Sunshine Coast – Sun, Sand & Sea @ Noosa Heads

When in Brisbane: Take a day trip up north to Noosa Heads in the Sunshine Coast to take in some of the most beautiful sights of sun, sand, sea and sky you will ever see. This is Laguna Bay where you can folick in the waters, build sandcastles, or stretch your leg mucles on the boardwalk that takes you all the way to the top of Noosa National Park where a lookout offers breathtaking views of the entire area. Actually, considering the long drive – 3 hrs each way – best to stay a night or two cos you still need time to check out all the shops and cafes along the main street, Hastings Lane. Hmm, should I go again?… 

Photo by Marguerita Tan


Brisbane – Sunset over the River

When in Brisbane: Catch sunsets (about 5ish during winter) over Brisbane River by positioning yourself on the extremely busy Victoria Bridge. Just be careful and avoid being knocked down by vehicles or pedestrians. Besides sunsets, you can see beautiful fluffy clouds posturing themselves in a clear, blue sky almost everday in the city. Naisee.

Photo by Marguerita Tan

‘Tis the Season…

Greetings from Singapore – Merry Christmas to one and all across the globe! Blessing  you with the Season’s Wishes & Dreams of Joy, Peace and Hope! May all your days be merry and bright during this Yuletide period and throughout the New Year!

(The beautiful view above of the Singapore Flyer, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Marina Bay Sands was taken from Aura, a bar and lounge which lies atop the National Gallery Singapore.)

Photo Credit: Marguerita Tan/Musings on the M49


Penang: Street Art in George Town

When in Penang: One of the must-do things is to check out the fabulous street art, most of which were commissioned under the Marking George Town Project that helped brand the precinct as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Most popular are the enchanting murals by Penang-based Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic such as the ones above of “Boy on Motorcycle” and (part of) “Boy Walking His Dinosaur” located on Ah Quee Street. The adjacent Armenian Street, the busiest tourist hotspot in the city, is where you will find his other famous work “Kids on Bicycle” and a host of other murals by other artists.

The other type of street art to look out for are these super cute life-sized, steel-rod sculptures on sides of buildings, mostly ground-level, which feature historical facts of Penang history and its people written with much wit and humour.

To find all 15 murals and 51 sculptures easily, pick up a free Marking George Town brochure at the airport or selected hotels as it has a map showing exactly where each artpiece is. (It also show the routes of free city CAT (Central Area Transit) buses which will help you to move around easier.)

Take note that there are also many other fascinating murals in the precinct that are not listed in the map. Just look around every building or shophouse to see if there’s any street art or mural lurking on or behind it. For instance, I stumbled upon this gorgeous three-storey high rooster in splendid colours along “Chicken Alley” off Lorong Che Em, after stumbing upon steel-red sculpture #32 “Duck” off Beach Road!

Meanwhile, the popular painting – and not a mural – of a Minion executing a kung-fu kick can be found hanging behind Quay Bar along Weld Quay, close to local deaf artist Louis Gan’s adorable “Brother and Sister on a Swing”.

So, if ever you make it to #Penang, Malaysia, do check out the #streetart in #Georgetown. You won’t regret it!

All photos by Marguerita Tan. No text or images from this post are to be used without the blog author’s authorisation.

Encyclopedia Madonnica 20: Updated Edition

2016-08-14 18.33.06August 16 marks the birthday of the woman the world over know as the #QueenofPop. So, thought it would be timely to recommend that if you are a huge #Madonna fan and if you were to (somehow) only buy just one book about her in your lifetime, then let it be Encyclopedia Madonnica 20 by Matthew Rettenmund.

EM20 is the 20th anniversary edition (hence the “20”) of the New York-based author/blogger’s 1995 best-seller which many fans have long regarded as the ultimate Madonna book as it lists everything and everything about the singer “from A to Z” – from all her likes and dislikes to who she was dating during when and at where. To say Matthew’s intensive research and knowledge about the woman he admired most (next to his mum, ie) is amazingly comprehensive is an understatement.


EM20cover_standard2015The 2015 version (standard edition, pictured above) is just as outstanding, if not much more,  as it is jam-packed with new fascinating insights, insider info, exclusive interviews, lavish illustrations and mostly rare photographs of the music icon. Weighing in close to 2kg and  the size of a phone book, the tome covers her illustrious career as a singer/dancer/actress/author/film director/fashion brand and fitness gym owner, as well as of her personal life as daughter/sister/lover/wife/ex-wife and mother-of-four, over the past 30+ years.


2016-08-14 18.38.18The 2015 version of EM20 also has a cool limited edition (500 copies only) which has a different cover – a striking Andy-Warhol like illustration by Pegasus Street Artist. Each copy is also accompanied by a special bookplate personally autographed by the author along with  a serial number. My copy, for instance pictured above, is numbered #127/500. And there are five different bookplates featuring illustrated versions of the megastar in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s and ’10s.


2016-08-14 18.33.47Forward to 2016: If you haven’t gotten a copy of EM20 yet, this is a good time to get it as the meticulous Matthew – whom I’ve known for years and even went to see Madonna’s London’s West End play, Up For Grabs, together in 2002 – has updated the standard edition to include new sections on the critically acclaimed #RebelHeartTour and the exclusive #TearsofaClown show held in Melbourne, Australia. There are also a few revised entries to include, for example, the deaths of David Bowie and Prince. The new edition also boasts a gorgeous new cover illustration by Alejandro Mogollo (who also has a dozen other lovely illustrations of M in various stages of her career sprinkled throughout the book), as well as many great images from RHT and TOAC.


2016-08-09 03.24.22Even though I already have a copy of EM20, there were 5 reasons why I’m glad I decided to get the 2016 updated version:

1. The stunning new cover illustration by Adejandro Mogollo.
2. The Rebel Heart Tour update is essential as it is by far the best tour La M has ever done.
3. Tears of a Clown too as it was seriously a one-of-a-kind performance which I was blessed to be able to see it live in person.
4. Images of Tears of a Clown (example above) that are by my longtime M pal and fellow Singaporean, Richard Se. (You go, boy!)

And #5, most gratifyingly…

2016-08-09 03.25.28… there’s a pull-out quote under the TOAC entry which is me commenting on Tears of a Clown taken from my March 11 blog review of it, which I only found out about after my purchased copy arrived! (Much appreciated, Matthew!) You can read the original post at this link:

La Vie En Rose

So there you have it, #EncyclopediaMadonnica20, arguably the tour de force of all Madonna books (and most of them are not worth a dime, seriously…).

EM20: Updated & Revised edition – a must-have in any M fan’s collection.

Available at Amazon US (and other Amazons worldwide):

And oh, Blessed 58th Birthday, Madonna! Here’s to many more!




World Press Photo 2015 Exhibition

2016-02-16 16.25.46 (635x640)Attending the World Press Photo winners exhibition is now kind of an annual ritual for me. Glad to finally make it before it ends this Sunday. This time, the exhibition is held at the National Museum of Singapore, at  the ground floor foyer as well as the basement, which I thought was slightly better (and cooler in terms of air-con) than along the open corridors of Raffles Hotel where it was held in the past two years.

This year’s selection didn’t grab me as much though – not sure if it’s because most of them I have seen featured many times in print as well as online, while for the rest, most of the subject matter are rather harrowing and depressing. It didn’t help that the NFC function on my android phone didn’t work and I didn’t get access to additional info in regards to the exhibited photos. Still, a picture is worth a thousand words as they say, so here are the ones that hit home with me:
2016-02-16 16.27.45 (640x363)Lu Guang, China, Long-Term Projects, third prize stories
I was fascinated by this photo cos I thought it was sad that the sheep had to nibble grass and breathe in “air” next to coal-mining factories in Inner Mongolia until I found out that these are FAKE statues of life-sized sheep placed by the Chinese government in order to give an impression that livestock is alive and well despite industralisation which is anything but. Which makes this photo even more poignant especially how the photographer had to bypass red tape and made all kinds of connections in order to get into the thick of things. Remind me of what actress-director Joan Chen had to do in order to get her 1998 critically acclaimed film, Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl made.

2016-02-16 16.22.01 (640x360)Paolo Marchetti, Italy, Nature third prize stories
The 2015 Nature entries were really outstanding, full of colour and life. This one though drained the life out of me, especially the bottom far left picture of dozens of slaughtered Colombian caimans, once poor cousins of their country alligators and crocodiles, but are now much sought after for their skin which are reportedly more durable (bottom far right). The story is that skins these days are from farmed animals and farmers are obliged to return a number of caiman back to the wild to replenish natural stocks. Still…

2016-02-16 16.37.00 (640x336)Massimo Sestini, Italy, General News, second prize singles
War refugees risking their lives on overcrowded boats in treacherous seas seeking asylum in whichever country willing to take them will stay with us for a long time to come. Just wondering how come the tragic photo of that little boy in red washed up on the Turkish shoreline is not among the finalists. ‘Cos that was certainly the photo that woke many people up to just how serious and tragic this situation has become…

2016-02-16 16.37.38 (640x359)Jerome Sessini, France, Spot News, first prize stories
As mentioned, there were a lot of depressing (albeit standout) photos on war, conflict, poverty, social disease, etc, which I confessed I tried to look away from but this series on the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 tragedy was too close to home to ignore. Never mind the fact that the pictures were seen a gazillion times across all media. As we continue to pray for the victims’ loved ones, let’s also not forget what the villagers of that eastern Ukrainian town had to go through especially those who are forever scarred by the memory of dead bodies crashing through their roofs or onto their fields…

2016-02-16 16.31.25 (640x386)Bao Tailiang, China, Sports, first prize singles
Being a football fan, this photo definitely scored with me. Messi, arguably the most gifted footballer on the planet right now, staring woefully at the one football prize that still eludes him – the coveted World Cup. That is a split second moment that was truly well captured, so kudos to the photographer.

2016-02-16 16.17.07 (640x360)Tomas van Houtryve, Belgium, Contemporary Issues, second prize stories
Last but not least, this photo didn’t struck me as anything spectacular until you read that it was taken by a drone. Which means, with so many drone operators these days, your casual “exercise on the beach” may be filmed by a total stranger without you knowing it, or worse, if it was assigned by government powers that be (mainly US it seems), it can be interpreted as “signature behaviours as evidence of the existence of a training camp…” And you thought our obsession with taking pictures of our every meal was bad…

The World Press Photo 2015 Exhibition runs at the National Museum of Singapore till Sun Feb 21. Admission is free.


Budapest by Night


When in Budapest, take a cruise up and down the Danube at night, you must. See the gorgeous old buildings lit up in all their glory, you have to. They don’t look had bad in the daytime as well, but it’s at night that the likes of Buda Castle or the House of Parliament really shines (no pun intended)…