Small things make a big difference.
In conversation with Giorgio Lanfranchi, GM of the luxurious Millennium Doha, Qatar.

Giorgio Lanfranchi (second from Right), General Manager of the Millennium Hotel Doha, with his team receiving the HACCP international food standards certificate in early February 2012.

Giorgio Lanfranchi has had more than thirty years of international experience in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Born in Italy, his career had taken him across 5 continents working at international 5-star destination companies such as the InterContinental Hotels Group, Kempinski and Four Seasons, that had operations in countries from Switzerland, United Kingdom, Oman, Philippines, India, Egypt and Eritrea. He has been General Manager of the Millennium Hotel Doha since 2008. Millennium Hotel Doha is part of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, one of the world’s largest hotel companies with more than 120 owned and managed hotels across 20 countries. In 2006, he was Knighted for his social and economic commitment in the Tourism Industry by the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano with the honour – Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, Giorgio Lanfranchi and CM Cordeiro 2012

Sitting back with coffee in hand, staring out through large glass windows that offer a perfect view of a clear blue sky over an amazing skyline, it is surreal to be in conversation with Giorgio Lanfranchi, General Manager of the Millennium Hotel Doha who sits in the heart of Qatar.

As GM of the luxurious Millennium Doha, Giorgio oversees most every aspect and detail of its daily operations, though perhaps one could say that being Italian and having his family background in food and beverage, it is there that his heart is well placed.

With more than about three hundred staff, and even more so guests walking into the Millennium Doha each month, I asked how it is that he was able to ensure the experience of luxury and exclusivity of each guest to the hotel?
Continue reading “Small things make a big difference.
In conversation with Giorgio Lanfranchi, GM of the luxurious Millennium Doha, Qatar.”

Karl Bergström at Canevaz Gallery

Karl Bergström

At Karl Bergström’s vernissage that opened today, Galleri Canevaz, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Photo: Magnus Lilja, JE Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2011

Whilst the city of Gothenburg was out in full force today concentrating on its physical wellness through is popular 21km marathon GöteborgsVarvet for all interested, I found myself in a cozy main street Galleri Canevaz in the heart of the city, just next to the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law. Being on that particular street on a Saturday, not on business, is surreal. It’s like looking at my life from a tangent angle, whilst delighting in the company of a friend and talented artist Karl Bergström.
Continue reading “Karl Bergström at Canevaz Gallery”

Letter from the Kameda Medical Center, Japan

I got this email from John Wocher this morning and thought I’d like to share it. John is long time family friend. In times of great catastrophies such as these, I can’t help but reflect how the decisions we make, define who we are.


Update from Kameda Medica Center. 80km south of Tokyo directly on the Pacific coast, in a town called Kamogawa.
Photo © John Wocher, March 14, 2011

From John
Good Morning – May be sporadically on the forum, maybe not…

Everyone knows that on Friday at 3:29 Japan suffered a massive earthquake which now has been revised as a magnitude 9.0 quake. Here on Monday morning, the full devastation has been the subject of major news worldwide and it is horrific. An hour ago, another nuclear reactor explosion.
Continue reading “Letter from the Kameda Medical Center, Japan”

Meeting with Dan Berntsson, the “Potato-Guru”

Dan Berntsson, Potato Masterclass lecture.

Dan Berntsson, giving a lecture at the Potato Master Class organized by the Western Swedish Academy of Gastronomy, Sweden.
Photo © J E Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC 2010

The weekend’s culinary adventure was directed towards one of the most common staple root vegetables in the world, the potato. Admittedly, when the Invite to a Master Class on Potatoes by Sweden’s foremost expert on potatoes, Dan Berntsson, landed in the mailbox, I wasn’t exactly all fired up in terms of enthusiasm, but I’m always one for new adventures, so I signed up. As it turned out, there was a lot to learn about potatoes, in fact, much more fact and information than one could process in the four hours allotted to class.
Continue reading “Meeting with Dan Berntsson, the “Potato-Guru””

In The New Eurasian, Singapore, Oct-Dec 2009

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro in The New Eurasian Oct-Dec 2009

In The New Eurasian, October to December 2009.


The New Eurasian: People

A truly multi-cultural perspective

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, former beauty queen, and current academic – has this year graduated with a PhD from the University of Gothenberg in Sweden with a thesis that compares the management styles between her adopted country, Sweden, where she is a PR, and her native Singapore.

“I came to notice that there were many foreigners coming to Singapore to set up and run Asian market head offices. Among those were many Swedish organisations. Based on Singapore’s financial and economic strength, it was apparent that these foreign companies were part of what made Singapore a successful business hub,” she said.

Her curiosity led her to get in touch with businessman Jan-Erik Nilsson, who lived in Sweden. As one of the founders of the East-Indiaman Gotheborg III ship project, it was Jan-Erik who encouraged her research plans. In 2002, she left Singapore for Sweden to begin her doctoral studies. Four years later, she and Jan-Erik married.

The talented Eurasian has a BA (Hons) from the National University of Singapore and graduated in 2000 with two separate masters degrees: an MA in English Language from NUS and an MSc in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

As if she wasn’t busy enough with her studies during her undergrad days, she also took time to represent Singapore at the International Miss Universe Pageant in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999. Around that time, she also appeared as an actress in the MediaCorp TV’s series Brand New Towkay. But her passion for academic research never waned, and she returned to academia.

She hopes her thesis Swedish management in Singapore: a discourse analysis study will help Swedish executives doing business in Singapore to better understand the culture here and will also “show how different cultural backgrounds can make or break any cross-national deal, however brilliant things look on paper”.

As well as her academic life Cheryl, who speaks Swedish and Mandarin in addition to English, keeps a fusion blog on her Northern European experiences, writing on fashion, food, travel and lifestyle.


Thank you, to the Eurasian Association of Singapore, for a wonderful write-up and an update on Eurasians around the world. The October to December 2009 issue of The New Eurasian is out, and personally, I’m already looking forward to the New Year’s Eve Maquerade Soiree! For more information on October to December’s upcoming events, please visit the EA’s website.

Reflections on being Miss Singapore Universe 1999

The following is an article based on an interview by Valerie Wang Jia Yu of the Singapore Straits Times. The article was published in the Sunday Life! print edition section May 24, 2009. Photo © JE Nilsson for CMC 2009

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro in black

Winning the crown

In 1999 when I won the Miss Singapore Universe title, I was 24. I had just graduated with Honours from the National University of Singapore, NUS, and was pursuing two separate Masters degrees.

One was a Master of Arts in English Language with NUS and the second was a part-time Master of Science course in Information Technology with Nanyang Technological University, NTU.

Literally sitting with the crown in my lap, I subsequently graduated with both degrees in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

Curiosity and ambition

I suppose there could be many small reasons why I chose to join the Miss Singapore pageant back then, but it comes down to a combination of curiosity and ambition.

The first reason is that I’m always one to look to expand my repertoire of experiences. Up until my university days, I’ve always prioritized education and academic training. I also noted that I tended to be rather nervous and shy during presentations at tutorials. In that sense, being in a pageant presented a new challenge to me. It would be an event where I will need to be able to present myself on stage, in front of a large audience, overcoming stage fright.

I decided to take up that challenge and overcome my fear of presenting myself in front of many people. I even joked about this at my recent Doctoral graduation dinner celebration: after parading in a bikini in front of Donald Trump and millions of viewers, there’ll be nothing more frightful thereafter in terms of public appearances.

A plethora of opportunities

The second reason that drew me to the pageant was the opportunities that the event presented for the young women who chose to be in it. Contrary to what some might think, that pageants are demeaning to women, personally, I think pageants provide an excellent arena in which young women are given a voice, or at least, they are given the chance to find their voice. Being on stage, these young women are not only encouraged to polish their self-presentation skills but they are encouraged to have their say in the pageant’s related portfolio, voicing their thoughts on women’s issues for example or lending their services to humanitarian efforts.

Promoting Singapore

My portfolio as Miss Singapore Universe for example, was quite broad. Part of my work as Miss Singapore Universe entailed efforts on the humanitarian front, such as heightening awareness on AIDS in Singapore, spending time with the elderly living in elderly care homes. Other aspects of my portfolio included working with the Singapore Tourism Board in promoting Singapore as a choice country of destination for tourism, especially within the regions of Southeast-Asia and Asia-Pacific.

After the crown

There were no radical changes after I won the title in terms of lifestyle or relations with family and friends. But with the win, came a plethora of interesting opportunities that one could take in life and I think that’s where it got interesting for me. Most of all, I’m grateful for most things that came my way after winning the pageant – the trip to Trinidad and Tobago for example, where the international Miss Universe pageant was held in 1999, was truly an unforgettable experience by any standards! The people I’ve met along the way, delegates of other countries as well as the locals from the country is nothing short of a fantastic experience. The international event was a networking opportunity of a lifetime. It gave me insight into the beauty of the diversity of cultures, values, traditions, language, food and religions; and these are aspects that I brought with me in my research interest all the way into my doctoral thesis, which is about how Scandinavian top managers make it in Singapore.

Putting “Miss Singapore Universe Winner 1999” on the resume

Being Singapore’s delegate to the international pageant is something that I will always be proud of. On the international scene, more is expected of you. You stop being just a beauty queen and take on an ambassadorial role for the country, you answer questions about your country, its history and its socio-economic and financial policies. I think that to the majority of the public, pageants were (and still are) seen as entertainment, similar to how we would view a sports event, a fashion show, a reality series etc. I think having been Miss Singapore Universe is pretty much a non-issue with my friends and colleagues at the university.

My professional interest however, lies in academia, research and writing.

Style and self-presentation

I think beauty is an evolving concept, and over the years I believe the young women participating internationally have become more career oriented and this is reflected in how the local pageants are run. The professional aspects of style and self-presentation, has become more important than just good looks.

Pageants are after all a very important recruiting ground for all kinds of front persons aiming for a career in the tourism, public relations, modeling, human resources, entertainment, television, movie and the fashion industries – all important, major businesses with global turnovers that count into the billions.

Oprah Winfrey, who is one of the wealthiest and most influential woman on the planet for example, began her career by winning a pageant.

A fantastic opportunity

I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for any young woman to take part in the event because it does offer a platform in which young women can launch themselves in their career. I think that the experience of the pageant in itself is tremendously enriching for all involved. You learn a lot on the job, you learn from other people’s life experiences you meet along the way and you can make lifelong friends with other young delegates you meet at the international event.

There are a lot of fun memories of all the friends I made that I still come back to. If I could do it all over again, I would do it all over again and do it better.


By Raphael Thexeira

A birthday card, from Raphael Thexeira.

This card was sent by artist Raphael Thexeira, for my birthday which falls on Valentine’s Day.

I’ve been receiving the warmest and coziest birthday and Valentine’s Day greetings and well-wishes over Facebook and I’m thoroughly overwhelmed sitting out here in sub-zero temperatures in the west coast archipelago of Sweden. A light blanket of frost has covered the entire landscape overnight – what a sight to wake up to and what a feeling of warmth!

Thank you all, for birthday greetings and well-wishes!

I’m wishing all readers a wonderfully romantic celebration of love on St. Valentine’s Day ahead!

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Happy Birthday Stephen Bruce at Serendipity 3, Upper East Side, New York

Stephen Bruce and myself, Serendipity 3, New York.

Yesterday I took the opportunity to visit Serendipity 3 and meet with Stephen Bruce, the owner and one of the three founding Princes of New York’s legendary dessert restaurant and boutique. Continue reading “Happy Birthday Stephen Bruce at Serendipity 3, Upper East Side, New York”

Saturday inspiration: Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter

I think most people would remember Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman when the TV series aired for 3 years during the 1970s.

When I was a child, I think I made sure to have watched Wonder Woman regularly, nevermind if her character was boring and not as comprehensively depicted as perhaps that of Batman or Superman. I remember I liked most everything about Wonder Woman, from her tiara, her big hair, to her red, blue and gold colour scheme in her superhero costume. I think I dreamt I might grow up to become Wonder Woman one day. Well, today, I know I can, at costume parties. Continue reading “Saturday inspiration: Lynda Carter”

Miss Landmine in Angola: demonstrating the heart and soul of beauty pageants

Miss Cuando Cubango, Generosa Cassinda, 30 years old with two children, a contestant in this year’s Miss Landmine Survivor, Angola.

A world event of sorts is today held in the capital of the war torn country of Angola. The initiative to hold a beauty pageant for land mine victims in Angola, was taken by Norwegian artist Morten Traavik who whilst visiting Angola noticed two things – the abundance of one legged and crippled people about and the population’s great interest in beauty pageants. Continue reading “Miss Landmine in Angola: demonstrating the heart and soul of beauty pageants”