The Best of Both Worlds: Living Alternate Lives in Stanford and Oxford

“It’s hard to feel comfortable around you, or, you know, the same, knowing that you’ve studied in not just one, but two of the world’s most elite universities,” a friend of mine divulged during our annual catch-up, an occurrence limited by the once-yearly frequency of our returns to our hometown of Singapore. “Stanford and Oxford. Wow. Just wow.”…

Truth, freedom, and identity: scattered travel thoughts

The contemporary struggle for truth and freedom isn’t quite contemporary; it’s a debate that existed long before the horrors of 2016 (I apologise for referencing Buzzfeed), Conway’s #alternativefacts, or the purported end-of-American-democracy-as-we-know it. We often hear that we are at crucial crossroads, teetering on a precipice of intolerance and deceit never before encountered — but the conflation…

The Unexpected Cuba

Every city has its own music. Havana’s is best characterised by the cacophony of beeps and honks (emitted from decades-old Fords, Buicks, and Moskvitchs/Москвич alike) that – strangely enough – melds into a fascinating symphony when paired with the salsa/samba/rumba music reverberating on every street and plaza corner. Havana’s music reflects its vibrancy: its vibrancy…

On Movement and Trains (and College)

I’m not quite sure what time it was when the train started to move (ten, fifteen, maybe 20 minutes after it was due to leave the station? Czech trains sadly lack the timeliness and efficiency of its German and Austrian neighbours), but its departure was signalled by a familiar musical refrain – a buildup of…

From SFO to LHR

“Mr. Møller’s message to us is a call to action. As citizens of the world and leaders of the future, we have a collective responsibility to address the issues of peace, sustainable development, and human rights facing our world today.” – Read my latest article for the Stanford Political Journal, on UN Director-General Michael Møller’s call…

Oxford Shenanigans

“Oh, so you blog?” “Yeah, I do! Well, kind of.” That murky wave of guilt laps at my conscience and I remember that it’s literally been months since I last posted. Sitting across a new friend at a beautiful coffee shop in Oxford, I begin to recall why I started blogging in the first place….

The Middle Kingdom

[First published in my school editorial, One Voice] The Middle Kingdom has, for the last few decades, dominated the center of many budding and puzzled minds, enshrouded in an amalgamation of mystery, awe, and fear. Fledging teenagers (like myself) struggle to comprehend and keep up with the workings of the economic giant, for it has certainly…

London: Singular Sunlit Solstice

London. There is something inherently exhilarating about megacities that compel us to marvel at the achievements of human existence – the skyscrapers that seem to stretch for eternity into the sky; the varied architecture that hints at periods of intense demolishing and then robust development; the multitude of people that crowd the streets, each with…

Italy: Vibrant Hues

The psychedelic colours that saturate this film absolutely stun me; the vibrant hues of foamy blue and blood orange coalesce into some sort of dreamy, eternal-sunset-splashed heaven. Italy is indeed a beautiful place: elderly centenarians (perhaps not quite; but the Dumbledore-esque wispy white beards seem to make them decades wiser) stroll along the cobbled streets;…

Siem Reap: Savong’s School

I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy. – Kahlil Gibran The rickety drive up the bumpy, pot-holed path to Savong’s School was always one of suppressed excitement; the pit of my stomach would…

Siem Reap: Colorful Characters

The most exhilarating part of traveling is chancing across an intriguing, colorful array of people along the way. This trip to Siem Reap not only led us on a journey of self-discovery and service, but brought us on an adventure to meet a myriad of different characters, each with their own riveting stories. Often taxi drivers…

Siem Reap: Epicurean Explorations

Food is the language we all speak. Food is also the door to another culture; the physical manifestation of complex undertones of emotion, complicated webs of history, and ineffable human connections and individual refinements that all coalesce in a beautiful explosion of flavors. One mouthful is all it takes to taste the rich Cambodian history,…