No extra skills needed!
Have you ever tried to play Camel Polo? If not, perhaps the time has arrived for you to muster all your courage, clamber onto the chosen Camel’s furry back and see what happens. Organisers of this entertaining pastime declare that no prior equestrian or camel riding experience is required and that this activity is nothing but great fun for virtually everyone. Those who have made the acquaintance of camels before may find them cute or even cuddly, despite their size and their sometimes intimidating grunt issued from the base of their huge lungs. They are tender giants, really. Depending on the outcome of an encounter – and with all due respect – some rate camels (who can close their nostrils) smelly and stubborn – and they slobber. In general, the camel, a mammal, is pleasant to have – but one never knows what it’s up to next. They can be such clowns, camels! Even the classy racing variety – costing as much as a fleet of Rolls’s and trained to keep their aristocratic countenance at all times – could not care less about conventions if caught in a foul mood. Crowds cheering on grandstands have watched priceless camels stop dead in their speedy strides and abruptly turn on all four heels, only to continue their lonely run in the opposite direction, protruding lips flapping. Much to the chagrin of the helpless jockey…
Imagine you were the fortunate citizen of a lush tropical island, say Bali, and financially privileged enough to afford an extraordinary home built according to your most daring desires. Ideally, renewable materials would be used almost exclusively so that your new residence became a sustainable and thus environmentally friendly affair. Bamboo is one of these resources – abundantly available locally, easily cultivated and growing back rapidly. It is light yet sturdy, albeit a little stubborn when it comes to delivering reliably straight rods: No two poles are alike and creative thinking is required on a permanent basis in order to come up with a feasible design. In Elora’s case, her enigmatically shaped edifices are the surprising result of these given twists and curves. Bamboo structures can now last a lifetime. Whereas formerly they used to get eaten away by insatiable termites and bugs, this building material receives treatment with a boron solution, a natural salt despised by hungry insects.
The quality of longevity is being discussed in controversial ways. Whereas the goal set by the ones optimistic of their (ever-)lasting physical and mental stamina is reaching an age of biblical extent, others would rather see themselves passing away at the height of their beauty, wit and grit – just in time, so to say. For them, the outlook on being left helplessly wilting in a forlorn nursery home or as an undead vegetable plugged to the wonders of life-prolonging contraptions, is utterly unbearable. Not to hope for heavenly conditions on earth seems the more realistic approach since, commonly, just-in-time rarely happens.
Back in Lim Ho Puah’s time, the banks along Singapore River quivered with sinister activities of underground Chinese and Fujianese secret syndicates. Gambling and prostitution prevailed and the flourishing opium trade reliably accounted for half of the revenue thriving businesses along the Strait of Malacca route generated. Since most smokers were hopelessly addicted and the trade was supported by the colonial government, profits stayed at a long-time high. In the very midst of this illustrious district right by the river lay Lim Ho Puah’s „godown“, the warehouse he had built in 1895.
Strange ways indeed
From a distance, front-desk receptionist Yumeko could be mistaken for a good-looking young lady of genuine flesh and blood, whereas colleagues positioned at the counter to either of her sides won’t fool anyone. They are instantly recognisable as what they are: a not-so-handsome-yet-still-quite-cute greenish descendent of the Jurassic age with a serious overbite and a manikin-like mechanical device held in colours white and blue: little Nao. It is obvious, that dinosaur Mirai cannot be real – but neither is Yumeko nor are most of the staff weasling about the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki: Instead, they are intelligent robots able to converse with their customers in a sensible and friendly manner while checking them in and out. The diligent machines are always ready to please, never in a filthy mood and obedient servants programmed to satisfy their guests’ special needs.