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9-11: A Firsthand Account

I wrote this on March 11, 2002. Six months would have passed since the day now referred to simply as the date: “9-11.” We still live with the cliché, “The world has changed.” On that sunny morning of blue skies and spring-like weather, I was traveling from my uptown apartment to a 9:30 A.M. client meeting on what is commonly known as the No. 3 express train. A New York Times article about the attempted assassination of the leader of the Mujahaddin faction in Afghanistan occupied my time during the 20-minute subway ride to Chambers Street. It was interesting, but Afghanistan was far away.


Applying to College During a Pandemic

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and students are no less impacted by the widespread changes that have swept high schools and universities alike. As a result of the pandemic, classes have been moved online, standardized exams have been modified and postponed, campus tours have gone virtual and summer programs have been canceled. Students, parents, teachers and administrators are all scrambling to address these challenging circumstances and to adjust to the ‘new normal’. Now more than ever, students and their parents must plan early and strategically in order to successfully navigate the upcoming college admissions season. Here are some actionable tips and advice for students and parents to follow as they begin to embark on the application process this summer:


The Rise of Socially Responsible Investment

From garment factories protecting workers better, to banks ending loans for coal miners, companies are focusing more on sustainable environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. Investors are looking at it more, too, as corporate practices affect investment returns. Here’s how to include sustainability in your investment decisions.


A Fusion Revolution

Singapore is certainly famous enough for its food scene, with everything from diner-style burgers to Michelin chef’s being featured at several restaurants. But a new player in the private-dining space is taking local flavors from Singapore and Malaysia’s past and applying it to new, modern food presentations.


The Butterfly Effect

As an avid exerciser, I did everything I could to stay “active in public” as long as possible before the circuit breaker – I took group exercise classes until the last day Singapore allowed it in April, hired a personal trainer (yes – even trainers have trainers!) after that, and finally came to terms with fully-at-home workouts once all other options were extinguished.


Brunei: Tiny World of Wonder

Nestled in a cozy corner of the giant isle of Borneo, the tiny sultanate of Brunei is as obscure as it is intriguing. A less travelled destination, the country’s charms only reveal themselves upon closer inspection. Just twice the size of Luxembourg, Brunei’s small size belies its considerable history, power and wealth. Over the centuries, it has thwarted Spanish imperial aggression, withstood dominance by the White Rajahs, eluded absorption into Malaysia and endured British colonialism. This fiercely independent little nation woke up one fortuitous morning to find something that would dramatically change its course in history. The discovery of huge reserves of oil would turn Brunei into one of the richest countries in the developing world, and its Sultan into one of the wealthiest people on the face of the Earth.


Armchair Adventures

The disadvantages of living in a city that is also a country are suddenly apparent now we can no longer jet away for the weekend. Singapore is wonderfully lush and green, but, no doubt, many of us are missing being able to travel to see wide vistas with no people in them. While we wait out the pandemic, I have been absorbing myself in stories of others’ travels and adventures. In case you are also looking for some distractions to sate your wanderlust, here are some favorites:


Discovering Secret Singapore

I never tire of exploring Singapore, often by bicycle, pedaling around not only for exercise, but in the hope of spotting another old house or some cool architectural flourish I haven’t seen before.


Pre-Colonial Fort Canning: Bukit Larangan and Ban Zu

Fort Canning Hill rings in people’s minds as being a venue that hosts many events such as concerts and festive activities. Also located there is an array of reception halls accommodating newlyweds on their special day. It was previously named Government Hill in the early colonial era, reflecting its function until 1859 when plans for the military installation of its name bears were underway. A few centuries before Sir Stamford Raffles’ 1819 arrival, it was the location of a thriving settlement called Ban Zu with the location subsequently known as Bukit Larangan, Malay for “Forbidden Hill”, where kings were believed to be buried.


Limitless Hours of Local Theater & Film

In the few months between pitching this article and writing it, the world pulled a rather sudden and unexpected transformation. The COVID-19 crisis has been a difficult challenge for theater and film in particular. Now that we have entered Phase 2 of the end to the ‘circuit breaker’, theaters and cinemas are able to welcome their audiences back, but I expect it will be months, if not years until people feel comfortable crushing into a packed performance space again.