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December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 3
Christmas – Charity
“But when you give to the poor or the needy, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3). This instruction can be read both the Bible and in the Koran (about Zakat -tithe).
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once carried out research in Al Samra, a big well-off village of mostly market traders, situated in the desert 40 kilometers from Khartoum, Sudan. One day I was invited or requested for lunch by the leadership, a group of three distinguished old men. We talked about how this community dealt with social- and family problems. Then I asked them: “But what do you do in this land of pride and honor if a family simply have no money, no means to buy cloth and the most basic foodstuff for the children”. The chairman answered: “We will discuss the situation openly, only us three, no other people, men or women or even children present. If the reason is for example serious illness or very bad luck we will help. From time to time we collect tithe from the well-off families. Now we will take some of this money, put them in a small pocket of cotton, and in the middle of the night one of us will place the money under the door to the house in trouble and give a little push so that the cotton pocket will land well inside. Then, when the family find the money next morning, the pocket is received as a blessing from Allah our Lord”. I could only accept the explanation but promised myself to check on the reality of this custom around where my work took me. I then realized that it was in fact a general practice and that it worked in all closely knitted communities but not much in Khartoum.
Allah donated, period? Then you can leave the case face value if you wish: Allah donated, period, but: Shortly before my departure from Sudan the three stoic old men invited me for lunch again. There I confessed my controlling their secret ‘money under the door’ method. They laughed with their faces all wrinkles. Then they ‘confessed’ too. The earthly rationale behind the method is of course to avoid trouble and fighting in the community; if you have an overdog (the donator) and an underdog (the receiver) and the handover of money is taking place in public, “you sow the seeds of hatred in the receiver’s hart, the hatred of the debt of gratitude. Furthermore the risk is that you make a haughty character out of the donator. A person believing so much in his own goodness, that he cannot see his own faults”. In his book: ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ George Orwell put it this way: “A man receiving charity practically always hates his benefactor – it is a fixed characteristic of human nature…”
Handbooks for decent living Both in the Bible and in the Koran there are so many wise commandments regarding how to live a fruitful life in decency - if you have a wish so to do of course - and both books are using both carrot and stick in order to get us to act accordingly. Matthew 6.1.2. is saying that if you publish your good deeds in the Synagogue and in the street you have got your reward already and can expect nothing more from the Almighty. This said and quoted it is up to every one of us to decide how we want to handle our crosscultural Giving here in Asia, not much doubt about the need. Cash transfer is quite easy, but for example transfer of technology and equipment cannot be done in anonymity, I suppose. I have seen this problem handled in Africa by engaging the excellent principle of joint venture aid. May your God be with you.
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Flemming Winther Nielsen is Senior Lecturer (retired) DSH. DK. M.Sc.soc. (Aalborg University). The author has working and research experience from the Sudan, Zambia, Portugal and Thailand. See also: Winther, Flemming (1986): ‘ALLAH’S VEJ - og vores’. Odense Universitetsbibliotek.
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8 Past Events 11 News Brief 14 Hyper Island in Singapore
Interview with Christina Andersson, Managing Director of Swedish learning institute Hyper Island By Maria Rita Skog
16 Friendship, freedom and trade 17
Report from the 9th ASEM Meeting in Vientiane, Laos By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
17 Interview with the Danish Prime Minister 18 Promoting Norwegian Seafood in Asia
By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
Interview with Christian Chramer, Regional Head of Norwegian Seafood Council By Joakim Persson
20 Jan Lund in the centre of Asia
Interview with Jan Lund, Danish journalist and vice president of Danish Business Association Singapore (DBAS) By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
22 How do you celebrate Christmas in Asia? 24 Let’s make Christmas Hearts together 25 A piece of Scandinavia in Singapore 26 Sudoku & Rice Porridge(Risengrød)
Seven prominent Scandinavians share their plans for Christmas this year
By Gregers Moller
Scandinavian Shoppe’s new location By Ulrika Forssel
recipe By Gregers Moller
PAssionArts Singing Festival Date:
3 November - 16 December 2012
From 3 November - 16 December 2012, there are mass sing-along sessions held at 15 locations across Singapore. Organised by the Community Arts and Culture Clubs in various constituencies in Singapore, the singing festival features local celebrities who are amongst residents to belt out songs after songs with participating residents. With a song list that includes some of the most popular songs from 1960s to current hit songs as our favourite Singapore songs, the PAssionArts Singing Festival 2012 will bring the joy of singing right into the heart of Singapore. For more information, visit www.passionarts.sg
Will you donate a bag of candy? Date:
17 December 2012
Swedish Women Education Association (SWEA) in Singapore is arranging a Christmas party for 200 homeless people in Singapore. SWEA will be in charge of the “fishing pond” (approximately 130 bags of candy), decorations and ‘santas little helpers’ figurines. SWEA’s members and 2 ‘santas helpers’ will be present throughout the evening. If you would like to take part and make a child happy, you can donate a bag of candy which costs SGD 4 each. For more information, contact www.swea.org/singapore
Crazy Christmas 2012 Date: 28 November – 9 December 2012 Location: Esplanade Theatre Starring Selena Tan, Adrian Pang, George Chan, Robin Goh, Karen Tan, Judee Tan, Michaela Therese, Vocaluptuous, Hossan Leong and Kumar, Crazy Christmas is an annual event featuring a big band and a bevy of dancing girls. This year’s Crazy Christmas features “Silver screen meets silver bells”. The event gets bigger and brighter than the previous years as the performers include Singapore’s finest entertainers together with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and good ole’ Charlie Chaplin, who will bring you song, dance, laughter and love. The duration is one hour and 30 minutes. For more information, contact www.esplanade.com
Movies under the North Star Date: 29 December 2012 at 7.30pm – 9.30pm Location: Tampines North Tampines Street 43, between Blocks 481 and 482 It’s time to get romantic! Taking place every last Saturday of the month, the next ‘Movies under the North Stat’ will be held on December 29. Interested people can grab a picnic baskets & mats, take your date or family and head down to the cosy neighbourhood of Tampines North and enjoy a night out watching popular movies under the Northern Star. For more information, visit www.whatshappenning.sg
Thai Transience exhibition Date: 26 October 2012 – 6 January 2013 Location: Singapore Art Museum The exhibition showcases paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, videos and performances by leading Thai artists. Inspiration behind these pieces are drawn from traditional artefacts and art objects from local museums and religious sites within Thailand, showing how Thai contemporary artists continue to create new expressions responding to their heritage and faith. A selection of these artefacts will be featured alongside new contemporary artworks in this exhibition. Thai Transience is part of the Thai CulturalFest organised by the National Heritage Board. For more information, visit www.singaporeartmuseum.sg
NBAS’s Annual Seafood Dinner 2013 Date: 8 March 2013 Location: Raffles City Convention Centre, Fairmont Ballroom Fee: Member: SGD 3,000 Non-member: N/A The annual Norwegian seafood dinner will be held for the Norwegian Business Association (Singapore) members in March 2013. It’s SGD 3,000 per person. Invitations will be sent out in January 2013. For more information, visit www.nbas.org.sg
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 7
Allan Olsen performs at Danish Church in Singapore
n 13 October 2012, approximately 140 Scandinavians in Singapore gathered at the Danish Seaman’s Church to enjoy the performance by Danish Folk rock musician and singer-songwriter Allan Olsen. The evening featured good food, cozy atmosphere around a delicious Greek buffet. Alone on the stage with his guitar, Allan Olsen took the audience on a journey back to Denmark (perhaps mainly the Jutland part that most Danes know so well). It was a nice warm evening where participants enjoyed good food and good music in a relaxing atmosphere.
Ladies Night with Georg Jensen
U DÉ TA has lifted up the profile of ladies night in Singapore to a whole new level with their Diamond Life theme event on 19 September 2012. KU DÉ TA is where some of the most glamorous events are held. Its club lounge is all about luxury, high fashion, lifestyle and glamour. Ladies night takes place here every Wednesday. However, it was extra special on Wednesday 19 November where Danish Georg Jensen took part and invited approximately 100 VIPs of its own existing clients to this exclusive event. The ladies were treated to a night of free flow Lychee Martinis in a private VIP area of KU DÉ TA and had the chance to take home an iconic Vivianna Oval diamond watch – the lucky winner was Ms. Peiyi Nguee.
8 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
Student reception at the Swedish residence
r. Ingemar Dolfe, the Swedish ambassador to Singapore, has recently hosted a BBQ-evening at the Swedish Residence for over 100 Singaporeans who are former exchange students to Sweden. During the BBQ-evening, the enthusiastic students shared their positive experiences from their stay in Sweden. The ambassador pointed out that Singaporean students’ knowledge and relationship to Sweden contribute to strengthening the close ties between the two countries. The ambassador also informed the students that the Embassy recently created a database for Sweden Alumni called ‘Swedish Alumni Database Singapore’. The database provides an opportunity for Singaporean students studying in Sweden, including past and future, to maintain a close link to Sweden. The purpose of the database is to create a network for Swedish Alumni in Singapore. Every year close to 400 Singaporeans go to different universities all over Sweden on exchange programs to study various subjects, ranging from medicine to business. Sweden is, after UK, the most popular destination in Europe for Singaporean exchange students. The Embassy also provided the students with information about Swedish companies operating in Singapore, employing more than 7,000 people. The students showed a great interest in the presence of Swedish companies in Singapore.
Norwegian ambassador talks on ‘China under new leadership’
he Norwegian Business Association in Singapore invited Norwegian Ambassador to Singapore H.E. Tormod C. Endresen to their Luncheon on 8 November 2012 at Raffles Hotel, East India Room. The ambassador held an interesting talk on the topic “China under new leadership – choices and consequences”. The Luncheon gathered 75 guests, the highest recorded number of attendees. Prior to his post in Singapore, Mr. Endressen was Consul General in Guangzhou, China. Previously, he served at Norway’s Mission to the United Nations in New York, in the Foreign Minister’s Secretariat and as Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo. A lawyer by education, he has also worked at Wiersholm law firm in Oslo.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 9
Danish Christmas Bazaar
t was wonderful to see how many found their way to the Danish Christmas Bazaar at the Danish Seamen’s Church on 24 November 2012. Danish families and friends gathered to celebrate Christmas in a traditional Danish Christmas style together. Danish food and various activities were available for participants to enjoy. Over two days more than 1,500 visitors showed up. Thanks to the many visitors and more than 50 dedicated volunteers, this year’s bazaar was a great success and another milestone was reached.
10 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
Singapore and Norway affirm bilateral ties
orway’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide visited Singapore in November. During his visit, he met with his Singaporean counterpart K Shanmugam on 7 November 2012 to affirm the two nations’ strong bonds. Singapore and Norway have reaffirmed bilateral ties and the close cooperation shared between the two countries, reports ChannelNewsAsia.com. Both countries have good cooperation in areas such as politics, economy and the maritime sectors. The Singapore Foreign Ministry said the two ministers welcomed opportunities to further explore bilateral collaboration. They exchanged views and discussed developments in Europe, Asia and ASEAN. The ministers also talked about leadership transition in China and the US presidential election.
Singaporean transmedia business reality format sold to Finland
omanbridge Media Singapore introduces Angel’s Gate, the world’s first transmedia business reality format, to Finland. The Singaporean company has signed a deal with Finland’s leading crossmedia production company Intervisio for Angel’s Gate, a business reality format that combines a television program with crowd funding and possibility to obtain venture capital. Leveraging Intervisio’s speciality of combining cross-media platforms such as TV, online and mobile communities, Bomanbridge will introduce Angel’s Gate to Finland where the production is expected to begin in early 2013.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 11
Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg visits Singapore
r. Anders Borg, the Swedish Minister of Finance, visited Singapore in October. During the one-day visit, he met with Singapore’s Deputy Minister and Minister of Finance Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam and representatives from Singapore’s finance sector to discuss the economic situation in Singapore, Asia and Europe. Swedish Minister Anders Borg had fruitful discussions on a wide range of issues with Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The strong and close bilateral relations in many areas were highlighted. Singapore is Sweden’s largest export market in Southeast Asia, and most Swedish companies use Singapore as a regional hub. The program also consisted of meetings with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the East Asian Institute, and representatives from the banking and financial sector in Singapore. In the evening, the Swedish Ambassador Ingemar Dolfe hosted a dinner for Finance Minister Anders Borg at the Swedish Residence.
Norwegian eyewear Digby Duke opens online store in Singapore
nnovative eyewear company Digby Duke expands into Asia Pacific with the first online shopping site in Singapore. Less than a year since it appeared on the international retail eyewear landscape, Digby Duke Eyewear has increased its international footprint by opening an online store in Singapore. “Singaporeans are real connoisseurs when it comes to eyewear so we hope they will also fall in love with Digby Duke’s modern, feather light glasses with thin high index lenses,” said Norena Jansen, CEO and co-founder of Digby Duke. The orders, together with the eye-prescription details, are sent directly from the Digby Duke website to its optical lab, where the glasses are assembled and inspected for quality before they are shipped directly to customers. Digby Duke, which designs and distributes eyewear frames and prescription glasses, has offices in Norway and the US.
SIA to increase weekly flights to Copenhagen
ingapore Airlines (SIA) is increasing its flight frequencies between Singapore and Copenhagen from three to five times weekly from March 31 next year, reports Business Traveller. According to SIA, it can do this now because the joint venture it agreed with SAS, signed in May this year, has been given final regulatory approval. “We have wanted to increase services to Scandinavia for some time and our partnership with SAS enables us to do this,” said Nicholas Ionides, vice president of public affairs at SIA. “There is good demand for both business class and economy class travel on the Singapore to Copenhagen route.” Ionides added that both Singapore and Copenhagen served as hubs for onward connections, as well as point-to-point travel destinations. Several airlines have sought to develop Scandinavian cities as hubs for flights to and from Asia because flying over the top of the globe provides shorter travelling times. In October JAL announced it was starting flights to Helsinki next year in order to offer shorter trips to major cities in Europe. Ionides added that the airline would also explore new routes between Scandinavia and Singapore subject to market conditions. 12 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
Singapore’s minister calls Nordic preschool a useful concept
Spar 5 % på billeje i Danmark
- og få et sæ t fyrfads stager
inister of State for Social and Family Development, Halimah Yacob, spoke about her recent trip to Finland and Sweden to the media on the sidelines of a community in Jurong on 11 November 2012. She highlighted the preschool education system in both countries. She said that both childcare and education are delivered in a holistic and child-centric way in both countries, and she noted that the preschools focus a great deal on play while integrating concepts like numeracy, literacy and ethics. “Some insights are really useful. For instance, the transition from preschool to compulsory education in both countries starts at the age of seven. The transition is quite smooth in the sense that there is a lot of coordination between curriculums of the preschool and the primary school. “In Finland, in order to ensure that transition, the preschool education for six-year-old preschoolers is located in primary school itself. “But although it is located in the primary school, in the case of Sweden, the people who teach the six-year-olds are still the preschool teachers. But they are in the school because they want the kids to get the feel that they are transitioning from preschool education to compulsory education. That I think is a useful concept, a really useful idea in terms of how you can enhance the quality of preschool education.”
Avis i Danmark tilbyder altid billige priser på billeje. Lige nu sparer du endda yderligere 5 % – og på udvalgte stationer får du også et sæt fyrfadsstager fra Royal Copenhagen med i købet.
Bestil på www.avis.dk/homeleave
B a g s væ r d k o s t s k o l e gymnasium tid til talent
Danish Prime Minister meets Singaporean colleague
Bagsværd kostskole & gymnasium (Bk) er en udviklingsorienteret og traditionsrig skole grundlagt i 1908. elever, der vælger en uddannelse hos os, siger ja til fællesskab, faglighed, seriøsitet og individuel talentudvikling. det vi på Bagsværd kostskole & gymnasium kalder for: tid til talent. vi tilbyder: • • • • • • •
dansk uddannelse med et internationalt præg grundskole, 10. kl., studentereksamen (stX) danmarks første femårig Biotek-uddannelse 8.kl.-3.g sport- og talentklasse fra 7. kl. mulighed for morgentræning tirsdage og torsdage aktiv brug af it og internet i undervisningen enkeltværelser til kostelever, lektiehjælp hver dag
n 5 November 2012, Danish Prime Minister Helle ThorningSchmidt met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien-Loong on the sideline of the Asem summit in Laos. “Meeting with Asian leaders is even more important in time of crisis,” says the Danish Prime Minister. “Asia has growth while Europe is in recession and that makes the discussions between Asia and Europe more important than ever.” “Europe and Asia need closer relationships to exploit the economic possibilities,” she adds.
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December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 13
Hyper Island in Si
Swedish learning institute within leadership, innovation and digital media “Hyper Island” has recently opened in Singapore. By Maria Rita Skog Photos by Daniel Persson, Flowpix pte Ltd.
14 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
wedish learning institute Hyper Island, successfully held its first ‘Open Day’ on Saturday 17 November 2012, after opening the Singapore Campus in October. After being nicknamed the “digital Harvard”, Managing Director Christina Andersson says the journey towards the opening has been successful since getting the offices this year. “We’re here because this region is bubbling with creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit, and that is exactly what the Hyper Island is all about,” she says. According to Andersson, Hyper Island has come to understand the benefits of Singapore’s location, its educational infrastructure, its talent and collective aspiration to achieve its full potential, whether as an individual, industry, city or nation. Hyper Island is also in Singapore to learn from this culture and its
market place to truly understand the profound societal changes across Asia. Applications are being made online and potential future students call and email Hyper Island frequently, wanting to know about the programs. “We will start with our Specialist Diploma Interactive Art Director program in March next year. It is one of our most popular programs running in Stockholm,” says Andersson. After its big open day on the November 17, over a hundred visitors showed interest in Hyper Island. The Next Open Day will be Saturday January 12. “We had one of our App Makers Cafe events running throughout the event to show people how we do things instead of just telling them about it. We like people to experience Hyper Island” says Andersson. She informs ScandAsia that the students applying to Hyper Island are mainly between 20 and 35 years
old, with a passion for innovation and creativity and who really wish to excel in the communications industry. “We look for potential in everyone who applies. People will ideally be very self-motivated go-getting; who really want to understand digital and what it means for individuals and the whole of society,” says Andersson.
The Swedishness Founded in Sweden in 1996, Hyper Island started off with one campus in Karlskrona, and has since grown internationally the last 17 years. Following Karlskrona, Hyper Island is today located in Stockholm, Manchester, New York and now Singapore. “We are very proud of our Swedish heritage. So much that we actually say we are a Swedish global company. It runs through everything that we do, from the brand to the meth-
odology, to how we work together and with our students and clients, to how we set up the organisation. How we work together is rather a Swedish way compared with how Singaporean companies and schools are - we bring quite a Swedish mindset to education and work culture,” says Andersson. Feedback given at the Open Day on November 17 showed that people are excited about Hyper Island’s opening in Singapore. They expressed that they have been waiting for something different in this educational space. “I think they are very interested in the different ways of learning. There are obviously some great universities but Hyper Island is here to offer something different,” says Andersson. The Swedish Higher Educational Institution in Singapore can also benefit the island’s workforce.
“We are catching the attention of employers and they cannot wait, they want to get our students even more. At the moment there is a lack of people with digital knowledge, hence why Hyper Island is here,” she says. Singapore is a destination known for its technology courses, design and business schools, but Andersson believes that Hyper Island operates differently. “Our methodology at Hyper Island is ‘learning by doing’. This means that our students work with live briefs from the industry and develop campaigns and ideas with advertising agencies and their clients” says Andersson.
Hyper Island 2013 Hyper Island will start next year with their first Specialist Diploma Interactive Art Director program. The school also aims to launch two
master’s programs in digital and media management, both part-time and full-time. Hyper Island also plans to offer executives education and developments within corporate organizations that work with business transformation in a digital world. As an educational institution, Hyper Island focuses on industry needs, meaning that their programs adapt and change according to the developments in the communications industry. By doing this, students are more likely to have knowledge that is relevant and up to date. Hyper Island creates intensive, short and long courses within experiential environments for both individuals and organisations. For industry professionals and those seeking a career change, Hyper Island will start its classes in March 2013 at its premises on Alexandra Road.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 15
Friendship, freedom and trade While most Scandinavian media had their eyes on the American presidential election, European and Asian leaders gathered in Vientiane in Laos for the 9th Asem Summit on 5 - 6 November 2012. By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
or two days Vientiane, the otherwise relaxed capital of Laos, was hosting 11 head of states and 21 heads of government plus ministers, ambassadors and representatives of the press from all parts of the world. The occasion was the 9th Asem summit. Daily life was put on hold, schools and businesses were closed, while conveys of limousines with police escorts drove through streets closed for other traffic. A new 24,900sqm Convention Centre (ICC), funded by the Chinese government with a price tag of 450 million Yang (USD 80 million), has been built for the summit. The Wattay International Airport has been enlarged and 50 luxury villas have been built on the riverbanks of Mekong to accommodate the Asian and European leaders. 102 families have been moved to make space for the Lao and Chinese joint venture which has built the 50 villas as the first step in a USD 180-million plan expected to be completed by 2021.
Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt
First Chinese - Norwegian contact in two years For Norway and Stoltenberg the 9th Asem summit was a debut. In his speech at the opening ceremony, Stoltenberg praised Asia as a driving force in global economy and underlined Norway’s confidence in the Asian economies by mention, that the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund has invested about 80 billion US dollars in Asian equities and fixed income holdings. Stoltenberg used the summit to meet with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. A meeting which made headline in many media as it was the first official contact between China and Norway in two years. Norway has been put ice by China since the pro-democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded with the Nobel Peace Price in 2010. Stoltenberg also met with the Philippine’s President Benigno S. Aquino. Aquino informed Stoltenberg of the recent signing of the 2012 Framework Agreement on
A new Convention Centre (ICC), funded by the Chinese government 16 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
the Bangsamoro. They furthermore tackled the strengthening of bilateral maritime and labour cooperation. Stoltenberg also met with Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and with Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. At the meeting with Najib, Stoltenberg offered to deliver Norwegian missiles for Royal Malaysian Navy and to provide Malaysia with the latest technology in oil and gas drilling. The Thai Prime Minister and Stoltenberg talked about resuming the negotiation on a free trade agreement between EFTA (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) and Thailand.
wish to promote mutual ties after a six years hiatus (since the military coup in 2006) of high-level discussions. When meeting with Thein Sein, President of Myanmar, Katainen expressed Finland’s interest in discussing ways of enhancing cooperation, developing the activities of civil society and increasing democratic dialogue in Myanmar. “Based on our own experience, I underlined that inclusive and open education is a key element of a well-functioning, modern society respecting human rights,” said Prime Minister Katainen in Laos.
Education key to modern society
Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt is a veteran in Asian – European cooperation. The 9th summit in Laos was Carl Bildt’s 5th Summit. Rather unconventional Bildt had chosen to make freedom of the internet to his main agenda at the summit. “Sweden raised the issue of internet freedom and security. Internet freedom has received increasing attention and becoming a topic of discussion in a number of Asian countries. That’s why we believe it is important to put these issues on the agenda,” says Mr. Bildt Carl Bildt has previously mentioned Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand as countries that have more or less elaborate restrictions to the freedom of and the freedom on the net and named China among the world leaders in the area of controlling and restricting the internet. Before Bildt left Vientiane he visited the Scandinavian Bakery and being a diligent twitter he posted a recommendation: “Next time you pass by Vientiane, don’t miss the Scandinavian Bakery!”
The Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen had two busy days in Vientiane. On the sideline he met with Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Thein Sein, President of Myanmar. South Korea and Finland signed a preliminary deal in May in Finland to expand cooperation in the nuclear energy field and the two PMs used the occasion to discourse further cooperation. Dung and Katainen talked about strengthen the ties of friendship, trade and economic cooperation. Furthermore, they agreed to organize activities to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Finland next year. The Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra assured Katainen of Thailand’s political and economic stability. Both PMs expressed their
Interview with the Danish Prime Minister In an exclusive interview with ScandAsia the Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt tells about her visit to Myanmar and her agenda at the Asem summit. By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
What have been the main issue of your speeches at the summit? I have talked about education. I have been appointed as education Champion by the UN and believe that Asia and Europe jointly can do a lot to improve education. Then I have talked about economy, especially green economy,
where I drew the attention to the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) which we established together with Korea, proving that just two countries bilateral can create something that can have a huge impact on green economy. And finally I have talked about piracy. It is an issue where both Europe and Asia have large interest.
Piracy impede our trading but most importantly it causes human disaster for the victims, so I have raised the issue as a theme of common interest.
You met with Lee Hsien Loong, Singaporean Prime Minister yesterday. What was the theme of your meeting? An increasing partnership and cooperation with Singapore. Both Singapore and Denmark are trading nations and maritime nations, so we have a lot in common and a lot we can achieve together. We recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate on maritime issues with Singapore. I used the occasion to confirm that Denmark are dedicated to cooperation with Singapore and to tell that Denmark strongly supports a free trade agreement between Singapore and EU and a agreement had priority in our presidency of the EU.
Later today you are meeting with Myanmar President U Thein Sein. What is the headline for the meeting? I visited Myanmar before going to the Asem summit, but we didn’t have time for meeting while I was in Myanmar. Now fortunately we meet here. My message is simple: We recognize the political changes towards democracy in Myanmar and are prepared for next steep in our cooperation with Myanmar. Myanmar should know that they can count on Denmark and that we will be present in Myanmar. That’s why we have opened a small diplomatic mission in Myanmar and I visited the country two days ago being the first Danish Prime Minister to visit the country.
You inaugurated the mission together with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Sunday. Why did Denmark choose to open a joint mission with Norway?
It’s quite natural for the Nordic countries to work together on a mission like this. We have discussed joint mission in the Nordic Council and agreed on more joint diplomatic missions. The Nordic countries have a lot in common and share views on many subject. We disagree on very few issues, so it makes sense to join with Norway on representation in Myanmar and if the Swedes want to join they will be very welcome as well.
Even Myanmar has made great progress towards democracy, there still are huge unsolved problems concerning human rights as the persecution of the Rohingyas. Do you intend to raise the Rohingya issue at the meeting with the Myanmar President? I have raised the issue when speaking with Myanmar’s ministers and also when speaking with Aung San Suu Kyi. It is an issue that concerns those I have talked with as well as it concerns us. We have to use dialogue to constantly push the development of human rights, freedom of press and the protection of minorities.
Europe is hit by crisis and we want to develop our relations with Asia, which still has growth, but opposite China and to some degree Japan we also want to interfere with the way they govern their countries. Does our desire to interfere harm the Danish business community? No it doesn’t. Having educational and cultural relations as well as political dialogue and trade and business relation is all part of a circle where the various relationships strengthen the overall relationship. By having a wide variety of relationships with a country, it becomes much easier to explain our views.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 17
Promoting Norwegian Seafood in Asia Norwegian seafood - in particular salmon - has seen massive growth over many consecutive years. From Bali to Beijing, Norway is practically synonymous with seafood. By Joakim Persson
hristian Chramer is since 2011 head of the Norwegian Seafood Council in South-East Asia, where the brand is already well established. This job was previously a part time position within NSC but since it was turned into full time job, NSC has increased the budget for market development in this region from 2 million in 2012 to a total of 7 million NOK in 2013.” Christian will remain as the regional director for NSC in SEA until the summer of 2014.
Singapore is special To cover his area, Christian travels a lot within Asia, but is very happy with having Singapore as his home base. “It’s a fantastic place to be – for many reasons. In many ways it’s a hub – and very important for the food service sector. The tourism role in Singapore, with 13 million tourists coming into Singapore every year, of course gives this market a special flavour when it comes to how the food service sector is developing. So this is very much a showcase for how things can be developed in different markets in the future. That could be Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta or Taipei. “Singapore is special because here you have a strong food service sector, estimated to take up 70 per cent of the salmon coming to Singapore from Norway.” 18 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
Fresh seafood is the segment where we can make a difference and supply the market while our competitors will have trouble doing the same.
“You have a tremendous growth in both fine dining, Japanese sushi and sashimi restaurants, international cuisine being very strong here and also you see an influx from Singapore in the whole region when it comes to trends and also the way people work in professional kitchens. We see Singapore as a very important educational platform – there are many strong chef schools in Singapore that educate for the whole region. So by working with young chefs we create seafood and salmon ambassadors for Norway for generations to come!” Norwegian Salmon exports to Asia show steady growth. The volume in October topped 12,000 tonnes of which 5000 tons were sold to Singapore. Marketing research is the most important thing NSC can do in Singapore, according to Christian, and pushing salmon even higher up on the seafood ladder. That translates into working deeply together with major retailers like Cold Storage on promotions, PR, marketing and other activities to build the sales and longterm commitment to the consumers. Sushi and sashimi is also a strong trend in this region, just as throughout the world, where red salmon is often served. “Fresh seafood is the segment where we can make a difference and supply the market while our competitors will have trouble doing the same,” he says
Search for perfection Christan Chramer has a background as an officer and information officer in the Norwegian army but he sees more similarities than differences when comparing his job in the army with his current job with NSC. “Especially the professional mindset of people involved in the seafood industry remind me of my previous job in the army. I’m very proud to see how we all strive for perfection and want to do our very best.” “And seafood is so important to Norway as a country and Norwegians as a whole. I feel seafood is gaining attention in many areas of Norway’s public life and that
my colleagues in the company and the people of the industry are really focusing on producing the best possible seafood for the large world community.” “We sell seafood to 150 different countries so we provide food to enormous amounts of people, which must be safe, healthy and fresh in many instances. And it must be made in the way people would like to have it and available when people would like to consume.” Social media and CSR are also among Christian’s professional interests. NSC effectively uses social media for, among other things, corporate communication (recently blogg.seafood.no was also launched) and issues management (it has been the driver in their internal, online Crisis wiki that allows communication in real time in one shared workspace across their 14 global locations.)
Sustainability efforts “As the world leader both in standards, technology and volume it should not be surprising that aquaculture in Norway is followed closely by both media, consumers and NGO’s/ ENGO’s. In my opinion we address this in the way critical questions are best addressed: By openness, transparency and dialogue,” comments Christian. He says that NSC enjoys a very good and open dialogue with WWF Norway and other ENGO’s such as Bellona. “We have an on-going cooperation with WWF to meet on a regular basis to discuss any critical questions and to see how we can work harder to promote sustainable seafood and what we can do as in industry player. I sincerely believe that we are doing a fair share on that and will be doing even more in the future.” “Norwegian seafood farming practices and status is very transparent with data on undesirables, use of antibiotics, escapes from sea farms etc. available to the all online.” Escapes from sea farms where down to 30 000 in 2012, which is the lowest figure ever compared to a peak of 921 000 in 2006.
Salmon lice and escapes are key environmental challenges, concerning issues of genetics, ecology and the risk of spreading disease, which has a negative impact on the industry’s image, according to the Norwegian Ministry Of Fisheries And Costal Affairs.
Good environmental conditions a precondition NSC’s ‘Strategy for an Environmentally Sustainable Norwegian Aquaculture Industry’ shows that Norway is taking these issues very seriously. This strategy forms the plan for many actions being taken, and future goals. In 2004, Norway became the first country in the world to introduce a scheme laying down requirements and a technical standard for aquaculture (NYTEK) to ensure farming conducted on environmentally responsible lines. Furthermore, in 2007 Norway decided to set up of a total of 52 national salmon watercourses and 29 national salmon fjords, with stricter regimes for aquaculture to be applied for the sake of the wild salmon. Such areas enjoy special protection under the Aquaculture Act. The greatest potential for growth is in the farming of salmon, cod and shellfish and where eco-friendly, sustainable production is a precondition for long-term development and growth, according to the ministry. It also points to a self-interest form the fish farmers in maintaining good water quality and avoiding any negative impact on their surroundings: The aquaculture industry depends on good environmental conditions and water quality. Norway has depended on a combination of strict health regulations, close safety monitoring and continuous work to develop the industry, writes NSC. While in the past, there were concerns about aquaculture’s impact on the environment advancements have eliminated many of those objections. For example, every farm must be licensed and operated in an environmentally appropriate location.
Also, use of antibiotics is no longer an issue whereas 15 years ago it was widespread, according to Christian. “It is something that sticks to the industry as a perception of salmon. We give all the small juvenile fishes a vaccine against all the known diseases that it can catch throughout the life cycle.” “The volumes have grown substantially at the same time as the use of antibiotics are reduced by 99 % from the levels of 1987,” Christian comments the latest figure (a total of 905 kilos) from the Norwegian veterinarian institute.
Certification and green concessions The continued success of the Norwegian seafood industry is dependent on meeting and exceeding international food-safety demands. So Norway also has the highest number of third party eco certifications via KRAV, Friends of The Sea, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) etc. The NSC runs a programme and works with partners to transform the world’s seafood markets and promote sustainable fishing practices. “We have to be present on many different arenas but we are very strong on eco certification and I really believe that it is part of the positioning that we will see for seafood from Norway,” says Christian. Global standards for aquaculture are also in the pipeline where Norwegian companies have been closely involved in the process. For organic salmon production there are already several companies in Norway selling organic labelled fish. Norway’s government has recently also proposed the allocation of 45 new green salmon concessions in 2013 of which 35 means switching to the new green version. This is a very positive signal about continuous development in the right direction regarding the production of the world’s best seafood products under the strictest aquaculture legislation in the world,” comments Christian.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 19
Jan Lund “T in the centre of Asia The list seems endless when Danish journalist Jan Lund explains why he chose to settle in Singapore. By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
o me Singapore is the centre of Asia. All cultures are represented here; its centre of economics; some very exciting think tanks are based here; Changi Airport gives easy access to all Asian cities; Singapore has a special knowledge based on everything that takes place not just in the region but globally; the weather is nice 30 degrees every day of the year; everybody speaks English and it is a global city. I love global cities. Note I have worked in New York, Tokyo, New Delhi and London. I feel at home in global cities.” The list seems endless when Jan Lund is asked why he chose Singapore as his new home. It is quite obvious that he loves the vibrant life of Singapore. At the age of 57 Jan decided to quit his job as foreign editor at Jyllands-Posten, the largest newspaper in Denmark, and moved to Singapore to be self-employed waving goodbye to fixed wages and safety net. “I had being an employed person for 35 years and had to face that I was becoming an elderly gent with maybe only 10 years left as journalist. So if I wanted to try something else, it had to be before the wheelchair suddenly appeared next to me as the proper means of transport.”
Asia makes sense
Jan Lund Born 1949 1969 1972 1973 1976 1983 1984 1987 1992 1994
Journalist trainee at Vestkysten Graduated as Journalist Went to India on the hippie trail over land Sport journalist at Ritzau Awarded sport journalist of the year Sport journalist at Berlingske Sport journalist at Jyllandsposten (JP) Culture journalist at JP Foreign correspondent New York JP
20 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
Jan had been back in Denmark for little less than three years, when he decided to move to Singapore. Before his return to Denmark, he had been foreign correspondent for ten years, seven of them in Asia, and he felt disconnected from the world at his editor desk. He realized he was losing his basic knowledge of what is going on in the world and losing his global network The dynamics and pragmatism in Asia are two subjects that Jan keeps returning to when telling about his love for Asia. A favourite example is Singapore’s way to tackle the crisis in 2008. According to Singapore law, a state budget with a deficit is only possible if the government obtains the President’s approval, otherwise it is illegal for the government to spend more money than they have. When the crisis hit, Singapore decided, even before Lehmann Brothers went bankrupt, to launch a number of major programs to mitigate the impact of the looming crisis, resulting in first and so far only presidential approved deficit in Singapore’s history.
“They don’t have the same ideological inhibitions as we have in the western world. The fact that they are able to change perspective, if the development requires it, makes it possible for them react much faster than we in the Western world are able to.”
No new stupid government Jan describes the development of Singapore as a society constantly moving forward and planning its development decades ahead. “Singapore has moved from providing basic needs as food and clothes for its citizens, to work and infrastructure and is now investing massively in culture. It is that energy and drive I finds amazing and unique for Asia. I love it. It gives such a kick to everyday life.” He believes that it is the political stability that has made Singapore’s long-term planning possible. There has been no risk that “a new stupid government” suddenly would get elected and change the planning. Since the independence in 1965 People’s Action Party (PAP) has ruled Singapore. That’s 47 years in power. But times are maybe changing. At last election PAP “only” got 60 percent of the votes. “The government perceived the result as a huge defeat and it raised much soul-searching in PAP, which saw the result as a sign, that they had not paid enough attention to the people and listened to its wishes.”
Asia-light Although Jan is much more comfortable in Singapore than he is at home, he considers himself a Dane not a Singaporean. “I am an expat. That puts some limitations on how integrated I can be. I am a member of the local cricket club and I sometimes pop down to watch the Singaporean football teams play, but I can’t vote or take part in politics.” He is an active part of the Danish community in Singapore. He is vice-president in Danish Business Association of Singapore, member of the local VL-group (Danish management network) and representative of Danes worldwide in Singapore. “Danes worldwide is not as important here as it is for example in Tokyo. Everything is very easy in Singapore. You might call Singapore Asia-light. But if some Danes need help to settle I don’t mind helping.”
The private Jan Lund Despite Jan’s career and travelling, he has been able to have a family
and be a father. He has a lovely wife and grown up kids back home in Denmark, he tells. They have been with him at some of his postings. It has depended on the circumstances. His approach to family is the same as to any other issue in his life: You have to be flexible, pragmatic. If things aren’t going your way, then move, try something else. And if the family isn’t happy being where Jan has chosen to be, it is better to find a solution that pleases everyone, even if the consequence is that the family lives separated.
You need to invent to survive Jan doesn’t consider himself a journalist anymore. He doesn’t write regular news articles. He writes a weekly column for Jyllands Posten and columns for the Danish Embassy’s newsletter. Actually he does all kinds of media work. He produces books and magazines and recently he became stringer for Deutsche Presseagentur. Occasionally he also gets assignments from firms and he gives lectures both in Asia and back home in Denmark. To survive as a self-employed, Jan believes, you constantly have to invent new initiatives. Dabs’ magazine Danbiz is one of his inventions. He suggested it to Dabs before he became a member of the board. Among other new initiatives he takes part in is the newsletter of the Danish Embassy. It was originally established by Jørgen Ørstrøm Møller in 1997, when he was Danish Ambassador, but had subsequently been downsized and in danger of being shut down, when Jan decided to get involved. “You have to invent your own original media concept to survive. Media change all the time and you have to find those niches where you can make a living.”
A black hole society Personal responsibility is a key-word for Jan. That’s why being self-employed in a society as the Singaporean suits him so well. “In Denmark no one has responsibility for anything. Here you have to be in charge of everything yourself.” Personal responsibility doesn’t imply a society without solidarity, cohesion and common identity, Jan emphasizes. “In Denmark we have parked our responsibility, our independence, our obligations and our solidarity in a box named The State, and as a black hole everything disappears in that box.”
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 21
How do you celebrate in Asia?
ScandAsia has asked seven prominent Scandinavians living in Asia how they plan to celebrate Christmas this year - and how they usually celebrate Christmas in Asia.
t is common for Nordic expats to have bad memories of their first Christmas in Asia. The special Christmas mood was not there. The calendar said 24 December, but the temperature and everything screams anything but Christmas. As time goes, most find ways to adjust their Christmas expectations to Asia and actually create new Christmas mood triggers. ScandAsia has asked seven prominent Scandinavians living in Asia how they plan to celebrate Christmas this year - and how they usually celebrate Christmas in Asia. Enjoy the reading. “God Jul!”
Multicultural Christmas – Divide and Conquer
Christian Overgaard is Chairman of Danish Chamber of Commerce in China (DCCC) Shanghai & SVP and Global Head of Heat Exchanger Business Danfoss. He has been living in Asia for over 10 years. He tells ScandAsia that he initially held home country Christmas family values and went to Denmark with his Chinese wife and two children. However, over the years, they now prefer the big family tour over summer in Denmark since the weather is better for them. Christian says that his wife’s family originates from the South of China and therefore gravitates towards Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai. “We have been several times to the theme parks “Splendid China” and “Window of the world” in
Shenzhen among family friends. Other years in between, we spend Christmas in Bali, Singapore, and so on,” he says. Christian’s daughter likes the Danish Christmas tradition and food, so last year she went with him while his wife, son (he prefers Chinese food) and parents-in-law went to a Zhuhai Spa place for relaxing time with grandmother. “In China, Christmas planning always combines with Spring Festival planning - and lately also skiing planning for our family,” he says. This year they will again ‘divide and conquer’ due to his busy work schedule, but they will start the festive season with some family skiing in November/December. “For Christmas, my wife will go to the ancestral town of Chao Zhou with children and parents-inlaw for a week before I join them in Hong Kong. We have many friends in Hong Kong and like the Disney Land which is not too big for children aged 6-8 years,” says Christian. “Finally, for a family like ours Hong Kong always reminds us of the place where “East blends with West” in true yin-yang style - and that has probably become part of our multi-cultural Christmas values!” he adds.
Christmas in the air Axel Blom and his wife “Jak” will on Christmas Eve be on a plane on their way back from a meeting in Oslo. “It is not our dream solution,” Axel Blom admits. “But this year, it just cannot be helped.” Axel Blom, who is President of the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce and long- time resident of Thailand, usually alternates between celebrating Christmas in Bangkok or in Scandinavia, which means either Norway or Denmark. “When in Bangkok, we always celebrate Christmas Eve with a dinner with some friends. I am myself in charge of the roast crispy pork with brown potatos,” says Axel. “I know it is more Danish than Norwegian, but lutefisk is not my taste,” he laughs. “Every year, we also always buy a real Christmas tree from Villa Supermarket. The smell is so good. This year, we will check to see, what kind of trees IKEA will be selling. I want to see if the quality will be the same.” he says. 22 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
First Christmas in Singapore His Excellency Mr. Tormod Cappelen Endresen, the new Norwegian Ambassador to Singapore, is looking forward to celebrating his first and rather unusual Christmas in Singapore. “I have spent a different way of celebrating Christmas whilst serving the military service. And what I like about a different celebration is that they are often the ones you remember the most. This year will also be an extra nice one as we are having family and friends visiting the town. In fact we are having about 15 guests from Norway coming down to Singapore for Christmas.” When asked about missing the traditional Norwegian Christmas preparations, Mr. Endresen said that there are many Norwegian community’s activities in Singapore. “There is the Julebasar at the Seamen’s Church and also Julebord (Christmas Parties) at this time of the year to attend. Pinnekjøtt is on the Christmas Eve menu for this year as we will be having it at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church. It will be nice with the Asian twist to it and I am looking forward to it,” said Mr. Endresen
Vietnamese inspired Danish Christmas home in Hanoi Emilie and Peter Hjortsoe moved to Hanoi in 2010 looking for new adventures away from home. Emilie Hjortsoe just started her own management consulting business this summer and she is looking forward to a quiet and calm Christmas with her husband Peter and 15-month old son Arthur. “Last year we went to Phu Quoc Island, but this year we are focusing on essential quality time in the family at home here in Hanoi”. Emilie Hjortsoe loves Hanoi around Christmas time, it’s a cosy and quiet time, she says. “Going to Denmark for Christmas can be rather rushed at times, this year we are looking for peace and time for a tranquil Christmas with the family, and that is what matters.” It remains to be seen if their Vietnamese oven can make for a happy Christmas duck to go with a Vietnamese inspired cabbage salad. “I am thinking some orange juice and nuts in a cold fresh cabbage salad this year,” she contemplates. The presents from family back in Denmark have already arrived and a wonderful plastic Christmas tree is ready for decorations. “I made Calendar presents for our son to open every day, they will be some decorations in there for the tree and we also got plenty of Danish nougat and marzipan for making confetti, it will be a first for our son – so we are going for the gold medal this year in confetti making”, she says laughing.
White New Year in Asia Snow will be central this year for the Ranta family. After five years in Singapore and two years in Hong Kong, the two sons Anselm, 9 and Amos, 7 are eager to get some experience with snow. Since there is hardly any guarantee for a white Christmas in their home town in southern Finland, they prefer to spend a few days skiing in Japan instead. A couple of years ago the family went skiing in Niseko, on Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido, but this year they plan to visit the small and cozy hot spring village Nozawa Onsen in Nagano. They go right after Christmas and spend New Year in Winterland. Christmas itself will however be celebrated at home in Singapore, together with good friends. “I think it is definitely possible to get into the right Christmas feeling here in Singapore,” says Helinä. She wants to make sure that the Christmas tree is up and ready by the Finnish Independence day, December 6. At 12 noon on December 24, Christmas peace is officially announced, and the Ranta’s try to have everything ready by then so they can relax and enjoy traditional food and drinks together.
Cooking up Christmas mood
Traditional Danish family Christmas in Singapore Ziegler, President Danish Business Association Singapore, celebrates a traditional Danish Christmas together with Children, ex-wife and Henrik’s mother, who comes visiting from Denmark. The Ziegler’s family has no trouble getting into the Christmas spirit in the heat of Singapore. The whole packet of Danish Christmas traditions secures the right spirit. “We have a totally traditional Danish Christmas dinner with Roast pork, duck, rice à l’impératrice and with a gift to the one who gets the whole almond hidden in the rice à l’impératrice. We dance around the Christmas tree and sing all the traditional Christmas carols. It is as traditional as it gets,” Henrik Ziegler tells.
Erik Dahlström, Regional Accounts Manager with Asian Tigers Transpo International Ltd. based in Bangkok gets into Christmas mood when cooking Christmas dinner with his friends from Sweden. “Our friends come out here a few weeks around Christmas every year. They have their own place, so they don’t stay with us, but on Christmas Eve they will typically come over quite early in the afternoon and then we start cooking together,” Erik says. The dinner is quite early, starting around 4 - 5 o’clock. Erik and his wife Nujeen have three children and the youngest is only four so it is better to start early. “After dinner one of us... I mean, when its dark, we all have to wait for Santa Claus to come out here all the way to Bangkok,” he quickly corrects himself. Christmas in the Dahlström home typically comes complete with a Christmas tree. Usually a plastic tree but maybe it will be a real tree this year.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 23
Christmas Hearts together! Christmas is a time where children and grown ups should join around the dinner table to play with paper and glue in preparation of the upcoming celebrations. By Gregers Moller
hristmas Hearts as we know them today goes back to the world famous Danish author H.C. Andersen. It was he who made the very first heart which later in 1871 became a template of a Christmas heart. In Denmark a particular day has been announced “Christmas Heart Day” - the 23rd December where we should all cut and weave our hearts together.
Hearts are easy!
This woven Christmas heart is the believed to be produced by the author H.C. Andersen in 1860 or 1862 and is the World’s first Christmas heart.
24 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
First you need to buy some glossy gift wrapping paper or other similar paper with different colour. If it has the size of A4, fold it down to A5 and fold it again down to A6. Cut it along the fold to A6 and you will have paper for one heart. But it will be the same colour. Therefore you have to do the same with an A4
sheet of different colour. Now you can make two hearts. Place a cup or glass at the notfolded edge and draw a half circle that you can cut after. Next, mark a line 4 cm from the opposite edge, the folded edge. Slice the hearts up in four strips from the folded edge and up to your line. Now you are ready to start weaving them together. Carefully insert the folded edge of one strip between the ‘loop’ of the other. The strip that just went between now goes around. It can not be over and under(!), it has to be around and between. Now start on the next strip. Do the opposite of last time: around, then between so you make a check pattern. Continue until all strips are woven. Once you get the hang of it, you can make unlimited number of variations.
A piece of Scandinavia in Singapore A trip to Scandinavian Shoppe may well be one of your most successful and convenient shopping rounds from now on. In mid-October this year, Scandinavian Shoppe has moved from South Buona Vista to Block 38 in an HBD estate in Telok Blangah Rise just off Lower Delta Road. By Ulrika Forssel
ith the relocation of Scandinavian Shoppe, you may come home more often with many longed for food items such as Danish cheese with lots of flavours, herring pickled in mustard, the fiery candy known as Turkish Pepper or the beloved Norwegian brown cheese. The new location of Scandinavian Shoppe boasts a wet market, a few hardware stores, a pet shop and a hawker centre where you can have lunch after all your shopping is done. It is also very accessible both by car and by public transport, and there are plenty of parking lots.
Block 38 is right in the centre of the estate and there is a food court just in front of the shop. Renovation work was being done to the food court and the pavement around it when I visited, but it was almost done already, and the final result will be a very pleasant, typical Singaporean hangout. The friendly and cheerful shop assistant Cathy tells me that the location was chosen for its convenience and proximity to where many Scandinavians, especially Danish, live. It is a short bus ride on bus 65 or 855 from Harbourfront, and if you come from the city centre you can take either bus 143 from Newton or 65 from Orchard area. If you come by car, the first parking lot as you turn in
at the sign pointing to blocks 37-43 is just behind the shop. For residents of Sentosa, the shop can be reached in just a few minutes. At present, the vast majority of the products in the shop are from Denmark since it is the country of origin of the shop owner. They would like to cater as much to the other Scandinavians as well and are looking for possibilities to import popular Swedish and Norwegian items. The shop owners Mel and Michael Thøgersen have passed the responsibility of running the business on to Mel’s mother Bernadette Misson since they moved back to Denmark. Bernadette spends some time in Denmark researching the food industry and local customs. She often brings back to Singapore new ideas and knowledge about what Scandinavians want to buy. Shipments arrive regularly at Scandinavian Shoppe. On a monthly basis an air shipment full of delicious cheese, herring and other fresh products will fill up the shelves in the store. For dry products such as crisp bread, flour mixes, sauce mixes and candy, as well as preserves such as red cabbage and red beets, there is a large shipment by boat every quarter.
The festive seasons like Christmas and Easter, when demand surges, are taken into account. This is where you can come and stock up on herring and snaps for the holidays. The best and most immediate way to find out about customer needs is of course to ask the regulars and to listen to their wishes. Shop assistant Cathy has an open communication with customers and will consider special requests as far as it is possible by their present means. Cathy has started the shop’s Facebook account to promote a dynamic way of communications. She urges everybody to click ‘like’ and join in the conversation. Here you can find out about new shipments and special events going on in and around Scandinavian Shoppe.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 10.00 a.m. - 07.00 p.m. Saturday and public holiday: 09.00a.m. - 06:00a.m. The shop is closed on Sunday. For more information, contact +65 6476 2575
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 25
Rice Porridge (Risengrød)
By Gregers Moller
isengrød. It is simply not Christmas without it! I serve it for all our employees in ScandMedia at our year end party every year and they have come to expect it - although not really like it, I suspect. What they do like, though, is the hidden almond in the porridge and the gift that comes with finding it in your portion!
Ingredients: • 1 liter milk • ½ tsp salt • 110 gram rice (1 1/4 dl) (round grains preferrably) Cinnamon sugar mix: • Mix 4 tablespoons of sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder. Almond: • Raw almond with brown shell on (or raw, white cashew nut).
I usually boil up the rice in plain water as the problem is that the milk may easily burn. When the water has boiled a few minutes, I pour in the milk and let it boil while stirring. Then I take it off the burner and pack it in my bed with a few blankets around it and leave it there for a few hours. At the same time I put an unpeeled almond in hot water.
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Deadline for submitting your solution is 15 January 2013 26 ScandAsia.Singapore • December 2012
Before serving it, I bring it back on the stove and heat it up while stirring constantly. If it is too thick, I add extra milk. This is when you put in the white almond - the shell will by now be so weak that you can rub it off with your fingers - or one year I used a white, un-roasted cashew nut. It is served in noodle bowls. Sprinkle it on top with the cinnamon sugar. Some like a lump of butter in the middle. Whoever finds the almond in their portion wins a gift, that you must have prepared in advance.
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