Selling Underwear in Singapore ScandAsia.dk
JuneScandAsia.se 2011 â€˘ ScandAsia.Singapore 1
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Kids Arts Village By Kids for Kids
ScandAsia is the only magazine that covers all the Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish residents in Singapore.
Date: Today to 5 June 2011 Location: Festival Village @ Esplanade Park
We also publish a ScandAsia magazine in China, Thailand, and the rest of South East Asia.
Please sign up for your own FREE copy: www.scandasia.com Publisher: Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. 4/41-2 Ramintra Soi 14, Bangkok 10230, Thailand Tel. +66 2 943 7166-8, Fax: +66 2 943 7169 E-mail: email@example.com Editor-in-Chief: Gregers A.W. Møller firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: Finn Balslev email@example.com Piyanan Kalikanon firstname.lastname@example.org Nattapat Maesang email@example.com
Midsummer Picnic Date: 25 June 2011 Let’s celebrate Midsummer Day with the Young Professionals in Singapore on 25 June 2011. Midsummer celebrations occur on the Friday and the forthcoming weekend closest to June 24, the “official” Midsummer’s Day. As this weekend approaches, they arrive at an open field. There, there raise a “Midsummer pole,” or a maypole, which is decorated with leaves and flowers, flags and fetishes. They dance and sing around the pole, play traditional games, consume enormous amounts of food and drink, and let the evening take them away. Location and time will be announced at www.sbas.org.sg/yp or enroll to young. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kids Arts Village is a rich, real life arts project for multiple collaborations between children of all ages (from Kindergarten to Primary and lower Secondary students). The Kids Arts Village extends the Singapore Arts Festival 2011’s theme of I want to remember… Celebrating the artist in every child, the village provides opportunities for children to be both creators and audiences at the same time. What to expect? There will be a children’s arts gallery, performance space and crafts area. This event is free admission. Limited capacity, please register to email@example.com. sg. Enter to www.singaporeartsfest.com for more information.
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Great Singapore Sale (GSS) 2011
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It’s time to indulge as the Great Singapore Sale is back, and the whole island is abuzz with tempting offers, enticing rewards, exciting events and fun experiences! Enjoy eight weeks of fabulous shopping from 28 May to 25 July 2010, and enjoy up to 70% discount on just about everything, everywhere. From the central shopping belt of Orchard Road and Marina Bay to the Southern Waterfront and suburbs, you’ll find fantastic value on fashion, watches, jewellery, electronics, toys and more!
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New SEB Office
n Friday 27 May 2011, SEB held an opening ceremony for the bank’s new Singapore office, which has a striking view over the harbour in the Bayfront area. About 180 invited guests and 90 employees celebrated the move to the modern office environment. Sweden’s ambassador to Singapore Ingemar Dolfe cut a ribbon to officially open the new office. He was joined by Annika Falkengren, CEO of the Bank, and Bo Carlsson, head of the Singapore corporate business. Falkengren emphasizes that ”The Asian market is of increasing importance to our customers and therefore also to SEB. As a relationship bank we follow our customers out into the world and grow with them in new markets.” Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) has been present in Asia for more than 30 years, with the Singapore office opening in 1979. SEB became the first Nordic bank to be registered as a member of the Singapore exchange on 26 May 2011. In Asia, SEB is present also in Shanghai, Beijing, New Delhi and will open a new Branch in Hong Kong in August 2011.
From left to right, Swedish Ambassador Ingemar Dolfe, Annika Falkengren (CEO, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ, Sweden), and Bo Carlsson (General Manager, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ, Singapore Branch) at the ribbon cutting reception.
Swedish Embassy Hosted Luncheon for Press
group of prominent food journalists and bloggers Singapore were treated to a luncheon hosted by the Swedish Embassy. The event follows the Swedish government’s vision to enhance awareness of Swedish food abroad. Serving them innovative dishes inspired by the richness of Sweden’s culinary traditions was Jakob Esko, who is also the Swedish Executive Chef at hotel Capella in Singapore. He used uniquely Swedish ingredients such as caviar from the North of Sweden and seafood. Cloudberries and lingo berries were also incorporated to the dishes served. Ambassador Ingemar Dolfe stressed Sweden’s clear ambition to become a well known culinary nation. Swedish long coastline and vast forests are home to high-quality produce such as seafood, wild berries, mushrooms and game. A number of creative Swedish chefs have also been internationally awarded. The luncheon served as an excellent introduction to Sweden as an exciting culinary nation and with the emergence of new media, real time updates about the event were sent out via Twitter only hours after the luncheon by the food bloggers.
6 ScandAsia.Singapore • June 2011
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ScandAsia News Brief
Danish Terma New Office
17 May Celebration in Singapore Photo by Bjørn-Tore Markussen
ver 800 people, young and old, gathered at the Fort Canning Park dressed in festive attire, for the much anticipated traditional Norwegian celebration. The event began with a children’s procession with students from the Norwegian Supplementary School marching up the park waving their flags. They were led by a band, Kirkebakken Janitsjar, playing traditional Norwegian march tunes. Once the procession reached the flagstaff by Raffles House, the 17 May committee gave a speech and the Deputy Head of Mission, Larissa Falkenberg Kosanovic conveyed greetings from King Harald V. Following that was the national anthem.
As part of the programme, some traditional Norwegian songs were performed by the school choir and later, a group of students gave the 17 May address and recited their own poems. Marques had been set up in the park inviting then crowd for a buffet dinner, including the more traditional hot dogs and ice cream. It was a day for everyone, especially the children to have fun and enjoy. The bouncy castles and an entertaining magic show, among others, got them having exactly that making the celebration a great success. Later in the evening, the Ambassador gave a reception for the adult members of the Norwegian community in Singapore at the residence.
Finnair’s Inaugural Flight at Changi Airport
innair has begun its daily direct flights from Singapore to Helsinki. Travellers from Singapore can now take the fastest connecting route to Northern Europe via Helsinki. The flights depart daily with a total flight time of just over 12 hours. From Helsinki, travellers can make quick onward connections via Finnair’s extensive route network to more than 50 European destinations. Finnair CEO Mika Vehviläinen, who was a passenger on the inaugural flight, said that Singapore is strategic to the airline’s expansion in the region.
“Asia currently represents about 60 percent of Finnair’s total revenue, with huge potential for greater growth. We have no doubt that the addition of Singapore to our route network will help accelerate Finnair’s growth in Asia Pacific,” he said. Business Class passengers can enjoy Finnair’s award winning lounge located at Helsinki Airport Terminal 2. It was recently voted the top Priority Pass Lounge for 2011 in a survey conducted amongst 40,000 independent travellers. Daily flights between Singapore and Helsinki are serviced by an Airbus A340, with a dual class configuration of 42 lie-flat business seats and 227 economy seats. Finnair has priced its Europe air-
fares to be competitive, making the airline an excellent choice for both business and leisure travellers.
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SCANDINAVIAN SHOPPE Scandinavian Shoppe • 30 South Buona Vista Road Tel: +65 6476 2575 • Email: email@example.com How to get there? • MRT to Buona Vista. Bus no. 200 to Lor Sarhad. • MRT to Harbour Front / Vivo City. Bus no. 10, 30, 143 to Redwood West. Walk up South Buona Vista Road
8 ScandAsia.Singapore • June 2011
‘Gamle Ole’ Vintage Chee se
efense and security company Terma launched its new office in Singapore on 16 May emphasizing the company’s strong focus on the Asian market. The new office is located in the Nordic European Centre within the International Business Park in Jurong East. Terma opened its first office in Singapore in 2007 to support the growing radar business and to move closer to the many customers in the region. Since then, Terma has experienced a strong surge of orders and interest from Asian customers. Corporate Vice President, Customer & Markets, Mr. Jørn Henrik Levy Rasmussen, said thast Terma holds a strong position, and is focused on strengthening its international setup to support its customers in the region. Terma Singapore Pte. Ltd. Director, Mr. Jesper Tolstrup explained that expanding the office in Singapore means they can support their growing customer base even closer across their business domains. “We have been in Singapore for several years, but by opening this new facility, we can offer an even better support to our key customers in the region,” he said. Being a diverse company, Terma has long been one of the world’s leading suppliers of coastal and maritime surveillance radars and has more than 1500 systems in operation around the world, and many of those in Asia. The company’s advanced aircraft self-protection systems are in operation with multiple air forces on more than 25 different platforms and more than 2000 aircraft around the world. End users include amongst others the U.S. Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force, Royal Air Force and the Royal Danish Air Force. Terma has set up local integrated logistics operations to support operations in the U.S. and The Netherlands.
Ikea Supplier Jailed for Bribery
businessman was sentenced on to four months jail and a fine of S$180,000 on 20 May for giving about S$2.39 million worth of bribes to a Food Services Manager at Ikano, the local franchisee of Inter Ikea Systems B.V. which operates Ikea in Singapore. The 44-year-old Andrew Tee Fook Boon handed out what is believed to have been one of the biggest amounts involved in a private corruption case in recent years. Should he fail to pay the hefty fine, he would have to spend an additional 12 months behind bars. He pleaded guilty last December, to 12 of 80 charges, with the remaining ones taken into consideration during sentencing. Tee, who committed the offence between 2003 and 2009, is the sole proprietor of AT35 Services, a firm that used to supply food items to Ikea. He had worked with an alleged accomplice, Gary Lim Kim Seng, who had introduced him to Chris Leng Kah Poh, who was then the Food Services Manager of Ikano. Based on court documents, Tee and Lim gave the bribes to Leng as a reward for favouring them when placing orders for food products for Ikea.
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June 2011 • ScandAsia.Singapore 23/5/11 8:42:01 PM9
Size is Sexy Mette Holte Jensen is the owner of the Singapore branch of the women’s undergarment and swimwear store, Change. She spoke to ScandAsia about her motivations and struggles with managing the store, meeting people and being in a different environment and culture. By Kristene Silva Marie
he one thought that crosses the minds of most European women living in Asia is “Will I be able to get a good bra or bikini here?” The weather being bright and sunny constantly seems an inviting time to get down to the pool or go to the beach. Mette, who moved to Singapore five years ago because of her husband, Bjorn’s job at a shipping company called Clipper, thought exactly the same thing. To her horror, her worst fears were realised when she found nothing she could put on and feel comfortable in. To make matters worse, when she went to visit Denmark and tried to purchase bikinis in the summer, they were all sold out leaving only the dull or black ones for her to choose from. She had actually purchased undergarments of a very reputable brand before leaving Denmark to Singapore. In fact, she had spent a lot of money in buying them. After a few months, however, she started having persistent headaches which she then found out from a specialist were caused by the bras she had purchased. She was frustrated and unsure of where to go from there. Mette started cracking her head for a good and reliable solution especially when it came to quality and cost. Thankfully she had a contact back in Denmark from whom she used to buy undergarments from. She contacted her and soon found
out about Change in the Middle East. “She told me about the Change chains in the Middle East, at least seven of them, and she asked me why I don’t start something like that in Singapore,” she said.
Getting into the line Mette had always wanted to launch off something to own. After getting the advice from her friend, she went home and thought long and hard about it. Soon she decided to call up the people in charge of the Change stores and express her interest of expanding the chain here. “Their initial response was quite negative because they were not convinced the concept I proposed, which is to sell from home, will work,” she said. But somehow she convinced them by explaining that she needed to get to know the market here before starting anything major. Another factor that drove her to start from home is the high rental she would have to pay for the shop lot. “I’m glad I did it this way. Selling from my house first for almost two years before moving out made me aware of the market out there. It also gave me an opportunity to speak to people about the products I sell when I went to fairs and all kinds of events,” she said. When she attended events, she was able to meet all kinds of people who seemed like potential future customers. That is how she
10 ScandAsia.Singapore • June 2011
started marketing Change. People soon started becoming aware of the brand and felt comfortable about the products. Soon, Mette had gained herself had quite a few people coming to her house. “I had customers even from Thailand. They told me that they heard about me and wanted to buy some swimwear and bra,” she said. When asked about how she possesses such natural instincts and undeniable knowledge in helping her customers out when choosing their bras, Mette discloses her seven weeks of a summer break seven years ago. “I approached my friend then, way before I had even plans of having this shop, and I spent that time watching her and seeing how she deals with different people,” she said. She acknowledged that through that experience, she had gained some knowledge and become much more aware of things she had not been of before. “But what I have realised is, it takes time to get here, and the knowledge of these things come with time. It really can’t be learned within a day or two,” she admitted. She said the best way that she learned is when she has different kinds of people coming to meet her. She then began to see and learn about different body types and what type of bra actually suits them. She also realised that as the one who sells to these customers, she was responsible over what would make
them look good. “Some customers come in exclaiming in delight that they can get a triangle bikini in an 85F-cup size but in all honesty, it looks ridiculous. A triangle bikini in that size does not look nice. So these days I don’t carry those in the shop anymore because more than the bikini looking nice, you need to look nice,” she said.
About Change Mette shared about how Change started in Denmark by a team of a mother and son some years back. The mother was quite upset because a good bra that fits a plus size woman costs so much, up to two or three hundred dollars, which was a lot of money. She decided that it was way too overpriced just because you had a bit more of a bust and she decided that she wanted to start something of her own which allowed women to feel comfortable for a reasonable price. Currently, the son has taken over the business and runs most business relations around the world. “Change has now become quite popular and known for its products. Back when I started using it in Denmark it was sold on home based or in small shops but they grew very big, very fast, which I think is because of different reasons,” she related. “It quite depends on how much you spend on the elasticity of the products, especially these, and the support they provide for different
The store, Change, is located in Holland Village Mall and is run by Mette Holte Jensen.
sizes,” she added. She said some brands provide a very limited range of cup sizes while Change, goes up to J-cup. So, from small to large sizes, it is possible to find the right bra. There are also a lot of different styles, shapes and sizes and Mette brings them all in. We have the whole size range going on so even if the biggest lady comes in, we are most likely able to help her out.
Moving from home to shop
What I have realised is, it takes time to get here, and the knowledge of these things come with time. It really can’t be learned within a day or two.
After two years of selling from home, Mette finally decided to bring her business to the next level which is to get a proper shop lot to move her business into. She felt then, that it was the right time for that decision to come to pass. “Many of my customers preferred when I sold from my house and told me that. But I knew it was a good decision to move out. So we moved to this venue in 2008,” she said. One of Mette’s main worries was getting the right kind of staff. She desired to have staff that could overcome the comfort zone boundaries and be comfortable in small spaces with the customers. “That is my biggest thing when I hire people. They need to feel how the customers are feeling not push too hard. So that is quite a challenge,” she said. “This is what we do, we get in there with the customers and we help them decide which bra suits them best. To do that, we have no
space of feeling shy or awkward,” Mette said. Mette believes that since this is a private product, customers will like to buy from someone who makes them feel comfortable. The staff also needs to know what to say or how to advice the customers to choose a bra type because sometimes, some customers think they are a certain size but in actual fact, they are a totally different size. “Here is where the staff needs to be able to offer their expertise or help to them,” she said. Mette said that the best part of her day is she has in the store is being with the customers. Most of the customers are expats but there are locals who bring in other locals too as people are coming to know about Change. She confesses that her best customers are definitely some of her first ones because they always come back and that has kindled a friendship which has lasted for many years. “Initially, many people didn’t understand what Change is. One of the reasons are because at that time, Obama was becoming president and he had up a big banner saying ‘We Need a Change’. People started confusing this brand as Obama’s slogan instead,” she said laughing. Mette mentioned some interest that some of the chain’s leaders in Denmark has expressed in her opening up another joint here in
Southeast Asia. They believe it will be easier for somebody who has gotten used to the local culture to adapt better than someone who is totally new. “It is easy to just open up the next Change store any place but it is important to know a little bit about the place before venturing into something like that, but I just might,” Mette said.
Family Time Despite her busy schedule of handling the shop, receiving the goods and sorting out the papers, Mette’s real passion and desire lies in spending quality time with her family. “If it gets quiet here at the store, I go off early and spend time with my 13-year-old daughter, Camilla. She goes to Overseas Family School,” she said. Mette also likes walking her dog, exercising and do things with her friends and family. Since the shop is not open on Sundays, which is one of the great advantages of the store being in Holland Village, she has considered it a family day. According to Mette, there have not been any plans to head back to Denmark anytime soon. She added “Although I do miss the Danish Christmas every year, I see no other reason to go back now. Singapore has great food, weather, people and I have something to do here that I am passionate about.”
June 2011 • ScandAsia.Singapore 11
Future Is Biofuel “Biofuels could make South-East Asia oil independent,” says Swedish Per Dahlen By Joakim Persson
iofuel needs plants that grow fast all year round. That’s what makes tropical Asia the ideal location for biomass energy production, says Per Dahlen. “With the tremendous developments over the past 5-10 years in biotechnology, biofuel technologies today make production both more economical and more environmentally friendly.” “Biofuels could make SouthEast Asia oil independent,” he says The ultimate success would be if we could avoid the mistake of building large centralized power plants and instead have it distributed and renewable from the very beginning, he points out.
Any biomass is usable Practically any biomass which contains cellulose can be turned into biofuels, bio-chemicals or bio-plastics. It can be sugar cane, palm trees, cassava and different types of grass like sorghum or energy grass. “We need things that grow fast, are easy to harvest and do not consume too much water. Here in South-East Asia we have ten times more biomass production than in Europe. We are in the tropics and things grow fast.” 12 ScandAsia.Singapore • June 2011
Abundance in waste
Partner in Portelet
The region is also abundant in biomass residues where so much material is laid to waste. The Palm, sugar cane and rice industries together represent 75% of the total agricultural output of South-East Asia. To date only 25-30% of the harvested biomass ends up as an end-product, the remaining parts are discarded in the field or at the processing plants. “At the palm mills they just waste hundreds of tons of waste materials every day!,” says the Swede who has a solution to plug into these mills – there are around 900 of them in Indonesia and Malaysia – and get not only palm oil, but also fuel from the residues. “A palm plantation owner could then double his income. “
Per Dahlen is a partner in the company Portelet which has the Malaysian government as one of its early clients. Portelet assist the government charter a strategy for the future The company also links the technology developing companies with those buying the technologies to run the plants. A former Internet business developer and “intrapreneur manager” at Philips, Per Dahlen has a multidisciplinary educational background, combining technical engineering with an MBA from Spain. Within Philips he worked in Singapore back in 1997, his wife’s home country. After settling down in Singapore in 2006 he soon turned fully dedicated to the fast growing cleantech market, primarily as a facilitator in deal sourcing and investment management. Per Dahlen senses big business opportunities for instance in importing Swedish cleantech technology that fits here and assisting those companies. “Sekab from Sweden, for example, they should come here! They have developed enough now,” he says.
Only need 4.5 mill. hectares “With second generation biofuels crops and technologies we would only need 4.5 million hectares of land for full oil independence.” “There is no production of advanced fuel from biomass here today but ten producers have announced that they will build the first plants in South-East Asia. So we can already see that those with the most advanced technologies and a strategy to grow are on their way.”
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Singaporean physiotherapists are willing to learn what this method of physiotherapy it can do.
Norwegian Physiotherapy Mette Dahl is born in Norway, received her education as a physiotherapist in Denmark - then moved with her Swedish husband to Stockholm. Now she works in Singapore. By Kristene Silva Marie
ette Dahl is born in Norway but received her education as a physiotherapist in Denmark. There she met her Swedish husband and the couple moved to Stockholm. Currently, Mette Dahl resides in Singapore and conducts courses on neuromuscular treatment. She also offers physiotherapy treatments in her own clinic. Moving to Singapore was due to Mette’s husband’s job. Although it was not her choice, Mette soon found out that with her professional background she could actually also create her own business presence in Singapore.
Moving to Singapore As a Norwegian, Mette Dahl noticed a common reaction among Singaporeans which took her by surprise given the evidently hot and humid weather. “I think Singaporeans in general do not like to sweat,” she says and laughs. “I was initially surprised. They want their treatment to work, but as soon as they start to sweat or feel hot, they request a break from the treatment.” Mette Dahl, however, commended their curiosity and willingness to try something new. She was glad with their interest in the treatment. “They were not skeptical or
14 ScandAsia.Singapore • June 2011
hip arthritis, muscles and ligaments. Most of her patients suffer muscular skeletal problems. “I noticed that very often those whose condition is totally unidentified are the ones who respond to the treatment the best,” she said. Although Neurac is a nonconventional method of treatment, courses are only allowed to be conducted by a trained physiotherapist.
Speaking about the Redcord method of treatment, Dr. Dahl said it was originally founded in Norway some 20 years ago. Although results were apparent, the researchers wanted proper scientific results and proof before introducing it to the rest of the world. Currently, it is practiced in 22 countries around the world. Though they are more widely known in European countries, Redcord is also quite big in Asian countries including China, where the trainers in the Sports University in Beijing have been educated and trained before the summer Olympics. She summed Redcord up as a non-surgical or pharmaceutical treatment for most muscular skeletal and neuro muscular problems. “The treatment aims to regain normal bodily function of the patient,” she said. Using the Redcord direction called Neurac, Mette treats problems involving lower back, shoulder,
“There are visibly quicker results which make the patient pain free and return them to their originally normal self,” she said. She provided an example of this statement by explaining that a patient with a frozen shoulder would typically take close to one year in a normal rehab therapy session but the Redcord method often allows the patient to see and feel the difference even after just the first session of treatment. This method is also able to help patients with stroke or Parkinsons. She said that some patients, due to having been to many treatment centres and spending so much on the treatments, express their relief in finding this method of treatment, some even through tears. “It’s a very fulfilling feeling to see quick results in the patients and be able to expect more in the next treatments,” she said.
closed to the idea but rather willing to learn what it can do,” she said referring to the local medical practitioners. Getting to where she is, she has had to undergo much training and practice as well. It was her interest in the Redcord method that made her not only a practitioner but a certified trainer today.
Why is it better?
Shop Close to Home
The Scandinavian Shoppe in Singapore provides Scandinavian products including snacks, food, drinks and even ingredients to ensure that you don’t miss much from back home. By Kristene Silva Marie
oing away to live and work in a new city where close to nothing is familiar, may be exciting and filled with new sights, sounds and tastes. While every day seems to be full of new discoveries, nothing beats the familiar taste of home every now and then. A cultural melting pot that it is, Singapore has a large population of foreigners living and working here. As so, a number of grocery and departmental stores have sprung up around the island in order to meet the demand for goods from various countries. With the Scandinavian Shoppe, Scandinavians who live in Singapore do not have to miss their favourite sweets, food or drinks from home anymore. They just have to head down to the Scandinavian Shoppe which is approximately 10-minute drive from the Buona Vista MRT station. The shop, previously taken over by Mel Thøgersen in 2007, is now being overseen by her mother, Bernie. This is due to Mel and her Danish husband, Michael’s decision to move away to Denmark earlier this year. The Scandinavian Shoppe offers a wide range of products, mostly from Denmark, from edible to nonedible goods from all the four Scan-
dinavian countries. Bernie has done a good job in maintaining the large variety of food, bread, cakes, liquor, snacks, chocolate and sweets. Another specialty of the shop is that they also sell pastries and rye bread flour. Kathy, the Filipino caretaker of the shop, explained a little bit about the products. She said the shop tries to make it a point to get in products from all the four Scandinavian countries but sometimes it may not be that easy. “We try our best to get products from all the Scandinavian countries but due to communication, availability or cost hiccups, it is not always possible. That is why most of the products sold here are Danish,” she said. According to Kathy, most of the people who visit the shop are Scandinavians. Some come in to buy the snacks, liquor or sweets but many come in for the pastries sold there. She also said since the likes of rye bread, for example, are rarely available in Asian markets, the shop sells the flour and essentials to bake this type of bread. The Scandinavians consider it healthy bread and express great interest in what the shop has to offer. Kathy said even the locals come in for the pastries and ingredients.
“The rye bread flour and pastries sold here are tasty and many of the customers like it so they come back to buy more,” Kathy said. Most of the customers are regulars who come in week after week. Some from other nations and regions also visit to see what the shop can offer. With more people getting to know about the shop compared to before, there is more room for people to start expressing their wants and in turn see the store flourish into a Scandinavian haven in Singapore. The prices of the products sold in the Scandinavian Shoppe, while being above average, are justified with the fact that these products are brought in to Singapore in slightly smaller quantities. “These products are imported from various countries and it is certainly not cheap to bring them in. The prices we charge are reasonable so I wouldn’t consider it too expensive,” she said. The slightly higher than normal prices, however, do not seem to be the main concern of the shop’s regular customers. They seem to just love the feeling they get sitting in their living room in Singapore enjoying the taste of their hometown 6000 miles away.
June 2011 • ScandAsia.Singapore 15
The Sailors Have G Their First Female Changing domain from Nordsjaelland in Denmark to Singapore is a welcome challenge to the Danish Seamen’s Church’s new priest. By: Lars Pinnerup
In many ways it is easy to continue my predecessors work. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was how well everything was set up and organized here.
16 ScandAsia.Singapore • June 2011
Gotten Themselves Priest P ender Road is climbing up and around Mount Faber. At one of its top curves an elegantly and intriguingly designed colonial styled building with more than 100 years to its name gracefully stares down upon the struggling climbers from the hill it rests upon. The building is the home of the Danish Seamen’s Church in Singapore. “I was told that earlier, before the trees around the church had grown to their present height, you could actually look straight down on all the ships coming and leaving the ports of Singapore,” Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup tells. In February she was enacted as the new priest of the Seamen’s Church with a mission to carry on the legacy and work of her predecessor. “In many ways it is easy to continue my predecessors work. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was how well everything was set up and organized here. All I can do is carry on with the good work and perhaps add a few elements here and there. Together with the Church Council and congregation I aim to promote, develop and implement new tasks and events benefiting Danes in and around Singapore,” Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup explains.
A dream to move out She might be new to Singapore, but the being a priest is not new to Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup.
Graduating from Copenhagen University in 1985 she has worked as a priest in Hoersholm from 1987 up until her enactment in Singapore in February 11th 2011. Despite having preached from the same chair for so many years, it has always been a dream for Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup to test herself abroad. “I have always had this dream in me, and in many ways I regret not having made this move earlier. I have travelled before, but this is the first time I really get to test myself living and working abroad,” Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup says. She will be in Singapore the next four years with an option to continue to stay and work as a priest in the country of the sea lions. In the beginning she is all on her own in Singapore, but it is the plan that her husband will join her later. “He works with biotech, so hopefully there will be some opportunities for him while we are here. He has been to Singapore quite often with his work, so the city is not new to him,” Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup smiles.
Serving sailors “We are a church with two main functions, one of them is that we are a church for seamen and that is a concept we must stick to. It is our foundation. We do not see as many Danish sailors as earlier, but there are still many Danes working on the bridge on the ships coming in,” Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup argues and rushes over to a whiteboard hanging on the wall and starts explaining the meaning of the names and charts on the board. “These are the ships that are in port in Singapore and below you can see a list of ships and when they are expected to be in port in Singapore. When they are here we pay them a visit with fresh news papers, local and Danish ones, letters from home, freshly baked rye bread or other Danish goodies. When we are on board we are also available for a talk or other matters that the seamen might need our advice of help with, religious or non-religious,”
Depending on donations
Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup says.
Providing service from cradle to grave
Danish Seamen’s Church’s second function is its pastorate-like function to the Danes living in and around Singapore wanting or needing the services of a Danish church. There are quite a few Danes living in Singapore and Kirsen Hougaard Eisstrup sees the church as a religious, national and social gathering point for the Singaporean Danes. “I just baptized “my” first child here, and recently we had a sermon for a man who was buried in Denmark but family and friends had requested for a sermon in memorial of him here in Singapore as well.”
In her new job Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup also has to act as a fundraiser. Unlike back in Denmark where the expenses were covered by the state, she now has to run a church with the economy relying solely on donations. “That is new to me, but a challenge as well, that next year’s existence depends on donations. We do not own the church but rent it and next year we have been warned that the rent will increase significantly and that is something we have to include in our planning,” Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup tells.
Something old, something new Determined to create a function and service that people want to use, Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup is also in the midst of introducing some new events and concepts at the Danish Seamen’s Church in Singapore. Children’s sermons, followed by a traditional and solid Danish lunch is on its way and youth nights where young people, children of expats, students or trainees can meet and share experiences, good times, play pool converse comfortably in their own native tongue, are already taking place at the church. “Our events, such as traditional Danish gatherings are popular and a great way for us to bring the Danes in Singapore,” Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup says. It is important for Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup, that the Danish Seamen’s Church is alive and vibrant. She sees that as one of the tools that helps legitimize the existence of the church. “With a house full of life during festivities as well as weekdays, through sermons and other activities we are hopefully capable of making the church more visible and an integrated part of people’s lives. Much like a church in Denmark 25 years ago,” Kirsten Hougaard Eistrup says. June 2011 • ScandAsia.Singapore 17
SAS Singapore’s Ma C
Christine Low with Swedish Ambassador to Singapore, H.E. Ingemar Dolfe.
Christine Low, SAS’ Regional Sales Manager, brings her lesson of passionate customer care from SAS in Singapore to benefit SAS staff and agents around the region.
hristine Low joined SAS in 1984 when SAS established a separate office independent of Thai Airways International’s office in Singapore. Until that time, Thai Airways had been serving all the passengers flying with SAS from Singapore. Christine was the only new staff employed from outside for the ticketing reservation department while all the rest were former Thai Airways staff. “I had a background from TWA and Delta Airlines but I had to start from the bottom when I joined SAS,” Christine recalls. The first one and a half year she was in ticket reservation. Then they gave her a new position as indoor Sales Support for Corporate Customers and Shipping Business. “Shipping business meant that I had to arrange flights for all the hundreds of seamen who at that time were embarking or disembarking their vessels in different ports of the globe” she explains That time, in the late 80’s, SAS still operated three weekly nonstop flights to Copenhagen from Singapore. To get a better economy on the route, SAS started flying via Bangkok, but then finally in the spring of 2006, SAS stopped flying to Singapore alltogether.
By Gregers Moller
Unique SAS office in Singapore
The SAS Dream Team in Singapore. 18 ScandAsia.Singapore • June 2011
Maintaining an SAS office in a city to which the airline does not fly is in itself a unique phenomenon within SAS. But what is equally unique is how the staff at the SAS office in Singapore manages to keep as vibrant as ever. “Our “secret” is our passion for serving our customers,” says Christine Low. “Our competitive edge is to be consistently delivering our best service to keep our customers happy and they trust us. Every single one of us is empowered to take initiatives and actions to offer our customers an enjoyable experience with SAS, both on ground and in the air,” she explains. Christine and her team must be doing a good job, because even though there are far fewer SAS passengers flying from Singapore than
from Bangkok, the earnings per passenger is much higher.
When SAS customers fly from Singapore, they typically fly Thai Airways - part of the Star Alliance - up to Bangkok and then SAS the rest of the way. However, when they arrive at the check-in counter in Changi airport, they are met by one of SAS’ three Customer Service Cocoordinators, Christine Ross, Julie or Gabriel. “They ensure that the experience at the start of the long journey will be as personal and pleasant as possible. If the passenger is one of their loyal EuroBonus Gold members, they will right away recognize the passenger and if possible offer him or her a newspaper in their native language,” Christine tells.. “Sometimes, we ask for what could look like a small favor in return,” Christine adds, revealing one of the secrets behind the seemingly unstoppable energy of the Singapore SAS team. “We bring a teddy bear to our clients’ office or home when they tell us of a positive experience they have had with SAS. Then we take a Polaroid photo and give to the client - but most importantly, we take one more for ourselves!” “That photo we bring to office and we pin it up on our “story board”, where we can see it all the time. This board is brimming with photos reminding us of good stories where we did our best and exceeded our clients expectations. Every time we look at these photos, we think of our clients and recharge our energy and get new inspiration to try even harder,” she explains.
Pub Nights Another way which SAS keeps in the center of the Scandinavian community is by arranging Gold Member events or “Pub Nights” twice a year, typically in March/April and again in August/September. These are networking events with our valuable customers and create opportunity for multi-level relationship development. We also launch campaigns and offers during the pubnites. “This is always a lot of fun - also for the ticketing agents, who we invite along with their clients,” Christine says.
agic Touch “Selling SAS in Singapore is in a way like selling two airlines,” she adds. “Because the first leg is onboard another airline - we need to know as much about the policies and regulations of the that first airline on our clients’ journey as we know about the policies and regulations of SAS who will carry them from Bangkok to their final destination in Scandinavia.” “On top of this, we need to sell through a third person,” she adds. “All our clients have choice to buy their tickets either via call centre, online or via their regular ticket agency. The secret of maintaining our revenue when customers buy tickets via travel agents is , to make it our business to know our clients well and working very closely with their appointed travel agencies to secure bookings on SAS” she explains.
SAS Credits Although Christine Low is now elevated to a regional manager position, she remains very much the mountain of energy and dedication, that drives the rest of the team in Singapore. Recently, she co-ordinated the roll-out the airlines’ new SAS Credit program in South East Asia. “SAS Credits is a smart program because it makes it possible not only for the big companies who fly for more than SGD30,000 per year to open a corporate account with us,” she explains “SAS Cedits gives also smalland medium-sized companies a similar opportunity to earn special SAS Credits every time they or their staff travel on SAS, Blue1 or Widerøe.���
The concept of the program is very simple. Clients can sign up online on www.flysas.com and immediately after the client has joined the program, he or she will get the code that they then have to use every time they or someone from their company is booking a flight.” Calculating SAS Credits is also easy. It is calculated as 8% on all travels with any of the SAS Group Airlines - SAS (SK), Wideroe (WF) and Blue1(KF)) - but not on codeshare flights. Once the client has a minimum level of SAS Credits they can use them when they buy new flights. Partial redemption in combination with credit card payment is also possible when buying tickets online with SAS.” “You can check the balance online to see if you have enough to use for a new ticket or part of a ticket,” she explains. The individual travellers within the company stand nothing to loose by the program. While the company receives SAS Credits, the traveler receives EuroBonus points at the same time!
SAS Agreement With Singapore Airline
AS and Singapore Airlines have entered a code share agreement which means that SAS passengers can use selected Singapore Airlines flights to fly Bangkok-Singapore as part of an SAS ticket from Singapore to Scandinavia and return. Previously, Thai Airways International was the only option. The code share agreement came into force per 1 December 2010. SAS has also added its code SK to Singapore Airlines non-stop flights between Singapore and Copenhagen Singapore Airlines prefix was added to SAS-operated flights from Copenhagen to Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm. SAS General Manager in Southeast Asia Niels Henrik Hansen sees the agreement as a strengthening of SAS offer: “We see opportunities for deeper co-operation which will strengthen our customer offering and provide more options for seamless travel between Southeast Asia and Northern Europe,” he says. “We look forward to announcing these plans once they are finalized.”
Local differences Rolling out the SAS Credits program also gave Christine Low the opportunity to let some of the magic customer touch of her sales staff in Singapore, Yvonne and Gracie, rub off on the sales staff in SAS’ Bangkok ofice and staff at SAS’ agents in Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Taiwan, who are all under Christine’s wings. “We all share the same passion for exceptional service, but I do understand that in certain places, we cannot copy exactly the way we do it in Singapore,” she adds.
Yvonne with Mr. and Mrs. Jorgen Fausko - and the famous SAS teddy-bear. June 2011 • ScandAsia.Singapore 19
Hospitality and Retail C By Joakim Persson
It’s small but well-visited and it’s a Western economy in Asia. You have people from all over Asia living here or visiting frequently and since Singapore is so small it’s easy to generate exposure.
ocus Hospitality Inc in Singapore not only represents a Swede’s successful career in Asia but also that of a hospitality company, which has carved a niche in concept development and project management, and of its clients - the many successfully established restaurants, hotels etc. so far. Among their most recent clients is Marina Bay Sands. And The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is another Asian triumph that Carl Kjellqvist’s company can take credit for. The career of the Managing Partner, educated at the International Hotel Management Institute in Lucerne, Switzerland, is one that took on a different path than the norm shortly after his arrival to Asia as a graduate. Becoming a general manager would have been the anticipated career. It was the hotel industry that brought him over to China, though, but soon after, he jumped on an offer which meant he would see and work with that sector from the outside - which is where he has been performing ever since. Working for Shangri-La, Carl
came to Asia in 1994, as management trainee in Shanghai. Fellow students had made him curious on Asia so he jumped on a chance to go to China at the age of 21, something he does not regret even though the salary was not attractive at all for someone aspiring to work as a hotel manager. Then he was offered a job position in Singapore, where he has settled down. “Becoming a GM is what was on my mind all the time, but when I got this offer in Singapore working for a consulting firm within the hotel and restaurant sectors, I thought of it as something to do for no more than a few years. But today I am at the same work and now running it myself,” says Carl. “All of sudden one is not working 24 hours 6 days a week, but instead office hours, and helping private entrepreneurs and companies in conjuring up interesting concepts and starting businesses and seeing things in a completely different way.” “This was set up by two hoteliers in order to assist private indi-
20 ScandAsia.Singapore • June 2011
viduals at a time they called ‘The Golden Years.’ There were many wanting to enter into hotel and restaurant ventures but lacked experience how to set up things.” During that time there were no consultants to help such clients to enter the industry at all. Since then Focus Hospitality Inc is very much in the business of making dreams come true and hundreds of projects later they have a track record that speak volumes. With their vast experience they are hard to match, having pioneered with their services on the market. “There aren’t that many players and we have a very impressive client base that we work hard for. Each project also means that we learn something and get more and more experience from start-ups in so many places all over Asia.” “Most of those coming to us have a dream to run a restaurant, coffee shop brand or boutique hotel etc. Then we try to assist them in coming up with a concept that can stand the test of time with a feasibility study and setting up the business plan.“
“What our clients are buying from us is a better chance of succeeding based on our experience. We simply cannot give guarantees, but we can give them a larger chance to succed,” adds the Swede. Figures show that 80% of hospitality businesses set up by inexperienced individuals fail in the first five years, which is also why the hoteliers started Focus Hospitality Inc in order to assist such investors in treading a straight path instead of learning by doing. They ensure that the creative decision-making process is synergized with the operational needs, putting together a whole team and guide them all the way up until the opening and beyond. Carl’s team of four does not claim to be designers but are ‘concept guardians’. “Our role is making sure that everyone follows the same vision, and do not deviate from the path. Everything’s cohesive and eventually reaches the goal. We have good ideas of what we think works and not, so we source an interior designer that we believe will match.”
Consultant Carl Kjellqvist
Focus Hospitality Inc puts together a brief, including mood presentations, which is used as the parameters for the project by all parties involved: designers, brand consultants, operations etc. Aside assisting those individual investors with concept development and project management, the many hotel brands are also their clients (among them Hilton, Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La). Many are in such an intense expansion mode that they do not have the internal capacity to handle all projects on all frontiers. They might also want assistance to get a new perspective: for instance when entering a new market. Often the geographical area is huge and the hotel brand has only one or a few persons responsible for say the restaurants, which is impossible to decide upon without travelling to all markets and making studies, describes Carl. “We help them on specific markets where they don’t have enough time in-house or on special hotel concepts with more prestige than other smaller hotels, where they want us analyze the market and
present a forecast.” One regional success story is The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf which was brought to Asia from Hollywood. Famous for its Ice Blended drink consumed by many movie stars, this became an immediate success when rolled out in Singapore. “You could not find it anywhere else and when you have one you’ll want another one. And it suited the market,” says Carl about this magic coffee drink. The brand had neither franchising concept, nor any standards so Focus Hospitality put together all that. “We built an entirely new concept around this drink and added food to the menu, which is very important over here.” “The success was enormous, and we continued to roll out in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, now having around 1000 outlets.” Eventually the client bought the whole brand and that was when one of Carl’s business partners moved to the USA to run the operations there and Carl took over Focus Hospitality in 1999. Singapore is really the perfect
test markes for new brands, thinks Carl. “It’s small but well-visited and it’s a Western economy in Asia. You have people from all over Asia living here or visiting frequently and since Singapore is so small it’s easy to generate exposure. Many come here to set up pilots. We have done that with many concepts. Once you get it right on this high-cost market it’s easier to roll it out all over Asia.” Keys to their own success Carl says are their creative flair and that they travel a lot and are exposed to
many continents; where they see a lot of old and new ideas and can pick up things and trends from the market. This also makes them understand local needs and how these relate to the markets they operate in. “I love it, it’s fantastic; imagine every day developing concepts all over the world: from small to large clients such as casinos.” Going back to the hotel industry is not really an option for Carl, “unless working within the hotel industry on the development side and doing exactly what I am doing now”.
Potato Salad With this recipe for 4 persons you can easily make one of the most delicious lunch dishes enjoyed by all Scandinavians. 15 egg sized Potatoes
2 1/2 dl. sour cream 2 1/2 dl. soured milk or yogurt natural - not sweetened! 2 teesp. sweet mustard 2 tablesp. teared shallots 2 teesp. lime 2 teesp. fresh chives 2 teesp. parsley Salt and pepper Tomatoes as garnish- optional
Are you done?
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 July 2011 22 ScandAsia.Singapore • June 2011
• Boil the potatoes with the skin on and peel the skin of when the potatoes are cooled - that makes the potatoes more firm. • Slice the potatoes, on the long side, into three or four slices, not too small. • Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, taste with salt and pepper to suit your taste and finally add the peeled potatoes. • Turn it all around in the bowl with a big spoon carefully, to preserve the potatoes from breaking. Top with some fresh spices and tomatoes. • Let it calm/cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 min.
Tip: Alternative to sour cream is to use yogurt natural add with a bit of sugar, olive oil and whipped cream. Then you will also get a more calorie reduced salad. Make it your own personal salad! Add other vegetable with the potatoes for instance pineapple, mango or whatever you like. The best fruit or vegetables to add are the hard ones, so they wont get smashed.
Serving the Scandinavian community for over 30 years
• International, Domestic and Local Moving • Document Storage Services • Real Estate Services
• Property Management • Orientation Programs • Visa & Immigration www.santaferelo.com
Singapore: Tel: (65) 6398 8588 email@example.com
by snorre food
Scandinavia in Singapore Snorre Food has just opened the doors of its much anticipated Scandinavian specialty seafood showroom and distribution facility, FISK. Sourced from the pure and cold oceanic coast of the North Atlantic, FISK brings you a unique and wide assortment of the finest seafood The North Sea has to offer, in dainty portions, choice cuts and fillets. Available fresh, frozen, or marinated, we carry an extensive range of rare and delectable seafood, perfect for any dinner party or special occasion. Choose from Cod, Plaice, Turbot, Halibut, Lobsters, Langoustines, King Crab, Scallops, Mussels, Greenland Shrimps, Caviar and our delicious variety of seafood salad and selection of Herring. We also have an enticing collection of sauces and condiments that is sure to make you feel at home. Come and see for yourself. We bring in fresh fish and seafood from Scandinavia every Tuesday and Friday. To avoid any disappointment, please call Ken at 6265 9659 a day in advance to find out if your preference of fresh seafood is available at our 25 Fishery Port Road facility. Also, be sure to enquire about our seasonal range of seafood. You can now have a slice of Scandinavia in your home. Opening hours | Tuesday - Friday: 11am - 6pm | Saturday: 10am - 4pm | Closed on Sunday, Monday & Public Holiday
25 Fishery Port Road, Jurong, Singapore 619739 tel: +65 6538 3303 fax: +65 6538 0104 email: firstname.lastname@example.org