Newsletter: 2018 May

may

May, the joys of spring!

May is one of my favourite months! It is the time we find spring flowers in full blossom (that is if you are from the Northern Hemisphere, if you are from the South, it will be the season for the falling leaves…). Fairs and festivals, outdoor activities and picnics are taking up the weekends in this fifth month on the Gregorian calendar!

The month was named after the Greek Goddess Maia, perhaps better known as the mother of Hermes (yes, the French luxury brand Hermès is named after her son!), or as the daughter of Atlas (the Titan who had to hold up the sky and the Atlantic Ocean was named after him!).

Now, let’s proceed to have fun with our May’s photo contest:

Where in the world was the above picture taken ?

cambodia

Result of last month’s (April) photo contest:

CAMBODIA!

The photo was taken in Siem Reap , Cambodia. The Victory Gate (South Gate) is one of the five gates leading to Angkor Thom, the Great City of Khmer.

To discover Siem Reap and the many temples of Angkor, please click on the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hr-VpIihXM

A Journey A Month…

Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.

May is known for Labour Day, Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day (though some may celebrate Mother’s Day in March). For those of Buddhist faith, Vesak Day (or Buddha Purnima) is also a key festival around this time of the year (between late April/May/early June).

Many famous people have their birthdays in May, for example Florence Nightingale who founded the first professional nursing school (the International Nurses Day is thus celebrated on her birthday, 12th May). Other notables include Niccolo Machiavelli (3rd May) who wrote ‘The Prince’, Karl Max (5th May) who authored ‘Das Kapital’, Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Arthur Conan Doyle (22nd May), JF Kennedy (May 29) etc…

Leonardo-da-Vinci

Amongst all, I would like to pay tribute to one of the world’s greatest geniuses: Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo from Vinci).

I am quite sure that everyone has heard of Leonardo and his famous painting, the Mona Lisa. Some may have seen it in the Louvre, Paris, and some may even have had the opportunity to see the other disputed “older/earlier” version of a “younger” Mona Lisa when it was discovered in 2012. (It was exhibited in Singapore late 2014/early 2015).

However, despite being so famous, I doubt many knew that he died on 2nd May (1519) and is buried in France.

Amongst all, I would like to pay tribute to one of the world’s greatest geniuses: Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo from Vinci).

I am quite sure that everyone has heard of Leonardo and his famous painting, the Mona Lisa. Some may have seen it in the Louvre, Paris, and some may even have had the opportunity to see the other disputed “older/earlier” version of a “younger” Mona Lisa when it was discovered in 2012. (It was exhibited in Singapore late 2014/early 2015).

However, despite being so famous, I doubt many knew that he died on 2nd May (1519) and is buried in France.

I was drawn to Leonardo during my university days after being shown some of his paintings at the London’s National Gallery. Being an art enthusiast and a young engineering student, I was immediately impressed by the genius of this Renaissance man. With his many intellectual pursuits, besides being a painter, sculptor and architect, Leonardo was also a military engineer, a mathematician, a scientist, a botanist and many more…

With the discovery of his notes, scholars agree that Leonardo was also a great visionary inventor beyond his time! Thanks to IBM and modern day computing, we are now able to look at the models of some of Leonardo’s inventions and concepts: flying machine, parachute, multi-barrel machine gun, submarine, diving suit, helicopter etc. Featured below are images taken during my visit to the “reconstructed” workshop, the armoured chariot/tank (left), self-propelled cart/automobile (right). In today’s robotic age, might you also be surprised that Leonardo had even thought of the design of a “Robot Knight”?

armoured-chariot
self-propelled-cart

Well, if this is beginning to intrigue you. The next time you are in France, do consider a visit to the Loire Valley (also known as the Valley of Kings). Make a stop at Amboise and don’t just visit the Amboise castle, take the small path leading to Clos Lucé, the manor house King François Ier (Francis I) gave to Leonardo as a gift, that’s where Leonardo has spent his last years in France and where you can find the amazing workshop.

Every year, around this time, I ask myself how one could live life to the fullest, a more “Renaissance” way may be the answer. Leonardo’s curiosity of his time (1452-1519) led to his many inventions and masterpieces that we marvel at today. He was a traveller, having relocated from Florence to Rome, Bologna, Venice and eventually France. I wonder if he were to live in our world today, would his boundless curiosity lead him to travel around the world? and what other inventions and innovations would have resulted from his inquisitive mind and observing nature?

Here is a quote from him: “The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions!” and links if you wish to know more about this great genus:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-h32XpDYBw, and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrV91kOn-ao&inf_contact_key=2aa1731b9e38dc326c4878cb91eab251

Let our eyes be the windows to our souls!

For those who enjoy classical music, here is Vivaldi’s Spring from the Four Seasons for your listening pleasure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjpLxlSMJPo&list=RDIjpLxlSMJPo&index=1

To learn about other festivals around the world, you can also subscribe to TCG’s Youth’s Cross Cultural Competency course. https://www.transculturalgroup.com/youth-young-adults-pricing/

classical-music

Enjoy May!

There is more that we share in this world than those that divide us!