DEFYING LABELS, DANGERS Noralyn Mustafa’s career in journalism spanned more than six decades, starting out as a radio broadcaster and disc jockey before turning to print. At one point, she dared to enter the camp of Abu Sayyaf bandits and “scolded” them, a colleague recalled. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO DAVAO CITY—In 2017, Noralyn Mustafa told the poet and former University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao chancellor Ricky de Ungria that she was not yet going to die. The conversation occurred in a Zamboanga City nursing home, and it was featured in the book, “Songs Sprung from Native Soils,” edited by De Ungria. Noralyn was remembering the late tenor Aurelio Estanislao, who once told her: “Before you die, you will have to visit Alhambra. You will find your ghost there. You are really from Alhambra. You walk like the women in Alhambra, you speak like the women. And your eyes, your eyes are like the eyes of the women in Alhambra.” Estanislao, former head of the UP Department of Music, was ... » Learn More about Remembering Noralyn Mustafa, 80: ‘I’m a writer. Period’
Writers in renaissance period
Following a scattered and lacklustre opening, period-romance action-drama River Where the Moon Rises has, in fits and starts, gradually gained some focus. Yet the most exciting thing that has happened to date was the drama that unfolded behind the scenes, which quickly forced the show to take drastic action. A few weeks after its premiere, River Where the Moon Rises was faced with an urgent and sensitive situation. Its lead star, Ji Soo, came under fire after allegations surfaced online implicating him in high school bullying. In a wave that has gripped South Korea, several other stars have faced allegations of bullying. But the claims against Ji had a sexual component, which hastened his forced removal from the show. K-dramas have traditionally been made very quickly and typically remain in production even as shows start airing. These compressed timelines, though stressful for everyone involved, keep production costs down and give writers a chance to focus more on things viewers ... » Learn More about K-drama midseason recap: River Where the Moon Rises – period drama weathers crisis with casting triumph
THE ST. REGIS BANGKOK CELEBRATES A DECADE OF EXQUISITE LIVING WITH IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES AND TIMELESS RITUALS The St. Regis Bangkok invites guests and local residents to celebrate its 10th anniversary this April, with a month-long series of immersive activities. To mark a decade of decadence in the Thai capital, Marriott International is showcasing The St. Regis’s storied heritage, which dates from 1904, with a series of signature rituals inspired by Caroline Astor, doyenne of the Gilded Age and matriarch of The St. Regis brand’s founding family. A prominent 19th Century socialite, Mrs. Astor was the mother of Colonel John Jacob “JJ” Astor IV (from whom the hotel’s beloved teddy bear gets its name), who founded The St. Regis New York as a place to pursue his epicurean passions and entertain the city’s luminaries. Celebrating The St. Regis Bangkok’s 10th anniversary, guests can follow in Mrs. Astor’s elegant footsteps and engage in the brand’s signature rituals, including a Siam ... » Learn More about THE ST. REGIS BANGKOK CELEBRATES A DECADE OF EXQUISITE LIVING
From sticky cones of vanilla and chocolate to elegant scoops of exotic fruit sorbet, the globally relished treat of ice cream has origins that can be traced to Mesopotamia - an ancient region that corresponds to today's Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey - as far back as 1200BC. It is believed that ice cream as the world knows it now was an Italian creation - yet a 12th-century Chinese ode, written by poet Yang Wanli in praise of an icy, crunchy refreshment that "appears congealed and yet it seems to float", suggests something similar was being enjoyed in China as early as the ninth century. The Chinese built pits to preserve the ice for cool summer drinks, says Luciana Polliotti, head of the Gelato Museum in the Italian city of Bologna and an ice cream historian. "The Silk Road was dotted with thousands of snow huts, snow pits and ice storage rooms built to preserve these precious and miraculous products of nature, where travellers and merchants would stop to refresh themselves with ... » Learn More about Italians, Chinese, Arabs – who actually invented ice cream?
As Christmas and the New Year draw close, people around the world are preparing to clink glasses and toast to a hopefully brighter, happier and post-pandemic future. In France, Italy and sometimes Britain, the word for “cheers” has Chinese origins. “ Cin-cin! ” (pronounced chin-chin) is uttered by Italians when they raise and clink their glasses together in a toast before sipping from a flute of spumante sparkling wine as they look each other directly in the eye. Being superstitious, Italians believe failing to look a guest or friend in the eye during the act, or with water instead of alcohol, can bring bad luck. A French toast is pronounced the same as the Italian expression, but spelt tchin-tchin , and chin-chin can occasionally be heard in British bars and restaurants. The colourful salute can be traced to the Mandarin phrase qing qing , which is rarely used during toasts in China today. The phrase’s use in celebratory feasting was imported to Europe and adapted to ... » Learn More about Chin-chin! How a Chinese drinking toast became popular in Europe
In Italy, people with a craving for wonton refer to them as ravioli cinesi , or “Chinese ravioli”, which is also how they are listed on the menus of Chinese restaurants in the country. And yet in Hong Kong, tortellini and ravioli are often described as Italian wonton. Is this just because the stuffed dumplings look alike, or is there an ancient link and a common ground that straddles the line between history and myth? There are infinite varieties of stuffed dough across the world, from Russian pelmeni to Nepalese and Tibetan momos, Japanese gyoza , Arabic samosa, Uzbek samsa and Korean mandu . They vary in shape, size, and fillings – meat, seafood, vegetables, spices, mushrooms or fruit – and how they are prepared and eaten, whether in soup, fried, boiled, steamed or baked. They can be salty or sweet, served as a main course or dessert, eaten on their own or with a sauce. But whether it’s Syrian shish barak drenched in yogurt, Italian fried seadas (filled with honey), cjarsons ... » Learn More about Wonton, mandu, pierogi, ravioli – all dumplings, but who made them first?
Prasong Suanchai would usually be gearing up for the high season, waiting for tourists from across the globe to flock to Thailand’s most popular holiday island. This year, the Phuket boat operator has had to resort to old ways. “For generations, the men in my family have been fishermen,” says the 34-year-old. “I was fishing since a young boy, but it was getting hard. There were less fish and less money for what we caught. It was difficult to provide for my family.” Nevertheless, he is again fishing for a living. In 2008, Suanchai started to operate snorkelling and island- and beach-hopping cruises. His charisma and self-taught language skills earned him a good reputation and his business expanded from one boat to six, employing 24 crew. However, as the coronavirus closed down the world and its economies, Phuket found itself in peril. Suanchai suspended operations in April. “Even when the island came out of lockdown and locals started visiting, it was not worth me starting again,” ... » Learn More about Stories of the Phuket tourism workers hit hard by plunge in travel to Thailand amid the Covid-19 crisis
While physical rallies were absent during the hustings for the recently concluded general election, some politicians did not seem to need them. By the midpoint of the campaign, Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Tan Cheng Bock was able to reach out to 12,000 followers with each Instagram post - thrice the capacity of Clementi Stadium, where rallies for West Coast GRC were held in past elections. The veteran politician wooed younger voters online by posting videos of himself responding to their attempts to educate him on slang terms like "woke". Dr Tan, who now has over 70,000 Instagram followers - more than local celebrities like TV personality Denise Keller and rapper Sheikh Haikel - was among the politicians who thrived in what experts have dubbed Singapore's "first truly Internet election". Political parties have traditionally relied on mass rallies to rouse the electorate and drum up support. But this time, restrictions on large gatherings due to Covid-19 measures saw ... » Learn More about GE2020: Lessons learnt from Singapore’s first true Internet election
More young Chinese people are preparing wills than ever before, according to a new report released by China Will Registration Centre. Experts say the coronavirus pandemic has prompted more young people to think about death and their assets. From 2019 to 2020, the number of will writers born after 1990 has grown 60 per cent, faster than in previous years. Since last August, a growing number of overseas Chinese people are consulting the centre in order to arrange their assets at home. The centre saw inquiries triple in a year. State news agency Xinhua reported on Monday that an 18-year-old student known as Xiaohong (a pseudonym) went to the Centre’s Shanghai branch to prepare a will that deals with 20,000 yuan (S$4,100) in assets. The freshman said she is treating life more seriously from now on because: “writing a will is not the end. It marks a new beginning”. She said she decided to give her savings to a friend who helped and supported her during a difficult period, adding ... » Learn More about Coronavirus pandemic pushes more young Chinese people to write wills
For most of us, our monthly menstruation is an unwelcome guest that often brings along with it a whole slew of other issues, from PMS to body aches, breakouts, and (ugh) the dreaded cramps. Why do period pains happen? Sexual wellness educator Andrea Tan explains, “During the period, the uterus contracts spasmodically to expel the mucous membrane that was formed for a possible pregnancy. This alone can cause pain. The contractions of the uterus are also controlled by the hormone prostaglandins. This hormone is a pain messenger and is also involved in inflammation, for example. The higher the prostaglandin level in a person’s body, the stronger the period pain can be.” If you’re looking for ways to ease your cramps (apart from popping pills), we’ve got a handy round-up below that could aid in offering some relief. But of course, if you’re facing severe pelvic pain , you should always consult a doctor. Endometriosis, for instance, is a body condition in which tissue that normally ... » Learn More about Masturbation, yoga & 4 other ways to help alleviate menstrual cramps