Facing Dementia

Last year, a Singapore documentary maker filmed a short series called Facing Dementia, spurred on by his experiences with his mother. Galen Yeo interviewed persons with dementia and their caregivers, giving a poignant view of the struggle to live with dementia and the available support in Singapore.

Some memorable people in the series:

  • A woman acting violently towards caregivers because she didn’t like what was going on,
  • An artist expressing his feelings as a caregiver for his mother through visual art,
  • A woman with young onset dementia who lost her job and stayed home until she was properly diagnosed and started on dementia day care,
  • A retired man with dementia who was living as well as he could and making plans for his future,
  • Persons with dementia and their caregivers experiencing a support group.

Every person with dementia has a different journey, and the series portrayed the variety of challenges faced. Some of the persons with dementia were able to afford and hire caregivers, others were reliant on family members, some of whom had to downsize their careers.

I strongly recommend this series for anyone (especially in Singapore) who wants to know about dementia and the treatment and support available. Singaporeans are at a higher risk of dementia than the developed Western world, for reasons that are not obvious.

You can watch a 10-minute trailer on Galen’s mother here:


The same page has links to the other 5 hour-long episodes which are:

Episode 1 – Do I Have Dementia?
Episode 2 – The Long Road Ahead (about young onset dementia)
Episode 3 – Caregivers and Loved Ones
Episode 4 – Beyond Medicine
Episode 5 – What the Future Holds

If you prefer Youtube, see the link below:


Super Blue Blood Moon

The weather in Singapore is often so cloudy that we cannot be sure we will see any astronomical phenomena. So it was with some surprise that the January 31 moon was well visible through most of its phases. For the record, it was a Blue moon (the second full moon in a month), a Blood moon (due to a phase in the eclipse when partial sunlight hits the moon) and a Super moon (as the moon is closest to the Earth at this time).

These are my intermittent attempts to catch the moon through its phases over four hours, as seen from Singapore!

Super moon rising, shining brightly
Eclipse starting
A little bite in the bottom left corner as Earth casts its shadow
Blood Moon!
Blood moon!
Closer View
A closer view of the blood moon
Full Eclipse
Full eclipse with a bright crescent where the Earth’s shadow is leaving the moon
Eclipse is over
It’s the super moon again, almost directly overhead
Wolf moon?
The clouds give the moon a blue and red halo

Don’t Tell Me

Mom used to be very vehement about this – Don’t tell me what to do, I will decide for myself.

Isn’t that so true for all of us?

Case in point, a colleague asked me to join the group for lunch saying, “Don’t be so anti-social, you really want to eat with us.” So against my initial impulse I went along, and was nice and social, but I felt out of sorts after that. I had forgotten an errand I meant to do.  When we don’t choose what we do and just go along, it affects us, whether we realize it or not.

For some reason I’m reminded of the time I went apartment hunting and met all sorts of real estate agents, the good and the bad.

Not bad, but I didn’t like the apartment as a whole

I would say if I didn’t like the place, and I would get different responses from the real estate agents.

The good ones said –
What don’t you like about this place?
What do you think about the location?
How does the layout suit you?
Do you like a high floor or a low floor?
Are you okay with this price range?
How about next week I show you a few more according to your taste and preference?

The bad ones said –
Why not? But this is very good! This is excellent!
It’s not noisy, I don’t hear anything. You’ll get used to it.
For your budget this is what you get.
What you want doesn’t exist.
You can refurnish how you want and it will look fine!

Well, don’t tell me!

Mom is much more relaxed these days, she no longer insists on making decisions. You choose for me, she would say. She would put on the clothes we lay out, eat what we prepare, watch whatever TV channel is on, go where we bring her. She’s happy with the world.

Finland 100

On the occasion of Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra programmed a Finnish concert, called Finland 100.

The programme featured works by the notable Finnish composer Sibelius, and also the Singapore premier of a Violin Concerto by another Finnish musician, Jaakko Kuusisto (b. 1974). Now googling Jaakko Kuusisto inadvertantly led me to his younger brother Pekka Kuusisto, who is a star of several YouTube videos on Finnish folk violin music – do look him up, he’s very funny. Here’s one of them.

The two brothers also feature in a video of a concert when they were very young, playing an upbeat jazzy tune while maintaining very serious expressions. It is very cheerful, really.

This is supposed to be a music review, but I’ll keep it short – the concert was amazing! A wonderful evening of Finnish music led by a Okko Kamu, and the solo violinist was Elina Vahala. No prizes for guessing their nationality! Incidentally, the Violin Concerto was dedicated to Elina.

The orchestra played beautifully together, and the various instruments were well-balanced with the solo violin just a tad enhanced by microphone during the Violin Concerto. Elina was superb, smooth and confident in the concerto, and the technically demanding portions were not simply acrobatics but very musical part-playing indeed.

Somehow, that evening the acoustics were just superb, with instruments very clear, yet blending well as a whole.

I have only one small quibble in that the harp sounded a little over-enhanced during Symphony No. 5, it was unexpectedly forward and too in-your-face for me. But overall, it was a night of beautiful sincere music-making.


Finlandia, Op. 26      Jean Sibelius (1865-1957

Violin Concerto, Op. 28      Jaakko Kuusisto (b. 1974)

Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 82     Jean Sibelius


Day at Universal Studios Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore opened 6 years ago, but I’d never been there…. that is, until I got my free ticket! It would otherwise have cost at least US$50.


To get in you walk under the Sentosa Island monorail.

Under the monorail

It was Minion season, and there were fully costumed minions on stage and minion-wannabes on the ground greeting the crowd.

Minions and minions

This shopfront brought back memories – my Mom had a Singer and gave it to me, and I managed to misplace it. Thankfully, she doesn’t bring it up anymore.

Singer machine

I wonder how many Singaporeans identify with Marilyn, nonetheless she still draws a crowd, obviously.


The star attraction of Universal Studios Singapore is the Battlestar Galactica double roller-coaster ride. This was plagued with problems at the beginning and often out of action, causing much unhappiness with visitors to the theme pack. Today, it is fully operational.

Battlestar Galactica

One roller-coaster runs with it’s patrons suspended. You can see many choose to ride barefooted in order not to lose their slippers.Suspended

The other roller-coaster has its patrons seated, but it is no less thrilling, I’m sure.


The suspended people are sometimes turned upside down on their heads.Suspended and Upside-Down

Here’s a not very good picture of both rides intertwining.

Human Vs Cylon

Here’s another bad picture opportunity which I couldn’t resist, I call it “Facepalm”.


I decided to try this mini-ride because it looked safe. It’s called “Canopy Flyer” and it was terrifying.


Paid a brief visit to Sleeping Beauty’s castle, which was really very photogenic.


Jack’s Beanstalk tower concealed another ride for young kiddies.Jack's Beanstalk

Waited for Shrek he didn’t show up.Shrek

Took a last glimpse of the Battlestar Galactica: Human vs Cylon from across the waterAnother view

And I bid farewell to Universal Studios Singapore characters at the merry-go-round. It was a fun visit.

Last ride