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A WA Magazine All women, All walks of life,


All Nationalities

EXCITED TO TRAVEL? A first-hand account on a trip to the U.S. and RETURNING to Singapore Everything you need to know about CYCLING ON THE RED DOT

Finding FAMILY FUN adventures among the TREETOPS


AWA Singapore's Membership Magazine

JAN FEB 2021 02 04

President's Message AWA's Board Update

AWA Group Scoop 03 Volunteer Oportunities 06 Choir & Book Reviews 07 Photography 08 Tennis 10 Running 21 Writers' Block 22 Potpourri 24 Group Activities


Bits & Bites of Expat Life 11 12 14 16 17 18 20

Member Spotlight Let's Go - Cycling Family Fun Adventures Watering Holes Fork & Chopstick Travel to US and Back You're Not Alone

Editor-in-Chief Tori Nelson editor@awasingapore.org

Staff Managing Editor - Emily Oberton Graphic Designer - Gina Vono Technical Director - Celine Suiter Copy Editors - Helena A. Cochrane - Amanda Jaffe

Advertising Katherine McCall advertising@awasingapore.org


16 Visit us on the internet: www.awasingapore.org Facebook: American Women’s Association of Singapore - AWA Instagram: awaofsingapore Questions, comments and administrative issues, please email us: office@awasingapore.org


Please be advised that any names listed in this publication, the AWA directory or any other material published by AWA are for the exclusive use of AWA members only. Any commercial use is strictly prohibited. The AWA Magazine is published 6 times per year. The American Women’s Association and the AWA Magazine neither endorse nor take responsibility for the opinions expressed herein. Please address all comments and queries to the AWA Magazine Editor. AWA does not endorse or promote any product or service offered through any advertisement that may appear in the AWA Magazine.

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President's Message

American Women's Association Of Singapore

Moving Forward into 2021 Dear AWA Members,

Deb Minnock President

Happy New Year! Moving Forward is the theme of this issue of AWA Magazine. When one thinks of moving forward, one thinks of making progress, advancing, and not turning back. After the year 2020, I think we all can handle this! And what better place to do this than in beautiful Singapore.

I hope everyone had a good holiday season and was able to attend some of the many events that were on the December calendar. Or at least to be inspired by them—I took my husband to the Orient Express exhibit at Gardens by the Bay and to his first High Tea ever at Fennel at the Flower Dome! If you were travelling, I hope you had a safe and uneventful journey and enjoyed seeing family and friends.

I would be very remiss if I did not give special thanks to our Major Events chair, Venta Norvilas, and her entire Holiday committee for arranging such varied and fun events. Thank you to Paige Okun and her committee for doing such a great job with the Tennis groups. Thank you to Rosalie Kwok for her varied and interesting Arts & Culture Zoom lectures. And finally, thank you to the Board members and all the volunteers in general who helped to close out 2020 in such grand fashion, despite the pandemic, and put us all in a such good place to be Moving Forward. To quote American poet Robert Frost, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” I offer a New Year’s toast to progress and Moving Forward! Stay safe and be well,

We were all happy to hear the news of the increased group sizing announced in mid-December. This will make the AWA Spring events more fun and we are looking forward to other limit restrictions being lifted over time.


American Women’s Association of Singapore

FAQ’s/Important Information

15 Scotts Road #03-01 Singapore 228218

• The AWA welcomes all nationalities, not just Americans.

General Manager: Sarah Cockerill Main: 6734-4895 Office Hours: Monday-Friday 9:30 am to 4:00 pm www.awasingapore.org

(Editors Note: some photos in this issue were taken before masks were required in Singapore)

• AWA guest fees apply to Singapore residents. Out of town guests and family members pay the AWA member price. • Guests are entitled to attend 2 events (in total, not per year) before we ask them to join the AWA to continue participating. • You can register for membership and events any time on our website: www.awasingapore.org

AWA Misson Statement The American Women's Association is a sisterhood of women from around the world, who come together to enhance their Singapore experience through fulfilling volunteer run events and activities.

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AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

A WA Volunteer Opportunites





We rely on many wonderful volunteers to create and carry out our numerous activities! Whether you are interested in learning a new skill or continuing to use a well-honed talent, AWA has a place for you. Please note you must be an AWA member to volunteer for any of these positions.

Current Volunteer Opportunites Communications - Magazine Positions The AWA’s bi-monthly magazine is looking for writers, copy editors and photographers to join our team. Time commitment is flexible and can fit into any schedule. Email editor@awasingapore.org. for more information.  Communications - Advertising Sales Manager This position is to obtain advertising for the AWA in our four channels: the magazine, website, events email and our social media.  This position is best performed out of the office, but time in the AWA office is available.  Time commitment varies, but is expected to take up to four hours per week.  Email  commsdirector@awasingapore.org if you’re interested. Sports - Adventurers Chair The AWA Adventurers Chair will be in charge of organizing activities for fellow members that are a little out of the norm. Kayaking, rock-climbing, archery, axe-throwing – each month, the sky’s the limit! Please email sports@awasingapore.org to find out more.

Special Interest - Member Talks Chair We are looking for a chair for our AWA Member Talks activity. Our members have a huge range of interests and expertise, so each month we invite an AWA member to talk (currently via Zoom) on a topic they are passionate about. The role of the chair is to find speakers among our membership, create the events on our website and on Zoom, email participants and introduce the speaker at each talk. Email office@ awasingapore.org for more information. Special Interest - Choir Director The AWA International Choir has been a part of community outreach for over fifteen years.  Our group sings popular songs and traditional tunes in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Malay.  We perform for senior centers, shut-in and hospice patients across Singapore.  Previous experience in directing greatly preferred, piano skills very useful.  Please email intlchoir@awasingapore for details. Membership - Retention Specialist This position focuses on retaining members of the AWA with primary duties to follow up via email and phone with members up for renewal.  She should be comfortable with encouraging members to renew their membership, as well as discussing further with members why they may have declined.  Please email  vicepresident@awasingapore.org for more information. Membership - Engagement Specialist This position serves as a concierge of sorts to newer AWA members who have yet to engage in any activities. She should feel comfortable talking about the range of activities that AWA has to offer.  Please email  vicepresident@awasingapore.org if this appeals to you.

V o l u nt e e r www.awasingapore.org

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Bulletin Board

an update from the awa board of directors

AWA Board Nominations for 2021-2022 Each year, we announce to the AWA membership that we are looking for some passionate and committed ladies to join our leadership team.  The board guides the AWA throughout the year, making it the vibrant, active group it is today. We will have several exploratory leadership coffees in March 2021. (More details to come.) If you are interested in learning about what is involved in being a board member, we would love for you to come and meet current board members and learn more – no obligation!  You can register for a coffee on the website in late January – keep your eyes on the AWA’s bi-monthly email. The deadline for nominations is in March 2021. The slate of officers for the Executive Board is presented to our membership for approval at the Annual General Meeting to be held on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. 

The Executive Board positions are as follows: President: Leads and directs the affairs of the AWA, setting goals and the specific tone of the AWA during her term in office. Vice-President: Responsible for our membership numbers, the General Meeting and Volunteer Appreciation. Secretary: Responsible for accurate record keeping within the AWA including board meeting minutes and all official correspondence, including statutory filings, such as licenses and insurance.

I'll do it!

Treasurer: The financial conscience of the AWA, monitors P&L performance and communicates the financial health of the AWA to the board. Volunteer Director: Responsible for all the Social, Special Interest, Sports and Major Events. External Affairs Director: Responsible for our interaction with the wider community through our outreach activities and our relationship with sponsors, vendors and donors. Communications Director: Responsible for AWA communications, which includes the AWA Magazine, website, broadcast email and social media.

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AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

Non-Executive Board members are appointed Community Service Chair: Provides AWA members positions that are equally involved in the running of the AWA. The Non-Executive board positions are as follows:

with information about community service agencies and organizations in Singapore and gives notice of the volunteer opportunities in the wider community.

Social, Special Interest, Sports & Major Events Chairs: These positions act as a conduit between the board and sub-committees.  Their duties are to maintain knowledge and awareness of all sub-committee activities and assist where needed. This may include chairing ad-hoc events if necessary.

Corporate Relations Manager: Coordinates and maintains a database of all sponsor, donor and vendor relationships. Coordinates requests for sponsorship & donations with event committees.

Meet new people, make life-long friends If you have the time and ability to help lead this fantastic group from July 2021 to June 2022, we would love to hear from you. Please email nominations@a wasingapore. org if you would like to stand for any of the p ositions listed, o r if you would like to nominate another memb er.


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International Choir

Keeping the spirit of togetherness alive

Season for Singing Given continuing restrictions on practicing and performing in person, the International Women's Choir has been keeping a robust production schedule with virtual singing. Our fabulous tech crew prepares accompaniment tracks for the parts of each song, and then each of the members records her part.

Back to the tech crew again, the videos are then spliced into one performance, featuring video and photo montages from individual members, who harmonize in the final product. Visit our Facebook page and listen to our music. If you want to join in, please message Intlchoir@awasingapore.org.

AWA Choir Holiday Concert

AWA Choir This is Me concert

A WA Book Group Reviews sharing good reads

Read any good books lately?

surrounding the book’s controversy which led many of us to search out more authentic migrant representations, such as The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail by Óscar Martínez. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: It is beautifully written and full of history and characters that challenge you to think about your perceptions and past behaviors.

If you're looking for something new to read in the New Year, here are some books AWA book groups have been reading: The Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende: Though the book spans 50 years and three continents there were so many timely issues that we could relate to. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: A story we relished reading while we were in Circuit Breaker, as the lead character was under house arrest at one of the most prestigious hotels in Moscow for decades and yet he managed to have a full life.  American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins: A rather powerful read, we discussed various perspectives -- 6 --

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Our group enjoyed the book more after learning about the Gothic genre. It was a “chilling and bizarre” read, perfect for October. The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe: The author’s first novel, it’s the story of five young employees of a New York publishing company set in 1958. The group found the book entertaining if a bit chick-lit...sort of ”Sex in the City” for the 1950s. Right now there are six book groups in AWA that meet in the morning, afternoon or evening either at a member's home, a cafe or on Zoom. For more information please contact bookgroups@awasingapore.org

AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

Photography Group

The awa Photography group welcomes both new and returning Members

Just Keep on Clicking The AWA Photography group has been on the street and in the parks, walking and taking pictures around Singapore every month since the Circuit Breaker ended. The debut walk for the new co-chairs Londa

Fort Canning Photo Walk

Matthieu and Carol Hamcke-Onstwedder was a sunset walk in August around the Marina Bay area. Our fall calendar has been full, including exploring Tiong Bahru, Fort Canning and, most recently, a Central Business District walk focusing on reflections, patterns and textures of the spectacular architecture in this area. To accommodate the high demand for our walks, we have been offering two sessions per month, each session having two groups of five. We anticipate that we will be able to move back to one walk a month in January as further easing is introduced.

Central Business District Walk, Photo by Carrie Levine

you all—through whatever kind of lens you have— phone or camera. Come join us! For more info, email photography@awa.singapore.org

We enjoyed an online presentation by a local photographer in November about her upcoming project on street photography in Singapore. We walked Orchard Road in December to take in the festive lights of Christmas. In February we will explore Chinatown during the Chinese New Year. We are in the process of developing our calendar of walks for 2021. Please check out our Facebook page where we post a theme every week for all of us to share pictures related to that theme. Londa and Carol are enthusiastic to explore Singapore with www.awasingapore.org

CBD Walk, Photo by Jamie Jones

CBD Walk, Photo: Angela Alperin

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Fun, Friendship and Fair Play AWA Tennis Update for Jan/Feb 2021 AWA Magazine AWA Tennis is busy, busy, busy! Since we returned to the courts in July, we’re so happy that the faces we often see on the courts have been joined not only by new members, but also by members new to tennis. How do we know? The Beginner Discover Tennis Clinics held on Mondays at Savitar Tennis Centre have been the tennis activity in hottest demand. As a result, we have been able to offer for the first time a Doubles Match Play (DMP) session for Beginners, in addition to the popular DMP for Intermediate and Advanced players. Been wanting to get your tennis on? Come on out and join us!

Rachel, Helen, Marangeli & Mayumi

planning many AWA special events over the years. Most of all, she loves the fun and friendship of AWA Tennis and is excited to work with the ladies on the Tennis Committee. In addition to Paige serving as the new Chair, we’ve had many changes to the Tennis Committee recently. Here is a list of who’s who and how to contact them: Assessments - assessments@awasingapore.org Ally Sweeney and Gigi Scott Doubles Match Play - tennismatchplay@ awasingapore.org - Jeanne Craig AWA Tennis Chair Paige Okun

Tennis Committee news The Tennis Committee welcomes Paige Okun as the new AWA Tennis chair, as we thank Georgina Webster for her many years as chair and member of the Committee. Paige has lived in Singapore for 17 years and has played tennis on-and-off for about 14 of them. She has been a part of the AWA Membership and Marketing Committee for several years. She co-chairs the No Exit Strategy group for long-term AWA members, and has been involved in -- 8 --

Tennis Clinics - tennisclinic@awasingapore.org Suzanne Murphy Team Tennis - teamtennis@awasingapore.org Kristine Arora, Natalie Vulakh, Kanika Karu and Jamie McGrath Tournaments - tennistournaments@awasingapore. org - Alfa Singkoh and Jane Kim Girls’ Night Out - tennisgirlsnightout@awasingapore. org - Beck Dahl and Jo Brecque And the back office : Communications - Becca Meurer / Finance - Angela Pera AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021


Fun, Friendship and Fair Play

Doubles Match Play: Neha Yadav, Ashley Hamlin, Gemma McMahon, Christina Ng

A big thank you to Chrissy Morse and Karen Bordas, who recently left the Tennis Committee (and Singapore)! Doubles Match Play (DMP) The period from August to January included not one but two(!) DMP seasons and, for the first time, a Holiday DMP season including a Beginners round. DMP is a great way to meet new tennis partners in a friendly competitive setting. Players play with different partners each week of the six-week season, according to a rota set by the DMP coordinator. The start of the next DMP season is coming up in February!


Team Tennis December 2020 and January 2021 saw the return of Team Tennis. Intermediate and Advanced players were randomly assigned into teams for the two divisions and faced off weekly in one of the most competitive of the AWA Tennis offerings. It was extra challenging this year with the court bookings, but we did it! Discover Tennis Clinics One of the most popular tennis offerings in the past few months has been the Beginner and Intermediate Discover Tennis Clinics offered with our partner Savitar Tennis Centre on their courts at the Fairmont Hotel. The Beginner level has been especially popular, and we are excited to welcome all of the new tennis players into the AWA Tennis fold. The next round of clinics starts the week of January 25th. Make sure to sign up early to get one of the coveted spots! -- 9 --


Running Around SIngapore... And Beyond The year 2020 was best described as a year of adaptations for the AWA Running group. We moved from running all together at the Botanic Gardens to having to create smaller groups to adhere to the safe distancing rules. Instead of packing our bags to participate in races in neighboring countries (Runcations), we participated in virtual runs in Singapore. Instead of creating running shirts for the group, we created face masks with the AWA logo. Even our traditional holiday party was different. Instead of having our runners celebrate together at a restaurant, we organized several smaller parties on the same day at members' homes. Our runners dressed up and had an amazing night! Although change is never easy, our group took it in stride and owned it. We are excited to see what 2021 will bring to our running group. We continue to grow every month and most recently Susan Wallace and Beth Reintjes joined us. As we welcome new members in 2021, we are eager to share all of what running and Singapore have to offer. Interested in running? Come join us for a 5k run at the Botanic Gardens on Tuesday mornings. Runners can choose to run at 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00 am. Please go to our Facebook page to sign up.

Small-Group Runs

Taking 2020 in Stride

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AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

Member Spotlight

getting to know our members beyond the usual chitchat Written by Helena A. Cochrane Editor’s Note: We’re thrilled to have Helena as our new Member Spotlight columnist. Here, she gives a brief introduction and then answers questions posed by our outgoing Spotlight columnist, Christin Gustafson. Christin did an amazing job launching this column and we wish her the best in her new job.

Helena A. Cochrane

One of Helena's sketches

We began my first ever expat assignment here in August 2018. We sold our home and cars in the Philadelphia area, and I left a teaching job in Wilmington DE. Our three adult children remain in the US, near one another in the NY/ NJ area. We celebrated Christmas 2019 together in Bali. COVID has made me appreciate just how special that visit was. When you looked for Singapore on the map did you find it right away? It shocked me that on a full world map, Singapore really could only be represented by a red dot. I had been to Bali in 2012, and thought that was miniscule, but this packs more into a much smaller space.

What have you enjoyed more about Singapore than you thought you would? Conversely, what have you struggled with that you didn’t expect to be challenging? I am totally hooked on lighting festivals. There was one the month we arrived, and I joyfully waited in long lines to see flickering colored lights, wall projections, light sculptures, even glowing crowns on children’s heads. Singapore is like a perpetual July day in Philadelphia, with the humidity. I walked about eight miles a day the first month, because I did not know anyone, and my husband had a heavy travel schedule. It’s likely I was dehydrated for my first 28 days, before I caught on to drinking enough water as I moved around. It is sad for me that the beach really fronts an industrial site, and is not suitable for swimming. Still, I am so delighted with the National Parks system, and have walked hundreds of miles along beautiful tree-lined paths. www.awasingapore.org

What hobby or activity have you been able to pursue in Singapore that you didn’t previously? When I was teaching full time in the US, I grabbed every spare moment to paint watercolors. I take advantage of my non-working status, and paint full

Helena and her husband Steve

time now, like a job. I’m immersed in the artists’ community here in a way I never dreamed possible. Singapore artists are incredibly welcoming and nurturing. I joined the AWA Writers’ Group, and feel stimulated, appreciated, and challenged by these supportive, hard-working writers. Do you volunteer in Singapore and how has that enhanced your expat experience? I work with KidsREAD at North View Primary School in Yishun. Without a teaching job, I missed being with students more than I had anticipated. Reading with first graders here has led to hilariously frank conversations with six- year-olds. What is your luxury in Singapore? I swim, for as long as I can at a stretch. The public swimming pools in Singapore are big, clean, openair, and leafy. Swimming outdoors all year long is the ultimate luxury. Do you have any saying or mantras that you tell yourself when you are homesick or experiencing cultural frustrations? “This opportunity will not be replicated. Make the most of it.” Since moving from Philadelphia in 2018, Helena has been active with the AWA Walking with Women, the Writers' Group and the International Choir as well as Urban Sketches of Singapore. Each group has opened doors for her to explore and learn about the Red Dot.

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Let's Go


Singapore and Cycling: A Good Match Biking in Singapore has never been more popular. This spring's Circuit Breaker elevated bike riding as an

Try visiting one of the GoCycling outlets (see map). They rent a variety of bike styles and sizes by the hour and are conveniently located next to several PCNs (Park Connector Network) and places to explore nature. There are also bike rentals available on Pulau

Father and son bike ride along Marina Bay

excellent form of socially distanced exercise. Indeed, enlisting pedal power is a great way to burn those stayat-home calories and tone those leg muscles! Sharing a ride with a friend or family member is even better, and a cold drink afterwards tastes ever so refreshing. I want to focus on cycling as a way to get outside, get back to nature, and have some fun. I maintain that peddling through hot, humid air creates 360° air conditioning, making cycling much less tiring in the tropical heat than walking or jogging. How to Get Started So… have bike, will travel! However, for those in the market to buy, the demand for new bikes in 2020 surged just as many bike factories in China had Coronavirus shutdowns. If you find yourself among the unlucky individuals for whom the bike you want to buy right now is out of stock, Singapore has a bunch of places to rent a bike. -- 12 --

Ubin and Sentosa’s Siloso Beach. Be sure to check the brakes and the tires before taking off on your rental bikes. Maps and Apps Check out the link Google Maps of Singapore Bike Locations as a desktop tool. This site shows colorcoded routes that can be displayed one at a time or overlaid together to define PCNs, other cycling paths, common road links, park locations, mountain bike tracks and bike shops. The following link shows a simpler map including only PCN loops that are easy to follow, but are shared with pedestrians: National Parks map of PCNs. I recommend you map out your route ahead of time and use your smartphone GPS to guide your journey. It’s also fun to download a free app such as Map My Ride or Strava (social media for cycling) to track your route and record how far you go. AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

PCN Loops map

Test ride any bike before buying one

Bike Accessories GoCycling map

How to Buy a Bike In response to my recent informal survey of a variety of bike shops around town, managers indicated that backorders of bikes should start arriving by January 2021. But what kind of bike to buy? There are so many choices of fat tires, skinny tires, this or that brand and in Singapore, maybe even a folding bike. My recommendation is easy: get a bike that you think is comfortable to ride and to be sure, take a test ride! Also, buy the best components (brakes, gears, tires, frame composition) that you can afford. The other consideration is whether you want to share the PCNs with pedestrians and slower riders, or venture out into the road to do higher speeds and longer rides than allowed on mixed paths. These differences will help you decide between a folding bike with small tires or a traditional road bike. Folding bikes have a great advantage in Singapore in that they can be carried quite easily on the bus, train or taxi. Unlike most other bike-friendly cities, Singapore does not allow regular sized bikes on public transport. To ride a PCN loop in Punggol without a folding bike when you live near Bukit Timah, you either have to have a car with a bike rack or hire a costly ride in a Grab 6 taxi. www.awasingapore.org

For buying bikes, or looking for service and accessories, search Google for large bike stores near your home under the brand names Treknology, Giant and/or Polygon. There are also shops called Bikehaus, Rodalink, Decathlon, Bike Settlement and My Bike Shop (folding bikes). Taking a look at Facebook resale markets is not a bad idea either for possibly finding quality used bikes. A good fitting helmet and water bottle are essential. Other nice accessories are a gel seat, padded gloves, padded shorts and a bell for the handlebars. A nifty bike jersey with back pockets is useful and looks good too! How to Meet Other Cycling Enthusiasts AWA has an informal WhatsApp group of foldingbike owners who ride by the rules once per week on the PCNs, often meeting near bike rental outlets for those who don’t own a bike. Treknology 3 bike shop on Cuscaden Road organizes “No Drop” rides once or twice per month for newcomers to Singapore and/or cycling. ANZA has a WhatsApp group called “Social Fun Road Cycling” for easy weekend road bike rides around Sentosa Island. Have fun and stay safe! Meg lived and traveled all over Asia for almost 25 years before moving to Singapore in 2018. She enjoys biking, walking and quilting with AWA Creative Hands. -- 13 --

Family Fun Adventures

finding Cool things to do in and around singapore

Forest Adventure

Written by and Photography by Christi Elflein

As a family, we’ve conquered several ropes courses and ziplines and we’ve enjoyed them all. Each one has been a bonding experience, an adrenaline thrill and a confidence booster. When I learned about the Forest Adventure aerial obstacle course at Bedok Reservoir Park, I knew both of my kids would be up for it. It was an adventure and it did not disappoint. Forest Adventure is more than your average ropes course. First, the setting is serene. The adventure course sits alongside and over the Bedok Reservoir. The course winds through the forest, giving you a true treetop experience. Second, the course is not just a rope balancing exercise; it also includes several ziplines and a Tarzan rope swing, spicing up the level of thrill. There are three loops with varying difficulty, ranging from just a few feet off the ground (the Kids Course) to several stories high (the Junior and Grand Courses). You can choose whether you want to play it safe or are up for an adrenaline rush. My teenager and I chose the Grand Course and my middle schooler and her friends conquered the Junior Course (which was only a few feet lower and very similar to the Grand Course). All three loops require you to muster

The Grand Course at Forest Adventure

Jack Elflein clips in to the safety harness

between tree trunks and fly through the air. The thrilling reward is worth it, and the risk is only perceived. You are safely harnessed and latched in using a carabiner on a continuous belaying system. -- 14 --

At the end of the course, the emotions are clear. Each adventurer has a grin from ear to ear and a sense of achievement. AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

Balancing walk between platforms

If you are up for planning your next family adventure, book your reservation online beforehand at www. forestadventure.com.sg. Plan for the experience to take approximately 2 ½ hours. Here are the details on courses and costs: The Kids Course is designed for ages 5 to 9 and costs $39 per child. The Junior Course is designed for those not quite tall enough or just not ready for the Grand Course and costs $39 per person. The Grand Course has a minimum height requirement of 1.45 meters (4.7 ft.) and costs $50 per person ($40 student pricing on weekdays).


Phebe Elflein on the Junior Course zipline

Christi is an urban planner for an architecture firm in Florida. She moved to Singapore and joined AWA in 2019 and loves exploring her new city with her husband and two kids.

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Watering Holes

The best places in singapore to find coffee & cocktails Written by Silvia Fernandez

Employees Only 112 Amoy Street (between Gemmill Lane and Telok Ayer Green) Singapore 069932

style, through a door where you’ll first find a fortune teller with a small table and chair; at this point you need to rethink your options: tarot reading or a fabulous cocktail?  I would continue walking on and go for the drink made by the marvelous mixologists in the Art Deco interior.  Employees Only is the Singapore branch of the renowned New York bar of the same name, established here in 2016. It’s laid out for maximum social impact.  The bar has a curvaceous design that encourages you to talk to your neighbors. Their award-winning cocktails can accompany a variety of western-style dishes or Asian delights and bar bites. Book a table at the small restaurant in the back of the room for brunch, lunch or dinner.  

Employees Only Bar

When you are thirsty on Amoy Street, look for a group of good-looking people congregating, but socially distanced, on the sidewalk.  There is no clear sign, there is no number.  You must venture, speak-easy

Fun detail: if you are at a table, you will find postcards.  Think about a family member or a friend, pick up a card, and write to someone. Then post it at the mailbox by the door.  I did, and I was happy to hear from my brother-in-law a few weeks later, wondering about a fancy postcard from this bar in Singapore!  While you sip your drink, consider taking a few minutes with the fortune teller on your way out.

The Clue-less Goat Coffee House Goldhill Plaza Mall, 89 Thomson Rd, Singapore 307631 When I find myself in the Novena area, it is usually for a medical appointment. My brain links this neighborhood with hospitals and doctors.  I was glad to follow a friend’s suggestion and try the Clue-less Goat, “a humble and honest coffee house.” I was hooked!   This coffee house sports no frills or graces, which is its appeal.  The space has an industrial chic look with a communal table by the door, so you can check out who’s coming and going.  There is normally a small queue on weekends, mainly formed by folks from the neighborhood, which is a good sign. I have to say I love the vibe of this café! The compact menu (breakfast and lunch only) matches the

Clueless Goat Coffee House

place’s small size, but you can be sure you’ll find something yummy and simple to fill your tummy.  The coffee beans are provided by Common Man Coffee Roasters, so quality is guaranteed.   On a final note, in today’s world of short attention spans and corporate franchising, this is the place to share a coffee with friends and feel that the simple life has not entirely vanished. Silvia is an eternal expat and global traveller. She's enjoyed exploring Singapore's hidden gems since 2017. Her husband, Mark Dixon, is her enthustiastic collaborator.

Friendly barista

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AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

The Fork and Chopstick

highlighting the off the beaten path, heritage, or just plain fun chomping grounds

Written by and Photography by Jenni & Eric Lee

Entre-Nous Creperie 27 Seah Street, Singapore 188383 Friday Dinner Chomp: How fortunate we are to live in a city where we can savor samplings of various cultures! In our case today, this pertains to both film and food. On our way to a Spanish film festival movie, we stopped for a bite at Entre-Nous Creperie, a cozy eatery started in 2008 by a French couple. It’s located on quiet Seah street, beside Raffles Hotel. This area has quite a few cozy eating and drinking places, which is unexpected, neighboring such a famous hotel. The restaurant is quite plainly decorated with reminders that Brittany France is one of the places best for crepes in the world. In Asia when you think of crepes, La Quessant they’re usually found in a mall food court. The Asian version of a creperie features whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and is often a teenagers’ hangout. In the very Breton Entre-Nous, we are attracted to the Galettes Bretonnes, which are buckwheat crepes, typically savoury with a choice of filling. Gluten-free eaters take note; their buckwheat batter is 100% glutenfree. The chef’s recommendation of La Quessant was filled with mushrooms, ham & cheese, topped with bechamel sauce and a sunny side up egg. The galette came as an envelope wrapping all the ingredients neatly together - each bite light and crispy. Salted baratte butter is used to cook them on Biligs (special pans from Brittany). We washed it down with artisanal hard apple cider: Kelty’s Organic ($36), served in a traditional ‘Bolee’ cup. In addition to the galettes, there are also crepes, made with the traditional wheat recipe. These too can be served savory, but overwhelmingly the choices on the crepe side of the menu were dessert oriented - from the most simple sugar and butter options, to elaborate combos of ice cream, cooked apples and salted caramel. What a difficult choice! Entre-Nous satisfied our taste buds with a terrific light meal and transported us to Brittany. Then onward to another land via the Spanish cinema! www.awasingapore.org

Entre Nous Creperie entrance

Ambience/Clientele: Small, simply & cozy, with indoor and outdoor seating. Mix of local and European customers. Rant & Rave: The savory galettes and dessert sweet crepes were reasonably priced at about $22 and $10, respectively. The flour, cider, and beer are imported from Brittany. Payment only by PayNow or cash - no debit or credit card. Bookings require a $50 deposit. What Others Are Saying: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google and Yelp. “Great reminder of a Brittany holiday,” “The flavours are impeccable, and that caramel!” “Even better than in some creperies I tried in France.”

Pre/Post Meal: The creperie is next to MINT Museum of Toys, featuring a private collection of vintage toys. Located on the roof is Mr. Punch, a gastropub good for food and drinks outdoors. Happy Chomping! Jenni & Eric Lee live to eat and explore local eateries and bars. Originally from New York, they have lived in Singapore since 2012. -- 17 --

Let's Go?

a firsthand experience of a trip between singapore and the Us during the pandemic Written by Meg Sine

Travel in the Time of COVID and Quarantine As I write this column in early December 2020, welcome news of COVID vaccine deployment is generating an optimistic buzz in both the United States and Singapore. By the New Year, Americans on both sides of the globe hopefully will be celebrating the light at the end of this gloomy, global pandemic tunnel. Despite the success of Singapore’s Circuit Breaker and the imminent availability of a vaccine, restrictions on travel to and from the United States may continue to leave AWA members’ 2021 travel plans in limbo.

Meg with her daughter Kimberly who got married in October

In early 2020 after the global pandemic was declared, new phrases, such as “return approval” and “mandatory quarantine,” suddenly created a cloud of confusion and uncertainty. What about trips home for graduations, weddings, other milestone events or routine home leave? For my husband and me, our daughter’s planned October 2020 wedding in Washington, DC loomed large. We knew an October trip to the United States was risky, but we also felt confident we could make it happen for a young couple determined to tie the knot. Here is my story of negotiating the requirements, the travel and the quarantine. -- 18 --

Travel Requirements Last July, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) began guaranteeing return approval on trips lasting 30 days or less. While most employers continued an official policy of encouraging employees to defer travel abroad, the 30-day return pre-approval process eliminated a significant risk. I found helpful information on Facebook pages such as Traveling In and Out of Singapore, Getting Back home to SG and Singapore Hotel Quarantine Information and Experience. By September, MOM’s 30-day return pre-approval (filed by one’s employer) was a routine process that could be completed in two days or less. My husband left Singapore with a 30-day return pre-approval. I planned to stay away longer than 30 days, so I waited until I was in the United States and within 30 days of my return date to obtain my return approval. Unexpectedly, right before my planned return to Singapore in November, Singapore added another requirement for those seeking to return from the United States –a negative PCR test (nasal swab) taken within 72 hours of departure, in addition to an online Health Declaration. AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

Return approval also required travelers from the United States to accept financial responsibility for both COVID testing and the mandatory quarantine at a dedicated Stay Home Facility. These costs were a pricey $2,200 SGD per person. Riding the Metal Tube in the Sky My husband and I flew business class on Qatar Airlines for the advantage of better social distancing as much as comfort. Factors we took into consideration when selecting an airline were safety protocols, transit airport testing requirements and chance of flight cancellation. At the boarding gate, Qatar Airlines took our temperature and distributed a kit to each passenger that included surgical facemasks, latex gloves, hand sanitizer and a plastic face shield. Business class was only about 30% occupied (in each direction), and everyone wore a mask and shield at all times, except when eating or drinking. Despite 20 hours flying in an enclosed metal tube, I also felt reassured by the fact that airline cabins are designed to circulate, capture, and filter the air every few minutes. Re-entry and the Big Reveal Returning to Changi in early December, the biggest change was the Arrival Hall. Instead of delightfully efficient electronic passport gates, we were met by a flock of uniformed immigration agents. After a review of my Approval to Return paperwork and my PCR test results, I earned a color-coded sticker applied to my right shoulder. After Baggage Claim, the ten or so members of my yellow sticker troop were ushered from the terminal to a bus. It felt like an organized tour, except we didn’t know or choose the hotel accommodation to which we were heading. Luckily for us, our friendly bus driver spilled the beans. I was pleased to learn that the Mandarin Orchard Hotel was my draw in the hospitality lottery. Quaran-tips to Stay Sane You are not alone in quarantine! Representatives from MOM called to check up on me daily. I also was required to download a locator app, ironically called HOMER, through which I had to submit health checks three www.awasingapore.org

times per day. Zoom meetings and video calls kept me connected with friends and family. While the hotel delivered three meals a day on cafeteria-style trays, supplemental food, drink and snacks were essential, like college days in the dorm. The predominantly Asian menu was my biggest discomfort. My husband delivered a large care package of my favorite comfort foods (fruit and chocolate) and snacks. I also used a delivery app to order food from local restaurants. It takes patience, a few engrossing projects and a sense of humor to avoid going stir crazy while interned in a hotel room for 14 days. I engrossed myself in my quilting hobby, Netflix shows and whatever exercises I could do with a yoga mat and stretch band. I’d also recommend some basic supplies, including a digital thermometer, dish soap and sponge, laundry soap, water bottle, metal eating utensils, zip lock bags, yoga mat, family photo frame, journal and some warm pajamas and slippers for the 24/7 air conditioning. My other hotel room hacks included making a playlist of favorite exercise videos and some toe-tapping music. A balcony would have been a top prize, but I still feel I won the hospitality lottery for some little things in my room, including a small fridge, an electric kettle and reliable Wi-Fi. To create a homey feeling, I arranged the room into areas, which I called the kitchen, gym, office and sewing room (in addition to the bed and bath). I even arranged the furniture to create a serpentine walking path. We’ll hope for much easier travel opportunities in 2021. Hopefully, by mid-year, there will be open and unrestricted international borders, safe air travel, unlimited social gatherings and an end to the fear of catching COVID. -- 19 --

You're Not Alone... Really

coping wtih the ups and downs of being an expat Written by Andrea McKenna Brankin

Take the Time to Cultivate New Beginnings Goodbye, 2020! And good riddance, right? 2021 couldn’t be a better year for all of us to hit the reset button. But while the New Year is a good time for change, it isn’t always that easy. I have it on good authority that, sometimes, it takes time to make new things happen for yourself. I published my book, Bipolar Phoenix, on World Mental Health Day in October of 2020, and as the name suggests, sometimes we burn out before we can rebuild. The book describes how I turned many failures in my life, due to bipolar disorder, into a whole new, bigger and better life I am living today. I believe that everyone of us can be a Phoenix in our way. With that, I wanted to share with you a few tips that helped me turn my life around from the inside out. RECOGNIZE THE NEED TO CHANGE: I always say this. You have to want to change and you have to work on it every day. Yes. Every. Day. This is the part that takes time so you have to be patient if the results don’t come right away. It took me more than eight years to get things right! GIVE BACK: Try giving a little back this year. Do one thing that can help someone else, whether it’s a day chopping vegetables at Willing Hearts with the AWA or just picking up something someone dropped. When you stay accountable to the world around you, you will feel needed and hopefully, loved. You matter. The world wants you here. (Editor's note: see pages 3-5 on volunteering opportunities with AWA.) BELIEVE: Whether it’s your faith, a good meditation practice or just pure gumption, you have to believe in yourself or no one else will. Cast away the doubt -- 20 --

that you can’t reach your goals. Practice daily affirmations to rewire your thoughts. WRITE IT DOWN: I’ve been known to journal a bit; in fact some of my best book chapters came from journal entries. I even led an AWA Zoom workshop on it last November which gave some different options, such as intuition journaling, topical (one topic at a time) journaling, or unsent letter journaling. Write down your woes, your complaints, and your joys. Write down your hopes and your dreams. Lay your thoughts out on paper. Your brain and body will make the connection and your mindset, and your life will start to change. Also, you can reread it any time you need a boost. LOVE YOURSELF: I know what it’s like to hate myself. I did it for years in the throes of bipolar misery. But it’s time to take a look at the real you and start appreciating what you already have and already are. Chances are, you’ve been way too hard on yourself. Love is the answer. Love is the key. Love is everything. Turn all the love you have for others and give it to yourself. Although facing change can be daunting, try to look forward to it. Make that decision to try, and really go for it. Get excited to make 2021 the year to start over to be your best self. You can do it. And you’re not alone. Andrea's first book, Bipolor Phoenix, is available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle. Andrea runs the AWA Listen Ladies Group, providing confidential support for members at regular meetings. listenladies@awasingapore.org AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

Writers' Block

a monthly contribution from our AWA Writers' Group members Written by Holly Eng

Rain Forest Respite

Forgot to breathe

I trek ‘til I can walk no further

As I approached a patch of lemongrass,

My body freed from the beasts of isolation

Its scent of Pledge and Fruit Loops

My physical being exhausted by nature’s exorcism

Airily filling the void

Dappled light once again infiltrating my recently vacated soul

The serpent left

For my thoughts thrash about like caged creatures

The monitor lizard that had taken up

During this time of social distancing

A heavy residence in my gut

But the zoo has emptied for the moment

With its plodding steps and

The python departed silently

Flickering tongue The macaque that has been creating

Slid into the marsh and escaped

Chaos in my mind as only a

Between the lily pads

Chattering primate can, swinging

With nary a belch

From neuron to neuron The ever-present crashing

My heart expands within me, as

Of branches in my head

For a moment, I am freed

He jumped into a Putat Laut tree, as

From the menagerie of

The morning sun tickled its branches

Being alone,

And its white and pink pom-poms

Released to enjoy

Beckoned him to play

The enlivening presence Of the tropical forest

The python that enveloped My lungs like a reptilian bagpiper Singing out and sucking in, Clutching me tighter when I

The AWA Writers’ Group meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month. For more information, send an email to writers@awasingapore.org


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A WA Potpourri Creative minds at work

We've got talent! AWA offers numerous groups for creative minds like Photography, Writing, and Creative Hands. Below are photos of our members' amazing artwork and creative projects. Visit the AWA website if you're interested in learning a new craft!

Alison Kennedy-Cooke

Alison Kennedy-Cooke

Charisse, Tiina, Noelle, Peng

Charisse, Tiina, Noelle, Peng

Charisse, Tiina, Noelle, Peng

Charisse, Tiina, Noelle, Peng

Charisse Littekin

Karla Popper

Kimberly Arnold

Lorraine Graybill

Lorraine Graybill

Lorraine Graybill

Noelle Speers

Peng Pavie

Peng Pavie

Peng Pavie

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AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

A WA Potpourri Creative minds at work

More creative creations from our talented AWA members! And keep an eye out on our social media for the next issue's Potpourri theme so you can contribute a photo to be published in the AWA Magazine.

Peng Pavie

Susan Williams

Susan Williams

Susan Williams

Susan Williams

Tammy Ramirez

Tammy Ramirez

Tiina Conners

Tiina Conners

Viraj Thakore

Viraj Thakore

Viraj Thakore

Viraj Thakore

Peggy Kershaw

Peggy Kershaw

Peggy Kershaw


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A WA Group Activities BE in the know

Social & Special Interest Groups

After Ni Hao – Mandarin conversation every Thursday at 10am.Hyesung Laffey & Manju Banka, afternihao@awasingapore.org Adventurers – Axe throwing, archery and other unusual activities. Wer're in need of a chair. Please contact vicepresident@awasingapore.org Arts & Culture – Monthly talks focusing on Asian arts & culture. Rosalie Kwok artsandculture@awasingapore.org Bar Night – Ladies’ nights, couples’ nights each month. Kristin Bemowski, barnight@awasingapore.org Beauty & Fashion - From fashion talks to workshops, there’s no age limit to brilliant beauty & unlimited style. Florence Sorgini, beautyfashion@awasingapore.org Book Groups – Morning, afternoon & evening books groups, held monthly. Neha Yadav, bookgroups@awasingapore.org Bunco – Play this simple dice game once a month in the evening at Boomerang Bar, Robertson Quay. Suspended due to COVID. Anne Roberts, bunco@awasingapore.org Cancer Support Group – Meets the third week of the month, with a focus on mutual support and information sharing. Rosa Liu, cancersupport@awasingapore.org Christian Connection - Provides information and resources to help you connect with local Christian community groups. Barbara Winkler, christianconnect@awasingapore.org Coffee & Friends – meets at various cafes around town. Join us on Fridays from 10:30 am -12:30 pm. Sign up required. Chair is needed; please contact vicepresident@ awasingapore.org Couples’ Bridge – Meets monthly on a Saturday evening. Spouses are welcome. Currently suspended. Amy Starling, couplesbridge@awasingapore.org Creative Hands - Bring your handiwork project to work on and share with other creative women every 1st, 3rd & 5th Thursday. Charisse Litteken, crafters@awasingapore.org Cultural Cooking – Ready to learn your way around the international kitchen? Monthly cooking classes are for you! Donna Bose & Sarah Beutelschies, cooking@awasingapore.org DISH – Monthly lunches at a variety of interesting venues. Caitlin McNeal & Kate Mitchell, dish@awasingapore.org Duplicate Bridge (at home) – American Standard five-card major rules every Monday. You don’t need a partner to join. Amy Starling and Sock-Yan Sim, duplicatebridge@awasingapore.org High Tea - Enjoy monthly teas at Singapore’s top hotels and interesting venues. Debra Minnock, hightea@awasingapore.org International Choir – Rehearses every Wednesday. Zoom performances periodically. Helena Antolin Cochrane, intlchoir@awasingapore.org Listen Ladies – A compassionate group of ladies who support one another. Andrea McKenna Brankin, listenladies@awasingapore.org Local Tours –Professionally guided tours of Singapore. Terry Young & Cathy Barshop localtours@awasingapore.org Mahjong - International style in a low stress friendly atmosphere. Afternoons and evenings at members homes. Vishali Gupta, mahjong@awasingapore.org Movie Lunch – Monthly lunch followed by a movie in the Orchard Road area. Michelle Reeb, movielunch@awasingapore.org

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New & Expecting Mamas – Currently enjoying coffee meetups. Kristin Bemowski, social@awasingapore.org No Exit Strategy – For women who have lived in Singapore eight years or more. Caitlin Fry and Paige Okun, noexit@awasingapore.org Photography – Meets once a month to have fun practicing and improving our photography. All levels are welcome. Carol Hamcke-Onstwedder and Londa Matthieu, photography@awasingapore.org Playgroup - For moms with kids under age three. Meets every Friday morning at a member's home plus a monthly "Moms Night Out". Currently suspended. Ashley Hamlin, playgroups@awasingapore.org Trivia Night – Trivia Night is a fun way to make new friends while testing your trivia knowledge! Meets monthly on a Monday night. Karla Popper, trivia@awasingapore.org Workshops - Expand your mind and learn something new about yourself, about Singapore or about the world - the possibilities are endless. Leezibet Heinzraiden, workshops@awasingapore.org Writers’ Group - Beginner and published writers discuss their work the 2nd & 4th Thursday of every month. Mandakini Arora & Elissa Viornery, writers@awasingapore.org


Golf - The 18-hole group plays on Wednesday. 9-hole golf on hold indefinitelty. Lily Giddens & Peng Pavie, 18holegolf@awasingapore.org Health and Fitness – A varie ty of health and fitness activities & informative seminars to help everyone stay fit. Stacey Raza, fitness@awasingapore.org Hiking – Meets at MacRitchie Reservoir every 1st & 3rd Thursday morning. Marlene Han & Leanne Porter, hiking@awasingapore.org Running - Group runs for all levels on Tuesday & Thursday mornings at locations around Singapore. Suzanne Murphy and Eleanor Doyle, running@awasingapore.org Tennis - A variety of singles and doubles play including tournaments, and team tennis for players of all levels. Paige Okun, tennischair@awasingapore.org Walking - Walk all over this amazing island. Mondays are 10K, Wednesdays are 5K. Andrea McKenna Brankin & Mercedes Bainbridge, walking@awasingapore.org

Community Service

Community Service - Connecting AWA members to volunteer opportunities with AWA’s featured organizations and more. Ashley Fagan, commservice@awasingapore.org Ronald McDonald House Charities - Support the families of children at Singapore’s National University Hospital. On hold due to COVID. Qian Marquard, rmhc@awasingapore.org Food From The Heart - Help pack and/or distribute food bags to families in Singapore who cannot afford to feed themselves. Janet Stride, ffth@awasingapore.org Willing Hearts - Monthly shifts to prepare food for the less fortunate. Spring Sun, willinghearts@awasingapore.org kidsREAD - Help local children develop a love of reading. Currently suspended due to COVID. Rekha Kumar, kidsread@awa.singapore.org

AWA Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

Profile for AWA Magazine

AWA Magazine January/February 2021