If you’re a sucker for a cheesy Xmas hit or two, you’ll want to tune in to this two-hour playlist on Foxtel’s Smooth. Hosts Marcia Hines and Cameron Daddo will present all the classics, from Band Aid to Mariah Carey and of course Michael Buble, while you tuck in to your turkey.


Want your mate to chill out but don’t know how to tell them? Surprise them with this colou ri ng book, which promises to relax even the most stressed-out brain.


Although there was no great change, I noticed the small things as the bus rolled along the East Coast Road through Katong district: the filthy shop fronts in Joo Chiat Road were being spruced up, the streets looked a bit cleaner, the open drains had less rubbish in, the Palace cinema had changed from English films to Chinese, the Grand Hotel had closed. I left the bus and walked to my old house, taking the short cut between small noisy houses that backed onto each other, tightrope-walking along the edge of the open monsoon drains, as I did as a boy. A boy? When did I become a man? My house looked the same. I felt I could have walked in and sat down and nothing would have moved on. I could feel my father’s presence in baggy shorts and a checked shirt, wearing brown plastic sandals, smoking and drinking a glass of Tiger beer; my mother in a blue print dress, my brother Peter on the balcony, firing his air rifle at the goldfish in the neighbour’s pond next door. A heavy Malay came out onto the front veranda and looked at me curiously as I stood staring through the barbed-wire-topped fence; I smiled and moved on. Important to move on. I caught a bus back to town, disembarked near Rochor Destination, and spent the afternoon wandering the Thieves Market, where I bought an old British Army penknife. Later, I walked across town to Orchard Road and went ten-pin bowling by myself, before heading back up to Connell House mission to shower and sink cold beer in the bar, in preparation for the night. There is no getting away from the fact that drink played a big part in life at sea.

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