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This year finds Persephone, the goddess of the seasons, in a very capricious mood. A week after the summer solstice, June 21st or Midsummer, the chill of Hades’ underworld still clung to her. But that had a distinct advantage, for the flowers of Spring still bloomed for her.

To celebrate Midsummer, I made a pound cake delicately spiced with the specially mixed spice for Indonesian Layer Cake (Spekoek).

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I was having breakfast and leisurely checking my email early one drear dull morning, December 8th 2009 to be exact, and freezing cold, when a message popped up from wordpress.com asking me to approve a comment.

It turned out to be a message from Regina Kuan from the National Book Development Council (NBDCS) of Singapore inviting me to take part in the AFCC which was being organized by the NBDCS. I would be showcased in an interview together with Jessie Wee of Singapore as pioneers of children’s literature. I would be representing Malaysia.

I lost no time in replying YES!

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Venue: The Arts House, formerly the old Parliament

Singapura

I was rubbing my eyes in disbelief when I was in Singapore in May 2010 after a decade of absence. My first act was to ride the Singapore Flyer that took me high above the roof tops of this bustling, vibrant and dynamic city. There was a hive of construction activities going on, as if the world-wide recession had by-passed Singapore.

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I was thrilled when I was invited to appear on the Malaysian talk show “Kuppa Kopi”, on national TV. The interview, hosted by lovely Sharnaz, was taped on 30th April. It would be aired on 31st May at 1405 nationwide on TV One, featuring Borneo Expat Writer Robert Raymer, Georgette Tan (journalist and book reviewer), myself as author of the PAYAH rain forest adventure series, Roselind Wee and her 14 year old child-prodigy writer-daughter.

Read more and see photos of the recording here.

As Easter Sunday is deeply embedded in the fertility cult with its symbol of eggs, I have whipped up my own version of the Easter Bread. Instead of the traditional sweetish bread, braided, with coloured eggs stuck along its length, known as Greek Easter Bread, I have made a wreath of cinnamon rolls with dried cranberries and pistachios, fruits and nuts from last year’s harvest.

Click here for the recipe, the origin of Easter and children’s books for Easter

Today, a week before Easter, bunnies met the eye everywhere. They seemed to have proliferated at nano-speed overnight. Nudging each other for shelf space and almost toppling over, stacks upon stacks of these chocolate creatures grinned their silly bunny grins. I have never, in the years I have lived here, seen such an abundance of Easter bunnies, or chocolate eggs in such surplus.

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Spring at last!

After a long bleak Winter with plenty of snow and ice, damaged vehicles and broken limbs, the heart is gladdened by the sight of snowdrops and crocuses pushing their way bravely through the still cold earth. Another sure sign of Spring is the witch-hazel (Hamamelis) or “magic nuts” as the Germans call this shrub, which is the first shrub to burst into bloom.

Persephone, goddess of Spring, has returned from the dark regions of the Greek Underworld! To celebrate the return of Persephone, I whipped up a dish for breakfast on Sunday 21st of March which ushers in the Calendar Spring.

Click here for the Greek Mythology behind Spring and the recipe for Demeter’s French Toast with Apples.