AWA Magazine - January/February 2022

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A WA Magazine All women, All walks of life,


All Nationalities

Sentosa Wellness Retreat:


Just Say Ahhhh

Rethinking New Year's Resolutions: Being Kind to Ourselves

Planning with Intention

A WA Group Wellness

Listen Ladies Running Walking Tennis

Focus on YOU

Wellness and Well-being

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


A WA Calendar

Empty time in your week? Don't miss AWA's regularly scheduled activities! Monday

Walking, Bridge, Mahjong

Photos by Christi Elflein

Tuesday Running Wednesday

Drop-In Coffee, 18-hole Golf, Choir, Walking


Running, After Ni Hao, Hiking


Drop-In Coffee, Playgroups,



Twice/month Writers Group, Creative Hands, Hiking, Bar Nights, Local Tours Monthly

Listen Ladies, Book Groups, Bunco, Health & Fitness, Arts & Culture, Workshops, Beauty & Fashion, DISH, Trivia Night, Movie Lunch, High Tea, Cultural Cooking, Community Service, Photography Running group's holiday run

Cool-down stroll through Botanic Gardens

Hanging on the Canopy Web

AWA Running Group ladies - Kate Breslin, Becca Meurer, Alfa Singkoh, Manu Ela, Caroline Beaumont

Editor's Note

Wellness and Well Being Issue

“Coronacoaster” is an apt term for our collective experiences of the past two years. A flashback to early January 2020 finds me on a sunny beach on Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam, watching my boys zip around on jet skis and play with the puppies who roamed the beach. I sat on a swing installed in the shallow, warm ocean water and thought the virus in Wuhan couldn’t be that bad as I watched the Asian and European tourists around me. Now I equate that memory with the moment you stand in line outside the amusement park gates and spy the top of the largest roller coaster, wondering if you really want to ride that thing. Our return from Vietnam was like the slow, upward climb on the track as school field study trips were cancelled, masks were required to leave the house and the rest of the world started paying attention to this virus that we in Asia had been eyeing with trepidation. I was convinced we had crested the top and taken the deepest plunge on the day that Prime Minister Lee announced on television that Singapore was entering a Circuit Breaker period. The moment felt like a free fall. Since the day of Prime Minister Lee’s first announcement, I’ve lost track of the highs, lows and loopty-loops. The monthly, daily and even hourly swings of restrictions and

emotions have become a regular feature of life and that beach swing on Phu Quoc Island feels ever more far away and long ago. Like it or not, this pandemic period has given us a chance to refine traits like patience, ingenuity and resilience — sometimes at the expense of our physical wellness and mental/emotional well-being. This issue, AWA Magazine focuses on our wellness /well-being and on our efforts to find a balance between the two. We check into a wellness resort on Sentosa, debate our fixation with New Year’s resolutions and explore the fun side of balance with foot reflexology and cocktails (alcoholic or not). We also explore Pasir Ris Park, investigate a wayfinding dementia project in Ang Mo Kio, sample Korean vegetarian fare and visit the Ice Cream Museum. Finally, while I may struggle with my unplanned ride on this coaster (full disclosure: I hate roller coasters!), I often pause to think of all the Vietnamese people who made that last vacation memorable. I hope they’ve found a way to endure, as I know the ride they’ve been on has likely been much more intense than mine.

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


President's Message

American Women's Association Of Singapore Small, deliberate acts It is always exciting this time of year because everything seems so full of potential. This rings especially true now as we slowly emerge from a two-year pandemic and look toward a new year filled with new opportunities to be seized, new routines to be implemented, new memories to be made, and new bonds to be formed. But with so many things going on and trying to balance the old and new, it can be easy to forget about prioritizing and taking care of oneself. In the blink of an eye, excitement can turn into anxiety and opportunity into distress. That is why it has been so important that our AWA volunteers continue to work diligently to plan activities, promoting wellness and connection. Taking care of oneself can mean many things: doing a class with UFIT, singing virtually with choir friends, spin painting with new members whom you just met, learning about coffee with fellow "Java Junkies", running a new trail, reaching out to our Listen Ladies for support, or volunteering to help those less fortunate. So, in that spirit, I would like to send a special shout out to the following AWA volunteers for helping us strengthen our wellness and connections when we really needed it: AWA International Choir Chair Helena Cochrane for your incredible efforts to lead the pivot to

virtual singing and bring joy to our members; AWA Listen Ladies Chair Andrea McKenna Brankin for your kindness towards those in need of a friendly ear; AWA Running Chairs Bernie Tretta and Caroline Beaumont for your faithful efforts to keep our members engaged and on their feet; AWA Interim Community Service and Willing Hearts Chair Fiona Layfield for your willingness to always go above and beyond to help; AWA Beach Clean-Up Organizer Ioana Dumea for your resilience despite the ever-changing rules; AWA Java Junkies Chair Liza Rowan for sharing your passion with others; AWA Sports Chair Jaclyn Muncy for your support of our chairs during all of the phases; and AWA Treasurer Katherine McCall for your hard work and dedication behind-the-scenes that have enabled it all. Research suggests that music, exercise, social interactions, and volunteering energize us and stimulate the feel-good endorphins in our brain. By incorporating these into our routine, we can flip the script, and turn anxiety into opportunity and distress into growth. Because if there is something that I have learned over the start-stop nature of the pandemic, it is that wellness and connections are conscious choices supported by small, deliberate acts. And together with the AWA and our amazing volunteers, we have many wonderful options to purposely help others and ourselves. Happy New Year! Reflect, reconnect and stay safe. Linda Schindler

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 volunteerrun events and activities. American Women’s Association of Singapore

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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


AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

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Bulletin Board

the awa board of directors

Sarah and Linda

How to Balance Board Leadership and Well-Being

Linda Schindler, AWA President

Sarah Cockerill, AWA General Manager

The other top leadership position in AWA is of course, our President, Linda Schindler. Linda believes that “leadership is often about setting a good example for others to follow.” Empathy, empowerment, and enthusiasm are qualities she strives to emulate while recognizing “our job on the board is to channel and magnify the passion of our community.”

The AWA Policy Manual defines a General Manager as “a repository of knowledge about the AWA” and “able to give comprehensive advice and assistance to board members and volunteers.” Sarah Cockerill, our GM for most of the last 10 years happily does this and more. The GM is AWA’s only salaried position, a role Sarah indicates is “not like any ‘regular’ job I have ever done before, as all my colleagues are volunteers who actively want to be there every day---who else can say that about their job? The downside, obviously, is having to say goodbye to friends and colleagues pretty regularly.” As a leader, Sarah views her role as helping board members make informed decisions, and help them feel comfortable making those decisions. As a member of AWA, Sarah can also roll up her sleeves and help out as a volunteer when needed. To maintain a sense of well-being, Sarah humorously admits that “me from 10 years ago would not recognize me now—it turns out I am someone who enjoys exercise and it took nearly 40 years to realize!”

Linda, Kristin, and Angela virtually attend the Navy Ball

Our AWA President also works full time leading the cybersecurity initiatives program at NUS Enterprise. She is married with two small children, so personal well-being and the pursuit of a work/life balance is very important to her. To Linda, “balance is not an end state or milestone, but rather a process for which having a routine plays an important role.” Linda starts her morning with a guided meditation and a video workout after walking her kids to school. In the evenings, she enjoys a walk along the river to wind down her day. The energy behind Linda’s smile and self-assurance is how she defines the other essential components of balance in her life: making time for volunteering and friends.

Meg is AWA's Communications Director. Contact her at communicationsdirector@ Sarah swimming with her dog

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022



Contents 01 02 03

Editor's Note President's Message Bulletin Board

AWA Singapore's Membership Magazine

JAN FEB 2022

25 On the Cover AWA Running Group at Botanic Gardens ­— Manu Ela, Caroline Beaumont, Becca Meurer, Kate Breslin, Alfa Singkoh 4 Magazine Jan/Feb 2022her Instagram @thegreatstreets PhotoAWA by Christi Elflein - visit

AWA Group Scoop 10 Tennis 11 Running Group 21 Mahjong 27 International Women's Choir 27 Listen Ladies 27 Walking Group 28 Writers' Block 29 AWA Writers' Group 29 Christian Connections 31 AWA Group Activities


Bits & Bites of Expat Life 06 07 08 12 13 14 16 18 20 22 23 24 25 26

New Year, New You? You're Not Alone...Really Wander Woman The Lighter Side of Singapore Fond Farewell Resident Artist Singapore Snippets Hidden in Plain Sight Watering Holes The Fork and Chopstick Member Spotlight The AWA Book Review Plan Creatively Family Fun Adventures


Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Williams Staff Managing Editor - Jane Kim Graphic Designer - Gina Vono Technical Director - Celine Suiter Copy Editors - Helena A. Cochrane - Keri Matwick Advertising

Visit us on the internet: Facebook: American Women’s Association of Singapore - AWA Instagram: awaofsingapore Questions, comments and administrative issues, please email us:

Katherine McCall

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.


AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


New Year, New You? Be Kind to Yourself Year Round

by Liza Rowan In the past I have written about how New Years’ Resolutions simply don’t work. If New Year intentions did come to fruition, then, why are we back in the same state come this time of year, every year? Clever marketing convinces us to spend a small fortune on fad fitness and detox regimes. After an initial enthusiastic start (a few weeks, perhaps? ) we feel deprived, unsociable and often a little miserable. We feel no better, weigh no less and label ourselves as failures. What a relief it would be to NOT have to invest time, money and mental energy in the latest fitness craze or detox. We should know by now; it is likely to be shortlived. Furthermore, every one of us is dealing with our own added stresses for the past two years due to the pandemic. Setting ourselves up for failure is not something any of us need right now.

In fact, it’s important that we do allow ourselves the occasional indulgence or break from our routine. We need to be realistic and allow ourselves to look forward to, and to enjoy, the little pleasures in life — be that a boozy evening with friends or chill-out day where we don’t exercise. Our mission here is to form lots of better daily habits and to avoid going overboard. We don’t need the associated guilt which adds stress and can lead us to spiral downward. Easier said than done perhaps, but why exhaust our minds and bodies with a yo-yo approach? Let’s interrupt the cycle of overindulgence and detox, and calm the lurching from hard exercise to inertia. Let’s just defuse it all a little and simply treat ourselves well all of the time.

The secret, especially after the crazy Covid pressures, is to work on being kind to ourselves — to work with our bodies and our minds continuously. We need to listen, respect and take care of our physical and mental being, making this a priority every single day. Make a list of all the positives that make you feel good about yourself — power-walking with a friend, eating fresh foods or taking up a new hobby. Focus on making these part of your daily routine so you form good habits, and soon they become the norm — and slipping up once in a while is ok!

Liza Rowan is a holistic nutritionist, supporting Green Umbrella, an education NGO in Cambodia. You can also find her proudly holding a tennis racket or coffee cup! 6

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

You're Not Alone... Really

coping with the ups and downs of being an expat

You’re Good Just the Way You Are

Evaluating Your Well-Being Doesn’t Have to Mean CHANGE Even though it’s “that time of year,” when people feel compelled to focus on New Year’s Resolutions, (read: Change) I’m not always on-board with this "change for the sake of change" mindset. I’m here to tell you that you don’t always have to change. There are some things about yourself that probably are really good and other things you should review or rediscover to ensure that you don’t feel obliged to make an overhaul.

by Andrea McKenna Brankin Seeing the Value of What We Already Have I highlight these three areas — your body, your mind and your heart — because these are the things we doubt most that we can master. It’s true that life changes; we all change as the clock ticks away. But I think it’s important to determine if those areas really need changes or if we need to re-value what we have already. Let’s face it, we spend the last two months of the year being thankful for things and acknowledging our blessings. And then we hurtle into the New Year thinking we need to change all these things about ourselves to be better. I just don’t think that’s true.

Celebrate yourself ss you are

Three Questions How’s your physical health? If good, don’t change. If not, then it’s time to take a look at making some positive changes in your diet and exercise. How’s your mental health? If you generally feel good, with a few up and down moods, then that’s normal. If you sway heavily one way or the other without an in-between contentment, then maybe some work in this area is due. Do you feel happy with what you have? This could mean material things, where you live and with whom. If yes, no need to change anything. If no, well, then you can be more introspective about how to make moves towards more positive thoughts on these things.

For this New Year, I challenge you to give yourself a break. Cut yourself some slack on any purported or suggested changes. Celebrate yourself as you are, with what you already have. Don’t change for the sake of change. Happy 2022! Make this a year for you.

Andrea runs the AWA Listen Ladies Group, providing confidential support for members at regular meetings.

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


Sunset Yoga in the Courtyard

Wander Woman

Lauren's journey to cross the globe, one amazing Experience at a time by Lauren Raps

Just Say Ahhhhhhhhhh in Sentosa After a fall full of spontaneous, home-based learning, endless meals out with my constant plus one, the anxieties about new acronyms of VTL, HRT and ART’s, and sweating about whether I got a swimming otter when I downloaded the new Trace Together app…. this mama needed an escape. Enter the newest hotel to hit Sentosa, Oasia Resort and Spa…whose website promised me my own “personal wellness journey,” fifteen minutes away from home. Inherently cynical, I was skeptical that a Grab ride from my apartment and my husband’s conference call voice would take me to magical Sentosa where a new hotel could reset me and get me back to my “fighting weight” so that I can return to civilization renewed, refreshed, and recharged.

Village Hotel (also owned and managed by the Far East Company), sits the Oasia Resort Sentosa. It’s not what one would immediately envision when picturing a wellness resort, but it does work -- the building is beautiful, historical, and just lovely to be in. After check-in, I was given a tour of the facilities and shown to my room. The hotel rooms are not big, and not many of them have a view…some may look out on greenery, others view the road but, as I learned – your room is simply functional as a place to crash after you spend your day utilizing the spa and partaking in the many activities on offer throughout a daily rotation.

Oh, but it did…..

Those activities range from body-balm making to a tea appreciation class; there are fitness and wellness offerings where you can go hard with HIIT, or take it at your own pace with yoga at dusk or dawn. I took part in the sunset yoga on the exercise platform overlooking the pool and found it was the perfect way to wind down.

As you enter the lobby of Oasia Sentosa, the accommodating bell staff relieves you of your overnight bag. As they lead you to the check in area, and serve you the most relaxing herbal tea, the soothing begins.

For my exploration of the Oasia Spa, I booked their signature Bamboo Massage. Promising detox and rejuvenation – it delivered 60 minutes of pure bliss as I was rolled out with a bamboo stick in the most relaxing way.

Located in a former military barrack, where the Le Meridian once stood – near the Barracks, Outpost and

I would prefer that a resort that boasts such health and wellness facilities would build out the spa facilities more.


AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

When I asked why the area was so small, I was told that it’s designed to keep the atmosphere intimate. And yes, it was indeed intimate, though what was lacking in space and spa facilities was compensated with wonderful treatments, talented therapists and the latest in spa technologies such as a cryotherapy facial machine – the first of its kind in Singapore that seems as if it could freeze away some of my fine lines and dull skin. Think racing down a ski mountain without goggles or a buff. Finally, my best impression from my stay at Oasia Sentosa must be the service. I haven’t experienced this caliber of customer service in quite some time at a hotel – especially a new one. For example, upon check-in I expressed some disappointment that I had just missed the bodybalm making class and that there wasn’t one offered again during my stay. Hours later, as I checked into my spa appointment, the receptionist informed me that they had added a private class for me after my treatment. I did appreciate such proactive thoughtfulness.

Manage your expectations with its scaled-down spa facilities – this isn’t a place where you get to your treatment super early for whirlpool, steam or sauna. There is a sauna, but the relaxation room is more functional than a destination.

Rooms are basic and best for sleeping, not lounging – but if going with a friend many of the rooms offer a king size bed and a sleeper sofa. The latter isn’t the most comfortable but for one night, it works.

All in all, the Oasia Sentosa gave me that escape, the metime and the re-charge that we are all so badly in need of. Take these tips from Wander Woman, to make the most of your stay. •

Book early, at the time of writing the spa was reserved two months out. Be sure to book your spa treatment at the same time as your room.

Stay for dinner and get breakfast included with your rate – the hotel is also home to the newest outpost of Bedrock Bar and Grill. The menu at this outlet allows guests to maintain the wellness vibe with some good health-conscious selections, and gives a nod to its seaside location with an array of seafood options (highly recommend the dry aged Barramundi tail to share.) The breakfast menu offers healthy and hearty ways to get a great start on your day.

Lauren Raps and Jennifer Williams at Oasia Spa Lauren Raps is AWA's Bar Night Chair. She moved to Singapore in January 2021 with her husband and three boys. She is the President and Founder of Travel Prospect, a full service leisure travel planning company.

Body-balm ingredients

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022



Fun, Friendship and Fair Play by Becca Meurer Tennis players got deep into playing Singles to carry us through the months when Doubles weren't possible. To help us all prepare for the return to Doubles, we chatted with Frank Bruisma from the Savitar Tennis Centre and convinced him to share his top tips with us. We couldn’t help throwing in one question about Singles for all of you with a newfound passion for it these past months. By the way, Savitar is AWA Tennis’s partner in many of our activities: Discover Tennis Clinics, Tennis Assessments, and the sponsor of our Doubles Cup tournament.

Belinda Barber and Elizabeth Butcher

Q: What's the best warm up drill before a Doubles match? A: Start with Mini Tennis (service line to service line) cross court. This helps with getting the cross court mindset that is essential for Doubles. Then groundstrokes from the baseline, also cross court. Both players should then take a few minutes at the net to practice some volleys and possibly an overhead or two. Then end with serves and return of serves, focusing on returning into the opposite tram lines. Q: If someone wants to step up her tennis game, what's the one thing she should concentrate on improving? A: If you play mostly Doubles then I would highly recommend that you work on improving your volleys and overhead smashes. If you master these two shots, you will gain a lot of confidence up at the net. And that’s crucial for good Doubles.


AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

Q: Lots of AWA tennis players have been forced out of their Doubles comfort zone into playing Singles in this Covid era. What “watch outs” are there for Doubles players when they switch to Singles? What should they be paying particular attention to or what could trip them up? A: The main consideration when changing from Doubles to Singles is where you are standing on the court. There is something called “tactical positioning.” Basically this is in an area around the centre T on the baseline and

Beth Llewellyn and Rachel Hind, Social Singles

it depends on where you hit your ball. For example, if you hit cross court with a right-handed forehand, then you would position yourself to the right-hand side of the center T to be able to cover both the cross court and down the line response by your opponent. However if you hit that forehand down the line, then your tactical position is on the left-hand side of the centre T. And if you hit down the middle, you stay in the middle. Remember, you have the whole court to cover. Hope these tips help. Please reach out anytime to the coaches at Savitar ( They are happy to help improve your tennis. See you back on the courts with AWA Tennis soon. We have Assessments, Doubles Challenge, Social Doubles, Social Singles, Mixed Doubles, and Team Tennis plus two tournaments cued up for 2022!

Running Group

Kilometers of friendship and fun by Keri Matwick The AWA Running Group has been making magnificent miles these past few weeks! Here are the highlights. London Marathon- Bernie Tretta and Caroline Beaumont completed the London Marathon virtually! Starting at 6pm, the pair ran from King Albert MRT along the Green Corridor to Great World to MBS with a finish around midnight at East Coast Park. The Running Group provided a big and loud cheering station along the way with music, fuel, ice stations, and cowbells. Bernie said, “Aside from the typical hot humid Singapore weather, running a virtual and socially distanced event at night is on the lesser side of the fun scale. But I suppose it was a challenge I was up for.” “I ran it because I need races to stay motivated and since there haven’t been any in almost two years, we have to resort to virtual ones when they appear. I had signed up

Sue Wallace and Gemma Maam, Best dressed pair, PUB Run

year, and my goal was to run a marathon in the three cities I have lived in - London, Shanghai, and Singapore. Having a group of amazing AWA running buddies to train alongside - many of whom came out on the night to support us too - made it an even more special and memorable achievement.” Houston Ironman- Dora Branyan completed the Houston Ironman in the Top 10 of her age category with a strong swim, bike, and run at 12:59:23! The Running Group watched her live as she crossed the finish, toasting with mimosas. PUB Green Run- Formerly known as the Green Corridor Run, the run proceeds went to rewilding of the Rail Corridor. Running the race virtually, 16 women (in eight pairs) completed the 10KM on an October evening. Fittingly, the runners enjoyed beers at the finish at Zion Caroline Beaumont, London Marathon Finisher Food Centre. for the lottery to run London in person but I didn’t get Weekly runs- We continue to meet for runs but in picked. So, the next best option is to run it here.” pairs again, due to continued restrictions. Like to join Caroline said, “Running a marathon in Singapore is hard us? When restrictions lift, we’ll start meeting in larger and doing it as a virtual event made it even harder! It numbers again Tuesdays at the Botanic Gardens for a 5k was nice to do something significant as a marker for this and Thursdays and Saturdays for longer runs. Start time is usually 7 or 7:30 am. AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


The Lighter Side of Singapore In Pursuit of Everyday Joys

by Sandy Harford

Happy Feet With all the running, walking, tennis and mall-hopping AWA members do, shouldn’t we pamper our tootsies beyond our monthly fresh coats of polish? It’s time to try foot reflexology. My buddies Jessica and Marta volunteered to help me with my research into this ancient healing practice. As newbies, they were pretty skeptical, but willing to try. On a stormy day in Tiong Bahru, Jessica and I got our steps in before checking into a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) clinic. After soaking our feet in a tea bath, our physicians went to work. Ancient Roots of a Modern Practice The theory behind reflexology is that certain areas on each foot correspond to organs of the body. Targeted pressure is believed to bring healing to these body systems by restoring inner balance and flow of Qi. You don’t get a soothing foot massage. Instead, a reflexologist will dig deep into congested areas. The Zone Chart will let you know which specific foot area corresponds to a body part. When my physician Kong massaged a particularly

tender spot, it didn’t surprise me when he declared this area to be my liver. Reflexology practice traces back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, India, Native America and China. Zone therapy symbols exist on pictographs in Egyptian tombs dating back to 2330 BC. William Fitzgerald, M.D. introduced reflexology to the US in 1913, claiming that applying pressure had an anesthetic effect on other areas of the body. When I glanced over at Jessica during our session, she sure looked blissed out. Hard to predict how someone will react to foot reflexology. Marta visibly relaxed into her first session at FootNote, while the man next to her was so subdued, he was snoring. At Natureland, I witnessed a body builder writhing in his seat with facial expressions ranging from ecstasy to agony. Where to Try? There are plenty of foot clinics around town. TCM centers employ experienced physicians with extensive residency

Reflexology foot map


AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

programs while other centers require only a four-six month training certificate. My Foot Reflexology uniquely employs the visually and physically impaired. Jane joined me here and we left floating on air after our session with Aguan and Rashid. We made a pact to do this more often, particularly after grueling tennis matches.

canals, so this job may be a step up for them. I will give this a go another day. Any takers?

In Chinatown, Alleviate Spa’s Yvonne gave me a relaxing foot rub. What I was hoping to do here was a fish spa, the treatment by tiny fish that eat away the dead skin, leaving your feet baby-smooth. I learned from Yvonne that fish spas are unavailable in Singapore due to Covid.

Jane Kim at My Foot Reflexology, Great World City

Sandy Harford stumbling into Alleviate on Pagoda St.

Apparently, a fish that nibbles on your feet could transfer the virus to another person. Not to be thwarted, I headed over to my Katong pet store to make my DIY fish spa. However, common goldfish are not up to this thankless task. But, the Garra rufa (doctor fish), from Central Asia, are exceptionally up to the task. Before you feel sorry for the Garra rufa, know that these fish dwell in polluted

For the purpose of this article, I chose to stick with feet. With Singapore’s vast multi-cultural mix, the menu of traditional wellness treatments is wild and wonderful. While we’re here, why not sample some time-honored or trendy treatments? From moxibustion to cupping to facials using snails, there are tons of options out there, and; we’re worth it! Sandy moved to Singapore from California in Feb 2021. She has joined just about every AWA activity available. Professionally, Sandy does the marketing for Amazing Adventures Travel.

Fond Farewell

Best Wishes to a Valued AWA Magazine Team Member Publishing the AWA Magazine is truly a team effort, and we are sad to say farewell to Gina Vono, one of our long-standing team members. Gina has been an integral part of our team since 2019. She has posted countless hours as the Magazine's graphic designer, and her eye for layout and visual appeal will be missed! We wish her smooth travels as she moves back to the United States with her husband and son. Thank you, Gina, for all of your time and effort, and best of luck in your future adventures. Kate Lillwitz, Jaclyn Muncy and Gina Vono on their last outing in Tanjong Pagar AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


Resident Artist

Meet the Photographer of This Issue's Cover Photo by Jennifer Williams

Christi Elflein

but she had me thinking it could be a challenging topic to mix with photography. But Christi has found the perfect project and is currently creating a book with the working title of “Great Streets of Singapore.” She explained to me that “In my photos, I aim to communicate the life of the street: the activity on the street and the ways people use it. I capture people biking, strolling, or sitting in a café. I can’t overlook the construction workers or garbage collectors; I photograph everyone that makes the street come alive.” She says a great street has balance and allows everyone to thrive. Urban design contributes to this balance in the geometry of a street. The ratio of building heights to their width on a street is a main factor in whether it's comfortable for people (up to 1:3 height to width ratio) or dead and without activity where streets are too wide (recall big box stores surrounded by seas of parking lots and streets without pedestrian life). Good urban planning takes into account lane widths, curbs, drainage, sidewalks and even street furniture, like benches. In “Great Streets of Singapore,” Christi is creating a reference/tour book that

photo caption

Christi Elflein

Photography has always been a part of Christi Elflein’s life. She credits her dad. During his own childhood, Christi’s dad even set up an at-home dark room, and she still has boxes of his slides that she’ll transfer to digital one day. Led by his example, Christi is a lifelong camera enthusiast. Christi moved to Singapore from Florida with her husband and two children in 2019. She is an active member of the AWA Magazine team and the AWA running group. Her photos grace the cover of several AWA Magazine, and she writes the magazine’s Family Fun Adventures column. In the United States, she earned her Master’s in urban planning from Georgia Tech and developed her career as an urban planner. She does some remote consulting planning work from here, and her passion for good planning and design is a highlight of her photography. Streetscapes and Urban Planning Christi quickly responded “streetscapes,” when I asked her about her favourite subject to photograph. “I’m happiest when a project brings together writing, photography and urban planning.” Christi’s enthusiasm for urban planning and great street design is catching, 14

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

Podi and Poriyal, Serangoon Road

Shopping on Haji Lane

looks at various Singapore neighbourhoods and dissects the streets using photography, capturing moments in the lives of Singaporeans on the streets of their city. Top Photography Tips As a fledgling photographer, I asked Christi for advice. She suggested joining activities with other photographers. Christi lists the AWA photography group and several classes, including one on architectural photography, as helpful to her development. “My pictures have improved

here in Singapore because I have more time to try new things.” Her top tip for street photography? Ensure that horizontal and vertical lines in the photo are straight. “It’s best to get them straight in the original. But if I need to tweak them, I use Adobe Lightroom.” Evolution As so many people have had to, Christi has adjusted her ambitions and expectations to meet the demands of expat life and Covid. Her initial plan was to photograph great streets of the American South. Her theme morphed with her family’s move to Singapore, to become great streets in South East Asia. Restrictions refined her focus to the streets of Singapore. These changes have given her fresh ideas and she envisions a Great Streets photo series from around the world. I’ll be keeping an eye out to follow Christi’s unique perspective on streetscapes. Follow her on Instagram @thegreatstreets. Jennifer moved to Singapore with her husband and three boys in 2019. A life-long lover of books and writing, she became Editor-in-Chief of the AWA Magazine in 2021.

Purvis Street at night AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


Singapore Snippets

Discovering Items of interest on the red dot by Marta Ferrer Lubeck

Pasir Ris Park Pasir Ris Park is a 70-hectare coastal park located in eastern Singapore and faces Pulau Ubin. This is one of the few beach parks on the Red Dot, and its name is believed to derive from the Malay words for ‘long sand’ (Pasir) and ‘shred or slice’ (Hiris). The breezy beach, ample trails, and fascinating mangrove forest are a few of the reasons why a visit to Pasir Ris Park is well worth the trip.

keep on a path near the water. I like that it's on the coast and has a variety of trees in addition to the palms. I like that there are kayakers to watch or join, and that you can stroll along a grassy path to get near the therapeutic riding stables.”

Beach and Trails Visitors can enjoy a relaxed walk on the beach while taking in the beautiful views and spotting mollusks, crabs, and other coastal fauna. Families can delight in hours of fun in the large, well-maintained playground. The trails loop around Pasir Ris Park for up to 6 kilometers, offering ample space for walkers, runners, and bikers. Tucked between these areas is a hedge maze which needs some maintenance but can still be enjoyed from beginning to end. There are barbecue and camping facilities at Pasir Ris Park, but permits remain suspended for the time being to observe safe distancing measures.

Pasir Ris Park Beach

Mangrove Pit Viper

Helena Cochrane is a regular visitor at Pasir Ris Park. “I think Pasir Ris is one of the magical spots in Singapore, for its wide-open spaces, which are also sheltered by large and majestic rain trees. In a city in which space is at an absolute premium, this space does a lot to let visitors savor a walk in which you cross no streets, nor see a lot of cargo ships anchored offshore, nor dodge bicycles to


AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

Pasir Ris Park is a great location for birdwatching. On one of my visits, I met Kelvin, a professional photographer and park regular who waits patiently to capture striking shots of kingfishers, woodpeckers, hornbills, egrets, and other birds frequenting the park. This day, his camera was trained on a spotted wood owl perched on a high branch not far from the beach.

Path through the trees

Robert Heigermoser has been a nature guide since 2002, and his company Ulu Singapore provides nature walks throughout the island. I signed up for the Pasir Ris Park nighttime walk. Initially, being on the boardwalk in complete darkness save for a couple torchlights was intimidating. However, I was soon awed by bird sounds interrupting the silence, as well as the nighttime activity of watersnakes, mudskippers, crabs, and other mangrove forest residents. Trash accumulation is plain to see in some areas of Pasir Ris Park. There are cleaning crews on the park grounds, and AWA organized a beach clean-up recently. However, refuse continues to flow in from the Johor Straits, and some makes its way to the mangrove forest, getting stuck behind tree roots. This is a stark reminder that we must do all we can to preserve our fragile natural habitats. Other Activities and How To Get There

Macque enjoying a snack

Mangrove Forest The mangrove forest is its own world within Pasir Ris Park. Mangrove trees and other lush greenery surround the visitor while walking down the 1.5-kilometer boardwalk. The forest is home to long-tailed macaques, monitor lizards, mudskippers, mud crabs, and other wildlife. Snakes are shy animals that prefer to stay hidden, but in this mangrove forest it is not uncommon to catch sight of pit vipers, reticulated pythons, and paradise tree snakes.

There are a few restaurants and cafes on the park grounds, as well as Gallop Stable, an equestrian center that provides riding lessons and pony rides. Wild Wild Wet is one of Singapore’s largest water parks and was voted Top 5 Water Parks in Asia by Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice in 2019 and 2020. Pasir Ris Park is a 10-minute walk from Pasir Ris MRT station and close to a few bus stops. There are carparks conveniently located around the park. Marta moved to Singapore with her husband and two children in July 2020. She loves to explore Singapore with the AWA walking, hiking and photography groups.

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


Hidden in Plain Sight

Discovering singapore's vibrant street art scene by Jennifer Williams and Isabelle Tadmoury

Reminiscing Old Ang Mo Kio

Ang Mo Kio

Way-Finding Project

After taking you to public art in the central neighborhoods of Singapore, we thought it was time to go into the heartlands. Known for their enormous housing projects, the heartlands are home to 80% of Singapore’s population. They are completely self-sufficient as they come with Hawker centers, schools, medical clinics, shops, parks and basically everything you need to live a comfortable life.

In Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, we found public art that also serves the "well-being" of the community. This wayfinding project launched by the Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA), paints objects on buildings to aid the elderly with dementia in finding their way home. Traditional items identify each building. A tiffin box denotes block 102 while a teacup, satay or a rice bowl denote other buildings in the area. Even the size of the murals (big) and their location (above building entrances), help residents find their way.

Kopi Cup and Rooster Bowl in Way-Finding Project HDB in Kebun Baru

While housing projects have a negative image in many countries, in Singapore the concept of public housing from the Housing Development Board (HDB) equates to quality, reliability and livability. A key part of Singapore’s original 1950’s urban renewal development was to move residents from kampongs (villages) to modern buildings with improved facilities such as electricity, individual bathrooms and kitchens. Today, there are HDB high-rise apartments with million-dollar price tags and stunning views. 18

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

Mary-Ann Khoo, Consultant at ADA comments: “The murals serve as unique identifiers of the blocks in Kebun Baru. The elderly and persons with dementia, as they get older or as their cognition deteriorates, may not recognize their way around the blocks, which all tend to look the same.” * Often, groups of HDB buildings look very similar and we can easily imagine how difficult the blocks are to navigate for people with dementia. This project certainly seems like a good way to address this issue.

Reminiscing Old Ang Mo Kio As we approach Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and the Teck Ghee Court Market, we get a glimpse of what the Kampongs used to look like. Yip Yew Chong, the nostalgia muralist we’ve mentioned in previous articles, was commissioned by the Public Art Trust to paint an old-fashioned marketplace scene complete with raised wooden houses and open farmland. In the murals, chickens graze under the homes, just as they still do today! It’s hard to imagine how rustic and agricultural the area looked just 60 years ago when today you are surrounded by towering blocks of apartment buildings.

Sculpture Award in 2008. From its site, you can even see the herons surveying the riverbeds. What a contrast from the concrete jungle that surrounds the park. Do you know what Ang Mo means? Ang Mo is a Hokkien Chinese dialect name for red hair which came into practice to refer to the British during the colonial days. Today, it refers to all Caucasians. Ang Mo Kio literally means the 'red-haired man's bridge', which

Details from Reminiscing Old Ang Mo Kio

makes reference to the bridge over Kallang River in the area, built by Johnson Turnball Thomson, Government Surveyor of the Straits Settlement from 1841 to 1853. *The Pride article by Serene Leong, July 3, 2021 Enclosure for a Swing A short walk into Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park, with its meandering river and lush banks of wildflowers helps you forget the densely populated highrises. Climbing up Recycle Hill, made from recycled concrete, will not only reward you with a panoramic view but also offer a visual treat of a steel sculpture. “An Enclosure for a Swing” by Kelvin Lim Fun Kit won the 4th CDL Singapore

Isabelle and Jennifer share a love of art, good coffee and exploring Singapore. Both came here in 2019 and are always on the lookout for the next great statue or mural that is just around the corner.

19 Enclosure for a Swing

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

Watering Holes

Raise a glass at Singapore's best lounges and bars by Elizabeth Butcher While the theme of wellness might not be an intuitive pairing with Watering Holes, some brave and curious friends and I decided to try to reconcile the two. First, we explored the conventional wellness philosophy of alcohol-free drinks. Then we set out to find a watering hole that could help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. I can now recommend both. AWA members Amanda Culhane and Jeanne Buechel bravely joined me at home for “dealcoholized” cocktails and dinner. An internet search had led me to the online

Amanda Culhane and Jeanne Buechel

shop Free Spirit, “Singapore’s Only Alcohol Free Bottle Shop,” founded by Rebecca Forwood (The Fishwives) and Emma Pike (Farmer’s Market). The website has a thoughtful selection of non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits. My order was delivered within two days. When the ladies arrived, I opened a bottle of Noughty Sparkling Rose with a loud “pop.” The sparkling rose is an alcoholfree, organic wine from “sandy and calcareous vineyards” in southern Spain. The pretty pink, effervescent beverage tastes slightly of apple but is not overly sweet. This is

Non-alcoholic gin and tonic

because it has about half the sugar of other non-alcoholic sparkling wines coming in at 18calories/100ml. Served in champagne flutes it made for a festive welcome. Next, we tried my first ever gin-less Gin & Tonic. I had been seeing Seedlip’s 0% Alcoholic Spirits around for a while with their gorgeous label artwork amalgamating all the ingredients into the shape of animal heads. I elected to serve the Garden 108 made from peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary, and thyme. Served over ice with Fever-Tree Refreshingly Light Tonic, a wedge of lime and a slice of cucumber it was as pleasant as any well-made G&T. The botanicals give the gin a fresh flavor, but no single ingredient dominates. Not only is the Seedlip G&T delicious, according to the Seedlip website, it is sugarand calorie-free. To accompany our dinner, I opened a bottle of Ara Zero Sauvignon Blanc from Marlboro, NZ. The Ara Zero is fresh and dry with a slight citrus finish. It paired perfectly with salads and light fish and weighed in with only 23 calories/125ml. In summary, I was delighted to see how many good options now exist for someone Seedlip 0% alcohol spirits 20

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

choosing not to drink alcohol or just wanting to try something new. As for the alternative wellness approach of combining alcohol and rejuvenation in a scenic watering hole where you can escape, relax and recharge: look no further than a weekday afternoon on Sentosa Island. (NB: Weekends get quite full and trade the relaxed atmosphere for a more festive, dynamic feeling). AWA board member Anita Young and I spent a beautiful Tuesday biking around the beach clubs of Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong. Each of the clubs (no membership required) has a distinct vibe – sporty, sophisticated, party all day, family friendly - and are worth a visit. To me the Tanjong Beach Club (channeling 1960s Cote d’Azur) felt the most inviting and relaxing. In addition to excellent service, they offer indoor and outdoor dining as well as a pool deck, oceanfront day beds, a full bar and both light and filling fare. I can think of few things more relaxing than a healthy lunch on the shaded patio followed by an afternoon of rest and rejuvenation in an oceanfront daybed sipping their famous Malayan Mai Tai or Tanjong Spritz. To learn more about Free Spirit or the Tanjong Beach Club, visit these websites.

Tanjong Beach Club

Elizabeth enjoys exploring Singapore from Pulau Ubin to St.John's and all the watering holes in between.


More than just an Ordinary Hand AWA Mahjong has been enjoying regular three-player games as well as mahjong training for beginners. In-home recreational mahjong games are currently facilitated via WhatsApp group chat, at various times as convenient to our marvelous volunteer mahjong hosts. Please send 'SUBSCRIBE MAHJONG' to 8460 2560 to be added to

Mahjong Training: (L-R) Sandy Hartford, Anne Roberts (teaching), Angela Chen.

this WhatsApp chat (AWA members only). Please check out the AWA website to register for our recurrent twosession training program! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Vishali at mahjong@

Mahjong Training: (L-R) Leah Lambert, Mandakini Arora, Vishali Midha (teaching). AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


The Fork and Chopstick

Highlighting off the beaten path, heritage, or just plain fun chomping grounds by Jenni & Eric Lee

The Boneless Kitchen

1 Irving Place, #01-31 Commerze@Irving, S. 369546 Nestled in an industrial part of Singapore where a lot of F&B companies are located is The Boneless Kitchen. This Korean vegetarian restaurant is unusual for Singapore’s Korean food scene which is dominated by BBQ and Korean fried chicken. Besides not serving meat, The Boneless Kitchen doesn’t use garlic or onion nor serves alcohol. Korean cuisine does have a long history of vegetarian fare given its Buddhist history, but it isn’t something seen very often outside of Korea. Sunday lunch chomp:

The Boneless Kitchen interior

The food was served quickly at reasonable prices. Try the floor seating if you want to feel transported to Korea. Digest this: the Good the Bad and the Ugly:

Kimbap and Rolled Omelette

Boneless Kitchen serves typical dishes but all veg based. Soondubu (spicy tofu stew; $14) comes with ample vegetables, along with both silken and frozen tofu. The freezing of tofu gives it a bouncy, spongy texture which soaks up soup like a sponge. The savory soup displays a robust flavor with its seaweed and dried mushroom base. We also ordered the kimbap or Korean rice rolls wrapped in seaweed ($10), as well as a rolled omelette ($8). The kimbap is made with adzuki bean red rice, enveloping egg, pickled radish, and the vegetarian equivalent of Spam. It was delicious with a salty tang. The rolled omelette is made with a single layer of seaweed along with vegetables wrapped in the middle, resulting in a rich and satisfying bite. Ambience/Clientele/Service: The restaurant decor is simple and airy, letting in lots of light. The place was bustling, attracting the devoutly vegetarian/vegan (we saw customers who looked like monks in jeans) and carnivores with vegetarian friends. 22

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The Boneless Kitchen is a social enterprise employing staff with special needs, so no GST or SG are added, but a shared tip jar by the cash register is present. Even diehard carnivores have been pleasantly surprised by this tasty meatless restaurant (and no food coma afterwards!). Dishes are accompanied by small refillable banchan (small side dishes), but kimchi needs to be ordered as a side dish ($3). Since it’s almost unthinkable to have Korean food not accompanied by kimchi, serving it should be a standard. Payment must be cash, PayNow or NETS only. Reservations are a must unless you go off peak. What Others Are Saying: 4.4 stars on Google and HappyCow (out of 5): “All the dishes are yummy without too strong taste,” “The staff are friendly also,” “I liked the traditional ambience and floor seating,” “Amazing high quality vegetarian food, made with sesame oil and not palm oil.” Post Meal: Grasso, next door, serves a choice of Western or local coffees, light eats, and acai bowls. For artisan coffee, walk over to Alchemist on MacTaggart Road, an on-sight coffee roasting place with an industrial vibe. 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.

Member Spotlight

Getting to know our members beyond the usual chitchat by Helena A. Cochrane

Phine Sim

always awesome and the people are too, but I guess every country has its share of disgruntled people.

Josephine (Phine) Sim is a native of Singapore, What hobby or activity have you finally though she’s also attended been able to pursue in Singapore that university in the US. She is you had wanted to previously? How a vivacious singer and choir has it influenced your time here? teacher, both professionally and as a volunteer. I have always wanted to walk through Phine’s Chinese paternal the whole of Singapore, via its forests grandparents immigrated and trails. It was something I began to Singapore where they with my big brother when we were raised ten children. They kids. converted to Christianity, This past year I started trekking raising their large family to whenever possible along familiar be very God-centric. Phine Phine with two rescued bunnies trails and some lesser known ones is deeply committed to this and I hope to pursue this new hobby central pillar of her heritage. Phine admires her dad, who until the day I cannot. I go alone or at most with one other in turn raised his own children to love life, art, and nature, person. It is not possible to enjoy basking in a forest with and to work hard in any circumstances. a group: all the yak, yak causes the wildlife to disperse. Tell us about your family and your primary interests. What habit(s) make you feel most settled in Singapore? My husband and I are the same age as Singapore’s My neighbors and I trade plants and recipes, grow stuff, Independence and we have two children aged 28 and buy food with and for each other, share eggs, salt, yeast, 24. Our son is engaged to be married. flour, and household tools, house-sit or dog-walk, etc. I work as a Ministry of Education Co-Curricular Activities What advice would you give first-time expats? choir instructor and also with Voices of Singapore. I am active in my church and volunteer with some charity and Get involved with your neighborhood activities and socialise. Get a pet or grow plants. But, please, don’t animal societies. abandon your pet when you relocate. Most recently, we’ve been helping with rescued rabbits. Since June 2021, I have been the director of the AWA International Women’s Choir. What have you enjoyed more about Singapore than you thought you would? We went to Wisconsin, the land of dairy products, USA, in 1987, for three years. Wisconsin locals are lovely and warm, in contrast to the cold climate. Its snowy forests, wilderness, fresh air, and open spaces are unforgettable. I had to live abroad to enjoy Singapore more. Love our consistently hot weather and unpredictable rain, good government, easy access to all sorts of things from services to groceries. Upon my return, I struggled with the long queues for the majority of things, pre-Covid. My husband and I had to adjust to the rushing around and crazy-busyness. Coming back to the fast pace of Singapore, it took me a whole year to re-adapt to city impatience and crowded everything. Conversely, what have you struggled with that you didn’t expect to be challenging? It’s been disappointing to see discontented people complaining. I would love to brag that my country is

Phine with her family Since moving from Philadelphia in 2018, Helena has been active with AWA's Walking with Women, Writers' Group and International Choir as well as with Urban Sketchers of Singapore.

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


The A WA Book Review "Books are a Uniquely Portable Magic"

Stephen King by Isabelle Tadmoury


by Min Jin Lee Pachinko was a labor of love that took Min Jin Lee almost 25 years to write. The novel is an epic tale of a Korean family from the early 1900s in Japanese-occupied Korea

Min Jin Lee (right) at the 2019 Singapore Writer's Festival

exists today. Ms. Lee first wrote it as a short story about a Korean student who was being bullied, then returned to make it this long and detailed novel. The author was born in Seoul but raised in the United States. It wasn't until she moved to Japan, following her husband’s work, that she developed it further (she was a corporate lawyer in New York before becoming a novelist). This could be an inspiration for any of us ex-pat wives who are looking to write a novel.


to modern-day Japan. This multi-generational family survives through their sacrifices, their ambition and their tenacity. It is a moving saga, beautifully told. It hit a similar chord with me as “Gentleman in Moscow.” The story sweeps you up and transports you on a journey where hardships are the norm but where the characters are complex and finely nuanced so that you begin to care deeply for them. Not incidentally, this is also a story of racism, prejudice and “second class” citizenry that still

What is Pachinko? It’s a cross between a pinball machine and a gambling slots machine. Pachinko parlors, central to the development of the characters and the plot, exist throughout Japan and even though gambling isn’t legal, these low-money gambling arcades are currently a billiondollar business. Apple TV+ is turning the book into a movie with a star-studded cast that includes Lee Min-Ho, the South Korean heartthrob from The King: Eternal Monarch. The main character Sunja, will be played by Minari star and Academy award winner, Youn Yuh-jung. Currently in production in Vancouver, the film will be told in Korean, Japanese and English. It’s slated to come out next year. I can’t wait!

Isabelle is an avid reader and book club member. She’s written a children's picture book "Three World Trade Center was our Home” which is part of the 9/11 Museum. Catch her recommendations in the magazine or on GoodReads.


AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

Plan Creatively

Three Tips for Setting Goals by Sara Madera At the beginning of the year many of us think about the goals we want to achieve, whether it’s losing weight, meditating every day or getting a promotion, but it’s easy to get frustrated or distracted along the way. Without the right mindset or structure, your goals could end up the way of innumerable New Year’s Resolutions — forgotten or brushed aside. Goals don’t need to be overwhelming! A few simple steps will make them achievable and manageable, helping you to create a habit or climb to the top of the mountain, literally or figuratively.

There’s no judgement of your answers (looking good in jeans feels amazing!), but being clear on the bigger reason (to be healthy, strong, to connect with your kids, to make more money for your family) can be a strong motivator when things get tough. 3. Make it Realistic Is it possible to go to the gym every day or to not watch TV anymore in the evenings or to always eat healthy? Maybe, but maybe not—what happens when you get sick, you can’t go to the gym and you lie on the couch watching TV? Or after a month of eating healthy you

Achieving your goals - big and small

1. Know the Why This is the first step and where a lot of resolutions go wrong. It’s important to explore why you are setting this goal, how you want to shape your life and where this goal fits into it. What do you want people to say about you when you are in your 60s or 70s? Where do you want to be in 10 years? Or in one year? This can help you be clear about where you want to be, why this goal is important and what the timeline looks like. 2. Form a Big Picture Why do you want to lose weight? To fit into that pair of jeans or to be healthy enough to play with your kids? Do you want to meditate every day to create a healthy habit or to find calm in your life? Do you want to be promoted to make more money for your family or is it a step on your journey to being CEO?

break down and have a donut? This doesn’t mean you failed — it just means the goal as defined wasn’t realistic enough for you to be successful. One way I test out the practicality of a goal is to plot it out on my calendar for the year. For example, can I really host a dinner party once a month? Looking at the holidays and (maybe) travel plans, that seems like too much, but every other month could work. By making your goal part of a larger plan, articulating the reason behind the goal, and making it realistic, you are well on your way to making it happen! Sara Madera is a certified executive coach and mother of two. Her practice Plan Creatively helps women redefine for themselves what success means.

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


Family Fun Adventures

Finding cool things to do in and around Singapore by Christi Elflein

I Scream! You Scream! We all Scream for Ice Cream! Get your ice cream fix at the Museum of Ice Cream in Dempsey Hill. I wouldn’t exactly describe it as a museum. It’s more like a house of pink fun.

Here’s what you do:

Ice Cream!!

Step 1: Buy tickets before your visit on their website, Time slots are available every half hour from 10:00 am to 8:30 pm, Thursday through Sunday, and tickets cost SG$42 each. Step 2: Start thinking about your ice cream name. My family was Christi Cream, BillObong Cherry, Jacklot Chip, and Phebe Nila.

Step 3: Arrive on time ready to eat unlimited scoops of ice cream. Expect to stay one to two hours. You won’t learn a lot about ice cream, but you will eat plenty of ice cream. You will wind your way through a series of themed ice cream rooms, like a banana jungle

Phebe and Jack Elflein drive the ice cream truck

and a playground equipped with swinging cherries. Five of the rooms serve up an ice cream treat. There’s an ice cream truck, an ice cream diner, and an ice cream shop. The grand finale is the Sprinkle Pool. Final Step: Depart with giggles and lots of cute pink Instagram-worthy pictures.

Jack Elflein launches into the sprinkle pit

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. 26

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

International Women's Choir Passion for music and song

Choir took a hiatus in December after making our 12 Days of Singapore Christmas video (see our Facebook page to enjoy it yet again!) and we will gear up in February to polish a repertoire of Southeast Asian folk favorites in Tamil, Chinese, and Malay, as well as English. We are also planning to record a few more contemporary popular tunes. Since we’ve been restricted from performing in local senior centers over the course of the Covid pandemic, it’s been important that we maintain our recording activity. If you enjoy singing and would like to be part of this supportive musical group, please email We do auditions only for the purpose of determining range (Soprano 1 or 2, or Alto).

12 Days of Singapore Christmas video

Listen Ladies

Listen Ladies are Listening Welcome to 2022 from the AWA Listen Ladies! We hope you had good support last year. If not, we're here to help you out. AWA’s Listen Ladies group is here and ready to help you process changes and give you a safe place where you can share your feelings and concerns, as well as get information and resources. Stay tuned for new Zooms with the Listen Ladies. Time and dates will be posted on our page on the website. Also, please feel free to sign up for the Listen Ladies Quarantine Goody Bags if you'll be in SHN. The link is also on the Listen Ladies page. All Moods Welcome!

Walking Group

Kilometers of friendship and fun At this moment of government regulations, the AWA Walking Group is not able to carry out its typical weekly walks around the island. But, we have great plans ahead for 2022! We will be hosting more photo contests, which have been very popular with our group and are well received by the AWA Community. We will also organize a Litter Challenge, in which walkers pick up trash and compete to pick up the most litter. A Dog Walk and Welcome Walks are also in the works. Join our AWA Walking With Women Facebook page to find out information on our upcoming walks and other fun activities! Walk at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


Writers' Block

A contribution from our AWA Writers' Group members by Mandakini Arora

Of Custard Pie and the Malayan Jungle An excerpt from her forthcoming creative nonfiction book; a version of this was read on Anne Morgan’s podcast, “Our Community with Anne Morgan: OC32: Celebrating the Joy of a Writers’ Group” On August 19, 1932, Bring ’Em Back Alive gave its premier screening to a packed Mayfair Theater in New York City’s Times Square. The entertainment started before the show with life-sized papier-mache elephants flapping their trunks and tigers snapping their jaws at the entrance of the theatre. The movie was a great success. Audiences from the United States to Britain and Singapore were thrilled as screens lit up with such exciting scenes as a fight to the death between a python and a crocodile in the jungles of British Malaya. Frank Buck, a Texan businessman, had built a fortune in the early twentieth century trapping and purveying exotic animals from Asia and Africa to Western markets. Colonial Singapore, an important node in international wildlife transactions, was where Buck set up shop for a period. The movie was based on his book of the same name that documented his animal trapping excursions into the jungles of Southeast Asia. The movie opens with Buck’s sailing into Singapore harbour and includes scenes of the city in the early 1930s. Much of the wild-animal action, purportedly deep within the Malayan jungle, was in fact staged in Singapore. Oblivious of its runaway success, an English girl in Corbridge-on-Tyne, Northumberland, would nonetheless be affected by the movie. Seven-year-old Ann Elizabeth Wilcox had never been to a movie theater. The only voices she knew that did not emanate from real-life humans came from the family radio. She must have been excited when her father decreed that Bring ’Em Back Alive was an appropriately educational film for her. Ann’s mother took her to the movie theater in the neighboring town of Hexham. Her father was dismayed when Ann came home hooting with laughter after the movie. Looking back eighty years later, Ann said, “Unfortunately, there was a trailer of another movie first—a slapstick comedy in which somebody put a custard pie in the face of somebody 28

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

else. And that was the only thing I remembered. I came home screaming with laughter, having totally missed the point of the movie which was supposed to educate me. Father was so upset!” Her father need not have worried that the educational element of the experience had passed Ann by. The movie is said to have brought Singapore and Malaya international publicity—some US theaters displayed maps outside; a Singapore newspaper wrote that finally people understood that Singapore was not in Africa or China or anywhere other than where it was. Buck’s movie also put Singapore on Ann’s mental map. In 1944, Ann joined the London School of Economics (LSE) as an undergraduate. With the start of World War II in 1939, the university had temporarily relocated to Cambridge. Compared to Ann’s schools in Northumberland, the LSE with its diversity of British and international students

presented a new world—“chalk and cheese,” she later said. One evening Ann attended a dance organized by CUSIA, the Cambridge University Society for International Affairs. A short, dapper Chinese man approached her for a dance. Harry Wee was pursuing a law degree in Cambridge. He would later joke to Ann that, after having scoured the dance hall, he had identified her as The One—the one woman short enough to dance with him. But all that would come later. When he told her he was from Singapore, a movie screen flickered to life in Ann’s mind. Bring ’Em Back Alive. Custard pie.

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

A WA Writers' Group

"If there's a book you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Toni Morrison Writers’ Group meetings continue to be lively and enriching. Thanks to Zoom, we still meet on the second and fourth Thursday of the month, overcoming this time of restriction of in-person get-togethers. Loved members who have relocated to the US are also able to participate in our sessions. We are your people if: you are looking for a nudge to start or restart writing; you want feedback on work in progress; you are a published, beginning, dormant, or active writer; your writing genre is fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, personal essay, travel writing, poetry, business writing, blogging or any other. If writing is integral to your wellbeing and wellness, we are an inclusive, safe space in which to share your work and receive constructive critique, or to simply offer feedback on others' writing. To read pieces by our members, check out the “Writers’ Block” column in each issue of the AWA Magazine. To see firsthand how vibrant our group exchanges are, please contact: Writers' Zoom meeting

Christian Connections Christian Fellowship

by Barbara Winkler

High Tea

Christian Connection aims to connect ladies with God, each other and the local church community. We promote Christian unity and welcome Christians from all churches and traditions. We also welcome those who aren’t followers of Christ, but want to listen and learn in a safe environment where they can ask questions. We like to start each year with a high tea as a chance to meet new people and welcome back continuing friends. We hope that we will be able to host another high tea soon. We also enjoy Christian fellowship in other ways. As a group, we’ve taken terrarium and art classes together, for example. We hope to welcome you to one of our future get-togethers.

Paint Night AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022


All Nationalities

Celebrating what makes us unique and what brings us together by Helena A. Cochrane Holidays for LOVE February 14 isn't the only day to show you care. Holidays for love are celebrated around the world and Asia has its own unique traditions. Chinese Valentine's Day Chinese Valentine’s Day (Qīxìjié) is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar. In 2022, the "Day of Sevens" is August 5.

The Love of Zhinü and Niulang The Day of Sevens combines the folk legend of the daughter of the Jade Emperor, Zhinü the weaver, and her mortal cow herd husband Niulang with the appearance of the two bright stars Vega (for her) and Altair (for him) in the summer skies of China. When her mother, the Goddess of Heaven, discovered that Zhinü had married a mortal, she forced her daughter to return to heaven, and to abandon her husband and two small children, creating the celestial ‘River of Milk’ as an obstacle. Brave Niulang followed Zhinü to heaven, with their children in his arms. Magpies came to the aid of Niulang and formed a bridge over the Milky Way so that the couple could reunite. The Goddess of Heaven was so moved by the actions of the couple and the birds that she relented, and allowed the couple to be reunited each year forevermore on the day of sevens. It is said they meet annually on the magpie bridge. The Chinese language contains so much wordplay that the name of the pastries traditionally baked on this day sounds like the word for skill, as well as the word for magpie. Baking and serving them brings skill to the baker and recalls the role of the magpies in the love story. Condé Nast Traveler describes six different days for love in China, among them May 20 or 05/20 (month 5, day 30

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

20), which also through Chinese wordplay sounds like the words "I love you" and so has taken hold as a day to recognize love. White Day Of course, many countries around the world have adopted February 14th as the day for love, but in Asia, the tradition on February 14 is for women and girls to send gifts of chocolate to the object of their heart’s desire. In Japan, China and Korea, White Valentine’s Day

on March 14, is the day for men in turn to send white chocolates to their sweethearts, as well as other tokens of affection. It is understood that these gifts should have double the value of the gifts that prompted them. Although White Valentine’s Day began as a marketing gimmick in the 1970’s in Japan, it has caught on as a way to celebrate love. A Japanese friend told me last week, “When I was young, every girl looked forward to White Day, to know a boy’s feelings towards her. No one was able to concentrate on Valentine’s Day or White Day. After a time, the school had to prohibit chocolates on those school days.” Singles Day Finally, November 11 or 11/11 (month 11, day 11) is celebrated as "Singles’ Day," with its succession of ones on the Western calendar. Friends who are unattached like to have a drink or send one another flowers. It happens to be the biggest shopping day in Asia, when sales for the upcoming (Western) Christmas holiday are launched. Since moving from Philadelphia in 2018, Helena has been active with AWA's Walking with Women, Writers' Group and International Choir as well as with Urban Sketchers of Singapore.

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, Arts & Culture – Monthly talks focusing on Asian arts & culture. Rosalie Kwok, Bar Nights – Ladies’ nights, couples’ nights each month. Lauren Raps, Beauty & Fashion – From fashion talks to workshops, there’s no age limit to brilliant beauty & unlimited style. Book Groups – Morning, afternoon & evening books groups, held monthly. Cancer Support Group – Meets the third week of the month, with a focus on mutual support and information sharing. Rosa Liu, Christian Connection – Provides information and resources to help you connect with local Christian community groups. Barbara Winkler, Coffee & Friends – Meets at various cafes around town. Join us on Fridays from 10:30 am -12:30 pm. Sign up required. Peggy Kershaw, Couples’ Bridge – Meets monthly on a Saturday evening. Spouses are welcome. Currently suspended. Amy Starling, Creative Hands – Bring your handiwork project to work on and share with other creative women every 1st, 3rd & 5th Thursday. Meg Sine, DISH – Monthly lunches at a variety of interesting venues. Kristin Bemowski, Duplicate Bridge (at home) – American Standard five-card major rules every Monday. You don’t need a partner to join. Amy Starling & Sock-Yan Sim, High Tea – Enjoy monthly teas at Singapore’s top hotels and interesting venues. International Choir – Practices on Wednesdays 10-noon in person for fully vaccinated members, at Adelphia House on Coleman St. Performances recorded and presented by video. Auditions only to assess range, Java Junkies – Join the search for the perfect cup of java on 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 2pm. Liza Rowan, Listen Ladies – A compassionate group of ladies who support one another with biweekly Thursday zoom calls from 5-6pm. Andrea McKenna Brankin, Local Tours –Professionally guided tours of Singapore. Terry Young, Long Term Members — For women who have lived in Singapore eight years or more. Mary Rajkumar, Mahjong - International style in a low stress, friendly atmosphere. Monday and Thursday afternoons at AWA Office Function Room.

Member Talks — Monthly talks given by AWA member experts on a variety of topics. Movie Lunch – Monthly lunch followed by a movie in Orchard Road area. Michelle Reeb, New & Expecting Mamas – Currently enjoying coffee meetups. Kristin Bemowski, Photography – Meets once a month to have fun practicing and improving our photography. All levels are welcome. Carol Hamcke-Onstwedder & Londa Matthieu, Playgroup – For moms with kids under age three. Meets every Friday morning at a member's home plus a monthly "Moms Night Out". Ashley Hamlin & Morgan Steinman, playgroups@ Workshops – Expand your mind and learn something new about yourself, about Singapore or about the world. Leezibet Heinzraiden, Writers’ Group – Beginner and published writers discuss their work the 2nd & 4th Thursday of every month. Mandakini Arora & Elissa Viornery,


Golf – The 18-hole group plays on Wednesday. 9-hole golf on hold indefinitelty. Lily Giddens & Peng Pavie, Hiking – Meets at MacRitchie Reservoir every 1st & 3rd Thursday morning. Marlene Han & Leanne Porter, Running – Group runs for all levels on Tuesday & Thursday mornings at locations around Singapore. Bernie Tretta & Caroline Beaumont, Tennis – A variety of singles and doubles play including tournaments, and team tennis for players of all levels. Paige Okun & Rebecca Meuer, Walking – Walk all over this amazing island. Mondays are 10K, Wednesdays are 5K. Andrea McKenna Brankin & Mercedes Bainbridge,

Community Service

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

AWA Magazine Jan/Feb 2022