanelbullens Dag) in Sweden


Here they are, just a few minutes ago fresh from the oven. We invite all viewers to join us for a few of these warm cinnamon rolls with a tall glass of cold milk!

Cheryl and JE’s Swedish Cinnamon rolls

Every 4th October, since 1999 it is Cinnamon Buns Day in Sweden. So today we took some time off to make a batch of our own. For those in Singapore (and around the world) who would like to celebrate with us in Sweden, you could use our Cinnamon Roll recipe. Preparation time is about 20 minutes plus raising and baking time. We’ve included our pictures of today’s project.
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