Swedish National Geographic Photographer Remarkable Turn-Around page 26-27 ScandAsia.dk
FebruaryScandAsia.se 2012 â€˘ ScandAsia.Singapore 1
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Danish Business Association of Singapore (DABS) invites members to join the Presentation by Finnair on 23 February 2012. Additional information on DABS and the new membership structure will be presented. The event will be held at the Danish Seamen’s Church, Pender Road. More information will announced shortly at www.dabs-singapore.com.
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ScandAsia News Brief Finnish Business Council Visit to Neste Oil 1
round 50 members of the Finnish Business Council (FBC) of Singapore participated in the visit to Neste Oil in Singapore on 19 January 2012. The trip, arranged by recently joined FBC coordinator, Anita Kostermaa, was organised in an effort to introduce each member of the council to the businesses of other members so everyone is aware is to who does what. Neste Oil Managing Director Petri Jokinen welcomed the FBC group as they arrived into the company and began an introductory presentation on the mission, vision and implementation of Neste Oil especially in the area of renewable diesel. He spoke about how Neste Oil processes vegetable oil and animal fats to generate renewable energy for not just vehicles using diesel oil but even cars and aviation vehicles. He explained that cars running on electricity or hydro-energy were consumed by a very small portion of the community because the energy did not apply for other vehicles. He pointed out that the product generated by Neste Oil stands out because the process of producing it is different compared to any other biodiesel manufacturers. After his presentation, the other members were invited to pose questions to him, if they had any, and then follow him to get a view on the diesel production plant. Ending the visit on a cheery note, Petri Jokinen, Anita Kostermaa and the organising representative from Neste Oil were each presented with an appreciation gift in the lobby area. Later, some members stayed back while waiting for their taxis to arrive and took the opportunity to talk to Petri a little more.
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6 ScandAsia.Singapore â€˘ February 2012
Neste Oil Plant extreme left - Anita Kostermaa, extreme right - Petri Jokinen One of the FBC members together with Anita Kostermaa Members of FBC during Petri Jokinenâ€™s presentation.
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ScandAsia News Brief
SWA Walk n’ Talk
he Scandinavian Women’s Association (SWA) held its first weekly Walk n’ Talk on 11 January 2012 in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The weather was beautiful as the 19 ladies who participated in this weekly energizing activity not only enjoyed the refreshing walk but also got to work out with some exercise routines under the skilled guidance of Lisa Thrane. The ladies had a treat at the end of the walk when they visited the Elephant Parade. There they got to admire the beautifully decorated elephants on display before they were to be auctioned off later in the week.
8 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
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The Norwegian Animation Night
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10 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
The Norwegian Animation Night was organised by the National University of Singapore together with the Norwegian Embassy, Singapore. Through each short film, those watching were able to understand more about the Norwegian lifestyle and culture. By Kristene Silva Marie
t the Norwegian Animation Night entitled “Norwegian Tales of Adventure”, six award winning Norwegian animated films were screened at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on 18 January 2012. The selection places the traditional tales typically told in Norwegian homes into a modern context. Those interested were welcomed at the entrance of the UCC Theatre at the University Cultural Centre building with a programme sheet and a ticket, which was free of charge. At 8 pm the audiences of around 50 people were invited into the theatre to take their seats and prepare for the start of the show. As soon as the announcement of the start of the show boomed through the speakers, there was pin-drop silence in the theatre as all eyes focused on the screened and were glued to it in anticipation. The six films screened were The King Who Wanted More Than
a Crown, Fishing with Sam, Guri Gursjen and Gursjan Gru, Sáiva, Deconstruction Workers and My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts. Each film ignited sensations and brought a different dish to the table with interesting storylines stirring various emotions from the audience. Throughout the screening, the audience laughed, sighed and clapped while watching. All the films presented a range of animation techniques, from stop motion animation, claymation to traditional animation. The screening of these short animated films is part of the NUS Centre for the Arts (CFA) programme. The CFA manages the major arts production and facilities on the campus. The event was organised by the National University of Singapore in partnership with the Norwegian Embassy of Singapore. Sponsoring the event was ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd through its ExxonMobil Campus Concerts programme.
ScandAsia News Brief SAS and Singapore Airlines to Start Joint Direct Flights to Stockholm
candinavian Airlines and Singapore Airlines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of entering into a joint venture agreement to introduce a jointly operated non-stop route between Stockholm and Singapore, as well as increased frequencies on the Copenhagen-Singapore route. The joint venture agreement is subject to regulatory approval. The Memorandum of Understanding involves the co-ordination of flight schedules and joint sales activities. Singapore Airlines currently operates three weekly flights between Copenhagen and Singapore. The partnership is expected to lead to growth in air services between Scandinavia and Singapore, and, depending on market conditions, pave the way for a new route between Stockholm and Singapore, served with Singapore Airlines aircraft. No airline currently operates non-stop flights between the two cities. “Due to the increased demand for travel to South East Asia, we are very pleased to be able to partner with Singapore Airlines to launch a new direct route between Stockholm and Singapore. We will also be able to offer both our corporate and leisure customers a wide number of beyond destinations across South East Asia thanks to our partnership with Singapore Airlines,” says Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Scandinavian Airlines
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February 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 11
Swedish National Geographic Photographer Mattias Klum:
“I never felt I’ve suc By Andrea Chalupova Hessmo
False-Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) have a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones: the anemonefish are immune to the sting of the anemone, which provides a place for them to hide when threatened by predators. In “return”, they groom their anemone host, cleaning it from parasites and debris. The bravest of them even defend their hosts against the few animals that would like to eat the anemone itself. (Photo by Mattias Klum)
e lives for the intense moments in life, when he is eye to eye with a cobra or a tiger in the jungle, or when he’s in front of an audience who are moved by his images. Meet renowned Swedish photographer Mattias Klum, who was in Singapore recently for the Asian premiere of his film Coral Eden, one of his many projects in Asia. The film depicts life on the island Raja Ampat in Indonesia, which has one of the best-protected coral reefs in the world. It was broadcast at the annual environmental Green Festival, organized by the couple behind the Indochine restaurant and bar brand, Michael Ma and Camilla Hall. Klum was the first Swede to have a cover on the prestigious National Geographic magazine back in 1997 and since then, he has had eight cover stories in the reputable magazine as well as features in international publications such as The New York Times, Wildlife Conservation, Geo and Stern. He has also carved out a career as a cinematographer and has thrown himself into environmental causes that have
seen him work closely with Prince Carl Philip of Sweden. Klum wants to move people’s emotions and wake them up to realise the impact of the global environmental destruction in the world. “He’s a great guy and a great communicator,” says Michael Ma, CEO of Indochine. “He spends hours, days and months in the jungle to capture these moments. What most people don’t even observe, he brings to society in his pictures.”
Environmental challenges in Asia
Do you think Singaporeans are aware of the environmental problems in the region? “Singapore is close to Asia’s hot spots but somehow isolated from nature. When I say that 30% of the world’s coral reefs are dying, people here say ‘Is it that much?’ And that’s a careful estimate.” Klum thinks it’s important to reach people through emotions without being too negative and to have a balance in the story-telling. “You need a dynamic and show both the highs and the lows, otherwise people will put up defences,” he says. He also believes in creating sys-
12 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
tems of rewards to get people involved. “Generally, I think that people need some sort of feedback system where you think ‘what’s in it for me’. There are people with a more holistic view who think of their children and grand-children, but many people also somehow want to benefit from a green lifestyle. If you help them to make sustainable decisions, you will win them over to your side. If you take the car, you’ll get fat but if you cycle or walk, you’ll get both stronger, slimmer and you’ll save money. We must make people see these reasons.”
light bulb is used - they use environmentally friendly LED lighting. China is also leading world wide in the amount of wind power-stations.” “The only ‘advantage’ with dictatorships is that implementation is a lot faster. In China they say ‘we need new railroads because it will save this much money and will be good for the environment’ and then they just do it. It’s not good in other ways, of course, but China doesn’t constantly want to appear as the bad guy. China wants to be the new super power that people look up to and they will force solutions. India is more complicated.”
In your speech yesterday, you said, that we can all do something. In the West, there is an emerging consciousness about the gravity of these problems. But what happens when countries like China and India accelerate its growth. You have worked there. Do you think that issues such as sustainability will be high up on their agenda? “In China, there are many things that are extremely worrying but there are also things that are encouraging. For example, there are whole cities there where not one conventional
Ambassadorship for The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and work with Prince Carl Philip of Sweden
Recently, Mattias Klum was chosen as ambassador for IUCN, the world’s oldest environmental organisation. “Mattias is very talented and that’s what we need,” says Julia MartonLefèvre, Director General of IUCN. “These ambassadors, of whom Mattias is one, will help us reach out in
an emotional way, not only through his photos but also through his speaking. It’s a win-win for both of us. And mostly, it’s a win-win for the world.” Tell us something about your forthcoming work with IUCN. “My goal is to make visible what they do through my lectures. They have a place in the United Nations Security Council and have an enormous potential to reach out to a wider audience. But they’re communicating only with numbers and scientific research. Today you also need the personal and emotional touch because we are so over-loaded with information.” Prince Carl Philip of Sweden is patron of IUCN and you work with him in similar projects. “Yes. He will participate in various projects as a speaker and lend his name. But what he really enjoys most is to work in the terrain, support us and hopefully make a difference.” You have known him for some time. “Yes, I’m his mentor and we have worked together in quite a lot of projects in many countries.”
What is Prince Carl Philip like as a person? “Stubborn, hard working and very loyal. On top of that, he has an aesthetic competence. He works with design, he is a good photographer and he is becoming a good filmmaker. He is very involved in all green issues and we have shared many powerful and moving experiences.”
Self-criticism and inspirations
You have said that the easiest thing about photography are the technical aspects. “Technology makes things possible. It should be in your spine, an automatic part of yourself. Then comes the hard work of timing, space lighting, composition and telling a story.” You live for those moments. “Yes. When I’m working, I quickly get into a state of flow where I lose myself. That could be with a snake or with a person. Nothing else exists and I love that intensity. It’s a privilege to disappear in that. It doesn’t mean that I’m totally gone into some sort of artistic trance, but I’m very focused when I’m working.”
Has the camera become an extension of yourself? “I probably see everything through a lens but I’ve learnt to switch off. There has been a time where I felt unwell when I didn’t have a camera with me.” How did you let go of that? “I worked on myself to find some sort of level where I could ask myself ‘how unwell must I feel just because I’m not working’ (laughs). And it did get better because I realised well, Mattias, the person, does exist too.” At the same time, that obsession helped you reach your goals. “Yes, it has driven me to succeed. It has also been partly self-destructive and partly very good. You need to find a balance so you don’t burn up in all that fire and passion. You need to use the passion to move higher up but also be able to let go and move on. These are stages of developments in life, a kind of roller coaster ride. I still see everything in images.” Everything? “Yes, if I see something beautiful, I see a composition. But what’s most important is that I’ve learnt to enjoy
If I see something beautiful, I see a composition. But what’s most important is that I’ve learnt to enjoy something beautiful without taking any pictures because that can really make you crazy. You break down and nothing improves by breaking down, the world won’t become a better place and that’s the goal with my work.
February 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 13
The coral reefs found in the Raja Ampat Islands, which form part of the Coral Triangle, are considered to be among the most biologically diverse in the world. Nearly 1500 species of fish and an estimated 75 percent of known coral species on Earth thrive in these waters. Pictured here are a fish species called Fairy Basslets (Anthias sp.). The coral in the foreground is known as Sun Coral (Tubastrea sp.), a reef building coral without symbiotic algae, which is quite rare. They are abundant wherever currents bring plankton for them to feed on. (Photo by Mattias Klum) something beautiful without taking any pictures because that can really make you crazy. You break down and nothing improves by breaking down, the world won’t become a better place and that’s the goal with my work.” (laughs) What kind of art and artists inspire you? “I love poetry.” Poetry is close to the image. “Yes, and an image is a concentrated version of reality. It’s like a haiku, a small essence, while a film or many images is a flow. I think I’m too impatient to enjoy anything longer than poetry. It suits me very well. I love our Swedish poets, we have a real national treasure in Dan Andersson who writes about Dalarna in central Sweden where my parents come from and where I spent my childhood. I also like the Irish poet Seamus Heaney.” What music do you listen to? “It depends on my mood as it does with food, wine and what I read. This morning I listened to saxophone player David Sanborn and yesterday it was Bach. I use things to trigger me to reach where I want to go.” You are extremely successful in what you do. “Yes I’ve been lucky to be able to do what I want.” How have you worked on goal-setting? “I have been very close to burnout. It’s only these past last five years that I’m beginning to feel that I can be content and that I can enjoy my results. A photo I wasn’t happy with could end up as a cover for National
Geographic and I’d always feel that the next cover story should be much better. I’ve never felt I’ve succeeded. Absolutely not.”
A self-taught photographer You are completely self-taught. “Yes, photography is learning by doing. The rest is just stubbornness and shared passion with my wife.”
You’re working with your wife. “Yes we’ve worked together over many years and she has been extremely important. She has been a coach, especially in taming that feeling of never being happy with my work, the fact that I’ve been so extremely self-critical. And I think that has saved me in many ways. Monika is wiser.” Is Monika in charge of the business aspect of your work or both of you? “Both of us. She’s better at it but we’re both quite bad at business and marketing. I have never learnt marketing nor business nor attended university.” Still you have reached great success. “Yes, but I think it’s because of that strong will and passion to communicate what we love. This thing about being a brand or a product, we’ve never seen ourselves as that. All the success we’ve had has been a consequence of the fact that we love what we do and that we want to tell stories.” You’re not only a photographer but also a speaker. “Yes, I love to move an audience by speaking and it’s a way to get feedback on what I do. Photography is a quite feedback-less job otherwise.”
14 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
Formal education was never your thing? “No, it wasn’t. I’m the youngest of four and come from a family of academics. My father is professor in French and everyone has got higher education. I was the black sheep. They were very worried.” But you educated yourself on your own. “Yes, I never stopped reading. I had a strong interest to educate myself within what I felt I needed. I started my own company and worked like a slave and was incredibly motivated and extremely curious. At last, I was rewarded for my efforts with work, exposure and good words on the way. But my parents saw this as a very insecure way, a difficult choice.” You had to succeed. “Yes, there was no lifeline and I think that was good for me. I meet so many people on workshops and I also receive emails every day in which people ask, ‘What should I do to get where you are’”. How do you go from being a good amateur photographer to being a professional? “There are so many professional photographers who are less good than amateur photographers, it depends what you want in life. There are people who are amazing musicians but who still do it as a hobby. But if you want to do it professionally, you have to be very passionate about it, so passionate that your hobby is so important for you that you can take the financial stress that comes with it. Because that is going to test your passion.” You have to be prepared to choose and to sacrifice things.
“Yes and of course, in between that, there are so many layers. There are people who do it for a living but also have some steady gigs such as weddings. I’m not putting a value on that. I’m just saying that the demands on them are lower than if you want to be a conceptual photographer for National Geographic. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be happy with one or the other. It just means that the demands are quite different. If I work with National Geographic and deliver a half-good result, that’s it. I can’t work with them anymore. That would be game over.” You have two young sons. Do they like photography too? “Yes, they enjoy taking pictures. But sometimes when I’m away, they say ‘I don’t think I’m going to do this. I will be at home with my family more when I grow up’. They are very wise. They travel with us on our trips and it’s working well. They’re used to different cultures and love nature.” What future goals remain? “To continue doing this and do it in a way that fills an important role in a larger perspective. I really believe in cross-disciplinary projects and cross fertilization where I’m one of the tools, and where the films and photos are a part of something bigger, hopefully, something important.” Are you more interested in nature and animals than people? “No, I’m interested in describing the relationship between humans and nature and in making us understand that nature can survive us but we won’t survive nature.”
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Authentic Moroccan Food & Ambiance Pasha Restaurant, Bar and Lounge celebrated their opening recently on 6 November 2011.The restaurant is designed and decorated in a Middle Eastern and Moroccan theme and serves a large variety of Moroccan cuisines while its lounges are ideal for both smaller and larger groups. By Kristene Silva Marie
he recently launched Pasha Restaurant, Bar and Lounge is Singapore’s first Moroccan bar, lounge and restaurant. With its convenient location on Aliwal Street just off North Bridge Road and Jalan Sultan, it is also bound to become a popular lifestyle venue. “Patrons will love the authentic and enchanting decor and atmosphere where they can enjoy an evening of relaxation and hang out with friends while sipping on cocktail or a glass of wine and indulge their palates in authentic Moroccan cuisine,” said Pasha Founder and Director Lamine Guendil.
16 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
Lamine Guendil was born in North Africa but was raised in Paris. He has had over 20 years of experience with the secrets of business networking in Singapore. The restaurant building’s unique design and shining white exterior makes it distinct and impossible to miss although it at the same time blends perfectly into the charming surroundings. Located in the city’s historic conservation district, the restaurant can comfortably accommodate up to 200 guests, including the indoor and outdoor bar, and lounge. As guests step into Pasha, they are sure to notice the resemblance it has to Morocco. The artifacts and furniture used have been specially imported from Morocco for the sole purpose of preserving its authenticity. Guests are able to experience equally authentic fine dining in an earthy yet sophisticated ambience through Pasha’s warm lightings and exotic furnishing. Being subjected to Berber, Moorish, Mediterranean and Arab influences, Moroccan cuisine is extremely diverse. To add flavor to the various dishes, indigenous spices and herbs are used. Some of the most common ingredients they use include lemon pickle, cold-pressed, unrefined olive oil and dried fruits. These will be used with meat such as mutton, beef, chicken and seafood. Spices are used
extensively in Moroccan food. Seeing that spices are used extensively in Moroccan food, Pasha preserves this specialty by including cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, pepper, paprika, anise seed, sesame seeds, coriander, and saffron in to further enrich the taste and flavouring of their dishes. Common herbs include mint and parsley. The most famous Moroccan dishes are Couscous (rice), Tajine, and Harira (soup). The most popular drink is green tea with mint. Special home-made cocktails, champagne, wine and spirits are available all night to complete a wonderful night out. The private lounge allows privileged guests to enjoy greater exclusivity and attention at this invitationonly club. Inside this luxurious lounge, guests can truly kick back, relax and leave the hustle and bustle of the city life aside. The key principle of Lamine for Pasha is to offer warm and professional welcome to each guest, accommodating the best services to make the experience comfortable and memorable. Set to be the one stop destination for professionals, tourists, celebrities, socialites and anyone who enjoys the finest things in life, Lamine aims to take fine dining and entertainment to another level.
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Singapore offers the best combination of professional opportunities and lifestyle, and is a fantastic place.
Singapore Is My Choice Finnish expat Susanna Hasenoehrl enjoys combination of career opportunities and easy family life in Singapore. By Andrea Chalupova Hessmo
or long-term Finnish expat Susanna Hasenoehrl, 34, and her family, Singapore is the best place to be. After weighing up where to live, including considering countries such as Canada and Australia, the Hasenoehrl family chose Singapore as their home. Susanna Hasenoehrl heads the business development and expansion of the Finnish mobile media company Blyk in Asia Pacific. Her Austrian husband Herfried, with whom she has a two-year-old daughter, works in the automotive industry.
Tell us a bit more about Blyk, the company you work for. Susanna: “Blyk is a mobile media company that works with operators to strengthen and monetize their relationships with subscribers. The two co-founders Pekka Ala-Pietilä and Antti Öhrling are Finns, of whom Pekka Ala-Pietilä is an ex Nokia Corporation president.” “Blyk serves personally relevant and targeted content and advertising to our operator partners’ mobile subscribers on permission basis. We do that with Aircel in India and Everything Everywhere in the UK.” “Blyk has 4 million opt-in subscribers globally. Our service is not an app so this is why we can deliver our services to any mobile phone user. In total, the company has 50 employees globally.”
What is your role with Blyk? Susanna: “I’m a one-woman show here in Asia Pacific. Singapore is a small market but the neighbouring countries have very sizeable and dynamic opportunities.” “I travel three days a week. We have a team in India and I’m focusing mainly on Indonesia and Philippines now. I think that the future of digital media space here in South-East Asia is very exciting and promising.” 18 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
No stranger to the expat life, Hasenoehrl has already lived outside of Finland for the past 15 years. After attending school in Finland and gaining an International Baccalaureate, her international odyssey started with international business studies in Innsbruck, Austria. A love of skiing was also the reason for her move to the Alps where she ended up living for four years and where she met her Austrian husband. Susanna moved to Asia for her first job, a sales role at the German company Siemens in Thailand in 2001. In 2003 Susanna relocated for Singapore for a year and then moved back to Munich with her husband. Now back in Singapore, they have come full circle. What prompted your move back to Singapore? Susanna: “Singapore offers the best combination of professional opportunities and lifestyle, and is a fantastic place.” “We came here a year and a half ago after having travelled the world looking for the best place to live and work. Eventually we decided on Singapore because it is such an easy place to live and everything works smoothly.” “I like the modern side of the city and the reinvention. Of course, it can be at the expense of the historical heritage, which is sometimes lost, but
still I think Singapore is doing a great job in constantly developing itself.” You also love Singapore because of the availability of domestic help. Susanna: “Yes, we have a two-yearold daughter who was eight months when we came here. Having a domestic helper is really great as we are not burdened with housework!” What would you say are the main joys and challenges of working in Asia? Susanna: “The joy is the cultural diversity and richness, which can also be a challenge at the same time. In many countries in this region, business is very much driven by personal relationships and you really have to take the time to build them with the stakeholders.” Do you miss anything from Finland? Susanna: “Of course, I miss the variety of natural landscapes, although Singapore is very green. Sometimes it can feel crowded, though, and I guess the Finnish soul requires more peace and quiet surroundings.” “But we love the temperature here and at the same time find it quite refreshing to go back to Europe for the cooler climate on private and business trips. It’s always great to come back here too.”
Eva Marie Jansvik :
A Year On One year after taking up her assignment as the priest of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Singapore, Eva Marie Jansvik is still as excited about her work as when she first came. By Kristene Silva Marie
va Marie Jansvik, also known as reverend Jansvik, joined the team at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Singapore in February 2011 and was the first female priest to the church. It was the first time for her husband, daughter and herself to come to Singapore, and she was at the time five months pregnant. Her baby boy was delivered in May 2011 in Singapore.
Adapting to Singapore Eva Marie said that it is easy to settle in Singapore where everything is just so nice. One of the reasons for this is because she finds it less difficult to always make sure her daughter and eight-month-old son are dressed up properly. “It used to be such a bother to tell my daughter to dress up well when going out in Norway because it is so cold there and everyone has to put on layers and layers of clothing to not fall ill,” she said. “But after moving here, I don’t even have to tell my daughter what to wear. She can literally put on anything she likes and go out because the weather is convenient,” she said with a smile. Eva and family seemed to have even adapted to the hot climate of Singapore and love it. She said that although it may get a little hot at times, they do not miss the Norwe-
gian winter time, yet. Being hot and humid however did impact their Christmas spirits a little as they were so used to celebrating Christmas when it’s cold and dark outside, where there were candles and a burning fireplace. “It was an experience for all of us but we still got to celebrate Christmas the Singaporean way with the snow foam and all. Our daughter just loved it,” she said. Eva’s daughter is four years old now and according to her, has settled very well not just in the neighbourhood but also in school. “She has learned to speak English and even a little bit of Mandarin,” she said.
Church Work Eva exclaimed that she loves her job and has great fun organising activities with her team. She said delightfully “I have the best colleagues, and that makes me love my job even more.” She explained that at the church, there is an activity every day of the week except for Fridays. Activities such as playgroups, choir practice, lunches and other exciting activities are conducted on different days or times but help the community come together. Since the members of the Norwegian community are always changing, there are constantly people who come and leave the church. “It is a great experience to be
able to meet so many wonderful people, and I really appreciate them being so helpful with the various committees. That makes my work much more fun,” she said. There are some renovations going on currently in the church which Eva said is part of maintaining the church. She said that although there is a lot to upgrade or change, they have to take it slow due to lacking finances. They are focusing on the rooms that are used the most.
Coming in 2012 Following the tight schedule she has with daily activities at the church, Eva still has had the opportunity to visit places around the city with her family such as Chinatown and Little India. “I have not been to Universal Studios yet though my husband has been there with my daughter. I also have not been to any museums in Singapore,” she said. For the year 2012, Eva, together with her team has decided to start the Ta Sjansen, which is translated as Take a Chance. The church is working on building a ramp from the pool house to the pool to carry out this Oslo family day tradition that goes back to the 1980s. “Everyone would bring a vehicle, any kind, and place it at the top of the slide letting it slide down the ramp and into the water. The most creative one wins,” she said.
It is a great experience to be able to meet so many wonderful people, and I really appreciate them being so helpful with the various committees. That makes my work much more fun
Protecting Your Lo A Association for Nordic Expats (ANE): protecting Scandinavians from insurance woes. By Andrea Chalupova Hessmo
mid the excitement of an overseas posting, a more pragmatic aspect of life abroad is often overlooked: insurance coverage of the main income earner. If the working spouse has an accident leading to disability or even death, the dependant family may suddenly find themselves in deep trouble. In the case of death, not only does the family have to face the chock and loss of their loved one. Sometimes, simple transactions such as withdrawing enough money to pay for living costs and the children’s schooling can be a complicated and costly affair for the surviving spouse.
Irene Solberg Rømmen and Agneta Ekstrand in ANE’s office at Harbour Front.
20 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
Medical Insurance not enough
Most Nordic Expats have sufficient health cover, but such insurance will soon reach its limits in cases of longterm illness or disability. Many are also unaware of the fact that if they get disabled when working abroad, while not longer being registered in the home country, they have no right to disability pension in their home country - ever. Neither will a spouse. While an expat employee in some cases has disability insurance through the company, no insurance provider offered these covers for spouses previously. In order to improve conditions such as these for Nordic expats,
Norwegian Dag Rømmen founded Association for Nordic Expats (ANE) in 2010, focusing on Nordic expats and their needs abroad. The organisation has two Singaporeanbased Nordic employees who assist members worldwide.
Agneta Ekstrand from Sweden and Irene Solberg Rømmen from Norway at ANE are both long-term expats and saw the need for a tailormade insurance for Nordic families as they have witnessed some tragic stories over the years. “There was a Scandinavian 40-year-old man, married to a local Asian woman who suddenly died in an accident, “ says Solberg Rømmen.
oved Ones “The children had Nordic citizenship but the wife had no life insurance. As a consequence of this, the children could neither continue their international schooling nor move to the father’s home country as the wife simply didn’t have the means for it. They had to move back to their local village. I don’t think that was the future the Scandinavian man had intended for his wife and children,” she says. Ekstrand meanwhile points out: “There is another story of a husband who died in an accident. All his accounts were blocked and the spouse did not even have enough money to move back to the home country.” It is not only issues of the health of the main breadwinner that the family needs to be aware of. “There are also legal issues regarding divorces abroad and what laws should apply,” says Ekstrand. We recommend spouses to always have their own accounts which would cover everything in such circumstances,” she says. Ekstrand and Solberg Rømmen say that people tend to think they are completely covered when they sign up for a medical insurance, but medical insurance will in most cases not cover invalidity and deaths. “For example, if you are severely disabled in an accident and forced to move back to your home country after not being registered in the social system, you are not eligible for disability allowance. This may lead to severe difficulties to arrange basic things such as a bank loan to buy a suitable apartment, as you have no regular income,” says.
The supporting role of ANE
In the event of an accident abroad, the insurance offered to ANE members ensures a disability allowance of up to 80% of the client’s previous income. The Belgium-based insurance company Vanbreda International developed the insurance Nordic ExpatPlus in cooperation with ANE. One of the roles of ANE is to make these insurance-packages available to its members and negotiate the best conditions for Nordic expats worldwide. Nordic Expat Plus is the first insurance to offer
Spouse Disability Insurance. The insurance will be based on their previous or existing income. A spouse who has never worked can sign up for a one-time payout in case of disability. Membership in ANE costs 100 USD per year for individuals, 200 USD for families and 1,000 USD for companies and includes personal service such as being able to call a Nordic national who speaks Norwegian (Solberg Rømmen) and Swedish (Ekstrand) to discuss personal needs and other concerns regarding social security policies in their home countries. “For the Scandinavian families, it’s great to actually be able to call and chat with somebody who speaks their language,” says Ekstrand. “This service is available for all Nordic expats worldwide whether they live in Abu Dhabi, Brazil or Asia.”
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There are also legal issues regarding divorces abroad and what laws should apply, says Ekstrand. We recommend spouses to always have their own accounts which would cover everything in such circumstances.
February 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 21
Don’t Asian Women Suffer During Menopause?
Most women in the western world believe Asian women suffer less from the effects of menopause, says Danish author Hanne Jensen. Dr Michael J. Moreton, Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin, tends to agree. Having practised as a gynaecologist both in Beijing and Bangkok he believes Asian women have a different attitude to the issue. By Kirsty Turner
ike sex, menopause is a taboo subject in the Nordic countries. Not many people feel comfortable talking about it. When Hanne Jensen, Danish television journalist and writer, discovered that she suffered from menopause at the age of 39, she found getting information on the subject very difficult. Few of her peers had experienced the effects of the menopause at that time, and she felt depressed and went through a long period of depression. “In my job I am used to performing a lot of different tasks at the same time and making quick decisions. I remember how I suddenly felt unable to do this, it was very confusing and distressing.”
Hanne finally went to see a doctor, who confirmed that she was going through the menopause. Because she was thin and a smoker, Hanne’s doctor prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy, which she went through for seven years. However, Hanne was concerned about the risks of taking the hormones and finally decided that it was time to find a new approach to deal with the emotional and physical effects of the menopause. Hanne’s quest to find information on menopause has not been easy. “Nobody prepares women for the menopause in the same way that they do for their period. They simply pretend it doesn’t happen,” she said. “People associate getting the menopause with being old and useless
and try to turn their back on it so that they can pretend they are still young.” Hanne’s research into the menopause has led her to write a book, which is divided into two sections. One section focuses on the physical effects of the menopause, while the other focuses on the psychological effects. The book has generated a lot of interest in Denmark, and Hanne also leads several special seminars and discussion groups.
No problem in Asia?
One comment that Hanne often hears from women in Denmark is that Asian women seem to suffer less from the effects of menopause than women in the Western world. This sparked her interest and inspired her to travel to Thailand to discover if there is any truth behind this belief
Hanne Rolsted Jensen
Hanne Rolsted Jensen, 51 years Journalist, author and lecturer
as worked in television since 1989. This spring she will work as the editor of the program “Denmark coast to coast” on DR1 to be aired this summer on Denmark’s DR1 channel. Has written the book “Studieværterne” (The Television Hosts) together with reporter Irene Manteufel - about Jes Dorph Petersen, Michael Meyerheim, Soren Smoking,
22 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
Mik Schack and Cicely Frøkjær and their path to the host role and views on this role. Has also written the book “Hedeturen - rejsen til et andet sted” (Hot Flashes - journey to another place) about menopause. This book is currently being revised for publication in a 3rd edition. The book is published by Forlaget Radius, and is available as a book, audiobook and ebook.
and, if so, the possible reasons for this. Hanne met Dr. Michael J. Moreton at Bangkok Hospital in Hua Hin to discuss this with him. Dr. Moreton originally hails from Canada and spent several years living in the northern English city of Liverpool. Now in his 70s, Dr. Moreton has had a long and successful career as a gynaecologist and obstetrician. He developed a special interest in menopause in the 1980s, when there were big changes occurring in the way that the condition was thought about and treated. After completing his studies in England and Canada, Dr. Moreton spent five years working in a Beijing hospital, where he was perfectly positioned to observe the differences both in Eastern and Western medical care and the attitudes of the patients that he treated. Dr. Moreton now lives in Thailand, dividing his time between the large medical facility in Bangkok and its sister hospital in Hua Hin. Around 50% of the patients he currently treats are from Scandinavia and either live in Thailand permanently or have come here on holiday.
Or they complain less?
When asked whether women in Asia suffer less from the effects of the menopause than those in Europe, Dr. Moreton replies: “It’s hard to say from sure. This is mainly because Asian women
Menopause is an unavoidable change that every woman will experience, assuming she reaches middle age and beyond. Menopause has a wide starting range, but can usually be expected in the age range of 42–58 and signals the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life. It is helpful if women are able to learn what to expect and what options are available to assist the transition. tend to complain less about medical conditions in general. There tends to be a lot more acceptance in Asia regarding medical conditions.” “Older people also get a lot more respect in Asia than they do in Europe,” he continues. “This means that conditions such as the menopause, which are a sign of aging among women, are less likely to feel like a burden to them.” Diet may also play a role in lessening the symptoms of the menopause in Asian countries. One thing that Dr . Moreton has observed regarding diet is that Asian people tend to eat a lot of tofu, which, he says, could maybe help to minimize the negative effects of the menopause.”
Difference in attitude
The doctor also highlights the fact that people from wealthier countries have more time to focus on themselves, both internally and externally. They pay more attention to what is happening to them personally, while many Asian people are simply concerned with living and surviving. It seems that when it comes to the menopause, as with so much else, the main difference between the East and West is attitude. Hanne Jensen agrees with this. “In Denmark, women try hard to fight against the effects of aging. We try to deny aging and push it away with surgery and special skin care products. Menopause is anoth-
er sign of aging and we try to turn our backs on it,” she says. “When a daughter in Denmark asks her mother about menopause, her mother simply answers; ‘yes, I had it.’ Subject closed.” Hanne describes menopause as a “new crisis of identity”, as women going through this transformation within themselves struggle to rediscover what they are capable of. She says that when women are going through the menopause it is “important to talk about it. Let your family know what is happening so they can support you.”
for each person, Hanne’s book contains a comprehensive list of possible symptoms to help women identify what is going on with their bodies. She also recommends that smokers quit smoking immediately and take up regular exercise, as this helps to boost hormone levels. As with many medical conditions, stress can act both as a trigger and to accelerate symptoms. It is best to avoid stress in our daily lives as much as possible and to learn techniques to reduce stress at times when it is possible to avoid going through a certain amount of stress.
Busy TV editor
Hanne explains that this is particularly important when women are in a relationship. “Some women may find sex painful sometimes and turn away from their partners. However, without talking, the man in their life may think it is their fault and that they are not loved.” Although some women may find talking about sex and their feeling a bit difficult, it is important to learn to talk freely and open about what is happening both physically and emotionally.
Hanne recommends carefully examining your diet and eliminating foods that seems to trigger symptoms. Also the symptoms of menopause vary
Although Hanne often suffered severely from symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, she has refused to simply give in. Now 51 years old, she is extremely active, and her career has gone from strength to strength. In fact, when she returns home from her travels in Thailand, Hanne will be working as chief editor on the high profile television programme Coast to Coast, which features some of the coolest coastal travel destinations in Denmark. Hanne also plans to continue spreading information on the menopause and empowering women to talk about their symptoms. Although more people are starting to talk about menopause in Denmark these days, there is still a long way to go before the taboo status of the subject is finally lifted.
Michael Joseph Moreton Born and raised in North of England - British and Canadian Citizenships Medical School - Liverpool • Worked 2 years in UK National Health Hospitals • Went to Canada for 2 year fellowship - stayed 32 years • Trained in Obstetrics and Gynecology - Mc Gill program in Montreal • Practised in Ottawa - Associate Prof at Univ of Ottawa • Moved to China in 97 - started first two western styled Maternity programs in Beijing and Shanghai. • Now International Medical Coordinator BKK Hospitals BKK & Hua Hin
February 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 23
Breakthrough for Biomass and Enzymes from Novozymes Danish Novozymes is expecting enormous growth for bioenergy in Asia, where its enzymes will be a crucial contributor to this paradigm shift that will take countries off their oil dependency. By Joakim Persson
he awareness about the need to get away from the oil-based society is by now widespread. Among the advocates for a bio-based society is the Danish corporation Novozymes. On a visit to Singapore last year Fleming Voetman, Head of Public Affairs at Novozymes, a world leader in bioinnovation, laid out the company’s vision, where biofuel made from agricultural residues replaces oil. Fleming was invited speaker on technology trends at Designing Asia 2.0, the leading innovation network in Asia, arranged by Qi Global. “Basing your society on oil is not wise; it comes with enormous strategic disadvantage,” he advised. “But replacement is at hand from forestry and agriculture and here, Asia has a strategic advantage that will become even bigger in the future is the agricultural waste.” The environmental and economic advantages are convincing: Increased use of bioenergy is, when produced and used on a sustainable basis, the most important renewable energy option at present and expected to maintain that position during the first half of this century and likely beyond. Biomass is a renewable and
environmentally friendly alternative that can make a large contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time all climate-friendly energy options are needed to meet the world’s future energy needs. Several developing countries have now in fact embarked on the path of employing second-generation biotechnologies, which will help tapping plant resources as energy crops in a major way. In recent years, countries like China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, have begun to invest heavily in this, according to UNESCAP.
The dawning for biofuel
Bioenergy markets provide major business opportunities, environmental benefits, and rural development on a global scale, reports IEA Bioenergy, where biomass can make a very large contribution to the world’s future energy supply, ranging from 20% to 50%. Biomass currently supplies about a third of energy in developing countries, according to UNESCAP. “It is now increasingly realized that there is considerable potential for the modernization of biomass fuels to produce convenient energy carrier, such as electricity, gases and transportation
fuels, while continuing to provide for traditional uses of biomass.” And new technologies enable biomass fuel modernization and large-scale production. Really, this is just the dawning for expected massive growth where the very first large-scale bio refineries are about to open in Italy and the U.S. Production and use of biofuels are growing at a very rapid pace, where it is realistic to expect that the current contribution of bioenergy will increase considerably. Novozymes estimates that converting biomass into fuels, energy, and chemicals has the potential to generate upwards of $230 billion to the global economy by 2020. “Definitely, a paradigm shift is starting,” says Fleming Voetman. “We have known since the 1970’s how to make ethanol from sugar. But taking waste material is from a technological perspective so much more difficult to do. And there we have just had enormous breakthroughs in the last few years.”
The pivotal role of enzymes
Enzymes - a kind of protein which is generated by certain micro organisms developed to a highly advanced stake by among others a corporation from the tiny country called Denmark - is now about to challenge fossil fuels for real. The breakthrough is the commercial availability of enzymes, from Novozymes and a few others play, that can separate the sugar from all the other stuff in waste materials like wheat straw, the corn stalk or the leftovers from sugar cane and palm oil etc. and turn it into liquid fuel. This means that countries with
Novozymes' enzyme production facility in Tianjin, China - the largest enzyme fermentation facility in the world 24 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
We came out with something new in 2010 which we spent ten years and about 200 million US dollars of R&D on. Then the Chinese immediately said: ‘Perfect, now we believe the technology is ready’, wanting to stake on so called second-generation biofuels made from waste.
booming economic growth, especially China and India can get away from their dependency on oil imports long-term and utilize biomass - which is anything they can grow in their fields or coming from forestry. “We came out with something new in 2010 which we spent ten years and about 200 million US dollars of R&D on. Then the Chinese immediately said: ‘Perfect, now we believe the technology is ready’, wanting to stake on so called secondgeneration biofuels made from waste.” “The Indian government is also very keen on doing that and we’re seeing the same response from the Malaysian and Thai government because they can see: we have an abundance of agricultural residue locally so we need to buy a little bit of know-how from novozymes. And not only that but we also have engineering companies which can build the facilities, so we can do the entire value chain.”
Bettering the environment
Asia is an “enormously important market” for Novozymes where they have been active for many years, including with huge enzyme production in China since the early
1990’s. By now they have R&D and sales and marketing there too while continuing to expand. There is a hub in Bangalore in India with an outsourcing centre, production and R&D, while they have sales offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. In his role, Fleming acts as an advocacy trying to get political advantages for Novozymes, where China is a great example: its government has a clear target to match the economic growth with the consumption of energy and resources, which fits well with Novozymes. “What we do at the core is to produce more with less. At the same time the Indians have some of the same targets; wanting to have their own energy and with domestic production in India. Again Novozymes come in, so that means our interaction, our dialogue with the governments is extremely important for our growth rate.” Novozymes’ solutions save energy and raw materials, and reduce waste. The result is higher quality, lower costs, lower CO2 emissions, and a better environment.
Saving the planet
In the bigger picture this is also about making a difference and preservation
of the planet: that sustainability, caring for climate, economic growth and profitability can go hand in hand and where all of must partake. “The Chinese have realised this for a long time, and for the benefit of China they want to grow but also in a sustainable way. That also means reducing their dependence on foreign oil, and their agriculture and their companies to become more efficient. And we are perfectly located to cater to those needs.” Fleming mentions Novozymes’ strongest selling points in priority order: “Energy independence. Then the creation of rural jobs. Next the other environmental benefits. What countries are mostly concerned about is energy security.” “We see the same within many other areas and that is an enormous business opportunity, not just for us, but in particular for many Scandinavian companies.” “Being part of the EU we have some experience with caring about the environment and we can transfer that know-how so the Chinese can basically leapfrog into getting the same environmental standards that you have today in Europe and almost get this over night.” To develop enzymes for produc-
tion of bioenergy the Danish company received support from perhaps somewhat surprising quarters; namely the United States Department of Energy which asked and supported Novozymes to re-start the research. Meanwhile, the EU gave only a tiny amount.
First refineries in 2013
The first commercial-scale biorefineries in the U.S, and China, are due in 2013. “Then I think you’ll see a ketchup effect where others will follow. The technology is pretty complicated and it’s not cheap to build the first ones but once these are up and running a lot of knowhow will have been gained. And we’ll continue with our R&D and bring down our cost and as the technology improves the overall cost will also go down,” Fleming predicts. “But we are absolutely sure of this technology taking off. So it’s a question of sooner or later; if it does not fly in 2013 it will definitely do so in 2014. If massive scale does not come in 2015 it will soon thereafter, because the economics of this work very heavily into our favour in terms of the price of oil to waste material.”
February 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 25
How TTA Turned Baconc Company Around Norwegian businessman Sigmund Stromme is a legend among Nordic businessmen in Vietnam. In 2009, Sigmund Stromme became the Chairman of the 15 year old fertilizer company Bacono. Last year, only two years later, the company produced a profit 242 percent above the performance the year he took over. In this article, Sigmund Stromme shares his strategy for successfully turning the company around. By Indius Pedersen
The Boss Sigmund Stromme Norwegian Chairman of Nordcham
aconco is today a fast growing fertilizer and crop care company in Vietnam, Since 2009, it has been chaired by the Norwegian businessman Mr. Sigmund Stromme. Last year, the company produced its best result ever, delivering a profit of THB 197.16 million or 242% above the performance in 2009. Baconco’s core business is the production and sales of NPK chemical fertilizers, including imports and sales of single fertilizers and crop care products viz. insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, and spraying fertilizers. Related businesses areas are warehousing, logistics and bagging of fertilizers for client companies. “Today, 70% of our income comes from NPK fertilizers, another 20% is from single fertilizers and crop care products, and the remaining 10% is from warehousing and logistics,” Sigmund Stromme explains.
First the staff
When Thoresen Thai Agencies Group took over and Sigmund Stromme came on board as the Chairman, Baconco had been for sale for several years. The company had been taking fairly large losses during the financial crisis and staff moral was very low. Something had to be done. “The first thing we did was to make an interview with managers and supervisors. Then we reorganized the company, re-assigning to suit skill sets and to increase responsibilities and accountability. All this made the work much more interesting,” Sigmund Stromme explains. “We then gathered up all the supervisors and staff for English lessons and organized leadership skill
esiding in Vietnam for 19 years, a shipping executive with more than 30 years working shipping industry. Worked for T.Klaveness Group, Oslo, Norway from 1980 to 1993. Arrived in Vietnam in 1993 and established Thoresen-Vinama Co - Joint Venture and currently holds the following positions: • Managing Director, Thoresen - Vinama Co Joint Venture Company, largest none container
26 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
ship agent in HCMC - Baria Vung Tau Area, active in Maritime Logistic for Offshore sector, forwarding/logistic/ warehousing as well as chartering/operation of Vietnamese vessels. • Chairman of the board of Thoresen-Vinama Logistic, 32.000m2 bonded warehouse complex in Phu My industrial zone. • Chairman of the Board of Baconco Co fertilizer company, 100% foreign invested company acquired by Thoresen in July 2009, 410 employees, producing 200.000 mts per year. • Board Member of Baria Serece Phu My Port J/S Co, where Thoresen acquired 20 % of the shares in 2010.
co Fertilizer sessions for department heads. We also provided a good health insurance for everyone. At the same time we established a transparent promotion, remuneration, and merit system, and were able to provide our employees with 2-3 months bonuses in the first profitable year.” “We have focused on development and growth of the company, giving the employees confidence in the future. Prior to this, our staff had no opportunity for training, nor were there any HR personnel looking after personnel development. All this we are doing for our staff, so that it can develop and grow with the Company.” A recent staff survey indicated that of the current 365 people working in the company, around 80 percent have been there for the past 8 years and the staff turnover rate remains below 1%.
More turn-around tools
“Baconco’s extraordinary sales and profits last year come from first of all from our employees. They are loyal and motivated, driving performance in the truest sense,” Sigmund Strommme modestly says. But several other factors have clearly also contributed to the higher profits. “We switched from leasing to owing the production machinery and at the same time we took over our own machinery maintenance and terminated third party contracts for such services,” Sigmund Stromme explains. “As for procurement, we have particularly focused on centralizing purchasing and inventory management, reducing raw material reserves from 4-5 months to less than
three weeks. The purchasing policy was changed to reflect more frequent but smaller volume purchase. Raw material sourcing has also been reoriented from 90% imported to 60% local sourcing. This sharply reduced previous high financial cost.” “Furthermore, our cash only policy also provides us with a stable cash buffer,” Sigmund Stromme adds.
There are six large fertilizer producers in Vietnam, four of which are government owned. The remaining two, including Baconco, are foreign owned. Sigmund Stromme estimates Baconco’s market share to be currently 10 percent. Although the year 2011 was a year of high growth, Sigmund Stromme is confident there is room for great market growth in future. “Demand will remain strong as Vietnam is 2nd largest exporter of rice and coffee,” he says. “Baconco’s strength lies in the quality of our products,” Sigmund Stromme explains. “Baconco’s “Conco” brand is well known as good quality fertilizers and the farmers are willing to pay a premium for our products.” “Our fertilizers come in 60 formulations, meeting the individual needs of the farmers. Although the niche market is small, we have few competitors. Furthermore, we have a flexible production system that allows us to adapt our products to changes in market needs very quickly.” “Our strategy is to provide products that meet high standards, to continually innovate and provide new products, and to focus on niche market products to keep our competition at a minimum.
The Teams Factory:
310 workers, technicians, engineers and high rank managers
30 financial, HR and general administration
Sales And Marketing:
50 sales engineers, sales administration and marketing
Haiphong Branch: 20 people
Great Party and Norwegian Colors Thoresen Vinama Logistic inaugurates a bonded warehouse near Phu My in the province of Baria Vung Tau near Ho Chi Minh City. By Indius Pedersen
horesen Vinama Logistic with its foreign shareholders Thoresen Thai Agencies, Elkem Chartering and Preco Norway as well as Japanese Maritime24, affirmed its desire to invest in Vietnam by inaugurating a 16,000 sqm warehouse near the deep sea port that has Thoresen Thai Agencies as co-owner. The new warehouse, built in record time, will in future be used to store 64,000 mtgs. cargo. And yet another warehouse is underway from the option of warehouses at Thoresen Vinama’s disposal. It all started when Thoresen Thai Agencies bought the thendeficit given Baconco Fertilizer Factory. The company then made a thumping deficit. In just two years, Thoresen Thai Agencies changed the scene. From a turnover of 197 million THB a tidy profit of just over five million was made - after taxes. No debt to the bank, and only bright prospect for the future. Behind all this is the daily management headed by Sigmund Stromme. Among several hundred participants he was the proud participant at the feast when the new warehouse in Phu My in the province of Baria
Vung Tau was inaugurated. “The good reputation we have established with our many clients is demonstrated by the fact that the new bonded warehouse facility, in which we are today, is in fact already filled up with cargo from the day of opening. The open storage is filled with steel oil from BP, and bulk cargo will arrive to fill up the new warehouses this evening, right after the opening ceremony is over. This only show that we want to continue investing in further projects here in Phu My,” Sigmund Stromme says. Sigmund Stromme stressed that all this had been no success if not the local authorities had been very cooperative. Both political and technical wise and from customs authorities. Through the entire process they have given us highly professional advice. It was party all day. First the opening ceremony followed by lunch. Then the inspection of Thoresen’s latest investment in the Baria Serece deep-sea port. The investment that was completed in 2010 has furnished Thoresen with a 20 percent of the share capital. Finally, there was a great celebration with dinner at the Grand Hotel in Vung Tau.
February 2012 • ScandAsia.Singapore 27
Smart Travelling: Kuala Lumpu Flying from one place to another has become the routine traveling solution even if the distance is short. Have you ever thought of taking the bus instead? By Kristene Silva Marie
Luxury is not offered only on first class flights. Bus seats can be comfortable too - including 220 Volt sockets and wi-fi onboard.
ravelling between cities in Southeast Asia, most usually resort to booking an air ticket. However, many find it a hassle to drag themselves to the airport with their passports and luggage, check-in, go through the passport check and body scan, walk the long corridors - only to wind up waiting. Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are so close top each other that it may be a lot easier to go by coach. There are several VIP coaches available for boarding at around the KL area. Many bus travel agencies offer great packages for passengers who wish to travel to Singapore.
Coaches such as Aeroline, Grassland and Konsortium are just a few of the common companies known to provide luxury on their coaches between these two destinations.
Buying a ticket is simple. Taking the Aeroline Coach as an example, you may book via their official website at www.aeroline.com.my or www. aeroline.com.sg. If the website is not convenient, there is always the option of the call centre at (+603) 6258 8800 or (+65) 6258 8800. The final option is walk-in booking to any of the Aeroline service centres.
The price of tickets to Singapore is RM95.00 (S$50.00) for adults and RM65.00 (S$38.00) for children per-way to or from Singapore, which is an affordable rate. The Aeroline buses’ most common boarding point is the Aeroline Corus Hotel service centre at Ampang, Kuala Lumpur but that may be too far for some so the other two service centres are, One Utama Shopping Centre, in Petaling Jaya or at Sunway Pyramid, Subang Jaya. All of these service centres are quite easy to access as they are close to conveniences such as hotels, F&B outlets and shopping malls, and are easily accessed by public transportation.
Choosing a bus with sufficient facilities would ensure a comfortable and satisfying journey. One of the main things to look for is comfortable seats. The operators mentioned above all offer ergonomic reclining seats that incorporate leg support for comfort. On our test with Aeroline we found each seat equipped with an individual headphone for Aeroline Airwaves with
four music channels. For the benefit of the passengers, the bus also comes fitted with electricity outlets and reading lights The business lounge is equipped with 6-8 premium sofa seats and a long table for a mobile meeting - or you may just enjoy having a desk to work on your mobile device.
Boarding a bus is much less time consuming than boarding a plane. Passengers have to just make sure their luggage is tucked safely into the luggage compartment, get their tickets checked and settle comfortably in their seats. The journey to Singapore from KL will be around five hours but consider the alternative trip by air. What time would you usually have to leave your home to catch a 9 o’clock flight? Probably 7 o’clock. Then the flight would take you an hour. Once you land, you have to get out of the airport and downtown to your destination - how long time would that take you? Probably minimum one and a half hour. Now it is close to 12 noon.
Wasting time in airports is annoying. Time slips and you don’t get anything done. Oh no! Your flight is delayed! 28 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
ur to Singapore Alternatively, you could sit the whole time in a bus doing your work and arrive downtown without the many kilometers of walk and the many changes of transportation mode. Certain buses, like Aeroline, have built in toilet facilities’ among others which make it more con-
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Flæskesteg Roast Pork
othing is as nice as a traditional Danish pork roast. You need to find a shoulder of pork with the fat rind on. If you can’t find pork roast with the rind attached then look for a fresh ham, remove 2/3 of the skin and you will get crackling with the rest.
4½-6½ lbs of Shoulder of pork w/rind on 2-3 spoons of course salt 2 lbs small cold boiled potatoes 4 spoons sugar 1½ oz butter 1 pint of water 2 lbs canned red cabbage
Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the roast in a roasting pan with water with the rind facing downwards. Let the water cover the rind. Use as small a pan as possible to get good tasty gravy. Leave the roast in the bottom of the oven for 30 minutes. Using a sharp, heavy knife cut deeply through the rind and fat until you reach the meat, making the incisions 1/2” apart lengthwise and crosswise. Rub salt liberally into these gashes. It will make the crackling to bubble up and get crispy. Put the roast in bottom part of the owen for 1½-2 hours. Take it out and pour the gravy into a pot to make brown sauce from it. Put the roast back in the oven and set the temperature to 530°F. Watch the crackling, it may suddenly be overdone.
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hen you have completed the above puzzles, please send your solution by fax to +66 2 943 7169 or scan and email to puzzles@ scandasia.com. We will make a lucky draw among the correct answers. Five lucky winners will receive a ScandAsia polo shirt. Name:
Deadline for submitting your solution is 15 March 2012 30 ScandAsia.Singapore • February 2012
Let the gravy rest a while in the pot and remove the grease from the surface. The gravy is thickened by a mix of flour and cold water, add black gravy color, and salt and peper.
Use precooked red cabbage in a can or in a glas. If of German origin pour in two spoons of sugar. Add some water in the pot and let it cook at low or medium heat for 30 minutes. Alternatively, the cabbage can be heated in the microwave owen which will make the cabbage more crispy.
Candied Potatoes - Brunede Kartofler
Caramelised Potatoes is delicious with almost all kind of roast meat, especially pork. It is important to follow the recipe exactly for a good result. Run the cold tap over the cold boiled potatoes just before starting. Use new potatoes if possible and boil well in advance to ensure they are cold before use. Run cold water over potatoes before starting. Put the sugar on frying pan and heat until melted and golden. Add butter and mix well. Add potatoes and shake frying pan well. Add water carefully and stir lightly until water has evaporated.
Most people Fancy a Bargain, But Everyone Loves for Free!
f you do not believe in a free lunch you can eat your words because it is possible to get things for free in Singapore without any conditions attached.
Check out if there is a food festivals or fair in progress. Food vendors usually put out a lot of bitesized samples for all to try at these events. The Singapore Food Festival held once a year in the month of July is a must but various locations including the Takashimaya Square and Plaza Singapura are also good fishing grounds.
There are renowned hair salons every month that require hair models for their hair stylists and apprentices to exercise their skills or experiment with new styles. As scary as it might sound, most people come out of this experience satisfied and addicted for more of such deals.
Many cafes in Singapore offer free Wi-Fi and access to power outlets for free. However, do invest in a coffee to avoid dirty stares from the staff. Most well-known are McDonald’s, Starbucks and Café Galilee
If you are a traveller to Singapore, see if the Singapore Tourism Board is still offering a free two hour city tour. Chose between a Sentosa Island tour or a bumboat experience. IKEA offers a free weekend to the store from MRT stations
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Many spas and fitness centres offer a free trial of their services with no strings attached. Choose from a range of the many manicures, pedicures, facials and slimming treats at these centres. Make a call first to make an appointment with them. Here are some names to start with: Yogaffinity, Beijing 101 Hair Consultants, Slim Fit (Ngee Ann City Tower A and OUB Centre), Beauti Instinct.
There are countless art exhibitions and plays around Singapore that don’t charge entrance fees. Check museum websites for more information. Go to the Esplanade Waterfront, Concourse and outdoor theatres on weekends and enjoy the many bands playing there.
There are an abundance of clubs in Singapore that feature ladies’ nights which offer free entry for women only, and some even extend their generosity to include free drinks.
Ang Mo Kio, Boon Lay, Seng Kang, Tampines, Yishun and Woodlands. A free shuttle services brings Turf City patrons to and from Ang Mo Kio and Clementi MRT station, and the Toa Payoh Bus Interchange. Free trolley bus services are provided by the Marina Square Mall to fetch its shoppers to and from the City Hall MRT station. Living in Singapore is expensive, but sometimes all it takes is a closer look at all the little nooks and crannies of this island to appreciate the occasional treasures that are given to those who seek.
Tel: 6846-0428 / 6100-6122 www.a-team.com.sg
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