Living in Singapore Magazine - August/September 2022

Page 1

August/September 2022

Welcome to Singapore! Everything you need to know to settle in

Formula One Returns

Get the lowdown on F1's iconic night race

Volunteering

How to give back to your community

Mental Health Help How and where to get it

Regional Travel

Where do US citizens need a visa?


Discover the Difference

DE T U

DO R P UN ONS M

PERFORMING ARTS

Pursuit of the arts is a staple of Dulwich life and we devote considerable resources to create opportunities for our students to experience all areas of the arts.

Students have abundant opportunities to experiment and perform, with drama and dance taught as part of the curriculum in Junior School and offered at IGCSE and IB.

Each year students participate in a range of drama and dance festivals across Asia, working with professional actors, directors, writers, dancers and choreographers.

Students benefit from collaborative relationships and partnerships with top educational and artistic institutions throughout the world such as The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Best School for the Arts

WhichSchoolAdvisor (Singapore) Best Schools Award 2022

singapore.dulwich.org admissions.singapore@dulwich.org (65) 6890 1003

LIVE

Dulwich College (Singapore) CPE Registration Number: 201027137D. Period of Registration: 09 January 2020 to 08 January 2024. School Location: 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8, Singapore, 658966


105 Cecil Street, #11-00 The Octagon, Singapore 069534

The Counselling Place has an international team of Therapists Experienced in serving Expats in English, German, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Bahasa Indonesia/ Melayu, Mandarin, & Cantonese.

Counselling for:

Children’s & teens’ issues Parenting concerns Relationship/marital conflicts Anger & stress management Anxiety & depression Grief, trauma & loss Relocation & adjustment

Psychological testing

Learning/ behavioural issues Career/ vocational guidance Emergenetics® profile for individual, couples, families & corporate team

www.thecounsellingplace.com


who we are Welcome! If you are new to Singapore, welcome to our little island. If you've been away for the summer, welcome home! Our staff took a well-deserved break in July, and we are back, ready to hit the ground running. We have so many events lined up for you, and will be adding more soon! Be sure to check out our website so you don't miss out. For the newbies to Singapore, we're holding a Secrets to Living in Singapore event on August 30. A few of the authors from the Living in Singapore 15th Edition Reference Guide (LIS) will be sharing tips about life on the Little Red Dot. It's the perfect venue to get your questions answered, and to make new friends over a glass of wine. We've also shared some snippets of chapters from LIS in this issue to give you a taste of what the book has to offer. I have lived in Singapore for almost five years, and I still learn new things from the guide! We'll also be holding our annual Welcome Back event, sponsored by and held at the joint campus of XCL World Academy and XAA American Academy. This is an opportunity to kick back and have some fun after the hard work of moving house, to make new friends or catch up with old friends. It'll be fun for the whole family. We hope to see you there! I am also personally excited for the return, after three long years, of the Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix. I've ridden my bike down the pit lane, past the garages, countless times just longing for the buzz and excitement that comes with race weekend. You'll find me there, decked out in my favorite team's gear for the main event and cheering on the female drivers in the first W Series race in Asia!

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Susan Williams communications@aasingapore.com Publishing Editor: Melinda Murphy generalmanager@aasingapore.com LAYOUT Graphic Designer: Susan Williams graphics@aasingapore.com ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Thila Chandra advertising@aasingapore.com COLUMNIST Andrea McKenna Brankin CONTRIBUTORS Jyoti Angresh, Nithia Devan, Cath Forte, Richard Hartung, Mia McDonald, Benny Ortega, Laura Schwartz, Marc Servos, Josette Ungos, Glenn van Zutphen, Susan Williams AMERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS President: Blair Hall Vice President: Michael Johnsen Treasurer: Ashok Lalwani Directors-at-Large: Mkulima Britt, Dana Hvide, Aaron Kim, Daniel Moss, Naureen Rasul, Jennifer Yarbrough AmCham: Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei AWA: Linda Schindler SACAC: Jeff Majestic SAS: Kyle Aldous The American Club: Neetu Mirchandani Non-Voting Members US Embassy: Brian Himmelsteib US Navy COMLOG WESTPAC: Rear Admiral Mark Melson AAS: Melinda Murphy PUBLISHER – AMERICAN ASSOCIATION The American Association of Singapore (AAS) is a professional, notfor-profit organization established to enhance the well-being and living experience of Americans residing in Singapore and to promote relationships, both business and social, between Americans and those from different cultures and nationalities. 56A Boat Quay, Singapore 049845 • (+65) 8030 6183 admin@aasingapore.com • www.aasingapore.com Living In Singapore magazine will be released six times per year, with the purpose of enhancing the expatriate experience in Singapore.

SUBSCRIPTION

A subscription to Living in Singapore is complementary with an AAS or CareerSource membership. AAS annual family membership is $120. CareerSource membership is $220. To join, visit www.aasingapore.com and have Living in Singapore magazine delivered to your inbox. Reproduction in any manner, in English or any other language, is prohibited without written permission. Living in Singapore welcomes all contributions of volunteer time or written material.

Editor-in-Chief FOLLOW US!

Susan Williams


what’s in... 10 Community News 30 Welcome to Singapore

Get to know a little more about the Little Red Dot.

38 Crash Course: Life as an Adult What to do once you've settled in.

30

42 A City Glittering with the Arts A primer on the arts and culture scene in Singapore.

46 Lights Out and Away We Go! Formula One returns to Singapore.

48 Visa Required, Don't Leave

Home Without It

Find out which countries in Asia require a visa.

38

42 46

48


message from the president By Blair Hall “Welcome Back and Welcome!” As the summer holidays have wound down, it has been a joy to greet friends returning from their vacations with smiles, sun tans, and lively stories of family reunions and fascinating travels. It also has been a pleasure meeting many engaging new friends who’ve just arrived on the “Little Red Dot.” What both our returning members and the newcomers share is an enthusiasm to connect with Singapore, and to build meaningful relationships in the community. And that’s exactly what AAS is here for! For those of us who remained in Singapore over the summer, AAS was delighted to host its star-spangled Independence Day picnic celebration on the lawns of Marina Barrage on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. With lawn games, a watermelon eating contest, a Dixieland band, and great American food offerings, it really felt like an old-fashioned Fourth of July. The most stirring moment was the presentation of the flags by the US Navy Color Guard with the impressive Singapore skyline silhouetted against an orange and magenta sunset. We are so happy we can host public events again! So, check out our full line up of upcoming events, especially the annual AAS Welcome Back celebration on September 3. With kids’ games, square dancing and a terrific barbeque, it’s a great way to catch up with old friends and connect with new ones. This follows our Secrets to Living In Singapore briefing for newcomers, based on our best-selling guide book of that name, providing insider tips for making the most of life here. Our terrific team also has curated a rich offering of heritage tours, cultural and culinary explorations, and volunteer service opportunities. Whatever your interests, I’m sure you’ll find activities you and your family will love. CareerSource, the business-focused side of the Association, continues to offer workshops, skills development, career coaching, and networking opportunities for freelancers and digital nomads, as well as those seeking corporate work. They are hosting an August 25 Happy Hour for young professionals at a great rooftop location in the central business district. Although I no longer qualify as a ‘young’ professional, I can still enjoy our monthly guys’ “Metworks” event for convivial conversations over a couple beers. Come join us! So, welcome back and welcome – and we really look forward to seeing you soon! It’s going to be a great year.

American Community Organizations Directory AAS aasingapore.com

AWA awasingapore.org

SAS sas.edu.sg

The American Club amclub.org.sg

AmCham amcham.com.sg

Navy League nlus-sgp.org

SAIS sais.edu.sg

US Embassy sg.usembassy.gov

American Dragons americandragons.sg

SACAC Sports safl.sacac.com

Scouts BSA Troop 07: www.bsatroop07.org BSA Troop 10: www.sgtroop10.org BSA Troop 1010: sgtroop1010@gmail.com

6 LIVING IN SINGAPORE

Cub Scouts Pack 3010: www.sgpack3010.org Cub Scouts Pack 3017: cubscoutsusa.com.sg USA Girl Scouts: www.singaporeusagirlscouts.org


member benefits Banyan Tree Bintan 15% off best available rates. Valid through 12/31/22. Core Holistic Nutrition Get 10% off the initial consultation rate. WhatsApp: +65 8789 9064. contact@coreholisticnutrition.com. Valid through 9/30/2022. Estheclinic 10% discount for all their treatments. Valid through 12/30/22. Expat Living magazine Free six-month subscription. Valid through 12/30/22. Hard Rock Cafe 15% discount on food and beverage upon showing a screenshot of your membership. Valid through 12/30/22. Hedgers Carpet Free high-quality underlayment with every purchase at our store (while stocks last). Valid through 12/30/22. Laguna Golf Bintan 25% off visitor rates. Valid through 12/31/22. Lawry’s The Prime Rib 15% discount for à la carte food bill for dine-in only. Blackout dates apply. Mr. Jeff Free pick up & delivery for Buona Vista/Pasir Panjang area; 20% discount using code AAS20. Valid through 12/30/22. Marriott AAS members enjoy a 25% discount on F&B. Show a screenshot of your membership. Motorist 15% off car insurance quotes. Valid through 9/30/22.

National Gallery Singapore AAS members enjoy a 25% discount when they sign up on the Gallery Explorer app. Valid through 9/30/22. Pimalai Resort & Spa Stay 5 Pay 4 promotion; 20% discount for the general public which can be combined with this promotion. E-mail lauren@ travelprospect.com to inquire. Valid through 9/30/22. Poke Theory AAS members get a 10% discount. Flash your membership profile to the friendly staff to redeem this perk! Exclusively at Katong Square #01-12. Valid through 12/31/22. Raffles Hotel 15% discount at Raffles Spa Mon-Fri; 15% off regular-priced items at Raffles Boutique & Floral Boutique; 15% off total bill at Raffles restaurants. Blackout dates apply. The Counselling Place AAS members enjoy 10% discount for their first session. Apply code "AAS" in the coupon section when making the booking to receive the discount. Valid through 12/31/22. The Shanti Residence AAS Members get 15% off room bookings directly. Solescape AAS members enjoy 15% discount on their purchase of a pair of shoes. Valid through 12/31/22. The American Club AAS members may order dinner from The American Club. Scan or click here for our full member benefits page and more details on each benefit.

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 7


American Association Sister Organizations Click Through to Find Out What’s Planned at AAS and at Our Sister Orgs

American Association of Singapore AmCham

American Women’s Association Navy League

SAFL The American Club US Embassy

upcoming events Metworks Happy Hour Aug 11, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Secrets to Living in Singapore Aug 30, 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Freelancers & Entrepreneurs Coffee Welcome Back Aug 24, 10:00 AM– 12:00 PM Celebration! Sep 3, 5:00 – 8:00 PM Young Professionals Happy Hour Mooncake Magic Aug 25, 6:30 – 8:30 PM Sep 10, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM Hungry Ghost: Creepy: Tales Tour Aug 27, 7:15 PM

Heritage Tour: Kampong Gelam Oct 1, 4:00 – 6:00 PM Deepavali in Little India Oct 15, 4:00 – 7:00 PM

AAS at ACRES Sep 17, 10:00 AM

AAS Strategic Partners We would like to extend our thanks to our strategic partners at the Association for their continued support and contribution.

Patriot Partners

Stars & Stripes Partners

8 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


AAS_healthscreeners ad.pdf

1

21/7/22

9:34 AM

All in the Family Counselling Centre Pte Ltd

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

Prevention, Detection, and Intervention

AITFCC helps individuals and couples address difficult relationship and life issues.

Did you know that in the early stages, most diseases show no signs or symptoms? Going for an annual health screening can help to detect red flags in your body early and achieve the best treatment outcome.

We provide sleep help through product Babysleepfairy.

We specialize in difficult cases related to anxiety, depression, infidelity, anger and life transition. We have a portal, www.mynewbeginningsclub.com, and a wide range of hours. Contact us now.

Learn more about the types of health screening services available at Raffles Medical Group via https://bit.ly/rmgscreeners

585 North Bridge Road | Raffles Hospital | Singapore 188770 | Tel: 6311 1111 | enquiries@raffleshospital.com | raffleshospital.com

Tammy M. Fontana, MS (USA) NCC CTRT, clinical Sex Therapist (USA)

RafflesMedGrp

RafflesHospital

www.allinthefamilycounselling.com tammy@allinthefamilycounselling.com

+65 9030 7239 WhatsApp preferred


We had an amazing time at our old-fashioned Thank you to our speakers: acting Deputy Chief Fourth of July bash! It was wonderful to be all of Mission Brian Himmelsteib and Kyle Aldous, together again! Director of Strategic Communication at SAS and to our AAS President Blair Hall for emceeing the official ceremony. We were also treated to National Day practice flyovers and fireworks. What a bonus! Congratulations to our Best Dressed winners! The Servos Family each took home an Expat Dental water bottle, an AAS dry bag and a $50 Lawry's the Prime Rib voucher. The kids also got S.E.A. Aquarium tickets. Valerie Brandt was our individual winner and nabbed a fab electric toothbrush valued at more than $300, sponsored by Expat Dental, who also sponsored the photo booth. Our watermelon eating contest was a blast. The New Stream Brass Band brought the party Who knew eating watermelon could be so much to life with their upbeat roving performances. fun...or messy?! Congrats to our winners! The American Club's Eli the Eagle entertained all the young ones (and the young at heart). And if you caught Ming Da, the Charming Conjurer, in action you were surely blown away! We had lots of lawn games, crafts, and fun competitions with sack races, a three-legged race, an egg and spoon race, and a good old tug-of-war. The US Navy Color Guard brought us to our feet to honor not only our home country of America, but our host country of Singapore, too. SAS student Chynna Abergas gave us the chills with her gorgeous performances of the two national anthems.

10 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


Of course, it's not the Fourth of July without great food! Our wonderful vendors, Hoe Brothers, Smokey's BBQ and The American Club did not disappoint! They provided the perfect fare for the occasion. We also had snow cones, popcorn, and cotton candy flowing! Thanks to our generous prize sponsors, we held a membership drive along with the event. Congratulations to the winners! • • • •

Ryan B. won a 3D/2N stay at The Residence Bintan. Bojana D. will enjoy a stay in Bali, courtesy of Four on Drupadi. Susan Y. gets a 3D/2N staycation at Concorde Hotel Singapore. Both Karla C. and Molly K. receive a one year Insider Membership to the National Gallery Singapore!

Our Volunteers Rock! We truly couldn't have done it without our fabulous team of volunteers! Thanks to everyone who pitched in a bit of time to help make our event a success. It's true what they say, "Many hands make light work." All of the games, crafts, and competitions added such a fun element to the day. A big thank you to all our prize donors for the day: Concorde Hotel Singapore, Expat Dental, Four on Drupadi, Lawry's the Prime Rib, National Gallery Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa and The Residence Bintan. It was also great to have Raffles Medical on hand to provide first aid services (just in case!). And, of course, a huge shout out to our title sponsor, Singapore American School, and our sponsor, Expat Dental. Our child champ took home a goodie bag of toys plus four tickets to S.E.A. Aquarium. The teen division winner snagged four tickets to S.E.A. Aquarium. Our adult winner traded in watermelon for beef with a $250 gift certificate to Lawry's the Prime Rib.

We can’t wait to celebrate again next year!

Best Pie Baker in Singapore! Congrats to Eeda Wallbank who won our Pie-Baking Contest! Eeda took home a bespoke apron, chef's hat and engraved pie server! Thanks to our judges Dan Durkin from The American Club and AAS President Blair Hall.

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 11


12 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


LIVING IN SINGAPORE 13


14 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


LIVING IN SINGAPORE 15


16 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


Thank You! Title Sponsor

Sponsor

Entertainment

Food & Beverage Vendors Prize Sponsors

Medical Support

For more photos of the event, click here. LIVING IN SINGAPORE 17


t u o c S e l g a E o t My Journey Benny Ortega, BSA Troop 10 By

skills y valuable arned man le I t u b , e ight lin d how to was no stra silience, an t e u R o , c n S o ti le g ra pa to Ea dership, Pre My journey cluding Lea in y, a w e g th for life alon as ! but there w ve ti r Scouting, stay posi fo n o ti a d u a Sco t in at foun lly became t was a gre a u n o fi c I S n b e u h C a dw ng Starting as to Scout-le was amazi parent-led Troop 10. It m A o S fr B n o ts ti u o si hout my ore Sc a big tran EC) Singap friends, wit (F y s m il’ h c it n u w o s C ekend the Far East modations, r entire we our accom t to camp fo u o le b re a u e g b ol to fi to finally in it. on my patr ommunity nding just e p e d , sense of c ts n e th d pare ye jo lly en and other plans. I rea oked up to meals, and lo I t a th rs ade e. nd great le tions to m to be arou and inspira te s, a e n u lv rt se fo m s e I wa h the ts th ing throug Eagle Scou while work o became s h ill w sk ts l itness, u a o n c o S ing a lot. I , Physical F foundati ts y o e n k K d , e g ir , I was learn in u p ss q e c m in c a a I ro C , , p n id e o Early these skills ugh th g, First A lped teach ds, but thro e ks: Cookin n h n ie h ra fr ic g y h n m ti w u h ngs wit early Sco es or meeti having fun fun activiti . I was just st tc e ju , ly ip h st o rs e m as Lead ork as it w k of it as w e me even y. a did not thin rience mad e w p x le e b e ra h o T mp. le and mem oops in the summer ca an enjoyab er Scout tr one-week th o a t r e fo m I lia . o Scouts in to Mong uch there Mongolian was going learn so m h it e d n w n o a d st e te a ile se ds t to articip A key m came frien g since I go . And we p ore, and be do Scoutin p ame a few a n to g r to in e S g st a in e ju o , troop more ople fr m d China ll these pe Scouts BSA a r ietnam, an e e V , th se o yo n k to a g , To oop 07 amazin ulture and FEC from led with Tr out their c nce. It was ve b e a a ri e tr g p o in x ls e rn a a is We f th nd le our camp. because o together a nds getting u ro g k c a b different Badges. I y. and Merit ip h rs communit e d a ub on Le s helping C d focused st Class an experience ir y F rl a d e e rn se a e e er. Th hip skills. Later, I Patrol Lead my leaders d p n lo a f ve e ie d h C to Den me became a ally helped ico. a patrol re g in d a re for Mex le d ve Singapo Scouts an a le to d a h m there. when I Life Scout BSA progra a ts g u o in c m S o o c e as n ea I was just b use there w and becam t program sition beca u n o a c tr S h n g a u ic ll Scouting d a Mex It was a to qualized a e ting, I joine u d o vi c o S C in n ve t soo To stay acti ts. e same, bu Lone Scou was not th It t. u o c S lly Remote a ti n e ss e BSA Lone became ore. d everyone d to Singap globally, an re I returne fo e b o ic x they were t in Me agle Projec the animals E ll y a r m fo d e te c , I came ed spa I comple help them center lack To n . o e ti m ta o h ili b ha e them A reptile re r the cours ad to take ptiles. Ove members h re y e n a th m r d fo n a losure helping a re for a bo ing an enc an enclosu ea of build g id in e ild , th u b h it rs up w ow to plan luntee roup of vo teach me h g d a e d lp le e I h , d k e an of a wee t experienc was a grea It r. to c ri st con . ope more ding a team riences. I h t while lea e c p je x e ro g p n a ti u te Sco nd comple cherish my s to offer. organize, a will always couting ha I S . t 0 a 1 th p o ll o a Tr ence gle Scout in y to experi a proud Ea opportunit e th ve a Now, I am h dults alike, uths and a people, yo


All About Girl Scouts By Susan Williams, USAGSO Singapore ort that will help her make friends, learn Girl Scouts gives girls a community of supp ter where she goes. new skills, and become her best self no mat path and Plus, we empower girls to forge their own s she want explore interests that matter to them. Doe and more? to create art, learn STEM, start a business, With Girl Scouts, she can! training Girl Scouts is the premiere leadership nalities. program for girls in the world, open to all natio hard Girl Scouting includes lots of great life lessons, work, and - most of all - FUN!!! with We build leaders, one girl at a time. It starts el that one day, one meeting, and one role mod ever imagined. Through shows her she can accomplish more than she can try things she’s never experienced Girl Scouts in Singapore, your daughter anywhere else. with girls from more than 25 countries. And she’ll make the best friends of her life Quite simply, your daughter will love it. Volunteering with Girl Scouts tors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts With the support of adult volunteers, men make a difference. Volunteers make Girl lead the way as they find their voices and ity, growing your skills, and showing Girl Scouting possible while building commun Scouts what it means to be unstoppable. help Girl Scouts become stronger, kinder, With your unique skills and interests, you’ll and braver than they ever thought possible. Girl Scouting is as rewarding for our volunteers as it is for our girls! Plus, we provide fabulous training to teach you all you need to know. Girl Scouting is leadership training for all ages. Registration is now open for Singapore USA Girl Scouts, until the end of August. We have school-based troops as well as multi-school weekend troops. There's something for everyone!

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 19


You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks By Josette Ungos

Scouts BSA is a Scout-led program. That means that Scouts are in charge of organizing their own campouts, planning their own hikes, and leading other activities (including presenting during Zoom calls thanks to Covid). But, of course, Scouts still rely on adult volunteers (who are mostly, but not always, parents) for training and guidance. The girls Troop 1010 was lucky enough to be founded by a dedicated Eagle Scout who volunteered his time and expertise in Scouting long before his own daughter was able to join Scouts BSA in 2019. The Troop has since been fortunate to have an acting Scoutmaster who has also devoted endless hours and energy to teaching, training, and inspiring the girls (even though her own daughter has not yet crossed over to Scouts BSA from Cub Scouts). Not all parents of Scouts are lucky enough to have the outdoor expertise and skills to survive in the wilderness let alone teach others how to do such things. But thankfully, Scouts BSA is an open and inviting community that is all about hands-on training and encouraging participation. This past April, the intrepid adult leaders in Troops 07 and 10 organized an Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS) program. Adult volunteers from the three Singapore Scouts BSA troops, Troops 07, 10 and 1010, and the two Cub Scout Packs 3010 and 3017, were all invited to spend a day at the Sarimbun Scout Camp learning and practicing many of the skills covered in the Scout Handbook that all Scouts receive when they join Scouts BSA. Experienced adult leaders from the troops taught sessions on knot tying, camp set-up, orienteering, working with wood tools, fire-building, and more. Though I was an avid backpacker as a young adult, I admit that I unwisely hiked into the backcountry without knowing how to use a compass; not exactly following the Scout motto of “Be Prepared.” At the IOLS session, I learned how to use a compass and to respect why being prepared is so important. Not only did we learn a lot of new skills in our all-day training session, but the experience also helped us to recognize and appreciate the breadth of knowledge our Scouts gain by planning and attending monthly campouts. The program culminated in silly skits and songs around a bonfire, another Scouting tradition. Though an avowed introvert, I enjoyed planning and performing our little group skit. It was an easy and welcoming crowd. I also realized it is a fun way to help build confidence in Scouts and give them an opportunity to speak in front of an audience without all of the seriousness and pressure of giving a presentation. All in all, it was a fun day. I met a lot of great people from the Singapore Scouts BSA community and learned a lot of useful survival skills. Most of all, I gained a better understanding of the value of the Scouting experience for my own children and for Scouts everywhere. To register for the girls Scouts BSA Troop 1010, contact registrar.sgtroop1010@gmail.com.


General Dentistry • Cosmetic • Orthodontics • Smile Transformation

Comfort, convenience, comprehensive care. Internationally certified US & UK dentists Transparent pricing. No surprises. 11,000+ clients since 2013 Raffles Place & Novena clinics

Dr. Shaun D.D.S. & American Dental Association Member

Dr. Matt D.D.S. & American Dental Association Member

Our Service Warranty You keep up on your routine cleanings and if something we treated breaks, we’ll fix it at no

Dr. Clara

cost to you. See full terms &

UK Trained Orthodontist & Dental Surgeon

conditions at expatdental.com.

Book at expatdental.com

|

9656 0697

|

6816 5742

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 21


living in s

My life in many ways is a simple but beautiful story about the American Dream. When I was 15, my family immigrated from Egypt to the United States – a country that offers opportunities to everyone regardless of background or national origin. My parents were hoping for a better future for their children. They were always big on education and the freedom that America offers. These values have inspired me most in my career in public service. I was a junior in high school when we moved to Orange County, California. The first year was challenging. My senior year proved much brighter, however, and my counselor nominated me for the “Outstanding Youth Citizenship Award.” There were seven finalists from across the district. To my surprise and delight, I won. It meant a lot to me; that day I experienced myself how the United States is indeed a very special country. I went on to do my undergraduate study at the University of California, Irvine with a double major in Biology and French Literature. I was pre-med and then attended medical school at Northwestern in Chicago. I decided to take the Foreign Service exam out of curiosity. I thought the idea of becoming an American diplomat was so inspiring, but at the same time, it felt so out of reach that I never thought that it would become a reality. When I passed the Foreign Service exam, I was in my early 20s and had to make the tough decision to either

22 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


singapore Humans of The Embassy Rafik Mansour Deputy Chief of Mission

continue medical school, which I worked hard to get into, or embark on a major career switch. I asked the Dean of Students if he would grant me a two-year leave of absence so I could try the Foreign Service. He was very open-minded and encouraged me to try it, noting that not many people have a choice between two careers as diverse as medicine or diplomacy. My first overseas assignment was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where I conducted 25,000 visa interviews. I loved it and knew that the Foreign Service was the career for me. Other than Washington, DC, I served in Haiti, Italy, Russia, Libya, Algeria, Iraq, France, and Armenia. Singapore is my ninth embassy. It has been a tremendous honor to serve as the Chargé d’Affaires for most of my three years here. A highlight has been overseeing 25 US government agencies, ensuring we are all speaking with one voice as the US government, and that we are united in advancing both the bilateral relationship and the national security interests of the United States in this consequential part of the world. I am so very proud of the US Embassy Singapore team. It is fascinating to serve the United States in a country as important as Singapore. While small in size, it’s a very impactful country. You sense its regional impact; you witness its global impact. We have thousands of American companies operating in Singapore and it warms my heart to see how many US companies rank as top employers in Singapore. The US private sector does a magnificent job here, not only in recruiting, hiring, and promoting but also in treating people right and illustrating American values in Singapore and beyond. My 23 years in the Foreign Service have included assignments in consular, political, economic, and public diplomacy. My career has advanced into management and leadership, where I have learned that people are the most important asset. Above all, it is the incredible people I have met in the Foreign Service, Americans and foreigners, that have made it most worthwhile for me. It’s an honor to represent the country that I deem the greatest on Earth. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 23


SAS Baseball Teams Back on the Field “The Philippines trip was awesome. We played Singapore American School Eagle Club baseball teams went on their first overseas trip after more well, everybody was nice. Overall, it was a super than two years! More than 60 participants from positive experience and I would love to go again.” —Bruce Z., eighth grade eight teams played 48 games over three days in Alabang, Philippines. Participants from age “It was really fun to play against different teams groups 8U, 10U 12U, 14U, and 18U played against that were challenging. I liked how players from the 11 teams from the Philippines. White Team moved to the Red Team. I also think Some of our mighty Eagles share what it was it was amazing to hear that some teams from Manila don’t have a lot of baseball equipment, but like to be back on the field: they are all so good. It also felt good to donate as "When I went on the bus, I was super excited they were very thankful. because I was with all of my friends and I was “It has been more than two years since our about to play my first game against a different team in almost three years. When we got to the SAS baseball teams have participated in a field, we played our first game. All of the games baseball tournament. I had almost forgotten were close and we even played against a team about the joy of playing in a baseball tournament that is going to the Little League World Series. until the Manila tournament was announced. That was super cool because every year I watch The flashbacks to the previous tournaments the Little League World Series and this year I can filled my mind as our team eagerly waited for the Manila tournament to inch closer. We were say that I played against that team." all very excited to face another baseball team —Kaiden R., sixth grade besides ourselves. It was a great opportunity to

24 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


get out of Singapore and have a lot of fun playing baseball with the teams in Manila. I know that all of the coaches worked very hard in trying to help coordinate this amazing experience for all of us. The coaches also asked us to collect sports equipment to donate to some teams in Manila. The teams were very appreciative of everything we brought. It was absolutely amazing playing against different teams and just having fun. From the fields to the sidelines, to meals together, to swimming in the hotel pool together, it was truly an awesome experience. There is nothing greater The team’s baseball coach, Oscar Marcelino, has than getting out of bed, knowing that today is an opportunity — an opportunity to play baseball been collecting and sharing baseball equipment and clothing donations all across the Philippines and an opportunity to have a great time.” with underprivileged youth for a long time. He —Duncan R., seventh grade spends a lot of his time in the summer traveling It was overall a very nice experience to have around the Philippines and conducting baseball fun and play baseball. I think it was my favorite lessons and handing out donations. His actions tournament considering baseball, the hotel, and have been embraced by our Eagle Club baseball donating to the people in need. Thank you Coach community and created a community of sharing. Oscar for putting this tournament together.” It is also what inspired the three high school —Lukas E., sixth grade students to start this service club. They went on one of these baseball trips at 10U and the experience has stayed with them.

While the teams had a great time going on their first overseas trip since the pandemic, there was another very important aspect of this trip. Three SAS high school baseball players, Asher Morgenroth, David Schleider, and Shodai Tanaka, have created a service club, Field of Dreams, to assist underprivileged youth in the Philippines through baseball. They asked our community to donate any pre-loved baseball gear and any other items that were then distributed to some of the teams from rural areas in the Philippines.

Recently, the baseball teams organized their annual Field of Dreams donation drive. Students collected various items such as used children’s clothing and shoes, baseball/softball gloves, bats, catcher’s gear, cleats, and more. Due to the overwhelming response, they plan to hold another donation drive in September!

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 25


26 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


Coming in Fall 2023

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 27


HEAD SPACE Welcome to the Head Space column, where we’ll discuss all matters related to mental health and how it relates to our lives here in Singapore. By Andrea McKenna Brankin.

Mental Health Help: How and Where to Get It First things first, you can’t get help if you don’t As a mental health advocate, suicide survivor and a person living with Bipolar Disorder, I get ask. Now more than ever, people are listening asked this question the most often: how and to mental health issues. Please reach out if you need help. The empathy movement is in full force where can someone get help? and I hope everyone will take advantage of that compassion. Before I offer a list of places, know that you can always start with mental health support from your primary care doctor or even a walk-in clinic at a private hospital, such as Raffles Hospital or Mt. Elizabeth. I know from research that expat-oriented providers, such as International Medical Clinic, have doctors who are keenly aware of mental health issues and can help get you started either with medication or an assessment. General practitioners can also refer you to a specialist — I totally understand that this can be a big step specifically a psychiatrist who manages illness by and takes a tremendous amount of courage to prescribing medication. (This is my personal go-to reach out. But once you or someone you know for help.) does that, then you can be sure you (or they) can The other route is to reach out to someone finally take steps toward recovery. As I’ve said in who does psychotherapy/counseling, which is my own book on mental health (Bipolar Phoenix, provided by a certified psychologist or counselor. available on Amazon.com), everyone has the These professionals use a variety of techniques opportunity to recover. There is always hope! to help manage symptoms. For myself, I use

28 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


both a doctor and a therapist. There are so many different kinds of therapy! It’s almost exciting to try them, such as animal therapy or outdoors events.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, Samaritans of Singapore (available 24/7) understands and can help via a phone call. They are well-trained with empathy and compassion, so don’t be afraid you are being a burden or over-reacting. If you feel suicidal, whether you act on it or not, you still need help and support. That number is: 1-888-221-4444. You can also chat or email through their website: Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) | Homepage

The IMH (Institute for Mental Health) hotline is another place you can call for support: 6389-2222.

SAMH (Singapore Association for Mental Health) – 1-800-283-7019. This group in Singapore focuses on mental health rehabilitation and reintegration, both of which are often concerns of people seeking help, as they need to know not only how to get better, but also how to keep moving forward with their lives.

One therapy that I wish I could do more of is horse-assisted psychotherapy. It’s literally working with horses and a specially-trained therapist to help build mindfulness skills to manage emotions and triggers. It was a very powerful experience for me and I hope to go back for more. Another therapy that I also do in Singapore is Walk-and-Talk therapy. I meet my therapist in the Botanic Gardens, and literally walk and talk. The beautiful natural scenery is calming and the walking is therapeutic. It is so much better than just sitting in a boring old office. This type of therapy is offered by several companies here.

For therapists, there are lot of options. Here are some expat-friendly services: • Harmony Counselling • Alliance • SACAC • The Counselling Place • All in the Family Counselling Centre Lastly, Psychology Today lists counselors and therapists in Singapore. I hope you will know that there is always So, that’s my continuing effort and experience hope to recover from and live with mental with doctors and therapists in Singapore for help. health issues. I’m living proof! If you have any Here are some more resources. questions for me, you can reach out via email at • If you or someone you know is in crisis or bppandrea@gmail.com. who has hurt themselves, call 995 for an ambulance. DO NOT HESITATE.

Andrea has been a journalist for more than 30 years, writing about financial, lifestyle and mental health topics. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix: My F’ed Up Life and How I Fixed It (available on Amazon.com), was released on World Mental Health Day in 2020. She has lived in Singapore for 11 years with her husband, Chris and young daughter, Georgia.

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 29


Welcome to Singapore

Photo by Joshua Ang By Glenn van Zutphen

Landing at Changi Airport and driving into town on the clean, tree-lined expressway, you’ve likely realized that you’re in a very unusual, global city. Just 30 minutes (or less!) from the hyper-efficient air hub are the gleaming business and tourism districts. Welcome to the dynamic, modern, and ever-evolving city-state that you have made the bold step to call home. This is Singapore, where the never-ending growth and change is awesome. Starting some 800 years ago with the Kings and Sultans of Malaya, to Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles’ “British invasion” in 1819, to the modern, independent, business-friendly country, where rule of law and multi-culturalism are blending the past with a dynamic future in this high-tech, sophisticated metropolis.

Global Ranking

And it has seen some truly spectacular success. If you’re wondering how unique Singapore is, global surveys by banks, think tanks, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) consistently say the same thing: Singapore is the best. It often tops lists for personal safety, where 94% of Singaporeans feel safe walking alone at night, compared with the global average of 68%. It is tops in education, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)'s ranking of school performance across 76 countries. It’s consistently cited as one of the top places for expats to live and work; expats here earn an average salary of S$224,000 (US$162,000). Singapore is a business hub and the most change-ready country. You can find The Little Red Dot the fastest fixed broadband speed in the world The “Little Red Dot” or “The Red Dot,” as here, as well as 100% broadband connectivity, Singapore is affectionately known, has come so you’ll never have any trouble with your a long way since the days of clipper ships, with Netflix and Chill evenings! pirates plotting just out of sight in the nearby Riau Islands. It has been a stopping-off point for travelers and traders over many centuries. 30 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


You’re Not in Kansas, Anymore One downside to Singapore is the cost of living; it consistently ranks as one of the most expensive places in the world. While not vastly different from Manhattan or Central London or Tokyo, the prices here may shock you, especially if you’re from a smaller town or city. You may also lament the high cost of buying food at the grocery store or dining out at a high-end restaurant. Most everything is shipped in or flown in from other countries. After a while, you’ll probably see that you get what you pay for. Today, the nearly six million people who call Singapore home have every modern convenience in a city that is safe, easy to do business in, easy to get in and out of by land, air or sea, and contains many interesting people to meet along the way. This manicured city-state also has another distinction. With highly educated and successful people driving million dollar-plus luxury cars down perfect streets, past designer shops and global brands, Singapore boasts the highest global percentage of homeowners who are considered millionaires (over 180,000) and 1,000 who are “crazy rich,” holding more than US$50 million. The never-ending flow of money here directly supports a high-end lifestyle for things like restaurants, shopping, leisure activities and schools. As in any city, there is another side of the story, too. Some 20% of Singaporeans have personal wealth of less than US$10,000, and Singapore has one of the highest household debt levels in Asia. Most ordinary Singaporeans ride the train or bus and eat at inexpensive hawker centers, while old men and women clean restaurant tables, sell tissue packets, or recycle cardboard boxes or empty cans for a few dollars. Due to the Destitute Persons Act, it’s illegal to beg here (a fine of up to S$3,000 or imprisonment for up to two years), so you probably won’t run into people asking for a handout: it’s a city of extreme contradictions.

Joo Chiat

Chinatown

Orchard Road

this impressive landscape and society on the Little Red Dot.

Each year it spends billions of dollars on public works projects, such as roads, tunnels, MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) train lines and other infrastructure. The government, however, is not merely concerned about infrastructure and business growth. There is a “softer” side that looks Driving Change with Vision closely at lifestyle and is realizing that society The Singapore government has been the needs leisure-time pursuits. One example: after driving force for nearly 60 years in developing decades of hard work and rapid growth, is the


32 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


“Vision 2030: Live Better Through Sport” project. This lays out dozens of leisure-time recommendations for residents to access sports facilities and programs, toward a more active and physically fit population. But if you’re exercising outside, be ready for the heat and probably a warm tropical shower.

Botanic Gardens

Also, while change does happen at a blistering pace here, there are still quiet places that take you back 100 years or more: the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a World Heritage Site; quaint lanes of Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam; or the stately black and white homes that dot the island. And of course, as we reopen from the global pandemic, Singapore will once again be one of the best regional cities from which to travel around the region for a long weekend or an extended holiday. Welcome to Singapore! We’re glad you’re here and hope that you enjoy life on the Little Red Dot!

Little India


The Big Move

Congratulations – you’ve done it! You’ve made the excellent decision to move to Singapore and you’re ready to grasp this wonderful opportunity. You will no doubt have a multitude of questions. How do I get there? Should I bring my pet? Which neighborhood will suit us? What about schools? Should I ship furniture? The list is long and exhausting – trust me, we've all been through it! The best thing? With AAS to guide you, you’re in exactly the right place for all the information you need to ease your transition. Of course, it’s more than we can cover in a magazine, but I know a great book that will help! Here’s a sneak peek into my chapter from Living in Singapore Fifteenth Edition Reference Guide: The Big Move.

HELP! (AND WHERE TO FIND IT) The first thing to recommend is that you find out what help is available to you. If you’re moving with an employer, contact Human Resources and ask what the deal is. They should, at the very least, be able to steer you in the right direction. At best, they will provide you with a full relocation service, which might include an advance visit, packing, shipping, short-term accommodation on arrival and an agent in-country to help you settle in. If this option is on the table, grab it with both hands!

34 LIVING IN SINGAPORE

By Cath Forte

If you’re moving under your own steam, don’t worry. It is absolutely possible, it just takes a little more planning and organization. If you get the chance for a look-see visit, plan this trip meticulously. Book appointments and bear in mind that although it’s a small island, traffic can be a nightmare, so you will need to factor this in. If you can’t make it ahead of moving day, be sure to take a look at the AAS website, and join any relevant groups on social media, where you can ask questions and access local knowledge.

WHERE TO START? Housing: Space is at a premium in Singapore, so huge, landed properties come with equally huge monthly rent. Think about your requirements and make a list of what’s important to you, but keep an open mind. Consider it an opportunity to explore a different way of living – from colonial black and whites to shophouses, condos to


HDB flats, there’s plenty to choose from. During our stay, my family had so much fun swapping a plain vanilla suburban home for a modern condo with a gym, pool and tennis courts in the heart of the Lion City. Neighborhoods: Singapore is known for being urban, but it also has many green spaces, sea views and even some jungle. Each area has its own unique personality. Whether you prefer the buzz of Orchard and Tanglin, the bohemian flavors of Tiong Bahru and Little India or the breezy vistas of East Coast or Sentosa, you can have some fun deciding which suits your new lifestyle. You might wake up to a breathtaking city view or glimpse a cheeky monkey stealing mangos from your garden. The rich mix of cultures means you’re sure to have interesting neighbors, too.

Pro tip: A good real estate agent is invaluable, so ask for recommendations from your new co-workers. Schools: Singapore offers top quality international and local schools, with many providing bilingual programs. Expats are not automatically entitled to a place at their preferred/most convenient local school, so if this is a consideration, it is important to discuss with your employer whether international options are included in your relocation. Daily travel: Cars are notoriously expensive, but public transportation is safe, clean, efficient and affordable. Test the route from your chosen neighborhood to work and school, as you don’t want to wind up with a long, complicated commute. Pets: Animal and Veterinary Services is a great starting point for the general requirements and procedures for relocating pets. Bear in mind that some pets will not cope well with the heat and humidity and certain dog breeds are not allowed in Singapore. Look into the requirements early to ensure all relevant vaccinations, micro chipping and vet assessments are in order.

WHAT TO BRING AND WHAT TO LEAVE BEHIND Singapore Customs and Excise should be your first stop for current regulations, including restricted items. Be sure to have all your documents in place, including passports, birth and marriage certificates, professional diplomas, etc.

Furniture and Appliances - Should You? Singapore follows the British electrical system, so if your electrical goods are from countries that do not follow this system, you’re likely to need transformers and adapters. Organize this before you arrive, so you can hit the ground running. Consider how furniture will fare in the humidity. Wood might expand or warp and furniture glue could melt. Mold and mildew can also damage soft furnishings, paintings, and leather goods. Buying locally is definitely an option and you’ll find plenty of relocating expats selling furniture on Facebook at very reasonable prices. There’s also IKEA for the basics. Singapore’s humid climate is pretty consistent yearround, so opt for light bedding and natural fibers. We mistakenly shipped a duck down duvet, which lived for five years in a storage bag under our bed until we finally threw it away!

What to Carry Shipping containers take their time, so pack your luggage with all your essential items, planning ahead for upcoming events including birthdays and holidays.

ARRIVAL TIME Changi Airport is less like an airport, and more like a tranquil haven of calm. It boasts numerous bars and eateries, a rooftop pool, movie theater, butterfly garden, and the world’s tallest slide in an airport, to name but a few! The taxi ride down the tree-lined East Coast Parkway must be one of the best airport-to-town drives in the world, so sit back and enjoy the view – your adventures in the Lion City are about to begin.

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 35


World-Class Education for All By Jyoti Angresh

Education is a big focus for most families when relocating to a new country. Right up there with finding a house, in fact. If you are evaluating schools for your kids, then you might already know that Singapore offers a range of excellent schools to residents. It is also home to some top universities, such as National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Most expats choose to send their children to private international schools, which provide a multicultural environment. Some expats choose the Singapore local public school system, which has an excellent reputation.

Choice is usually influenced by the type of curriculum you desire, the location of the school, activities or opportunities offered for pursuing interests, and last but not least, the Singaporean society accords significant cost of tuition and other school fees. Education importance to education, and this means is a significant factor in the cost of expat living expats and locals have an extensive spectrum in Singapore. The type of school you choose, of educational options available that range from and the residency status of your children, will preschool to university. determine the fee you pay for school education in Singapore. An understanding of the big picture will help you feel comfortable about making the choice A visit to a school is often the best way to best suited for your family and for yourself. decide on what is a good fit for your child. It also helps to get firsthand information from other Broadly speaking, for children, “international” families and to browse social media forums and “local” are the two most common terms you or groups. will hear when looking to select schools.

36 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


International Schools

Within the Singaporean system, there are schools that are considered the topMost large international schools in Singapore ranked schools, whose students score highly have consistent advantages: diverse cultural in examinations and whose alumni have experiences (typically between 10 and 70 progressed to hold key positions in government, nationalities), global awareness, a wide variety industry, and professional life. of in-school enrichment and co-curricular activities, the potential to learn world languages, See the MOE website for more information and in many cases, a curriculum consistent about government secondary schools with with a child’s home country, lending a degree special programs. There you will find a School of consistency and comfort. They also offer Information Service with ratings and contact the opportunity for expat kids to interact with details of all state schools in Singapore. others like them who are dealing with the same situation of being away from their homes. The schools offer either a specified curriculum – such as the International Baccalaureate, the International Primary, or International Middle Years curriculum – or they follow a national curriculum aligned to their own home country. Among international schools, you will find a wide choice of locations, curricula, and programs catering to different age levels, nationalities, and educational needs.

Universities and Higher Studies in Singapore The higher education system in Singapore, both public and private, as well as foreign university campuses and polytechnics offer top-notch choices, and this continues to get better every year. Universities in Singapore enjoy an excellent reputation and high world rankings. More than half of the Singaporean workforce currently has a university education, with a higher percentage expected in the future.

Local Schools Singapore’s education system is worldrenowned for its academic rigor and encouragement of students to acquire a strong sense of responsibility towards family, community, and country, while simultaneously forming strong bonds. It is important to note that spaces in local schools for international students (nonSingaporean and non-Permanent Resident) are not guaranteed and, in fact, are becoming increasingly scarce. The availability of a place in any school and, potentially, the distance from home to a school are more critical considerations for many expatriate families.

Conclusion Navigating unfamiliar ground might seem like a challenge when you first arrive. The wide variety of institutions and curricula, a very multicultural environment and, of course, just the natural shock of moving to a new school, can be difficult. However, you will soon find that Singapore’s unique educational landscape has an efficient system in place that offers something for everyone, has checks in place to ensure reliability and quality, and has a large enough expat community for you to find support.

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 37


Crash Course: Life as an Adult in Singapore By Laura Schwartz


So, you’re fully unpacked. You’ve figured out your morning commute. The kids are settling into their new school. Your phone is loaded with local emergency numbers. You know where the nearest grocery store is. All the basic necessities have been taken care of. Now what? Our lifestyle choices are what make our lives ours, no matter where we are. This article covers a few ways to transplant your old habits, hobbies and values into this fresh setting. In a diverse, modern metropolis such as Singapore, there’s no reason to simply hunker down and survive your time as an expat. While it’s always difficult to leave behind the communities that matter to you, you don’t have to sacrifice your passions just because you find yourself living abroad. It’s important to tailor your life as an expat to your preferences, lest you begin to resent your new environment. You might even be inspired to try something new.

Meeting People On this densely populated and techsavvy island, meeting like-minded others is easier than ever. The American Association of Singapore is just one of many organizations geared towards connecting expats through events and outings. An excellent way to build new friendships and learn about your new home (particularly if you’re a trailing spouse or working part-time) is to get involved in charitable activities. Whether you’re looking for romance or simply to make a friend, almost all international dating apps have a local presence and allow you to search for others seeking the same kind of connection. And be sure to check out the other American organizations on the AAS website.

Hobbies Shortlist your hobbies or interests and chances are there is an association or social group devoted to them. Music lovers have local live bands and annual festivals to fill their weekends. Bookworms have a robust library system with its own diverse events calendar.

Sports enthusiasts have endless opportunities to join in. For those who aren’t sure where to start, Meetup.com is an excellent resource, as it provides access to a wide variety of interest groups.

LGBTQ++ While the younger generations are generally more accepting, the government balances these progressive views with that of its older, more traditionally minded voters. For example, although sex between two men remains illegal, this law is almost never prosecuted. Overall, the LGBTQ++ community in Singapore is lively and thriving, with drag shows, gay bars and myriad support groups.

Disabled Living Singapore’s infrastructure is generally disabledfriendly. The MRT remains the most accessible mode of transportation as stations have elevators, escalators and tactile ground indicators, and trains announce each stop both visually and audibly. The ultimate advocate and resource for locals and expats with disabilities is the Disabled People’s Association of Singapore. Unfortunately, however, there are currently no antidiscrimination laws in place to protect disabled individuals.

Social Activism When you move here, you will unfortunately have to check some of your social activism at the door. Foreign residents are strongly discouraged from taking part in


political activity or debate under the threat of prosecution, fines and (in extreme cases) expulsion. The country isn’t the intolerant dictatorship many imagine it to be, though the government does keep a tight rein on political activities and certain liberties. While it can be difficult to watch from the sidelines, remember that at the end of the day, it is up to Singaporeans to move Singapore forward.

To Sum Up You can research Singapore’s laws, memorize the names of local dishes and join a dozen interest groups, but none of that is guaranteed to give you the feeling of home. That is something that develops over time, as you build friend circles and settle into habits. Be patient with yourself and with others. And don't forget to have fun!

Environmentalism Environmentalists will have a ball in Singapore, which is intent on transforming itself into a “City in a Garden.” A few years ago, the government launched the Sustainable Singapore initiative with clear blueprints and goals to enhance resource efficiency, rejuvenate the urban environment and foster community ownership. You’ll find with public transport and the organized recycling system, it’s easy to live the low-impact life of your dreams.

The latest edition of

Living in Singapore 15th Edition Reference Guide (LIS) is a can't-miss! Whether you're a newcomer or long-timer, this amazing book has everything you need to know about living in Singapore and is as up-to-date as it gets. AAS has published this fantastic reference guide for more than 40 years and it just keeps getting better and better. This truly is the bible for life on the Little Red Dot.

Secrets to Living in Singapore Our annual talk for newbies based on our ever-popular book, now in its 15th edition. If you've just arrived in Singapore, this talk is for you! Come learn about life on the Little Red Dot and make some new friends over a glass of wine.

Scan the QR code, or visit our website at

www.aasingapore.com to purchase a copy now!

August 30 6 PM The American Club 40 LIVING IN SINGAPORE



Singapore: A City Glittering with the Arts

By Nithia Devan

Photo by Bryan Low

42 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


Singapore’s arts and culture scene is more dynamic today than ever. Its uniqueness comes from Singapore’s multicultural heritage and openness to global influences. There’s a wide spectrum of experiences on offer from international shows to homegrown productions. Singapore’s arts and heritage festivals, as well as participation in international festivals, make the city both an economic center and a cultural capital – a city with character and life. The Living in Singapore 15th Edition Reference Guide (LIS) chapter on arts and culture gives an overview of “hardware” like museums, galleries, centers for the arts and performance spaces. The Government has made significant investments in art and cultural spaces throughout the city – some modern and some incorporating existing treasures. In addition, private institutions have created many facilities and opportunities. Apart from the better-known venues such as the Esplanade, there is also information on “arts belts” such as the Civic District around Bras Basah and Bugis and the various Heritage Centers. As well as “hardware” for the arts, there is also emphasis on raising the standards of the “software.” There is information on arts education as well as local arts groups and arts festivals. The emphasis is on the range of experiences on offer and there is something for everyone. Singapore has a talented, multicultural selection of arts organizations fostering the city-state’s creative atmosphere in the many varieties of the arts ranging from music (classical to rock, pop and Indie), dance (ballet, contemporary and ethnic) and theatrical performances (Shakespeare, classics, Broadway hits). There are many homegrown theater companies located here, each with its own signature style and repertoire, as well as visiting theater groups. There are, of course, big musical productions by international companies that come into town. Popular musical shows such as The Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, Chicago, Wicked and The Lion King have all visited. These will always remain a popular choice for families and for those who enjoy musical entertainment. However, it is also worth attending performances

by the local theater groups who often perform plays written by local playwrights such as, Huzir Sulaiman, Eleanor Wong, Alfian Sa’at, Faith Ng, Joel Tan and more. These plays are performed in English but there are also theater groups that perform works in Mandarin, Malay and Indian languages. Not only will the range of productions astound, but also the incredibly high standards of performance. It is worth going to see these productions to get more insight on Singapore mores, humor and to “hear” the voice of Singapore. Film festivals take place throughout the year, but are not always well publicized. Apart from International and European films festivals, there are a myriad of festivals from other countries as well as ones dedicated to certain topics, for example, the Design Film Festival which features documentary films focused on design and its subcultures – architecture, fashion, pop culture, performance art, technology, photography, product design and more.

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 43


Check out LIS for information about local authors, poets and the Singapore Writers Festival as well as information on the local comedy scene and venues where one can catch live comedy acts, where to experience free art performances, installations and more. You will be surprised to know that one can view open-air sculptures by Dali, Botero and Lichtenstein and enjoy concerts and even opera for free.

For the Kids Singapore is also chock-full of kid-friendly museums, and even the bigger adult ones – such as the National Gallery, Asian Civilizations Museum, and National Museum of Singapore – which offer lots of free programs specially geared toward children and families. Theater groups like the Singapore Repertory Theatre’s Little Company, ACT 3 International and ABA Productions regularly produce plays for young children. There are also a number of special children’s festivals throughout the year such as including Kids Fest. Look out for events like the International Storytelling Festival, a free annual event organized by the National Book Development Council of Singapore and the Arts House. When it comes to music and dance, organizations such as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) regularly holds concerts for children. There is the occasional free concert at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which use a lovely stage on a lake that’s perfect for picnics. Dance groups like Singapore Ballet Ltd. (formerly Singapore Dance Theatre) regularly stages abbreviated, child-friendly performances. Get the details on these events and organizations, and much, much more, in the Living in Singapore 15th Edition Reference Guide!

44 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


The preceding articles were written by the authors of Living in Singapore 15th Edition Reference Guide, an indispensable resource for newcomers and long-time residents alike. For more information about these and other topics, be sure to pick up your own copy of the book. Glenn van Zutphen (He/Him) is a former President of the American Association and was on the AAS Board for eight years. Originally from Chicago, he and his wife Kat and two children have called Singapore home since 2004. He is a career international journalist, MoneyFM 89.3 radio host, and Founder of VanMedia Group Pte Ltd. Glenn currently serves on the Board of Governors at the American Chamber of Commerce Singapore, the East-West Center Alumni Association (Hawaii) Board, and the Board of the Asian American Journalist Association-Asia.

Cath Forte spent seven years as an expatriate in Singapore, first working as the Editor of the British Association's BEAM magazine, and later as Editor-inChief of AAS's Singapore American newspaper. Now working freelance in the UK, she has very fond memories of her time in the Lion City.

Jyoti Angresh is an author whose books, print and online publications have been well-received; and entrepreneur leading a business for developing digital content; and a yoga teacher who guides a committed community through asana, meditation and reflection. Jyoti has been a resident of Singapore since 2006, working across a range of industries to bring life to the stories of an organization, and the people that form a part of it.

Laura Schwartz was born in Ireland, and grew up in Tokyo, Singapore and New Jersey, before returning to live in Singapore in 2012. Her articles on life in Singapore and Asian Culture have appeared in a range of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Singapore American newspaper and Living in Singapore magazine.

Nithia Devan is a marketing communications professional, copywriter and editor. She is Singaporean, but spent her youth in the United Kingdom. As a keen supporter of the arts in Singapore, she always encourages experiencing all the local arts scene has to offer, especially productions by local theater companies and playwrights. Nithia is a keen cook and often hosts dining experiences. She enjoys traveling, especially culinary adventures.

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 45


LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO! By Susan Williams

After two years of canceled races thanks to Covid-19 restrictions, the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix is back for its iconic night race this year. The action-packed weekend begins on Friday, September 30, with the race taking place on October 2. Tickets sold out in the blink of an eye, illustrating the demand for live motorsport in Singapore!

will host the seventh round of the 2022 season, which is currently led by reigning double champion, Jamie Chadwick of Jenner Racing. The 24-year-old Briton has won the first five races of W Series’ record 10-race 2022 campaign.

TSS The Super Series, the biggest domestic racing series in Thailand, is racing in Singapore for the first time, features an exciting mix of The loud, fast-paced race is, of course, the GT3/ GTM and GTC supercars. Spectators can star of the show. But for some fans, the off- expect to see the likes of Toyota, Lexus, Audi, track entertainment is just as important. Some Porsche, Aston Martin, Mercedes AMG, Bentley, of the musical acts performing this year include Lamborghini, and Ford Mustang on the streets of Marshmello, Westlife, Green Day, Black Eyed the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Peas, The Kid LAROI, TLC, and Suede. The threeday race weekend will include over 100 hours of entertainment throughout the Circuit Park, including 92 performances across nine stages, 79 roving acts as well as an array of art installations and activities to enthrall crowds. New to the Marina Bay Street Circuit this year is the all-female single-seater racing championship W Series, and one of Asia’s most competitive GT Series, the TSS The Super Series. Singapore

46 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


The Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix is in its thirteenth year and was Formula 1’s first night race. The street circuit runs 5.063km (3.146 miles), with a race distance of 308.843km (191.9 miles) over 61 laps. Despite the circuit’s 23 turns, cars typically reach a maximum speed of approximately 320km/h (199mph) between turns six and seven, which is immediately followed by a 5.1G deceleration into turn Sebastian Vettel, winner of the 2019 race, celebrates seven. The race has had only four drivers take the top spot in 12 years, three of whom will be racing this year – Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, and Lewis Hamilton. Nico Rosberg is the fourth, who has since retired. Leading in the driver standings is Max Verstappen of Red Bull, followed by Charles Leclerc of Ferrari. We’ve seen the two duke it out over the course of the season, and Singapore should be no different. Will Verstappen and Leclerc continue to dominate the front row? Will Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes continue their Jaime Chadwick, reigning W Series champion comeback and take first place? Will Sebastian Vettel, in his final Singapore race, be able to defend his title? Will anyone be able to beat Kevin Magnussen’s track record of 1:41.905, set in 2018? We’ll just have to wait until the end of September to see! I, for one, cannot wait. For more on the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2022, visit the official website here.

Post-race fireworks over Marina Bay


VISA Required, Don’t Leave Home Without It By Mia McDonald

When traveling anywhere, it’s critical that you check out the tourist visa requirements before heading overseas. As an American citizen, there are certain countries in Asia where a tourist visa is required, which you may need to secure before your trip. Keep reading as we share our guide to tourist visas in Asia for American citizens and why you need to make sure you are always traveling with the correct visa and paperwork in the future. What is a Visa? A visa is typically issued by an embassy or consulate representing your travel country. While visas are not required for US citizens to travel everywhere in Asia, they are necessary for a vacation in many countries. This official document allows you to enter a foreign country and will be attached to or stamped in your passport.

What Happens if You Travel Without a Visa? If you attempt to travel to a country where you require a visa without obtaining one, you will likely be denied entry. When boarding a flight to anywhere in Asia, the airline carrier will ask for proof of the required entry visa or paperwork. If you are denied entry, you’ll be the one who is responsible for paying for your return flight back to where you are currently living. One thing to keep in mind is that the visas, entry, and exit requirements for countries in Asia are still constantly changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Always doublecheck the current requirements for where you are traveling before booking your flights or traveling to avoid further issues. Utilize www.Travel.State.gov as your top source for visa entry/exit requirements.


Asian Countries Which Require a Visa for US By ensuring you apply for your visa ahead of Citizens time for your vacation destination, you’ll be able to enjoy a hassle-free trip. Many countries The following countries require a visa for US in Asia now offer the eVisa option, which helps citizens. We recommend checking the country’s speed up the process of applying for your visa application site to ensure you complete visa. Wherever you are traveling this year or the process with enough time to spare ahead next, we always encourage you to check out of your trip. Some of these countries offer a the current visa and entry requirements, as visa on arrival or eVisa service, whereas others these are constantly changing in Asia due to will require you to apply ahead of time at a the global pandemic. It’s an exciting time to local embassy to avoid issues with your travels. start traveling again and finally begin ticking These are the countries in Asia which you’ll off many bucket-list destinations you’ve been need to ensure you have a valid visa to enter as hoping to see in Asia. a US citizen: Do you need help The deciding where and Azerbaijan China Laos Oman Philippines when to go? Do you get tired of internet Bahrain India Lebanon Qatar Timor-Leste searching to find all the right trip components? Myanmar Do you want to take Bhutan Indonesia Saudi Arabia Turkey (Burma) a vacation seamlessly planned by a certified Brunei Jordan Nepal South Korea Uzbekistan travel professional? Sit back, relax, and contact Mia McDonald, CTA, Cambodia Kuwait North Korea The Maldives Vietnam at Expats Traveling Group, LLC.


and Give Back to the Community By Richard Hartung

Volunteering is Impactful and Meaningful

Gain confidence. Make a difference. Meet people. Be part of a community. Learn new The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Center skills. Take on a challenge. Have fun. (NVPC) said that even though volunteerism does The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill not yield any material profit for the volunteer, the emotional profit is immeasurable. Though it said volunteering has been shown to have a might only seem like you are contributing, for positive effect on mental health and cognitive instance, two hours per week to volunteering abilities. By engaging in a common mission or towards a specific cause, those two hours cause with others, you feel more connected and can make a huge difference for someone’s useful, which spurs happier thoughts and a more positive outlook. Spending time volunteering entire week. can also keep your mind sharp by engaging Research in New Zealand by Puck Algera of Kin your brain. Strategy & Research showed that volunteering The NVPC Individual Giving Survey 2018 helps students develop a variety of valuable practical skills such as communication, social calculated that the economic value of and leadership skills. It enhances confidence volunteering achieved a new high at S$2.43 and self-efficacy, increases work readiness, and billion. There were 122 million volunteer hours, informs future career choices. It strengthens with an average of 88 hours per volunteer per a sense of belonging at school and deepens year. To calculate the value of volunteering, NVPC took the total volunteer hours multiplied by the connection with the local community. hourly wage rate of a service industry employee The NVPC Individual Giving Survey 2021 founds (e.g. employees from the community, social and that in the past 12 months, 60 percent donated personal services, administrative and support (-19% vs 2018) while 22 percent volunteered services, transport and storage, professional (-7% vs 2018). services). The hourly wage rate used in IGS 2018 Volunteer Scotland said volunteering is one of was S$19.89. the most rewarding things you can do.

50 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


In the US, Independent Sector said volunteers hold up the foundation of civil society. They help their neighbors, serve their communities, and provide their expertise. No matter what kind of volunteer work they do, they are contributing in invaluable ways. Decide What to Do AC Ho said, in Is Giving Worth It?, that there are four levels of volunteering. The first phase is when you are a novice, and you learn. The second is when you are a professional and have expertise. In the third, you contribute through coaching, mentoring or managing events. And phase four is when people contribute strategically. “We need to ask ourselves, ‘What is my best level of contribution’,” AC said.

might be interested in, and different capacities in which you lend your support to them. Then, figure out which you are best suited to by considering which cause you feel most driven towards, and which type of volunteering you think helps you grow most as a person while letting you give back to society to your desired potential. There are more than 500 opportunities at Giving.sg.

SeekVolunteer in Australia suggests you identify your passion, ask yourself what causes are close to your heart, what are your main interests and hobbies, what tasks you get the most enjoyment from, what you wish you could change or improve, and what you consider your greatest skills to be. Determine your time capacity, consider your motivation to make a Stanford Center on Longevity Mind Division positive impact, or to gain new skills, and start Director Amy Yotopoulos said research has looking for opportunities to volunteer. shown that while over 90 percent of us want Finding the Right Organization to volunteer, only one out of four Americans SG Cares has curated volunteering actually do. There is a relationship between volunteering and improved physical health opportunities. The SG Cares Movement is a and cognitive function. Research also shows national movement that seeks to put values into that volunteers report elevated mood and less action through active volunteerism, ground-up depression, and that volunteers report increased efforts and everyday acts of care. A matching social interactions and social support, better tool can help recommend a few choices to relationship quality, and decreased loneliness. kickstart your volunteering adventure. The most common reason for not volunteering The MSFCare Network connects like-minded is lack of free time (about half of Americans volunteers with volunteering opportunities and cite this as the main reason), and another updates from the MSF-Family and its partners. common reason is that the volunteer schedules and commitments are too inflexible. This is You can use Giving.sg to find a volunteer interesting, because retirees (who presumably activity that you're interested in, to use the have enough time) do not volunteer at higher skills you have, choosing from more than 500 rates than employees, and people ages 35 to opportunities in 14 categories, ranging from 44 (those most likely to have young children at children or the environment to arts or sports. home and be employed) actually volunteer at American Association of Singapore and slightly higher rates. American Women’s Association also offer lots of NVPC suggests if you are unsure of which type volunteering opportunities throughout the year. of volunteer you are, try different experiences. You can explore different types of causes you

Richard is the Managing Director of Transcarta and a freelance writer for Today, Challenge, The Asian Banker and other media, as well as corporate clients. He is also the author of Changing Lanes, Changing Lives. Richard is a consultant in retail banking, focusing on payments strategy and efficiency, with more than 20 years of experience in Asia. You can read more from Richard at www.richardhartung.com.

LIVING IN SINGAPORE 51


Expats: Who Are We? By Marc Servos

The more than one million foreigners who reside in Singapore compose a large fraction of the overall population here. A foreign presence has been prominent since the time of Raffles two centuries ago.

Construction workers, domestic helpers, as well as some hospitality staff, are in Singapore on Work Permits issued by the MOM. They are from approved source countries primarily in the region. Many are away from their families, to whom they send their earnings, often with the goal of buying The most common term used is "expat," the a house in their home country or supporting an shortened form of expatriate, whereas the word education back home. foreigner covers a broader overall definition. Culturally, and often educationally, similar to Foreigners are here under a variety of the above are those who hold Short-Term Visit arrangements, on passes issued by the Ministry Passes (STVP), Long-Term Visit Passes (LTVP), of Manpower (MOM) or the Immigration and and many of whom hope to attain Permanent Checkpoints Authority (ICA), that allow them to Resident (PR) status, all issued by the ICA. PR is stay and work for the long term. my status here, and many PRs (including myself) The more commonly held perception of an have Singaporean spouses. PR status isn’t the expat is the Employment Pass (EP) holder who same as Singaporean citizenship, but the holder is here on a work assignment for his or her gets many of the perks that a Singapore citizen employer, perhaps for several years, but there are gets. The PR's experience in Singapore on many other categories of foreigners in Singapore, average involves seeing more of the local culture from similar views as Singaporeans than what as well. other expats do. This pertains to those especially Mid-level skilled foreigners can apply for the with local spouses – and in-laws – reflecting S-Pass, which doesn’t require as high a salary as their circles which may comprise mostly of the EP does. Family members of either type of Singaporeans. A PR’s school-aged children pass are eligible to get the Dependant’s Passes typically are more likely to attend local schools, (DP). The MOM also issues the EntrePass for not to mention sons of PRs are obligated to serve entrepreneurs who plan to establish a business National Service. in Singapore.

52 LIVING IN SINGAPORE


Another scheme to note, issued by the ICA, is the Student’s Pass for those accepted and enrolled in a fulltime course of study. In general, expats of these various schemes affiliate with the same associations or clubs; the American Association of Singapore and The American Club, for example. Those who hold various passes often work and socialize together. The most important group to recognize is that of our Singaporean hosts. Remember, it’s their country. My experience affiliating with various expatrelated activities has often involved the presence and participation of locals. I find foreigners are happy to get to know locals through these shared activities and interests. Some incidents have not portrayed expats in the most positive light. One such incident occurred several years ago when an expat, whose car was being repaired, made some misguided jokes that went viral and were seen as insults to commuters of public transport. Other recent incidents, including a riot in Little India, haven’t always given foreigners a good name. These and other issues such as work shortages during Covid have led to debates, which have included calls for stricter measures in immigration matters. Foreigners are also often said to be living in a bubble and not paying enough attention to the local culture. But the truth is many, if not most, have in various ways engaged with our local hosts.

The key to being accepted in Singapore is to be a good guest. We should show gratitude and respect, just as we expect from those visiting our home countries. On the whole, most expats in Singapore are respectful, so let’s keep it up and let’s enjoy and appreciate what the multicultural experience Singapore has to offer.

Marc Servos is a Fort Wayne native, Indiana University graduate and U.S. Army vet, including being assigned to Germany in the mid-1980s and later as an officer in the Indiana Army National Guard. He is married to a Singaporean and has been living here for a number of years. He has two children, ages 20 and 12. LIVING IN SINGAPORE 53


Career Resource Center for Excellence (CRCE) is now

ARE YOU LOOKING TO DEVELOP YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY OR PERSONALLY IN SINGAPORE? If so, CareerSource is the place for you! CareerSource is for individuals residing in Singapore who are: • job hunting in Singapore • contemplating a career change • looking to get back into the workforce • wanting to further develop their professional skills • considering entrepreneurship • interested in personal development

MEMBER BENEFITS Job Search • Exclusive access to a members-only jobs board • Weekly email alerts with the latest jobs • Upload your resume for employers to review

Workshops & Events • Member pricing to workshops and events • Complimentary admission to one workshop • Access to selected AmCham events

Join CareerSource today! Membership begins on the day you join for 12 months. CareerSource membership is $220. If you’re a current AAS member, for an additional $100, you can add CareerSource access. Talk to us about joining now! careersource@aasingapore.com