Marmie (Birmingham, May 1998 – London, April 11, 2017)

“My cat died last night,” I texted my friend who owns four dogs and two cats in Denver.

“I didn’t know you had a cat,” she responded.

“I don’t. I gave him away years ago.”

I can’t remember when exactly I gave him away — 2001? 2002? 2003?

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Sustainability reporting: acronyms and concepts

Whenever I enter a new field, I easily get stopped by acronyms. While I’m trying to figure out what the abbreviations stand for, another acronym gets fired at me. Even if I’ve deciphered the acronym, I’m dumbfounded by the jargon. I need to define and understand new terminology in the context of the subject domain. Until these two barriers (acronyms and vocabulary) are overcome, I can’t begin to hold an intelligible conversation in that discipline.

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Electric vehicles in paradise: the newspaper column that was

Four years ago, I started writing my first newspaper column: EV in Paradise for Maui Weekly, the free local paper with a website. A year later, funding for the electric vehicle project ended. Nine months afterwards, the newspaper folded. The website disappeared overnight. What happened to those articles?

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My Thai after five days with Chef June – Thai Food Made Easy

When I first connected with my high school classmate June Verburg on Facebook, I couldn’t believe how good she looked. She must have photoshopped herself, I concluded. So I planned a trip to see her and find out for myself.

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New music to calm your soul: Giovanni Allevi

The piano solo music of Giovanni Allevi is so addictive that I had to find the sheet music and play it. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop. It’s like an ear worm that digs into the core of you.  Continue reading

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I Left My Heart in San Francisco for solo piano

One of my oldest friends requested me to play “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Not that he and I have ever travelled together to this city of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the cable trolley. I did, however, stay at Queen Anne Hotel before touring the Napa Valley in a rented green convertible Spring of 1997. Years later, I would visit ‘Frisco each consecutive summer for work and play. One of my fondest memories was the sight reading workshop, part of my Call for Scores project.
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Anak for piano solo

When I lived in Singapore in the late eighties, I hung out with my Malaysian neighbors off River Valley Road. One of their friends, named Cel, sketched me (below). I’m not sure if he was the one who introduced me to Freddie Aguilar’s song. The cascading F major, G major, and A minor chord progression has haunted me ever since. Continue reading

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Minimalist, frugal living, and the path to zero waste management

The one-way airmile ticket to Amsterdam in mid-June led me to the Dutch lock-keeper’s house in Utrecht, a place I had called home  for a decade. Void of furniture and furnishings, it felt small. In fact, everything looked smaller than I had remembered it.

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All things Dutch and wonderful

When I first visited a local supermarket in the Netherlands, I complained that the only soy sauce was the wrong kind. The bottle was too small, and the soya sauce was Indonesian. I honestly thought I would starve.

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Moving out, moving over, and moving on

During the pressure-cooker months of May and June,  I often wanted to wave a magic wand and make everything disappear. My tendency to collect, accept what others give me, organize, make good, and keep meant that I didn’t like throwing things away.  Yet at the same time, I was reluctant to pay for shipping and extra baggage fees to transport all my belongings from Maui. Continue reading

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