Musings: Dancing with Divas


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(Bustin’ a move with my super fun crew at this New Years’ Eve ‘live’ broadcast)

It’s been a good five years working on the front lines in the media, and I’ve come across the prevalent and rather ridiculous phenomenon of people mistaking rude or unkind behaviour for competence. Very often, people get away with murder because everyone is just too scared of some kind of backlash to retaliate or speak up for themselves. The bully then gets away scot-free and goes unchecked.

It’s not entirely baseless that we naturally clamour for attention and approval from the people who give so little of it to others. This isn’t strange, it’s just the basic theory of supply and demand. But as enlightened individuals, I’m sure we can think for ourselves and realise that aggression does not equal talent, competence or strength of character.

Far from. It takes far more for an accomplished person to consistently hold him or herself to a high standard of treating everyone with dignity and grace (whether it’s a toilet cleaner, or an intern or someone who’s made a mistake). Kindness when it is not asked for or required, leaving everyone with a dignified way out and listening with respect instead of shouting the loudest to be heard.. that reflects true character.

It could be that you know of someone right now at work or in your personal life who’s just like this. Chances are, people don’t really like this person but are far too afraid to say anything about it. Worse, they still grudgingly clamour for his or her approval. I urge you to take a closer look at this person. And then watch the people who don’t say much but walk in quiet positivity and kindness. It’s not always the loudest person that has something important to say, not always the biggest diva that has the most talent, nor does the most harsh and critical person necessarily know best.

I’ve learnt to be careful who i submit myself to. Or let walk over me. Each time you don’t stand up for yourself or the right thing, you literally stoop lower than someone who gets away with bad behaviour. And I think we all deserve better.

Musings: Camera Goggles


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You know the feeling. Looking at the world through technicolour filters and a plastic lens. When you see something completely astounding or breathtakingly beautiful, and your hands reach instinctively for your phone or DSLR to capture the moment before it passes you by.

Ironically, in taking the time to nail that perfect shot, it actually does.

Is every photo an obituary of a moment lost? I personally struggle with these two conflicting desires. Half of me wants to live completely in the now, taking every sight, sound and smell slowly with all my senses. But as a journalist, it’s second nature to document, to tell the story. That instinct courses through my veins. Having to find that middle ground is a constant challenge. But there’s definitely a way to have your cake and eat it.

For example, I always give myself time to relish every new experience or brush with beauty without distraction, before whipping a camera and a notepad out to document it. It’s really as simple as taking a few moments to be fully present. As a reporter, I’ve learnt that there is no way you can accurately paint a picture without first absorbing every nuance. Without sensing, there can be no authentic storytelling. Without experience, no imagination. It can be so easy to be caught up in getting the details right; making sure you don’t miss that picture-perfect moment, the Nat Geo money shot. But at the end of the day, looking back on that perfect photograph, you might find that moment devoid of memory or sensory pleasure. Being slow to reach for your camera might deprive you of a great picture, but a good shot could rob you of the whole experience and a memory. A moment you may never experience again.

When travelling, I’ve had to constantly remind myself to take off those camera goggles and remember that there is always a time for creativity and sharing. But there is no place like the here and now to simply sit and savour.


Do you sometimes feel the need to capture and document beautiful moments? How do you balance that with the beauty of being present? Share your thoughts below.

Travel: A Beautiful Day in Zürich, Switzerland


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It’s no secret why Zürich is regarded as one of the most liveable cities in the world. It’s incredibly clean, safe, culturally rich, and its bustling urban activity is balanced perfectly by the azure calm of the crystalline Zürich Lake. Everything moves like clockwork in Switzerland’s largest city.

But it’s not just where the world’s richest park their money. The city has long shed its stuffy reputation to reveal a contemporary arts scene, a whole host of nightlife and chic bars, while embracing the quaint cultural beauty in its old town. But frankly, you don’t need more than a day or two to explore the city. In fact, much of it can be traversed on foot. Come on, let me show you what you can see here in just a day!

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I’d arrived in Zürich one chilly morning by train from Freiburg in Germany. It’s incredibly convenient to cross countries by rail. All it took was roughly €50 and less than two hours! My first stop was to take a 15-minute stroll from the main train station to the city’s main cathedral, the Grossmünster.

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Inside, it was sleek, clean and minimal by gothic standards. And to get to the top, you’d have to pay an small entry fee of a few Euros.

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The church building itself is relatively  unremarkable from the outside, but definitely don’t miss climbing the 180-odd steps to the top of the tower for an incredible panorama.  It’s said to boast one of the most spectacular views of the city. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

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With the morning mist just barely dissolving in the light of the rising sun, the whole city seemed to slowly awake from its drowsy slumber. Simply breathtaking.

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Trust me, it’s definitely worth the extra leg work.

Another vantage point for a gorgeous view of the city and the water would be from..

The Lindehof

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Musings: Are Rap Moguls Philosophers Stoned?


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Human beings in a mob.
What’s a mob to a king?
What’s a king to a god?
What’s a god to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything?
Will he make it out alive?
Alright, alright. No church in the wild.

–  Kanye/Jay Z, No Church in the Wild


Okay, so the title is a little tongue-in-cheek. And hip hop is not everyone’s cup of tea. But whether we like it or not, rap is relevant. You’ve got to admit, today’s rap royalty have got a certain charisma and street cred that few other musicians enjoy. Most times, the verses drip with narcissistic rhymes about flashy cars, obscene amounts of bling, drugs and breaking out of life in the ghetto. But that’s fairly stereotypical. If you listen carefully, you might find some interesting perspectives in there. Rappers reject elitism and the The Man, but their cult appeal lies in their ability to connect with those who feel alienated by society. They often contain passionate social commentaries, if you know where to look.

Take the above for example. I’d glazed over the song on The Great Gatsby soundtrack until i actually started paying attention to the lyrics. There’s a fascinating philosophical puzzle there. Where does power really lie? It asks a very fundamental question – does being godless make you invincible? And then, the climactic paradox – even the non-believer is slave to the mob because no one can survive alone. Before you know it, we’ve come full circle. It’s really quite poetic. Kanye even raps about Socrates and Plato. Perhaps I’d been too quick to write off the likes of Drake, Dr Dre and Tupac.

Hip hop is informed by the great Jazz age of the swinging ’20s. Its themes often revolve around survival, being marginalised by society, and overcoming the odds to become a self-made success. All of which most of us can relate to. Despite being snubbed by corporate America just two decades ago, rappers are laughing their way to the banks. It is now a $10 billion industry. Its rise is unparalleled, overtaking traditional agriculture and manufacturing industries in record time. People make jokes about Kanye, Tyga and how ridiculous the Kardashians are. I agree that our obsession with reality TV is a symptom of a much bigger decay in society. But these musicians are something else.

They’ve turned their art into musical empires built on the narrative of rags to riches, selling hope and celluloid dreams through Yeezy sneakers, lip kits and overpriced jeans. They tell people you can make it big like me. Rap is the new religion. These gold-clad titans languish on the volatile thrones of pop culture, straddling the often warring realms of art and business. Ka-ching.

Sure, there is much to be said about the licentious lifestyle, guns, drugs and and dysfunctional relationships. But behind their success lie a certain brilliance, keen business acumen and a dauntless determination to succeed. But of course, this comes at a price. It gets lonely at the top. We all know there is but a fine line between genius and insanity. It probably won’t be the last time Kanye checks himself into rehab.