Sunday, November 23, 2008

Around the world in four hours

The first time I went on a trip around the world, it only took a couple of hours and didn't cost a thing. Since then, I have taken many a journey - curled up in a comfortable chair with a good book. Today, I was reminded of that simple pleasure.

I took a train to Orchard Road this morning and entered Borders Bookstore at 10am. It's one of my favourite places in Singapore because it's full of books, magazines and music, and customers are welcome to chill and browse to their hearts' content. Worming my way round the store with a basket in hand, I piled up on books and magazines that looked interesting. Then I settled into my favourite seat (in the Art section) and took a trip around the world.

  • The Economist confirmed that cash is king in today's credit-squeezed world. It also mentioned that Asia is likely to weather the financial storms better than anyone else.
  • Tony Wheeler took me to the Best Places to Travel to in 2009. These include Algeria, Georgia, Bangladesh and Oman. Plus it had a write-up about all the countries in the world. What a bargain for $30!
  • Batak Sculpture brought me face-to-face with my Northern Sumatran heritage for the first time. I learnt about their fierce demeanour (how true!), xenophobia and how all clansmen can be traced to a common ancestor named Si Raja Batak. There are also six distinct groups namely Mandailing, Angkola, Toba, Pakpak/Dairi, Simalungun and Karo Batak
  • 1001 Paintings to See Before You Die reminded me of gentle Vermeer, horrifying Goya, fascinating Mondrian, while introducing me to new artists like Georgia O Keefe.
Four hours later, I walked out of Borders a richer person - despite spending over a hundred dollars :-)

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