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A WA Magazine All women, All walks of life,


All Nationalities



Deepavali, Thanksgiving, Christmas


LatinArtSingapore Singapore's HDB Culture

Trip-saving pandemic travel resources: Our travel pro shares the best sites for up-to-date info


Expat Holiday Hacks Poppies and Veterans Day Twelve Days Of Christmas — Singapore Edition

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


The Twelve Days



Singapore Edition

Nothing gets us into the Christmas spirit better than Christmas Carols. Meg Farrell Sine has written a very special Singaporean edition of The Twelve Days of Christmas to spread some holiday cheer! AWA's International Women's Choir joined in the spirit and recorded Meg's version of this well loved carol as their Christmas offering. Check out the video on the Choir's Facebook page. On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a suite at Marina Bay Sands...... On the twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 12 Otters squeaking 11 Bukits peaking 10 Grabs a seeking 9 Singlish speaking 8 Hornbills screeching 7 Apps that matter 6 Whatsapp chatters 5 Merlions 4 Hawker stalls 3 Orchids 2 Supertrees and a suite at Marina Bay Sands! By Meg Farrell Sine Photo by Marta Ferrer Lubeck


AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

Editor's Note Celebrations Issue

My favourite Deepavali memory is from our first few months in Singapore. It was evening, and my family was sprawled lazily on the couch, when our Indian neighbor knocked on our door. She was dressed in a beautiful sari (that made me wish I’d at least put on makeup that day) and asked us to come celebrate with them. Up to the knock on the door, the day was nothing special and my boys just viewed the holiday as a serendipitous day off of school. But, as my boys lit sparklers with the neighbors’ children and we all ate gulab jamun and socialized, I felt fortunate to get to experience first-hand the beauty of Deepavali, the Festival of Lights. I loved the rangoli they created at their entranceway using coloured rice flour, the lights, the food and the joyfulness.

So in this issue, AWA Magazine celebrates! We have expat holiday hacks, harvest festival celebrations, reflections on Deepavali and a personal tribute to veterans on Veterans/ Armistice Day. We also tour HDB communities, chronicle AWA's first beach cleanup and visit LatinArtSingapore. We send you best wishes for a festive, happy and healthy Deepavali, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve! Happy reading, Jennifer

In December, we reunited — this time to celebrate Christmas. We had a Secret Santa gift exchange that the kids quickly took over and renamed Nasty Santa after they created the rule that we could steal each other’s presents. We ate homemade Christmas cookies and lit the lights on our Charlie Brown-esque Christmas Tree. Again, we shared traditions through decorations, lights, and food, feeling joyful and happy. This sharing of traditions and cultures is one of my favourite discoveries about Singapore. Coming from a place where schools discourage the use of the word "Christmas," this inclusiveness is freeing. Instead of ignoring celebrations in an effort not to offend, Singapore celebrates with everyone. I love that Christmas wishes appear on signs outside Hindu temples, that Chinese politicians post Happy Deepavali signs and that everyone feels the excitement as Chinese New Year approaches.

Tyler, Braden and Carson with our Christmas tree

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


President's Message

American Women's Association Of Singapore

Life is what you celebrate One of the things that I love about living in Singapore is that, being so close to the equator, the weather is more or less the same every day. This means that we can have the same wardrobe yearround and not have to worry about the change in seasons (or daylight savings!). But without seasons, how do we know when the months have passed by, or how long it has been since we last saw our old mahjong or book club friend? As with everything, we adapt. Where we once marked the passage of time by seasons, we now keep track of the days gone by through all of the holidays and occasions we observe. Moreover, being in a "multicultural salad bowl," we are lucky enough to have many opportunities to celebrate here in Singapore. And amidst the uncertainties brought on by this pandemic, we still have control over what we choose to celebrate. Even if they have to be modified, we can find new ways to show gratitude for what we have and who we are grateful to have in our lives.

In particular, we are grateful for our volunteers like AWA Vice President Kristen Mooney, who always raises her hand to help, even while managing a full-time job, young children and an AWA Board role; AWA Local Tours Chairs Terry Young and Jennifer Cormier, for continuing to provide our members with occasions to learn about the local neighborhoods; AWA Bridge Chair Amy Starling and former Chair Sock-Yan Sim, for keeping the group active with virtual play that includes members wherever in the world they may be; and AWA Tennis Chairs Paige Okun and Rebecca Meurer, for faithfully organizing events while navigating the safe distancing rules during each phase. We would also like to celebrate and send a big congratulations to AWA Community Service Chair Ashley Fagan for the birth of her new baby girl. It is especially important to acknowledge wins, efforts and memorable moments during this time when many cannot be near relatives and have not seen childhood friends in two years. "Life is what you celebrate," and we are grateful that we can celebrate with our AWA family year round. Stay safe, stay connected and celebrate! Linda Schindler

So, in addition to celebrating holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah and Deepavali this season, I would like to take this time to celebrate our AWA volunteers who make a difference.

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


AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

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Bulletin Board

the awa board of directors

Christmas reflections from AWA Social Chair, Angela Chen My family’s annual post-Thanksgiving tree-trimming tradition revives some of my favorite memories — ­ not only because I love all Christmas decor, food, songs and stories, but because of the tiny time capsule each ornament has become. Lao-yeh (my grandfather) crafted my favorite set of tree ornaments from my childhood. He created about two dozen sparkling snowballs made of white paper, silver

John Hopkins University Christmas ornament

glass of water in an unfamiliar condo. Upon discovering that every precious ornament box had gotten lost in the downstate move, we hurriedly purchased value packs of garishly yellow plastic thick-seamed ornaments from the Dollar Store to trim the leaning tree. I grieved. When my father opened my gift to him ­— a white glass sphere with a hand-painted smiling snowman waving my university’s pennant ­— he smiled and said, “See? Somehow you knew what we needed!” My parents’ house felt just a teeny bit more like home.

Angela's brother with the snowball ornament in 1975

glitter and Elmer’s glue. “Grandpa actually made these for us when I was little,” my much-older brother would remind me every year, atop the stepladder. Seeing the snowballs reminded me what a magician my grandfather could be, how his weathered hands could make anything. Each snowball resembled an exploding starburst, the glitter-encrusted spikes shifting about in the trimmer’s hand, threatening to burst the white sewing thread that kept the orb together. When my parents moved out of my birth home during my junior year in college, my being "home for the holidays" meant that I bumped around sullenly in the night for a

“So what if you’ll be living in a shoebox? You’ll get to eat and explore everything in Hong Kong!” our dearest Los Angeles friends tearfully told us during one of our last nights in California in 2015. My husband and I unwrapped the two tiny bundles they presented: ornaments resembling the two main characters’ armchairs in the animated PIXAR film UP. “Every day you’ll wake up to an adventure!” they said, referencing the film’s theme of travel and facing the unknown. And so, these tiny chairs (the only ornaments we brought to Asia) carry the memories we will happily share with our four-year-old daughter, Lucy, when we trim this year’s Christmas tree. It’s not about the tree, or even the ornaments, we will tell her. It’s about the love that gets passed through them.

Angela Chen, AWA Social Chair,

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021



AWA Singapore's Membership Magazine

01 02 03

Editor's Note President's Message Bulletin Board

NOV DEC 2021

On the Cover Jennifer Williams, Qian Marquard and Lauren Raps at Podi and Poriyal 4 Magazine Nov/Dec 2021 PhotoAWA by Christi Elflein - visit her Instagram @thegreatstreets



AWA Group Scoop 19 International Women's Choir 19 Play Group 20 Local Tours 23 Writer's Block 25 Book Club 26 Community Service 27 Running Group 28 Tennis 31 AWA Calendar 33 Java Junkies 35 AWA Group Activities Bits & Bites of Expat Life 06 08 10 12 14 16 18 21 22 24 26 30 32 34


Holiday Hacks Harvest Festivals Poems, Poppies and Veterans Singapore Snippets Resident Artist Hidden in Plain Sight Family Fun Adventures Wander Woman Member Spotlight You're Not Alone Really Community Service Watering Holes Fork & Chopstick All Nationalites


Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Williams Staff Managing Editor - Jane Kim Graphic Designer - Gina Vono Technical Director - Celine Suiter Copy Editors - Helena A. Cochrane - Amanda Jaffe - 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 Nov/Dec 2021


Marta's Christmas in the Tropics ice cream cake

Holiday Hacks

Tried and tested hacks to save your holidays by Marta Ferrer Lubeck Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays… As the Covid pandemic lingers, some may be celebrating the holidays away from home one more year. That does not mean we should miss out on our beloved traditions. We reached out to AWA members and asked how they adapted and maintained their holiday traditions in Singapore last year. Here are some handy holiday hacks shared by our members. Halloween

🎃 If you cannot find an orange pumpkin, or if it is too expensive, carve a watermelon! Meg Farrell Sine


🍗 Ever since we moved to Singapore more than eight

years ago, we redecorate the house four times a year to create "seasons": Chinese New Year, Easter, Fall/ Halloween/Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We have


AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

turkey for Thanksgiving and invite new friends we met that year who have never had Thanksgiving before to share the tradition with them. We like to order the turkey, but we make the sides at home. Finally, we love going to Lawry’s the day after Thanksgiving to kick off the holidays. Nataly Boswell

🍗 We debone the Thanksgiving turkey so that we can roast it in our only oven—the toaster-oven. Beth Wang Llewellyn


🎄 A couple of years ago, we started kicking off 25 days

of Christmas by going on a staycation to get into the holiday spirit. We watch Christmas movies the whole month of December, and each year we add one or two new ones to the list of classics. Before the pandemic we loved taking cruises around Christmas Day. Nataly Boswell

🎄 Our family always has a real Christmas tree, so I was

happy to find that many nurseries on Thomson Road sell live trees. The tip I learned from experience is to buy the mosquito pellets to put in the water when you buy your tree. That way mosquitoes don’t breed in your house. And my friend swears the needles stay fresh longer if you spray them with hairspray. Jennifer Williams

🎄 In a humid climate, let your kids use graham crackers

for their gingerbread houses. They can use white frosting to glue the crackers to a cardboard box, like a half gallon milk carton, and then decorate with candy. To create that 'winter' feeling at Christmas time, we cook some spicy chili, turn the air conditioner on extra high to make the living room extra cool (put on some fleece or flannel), play a video from YouTube on the TV of a yule log burning, turn on some Christmas songs and eat our chili. Meg Farrell Sine

🎄 Border closures last year kept us separated from

our adult kids in various countries. We all cooked the same Christmas ham menu and sat down to eat our meal together virtually, over three different time zones. Jenni Lee

🎄 One thing I learned when trying to bake Christmas

cookies in Singapore: rub ice on the counter before rolling out the dough to prevent it from melting. Jane Kim

Jennifer's Christmas tree - tropical version

Jenni's Christmas ham meal

Angela's gingerbread loaves

🎄 I bake and distribute gingerbread loaves every 🎄 Family holiday movie night: Flick on the Christmas December. Angela Chen tree when it gets dark, everyone gets in their favorite jammies, makes some hot chocolate, and watches a 🎄 My mother-in-law makes a July fourth ice-cream cake movie every Saturday or Friday night in December. when we visit Chicago in the summer. Last December, I borrowed that recipe and created the "Christmas in the Tropics Ice Cream Cake." Marta Ferrer Lubeck

🎄 Finding kids’ holiday jammies for summer climates

is hard but you can order from Australian stores, including Kmart. We always order a huge sushi platter and enjoy with champagne in our wedding flutes on Christmas Day. We like to go for a stroll along Orchard Road to see the lights. The snow machine outside of Tanglin Mall is a must! Shad Paul

Every family member puts in their top movie choice, you draw one entry out of the hat, and that is the show for that night! Christy Nilsen

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 Nov/Dec 2021


Harvest Festivals Giving thanks in Singapore

by Jennifer Williams

Thanksgiving pumpkin pie

For Americans, November is synonymous with pumpkin pie, turkey and all the "fixin’s." American Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November and is a time for family, feasts, football (American style) and Black Friday — the all-nighter kick-off of the Christmas shopping season. While Americans in Singapore try their best to coax a 20-pound turkey into a 30-centimeter square oven, I discovered how Singaporeans celebrate the harvest season. Although Singapore does not have its own harvest day, it celebrates the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and the Southern Indian Tamil festival of Pongal.

Jade Rabbit pounding the elixir of life at Gardens by the Bay

Mid-Autumn Festival Mid-Autumn Festival takes over Chinatown, and most malls in Singapore, in August. This traditional Chinese festival falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month. The Festival is a time for homecomings, family reunions and feasts. I joined an AWA Mid-Autumn workshop hosted by Mun, from the Palace Museum Shop, to learn more. Mun grew up in Singapore during the 1960’s and is a wealth of information on Chinese culture. Along with Oolong tea and mooncakes, Mun served up stories of Mid-Autumn Festival. The moon, which is at its largest and closest to earth on the day of Mid-Autumn, is the most important symbol of the Festival. In Chinese tradition, the moon is inhabited by Chang-e (the Lady in the moon) and the Jade Rabbit. Chang-e lived long ago and married Hou Yi, a hunter who became King. Hou Yi obtained a pill of immortality and hid it from his wife. But Chang-e found the pill and swallowed it. She then floated to the moon where she lives for eternity. The rabbit came to the moon after the Jade Emperor went to earth and disguised himself as an elderly man. He asked a fox, a monkey and a rabbit to find him food. The fox brought a fish and the monkey brought fruit but the rabbit could find nothing. Instead of leaving the old man to starve, the rabbit jumped into the fire and sacrificed himself. As a reward for his selflessness, the Jade Emperor sent the rabbit to live in the Moon


AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

Jade Rabbit resting with a mooncake at Gardens by the Bay

Palace. Jade Rabbit is traditionally shown standing on his hind legs and pounding a pestle that contains the potion of eternal life. If you look at the moon, you can see the outline of the rabbit in the moon’s shadows. Chang-e and Jade Rabbit even featured in the Apollo 11 moon landing. NASA Mission Control told the astronauts that newspaper headlines asked them to look for a beautiful Chinese girl who had lived on the moon for 4,000 years and for her rabbit companion. Buzz Aldrin replied, “Okay. We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.” Sadly, the astronauts did not find them and the legend lost some of its lustre. But you will still find the rabbit on many Mid-Autumn Festival decorations. Pongal Little India lights up for Pongal in mid-January (at the start of the month of Thai on the Tamil solar calendar). This four-day celebration gives thanks to the sun, mother nature, cattle and the community for their contributions to a bountiful harvest. Families celebrate by cooking rice with milk in a new clay pot. As the rice boils and spills over the pot’s edges, family members wish for overflowing fortunes by crying out “pongollo pongal” (may this rice boil over). Don’t miss the Pongal Light-up ceremony, which starts off the month-long celebration. Head to Campbell Lane for the festival village market or Kinta Road for cultural dances and a mass Pongal cooking competition. Keep an eye out for the Pulli Kolam artwork drawn in doorways. These symmetrical art patterns are drawn on the ground using rice flour. While American Thanksgiving, Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and Tamil Pongal initially appear quite different, each of these holidays is centered on a celebration of family and bounty.

Cow decorated for Pongal 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.

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


Poems, Poppies and Veterans "Lest we forget"

by Meg Farrell Sine One American holiday bookmarked between the merchandising hype of Halloween and the family intensity of Thanksgiving is the more quiet and ceremonial Veterans Day. What is the story behind this national holiday and its historical context? Also, why the red poppies, what is a doughboy and where is Flanders?

Poppies in Flanders Fields

Veterans Day is quite personal for me. My father, Frank M. Farrell, Jr (RIP), was a veteran of the US Eighth Air Force during WWII. He never spoke about the fighting,

The red poppies come from the famous poem "In Flanders Fields." In 1915, John McCrae, a Canadian army doctor stationed on the front in the Flanders region of Belgium, was reflecting on the recent death of a close comrade. Despite the bone-rattling booms of nearby explosions, he could still hear the birds singing and see red poppies blooming between rows of graves in an adjacent cemetery. His remarkable poem led to the

Frank M. Farrell, Jr. at Clarkson College ROTC

Poppies commemorating fallen veterans

only what it was like to fly a plane for eight hour missions in frigid temperatures and low oxygen, and the unique friendships he had with his fellow crewmates. On Veterans Day and Memorial Day, he taught my siblings and me about patriotism, honoring the flag and supporting veterans'

red poppy becoming a symbol of blood shed on the battlefield. Read more about "In Flanders Fields" on our All Nationalities column on page 34. Doughboys The American infantrymen in WWI were called doughboys. One explanation for this nickname came from the Mexican American War (1846-1848) when soldiers, marching along dusty paths, looked like they were covered in flour or “dough,” thus the name doughboys. Mass-produced statues of doughboys are still found throughout the USA. Veterans Day and Memorial Day

Frank (3rd from left) with his brothers and father

groups such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Despite his silence about war and fighting, his enlistment in the military was a powerful and formative experience in his life. Veterans, because of the impact of their service and sacrifice, deserve to be celebrated. 10

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

On November 11, 1918, after four years of war, the Allies and Germany agreed to an armistice, or ceasefire. Around the world, the anniversary of the armistice became a day to remember all of the sacrifices made by the members of the armed forces and by civilians in times of war. In 1938, US Armistice Day became a national holiday. After WWII, in 1954, and at the urging of veterans’ service organizations, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars. Memorial Day, begun after the Civil War, is a US holiday to honor military members who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Singapore War Memorial Park

Commonwealth traditions For the armistice anniversary in the UK, many people wear the red paper poppy and celebrate Remembrance Sunday (the Sunday nearest to November 11). Around the world, British Commonwealth nations and some European countries also commemorate the armistice on Remembrance Sunday with military parades and a moment of silence at 11am.

thinking the day-off aspect would ruin the solemn memorial traditions of the day. Memorial sites in Singapore that honor veterans • Kranji War Memorial and Cemetery is a lovely hillside cemetery that pays tribute to soldiers from Britain, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Malaya, the Netherlands and New Zealand who died in the line of duty in Singapore during WWII. There is a Chinese Memorial that marks the mass grave of 69 local Chinese servicemen. • Singapore War Memorial Park commemorates the thousands of Singaporean civilians who died during WWII. This memorial contains an obelisk formed by four 65-meter pillars representing Singapore’s four major ethnicities: Malay, Chinese, Indian and Eurasian. • The Singapore Cenotaph is a monument built in 1922 in memory of 124 British soldiers born or residing in Singapore who died in WWI.

Frank's crewmates

In 1931, Canada’s federal government adopted an act to observe Remembrance Day on November 11. The act stopped short of declaring the day a national holiday,

Meg is AWA's Communications Director. Contact her at communicationsdirector@

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


View of housing developments from the Rooftop Garden at SkyVille@Dawson

Singapore Snippets

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

Public Housing in Singapore Singapore is considered to have one of the best public housing programs in the world. This feat goes back to 1960, when the Housing & Development Board (HDB) was created to tackle the housing shortage of Singapore’s young population at the time. HDB set out to build quickly and to promote home ownership for Singaporeans. According to the HDB website, there are now more than one million HDB flats in 24 towns and three estates in Singapore. Over 80% of Singapore’s resident population lives in HDB flats, and more than 90% of HDB resident households own their home. New public housing projects must conform to three guiding principles: They must be well-designed, community-centric and sustainable. HDB Design AWA member Celine Suiter has been to many HDB buildings. She visits the public areas to learn about the building design and the community, and to appreciate the city views. We visited SkyVille@Dawson, a 47-floor HDB development in Queenstown completed in 2015. SkyVille contains social corridors on four levels, called SkyVillages, where residents can meet and bond. The well-maintained Rooftop Garden provides incredible views of the city, as well as a walking and jogging path. We returned to the street level, where Celine pointed out the small hawker center and market. She explained that 12

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

“besides living areas, many HDB buildings have a food court and small shops. Residents don’t really have to go beyond their community.” Celine explained that it can take a long time to move into an HDB flat. Flats are allocated based on family size, and people with higher incomes are asked to bid on larger units. There is also an effort to maintain an ethnic balance throughout HDB developments. Owners who temporarily move out of Singapore may rent their units after obtaining a special permit. Living in an HDB Building I met Ethel through AWA member Sandy Harford. Ethel is originally from the Philippines, and she rents an HDB flat in Ang Mo Kio. The flat belongs to a Sikh family that currently lives abroad. Ethel shares the three-bedroom flat with five other people. “I’m the oldest, so I’m like the mom here,” Ethel said, and added that her building has a ping pong table, basketball court, and soccer field. While she has a good relationship with her neighbors, Ethel socializes with friends outside her HDB community: “On Sundays, I invite my friends to come over for karaoke and I cook,” she noted. Ethel’s building is a seven-minute walk from a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station and very close to a few bus stops. Singapore has an extensive public transportation network, and by design most HDB buildings are close to at least one MRT and bus station.

Tampines St 41

Exploring HDB buildings

the Tanjong Pagar neighborhood. The Pinnacle is no longer open to non-residents, but its award-winning design can be appreciated from afar.

There are many HDB buildings worth exploring throughout the Red Dot, including these: •

Tiong Bahru, known for its Art Deco architecture, is home to some of the older public housing developments, dating back to the 1930s.

Hougang Ave 7, with the large rainbow embellishing its façade, and Tampines St 41, where residents voted to have their façade painted with the color bar tone that used to indicate all TV programming had ended. Both buildings are publicized online as "Instagram worthy."

Pinnacle@Duxton is a 50-floor development consisting of seven connected towers. This is the world’s tallest public residential building, cleverly juxtaposed with the much smaller houses located in

Punggol Eco Town

Tiong Bahru housing developments

Punggol has transformed from a fishing village to Singapore’s first eco-town in just a few decades. The community gardens, skyrise greenery, and rooftop solar panels are some of the eco-friendly features prevalent in Punggol Eco-Town housing developments.

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 Nov/Dec 2021


Resident Artist

Meet the curator of LatinArtSingapore by Helena A. Cochrane

LatinArtSingapore Gallery Becca Meurer’s kids enjoy benefits from her work that few others can. As gallerist and curator for about 25 highly sought-after Venezuelan artists, Becca hangs beautiful original oil paintings in her home, including the kids’ bedrooms. Becca’s son was crushed to learn that the serene cerulean blues of the Clelia Benitez beach scene that hung in his bedroom was on its way to a buyer. When Becca informed the artist of the sale, and her son’s reaction, Clelia promptly offered a new one as a gift to him in her next shipment of paintings.

Becca Muerer with a Jose Guedez piece

Clelia Benitez beach scene

Becca says she chose her home off Tanglin Road, with its broad, open spaces, brightly colored walls and diffuse light, to house the LatinArtSingapore collection. She is continuing the work here that she initiated while living in Venezuela from 2006-2008. During her time in Caracas, one piece at a local exhibition captivated her, so Becca reached out to the artist Carlos Alberto García personally to purchase his work. Through him, she connected with a network of caraqueño painters, because he was also a professor at the Institute of Fine Arts. Becca has cultivated her warm working relationship with these artists for over a decade, and learned as much about the business of art as the inspiration and technique that drive those she represents. Becca has carried LatinArt with her wherever her family has been stationed, whether in Moscow, Geneva, Caracas, Dusseldorf or Singapore, strengthening ties between makers and purchasers of art across the continents. For the Meurers, this has meant sometimes hosting artists in their home over several weeks. The family have watched, transfixed, as painter Bruno García, sculpted over coffee and dessert. One evening during his stay, in a seemingly casual manner, he manipulated hanger wires into lively human figures, working out kinks in his ideas about form. 14

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

From growing to understand the market, to expanding her proficiency in appreciating the art, Becca says that her work with LatinArtSingapore’s painters has been an extraordinary path. Ultimately, curating and promoting these paintings builds connections around the globe and through the heart. Talking with the painters and learning about their creative arcs, she has gained deeper insight into their imagery and technique in the paintings. Further, Becca recognizes that art enthusiasts may need a lot of time for a painting to grow enough on them so that they would want to purchase it. She eschews the hard sell: “People buy the pieces that they dream about, the ones that won’t let them go.” The highest reward for this endeavor is “the process of seeing other people fall in love with a piece of art.” Indeed, the thrilling variety of artwork in Becca’s house gallery pulls the viewer in. What we know superficially

Eduardo Azuaje painting

about recent hard times in Venezuela is countered in these works’ vibrant colors, geometric compositions, and the natural and urban spaces recreated and idealized on canvas. Becca Meurer’s connection to the painting community in Caracas, Venezuela builds opportunity on both ends of the market. For the painters, whom she describes as generous, creative, energetic and resilient, LatinArtSingapore extends their presence in the global market. Their work, already in museums, galleries, and private homes in the Americas, is landing with happy clients in Europe and Asia. For the buyers, Becca has opened a window to an exciting modern esthetic arising from the mixture of natural and urban spaces alternating on the canvas. She’s alert to her unique situation: “We’ve

met some extraordinary people, and this has been a very special journey.” LatinArtSingapore has a new exhibition this fall, featuring works recently curated for the discerning buyer in Singapore. You'll find the gallery on both Facebook and Instagram @ latinartsingapore, as well as online at www.latinartsingapore. com. Message LatinArtSingapore directly on any of these platforms to arrange a visit to the collections. 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.

Energía Poética - LatinArtSingapore's latest exhibition AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


Hidden in Plain Sight

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

Little India There are few neighborhoods as distinctive as Little India. The colors, the flowers and the aroma of spices tickle the senses. During the Deepavali holidays in early November, Little India becomes especially magical. While there are plenty of reasons to visit, there also are a lot of murals and public art to discover. We start our tour at the center, the House of Tan Teng Niah. This small villa with a rainbow of colors sits in the middle of food stalls and shops. It belonged to the owner of a prominent Chinese sweets-making factory that operated in the area. The wooden shutters and molding details that line the bottom of the roof give this house an architectural quality that is rarely found in other homes on the island.

On the other end of the square from where the Tan house sits, a huge mural pays homage to the traditional trades of the Indian community, including garland making, parrot astrology and laundering (8 Bellios Lane). Note: Did you know that "Dhoby" is the Hindi term for laundry and "Ghaut" refers to the flight of steps leading down to a river? Hence, "Dhoby Ghaut" loosely translates as "laundry by the steps of a river," a far cry from the bustling mega-center that Dhoby Ghaut is today.

Known as Little India since the 1980s, the area previously had been known as Serangoon, after Serangoon Road (one of Singapore’s earliest roads). It was a bustling crossroads of transport and commerce centered around the cattle and buffaloes that grazed



Kathak dancer

and swam in the nearby mangrove swamps and Rochor River. The street names (such as Buffalo Street) retain these links to the past, as do the murals. On Kerbau Road (beside Little India MRT Station Exit E), “Cattleland” is a playful depiction of cows walking in the clouds and riding on bikes.

A short stroll to Upper Dickson Road takes you to an artist we’ve included in previous articles, Didier "Jaba" Mathieu (see our Kampong Glam edition). Here, Jaba has used his signature vibrant color scheme to portray the dancers of Kathak, a traditional Indian dance form that narrates stories and folklore.


AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

Immediately past Jaba’s mural is "Loops of the Precious," by Priya Diayalan. It is a tribute to her grandfather, a goldsmith, another of the traditional trades of Little India. Around the corner, at the intersection of Dunlop and Clive Streets, is "Alive@Clive," a colorful portrayal of a traditional Indian dancer. The park across the street is filled with painted cattle and often hosts community events by Project Oasis. Probably the epitome of artwork in the area, as well as the most popular among its residents, is "Working Class Hero," a depiction of famous Tamil film star, Rajinikanth. ZERO, the artist who painted it, conceptualized this mural with the purpose of painting it as a tribute to the migrant workers living in the district. Before you leave this ‘hood, it's worth a quick stop to see "Ride Through Race Course Road," tucked away in a small passageway off Race Course Road. It tells the story of when there was a prestigious race course in the area, before the Singapore Turf Club relocated to Bukit Timah. Our stroll through the public art of Little India reflects how the area's heritage and its modern influences have combined to form this unique Singaporean neighborhood. The area is covered with more art than this article can chronicle, so we suggest taking some detours to find more artwork on your own. Enjoy your visit!

Ride Through Race Course Road

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.

A washerman or dhobi

Working Class Hero AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


Family Fun Adventures

finding Cool things to do in and around singapore by Christi Elflein

Madame Tussauds

Christi flying with ET

Jack head to head with Yao Ming

Do you need Oprah’s advice? Are you ready to play basketball with Yao Ming? Do you want to be one of Madonna’s backup dancers? You can fulfill your dreams right here without leaving our Little Red Dot, by planning an outing to Madame Tussauds in Sentosa. Madame Tussauds is famous worldwide for her lifelike wax creations, and her legacy continues here in Singapore.

5. Madame Tussauds – the wax museum and main attraction! Be ready to capture Instagram-worthy pictures. Plan for all five experiences to take you at least 1.5 hours. Book your tickets and time slot on their website at

Madame Tussauds is more than just a wax museum, though. It’s an attraction! And one S$30 ticket gives you access to five different experiences: 1. The Spirit of Singapore boat ride – Think Disney’s “It’s a Small World” but with Singapore scenery. 2. Images of Singapore – An exhibit chronicling the history of Singapore through photography. Interesting slow stroll for the adults and a brisk walk through for most kids. 3. Ultimate Film Star Experience – A chance to act and dance with wax superstars of the Indian cinema. We didn’t recognize any of these stars, but we still had fun learning a Bollywood dance. 4. Marvel Universe 4D – A must-see, action-packed, allsenses-engaged short film for all superhero fans. This was the highlight of the experience for my teenage son. 18

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

Phoebe hanging with Oprah 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.

International Women's Choir Passion for music and song

Across the months, across the continents, we women are singing our hearts out at every opportunity. With our fabulous studio space at Adelphi House and our enthusiastic and super-knowledgeable director Jospehine Sim (Phine), we aren’t just rehearsing new music; we’re getting a fantastic singer’s workout in scales and breathing each time we meet. Although some of us tune in to practice via Zoom from Japan, the US, or our Singapore apartments, the rest are singing together in person. You may have seen our videos featuring songs from ABBA and the Muppet Movie. Please take a look at them on our Facebook page.

For the upcoming Christmas holiday season, we have a special Singapore adaptation of a traditional Christmas carol. Our version of The Twelve Days of Christmas was written by Meg Farrell Sine, AWA's Communication Director. You can find her version in the article "Twelve Days Of Christmas - Singapore Edition" on the first page of this magazine. We always welcome new singers to join us. Auditions are done only in order for singers to demonstrate their voice range (Soprano 1 or 2, or Alto). Please email to inquire about joining.


Moms and tots play date The moms had almost as much fun catching up as the boys of AWA Playgroup! It was so lovely reuniting for our weekly play date again. Please join our Facebook group if you have a little one under 3 and are interested in joining!

Dana & Hunter Thompson, Morgan & William Steinman, Celestine, Max & Alex Bartrop AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


Local Tours

Battlefield Tour

ctory & "The Former Ford Fa Plan to ol! co Memorial are so ." take my kids there s

nnon "Loved seeing big ca built 80 years ago."

A Stroll in the

November 11, 2021 gapore's shores WWII came to Sin the Japanese dramatically when e British called invaded in 1942. Th gnable" fortress Singapore their "impre the Japanese in but the territory fell to seven days. the steps of the Join this tour to trace d the brutal 3.5 battle for Singapore an tion. Learn why year Japanese occupa South East Asia the Japanese invaded essful battlefield and discover their succ to the bungling strategies in contrast troops. Fittingly, defense of the Allied mistice Day. we take this tour on Ar

Colonial Quarters at ride

with Singapore River bo

November 3, 2021

This walk in the heart of "Colonial Singapore" wil l introduce you to the history of Singapore through the art and cultur al heritage of a district particularly rich in colonial heritage. Diana, your guide, will tak e you back in time to the arrival of Raffles in 1819. Together, you wil l admire the beauty of the architecture: the Old Parliament, the former Supreme Court, Victoria Theatre and war memorials locate d around the famous Pa dang (historical field). You will visit St. Andrew's Cathedral, the former General Post Office and the Water Boat House. Th ese important landmarks are situated on Singapore's historic waterfront where the first settlers arrived. You will learn and bette r understand the importance of the river' s role in the maritime his tory of this citystate.

"I can just imagine the bustling water trade bo ats carrying goods up & do wn the river in times past. "

The tour ends with a boat ride on the Singapore Riv er disembarking at Clark Quay pier, ne ar Fort Canning MRT station. Enjoy the landscape along the his torical river banks and be transported through Singapore's his tory and back to modern times..

"Great learning the sto ries of the old warehouses now converted into ba rs, restaurants & cafes."


AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

Wander Woman

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

How to Navigate Travel in the Days of Covid Planning travel used to be such a different experience. When traveling internationally, we used to worry only about passports or global entry expiring. These days, we must adhere to the restrictions of the destination we are leaving and those of where we are going, and sometimes even where we are transiting through. We have had to become experts on Covid testing and travel insurance, all while tap dancing as these restrictions and guidelines can change at a moment’s notice. The fun of travel planning is simply yet another temporary casualty of Covid. I am often asked where to get the best information and guidelines to use as resources as we navigate the new normal. With most of us here in Singapore, I recommend first referring to the ICA ( and other Singapore government sites. These sites are the primary sources of the latest regulations and should be the first stop for you to determine what you need to do if you indeed plan on returning to your home country. Also, utilize any guidance offered by your Human Resource department. Some large companies have departments whose sole responsibility is getting their employees and their families in and out of Singapore. Here are some additional resources to keep in your back pocket as we navigate travel in the time of Covid.

Traditionally a great resource for Visa guidelines, CIBT now also offers a tool to get the latest info on Covidrelated guidelines and restrictions. The site offers links to the destination’s government website so that you can easily have access to the forms you might need to fill out prior to travel. Reopen Europa ( For those interested solely in European destinations, the European Union has released Reopen Europa, an extensive website offering the current travel guidelines throughout Europe. There is also an app. Great resource, particularly because it’s an official government service.

Reopen Europa

Sherpa (

Airline Websites Airline websites have been quite good about having the most updated information. I often use whether or not Delta is the airline I am flying. The website offers a terrific interactive map that allows you to input the countries you are seeking information about and provides all the restrictions and guidelines needed. You can also perform a search on your destination for the operating hours and safety measures required for restaurants, museums and non-essential businesses.

Add Sherpa to the list of companies you never heard about until Covid. Sherpa is now bookmarked on the browsers of all of us in the travel industry. The data feeds many of the websites for airlines and tourism companies. Easy to navigate and full of updated information, Sherpa also has a section where it lists all of the recently released changes in policy by governments. I do wish you could set something up so these updates could go automatically to you if opted in, but regardless, a very good resource. One last tip — I recommend printing essential documents in case there is any confusion when you go through immigration. Good luck and smooth travels! 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.

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


Member Spotlight

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

Elissa Viornery

AWA Writers’ Group enabled me to reconnect with my own voice. An intermittent activity since grade school, writing poetry became a serious endeavor for me. I delighted in the members’ genuine interest in their craft, their openness, and supportive feedback on each other’s work including mine, creating a positive atmosphere that continues to this day. One member, a former journalist, liberated any remaining inhibitions by telling me, “Don’t concentrate on whether it’s good or bad, just write!” Thanks to Zoom, neither pandemic nor geographical distance has prevented us from sharing our passion. Have you tried something new in Singapore? How did it turn out?

Originally from Michigan, Elissa has spent 32 years abroad, including a thirteen-year banking career in Paris and New York. She has lived in Singapore with her husband Pascal since 2014. Her daughter Ilona, born in Paris, studied business here in 2011. On July Fourth, 2021, her granddaughter Eva was born in Paris.

Recently, I began Chinese ink painting with a Singaporean artist. There is both a meditative quality and an energy about each gesture, from preparing the ink to applying the brushstrokes. I love the awesome tranquility of the landscapes and the soft, light vivacity of bird, gourd and fish arrangements. All my classmates are Singaporean, and our artist/teacher speaks almost no English — a full cultural immersion. Fortunately, my classmates translate essential points. It reminds me of family reunions in my childhood. With my grandparents’ scant knowledge of English, all the adults spoke Hungarian, a lilting, agglutinative melody. Now, Mandarin, monosyllabic with four tones, creates a lively beat.

What has surprised you most about Singapore culture?

Any tips for newcomers?

This memory resurges first:

Delve into Singapore history through the eyes of people who lived it: "Singapore, A Biography" by Mark R. Frost. Then, visit the National Museum of Singapore.

Read Josephine Chia’s "Kampong Spirit," which brings to life her kampong, or village, existence before independence, to truly appreciate the incredible progress Singapore has made during its 56 years as an independent nation, as well as some of the nostalgia.

Join AWA and Friends of the Museums (FOM) if you haven’t already. Thanks to AWA, I spent my first Singapore summer going on guided tours learning about its many diverse neighborhoods. At the 2014 Welcome Fair, I joined the Choir, After Ni Hao, and Writers’ Group, of which I have been a co-chair since 2017.

“Madam, Madam!” a high-pitched voice called out in Raffles MRT station. A young, professional-looking woman was hurrying towards me while she extended, like a banner, a large, square Band-Aid. In the train, the rim of my shoe had cut deep into the side of my foot, causing it to bleed profusely, and no amount of tissue had squelched the stem. This woman’s offer to help was an endearing act of kindness, particularly in pre-Covid times. Second, so many activities, classes and museums are easily accessible. The numerous festivals open to all, whether religious, cultural, literary or just for fun, create continual highlights throughout the year. Third, Singaporeans’ willingness to share and explain their multifaceted culture. An open, respectful and sincere interest will easily unlock many doors to the rich diversity of Singapore. What activity previously of interest have you finally been able to pursue in Singapore? In France, as a member of a poetry performance group uniting poetry recitation with other art forms and presenting well-known poets, I reveled in and shared great writers’ words with others. In Singapore, joining the 22

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

Indeed, Singapore offers much to appreciate! 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.

Writers' Block

a contribution from our AWA Writers' Group members


by Elissa Viornery

Written in honor of Anne Morgan, my former fellow CoChair of Writers’ Group, and first read in Anne’s podcast entitled “Our Community with Anne Morgan: OC32: Celebrating the Joy of a Writers’ Group” Fare and Well, An oft sighted couple, One is fair and buoyant like air. The other is deep and springs from the earth To meet and travel hand in hand. Sometimes sighted skidding down Snow-draped hills studded with prickly pine To alight in rock-chafed valleys Carved by the ceaseless flow of time. Or taking off from a steamy, Monsoon wooed island, A dot in the South China Sea, To then land on the craggy shore Of a brume beguiled isle Across this uncertain world. The greater fare they pay is One of kind and degree. Settling into far countries On new horizons, immersed in different ways. Initiation, Adaptation, Integration, The signposts of the day. Then years later, Back to their former homestead They tread, Facing changes both from within and without. All to be taken into account. Growth comes at a cost Of discomfort and disarray. But patience, resilience, interest Are the fare of the day To ingest and the tools to test The ability to hold sway. May thee fare well together On your journey. May thee be well Under life’s rays.

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

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


You're Not Alone... Really

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

Diving Deep into Deepavali

Honoring Different Holidays and Yourself, as Well

it anger, depression or anxiety. However briefly, we may feel demoralized, even beaten, and we just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This issue is dedicated to celebrations from all cultures. When we look inside our heads, we can feel the feelings of each of our own familiar holidays. We go back in time to memories of past Christmases. Or maybe we look to

It’s in times like these that we may reach out to our family or greater community (like the AWA Listen Ladies) for strength and hope. I realize it’s hard to ask for help sometimes, but I hope you will believe and know that the

Rangoli rice flour decoration

the future when we can share a Thanksgiving meal again with our families at home. In many ways, we defer to the familiar to create a sense of mental well-being so we’re okay with living overseas and what we might be missing. All FOMO aside, many of us are here for the holidays. So, let’s take a look at a different holiday and explore how its meanings might apply to our own life and our mental well-being. I really like the colorful, vibrant and enigmatic holiday here called Deepavali, celebrated on the 15th day of the holiest month of the Hindu lunar calendar. This year, it falls on November fourth. Deepavali is a variation of Northern India’s Diwali (one day apart) and is generally celebrated by Southern Indians here who predominantly speak Tamil. Although there are a variety of iterations of the holiday’s basis in folklore, its overarching theme is the triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and light over darkness. I have it on good authority that it is possible to triumph over evil, ignorance and darkness. As a bipolar person, I’ve experienced some spectacular lows. My book Bipolar Phoenix, released last year at this time, talks mostly about this "overcoming" theme. I worked hard and I made it. But I continue to battle bipolar disorder. And I’ve learned a few things. Whether or not you have a mental illness, surely all of us have been in the depths of strong negative emotion, be 24

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

light shines strongly on mental health issues these days, and many people are ready to see and listen to us when we’re down and out. Finding a reason to go on, to keep persevering and heading toward the light can be just one phone call, text or Facetime, or coffee meet-up away. We all have the wherewithal to overcome darkness in our minds, in our hearts, in our worlds. Looking to our foundations—family, friends, dogs, cats, values, dreams, and even holiday celebrations—can help you make that connection that brings you back to who you want to be. You can be your own hero who triumphs over evil, ignorance and darkness. Regardless of the holidays you choose to celebrate, remember that there are many people here and elsewhere that are celebrating right along with you. So, light those sparklers and Diya candles, don your best outfit from the 2nd floor of Tekka Market and dance to some Bollywood tunes around Little India or even your condo. You will surely not be alone on this Deepavali.

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

Tuesday morning book club meet up

Book Club

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me" C.s. Lewis Dear AWA book clubs, Summer and travel time (ha,ha,ha) are coming to an end, and we want to follow the tradition of writing postcards, even if this one will come from "travels to nowhere" into your mailbox. How have you been? We are doing well, thanks to our monthly meetings. This is when we come together, enjoy coffee and treats in a member's home and almost immediately start chatting about the book of the month. It gets even better when the host provides statements and questions around the book. Jen, an AWA Tuesday morning book club member, shares that: "As a person who is in multiple book clubs, I can honestly say that you, dear AWA book clubs, are great because each book is taken seriously and talked about thoroughly in a respectful and fun way. I also really like the fact that you not only consist of American women but rather women from all over the world, which makes the experience of living abroad richer and more meaningful." Besides getting a diverse group of women together, you introduce us to various books (memoirs, South East Asian literature, fiction, and non-fiction books), many of which wouldn't have come across us without you. Voting on our suggestions about what to read next is as much fun as rating a book at the end of every meeting. If the

selected book isn’t enough, we all are happy to share recommendations on what we read independently. Wonderful and full of wonder, each book is tantalizing. Over the summer, one AWA book club had a Zoom book discussion with the author Kristin Blair on her book Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything. Thank you, Kristin and Julie, who organized this for us. Another experimental book club meeting was a collective reading of Address Unknown by Kressmann Taylor. The members alternately read aloud the letters, becoming bolder as the reading and discussions deepened. What can we say, dear AWA book clubs? Nothing can separate us from you; No Covid restriction is too tough. We always will find ways to enjoy discussing books with five or eight members, in one or two households, or using Zoom. And when we finally had to part, shared delight and discussion continued via phone. Loyalty runs strong, as evidenced by Julie’s nomination of her AWA Tuesday morning book club as "Best Book Club on the Little Red Dot.” Sending all AWA book clubs best wishes and hope to meet again with old and new members, Love, Anita C, Anita Y, Carrie, Carol, Jen, Julie, Karen, Karla, Katherine, Kerry, Marina, Melanie and Noelle AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


Hyejin Taylor, Clarissa Choo and Marta Ferrer Lubeck cleared nine bags of trash from the beach

Community Service Supporting Singapore charities

AWA Beach Cleanup For most of us, the beach is a place to escape our worries and make ourselves happier, healthier, and overall, more emotionally balanced. Thus, it is one of the great sorrows of mankind that one of the places we love the most ends up getting polluted with so many things we no longer need. Taking responsibility for the trash we individually produce is the first step in minimizing the negative effects we collectively leave on our seashores. Taking part in beach cleanups is a wonderful way to put our consumption habits into perspective and to make a small but significant contribution towards a cleaner and safer environment for us all. With those thoughts in mind, the AWA Community Service Group has created a monthly beach cleanup 26

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

bY Ioana Dumea

event for its members. Held during the first or the second week of each month, the beach cleanup is organized through Singapore’s National Environment Agency, and will regularly take members to the different beaches of Singapore in need of a little tender loving care.

For those members wanting to join, all that is needed is a commitment of a couple of hours a month, tongs, gloves (if desired) and a meticulous eye. The organizer will provide biodegradable bags and disinfectant wipes for the entire group and will make sure that all members adhere to the Singaporean government’s vaccine and gathering safety measures. A glance at the photos of the first AWA beach cleanup held on September 14 at Pasir Ris Beach gives you an idea of some of the results. For any questions, please contact the Community Chair, Beach Cleanup, Ioana Dumea at

Running Group

Kilometers of friendship and fun bY Keri Matwick

Around we go! AWA runners run and run. Because running is a cure for island fever, the AWA Running Club has taken that a step further. Over several months ending in August 2021, ten women completed a Run Around the Island, running 130km (80 miles) in ten segments. Thanks to excellent planning by Bernie Tretta, the loop was scenic and memorable. Starting at Pasir Ris Park, the loop moved counterclockwise with main points of Punggol, Sembawang, Kranji, Pioneer, West

Refreshing coconut water

The activities of the group extend beyond the island! Our AWA running group ambassador Becky Martin ran with newly transplanted Dora Branyan in Texas and then with Dafne Wesenaar in the Netherlands. While Dafne returned to Singapore after visiting family, Becky remained in The Hague, where she is settling her family in as they begin their new post. Botanic Garden runners

Coast Park, Sentosa, Marina Barrage, East Coast Park, and Changi Village. Jelly beans kept the women going during the run, while flat whites, coconut water, pratas and kouigh-amanns were the post-run incentives. This group consisted of Bernie Tretta, Becca Meurer, Caroline Beaumont, Christi Elflein, Claire Saf, Laura Binns, Nikki Elliott, Suzanne Murphy and Keri Matwick.

Becky Martin and Dafne Wesenaar, the Netherlands

Besides running, the women do Wednesday Iron Strength sessions. When rain or size limits restrict the sessions, the ladies continue via Zoom. It's an amazing motivational group for those in quarantine.

Wednesday iron strength sessions

Can’t imagine running far or so often? We didn’t think we could either, but the weekly AWA runs help us keep in great shape. Interested? We run every Tuesday at the Botanic Gardens at three different times. Thursdays are a bit longer, and Saturdays just a bit more. Come and join us. AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021



Fun, Friendship and Fair Play bY Jane Kim

AWA Tennis has much to celebrate! Being back on the courts to play doubles, being able to resume tennis clinics, and most of all, we are celebrating the creation of a new-to-us event:  Mixed Doubles.

Trying for the best outfit prize, Alex Lowes and husband

Mixed Doubles is AWA Tennis’s first event open to AWA members and the male tennis partner of their choice — husband, son, colleague, friend, neighbor. We even heard that in some circles, men were actively advertising their services as a tennis partner for AWA members! Mixed Doubles is proving to be a popular offering, with 36 pairs signed up to participate, creating four different pools who will play six to nine matches over the September to December season. The Tennis Committee is very sorry to see Jo Baughn, organizer extraordinaire of Social Doubles and the Tennis Sub List, leave us and Singapore. We welcome Darcy Cameron and Amanda Allan to our committee as two of 28

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

the coordinators for Team Tennis and Helen Troncoso as our Bag Tag coordinator. Watch out for our upcoming events in November, December and January:

Sandy Hartford and Rob Kabus vs Claire and James McGregor

Social Doubles is a fun way for beginner and intermediate players to meet lots of tennis-playing ladies. Each week, players are paired up into rotating foursomes to play three mini sets, switching partners at each set so everyone plays with each other.

Team Tennis is a seasonal competitive offering for intermediate and advanced players where players are grouped into teams who compete with each other over the six week season.

The annual AWA Tennis Cup for advanced players will finally be played over four days in the week of November 29 after being postponed by Covid in May.

Andre Bald and Alfa Singkoh faced Minh Tram and Graham O'Brien in one of the first Mixed Doubles matches

Doubles Challenge will be back as well, so grab a partner and sign up for this event which culminates in a playoff between the top teams of each pool.

And last but not least, Discover Tennis Clinics for beginners and intermediates are back on at the courts of our partner, Savitar Tennis Centre.

For the latest information, sign up for our tennis-exclusive newsletter. You’ll find the link on the AWA Tennis page. You can also join our Facebook group @AWATennis.  AWA Mixed Doubles Debut My husband, Dan, and I learned to play tennis together at our last post: Dili, Timor-Leste. The U.S. Embassy in Dili has one of the few courts in the city, and the only lit court in the country. As there was little evening entertainment, playing tennis together became a regular pasttime. It wasn’t until we arrived in Singapore when we realized that doubles tennis is truly a different game — one that involves much more strategy than we had imagined! Among WITS, LTS, AWA, and clinics around town, I could easily arrange to play every day of the week. Yet, it was

challenging to find other couples against whom Dan and I could play tennis. In part to appease Dan’s envy, I suggested to the AWA Tennis Committee that we offer a Mixed Doubles program. And I received a favorable reply from the Chair, Paige Okun, who agreed with one hitch: “Sure, if you organize it.” As a volunteer-led organization, AWA provides the platform for women to find other women with similar interests, provided that someone is willing to organize the event. I love that about AWA: no matter one’s interest, there’s an offering for everyone — and if there isn’t, one can create it. This fall 2021, the AWA Tennis Committee piloted this new Mixed Doubles league; we could not have imagined the incredible interest that this new program generated. Because the matches are arranged between opponents at mutually convenient times, the program also appealed to a subset among us: full-time working women. The Tennis Committee hopes to provide more opportunities for full-time working women to participate in additional tennis programs next year.

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


Watering Holes

Raise a glass at singapore's best lounges and bars by Lauren Raps

Happy Hour in a time of Covid-19 I hope that the Stay-Home Notice (SHN) will be a thing of the past by the time this article is published; but in case it’s not (or even if it is), I decided to pass some time trying out a few cocktails to-go with a little help from some fellow quarantined friends, all in the name of research.

Nutmeg & Clove Visitors to Nutmeg & Clove are familiar with their bespoke cocktail offerings, and their drinks to-go do not sacrifice any of this bar’s inventiveness. The Rosita with Campari was “smooth and tasted like an improved Old Fashioned.” A peachflavored cocktail was made with Rye and peach vinegar cut with a bit of soda water -- best served on the rocks, one taster suggested. My personal favorite, the Almost Colorless Negroni, was not the typical red color. The addition of chrysanthemum gave this cocktail a beautiful yellow hue and a very subtle floral sweetness. As a Negroni connoisseur, I loved this unique twist. All of the cocktails were very well balanced and beautifully presented. Whether alone in your room or hosting cocktails at home, they would be sure to impress.

So, on an evening when we should have been celebrating the MidAutumn festival, four SHN friends and a supportive spouse Zoomed over cocktails from the Fairmont’s Anti:Dote Bar, Nutmeg & Clove, and Ah Sam Cold Drinks Stall. We tasted, laughed and compared meals and rooms. We also challenged ourselves to use whatever we had in our rooms to hack the drinks to make them cocktail loungeworthy. Some of our ice was delivered in a Ah Sam Cold Drinks Stall silver bucket, some in a Styrofoam cup. Some of Don’t judge, but there were us cheered from balconies, some mornings during some from a room with a SHN when I woke up and Bottled cocktails from Anti:Dote really wanted a good window that didn’t open and faced a wall. But we all got to escape for an evening, Cosmopolitan. Thanks to the distraction of Netflix, I was make new friends and laugh about the craziness of it all. strong and could hold out until 5 o’clock. After some quick research, I found an interesting option at Ah Sam Cold Now for the drinks… Drinks Stall, a place I have been wanting to try. I placed my order at 4 pm, and it was in my room by 5 pm. Their Anti:Dote Bar at the Fairmont take on the Cosmo is sparkling and with lychee – literally The bottled cocktails that Anti:Dote offers are very the perfect combination of champagne, a Cosmopolitan generous portions, good for about five cocktails each. and a lychee martini…yum! I would definitely add this to The bottle fits nicely in the mini-bar too, if you don’t your list. knock it all back in one night. We were lucky to try three of their offerings and they were delicious. Some of the While all of us want SHN to go away, may this new ability tasters suggested adding milk to the Cold Brew Martini to get takeaway cocktails from Singapore’s best bars and having it for a midday boost. I added sliced apples continue on. Cheers! from that day’s lunch to the aptly named Apple of my Pie cocktail, which was slightly sweet and tangy. If I’d had cinnamon sugar in the room, I would have put it Lauren Raps is AWA's Bar Night Chair. on the rim of my glass. The Queen’s Favorite is not for She moved to Singapore in January 2021 the faint of heart – strong and bitter in the best way. with her husband and three boys. She is the President and Founder of Travel One taster saved some of hers to make sangria with Prospect, a full service leisure travel whatever fruit she received with breakfast. Super-fun planning company. and unique cocktails. 30

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

A WA Calendar

Need a break from festive planning? 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, Running group's holiday run Community Service, Photography Running group's holiday run

Christmas high tea Christmas elves at Gardens by the Bay

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


The Fork and Chopstick

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

Green Common

VivoCity, 1 HarbourFront Walk, #01-170, 098585 “I have seen the future” as the quote goes, or more accurately, I have tasted the future. Just the latest food craze? Possibly, but given the current focus on the environment and healthy, sustainable eating, vegan cuisine seems to be gaining in popularity. Green Common is a Hong Kong-based concept store and eatery specializing in plant-based food — the idea being to showcase vegan food alternatives and how they can be served. Saturday lunch chomp: The Szechuan "beef" appetizer emulated thin slices of beef stir-fried in a mala sauce, and it looked and tasted very authentic! Given our love of Spam, we tried something that used the OmniMeat luncheon meat served as part of a grain bowl called the Omni Charger ($18). This "power bowl" was appetizing, with a good array of vegetables along with the meat substitute and a balsamic dressing. The other dish that we tried was the laksa, which used Heura chicken ($13). Green Common demonstrates that the textures of these dishes do not get lost, even using a meat substitute. Hmm… would your favorite hawker be cooking laksa a few years from now with Heura chicken made from soy? In both Green Common dishes, the flavor and texture were pretty close to the real thing. We finished off the meal with a tasty & refreshing K-Pear Garden dessert of soft pear, melon and white fungus ($11). We couldn't help but wonder about the toddler who was enjoying his kid’s meal across the dining room with his

Interior of Green Common

parents. Will this be his new norm and will he know or even show preference for plant-based foods? We tasted the future and to be honest it wasn’t bad. Maybe that’s how we need to look at what the future holds for us! Digest this: the Good the Bad and the Ugly Clean eating of vegan dishes in a bright space, accented with colourful chairs and pillows. The service was friendly and efficient. The price point may be too expensive for the office crowd to enjoy lunch here on a regular basis. Some may find a few of the ingredients such as soybeans, grains, oats or nuts disagreeable to digestion. What Others Are Saying 4.2 stars on Google & 4.5 on Happy Cow (out of 5). “My family was impressed and enjoyed the food despite them not being vegan,” “Price may be on the high side,” “Food very nice, and good atmosphere - staff so friendly,” “We ordered the burger and the army stew. Both didn’t disappoint at all!” Honorable Mention, Further Afield Some other popular meatless restaurants are Elemen (Millenia Walk, Harbourfront Centre, PLQ Mall, and Great World City), The Living Cafe in Upper Bukit Timah, Joie at Orchard Central and The Kind Bowl on Killiney Road (Vietnamese vegetarian). Happy Chomping!

Mala "beef" appetizer, Omni charger and Laksa 32

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

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

Java Junkies

Quest for the perfect bean bY Liza Rowan

The Java Junkies are back! Unfortunately, only half the women we were! Remember those days when we could actually be in a group of eight? Nevertheless, the four of us plus our favorite host, Jonathan from Tiong Bahru Bakery, had such a fun afternoon at TBB’s latest outlet - Foothills@Fort Canning.

Cutting the French butter

The pastry counter

The location was once the River Valley Swimming Complex, one of the earliest public pools in Singapore. The two buildings now house TBB bakery used to be the shower areas. This heritage is beautifully reflected in the decor of the cafe with themed posters, signs and quirky artifacts placed within the store and grounds.

of fresh baking. They bake 5,000 croissants per day on weekdays and 8,000 on weekends! And if that isn’t enough, you can also take sourdough making classes whereby you’ll be provided with your own home baking kit. The Sourdough Academy offers beginner and immediate classes, whereby you use their 160-year-old starter kit and learn how to bake various types of breads. Sourdough croissants anyone? Which, by the way, are only offered at this particular outlet in a praline version. Tiong Bahru Bakery’s Foothills@Fort Canning is truly the perfect place to hang out with friends, bring your laptop and get creative, or simply sit and enjoy the serenity and calm over the best croissants, and arguably the best coffee, on the island. Want to know more? Join our Facebook group and sign up for our next outing!

Jenni Lee, Keri Matwick, Sandy Harford, Liza Rowan

When you’re done admiring the décor and furnishings, you can check out the bakery, which supplies all the seven outlets with their daily croissants, baguettes and more. Here you can watch the TBB "Viennoiserie" team in action making thousands of signature croissants by hand, while you indulge yourself in that homely aroma

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! AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021


All Nationalities

celebrating what makes us unique and what brings us together by Meg Farrell Sine and Jennifer Williams In 1915, Canadian army surgeon John McCrae wrote "In Flanders Fields" after the death of a close friend. McCrae himself did not survive the war. “In Flanders Fields wasn't intended as a poem of remembrance...It is a poem to keep fighting and that I think is often lost on people," says Tim Cook, the First World War historian at the Canadian War Museum to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"In Flanders Fields" was published 106 years ago and over time its meaning has evolved. "I think that's the power of the poem," says Cook. "The torch is no longer being passed to keep up the fight. It is now a torch of remembrance. It is the dead who now command the living in the post-war years that they must remember the fallen. And I think that's interesting that the words don't change, the poem remains the same, but its meaning has changed and it continues to reverberate."

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields The 1918 armistice of WWI declared a ceasefire at 11AM on the 11th day of the 11th month. Today, many countries (especially in the Commonwealth and Europe) pause at 11AM on November 11th for a minute of silence.

Answer to September/October question: A citizen of which country holds 4 Guiness World Records for eating chili peppers? 34

AWA Magazine Nov/Dec 2021

Canadian Mike Jack from London, Ontario

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 Nov/Dec 2021