AWA Magazine - July/August 2022

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July · Aug

A WA Magazine All women, All walks of life,


All Nationalities

Wild Summer

Wonderful Sri Lanka Guan Huat Dragon Kiln Sunda Pangolin

! k c a B e r a s p Grou Beauty and Fashion After Ni Hao High Tea Bridge DISH

Meet AWA's 2022/2023 Executive Board and Standing Chair Members

A WA Calendar

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Editor's Note Wild Summer

Saying farewell is a constant of expat life and this is true for our magazine team as well. This summer we are sorry to say goodbye to several members of our team: Elizabeth Butcher found great places for a night out and shared them with us in her Watering Holes column. Her writing style made us feel like we were enjoying the evening out with her. Sandy Harford brings her playful sense of fun to all that she does and shared the fun with us in her “Lighter Side of Singapore” column. Isabelle Tadmoury took us on a tour of Singapore's often overlooked public art. She showcased internationally renowned artists and the local Singaporeans whose art is almost ubiquotous. She reminded us to really see the amazing artworks on our daily rambles around the Red Dot. Jenni Lee teamed up with her husband Eric to bring us reviews of Singapore’s food scene in their “Fork and Chopstick” column. Jenni has lived in Singapore since

2012 and has been a valued and long time contributor to AWA Magazine. Christi Elflein took us along on her family explorations in her “Family Fun Adventures” column. Christi also photographed many of our cover photo shoots and has just published a book featuring her photography (visit for further information about her book). Jane Kim has been active with AWA in several capacities and joined the magazine as Managing Editor. Her contributions to theme and design, content gathering, problem-solving, and anything else that needed to be done had a hugely positive impact on the quality of this magazine. To Elizabeth, Sandy, Isabelle, Jenni and Eric, Christi and Jane, thank you for all your contributions to AWA Magazine! We wish you safe travels and soft landings!

Pictured (L-R, first row): Elizabeth Butcher, Sandy Harford, Isabelle Tadmoury. Pictured (L-R, second row): Jenni and Eric Lee, Christi Elflein, Jane Kim

AWA Magazine July/August 2022


President's Message

American Women's Association Of Singapore Summer ­ — A Time for Goodbyes and Hellos Summer is here. Some of us will have gone back to visit family, others will have stayed to explore the region, and many will continue to discover Singapore. But no matter where we are, most of us usually take some time off to recharge. With travel restrictions easing and borders reopening, I have begun to mentally prepare myself for all the revenge vacations I missed out on these past few years. And during this imaginary exercise, I began thinking about the simple words I know in other languages. I realized that there are many places where the word is the same for both “Hello” and “Goodbye”. For example: “Salut!” (French), “Aloha!” (Hawaiian), “Ciao!” (Italian). As a kid, for me summer meant freedom, sunshine, bike rides and ice cream. As an adult living abroad, summer is now associated with a seemingly endless cycle of goodbyes and hellos. But in our hyperconnected world with social media and air travel, a goodbye nowadays is less “farewell forever” and more “see you later”. And with the ebb and flow of living overseas, we also find that repatriated AWA running partners and choir members are quickly succeeded by new ones. So oftentimes, it can feel like we are saying both goodbye and hello almost at the same time. As we start another season at the AWA, I would like to take this moment to thank all of our current and former

chairs and board members who have contributed so much to our organization, including our outgoing board members Jane Kim (Secretary), Typhaine de Bure (External Affairs Director), Meg Sine, (Communications Director), Mel Rice (Volunteer Director), Aarti Sonawala (Special Interest Chair), Kristin Bemowski (Corporate Relations Manager), and Ashley Fagan and Fiona Layfield (Community Service Chairs). I would also like to extend a warm welcome to our new board members Michelle Reeb (Secretary), Julia Tan (External Affairs Director), Marline Fraticelli (Communications), Venta Norvilas (Volunteer Director), Emma Pickering (Special Interest Chair), Tania LindsayJean (Sports Chair), Lauren Raps (Corporate Relations Manager), and Beth Llewellyn (Community Service Chair). And I am grateful for the continued engagement of board members Anita Young (Vice President), Katherine McCall (Treasurer), Jaclyn Muncy (Major Events Chair), Angela Chen (Social Chair), and Sarah Cockerill (General Manager). Finally, I would like to specially thank Mel Rice as she is leaving Singapore after almost 15 years. During her time with the AWA, she has served in many roles – from Sports Chair to Vice President to Fashion Show Chair to Vice President to President to Volunteer Director – and through it all she has led with her heart. We will always be grateful for her years of selfless service, and we wish her all the best on her next adventure. This summer, I hope that everyone has fun catching up and creating memories. And when you come back, your friends at the AWA will be here – both old and new. Salut, Aloha and Ciao!

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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AWA Magazine July/August 2022

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Bulletin Board

The AWA Board of Directors

AWA Executive Board Members - Julia Tan, Beth Llewellyn, Marline Fraticelli, Tania Lindsay-Jean, Linda Shindler, Katherine McCall, Venta Norvilas, Angela Chen, Michelle Reeb and Sarah Cockerill

Welcome to the new members of the 2022-2023 Board and thank you for your service to several Board members volunteering for another term.

Executive Board: President: Linda Schindler Vice President: Anita Young Secretary: Michelle Reeb Treasurer: Katherine McCall Communications Director: Marline Fraticelli Volunteer Director: Venta Norvilas External Affairs Director: Julia Tan

Standing Committee Chairs: Major Events: Jaclyn Muncy Sports: Tania Lindsay-Jean

The "Board" is used informally to mean seven positions called "Executive Board" and six positions called "Standing Committee Chairs." The difference in the two groups boils down to passports. The AWA Constitution requires that Executive Board members must hold an American or Canadian passport. The Standing Committee Chairs can be any AWA member, regardless of citizenship. Also, as per the Singapore government, since AWA is an organization called "American", a majority of our membership must hold American or Canadian passports. The Nominating Committee then reveals a slate of officers to the Executive Board and Standing Committee Chairs at the April Board meeting. Each year in May, the new Board members are elected and installed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). This year the AGM was combined together with another important tradition, the Volunteer Appreciation Meeting. From this date in May, until July 1, the two sets of Board members overlap to allow for a seamless transition to another year of great AWA events and socializing.

Social: Angela Chen Special Interest: Emma Pickering Corporate Relations Manager: Lauren Raps Community Service: Beth Llewellyn

Wonder how the Executive Board is chosen? Each year the Executive Board changes to a new slate of members. The process starts in February or March with the formation of a Nominating Committee. This year the Nominating Committee was chaired by former AWA President Emeritus and this year's Volunteer Director, Mel Rice. Mel and her committee put together a slate of nominations, meaning identifying a group of ladies who stepped up to volunteer for these positions. This process requires lots of time and effort to identify potential volunteers, lots of asking around and networking.

AWA Board Handover Social Event - Tania, Lauren, Julia, Katherine, Michelle, Jaclyn, Sarah, Linda, Beth,Typhaine, Kristin, Aarti and Venta

AWA Magazine July/August 2022



Contents 01 02 03

Editor's Note President's Message Bulletin Board

AWA Singapore's Membership Magazine

July Aug 2022

06 On the Cover AWA Hiking Group at MacRitchie Resevoir 4 Magazine July/August 2022 PhotoAWA by Christi Elflein

AWA Group Scoop 06

Running Group




AWA Magazine Team


International Women's Choir


High Tea


After Ni Hao


Local Tours


Beauty and Fashion


Writers' Block



Bits & Bites of Expat Life 10

Wander Woman


A Wild Urban Concept


Wild Singapore: The Sunda Pangolin


Member Spotlight


Singapore Snippets


Faces Behind the Makers


Hidden in Plain Sight


Making an Impact


The Fork and Chopstick


Watering Holes


All Nationalities


Jennifer Williams Staff

Managing Editor - Andrea Perez

Graphic Designer - Suellen Lee

Copy Editors - Helena A. Cochrane

- Keri Matwick Advertising

Katherine McCall

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


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 July/August 2022


Running Group

Kilometers of friendship and fun by Keri Matwick The reality of being an expat is perhaps felt the strongest during times of transition. This summer brings a lot of tears to the AWA Running Group as we bid farewell to five members of our team: Becca Meurer, Dafne Wesenaar, Kate Breslin, Christi Elflein, and Suzanne Murphy. Becca heads to Princeton, New Jersey; Dafne to Utrecht, Netherlands; Kate to Atlanta, GA; Christi to Jacksonville, FL; and Suzanne to Virginia. Each shares her favorite run and memory being part of the AWA Running Group: Becca: Favorite run: My favorite is any run that ends with a good coffee and breakfast. I love the run at Pasir Ris and Green Corridor to the Black and Whites by Hort Park. And yes, I also love the run around Marina Bay even though we do it so often. Sounds weird but if I had to go through circuit breaker (which obviously I did) then going through it with the AWA running group was definitely the best way to do it. The positive energy and motivation to keep moving that our group generated was amazing. And the connections forged with women I hardly knew before CB stayed strong even as Singapore began to open again. Favorite Memory: Running my first half marathon in honor of one of our runner’s birthdays. I mean, who wishes

AWA Running Group Farewell Party

themselves a 21 km run to celebrate their birthday? An AWA runner! Dafne: Favorite Run: Easy to answer. My only run with the AWA group was on Tuesdays at the Botanic Gardens, so that was definitely my favorite. I rarely went running on a Thursday. Favorite Memory: Actually, very simple- the coffee and chat after the runs. But, I can tell you that running with all the AWA running group and meeting all these wonderful running mates was by far the best thing that happened to me in Singapore. Christi: Favorite Run: Our weekly Tuesday morning Botanical Gardens 5K. Favorite Memory: The memory that is most vivid is my first run when I showed up on time, but Marangeli said they almost left me because the run starts right at 8am and I need to be early next time. Makes me laugh every time I think about it [because I am usually late]. But I have to say my favorite recurring memory is coffee afterward. I never drank coffee before joining this group, and now I do! I love the camaraderie and storytelling that occur mile after mile and continue into coffee. I’ve made friends in this group that I know will be lifelong. Kate:

Favorite Run: My all-time favorite is along the Green Corridor from the Rail Mall or King Albert Park and finishing at Jimmy Monkey for breakfast. Their avo toast is in my top three! I Pictured (L-R): Dafne, Suzanne, Becca, Christi, Kate also love running from Kent Ridge Park, which 6

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

On a personal note, my beloved dog Romeo died in 2021, and it was my running friends who showed up for me when I was really struggling. I will always remember their love and compassion. The past couple of years have been challenging and through it all, our AWA running group has been a bright spot – we’ve supported and encouraged each other, and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way! I will always be grateful for my AWA running friends… who are among my very best friends in Singapore. Suzanne: Favorite Run: My favorite is everyone else's least favoritearound the Marina! Easy from home/zero commute, lots to see, a loop, and endless café options at the end. A fast course when empty. Fond Farewell to Suzanne, Becca, Dafne, Christi, Kate

is beautiful. Of course, our regular Tuesday run in the Botanic Gardens is also great; it’s been a constant in my life over the last four years. Favorite Memory: There are so many! And honestly, most of them happened during Covid when we were all stuck on the island without much to do! We ran a half marathon to celebrate my birthday in 2020 and raised over $2,000 for Caring for Cambodia. Bernie’s 2021 Whatever Race was a blast. I also loved supporting my friends over the years as they trained for races and ran virtual marathons during Covid.

Memories: Around the Island Run, all the creative Circuit Breaker challenges which resulted in high mileage months. We also welcome a new runner, Katrin Blüchel! If you’re interested in joining the group, please reach out via the AWA Running Group page on Facebook.

Keri is a linguist and teaches writing at Nanyang Technological University. Active in the AWA Running Club and Java Junkies, Keri enjoys running and meeting AWA friends for coffee.


Dining in Sensory Heaven DISH is back! We enjoyed a set lunch inspired by Asian flavors at 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung in the stunning space at Capitol Kempinski Hotel. Some of the favorite dishes included foie gras kaya toast, laksa, and crystalline ice plant.

DISH at 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung

We also enjoyed a creative middle eastern lunch at Fat Prince and indulged in their unique alcohol-free cocktails. Look out for upcoming DISH lunches on the AWA calendar!

DISH at Fat Prince AWA Magazine July/August 2022



Fun, Friendship and Fair Play by Tania Lindsay-Jean With the AWA Tennis Spring Season now behind us, we look forward to taking the summer months to recuperate and ready ourselves for the fall season. But before we do, let’s take a moment to congratulate the winners, and all the ladies that took to the courts and gave it their all in the name of friendship, fun and fairplay. AWA Tennis Winners Circle: AWA Doubles Cup: 1st place - Ainsley Burge and Martella Blaak 2nd place - Emma Pickering and Suzanne Bishop 3rd place - Nicole Bell and Neryn Brereton Spring Social Doubles 2nd place - Kristine Arora 3rd place - Marline Fraticelli Mixed Doubles Gold Division - Nicole Kraus and Tim Kraus Division


Heidi Lindholm Lindholm

Inspired by all of the enthusiasm we have witnessed on the courts, we have so much planned for the “tennis ladies”. Here’s what’s coming up: AWA Doubles Plate: Our intermediate tennis tournament will take place over 4 days in late August on the courts of our sponsor, Savitar Tennis Center. This Fall season we will also see the return of some past popular offerings: Doubles Challenge: Doubles partners pair up and challenge other pairs in their pool weekly. Tennis Clinics: Offered in beginner, intermediate and advanced levels on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Savitar Tennis Center, our partner.

1st place - Alfa Bald


coveted AWA Tennis Bag Tag being engraved just for you right now.



Bronze Division - Jeanne Staley and Todd Staley Congratulations ladies (and gents). There’s a much

Team Tennis: Two leagues will be offered (intermediate and advanced) for this mini team competition that takes place 3 weeks before and after the Winter Holidays. Tennis Assessments continue to be on-going monthly at Savitar Tennis Centre. Never assessed or it’s been a while? Make sure you sign up for an assessment today! Assessments are required to participate in most AWA Tennis activities.

Doubles Cup Winners and Finalists: Ainsley Burge, Martella Blaak, Emma Pickering, Suzanne Bishop 8

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

Keep up to date with all the tennis programming, photos and news by subscribing to the AWA Tennis Newsletter (sign up available on the AWA Tennis webpage) and Facebook group (AWA Tennis). Tennis Committee Volunteers The AWA Tennis Committee would also like wish a fond farewell, to our volunteers leaving the little red dot this summer: Kristine Arora, Julia Maywald, Angela Pera and Natalie Vulakh Sending an extra special thank you to Becca Meurer, who has served as our AWA Tennis Co-Chair and has also been in charge of Communications. We are always on the lookout for new volunteers. If you like what you see and want to help make it happen, please consider volunteering. We are a fun group of tennis enthusiasts.

Doubles Cup Tournament Committee Marline Fraticello & Whitney Smith (missing Anita Young)

Tania moved to Singapore from the US with her husband and 3 children in 2014. She enjoys playing tennis and Mahjong with her AWA friends. She heads up Team Tennis for the Tennis Committee and serves on the AWA board as Sports Chair.

A WA Magazine Team Creative Communication

You’ve read AWA Magazine but did you know that the magazine is completely staffed by volunteer AWA members? Our cohesive team of talented writers, photographers, editors and graphic designers come together bi-monthly to create AWA’s membership magazine. We strive to keep AWA members up-to-date with all the organization’s happenings and also to provide interesting content about life in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Our team is passionate about creating a quality end product and also about having fun along the way. Our meetings usually end with lunch or coffee (and maybe a glass of wine) and now that Covid restrictions are easing, we are happy for the chance to get together more often. Intrigued to know more? We are always happy to welcome new members in a variety of capacities, including writers, copy editors and designers. Contact us at

Pictured (L-R): Suellen Lee, Marta Ferrer Lubeck, Sandy Harford, Andrea McKenna Brankin, Jane Kim, Meg Farrell Sine, Keri Matwick, Jennifer Williams AWA Magazine July/August 2022


Wander Woman

The DxxxxataMWild animals spotted through a safari in Yala National Park

Lauren's Journey to Cross the Globe, One Amazing Experience at a Time by Lauren Raps Wild and Wonderful Sri Lanka As I write this, having just returned from a 12-day journey throughout the country, Sri Lanka is suffering from yet another period of unrest. Its immediate future is uncertain, with citizens protesting, waiting in long lines for fuel, managing rolling electricity cuts and suffering from high inflation and severe shortages of food. While I was there, (setting off on a hike and donning my new pair of leechrepellent socks), AWA Magazine announced its theme of “all things wild,” and I knew – regardless of what’s going on Sri Lanka – that this beautiful and naturally diverse country had to be showcased. With its wild coastlines, wild food and agricultural offerings, and wildlife – Sri Lanka is a destination where you can enjoy so many different climates and settings in a small geographic area (the country is the size of Ireland!), and have a very authentic travel experience. My first stop after landing and exploring the city of Columbo for a couple of days was to the Central Province – what is referred to as the heart of the country’s Cultural Zone. This is an area rich with UNESCO 10

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

World Heritage sites and temples, as well as farms and agriculture. In this region it’s not uncommon to see a wild elephant along the road as you make your way through the national parks. This is a part of Sri Lanka that is equally as rich in cultural experiences as it is with nature and adventure. You can fill your day with hiking or exploring the water gardens of Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress that is worth all of the 1270 steps to climb to the top, or by exploring the temples and ruins of the medieval city of Polonnaruwa. Either way, be sure to make time for lunch at a local farm. Enjoy a typical farmer’s lunch made in the traditional manner with a wood fire and clay pots. Everything is that much more delicious when it’s set where your food was grown.

Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress in Central Province

After a long active day, overnighting at the Water Garden Sigiriya was just what was needed. With beautiful casita-type

accommodations nestled in the resort’s rice paddy fields – opportunities abound for guests to unwind but also to get up-close with wildlife and do some of the best birdwatching in Sri Lanka. A thoughtful visit to Sri Lanka leads to appreciating its history in the spice trade and how prominent these spices remain in the daily lives of today’s Sri Lankans. En route to the old hill station of Kandy, a large city very famous for its Buddhist sites such as the Temple of the Tooth, our tour included a visit with a spice farmer to learn more about how these spices incorporate their way into their daily meals and how they can be used medicinally as well. I hit the gift shop there quite hard. (Check back with me next month on whether the farm’s ‘miracle cream’ of aloe and sandalwood truly eliminates those stretch marks and cellulite!) A two-hour train ride on picturesque winding tracks took us through the tea country through rolling hills towards the renowned Ceylon Tea Plantations. The Ceylon Tea Trail Resort offers unique accommodations as guests stay in bungalows that were originally built for colonial tea planters and buyers. Quintessentially British, sticking to the traditions of high tea and beautiful gardens, a visit to this region of Sri Lanka brings you back in time and to a completely different microclimate featuring much-welcomed cooler weather. It’s a region where some wild leopards roam so make sure to spend some time at the Leopard Conservation Station to hear what the local community is doing to create a peaceful coexistence with these rare and wild animals. There can be no trip to Sri Lanka without a visit to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most popular national park due to its high concentration of wildlife -- specifically leopards. Situated on a wild coastline of the Indian Ocean, the park offers the highest diversity of wildlife giving visitors the chance to spot elephants, crocodiles, deer, monkeys, buffaloes, birds, sloth bears, leopards, etc. The safari camps located throughout the park can be as rustic and luxurious as you prefer, and most include a

Sri Lanka Tea Country

drive daily deep into the park to view the animals in their natural habitat. Personally, it was my first safari ever, and elephants roaming wild with the Indian Ocean’s waves crashing in the background is a sight I will never forget. The park rangers are extremely knowledgeable and even a simple walk along the beach learning about the animal tracks was fantastic. After a couple of days in Yala and then a couple hours’ drive south, we arrived at the Southern Coast. Welligama, a coastal town close to Galle, is known for its surfing and its whale-watching season from December to April each year, when calm waters come in and the blue and sperm whales make their migration around the southern tip of the island. This area around the Southern Coast introduces you to yet another climate and yet another community that makes up the fabric of Sri Lanka…the fisherman. Stilt fisherman dot the coastline as do the fish markets and the colorful boats sailing out in the morning and back in the afternoon with their daily catch. It’s a completely different vibe than the rest of the country and is the perfect way to wrap up your tour of beautiful Sri Lanka before you head back up to Colombo for your flight home.

Stilt Fishermen in Sri Lanka demonstrate a traditional fishing method

AWA Magazine July/August 2022


Especially right now, Sri Lanka is going through some unimaginably tough times. Did I regret being there while things were so uncertain? Not at all. I felt safe, I felt the people appreciated tourists being there, since they rely heavily on tourist dollars. Please keep an eye out for Sri Lanka and when you feel comfortable going, do go – it’s a magical island with so much to see, do and of course… eat.

A fishing boat on the Southern Coast

A street corner in Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka

Lauren Raps is AWA's Corporate Relations Manager. 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.

A Wild Urban Concept

Renewable Replacements for Concrete and Steel by Suellen Lee When the average person thinks of sustainability, we often think of our everyday consumption habits – how much energy we use in the home, taking public transportation more, eating ‘greener’, wearing sustainable clothing, and the long quoted principle, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Rarely do we consider whether the materials used to put the roof over our heads and the buildings we learn, work and shop in everyday could be made of sustainable, Earth-friendly, materials. Considering that nearly 40% of global carbon emissions come from the built environment, moving towards renewable or recycled materials could make a potentially significant impact on stemming climate change.

Instead of steel, the frame of the +Pavilion structure is made of ‘glulam,’ short for glued-laminated timber, which is an engineered wood product that is both renewable and as strong as concrete and steel. Glulam is also lighter than steel or concrete, allowing for faster installation time, making the greenhouse gas emissions for the manufacturing of glulam beams lower compared to steel beams.

The recently launched exhibit - +Pavilion – thus aims to showcase a hugely “wild” concept in the minds of the average, conservation-minded citizen: that the future of steel and concrete can be Earth-friendly and renewable! The +Pavilion exhibit, launched on May 26, 2022 at the Marina Barrage (Instagram @pluspavilion), showcases the creativity and committed collaboration of the private, public and non-profit sectors here in Singapore to develop the technology needed for the future of sustainable building and construction as part of the global effort to combat climate change. Kenaf plants and playfully designed furniture in cork and rattan by Vitra 12

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

For the roof, or waterproof ‘skin,’ of the +Pavilion, a fiberglass-like biocomposite made from the kenaf plant is used. Kenaf is a hardy, fast-growing tropical plant; the stem can be processed into a natural fiber alternative to materials such as fiberglass, while the harder kenaf core can be combined with an industrial-waste lime slurry to produce a 90% plant-based replacement for concrete, called Kenafcrete®.

The +Pavilion is designed by StudioKLM and Haring Group. Partners and sponsors include: Affordable Abodes, Deloitte Center for the Edge, EHL Campus, Embassy of Switzerland, Hilti, Nespresso, PUB, Sustainable Singapore, UBS, Vitra.

Under the cool shade of the +Pavilion is a great space to sit, relax and engage with other innovative building materials – the furniture is made of cork, rattan and recycled polypropylene, a product made from recycled household waste. The base of the +Pavilion showcases the efficiency of modular design, pre-fabrication and precision engineering to reduce construction time and heighten the health and safety standards of the construction process. Situated a stone’s throw from the Sustainable Gallery of the Marina Barrage, the +Pavilion exhibit provides a renewed invitation for the public to envision and engage in discussions about sustainability within our built, everyday environments. Multiple workshops and gatherings will be planned from the launch at the end of May through July 2022. For information, go to Deloitte's website.

'Glulam' is lighter but as strong as steel Suellen moved from San Francisco, California to Singapore in 2019 with her husband, three sons, and geriatric cat. She runs, sometimes writes, and is a California licensed Clinical Psychologist.

The +Pavilion exhibit at Marina Barrage

AWA Magazine July/August 2022


Wild Singapore: The Sunda Pangolin Protecting a Prized but Endangered Mammal

by Helena Cochrane The forests that Singapore has been able to preserve amidst the enormous demand for development are writhing with wildlife that you might see and much that hides from view. Inherent in the shrinking of habitat is the threat to survival for the many species endemic to our island. Singapore is not the only place in Southeast Asia where competing needs pose dilemmas that require complex resolutions. Anti-poaching laws, and attention to conservation have made marginal inroads in protecting these animals. For some animals, Singapore may be their safest haven, even as highrises and manufacturing plants rise out of felled forests and open fields. The Sunda Pangolin, the world’s only scaled mammal, is said to be safer in Singapore, even with its shrinking habitat. In the last 12 years, over a million Sunda Pangolins have been hunted and killed throughout Southeast Asia for the magical, medicinal properties falsely attributed to these scales. They’re also hunted for their meat. In parts of China and Vietnam, pangolin meat is prized as a delicacy. Pangolins’ scales, formed from keratin, provided a solid defense against the tigers that used to inhabit Singapore. Since tigers were hunted to full extinction here in 1932, pangolins then foraged rather freely in forests and plantations, digging for the insects that made up their diets. Currently, they are known to live in Singapore’s central catchment area, in Bukit Timah, on Pulau Ubin, and in wooded areas near Nanyang Technological University in the west. As both foragers, and nocturnal, they’re unlikely to be seen in the daytime. In 2019, a Channel News Asia team filmed an immature pangolin with an

Kampog Gelam Pangolin on mural by Jaba

infrared camera. The young animal had found its way into University buildings at night, evidence of how difficult it is for the animals to adapt to an urban environment. The ‘scaly anteaters’ have snouts and long claws (but no teeth) that enable them to dig deep into ant and termite nests, while their scales keep the ants from stinging their bodies, and protect their eyes. They are fast walkers and nimble climbers, solitary and shy. Their ability to curl up in a tight ball, tucking their tails around their bodies and clenching in Sunda Pangolin. Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore


AWA Magazine July/August 2022

that position is another failsafe protection against insects and animal predators, but actually makes it easier for poachers to capture them. Pangolins walk on their hind legs, typically hunkering about with their shorter front paws under their bodies, like worried little armored bipedal cats, with long snouts. After they give birth about once each year, the pangopups ride on their mother’s backs and stay with them for up to two years. The life expectancy of a pangolin in the wild is about 20 years, during which time, they eat approximately 70 million ants. As the most widely poached animal in the entire world, pangolins are likely to be extinct in the wild within the next few years if there is no effective program against trafficking. In Singapore, the Pangolin Working Group, a coalition formed through cooperation amongst ACRES (animal rescue), NParks and the Singapore

Zoo, is tracking pangolin numbers and performing regular rescues. PWG is raising awareness of the rampant trafficking problem. In addition, they prioritize providing connected forested areas to avoid pangolins having to cross roads in order to pursue their foraging. It is a daunting task, with so much development even in previously more forested areas of the island. If you wish to support the effort to preserve these ecological pest-control creatures, please consider donating to WWF at, or to ACRES at

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.

You're Not Alone ... Really Coping With The Ups And Downs Of Being An Expat

by Andrea McKenna Brankin

From Wild to Rewild in Our Hearts and Minds With Covid, we all worry openly that a new wave of As We Move Forward with Covid, Perhaps It’s Time for Some “Rewilding” Let’s get back to normal! Everyone is saying it, but it’s not exactly so easy as just ripping off your mask outside your door. Like the theme of this issue—Wild Summer – Covid literally ran wild in our lives here in the Lion City and knocked us down a few pegs mentally. Fear, uncertainty, anger, frustration and depression set in. We ate too much, drank too much, worked too much, and we were just hanging on until we could see the next step in Covid Life evolution. And here we are, a few months into more freedom here in Singapore. Now, as restrictions are easing, we have a chance to let life get back to a natural flow. And that’s exactly what “Rewilding” means. In nature, rewilding means letting nature take over, presumably, again, after a long time. On my balcony, for example, I see rewilding as shamrocks started to grow in my palm tree pot after the lockdown in 2020. Some green thumbs might cringe, but I love it. You might also have noticed that bees came back to fields. I know this because my daughter got stung twice at a recent rugby tournament. (At least we found out she’s not allergic!) Indeed, Singapore’s beloved otter tribes are taking over the local waterways, though there are some concerns that their presence is negative if left unchecked.

the virus will come back and kick us to the curb, and again, we’d be masked up and locked up. This is a real fear, as we see it happening in our own corner of the world. But what are we really afraid of? Losing control? If Covid has taught us anything in this world, it’s that nature rules and we can’t always control our surroundings. I believe it gives us a chance to reconnect with the world in new ways. As painful as that change may be, it moves us all forward, both in nature and in our homes. Our hearts and our minds have to heal a little bit after our long seclusion behind masks and under plastic and hand sanitizer. I invite you to ‘Rewild’ yourself as you re-enter the “World With Covid.’ Don’t be afraid to get outside, whether it’s in nature at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, MacRitchie and East Coast Park or by booking that flight to Cambodia or Dubai or Peru. And for sure, take a look at all the great new IN-PERSON offerings the AWA has in the coming months—coffees, walks, lunches, sports…and maybe even a Holiday Party! Clearly, you’re not alone to be a little worried. But, as we all say at AWA Listen Ladies, “We’ll get through this together.” Rewild away! Andrea runs the AWA Listen Ladies Group, providing confidential support for members at regular meetings. AWA Magazine July/August 2022


Member Spotlight

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

Kelly Harris Kelly’s cheerful outlook shines among the happy Monday Walking group. She arrived in Singapore from Miami with her husband Justin in mid-winter, endured quarantine-with-dog at home, and got a job, while shaping up for a dazzling return to a family wedding in March. It’s been a pleasure to get acquainted with her and to learn about her resilience.

What hobby or activity have you finally been able to pursue in Singapore that you had wanted to previously? I’ve been cooking a lot here, trying out new spices and produce to create adventurous dishes. What habit(s) make you feel most settled in Singapore? We have been walking our dog along Robertson Quay some evenings and over weekends. Exploring our neighborhood helps us to feel ‘at home’. If you could ask a Singaporean any question, what would it be? What can foreigners do to debunk any stereotypes or avoid an uncomfortable welcome to Singapore? How can we make a positive impact while residing here? Have you or do you volunteer with a group that serves Singaporeans and how has that enhanced your living here? I’ve volunteered for East Coast Beach Clean-up and Willing Hearts to better the environment and to connect with the community here.

Kelly and Justin at the beach

Did you know much about Singapore’s geography before moving here? I came to Singapore on holiday with my now-husband in 2013, because we were living in Shanghai China at the time. I’ve done business travel here a few times since then. What have you enjoyed more about Singapore than you thought you would? What has been the most pleasant surprise? I have walked throughout the city. I didn’t expect to enjoy exercising outdoors in the humid, hot weather here, but it’s a great way to relieve stress and see the sights. I appreciate the blending and adjacencies of cultures/backgrounds/religions/beliefs across the city. To prioritize my health since arriving, I am devoted to spin classes as well as other cardio/workout routines. What has been your funniest or worst mishap while living in Singapore? When our beautiful new sofa arrived here from the US, movers couldn’t fit it in our condo’s lift nor up the stairs. Now, we will likely need to purchase a replacement locally. What a huge disappointment. 16

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

Kelly, Justin and their puppy

How do you treat yourself in Singapore? What is your luxury? Was your luxury the same in the US? Justin and I like to explore new restaurants and bars. We like cocktail mixology and sampling unique drinks. We search for the speakeasy-type establishments that are difficult to find, but super interesting inside. What do you miss from home that you can’t find in Singapore? How would having that item in Singapore change or improve your experience? Quality paper towels. Although this isn’t too sustainable, I do miss thick, large, and absorbent paper towels.

Also, missing salad dressings. In the US there are dozens of salad dressing and condiment options. I’ve only come across a few so far, like Olive Garden’s Italian dressing; it’s a treat when I have it. Have you moved often in your life? Does your apartment/house here feel like home? Since university graduation, I’ve lived in three places in Los Angeles, two apartments in Shanghai, two places in Savannah, two apartments in NYC, and one house in Miami. I really enjoy living in urban settings, specifically for the convenience of public transit, exhibits, dining and retail options. The duration of our stay in any place dictates whether we decorate, hang artwork, etc. We plan to do this in our current condo soon! Our day-to-day living here seems to have an easier routine and more stress-free approach than in a city where we’d need a car or own a home. With us currently renting, we no longer dedicate time to maintaining a property, which is a relief. Nor do we have the daily frustrations of driving in traffic during commutes, which adds peace of mind and more time to our day!

Kelly and Justin attend a wedding 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.

International Women's Choir Passion for Music and Song

The International Women’s Choir is still standing, very glad to be resuming rehearsals and community outreach in the fall season, after taking the months of July and August to hum to ourselves at home or on our travels. We learn songs to entertain seniors and shut-ins at various elderly care facilities around Singapore. We accept all AWA members interested in singing with us, and do informal auditions only to determine voice range. Our rehearsals have traditionally been on Wednesday mornings, 10a.m.-12 noon. Outreach performances typically held on Wednesdays as well. Email

Singing in the Summertime

High Tea

Join Us For a Sumptious Afternoon Ritual Join us as we discover different tea rooms every month with friends, old and new! Is there a spot you have been meaning to try? Email

.................................................................................. Pictured, left to right: Deborah Baker, Nikki Russell, Angela Chen, Dawn Forsyth & Jesse Wetmore at one of our favorite AWA High Tea spots from this past year - 10 SCOTTS (Grand Hyatt Singapore). AWA Magazine July/August 2022


Singapore Snippets

Discovering Items of interest on the red dot by Marta Ferrer Lubeck Singapore is one of the greenest cities in the world, and its City in Nature vision aims to bring people closer to nature. But what happens when wild animals enter human living spaces? People often react in one of three ways: they panic, they don’t know what to do, or they dispose of animals in a cruel way.

a hotline where people call in wildlife sightings. I hear about the status of all cases, then we get in the van and go do everything from placing baby birds back in the tree, to picking up injured animals, to getting monitor lizards and snakes out of people’s houses or trapped in a pipe.”

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, or ACRES, was created in 2001 to promote compassion for all animals and to educate people on lifestyle choices that do not involve the abuse of animals. ACRES collaborates with NParks and other organizations to protect wildlife and to educate the public.

ACRES has first aid and rehabilitation stations to treat animals—primarily birds—when they are brought in, and a veterinarian performs surgeries and treatments as needed. ACRES has a few incubators for birds whose inner temperature has dropped and are at risk of hypothermia. When the animals’ health improves, they are placed in

Anbarasi Boopal and Laurie Day at ACRES

Shuku, a Recovering House Crow

I visited ACRES and met with Co-CEO Anbarasi Boopal (Anbu), and with Laurie Day, an AWA member and ACRES volunteer, to learn about their work with the organization. Laurie has been a volunteer for over three and a half years. She is a part of the ACRES rescue team and goes to schools, residences, and construction areas where wild animals are sighted. She explains: “We have

A Recovering Duckling 18

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

temporary cages and moved outdoors during daytime. Fruits are hung on a makeshift branch in the cage to simulate trees. Due to limited staff and resources, not all injured animals can be brought into ACRES for treatment. Laurie elaborates: “We want every animal we rescue to be an animal that we can treat, rehabilitate, and release. The vet assesses the animal and will tell us if it has a chance to survive. ACRES has to make this ethical choice based on the likelihood of an animal surviving in the wild.” Anbu has been with ACRES for 15 years, and her responsibilities include managing the education department and the animal crime investigation unit— which tackles issues related to the illicit trade of animals and animal parts, as well as cruelty to animals. She notes that ACRES officers are very good at educating people and putting them at ease. The rescuers talk about the animal and emphasize that if someone sees wildlife, they should not panic. “When people panic, they don’t think straight and do the wrong thing. What breaks the first barrier is when people see that our rescuers are trained and can handle the animals,” says Anbu.

A Recovering Iguana

While rescuing wild animals is an important objective for ACRES, Anbu notes that educating people about lifestyle choices is just as crucial. She explains: “We try to tell people why animals are sighted in the first place. Today I might remove an animal, but maybe your fruiting trees are attracting civets every day. If you want to resolve the problem in the long run, you have to cover your fruits, remove your fruiting tree, or maybe learn to live without them!”

As we finish our conversation, she adds, “It is ok to tolerate and live with wildlife. We should strive for coexistence with wildlife.” Contact Information 24-hour ACRES wildlife rescue hotline: +65 9783 7782 ACRES provides facility tours and educational programs. More information is available on their website,

Juvenile Olive-Backed Sunbird

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 July/August 2022


Faces Behind The Makers Discovering Singapore's Heritage Trades

by Elena Boyce by this place. This is the longest existing dragon kiln in Singapore and it has been left in its original state with no modifications. It is the longest of the two remaining dragon kilns in Singapore. Also, the bricks used are all made in Singapore. I am very proud and grateful to our ancestors who built the kiln. I enjoyed a cup of tea in a beautiful tea room you created. How did you create the tea room? I’ve been learning the Japanese tea ceremony for the past year, and I’ve especially enjoyed its peace and mindfulness. In collaboration with Hafig from Focus Ceramics, I created an upcycled tea room using woods and nails from the crates that ship the clay material. I added a zen garden, made the table and chairs and painted the hanging scroll. Other potters brought their pots and sculptures and planted some plants around the tea room to decorate the place. What does Singapore’s heritage mean to you?

Alvin Ng

Firing the Dragon - Guan Huat Dragon Kiln The dragon kiln adds a touch of magic and drama to the art of pottery. The dragon or climbing kiln, is shaped to resemble a dragon, and is a traditional kiln whose design originated in Southern China around 2000 years ago. When ceramics are ready for firing, the kiln is heated and comes to life. It makes roaring and hissing sounds, fire comes out of its nostrils and smoke comes out through the chimney at its tail.

For me, Singaporean heritage shapes my values, personality, and goals. Importantly, our cultural heritage connects the past with the present and the future. It means contemplating, understanding and practicing the customs (such as wood-firing) and achievements of our ancestors and passing them on to the younger generation. Honoring our heritage means making a little bit of the past perpetually present today and in the future. How does pottery feature in Singapore’s heritage? In the past, pottery was a livelihood. Our ancestors used these traditional techniques to provide for their families

In the early 1900s, Chinese immigrants established around 20 wood-fired dragon kilns in Singapore. Today there are only two dragon kilns left that can transport visitors back to the once-thriving pottery industry in Singapore. The Guan Huat and Thow Kwang kilns are located in Jurong where the soil, known as “Jurong formation” soil, is particularly suited to pottery production. I had the chance to visit with Alvin Ng, a graphic designer and a talented potter, who works at Jalan Bahar Clay Studios (, located at the Guan Huat Dragon Kiln (circa 1958). Alvin, why does working at the Guan Huat Dragon Kiln attract you? The nature of this place really appeals to me. After learning more about its history, I was even more enticed 20

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

Alvin at the Kiln's Shrine

Inside the Guan Huat Dragon Kiln

and the trade shaped our society’s culture. Today, people use these inherited traditions to enrich our lives, reshape our communities and even push the boundaries of pottery.

Market. The response to the experience workshops was overwhelming, as most were already fully booked before the festival.

I have some exciting plans to engage the community and showcase pottery as part of Singapore’s vibrant heritage, including offering experience workshops as part of the Singapore Heritage Festival 2022 and Pottery Weekend

The current challenge is the lease of this land, as we don’t know the future plans for the area and the dragon kiln may face demolition. We sincerely hope that the authorities consider preserving this place as it is an integral part of our cultural heritage. Also, the art of pottery is often described as therapeutic and relaxing, so we need more avenues for people today to improve focus, be present, open up their minds, and relieve external distractions. Historical places like this one are also important because there are not many places on this island where one can enjoy pristine nature, explore history and work with one’s hands.

Alvin's Pottery

What are the challenges this Dragon Kiln is facing?

Elena Boyce is currently working on her new photographic project "Faces Behind the Makers" that aims to create awareness and revive an interest in Singapore's heritage trades. Find out more at

AWA Magazine July/August 2022


Hidden in Plain Sight

Discovering singapore's vibrant street art scene by Jennifer Williams and Isabelle Tadmoury Canning Rise. The name Pedas Pedas means ‘spicy’ in Malay which seems like a nice reference to local cuisine. Across from the pepper are the Gothic gates. The ivory white gates were designed by Captain Charles Edward Faber, whom Mount Faber was named after, which take you into the Fort Canning Green. This was the city’s first Christian burial ground, with many of the oldest tomb stones placed along the walls of this sanctuary. Past the cannon and the Black Box/Fort Canning Center is •

Spring of Life by Chua Boon Kee is a forged stainlesssteel sculpture that was inspired by underground springs. It is a symbolic representation of life, which is like spring water, ever flowing with energy.

Once you pass through the Fort Gate, the remnants of a fortress that has a roof top with a great view, you’ll come to our next sculpture: •

Mediation Site by Han Sai Por looks like a long bench. This row of natural wooden benches is set in a tranquil space that allows for a temporary meditation spot from the restless and noisy city.

Tombstones Along the Walls

The Secret Art of Fort Canning Fort Canning has been the central to life in Singapore for centuries. First, as a palatial resort of the former Majapahit kings, second as the residence for the colonial governors (starting with Sir Stamford Raffles) and then as a British miliary base before becoming a national park. In Malay it was known as Bukit Larangan or "Forbidden Hill", a place that was haunted, and considering that the British surrendered here to the Japanese in WWII, maybe Malay folklore was right. Besides its lush wild forestry, the park continues to play a central role in public art thanks to the ASEAN Sculpture Garden. As a symbol of ASEAN unity and cooperation, each member country – the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore – donated a sculpture to this garden in 1982. By starting at the National Museum of Singapore, there is a 2km or approx. 45-minute walking tour that takes you through all the key public art including the ASEAN garden (see map for details). Our favorites include: •


Pedas Pedas, is a giant, dirty-red chili pepper sculpture on the grounds behind the National Museum near the Fort Canning Park entrance along AWA Magazine July/August 2022

'Balance' by Singaporean artist Ng Eng Teng

Fort Canning Sculpture Map, From National Parks

Eng Teng, known as the grandfather of Singapore Sculpture, has many other public art pieces including Mother and Child at the beginning of Orchard Rd (by the Forum)

Walk along the back of the Fort Canning hotel to finally get to the ASEAN sculpture garden to see: •

Augury by Anthony Lau from Malaysia, are red stainless-steel plates that are intertwined.

Balance by Singaporean artist Ng Eng Teng is a minimalist piece that was created using aluminous cement, popularly known as Ciment Fondu®. Ng

Unity by But Muchtar from Indonesia are copper sheets reinforced with mild steel to create this textured sculpture which is so aptly named for the garden

Fredesvinda is created by Philippina artist Napoleon Veloso Abueva. The name comes from German and translates into ‘strength of the country’. A symbol of regional cooperation, this tall structure depicts an unfinished boat cast in reinforced concrete.

By now you’ll be back by the National Museum of Singapore ready for a nice meal at Flutes.

'Fredesvinda' by Philippina artist Napoleon Abueva

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.

AWA Magazine July/August 2022


Making an Impact

Your 101 to Sustainability, The Singapore Way by Claire Langrée Saf

Our Joint Efforts Make an Impact

In the last issue, we focused on Singapore’s overall sustainability programme called Greenplan 2030. In this issue, we take a look at some of the more local initiatives that each and every one of us can tap into this summer, for those staying, and beyond, for those returning to the Red Dot in August. Here is a small selection of several interesting initiatives happening now, helping the community’s move towards a more sustainable living. Remember though that our joint efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere largely depend on reducing energy consumption, starting with cars and electricity! Working towards an eco-friendly community Fostering a green community here in Singapore helps in encouraging each and every one of us to make conscious efforts in doing our part for the environment. Here is a curated list of sustainable initiatives that are helping to push our community to a more eco-friendly one: BYO Singapore Started by Zero Waste SG, BYO Singapore is a movement to encourage individuals to reduce their use of plastic disposables by switching to reusables. To date, over 400 retail outlets have joined as BYO partners to offer incentives to customers who bring their own reusable bags, bottles or containers. Repair Kopitiam With the goal of combating the Buy-and-Throw-Away culture prevalent in our society, Repair Kopitiam runs as a community repair meet-up. At these meetups, you will be guided by volunteer Repair Coaches on how to repair simple items such as broken electrical appliances, torn clothes, wobbly chairs and how to dispose of e-waste responsibly.


AWA Magazine July/August 2022

Sharetings Sharetings is a community-centric Telegram Channel that facilitates the giving and receiving of unwanted, useable items to maximize their use and value and to reduce waste in Singapore. To date, over 5000 subscribers have joined the channel with more than 4800 items listed. Greensquare Committed to combating the problem of textile and leather waste, Greensquare provides free textile recycling services to households and organisations in Singapore. They also promote awareness of the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) through education, with a focus on engaging youths in schools. aims to fight plastic waste in Singapore through a subscription-based reusable ecosystem for food takeaway and deliveries. Partnering with Deliveroo and foodpanda, allows customers to opt for their food to be delivered in reusable boxes and cups. Source: Claire moved to Singapore in 2014, with her husband and two daughters. Here she turned to her lifelong passion and trained as a sustainability professional. She now has a local/global sustainability network. Claire runs, reads and photographs with AWA.

Local Tours

Out and About in Singapore by Jen Cormier

U.S. Embassy Tour and our NEWEST Facebook Southeast Asia, services available to U.S. Citizens abroad (passport, visa, voting ballot collection, notary) and the Group “AWA SG Heritage Insider" With Covid restrictions starting to ease, the AWA Local Tours Group was given a wonderful opportunity to tour the U.S. Embassy in Singapore!

many programs available for non-U.S. Citizens wishing to come to the U.S. for cultural, professional or educational exchanges. The AWA Women especially enjoyed their opportunities for questions and answers after each speaker.

No tour of The U.S. Embassy is complete without a stop at the gift shop. U.S. Embassy in Singapore swag is showcased where you can find anything from t-shirts, barware (and cocktail napkins), water bottles, tree ornaments and unique tokens of a united Singapore and The United States. We also found a display of notecards with photography done by one of our own AWA Members, Christi Elflein!

Embassy Gift Shop Items

There are not many places we had security clearance to visit. However, the Embassy’s Client Liaison Officers Missy and Megan were wonderful hosts in pointing out some of the unique features and operational logistics of the Embassy. A few that were particularly interesting; •

Did you know that almost everything in The Embassy including the building materials comes from the US? Take a guess which state the exterior granite comes from? That must have been an extremely heavy load traveling by sea!

Also, the Embassy is guarded by a dedicated group of US Marines who actually LIVE there, at The Embassy.

In addition to guiding us through a few of the public areas, they also led us to the staff board room where they lined up a wonderful panel of speakers. We heard from Embassy Management Counselor Brian Himmelsteib, Senior Defense Attaché Captain Raymond Owens, Vice-Consul American Citizen Services Jakob Lengacher and Public Affairs Cultural Affairs Officer Alison Bassi. Conversations focused on what it takes to run an embassy beyond passport and visa services, defense relationships with Singapore and

We’re really excited that going forward, The U.S. Embassy Tour will become a more regular tour offered through the AWA Local Tours Group. Keep an eye out for upcoming tour registrations starting in Late August/ Early September. In the meantime, we have some EXCITING NEWS!!! While Local Tours takes a “summer holiday”, please check out our newest Facebook Group exclusive to AWA Members, “AWA SG Heritage Insider.” Special Thanks to Elena Boyce, Local Tours leader and one of Singapore’s favorite heritage insiders for this one! Elena has been passionately capturing Singapore’s unique heritage crafts and trades with her camera. As she visits craftspeople she hears their stories and learns about the importance of their culture, heritage events, and their desire to share with all. To get the word out on heritage crafts, Elena met with Local Tour Co-Chairs Terry Young and Jen Cormier, and the page was born! This page will post on current events, festivals and happenings that you may want to attend with your friends or family on your own time. We think it will be a great resource all year long, but especially during the July/August months for those who won’t be traveling out of Singapore. It will also provide the opportunity for you to share photos and post events/happenings that you think other AWA members would enjoy attending that pertain to Singapore Heritage, Culture and Crafts/ Copy of Heritage Insider Trades. AWA Magazine July/August 2022


Watering Holes

Raise a Glass at Singapore's Best Lounges and Bars by Jennifer Williams

Southbridge Quintessential Singapore Sundowners I sometimes think Singapore is contending in a “best rooftop bar” competition, so a rooftop bar here has to be something really special to warrant a return visit. For me, Southbridge at Boat Quay is that stand-out spot. Southbridge’s view captures the best of Singapore’s city landscape, encompassing the Singapore River, the CBD, the Asian Civilizations Museum and the Parliament and Justice Buildings, while Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer are visible just around the river’s bend. The website, The Rooftop Guide, rates Southbridge as the fifth best rooftop bar in Singapore (out of 20 contenders).

The View From Southbridge

Perhaps in a nod that this is ‘the’ place for sundowners, Southbridge only opens at five in the afternoon. Finding the entrance is an adventure in itself. You can show off your knowledge of the city to friends and out-of-town guests, or really make them wonder if you know where you’re going, as you pass all the activity of Boat Quay and turn into a cluttered alley behind the river strip. Just past a cramped 7-Eleven, is a narrow door and an elevator. The entrance may seem dubious but as you ascend in the glass elevator, views of the river emerge and the doors open onto what The Rooftop Guide describes as ‘one of the most cozy and intimate Singapore rooftop bars…with a great and soft vibe and friendly service.’

Southbridge's Signature Gin and Tonic

Perched above the often touristy vibe of Boat Quay, the bar has created an ‘oasis above it all,’ according to The Rooftop Guide. At just five stories above street level, the bar is high enough to be set apart but not so high as to be separate from the city. Poised on your bar stool, sipping one of their signature gin cocktails or champagnes, you can watch the tour boats traversing the river and the light fading on Singapore’s landmark buildings. As the sun goes down, the city lights take over, the Singapore Flyer shines and Marina Bay Sands beams its lights towards the city.


AWA Magazine July/August 2022

On a recent, warm Saturday evening, I enjoyed Southbridge’s Yuzu Express bubbly cocktail while my friends ordered The Cuban, a rum-based cocktail. We shared the Green Olive and the Balsamic Borettane Onion bar snacks and watched the sun go down and the lights of Singapore come up. We chatted about life as only friends who have been together on a small, tropical island for the last two years can. The company was the best, the cocktails were ‘moreish’ and Southbridge’s beautiful view made it the quintessential spot to spend an evening with two of my favorite Singapore friends.

Jennifer moved to Singapore with her husband, three boys and two dogs in 2019. A life-long lover of books and writing, she became Editor-in-Chief of the AWA Magazine in 2021.

Beauty & Fashion Celebrating Beauty Inside and Out

by Julia Tan Discovering Social Impact through Heritageinspired jewelry at EDEN + ELIE

disabilities. Currently, EDEN + ELIE employs nine autistic artisans at a workspace in Enabling Village.

Can anyone remember the last time we had a Beauty & Fashion event? Neither can I. To be fair, we just survived a pandemic and most of us were living in our pajamas or gym clothes. Now that Singapore has opened and bigger events are able to happen, it’s time to sparkle!

All of us were impressed to learn that approximately 4,000 beads go into a large bangle at EDEN + ELIE and it takes a skilled artisan only about 30 minutes to weave those 4,000 beads together. We were doubly impressed when we saw that each bead was no bigger than a chia seed!

Sarah and Paige pleased with their choices

Alfa striking a pose

Sparkle was exactly what a group of ten AWA ladies did on May 18 when we visited the EDEN + ELIE studio on 160 Owen Road. EDEN + ELIE is a local jewelry brand, founded by former architect, Stephanie Choo. Stephanie’s designs recall the beautiful beading of the Peranakan culture that is so ingrained in Singapore but makes them accessible to a modern, global customer.

After gaining an appreciation for both the skill and culture behind each piece of EDEN + ELIE jewelry, we poured ourselves another glass of prosecco and went shopping.

Not only are EDEN + ELIE’s pieces inspired by the rich cultural heritage of Singapore but they also seek to provide meaningful employment to persons with

Their timeless, colorful collection spans the rainbow, allowing you to add a pop of color to any neutral outfit or coordinate with your already colorful wardrobe. Every one of us walked out with something new, either for ourselves or loved ones we plan to see over the holidays.

Siew Wei modeling her necklace

AWA at Eden + Elie AWA Magazine July/August 2022


The Fork and Chopstick

Highlighting Off the Beaten Path, Heritage, or Just Plain Fun Chomping Grounds by Jenni and Eric Lee Little Island Brewing Co @ Changi Village


6 Changi Village Road, S. 509907

It reminded us of micro breweries/gastro pubs in the U.S. The evening was warm with a pleasant breeze, enough to remind you that you live in a tropical place by the ocean. Picnic tables were arranged in a large garage-like structure with both indoor-ish and outdoor seating. Popular with cyclists, families, and friend groups —a delight to see such a variety of people enjoying themselves.

When we hear the term “wild summer” what comes to mind are music, beach and beer (clothing optional). Singapore being Singapore, it doesn’t really lend itself to this vision of summer, but a close version may be at Little Island Brewing Company. To those who have only been to Changi Airport…check out Changi Village with

Breezy outdoor dining at dusk

Mouth-watering plates of pub food

restaurants and shops lining the main street. A little way down towards the beach you will find this full blown 10,000 sq ft microbrewery, nestled amongst the wet market and hawker center. Described as being a bit “ulu” (remote or jungle), it serves a wide variety of beer and ale —enough to bring bliss to an IPA fan. It’s a place where you could grab a cold one, sit outside, listen to some music, and let your hair down. Saturday Dinner Chomp: There were three to choose from this evening, all having different degrees of hoppy-ness. A pint of Flaming Lips and a Dead Star IPA were $14 each. Ginger beer was spicy with just the right note of sweet. Also available were alcoholic kombucha, wine and cocktails. Soaking up the beer were the gamut of pub foods like pizza, nachos, and fries, with smoked and grilled meats as the stars. The grilled ribs with smoky BBQ sauce were tender and the iberico pork chop ($26) was well prepared with grill marks to prove where it came from, though the portion size made you aware you weren’t in the U.S. 28

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

Pub food variations to suit different taste buds

Digest this - the Good the Bad and the Ugly: A reservation is strongly recommended for a weekend. It’s a delight when the band plays, but the music can get quite loud. If table service is what you need, this selfservice brewery may not suit you. With good beer to drink, music you could sing to, food to match and more importantly, the ability to hang out with friends to talk, laugh and live life, let the wild summer never end! What Others Are Saying: 4.4 and 4.3 out of 5 stars on Google & Food Advisor, respectively. “A cool bar with hippie vibes,” “Huge open woody concept,” “...having one of the pale ales and it hits the spot on a hot night.” “Standouts for me were the spam fries, chicken wings, steak, pizza and of course the American IPA,” “Service was also excellent, friendly and fast,” “Very good place to come with a dog.” Further Afield: Little Island has a classy cousin at 26 Beach Rd, #B1-16, 189768 (a beach once upon a time) - great for quenching your thirst after work. Happy Chomping!

Arugula topped pizza Jenni & Eric Lee live to eat and explore local eateries and bars. Originally from New York, they have lived in Singapore since 2012.

After Ni Hao

Friendships through and beyond language The After Ni Hao group aims to practice what we have learned. Weekly meetings are on every Thursday and this group has gone on for many, many years. Members are on different levels and we try to have different subjects every week to practice, as there is always something new to learn.

Pre-Covid we would get together for Dim Sum lunch, Chinese movies and Chinese New year celebration. The positive part of having Zoom calls now is to connect with previous After Ni Hao members also who have moved away to all corners of the world. Through 'After Ni Hao’ we have made so many friends with the Chinese language as a common interest and we are able to reconnect from time to time.

Drinks and chatting in Mandarin

Connecting on Zoom AWA Magazine July/August 2022


Writer's Block

A Contribution From Our AWA Writers' Group Members by A WA Writers' Group Members Elissa Viornery, much loved and long-serving chair of the AWA Writers’ Group is leaving Singapore. The poems below are in appreciation of Elissa, her service and dedication to our group, and her beautiful poetry. Elissa’s poem, By Helena A. Cochrane Sun floods her eyes. She closes them halfway against the glare, More than shield, her eyes hold in private treasure, spun in the deepest reaches of the heart. A song: this song, this precise note in the resonant chapel of her soul. In gentler hours, she catches the glow of its waning rays now, Paints them on the clean surface and glides, melds in a studied brushstroke: animated, enthusiastic. Press, sweep and release. Her voice, her paintbrush, this phrase and its structure. There! A perfect point, a tension achieved, and then subsumed into serenity. In this very place another meaning lies beneath. Pause and connect, note the finest nuanced hue, the patient line, compose and coalesce around the evocative, inchoate whisper. At dawn again, shadows dance across the wall, the floor, her delicate landscape. Pines for the cranes to nest upon, require an adept touch. Couplets blend rhythm and essence, weft and warp, Creation makes harmony with contemplation, fuses hands and heart, lifts her up. A Haibun for Elissa, By Amanda Jaffe On an island named for a lion where lions never roamed, as seasonless seasons circulate on monsoon winds that flow southeast, northeast, then southeast again. Where rough, ruddy rambutans hide their pearly interiors, purple mangosteens leave their indelible, inky stains, and hard-husked durians urge themselves on viscous, languid air. Where grains of sand sucked from the sea are reshaped into land and redefined as “reclaimed” alongside Marina Bay (not quite marina, not quite bay), its buildings glistening against the evening sky like reclaimed stardust. Where orderliness among people is the order of the day, yet marauding macaques seek out opportunity in an open window, Red Junglefowl crow raucously amid afternoon traffic, and roving otter gangs wreak havoc in ponds of hapless koi. Here, in the middle of this island where little is as it seems yet everything seems as it should, we women who are home-yet-not-at-home come together to create a home reclaimed from word-dust, led by a poet who molds rough, indelible, urgent language into shapes that seek an open window, crow raucously, wreak delightful, writerly havoc. cherry blossoms float lofted by winds bound for home like words on a breeze Haikus for Elissa, By K Bhavani


My dear Elissa

Dearest Elissa

You have my numbers

This sounds insubstantial

I hope to read poetry

I’ll be at Al Bufeira

But it’s from the heart

With you in Lisboa

Au Revoir Elissa

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

Elissa’s Wor(l)ds, By Mandakini Arora I have borrowed Elissa’s words from “Fare and Well,” a poem she wrote in honor of Anne Morgan, and from an interview with Elissa under “Member Spotlight,” both in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of the AWA Magazine. Those words which I have taken verbatim are in quotes. “Initiation, adaptation, integration.” You entered the richness of “a monsoon wooed island.” Exploring history, art, cuisine, literature, reveling in its diversity you came home to yourself, to your poetic voice, heeding the call—whether good or bad— to just write. You are just right. “Patience, resilience, interest.” As you retrace your steps, your elegance, warmth eloquence, grace erudition, gentility empathy, humor, and the beauty of your wor(l)ds will stay with us.

Elissa Viornery

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

Bridge Group Fun and Games

Throughout Covid the AWA Bridge group has survived and even strengthened, and that is thanks to the team, especially our two team leaders, Amy and Sock-Yan: Amy is our Resident SCBA-accredited Tournament Director who is involved in the weekly coordination, sourcing of players and running of the game as well as managing our monthly Couples Bridge Group. Sock-Yan is a long-time member, who provides backup and support on all things bridge-related, from bridge lessons and conventions to bridge etiquette.

Couples Bridge

Noelle has recently taken over managing the AWA PayPal player registration system and especially keeping track of the money!

been our savior for the last two years – and here Amy has come into her own – always making sure we sign up on time and once registered, actually make the game!

I have been described as a spy/auditor who keeps the group honest. IT manager & counselor? My job is to encourage and support, and make everyone look good even when down seven tricks.

In addition to Social Bridge we meet monthly for Couples Bridge. With the recent easing of restrictions we have been able to meet in different homes in small groups and once again BBO has meant we have emjoyed some great bridge games as well as delicious food and fun.

This photo of the team was taken recently – we are finally able to get together but BBO (Bridge Base Online) has

The AWA Bridge group is very much alive, well and ACTIVE. Come join us! AWA Magazine July/August 2022


All Nationalities

celebrating what makes us unique and what brings us together by Marta Farrer Lubeck Wildlife Sightings by AWA Members Singapore is a city in nature, and wild animals often find their way to our living spaces. We asked AWA members to share photos of wildlife you have encountered in your homes or gardens. Check out these unpredicted sightings!

Active monitor lizards in Sarah Roger's home!

An iguana spotted climbing Lynn's tree

Two grasshoppers embrace - taken by Kumiko Matsushima

A Pink-Necked Green Pigeon spotted by Kumiko Matsushima

This hornbill struck a pose for Suzanne on her balcony in River Valley

A troupe of macaques caught hanging out on Karen's back deck

Kristin's pandemic pet hanging out in the dining room table 32

AWA Magazine July/August 2022

This python was spotted in Suzanne's pool in River Valley!

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,

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.

Arts & Culture – Monthly talks focusing on Asian arts & culture. Rosalie Kwok,

Photography – Meets once a month to have fun practicing and improving our photography. All levels are welcome. Carol Hamcke-Onstwedder & Londa Matthieu,

Lauren Raps,

Bar Nights – Ladies’ nights, couples’ nights each month.

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,

Playgroup – For moms with kids under age three. Meets every Friday morning at a member's home plus a monthly "Moms Night Out". Morgan Steinman, 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.

Mahjong - International style in a low stress, friendly atmosphere. Training and games at various locations. Vishali Midha, mahjong@

AWA Magazine July/August 2022