Singapore American • March 2014
T h e A m e r i c a n A s s o c i a t i o n o f S i n g a p o r e ’s
MCI (P) 178/01/2014
Creative Writing Issue
The Busy Trap: We Can Be Less Busy By Jim Tietjen
I ambassador’s cup golf
n July 2012 the New York Times published “The Busy Trap” by Tim Kreider. It struck a chord, a dissonant chord, as I, like many of you have fallen victim to this insidious, mostly self-imposed routine called “the busy trap.” Trying not to steal Krieder’s thunder, I will describe this phenomena and perhaps help you wean yourself from this precarious lifestyle. If you are too busy to read on, please read on. Consistently telling others you are too busy, so busy, or crazy-busy is a clue that maybe you are not, really. Kreider avers that nowadays this is the default response to the universal question, “how are you?” A possible rejoinder could be (1) wow, she’s really busy; (2) so who isn’t? (3) that’s a good problem; or (4) he’s just boasting. Often, a crazy-busy soul is seeking empathy, commiseration and/or affirmation. Really no-kidding busy people usually will not say that they are too busy, like internists pulling 36-hour shifts three times a week, wage-earners holding down three jobs to make ends meet or small business owners trying to make it. They might admit they are tired but not busy. Much of our busyness is self-imposed. We subconsciously coerce each other to “be too busy” through peer pressure. Outside of what we must do at work, how often do we: volunteer; sign up for an activity; engage in family “obligations;” take a “self-improvement” class; try to squeeze too many things into a day; spend time on our computer, Facebook,
e-mail, Twitter, YouTube, the net – more time than we should; watch too much TV, like sports and movies; or attend endless parties, dinners and events we think are important for our work, networking, or just to be seen? When we seriously analyze our schedules there are probably several of these activities we all engage in regularly – activities we could easily forego. Why do we always tend to be so busy? It’s our nature. We live in a busy city. It’s an inevitable condition of 21st century urban life. If we are not busy like our friends, neighbors, peers and colleagues something must be wrong, right? When we are not busy we may feel anxious, guilty or otherwise adrift… shouldn’t I be doing something? So we find something to do, anything. If we are not busy we may feel like we are cheating or being cheated – hey, I should/could be brushing up on my Chinese. Unfortunately, when we have this feeling we probably won’t consider doing something really fun like reading a good novel, taking a nap, or walking in the park – that would be cheating, again! We must be productive, busy and productive. Kreider says this gives us “existential reassurance.” It is self-induced self-preservation and self-esteem. We must validate our being by keeping busy. Busyness ostensibly protects us, psychologically, from leading trivial or meaningless lives. Who wants to be superfluous? continued on page 20
The Dangerous First Descent of The Zambezi
By Richard Bangs
I creative writing 17-22
CRCE & Business
Travel Creative Writing
14-16 1, 17-22
Food & Dining
Health & Wellness
Arts & Culture
t was Valentine’s Day when I first saw the river; it was love at first sight. Along with a party of tour operators, I had been shuttled between game parks and hotel lobbies for days, all leading up to this: Victoria Falls. While the other occupants of the Land Rover pressed for a glimpse of the great falls upstream, I looked the other way, out of habit. Some 350 feet below the bridge we were driving over, a mighty river coiled and cursed through a dark basalt gorge. I could see two rapids interrupting the otherwise peaceful stretch, between the hairpin curves that divide the Third Canyon from its cousins. They were pieces of effervescence, feather-white, inviting. They looked as though they could be run. In 1855, David Livingstone was traveling down the upper Zambezi by canoe, hoping to find the African equivalent of the “Northwest Passage,” a water route into the heart of the continent that would allow colonization, the end of Arab slave trading and Christian conversion of heathens. But when he came to the huge falls that he named for his queen, Victoria, and peered over the edge, he abandoned his quest and made his way overland to the coast. The Zambezi below the falls remained unnavigated ever since. I thought I could correct that.
continued on page 19
American Association of Singapore • Strategic Partners
Singapore American • March 2014
a message from the president... EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Claire Slattery, email@example.com
Welcome to March and a new American Association Executive Committee. Thanks to those of you who attended our AGM on February 27 to vote in the new officers. I’m very happy to announce such a great 2014 ExCo and am personally honored to have been elected your AAS President. My fellow Executive Committee members: Vice President Steven Tucker, Secretary Stephanie Nash, Treasurer Shelly Dee, Directors Anne LeBoutillier, Shawn Galey, Ana Mims, Christopher Keen, Joe Foggiato and special thanks to Immediate Past President David Boden who has done a magnificent job over the past two years! We’ve had an eventful start to the year, with a number of fun programs including Quiz Night at Brewerkz, Networking Night at Hyper Island, CRCE events and the 81st George Washington Ball in February at the W Hotel in Sentosa. Thanks to all of you who’ve attended our events and especially to the Ball Committee and AAS staff, who work so hard to allow the rest of us have a great time. Over the past 10 years – my wife Kat, our kids Kate and Max and I have seen amazing changes across Singapore. Like some of you long-timers, we remember pockets of Singapore that have long-since vanished or have been redeveloped in the name of progress. Sometimes the changes are awe-inspiring; sometimes we wish things would have stayed as they were. But one constant has remained in the Lion City since 1917: The American Association and our dedication to making your life a lot richer. For a mere S$70 year, you get this newspaper every month and some 40 programs and marquee events like the George Washington Ball, Independence Day Celebration, Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament, Welcome Back BBQ, Turkey Trot, Toys for Tots, movie screenings, US Tax Seminar and repatriation event for those of you who are going home. We also reach out to the community and host US Sailors and Marines who need a good meal and a chance to get off their ship. We’ve even organized discounts around town with your AAS membership card (see the inside back cover of this paper). This abundance of riches is made possible by our irrepressible AAS General Manager Toni Dudsak and her amazing staﬀ, our Annual Strategic Partners (Allied Pickfords, Citi, Expat Dental, Expat Insurance, JAL, SAS) and our Annual Corporate Partners (Brewerkz and Tucker Medical). We rely on and thank our partners for helping to fund events and give you the maximum possible value for your membership. We also thank our sister organizations for their support and cooperation in helping to make a vibrant American community. As always we value your opinion and ideas. If you have questions or suggestions, please reach out to me or Toni, firstname.lastname@example.org. Best,
Publishing Editor: Toni Dudsak, email@example.com
DESIGN & L AYOUT Art Director: Scot Mario, firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Valerie Tietjen, email@example.com
Ayushi Angresh, Richard Bangs, Kelly Bronner, Glenn Cory, Lucia Damacela, Nithia Devan, Andrew DuCharme, Richard Hartung, Eric Janes, Dr. Kaye McMullen, Chris Milliken, Claire O’Brien, Samantha Power, Christopher Sanda, Laura Schwartz, Tayla Stone, Jim Tietjen, Jamie Uy, Marissa Vidaurre, Christopher Vogt. American Association: Alka Chandiramani, Anne Morgan
A MERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS President: Glenn van Zutphen • Vice President: Steven Tucker Treasurer: Shelly Dee • Secretary: Stephanie Nash Directors: Joseph Foggiato, Shawn Galey, Christopher Kern, Anne LeBoutillier and Ana Mims Immediate Past President: David Boden • AmCham Chair: Simon Kahn American Club President: Scott Weber • AWA President: Kristina Thompson SACAC Chair: Stu Wilson • SAS Chair: Catherine Poyen U.S. Embassy: Sue Niblock Non-Voting Member: U.S. Military: Rear Admiral Cindy Thebaud
PUBLISHER - A MERICAN ASSOCIATION
The American Association of Singapore (AAS) is a professional not-for-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. AAS was established in 1917 by a small group of Americans living in Singapore to provide a safety net of community support for American residents. AAS continues to provide community welfare as well as programs and community events. 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore 229573 T: (+65) 6738 0371 • F: (+65) 6738 3648 E: firstname.lastname@example.org • www.aasingapore.com The Singapore American newspaper, a monthly publication with readership of 10,000+, has been published by the American Association of Singapore since 1958, with the purpose of enhancing the expatriate experience in Singapore.
A subscription to the Singapore American is complimentary with an AAS membership. AAS annual family membership is just $70. CRCE membership is $160. To join, visit www.aasingapore.com and have the Singapore American delivered to your home. Reproduction in any manner, in English or any other language, is prohibited without written permission. The Singapore American welcomes all contributions of volunteer time or written material.
Glenn van Zutphen email@example.com • twitter: @glennvanzutphen
The Singapore American is printed by Procomp Printset Pte Ltd, 61 Tai Seng Avenue #03-03 UE Print Media Hub Singapore 534167
Singapore American • March 2014
AAS UPCOMING EVENTS
March/April wednesday march
Breakfast Talk with Admiral Cindy Thebaud
Have you ever wondered about the US Navy presence in Singapore? Join us for the unique opportunity to enjoy a light breakfast and listen to Rear Admiral Thebaud discuss the US Navy’s role in Singapore and the function of Commander, Logistics Group, Western Pacific. Also gain insight into the Admiral’s experiences as a woman in the workforce and military. 7:45am-9:30am • The American Club, The Colonial Room 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore AAS/American Club/AmCham Members: $25 Non Members: $45
On January 23, the first Quiz Night of the year saw fierce competition at Brewerkz. Richard Sherman, a team new to Quiz Night, took home first place by inching out a win over the second place team, Brass Monkeys. For the first time in nearly two years, tie breaker questions were needed to determine the third place team. After tie breaker and additional questions, The Expendables beat Mad Expats, Team International and Eagles to round out the top three.
Are you getting ready to make the move back home? Whether you’ve been away for two years or 10, moving back home is actually harder than it is to move away, so it is essential to prepare yourself as best as you can. In addition to arranging for the movers and finding a new house or schools, most people experience a reverse culture shock going home. Join AAS, SACAC Counselling and Allied Pickfords for an informative talk aimed at helping you to understand the emotional and logistical impacts of moving back. 7:00pm-9:00pm • The American Club, The Colonial Room 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore Free of charge for AAS and American Club Members Non Members: $25
Networking Night at Hyper Island
Apertivo and Tuscan Wine Tasting
An aperitivo plays an important role in Italian social life and is as much about the food and drink as it is about socializing. Join us to taste authentic Italian aperitivo, the perfect nibble to go alongside drinks without ruining your appetite for dinner. Mr. Alessandro Antonioli of I Vicini wines from Tuscany will guide you through the taste and the secrets of fine Cortona DOC wines.
An intimate group of AAS and CRCE members gathered on February 13 to learn about digital trends, tools and data. Jonathan Briggs, co-founder of Hyper Island, a top digital institution here in Singapore, enlightened guests through an interactive discussion. Guests were surprised by some of the information Jonathan shared, such as the number of companies tracking visits on websites, while others gained better understanding how those tools could be used to redefine their approach to the digital world.
Tuesday, April 22
7:00pm-9:00pm • The American Club, The Colonial Room 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore AAS Member: $35 • Non Member: $55
Networking Night: Effective Branding for Business
Join AAS, Money Matters and Nigel Smith, CEO of DIA Group, to look at the role branding plays in business and how businesses can leverage the branding process to enhance performance across the spectrum of metrics, from people to products and services, customer loyalty and markets. This networking night presentation will cover topics from integrating brand and business strategy to building a sustainable brand for the long term and will feature case studies from leading global, regional and local brands, showing how effective branding can transform businesses at all levels. 7:00pm-9:00pm • The American Club, The Colonial Room 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore AAS Member: $30 • Non Member: $50
for more info and to register for an event:
Redeﬁning Success in the Workplace Inspirational Stories
The workplace is shifting at an unsurmountable pace with old certainties being replaced by a more dynamic landscape. How can we successfully adapt to this new environment? Join AAS with the Irish Chamber of Commerce for a thought provoking and inspiring luncheon on reinvention, corporate success and overcoming adversity. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear three world-class leaders share their experiences in this interactive session.
11:30am-2:00pm The American Club, The Colonial Room 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore Supporting Organization Members: $55 • Non Member: $75 for more info and to register: www.aasingapore.com
4 CRCE & BUSINESS
Singapore American • March 2014
Spotlight on Jobs
CRCE: Career Resource Center for Expats
Head of Communications and Development A small private school is seeking to fill a managerial position with in depth exposure to and responsibility for
Can you share with us your background and professional experiences? I am from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I studied finance and accounting at the University of Michigan Business School and graduated in 2000. After finishing an internship in Bangalore, I returned to the US and found a job in San Jose, CA, working as a financial analyst at a large health system called Kaiser Permanente. That experience in the healthcare industry led me to pursue a Master of Healthcare Administration at the University of Minnesota. Before moving to Singapore, I worked as Finance Manager at a new startup hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Can you think of any activities or experiences that have strengthened your self-esteem or self-confidence while you’ve been in Singapore? It has been very helpful attending CRCE events to learn Singapore job search strategies, ideas and techniques from the instructors and my fellow job seekers. I have also found that attending networking events through the American Association of Singapore and other professional and social groups helps me to learn more about the job market in Singapore, meet new friends and build confidence during the job search. What diﬃculties did you experience adjusting to previous international assignments? How did you overcome them? I think in the past it has been important to pay attention to cultural shock when moving to a new place to help process the
in conversation with... Jason Weaver How many expat assignments have you completed before moving to Singapore? After graduating from college, I worked at a training school for medical transcriptionists in Bangalore, India. That was a great international and cultural experience for me and it definitely got me interested in eventually working abroad again. When my wife, who is American but grew up abroad, got an offer for a job in Singapore, both of us jumped on the opportunity to live here.
Modern Foreign Languages Teacher (Spanish and French) An international school is looking for
normal feelings associated with change and adjustment. I have found that learning as much as possible about the culture and place you are living, keeping an open mind and celebrating small wins and progress definitely helps during the transition. Keeping in close contact with friends, family and building new relationships has also been (and is currently) very important in the adjustment process. How would you advise other trailing spouses who are planning to move to Singapore? I think planning on the job search taking several months is important. It takes time and effort to build a professional and social network here. From your previous professional experiences, what have you observed so far that might be diﬀerent here? Singapore is one of the more competitive job markets I have been in. I think this puts more importance on networking. I also think finding a temporary or part-time role may be a good way to get into the job market and start building a reputation and professional network here. This was not something I originally planned on doing, but I think there are some attractive advantages to starting this way. Any other experiences that you would like to share with the readers? In addition to keeping a disciplined schedule (I try to dedicate about 30 hours per week to my job search), I think it is also important to continue to pursue your interests and hobbies. I have really enjoyed pursuing my interest in photography here and my wife and I have also done some traveling in the region, in addition to exploring Singapore and trying lots of great food!
Foreign Languages Teacher (MFL – Spanish, French). They should be a good teacher, motivator and communicator and should provide a stimulating and well-organized learning
students. (job #2695)
Registered Nurse A medical clinic group is seeking a Registered Nurse whose role entails: Supporting functions
assisting with minor procedures; Dispensing of medication to patients under doctor's order; Attending to patient's pre and post consult enquiries;
related to patient files, requests for
Did you know that employers can post jobs for FREE? Visit www.aasingapore.com/for-employers Head of Membership The
CRCE March Workshops
responsibilities include: Formulate
register at: www.aasingapore.com
and implement membership growth strategies
(1-1) Career Solutions
Create an Effective Resume and Get Noticed
LinkedIn for Business Professionals
Speaker: Alka Chandiramani Wednesday, March 5 10am – 12:30pm
Speaker: Linda Le Wednesday, March 19 10am – 12pm
(1-1) Career Solutions
Communication – Style Matters!
Join the Conversation
Coach: Miryame Krogmeier Monday, March 10 Various times
Speaker: Meenakshi Sarup Friday, March 21 10am – 12pm
Wednesday, March 26 1:30pm – 3pm
Coach: Miryame Krogmeier Monday, March 24 Various times
goals for corporate membership subscriptions; Build strong corporate partnerships
regional business community while maintaining strong stewardship of the organization brand; Develop close relationships with member companies
engagement. (job #2696)
for more information about CRCE www.aasingapore.com - click on the CRCE link
Singapore American • March 2014
CRCE & BUSINESS
Business Start-up Part 4: Accounting & Reporting By Richard Hartung
aving set up your business and started marketing it, it’s time to put accounting and financial reporting in place. Mundane as it may seem, the last thing a business owner wants is a visit from Inland Revenue (IRAS) to review the books. An important step is to set up a separate bank account for the company, even for a sole proprietor, so that funds can be tracked more easily. To track revenue and expenses, some small businesses start out simply by using Excel spreadsheets. While Excel may seem easy, it does not usually provide all the information needed for tracking the business or for reporting, so low-cost accounting software may be a better option. Popular software, which comes in online as well as downloadable versions, includes Quickbooks, Peachtree and MYOB. The software is generally straightforward, and the manuals or online information that comes with them provides information about how to use it. Which software package is best depends largely upon personal preferences, though Quickbooks may be easier for someone without an accounting background. Whichever software you choose, you will
need to spend time entering data regularly and keeping records in good order. Another option is to outsource the accounting. A number of small firms provide accounting services, from data entry and reporting to payments and payroll. Fees range from several hundred dollars per month on up, depending upon the level of services required. The advantage of outsourcing is that you can focus your efforts on your business rather than on accounting, and accountants can provide advice on how to meet regulatory requirements. Sources to find an accountant include your network of friends, looking in the AmCham directory, searching online or checking at the DP oﬃce next to the ACRA office. If you set up a company rather than a sole proprietorship or partnership, you’ll also need a corporate secretary to file documents required by government agencies and ensure that the company meets other regulatory requirements. While you can become the corporate secretary for your own company, you can also find a professional corporate secretary (using similar sources as for accountants). Fees for a corporate secretary are frequently $600-$800 per year or more,
again, depending on the extent of services required. Whereas companies previously had to have accounts audited, an audit is no longer required for companies with annual turnover below $5 million. While you can still choose to do an audit, which often costs at least several thousand dollars, small companies can instead have an auditor format the financial statements for submission to IRAS for a fee that can range from $500-$1,000 or more, and file their own financials. Unless the company is publicly listed or requires external funding, there is often little reason to incur the cost of an audit. Companies need to file an Annual Return with ACRA and submit tax Form C to IRAS, and partnerships will need to file Form P with ACRA. As in many areas related to taxes, American citizens have an extra burden as they must submit Form 5471 to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in a variety of situations, including being an officer or director of a foreign corporation or owning more than 10% of the shares. Even though the form looks straightforward, the IRS estimates that it will take 24 hours and 17
minutes to prepare it. Along with the information in this article, more information about accounting and reporting is available from ACRA (www. acra.gov.sg), IRAS (www.iras.gov.sg) and the US IRS (www.irs.gov) websites. While accountants may be passionate about accounting, business owners may not have quite the same enthusiasm for recordkeeping. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep full records on an ongoing basis rather than to sort out record-keeping and taxation difficulties later. And the good news is that the records enable you to see how profitable your new business has become. This series is intended to be interactive, so please send comments, questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can share your ideas.
Richard Hartung is a consultant on cards and payments strategy with over 20 years of experience in financial services, primarily in Asia. He also works as a freelance writer for Today, gtnews and other publications.
Singapore American • March 2014
Migrant Workers Outreach Program Claire O’Brien, MWOP Communications, SAS senior
group of SAS high school students have not forgotten the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Philippines. The student-led Migrant Workers Outreach Program (MWOP) teaches courses to workers in Singapore – many of whom are Filipino and were impacted by the typhoon. Over the last two years, the program has enjoyed a budget surplus, allowing them to donate S$10,000 to the Philippine Red
Cross relief fund. “Our group focuses on improving the lives of workers here in Singapore. Our courses have become very popular and we have had fundraising success allowing us to use some of our resources to help people in the Philippines,” explained SAS senior Oscar Adelman, president of MWOP. “While attention has been diverted from the typhoon to other more recent events, we hope to remind
everyone that many people in the Philippines remain without basics such as shelter and food. They are still trying to put their lives back together.” Adelman and other leaders of MWOP recently met with the Philippine Ambassador to Singapore, Her Excellency Minda Calaguian-Cruz, to make the donation directly and to discuss their on-going efforts. Ambassador Cruz expressed her appreciation to the students for their generosity and continued focus on the lives of Filipinos. Ambassador Cruz was impressed to learn about MWOP and the efforts SAS students are making to empower workers by giving them the skills they need to find better jobs in
the future. In just the past two years, hundreds of Filipinos have taken the Sunday classes offered at SAS and taught by volunteers. Courses in English language and computer skills are taught by students and SAS teachers. The next computer skills course sessions will be held on March 30, April 6 and April 13. The course costs $10, however scholarships are available. Information about course registration is available on the group’s Facebook page, SAS Migrant Workers Outreach Program. For further inquiries, you may send a Facebook message directly to the page or email: migrantworkersoutreachprogram@ gmail.com.
Singapore American • March 2014
Global Entry: Easier Journeys Back to the US By Christopher Vogt, Deputy Chief, U.S. Embassy Consular Section
Global Entry enables members to enter the United States by using automated Global Entry kiosks located at over 30 major US airports
any expatriates returning to the United States share this experience: after a lengthy flight, with a layover in Hong Kong or Tokyo, they reach their port of arrival at LAX, San Francisco, or O’Hare to face a queue of hundreds waiting to be processed through passport control. American border officials work hard to balance the convenience of travelers with their obligation to protect the integrity of the US border, and careful inspection of travel documents for American citizens, Legal Permanent Residents, and foreign visitors is an important part of carrying out that responsibility. Global Entry, a new program by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) promises to make entering the United States easier for its American citizen members. Global Entry enables members to enter the United States by using automated Global Entry kiosks located at over 30 major US airports, and at airports in Canada and Ireland with United States Customs preclearance lanes. At a Global Entry kiosk participants present their machinereadable passport or US permanent resident card, verify their fingerprints on a scanner, and
make a customs declaration. They are then issued a receipt and can proceed to baggage claim. Do be aware, though, that members may still be selected for further examination when entering the United States. A Two-Step Application Process How do you become a member of Global Entry? First, a traveler must fill out an online application with the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) – found at www.globalentry.gov – and pay a US$100 nonrefundable application fee. You then must wait two to four weeks while your application is processed by CBP. If approved, an applicant receives instructions to schedule an interview through GOES at a Global Entry Enrollment Center, which are located at many major US airports. Each applicant, including children, must schedule a separate interview. Following approval, a traveler is enrolled for a five year period. Members can renew membership one year prior to the program expiration date through their online GOES account. If a Global Entry member receives a new passport, the new passport number information can also
be updated online. Please note that each Global Entry interview applicant must bring his/her passport (or passports, if the applicant has more than one), for the in-person interview (passports are returned at the end of the interview). Applicants can login to their GOES account to check the status of an application, but CBP will also send an email when any change occurs in an applicant’s account. New enrollees receive a Global Entry card seven to 10 business days after approval for the program; the card is mailed to the US contact address entered in the application. An Opportunity in Singapore Are you interested in Global Entry, but concerned that you may not be back in the US in the near future for the mandatory interview? If so, the Singapore oﬃce of US CBP has great news: a special interview session is planned for those who have already applied online and have received their initial approval to proceed to the interview stage. The event is planned for the weekend of May 7-8 at The American Club, 10 Claymore Hill. The dates and venue
are subject to change, so keep a close eye for any updates on the US Embassy website at singapore.usembassy.gov. How do you sign up? Applicants must have already completed their online Global Entry application and received notice of initial approval – so to take part in the May interview sessions, you should begin the application process as soon as possible. After receiving initial approval from CBP, you will receive instructions (via your GOES account) about scheduling your face-to-face interview online – select “Singapore” as the requested location and the desired date/time. We expect slots to fill up quickly, so interested candidates are encouraged to start the process as quickly as possible. Legal Permanent Residents and US citizen children may participate in this event. Customs and Border Protection hopes to interview as many people as possible, but space will be limited. For those interested, please note also that Global Entry membership is a prerequisite to the forthcoming APEC Business Traveler Card. Learn more about Global Entry at www.globalentry.gov, and best wishes for easier journeys back to home shores.
Singapore American • March 2014
The Arrow of Light By Christopher Sanda
The seven arrows of light: Wisdom, Courage, Self-Control, Justice, Faith, Hope & Love; Webelos Burning Neckerchief Ceremony.
n February 7, 22 Webelos Scouts (5th graders) from Cub Scout Pack 3017 received Cub Scout’s highest honor – the Arrow of Light award. The Webelos Scouts’ hard work culminated after an 18-month long program, where Adult Leaders and parents had worked with the Webelos on a number of challenging and difficult achievements, such as “Outdoorsman” (outdoor survival skills), “Readyman” (first aid skills), “Handyman” (home and auto repairs), “Craftsman” (metal and woodworking) and “Citizenship.” The Arrow of Light awards ceremony was
conducted by Boy Scout Troops 7 and 10 at the Elementary School Theater at Singapore American School and included a special “bridging over” ceremony, a symbolic gesture to show that these Webelos Scouts had graduated into full-fledged Boy Scouts. The Arrow of Light award, the only Cub Scout award that remains on the boys’ uniform after transitioning into Boy Scouts and later as they become an Adult Leader, is given to only about 8 percent of boys who join the Cub Scouts. The Webelos Scouts who received the Arrow of Light award were: William Allen, Nathaniel
Berntson, Napon Bureekharm, CJ Dalby, Cameron Dymock, Artun Ereren, Maia Heather, Justin Horowitz, Sam Huggins, Kanji Kawano, Tommy Kingsley, Chris Laska, Kevin Le, Noah Loi, Mark Low, Thomas McEwan, Cole Mario, Josh Mayberry, Bryan Morton, Ethan Shumway, Eugene Tsai and Michael Vamvakitis. Through their years in Cub Scouts, these Webelos Scouts have learned the seven virtues of life that Scouting promotes: wisdom, courage, self-control, justice, faith, hope and love. The idea behind Scouting is to encourage
boys to become good citizens of the world and productive members of their community. Should you have any questions about the Boy Scouts of America-sponsored Cub Scout Pack 3017, or Boy Scout Troops 7 or 10, please contact: Pack 3017 Cubmaster David Mashaal: email@example.com Troop 7 Scoutmaster David Helmueller: firstname.lastname@example.org Troop 10 Scoutmaster Donald Riegger: email@example.com
SCOUTING IN SINGAPORE
contact: Troop 07 www.bsatroop07.org
contact: Troop 10 www.facebook.com/BSATroopX
Singapore American • March 2014
Countdown to the Ambassador’s Cup 2014
n between putts, the Singapore American spoke with last year’s Ambassador’s Cup champion Shaun Thompson of the Expat Dental Team. He shared some thoughts on the event and a few tips for this year’s players on what it takes to nab the top honors. What did you think of the golf tournament last year? It was our second year playing in the event. We had a wonderful time. We ate, drank, golfed and had plenty of laughs around the course all day long! Did you have a talented team of players? Any ex tour-pros? Mostly we had luck on our side and the Scramble rules to play by. Any talent can be directly contributed to Chris Hollaway at Heartland Golf. Any strategy tips for budding Ambassador’s Cup champions this year? I would say get out and practice, dedicate long hours on the greens and at the range. Just kidding. In all honesty, it’s a Texas Scramble format, so there’s no need. My biggest tip is have fun and keep the cooler filled with your favorite beverage. What was the dinner like? It’s one of the most hilarious dinners I’ve been to at a golf tournament, that’s for sure. Certainly not for kids, as the night goes on it gets raucous and several people have been known to end up in the pool! What surprised you about the tournament? Because it’s a day of golf, then the social dinner by the pool in the evening, you really get to meet a wide range of people, not just who you played with. And everyone’s in a good celebratory mood. They’re not ready to rush off to the office once they sign the scorecard. Do you have to be a good golfer? No, that’s one of the differences with the Ambassador’s Cup. It’s more focused on the social and networking aspect, rather than how many strokes it takes you (individually) to get the ball in the hole. It means you can have a good hole and help out the team but then have an absolute shocker hole and it makes no difference because it’s a team score.
What’s it like playing in Malaysia? One of the reasons we entered the team last year is someone had said what a fun weekend it was, not just a day of golf. So we booked a room at the resort for the night, brought our partners with us, they went shopping and played tennis, and then joined us for dinner. It was a fun weekend away for the golfers and the non-golfers. Any other comments to share? Our team has sort of disbanded with the relocation of a couple of my team members, so if there are any pros out there we’d be happy to have them join the team this year! The 2014 Ambassador’s Cup will be held at Palm Resort Golf & Country Club on May 10. Registration is now open. See page 2 for details.
Who’s Fore Some Fun? It is my pleasure to invite you to the 2014 Shell Ambassador’s Cup, to be hosted at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club in Malaysia. The resort is just across the Malaysian boarder which makes it a great opportunity for a family weekend getaway. The 2014 tournament will be a Texas Scramble format open to all levels of golfers, starting at 1pm on Saturday, May 10. For the first time, AAS will be running the tournament in conjunction with The American Club and Shell will be the title sponsor. That’s plenty of time to drive over the border, sign in and join us for an inclusive lunch before we tee off. Or be sure to check with the Palm Resort Hotel and book a room for the family for the night before or night of the tournament to take full advantage of the weekend. Not far from the event is Premium Outlet Shopping and Lego Land. After the Saturday golf, all golfers congregate poolside for the gala dinner and awards (spouses may accompany their golfer for only $50). There will be over $50,000 in tournament and lucky draw prizes. You need not be a foursome to register and your handicap will be taken into consideration for scoring purposes. Whether you are new to Singapore or you have been here for some time, this is the perfect weekend to meet the wider American community and have a great time. We all know that for most of us the fun day of golf is secondary to the free flow of beer, the snacks and the laughs. Some tips for those that have not regularly made the journey: the earlier you leave Singapore the less traffic crossing the border, always check that your passport has been appropriately stamped when crossing in either direction and obey the posted speed signs. Lastly, if you hear someone behind you yelling FORE!, that’s probably me, so please don’t take it personally. Chris Milliken 2014 Ambassador’s Cup Co-Chairman
Singapore American • March 2014
International Women’s Day 2014: Inspiring Change By Samantha Power, Government Aﬀairs Executive
nternational Women’s Day “celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action” and “calls for challenging the status quo for women's equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.” For this year’s International Women’s Day event, AmCham has pulled together a diverse and accomplished group of women to discuss current realities and recent research on women’s issues. AmCham’s Executive Director Judith Fergin will be one of the speakers on the panel. Judith offers a wealth of experience, having served in the US Foreign Service for 35 years, most recently as the Ambassador to TimorLeste, before joining the Chamber. Dr. Astrid Tuminez, Regional Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs for Southeast Asia at Microsoft, will share about the work she has done on gender diversity. Astrid is an Adjunct Professor and the former Vice-Dean of Research and Assistant Dean of Executive Education at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Prior to this, at the US Institute of Peace, Astrid assisted in advancing peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. “Only six markets in the world have maintained an annual growth rate of 5% or more for four decades, and they are all in Asia.
This ‘rise of Asia’ has happened in part because of the massive entry of women into the labor force,” according to Tuminez. “Women in Asia are becoming healthier and better educated, and the region has had more women heads of state than any other region in the world. Yet, despite these gains, women continue to be severely underrepresented in the top echelons of formal leadership. They also continue to be paid less than men for similar work, and more women in Asia are dropping out in the transition from middle to top management roles.” Tuminez explains, “Cultural and social norms continue to disadvantage women who aspire and work towards positions of leadership. Changes towards greater gender equality are needed if Asia is to sustain its growth and solve its many complex problems, including inequality, environmental degradation and violent conflict.” The panel will also include Cindy Payne, the founder of Asia-Pacific Connections, which assists technology companies with expansion into and across the region.
Cindy is one of the co-chairs of AmCham’s Marketing and Communications Committee, a frequent speaker at industry conferences,
and a contributor to industry journals. She is currently serving on the regional board of WORLDCOM, a global public relations association and is an active member in the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore. Georgette Tan, MasterCard’s Group Head of Communications for Asia-Pacific, is also a panelist. Georgette has worked to establish
MasterCard as a thought leader by developing and promoting MasterCard’s suite of research properties that serve as a benchmark for a myriad of economic, industry and consumer trends. In 2005, she helped launch an index that specifically measures women’s socioeconomic advancement in the region. Nancy Frohman, the General Manager of the SingHealth Foundation, will moderate the panel. Nancy has deep experience in the private, non-profit and public sectors, with an expertise in developing programs and organizations that bring together business and wider communities. Women are still underrepresented as leaders in both politics and business in Singapore. AmCham hopes to inspire change in our community and beyond through stories and discussion at our International Women’s Day event on March 7. We hope that you will be able to join us to celebrate how far women have come and our hopes for greater gender equality in the future. For more information, please contact Courtney Young at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singapore American • March 2014
St. Patrick's Day, Singapore-Style
PUBS If you’d rather find a cozy corner inside a pub to celebrate your Irish heritage, try these watering holes: Molly Malone's Irish Pub 56 Circular Road Mulligan's Irish Pub mulliganspubs.com 3C River Valley Rd Muddy Murphy's Irish Pub www.muddymurphys.com 111 Somerset Rd
t. Patrick’s Day is a global celebration of Irish culture on March 17. It particularly remembers St. Patrick, one of Ireland’s patron saints, who ministered Christianity in Ireland during the fifth century. But it’s also an opportunity to tap into one’s little-known Irish heritage, break out the shamrocks, sport some green garb and order a well-deserved pint of Guinness. Interested? Here’s a guide to Singapore’s leprechaun-approved St. Paddy’s day activities. Three-Day Festival Join Singapore’s Irish community at the Singapore River for a three-day long St. Patrick’s Day Festival. The free fiesta on March 15-17 will feature bands, Irish dancers and a street fair with lots of Irish food and drink. You can expect to see the following acts over the weekend at the festival in addition to traditional Irish dancers:
The Sessionistas A group of Irish music lovers from various countries who regularly get together for a traditional session at Molly's. The Dunleavy’s featuring Brian Mooney The Dunleavy’s are a talented musical family who have played at many Irish events here, alongside Brian Mooney, a pillar of the Irish music scene in Singapore. The Rogues An Irish-Scots-Singaporean group led by Barry Woolhead, who has been on the traditional music scene in Singapore for over a decade. They played The American Club for St. Pat's last year. The Disclaimers A Celtic-pop-rock duo who have played at most of the Irish and Scottish pubs in Singapore
over their seven-year history, as well as all over Southeast Asia and Australia.
Molly Roﬀey's Irish Pub www.mollyroffeys.com 51 Bras Basah Rd
The Blackberries This multi-national band plays less folky, more contemporary Irish music, with a set list built around The Cranberries, U2 and others.
Durty Nelly's Irish Pub www.durtynellys.com.sg 6 Raﬄes Blvd
The Cans An incredibly good American-Canadian fourpiece ensemble playing Celtic and North American folk-rock-pop. The Craic Horse A new Irish folk-punk-rock band, led by the former fiddle player and former whistle player from Gan Ainm.
For more information, visit singapore-river.com
O'Bama's Irish Pub www.obamas.asia 54 Tras St Scruﬀy Murphy's Irish Cafe-Pub www.scruffymurphys.com.sg 1000 East Coast Pkwy Bedok New Town The Dubliner Singapore www.dublinersingapore.com 165 Penang Rd
Singapore American • March 2014
JA Company Program: More than a Business, Lessons for Life By Claire Slattery
t the end of 2013, a group of 28 young, driven and enthusiastic entrepreneurs from five schools in Singapore (International School Singapore, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore American School, Singapore Polytechnic and United World College of South East Asia) embarked on a 10-week journey to gain insights into the business world by obtaining hands-on experience offered by the Junior Achievement (JA) program. Sponsored by the American Association of Singapore and with mentors provided by Bloomberg, the Junior Achievement Company Program, for students aged 15 to 18 years, had students put theory into practice by developing their own money-making businesses, from concept to business plan, financing, execution, sales and, ultimately, demise. Ultimately, the experience fostered understanding and appreciation of the personal opportunities and responsibilities each person has in the workplace. After an initial election to select different
vice presidents for each department, along with the company president, students were given their own roles to fulfil and lead the company. This led to grouping and recruiting suitable members into individual departments and discussion began as to what products or services might be best to sell to make a profit for the company. The resulting company formed was Tumbla!, with its primary product being an insulated tumbler where the proceeds of sales would go towards providing access to clean water for people in developing countries through World Vision. “Driven by the fact that many people around the world are still suffering from a lack of and/ or unhygienic water, our vision was to provide access to clean water for people living in these poor conditions. With this vision in mind, our mission was to sell tumblers with part of the proceeds going to provide water for those in need,” the company stated in its annual report. “We learned that starting a business is not
just a simple transaction. It requires so much more behind the scenes, such as marketing, finance, human resources and public relations, that we hadn’t realized before this program. It was an eye-opener for us. We also understood how to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicity and work styles,” explained Tumbla! President Dexter Choo. AAS member and JA participant Claudia Krogmeier said that she was surprised by how interactive the entire process was. “Not only did we have a lot of interaction with Bloomberg employees but we were able to meet specialists who were able to share their areas of expertise.” The 11th grade student explained that her biggest learning experience was how much work it takes to start a company and how important team work is. “I realized when one person didn’t pull their own weight it affected the whole group and ultimately our business project. I also learned that how you assign responsibilities on the project is really important – it can make your group run
eﬃciently or cause it to fall apart.” While creating a company was the primary activity, it’s not just for budding entrepreneurs and business owners, Claudia explained, “The things you learn here can be applied to any part of your life because all the concepts are the same. How do you work as a group? How do you work with people with different talents and make the most of their talents? How do you share ideas and put those ideas into action? These are all things that anyone in any field would benefit learning from.” One of the benefits of the program is that the students now have learned lessons for when future business opportunities arise. How would they approach starting a business differently next time? “I would make sure I’d have efficient, enterprising and thoughtful people who could help make the vision come alive. If you don’t have a conducive team to share the vision and support the ultimate goal then it’s just not possible to get your business oﬀ the ground,” said Claudia.
Singapore American • March 2014
Village HOPE By Andrew DuCharme
new high school service club called Village HOPE (Health, Opportunity, Prevention and Education) was created this year at Singapore American School (SAS) in order to assist bringing quality health care to the children and villagers of Cambodia by supporting Village Health Community Development, which is a non-profit NGO registered Society in Singapore and a local charity in Cambodia. By reaching beyond the school walls, Village HOPE seeks to raise awareness of the need for health and educational resources in Cambodia, with a focus on disease prevention, health promotion and environmental safety. On September 19, Village HOPE participants embarked on a journey to rural villages in Kampong Thom, Cambodia to educate farmers about the controversial issue of pesticides. While traveling in rural Cambodia, SAS students quickly realized just what educating a third world village entails, and the challenges of implementing new ideas in order to sustain behavioral changes related to the villagers health and well-being. The dedicated members of Village HOPE conducted individual and group research on various topics relating to the dangers of pesticide use. Five Powerpoint presentations were created, designed and translated into Khmer as flip charts, with numerous additional pictures to serve as visual aids for many of
the farmers that were illiterate. Topics covered were: identifying and understanding pesticides as poisons; common methods of exposure to pesticides while farming and in the home; signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning; the proper use of protective equipment; and treatment methods for acute pesticide poisoning. Village HOPE’s outreach focused not only upon health promotion education, but on integration of specific health measures in order to alter unsafe practices with pesticides. Seeking sustainable changes in behaviors, students wanted to make sure that all the farmers learned how to protect themselves and their families from the harmful health effects of pesticides. Interactive teaching methods were implemented in order to have the farmers actively involved and participate
in identification of personal exposures to pesticides and how to problem solve and prevent future exposures. A body mapping exercise was utilized in which a volunteer farmer’s body was traced onto large pieces of paper. From there, all the farmers were encouraged to place an “X” on an area of the body where they or a family member had been affected by pesticides. Next, the farmers were instructed to describe which type of equipment would be best suited for preventing the health problems on that body part. The farmers were extremely enthusiastic about engaging in this activity. Through the support of wonderful Cambodian translators, the teaching modules and interactive sessions were smoothly conducted, and the communication process efficiently
facilitated meeting the group’s objectives for the service trip. Supplementing the service activities, the trip also provided SAS students with the opportunity to learn more about the war history and the devastating humanitarian events that occured during the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge. The group toured the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh and learned about the atrocities that the Cambodian people experienced not so long ago. Through this educational tour, students were better able to understand the relevance and importance of their mission in Cambodia, thereby furthering their motivation to offer assistance to these impoverished people. In addition, SAS students were also directly involved in teaching English to Cambodian high school students at the vocational school in Kampong Thom where SAS students were residing. There was much enthusiasm, laughter and participation in games as students shared their stories of school, home, activities and life goals. Many wonderful friendships were fostered! Village HOPE hopes to plan further trips to Cambodia next year in order to continue to create sustainable change through health promotion and environmental education. If you are interested in supporting this incredible and unique service club, please contact Andrew DuCharme at: email@example.com.
Singapore American • March 2014
ANNUAL STRATEGIC PARTNER
Japan is Blossoming By Japan Airlines
pring festivities are in full swing from now until April throughout Japan. The Cherry Blossom Festivals are a huge attraction for both locals and foreign visitors and can be seen in Tokyo and Kyoto as well as other cities throughout the country. It still isn’t too late to book tickets to join in the fun, especially as JAL will be operating two daily flights to Haneda International Airport instead of just one, starting from April 1, 2014. For international travelers to Japan, Narita International Airport may be a familiar site. However, the long journey to the city center might be off-putting for many – not to mention the lower frequency of domestic connections, as compared to Haneda, which tends to result in less flexible flight itineraries. Come April, travelers from Singapore will be well-positioned to travel to Japan with greater ease on JAL. At the same time, the aircraft fleet flying the Singapore-Tokyo route will be updated to provide greater flight comfort for passengers. The star of the show undoubtedly will be SKY SUITE 767, which made its debut in the international aviation scene only recently, in December 2013. It features a roomy seat pitch of 34 inches on Economy Class and fully flat beds on Business Class, along with improved in-flight environment. Try the “SKY SUITE 767” when you fly to either Haneda or Narita on JL038/JL712 respectively. On the other daily flight to Haneda, the Boeing 777 aircraft oﬀers Business, Premium Economy and Economy Classes to better meet the variety of passengers’ needs. Hop onto www.sg.jal.com to plan your next flight out to Japan to enjoy the perks above!
Singapore American â€˘ March 2014
Eastern Allure By Glenn Cory
â€™m inspired by the Japanese aesthetic; the attention to detail, in ceremony, architecture, design and in everyday life. The Japanese people also have a deep appreciation for nature which is evident in the grooming and care they take in the hundreds of parks scattered throughout Tokyo. But Tokyo is probably most famous for its unique twist on fashion, food, pop culture and modern innovation. This twist of perspective of kitsch fusion, in addition to the rapid migration of cherry blossoms, which occurs in March/April every year, is what I enjoy about Kyoto and Tokyo. There are no guarantees when trying to time the cherry blossom season but there are plenty of other sights, ceremonies, festivals and unique experiences to keep you busy in this historic and magical country.
Singapore American • March 2014
a photographic journey by Eric Janes
hile many travelers may be avoiding Bangkok as a getaway destination with recent social unrest, there are some hidden nooks in this vibrant country, many of which visitors don’t even know exist. 140 kilometers southeast of Bangkok and off the beaten tourist trail, the Sanctuary of Truth lies at the northern end of Pattaya’s beaches. The temple is built entirely of tropical wood and ultimately is a statement about how everything returns to the earth. It makes a spiritual statement that humans are only dust in the universe and will ultimately become one with it. And that physical beings deteriorate but truth and goodness are immortal. Filled with sculptures based on traditional Buddhist and Hindu motifs, the 100-meter high temple features contemporary visionary art based on traditional religious themes. Only a couple of hours from Bangkok and north of Pattaya’s hustle and bustle, the Sanctuary is an incredible place that very few know about.
Singapore American • March 2014
St. Elizabeth By Kelly Bronner
ou don’t have to go in, she told herself every time she rounded the corner and found herself facing the front doors. At that point, the butterflies in her stomach would get so intense that she thought she was about to be sick, and she had to walk around the block again to calm her nerves. Hillary hadn’t been inside St. Elizabeth’s since Aunt Kate’s funeral the previous year. At first she didn’t want to be reminded of that day, and later she had been too angry about Kate’s premature death to bother doing anything religious. Kate, Hillary’s favorite relative since her childhood, had died of cancer at 57. For the past 10 months, whenever her mother had asked if she wanted to accompany her to church the coming Sunday, Hillary had declined the invitation. She still met her mother for lunch later in the day, although she tried to avoid eating at one of Kate’s favorite places. It had taken over a month for her to just set foot inside the local bakery where her aunt had worked, so overwhelmed she had been by memories: Kate frosting cupcakes, Kate putting leftover cookies into a bag to bring to home, Kate beaming when Hillary dropped in to say hello. The insanity had to end someday, Hillary knew. She was constantly reminded of Kate in random little ways. Passing by Oak Street made her think of the pink house at the end of the road that was Kate’s dream house. When cutting across Dalvey Park she always noticed the bench near the pond that Kate liked to sit on while feeding ducks. If she looked at the clock and saw that it was 12:04 she remembered that 12/04 was Kate’s birthdate. It was like being in love, Hillary thought, when something related to the object of one’s desire could be found anywhere. But now only sadness accompanied each association. She had to be able to go places Kate had frequented, she supposed, if she was going to get on with life. Now she went occasionally to Evanston Bakery, and to the pond, and the neighborhood near Oak Street. She could visit her mother in the house where she had grown up, although she hadn’t once peeked into Kate’s old bedroom. The church, however, remained the hardest place for Hillary
to even go near. She had always made Aunt Kate sit next to her when she was a child, and their sitting next to each other turned into a habit that lasted for decades. Also out of habit, they had always sat in the fifth pew from the front. Hillary could still picture Kate kneeling after Communion, whispering prayers, wearing her blonde hair in a ponytail and the same white cardigan she almost always wore on Sundays. She didn’t know if she could sit inside St. Elizabeth’s without thinking of all of that, on top of memories of the funeral, when she had been too upset to join in singing any of the hymns or to listen to the eulogy Tom the baker was giving. But a few nights ago, Kate was in her dream, and it had taken place inside the church. Hillary was in the fifth pew and Kate was beside her, praying. When Hillary tapped her on the shoulder, she looked into her eyes and smiled. Ever since she had died, all she could do in Hillary’s dreams was smile at her. That last dream made Hillary think she ought to go back to the church. She wasn’t sure why; maybe she would find it comforting, or maybe it was a step towards letting go of Kate. Perhaps it was because she had noticed that Kate was happy in the dream, and it lessened the anger she sometimes still felt at God or the universe or whoever was to blame for the way her aunt had died. Hillary stood once again in front of the stairs to the entrance. The church looked very pretty on this April morning, with cherry blossoms covering the granite steps. All she had to do was begin climbing them, she realized. Once she was on them she would look silly turning around. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and checked the time. She had almost ten minutes left before the noon Mass began; enough time to circle the block again, or to go inside and claim her old spot. You don’t have to go in, she reminded herself. But she put a foot on the first step anyway. Kelly is from New Jersey and has been living in Singapore with her family since 2012.
Singapore American â€˘ March 2014
Singapore American • March 2014
The Dangerous First Descent of The Zambezi By Richard Bangs, continued from front cover
Photo by Eric Cleves Kristensen
A few months later I flew to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, to meet with the Minister of Tourism to request a permit to make the first descent of the Zambezi. It was going to be a tough sell, as nobody had done anything like this since Livingstone and it seemed to most a risky endeavor. I flew to London from Los Angeles and caught the first flight south, spending almost 20 sleepless hours in transit. When I landed I made my way directly to the Ministry of Tourism, stepped up the steep flight of stairs, and made my way to the Minister’s office. He invited me in, and I sat on the far side of his big desk and explained why I thought running the Zambezi would be a great thing for Zambia’s pallid tourism industry. He listened respectfully and then got a summons from his assistant and excused himself from the room. I suddenly felt a wave of wooziness wash over me, extreme jetlag, and I slumped over onto the Minister’s desk and promptly fell asleep. The next thing I knew he was shaking me awake, saying my snoring could be heard through the building. I blew it, I knew. My dream of pioneering the Zambezi dashed against the rocks. The Minister sat in his high-backed chair and said, “I’ve decided to grant you the permit to run the Zambezi. I’ll have the papers drawn up this afternoon.” On October 26, my expedition team collected in Livingstone, Zambia: Eight of Sobek’s most experienced guides, along with actor LeVar Burton, an ABC film crew and two sappers from Zimbabwe who would sweep the beaches for landmines before we camped. I squeezed hands with a group of local boys who had scrambled down the steep slope to see us off. Slipping on a pair of studded cotton gloves, I settled into the seat of a fivemeter-long inflatable raft. My passengers – photographer Michael Nichols and Joanne Taylor – both somber as the dark canyon walls. Setting the bowline free, I let the boat drift upstream in the eddy to its confrontation with the rapid known as The Boiling Pot. Then I dug the oar blades deep, powering out of the eddy and into the main current. The first stroke seemed solid and I was confidently preparing for the next when the boat canted up a wave. The right oar sliced ineffectually through the air. I grappled with the ill-spent oar and saw, through the heaving water, a black wall looming. With a panicked push on the other oar, I turned the bow toward the wall, which was hurling water from its face. Three meters from the wall I dropped the oars and held on. A blast of water pushed the boat up on its side, where it hung for a tense second. Through the wash of white I saw Michael, camera pressed against his eye, still shooting; then I thought I heard Joanne scream. The boat plunged over, upside down, into the rolling mess. I had capsized in the first rapid of the Zambezi, minutes after launching our expedition. The president of Zambia watched from the bridge above, turned to a reporter
and asked, “Is that how they do it?” But we continued, with portages, more capsizes, and mishaps. About half-way down the river one of the rafts was attacked. A ridged snout lunged from beneath and, sinking two long rows of teeth into the raft, exploded one of the inflated tubes. The oarsman, John Yost, reacted instinctively and defensively: he lifted an oar out of its oarlock and began slapping the croc over the head with the blade. The croc made a second lunge, then dived and disappeared. Yost frantically rowed the halfdeflated raft to shore, and the other boats, including a kayak paddled by LeVar Burton, made a hasty landing on the nearest beach. LeVar Burton called in the helicopter, and flew away, not to be seen again. The rest of us continued cautiously downstream. A few days later, late in the afternoon, we came to another spectacular rapid that split the river, one uncharted and unnamed. We scouted, and decided it looked runnable straight down the middle. One of the guides, Neusom Holmes, volunteered to row first. He rode cleanly over the first wave, then rode sideways up the second and flipped. He and his passengers disappeared in the dusk downstream, swimming for shore. Then Jim Slade capsized in the same place. Two flips in one rapid. Now it was my turn. I desperately surveyed the rapid for a “cheat” run, but I couldn’t even see 100 meters ahead in the fading light. I had no idea how the others, who had capsized, had fared, whether the water, the rocks, or the crocs, had done any damage. I quickly tightened all the ropes that held the gear in my boat, and took out my waterproof diary and camera box. Then I stepped from the boat, kicked it out into the current, and watched. The abandoned boat descended into the maelstrom farther to the left than the rafts before me, pirouetted in the first wave, and then rode up over the plume of the second wave, right-side-up. I stumbled down the side of the rapid, and found my boat pitching in an eddy, still upright, with Neusom and Slade inside bailing. Finally, in the early afternoon of November 5, the current of the Zambezi died in the waters of Lake Kariba. The first descent was over. I wished I could send a report to Livingstone so he might have the final chapter on this river he spent so long exploring, so he might close the book. The Zambezi curls through the final gate into this artificial lake, Kariba, sparkling like hammered gold. And like some sort of bottomless adventure treasure, tens of thousands have followed in our oar strokes and rafted the Zambezi, and it is now the top tourism draw in Zambia. Richard has published more than 1,000 magazine articles and 19 books. He writes a semi-regular feature for the New York Times and is currently producing and hosting the new PBS series, “Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose,” www.adventureswithpurpose.tv.
20 CREATIVE WRITING
Singapore American • March 2014
The Busy Trap: We Can Be Less Busy By Jim Tietjen, continued from front cover
Look at children’s schedules. Do they resemble their parents’ busy world? Most likely. They are probably running hither and yon driven by parents, school, peer pressure or each other. Are they are impelled by personal desire, just trying to keep up with classmates or the neighbor’s kids, or merely keeping busy – perhaps so their parents can have some “time oﬀ” so they can be busy doing something else? Let’s ask ourselves, is this “indispensable” lifestyle deleterious? Are we doomed to failure if we do not recognize and correct this apparent self-delusional behavior? Is our hedge against a hollow existence a Hobson’s choice? Will continuity of busy, lemming-like behavior result in a pyrrhic lifestyle? Probably not. Since virtually all of us behave like this we are not doomed to oblivion. But, there is a lesson we can learn. We should be busy sometimes. The important question to ask and answer is, can we be less busy? Can we occasionally be dispensable and do things that are not scripted, expected or wrote? My sense is that if someone really wants to do something, they will find the time. It helps to know that doing this on a regular basis is very important. You can validate leisurely behavior. Validation is a key ingredient in being less busy. Being less busy does not mean being less productive, less worthy or less relevant. Actually, history suggests that those who indulge in idle time can be more productive. Kreider says, “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence, or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D [sunshine] is to the body; deprived of it, we [could] suﬀer a mental aﬄiction as disfiguring as rickets.” Having time and space to step back, relax and think about something or nothing is salubrious. It could be a vacation, an ad hoc walk in the park, an evening spent with family or friends, reading a book, listening to music, or just daydreaming for a while. Little do we realize – when we do these things we subconsciously add context and perspective to our lives. It’s a plausible paradox. It’s also validation for being less busy. I was a successful university student, pretty much straight A’s until one day I flunked a course out of the blue. It was a difficult course but not impossible. Neither my teacher nor I could understand why. I was frustrated. My academic counselor called me in and asked what I was going to do about it. Fortunately, I had thought about it. My response: “study less!” My counsellor was aghast; he assumed I should study more. I knew that would not work because I was a serious student and knew my strengths and weaknesses. Flabbergasted, he put me on academic probation. Nonetheless, I followed my instinct and studied less. The result astonished my teachers – straight A’s continued. In the end I was a distinguished graduate. In retrospect, I believe I was too busy, studying too hard with no time to think about what I was really doing, no time to allow my brain to rest and absorb more knowledge later. History buffs would know about Archimedes, Newton, Einstein and Churchill – these great men took time off to think, play, paint and relax. They knew, perhaps instinctively, that being too busy was not the best lifestyle to pursue. So what to do? Life is a balance. Find time to be less busy. I love URA’s (Urban Redevelopment Authority) rubric: Singapore is a great place to live, work and play. Truly, it is. A*Star (Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research) took this modus vivendi one step further adding “learn” to the mix. Sure, this is more complete and fits better in the competitive context of our Singapore lives. In either case, play is important… perhaps the most important. If we could learn to be less busy and temporally integrate our lives, our work, our learning and our play while shedding the idea that we must be perpetually busy to be successful and socially acceptable, then our lives will be more meaningful, enriched and happier. Life is too short to be too busy. Go ahead; strengthen and lengthen your life in time and quality by becoming less busy! Jim flew USAF fighters for many years but prefers to fly gliders. An avid sportsman and amateur adventurer, he enjoys tennis, golf, diving, trekking and all travel. Jim also has a passion for watercolor paintings, carpets and wine. Most of all, he likes to help people achieve their goals.
Singapore American • March 2014
At the Singapore Zoo By Lucia Damacela
To the left, the river’s melted jade encompassing flow soothes the cracks on its banks and lightens our step.
Leafy tropical forest taming the fury of the sun at its noon incarnation. Relentless, the sunrays flicker their magic softening the pavement incensing the metals sprinkling gold mist on the skin.
Upcoming rain announces itself with the smells of the sea and of faraway lands infused with the Peranakan aromas of nearby canteens.
Birds free from acoustic restrictions saturate with their tunes all the space between the treetops all the space between the branches all the space between the leaves. Cockatoos, rainbow-colored parakeets and parrots decorate the trees like moving ornaments in an equatorial Christmas wonderland. Arboreal free rangers, the cotton top tamarins leap between canopies -aging punk rockers’ hairdo and all.
When the showers come, the stream of drops stroking the pavement bounce up to our legs like jumping pellets like silver popcorn. The downpour lasts just long enough to release the scents of the lemongrass and the frangipanis captive under the soil.
The young orangutans -acrobats in orange fur suitsswing from beam to beam and stare at their human spectators with expressions that say ‘Bet you can’t do this ... eh?’
Near the exit, the receding sun is now within reach of the bamboos and together they drum the sounds of the sunset.
Further ahead, the cheetah, oblivious to the vastitude of its domains walks from one end to the other of her panoramic window eyes piercing the glass protecting its visitors, as if conjuring up its next meal.
In an instant, shadows take over the pathway low flying bats shorten the horizon and I hear for the last time the yawn of the lion and the sigh of the tiger fading behind me in the sways of the wind.
On the main trail, a woman passes by... a designer brand bandana glamorizing the sweat running down her neck.
o you have an itch to pick up a laptop and write? To spill out that novel you’ve been dreaming about or express yourself through poetry or short stories? Singapore has a vibrant literary community with talent both home grown and from abroad. Writers groups are a fun way to get involved, review work, trade literary tips and make friends. Below are a few of the many groups in Singapore where you can meet other local writers and let creativity flourish.
Singapore International Storytelling Festival Held in September every year, SISF is a storytelling festival based in Singapore that celebrates the art of storytelling. Since the inauguration in 2006, the annual festival has attracted more than 200,000 visitors with its programs for teachers, librarians, storytellers, professionals, parents and children: http://sisf.bookcouncil.sg. The Singapore Writers Meetup Group This meetup started with a group of writers coming together for a memoirs writing workshop in November 2007 at Toa Payoh Library. Today, the group has over 500 writers who regularly meet to let creativity bloom. All writers – and would-be writers – are welcome: www.meetup.com/sgwriters. The Singapore Writers Group Started by a budding amateur writer in 2012, this meetup now has over 450 in the group. The group is designed to listen to each others’ works in a supportive and non-judgmental environment to provide confidence and motivation: www.meetup.com/The-SingaporeWriters-Group. Society of Singapore Writers For anyone who has written and would like a sounding board from other writers, the Society of Singapore Writers holds First Friday Writers Circle (FFWC) meetings at the YMCA Lounge, Orchard Road: http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sgwriters/. The Book Council The National Book Development Council of Singapore is a non-profit, charitable organization that organizes festivals, workshops and events related to writing, publishing, storytelling, reading and more. Visit their website for upcoming events and details: http://bookcouncil.sg/. Singapore American Newspaper Writers’ Group The SAN writers meet once a month at The American Club and discuss ideas for upcoming issues of the newspaper. Writers of all levels are welcome to join the group, share ideas and contribute articles. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A child stops to look at the empty cone in his hand —object now reduced to absurdity— hesitant to move away from the remains of the ice cream that chose to jump rather than being eaten.
American Women’s Association Writers’ Group Whether you’re a professional writer or a beginner you are welcome to join the AWA writers’ group and meet other aspiring authors. They meet on the second and fourth Thursday of every month. Members must be a member of AWA: www.awasingapore.org.
Why I Thought of You at the Duchess County Fair By Laura Schwartz
Pregnant with screaming bodies, the rides lurched overhead like drunk Christmas trees. But before the night took us there, the cows, quieted by evening, slept or shuffled on either side of the barn’s opened belly. Their prize ribbons swung above, a dribbling rainbow nailed up by its strings and pride.
I didn’t look up, distracted by the tongue braceleting my wrist and sanding down my knuckles, the press of the calf’s nose into the cup of my palm.
For Dad’s Birthday 2008
Singapore American • March 2014
Should We Belittle the Internet So Boldly?
Very Good Signs By Jamie Uy
he nurse’s clean uniform is a Very Good Sign because Grandma is notorious for throwing her puréed food at people when upset. As I entered the room, I noticed that Grandma was neatly folding her sweaters into the chest Betty got her last Christmas. Grandma complains that the ugliness of the chest has near blinded her. If she’s using it, she's feeling charitable today (another Very Good Sign). Grandma had also convinced the nurse to let her make a casserole on her own – a third Very Good Sign – and it sat steaming in the middle of the table like a trophy. “Jeﬀrey,” she greets me, “Want to play bridge?” She has already shuffled the yellowing cards, so I say yes. During the third round she asks, “When will you bring your children to visit?” I chalk this up to a fourth Very Good Sign: remembering her greatgrandkids. “Cathy’s never home, Jean’s at boarding school, and James forgets to tie his own shoelaces. I hardly think they’d be good company for you.” (I should really email Betty about this visit. Four Very Good Signs!) Grandma blinks. The air in her room is too heavy to be a summer breeze – as if her old age is weighing down both our shoulders. Next to Grandma’s bed is a shelf of family albums from the last 50 years. Once her hair started greying, she began rearranging the albums: first by date and place; then by people, gatherings, generations; whatever categorization kept her memory sharper than her beloved kitchen knives. Now they are cluttered and dusty. The lull in conversation is frightening. Grandma has been staring at her cards for 10 minutes and the crinkles around her eyes are rising and falling like they are dancing to Frank Sinatra. I can’t help but notice that her small mouth lacks the cranberryjuice-red lipstick we knew as kids. Betty reminds me of this arbitrary detail every family gathering, like it’s a story worth retelling. (“She’s getting old! Really! In her heart this time,” she tried to explain.) I yawn. “Grandma? It's your –” “Oh! Jeﬀ!” She laughs and smacks her knee. It wobbles worryingly. “Have I ever told you about how your granddad met me?” In her excitement, she’s knocked over the deck. I don’t dare to pick up the cards now while she’s talking, though I think if this were ten years ago, I wouldn’t be under denture-throwing-threat. (“That story of how she met her husband is the only one she ever tells now,” step-cousin Clara confides in me over coffee, “I think it’s the only one she can tell.”) Grandma smoothes the wrinkles of her periwinkle blouse and she sits poised, eyeing me warily like she's the nanny to a five-year-old.
“It was between 1500 East Jefferson Boulevard, Brazos Street, Colorado Boulevard, and the Trinity River.” The gold-rimmed spectacles hang off her crooked nose. She used to be a teacher. Some things you never forget, I guess. “Grandpa proposed to Grandma during a minor league baseball game. He was good friends with the owner of the stadium, and the baseball player, God bless him, was a college friend of your grandfather, always plotted shenanigans together, and that man,” – here she pointed to the framed picture of their wedding – “Well, your grandfather saw the perfect chance when the ball flew high above the stadium, and he was so excited, so foolish, he caught it, spun me around and got on one knee. He held out the baseball instead of a ring. ‘Anne! Marry me!’ he’d said. The real ring was hidden in his catcher’s mitt.” In my head, Aunt Janine is speaking in falsettos: “She’s batty. Makes up stories to amuse her, to forget how Grandpa was like in the end.” Grandma fingers the tarnished ring fondly. “I laughed and laughed. When I finally stopped, I told him to wait. He’d get a job first. Then we’d pool our savings together and go to New York to get married.” Now Grandma grinned, and she cupped her withered hands together. “Silly man, your grandfather. Always did things without thinking. Always so brave – going first.” Then, as if the day wasn’t light, and the game was for naught – she shook. Her eyes were beady and bright behind the glasses. The tremor passed through her to me, and I had to look away to the tiled floor and the faded Polaroids taped on the kitchen wall of Betty, Clara, Janine, and me and every other relative imaginable. The last reunion was how many years ago? The casserole was no longer steaming. Suddenly a change of light makes the harsh cheekbones on Grandma’s face softer. Grandma smoothes the wrinkles out of her blouse again and steadies her voice; “I've told you the story before. You remember, don’t you, child?” I also remember this: you and Grandpa sitting by the fireplace, before he fell the next Christmas... then you. The cuckoo clock catches us both off guard. I have a meeting at two. She reaches out to touch my arm, pushing aside an ace. “You know, you were always my favorite,” She smiles. She has told that to every one of us in secret. I should go, but her touch is anchoring me. Remembering favorites is a Very Good Sign.
Jamie Uy is an SAS student and managing editor of Parallel Ink literary e-zine.
By Ayushi Angresh
am fully aware of my generation and how we have so much more than we could have asked for. And while I am undoubtedly grateful, is it necessary for every conversation with someone from another generation to include, “In my day, we used to have to research with books. There was no Internet”? As much as I am incredibly impressed with the ability to turn pages, is that really something to be proud of? As humans, we continue to develop and do everything we can to survive and make life easier for ourselves. God forbid we use technology to improve our lifestyles. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for reminiscing about the past with grandparents and being taught to roast your kill over a fire, which of course, was set ablaze by flint. I do, however, think it would be nice to use an oven once in a while, as long as you get the hang of using all the knobs and buttons. The gap between the last two generations has possibly been the largest generation gap that humanity has ever endured, and instead of congratulating each other on wondrous new developments and the improvements of our lives, we decided to complain about the possibilities and opportunities we gain from an expanded access to almost every segment of information there is. The most evident improvement is the Internet and the variety of materials it exposes us to. While, 20 years ago, for a 15-year-old to know how to code and program would have been completely unheard of and instantly cause them to be deemed a genius, we now have teenagers creating new websites and themes for
existing ones. This not only brings fresh ideas but also helps us unlock the potential of the newer generations. There are thousands of people, who, with the right amount of knowledge and the right equipment, could change anything for the better. For example, Terre des Hommes, a charity based on the outskirts of Amsterdam, created and brought to life an image of a 10-year-old Filipino girl. Named Sweetie, an account was created for her, to be used to track down and arrest webcam predators. This was done by recording the movements of a person and programming the computergenerated robot to follow the same movements. While without technology, there wouldn’t be webcam predators in the first place, it is also with technology that we can now track down these predators along with other offenders or criminals. There are a wealth of ideas and new perspectives that can be shared with the world, resulting in not only the fastest progression humanity has ever been a part of, change for the better in worldwide but it also leads to open minds. It leads to people connecting with each other, sharing their views, beliefs and ideals. Aside from more open-mindedness, I believe this will bring change for the better. With everything we could be gaining from new developments, why are we still fondly reminiscing, flipping through hundreds of pages of an encyclopedia? Let’s embrace technology.
Ayushi is a grade 9 student at UWCSEA East and she is passionate about writing and art.
The Cautionary Tale of the VIP’s Speech By Anne Morgan
ounding into Singapore in 2010 all wide eyed and bushy tailed, I was eager to shed the skin of my over long career in Client Service and indulge in some ‘reinvention.’ I joined the wonderful Career Resource Center for Expats (CRCE) and applied for any job where there was even a hint of a match to my less-than-extensive skill set. Somewhat surprisingly, the juicy morsel of an events management role presented itself and, squeaking with excitement, I grabbed it! I soon discovered that the prime responsibility of an events manager is to remain demonstratively in control in the face of whatever obstacles are hurled in the way of a hitch free, immaculately executed happening. The phrase “Never a dull moment” has never been so apt. A few months into my role a very influential, highly connected lady facilitated a talk by a VIP at a respected academic institution. My part in the management of the event was to liaise with the institution to ensure all transpired smoothly. Everything progressed uneventfully and I was quickly lulled into a false sense of security. All that was needed was to market the event to our eager members who signed up in droves. The event was on a Monday so I roused myself to do a cursory check with the institution on Friday, expecting to be told that all was under control. The reality was starkly different. I was informed that the event was so popular with their students that they were totally oversubscribed. As a result it was a shame but there was no extra room and consequently, none of our sign-ups could attend. The venue assigned to the VIP was too small and there were no others available. Visions of a public relations disaster and
me committing hari-kari in front of my management floated ominously into my head. Now secretly, I love a bit of a drama but even by my standards this was a ‘bombe surprise’ (ref. Diamonds Are Forever) I sharpened my wits and went into major solution mode. To cut a long and painful story short, a wonderful man called Eric agreed to stream the talk live on web cam to a group of students so we could free up space to let our good people into the Inn. There followed a few diﬃcult emails to a Professor who thankfully was observing POETS day (P Oﬀ Early Tomorrow’s Saturday) so he was not there to respond to my pitiful missives. I staggered home, endured two sleepless nights and a burst of devout praying on Sunday with my manager perched at the other end of the pew. For reference she was preternaturally calm “I know you can sort it out” she murmured serenely, eyes turned to heaven. Then, through the divine intervention of one of the directors at the academic institution I was informed that lo a new venue had miraculously freed up and it held 300 – the day was saved! The VIP’s people were informed, there was rejoicing all round. To cap the whole thing off, I received copious (and truly undeserved thanks) from everyone including the professor. The VIP even blew me a discrete kiss. There was a superb turnout. It was a triumph. Diplomatic relations were saved. If only everyone knew.... That night, I went home to slump on the sofa and watch garbage TV, a mere shadow of my former self. You will be pleased to note that I don’t organize too many events these days… I do, however, indulge in some public speaking and that is a whole other story.
Singapore American • March 2014
FOOD & DINING
Tras Street: Tanjong Pagar’s latest food & drink hothouse By Tayla Stone
nce upon a time, I used to think Tras Street was on the wrong side of Tanjong Pagar. Nothing and nobody really went down there, except for people going to buy insanely OTT wedding dresses. That is until now. Now almost everything cool is opening in Tras Street. New restaurants and bars are opening up one after the other. If you haven't been down Tras Street lately, alongside exciting new contenders sit more established ones making it a veritable foodie hotbed which looks something like this: No. 38: Bam! Tapas Sake Bar The latest Spanish tapas eatery to pop up and tempt you with delectable small bites, hipper than hip exposed pipe bulbs and raw concrete, plus a buzzy, casual vibe, Bam! serves up Spanish inspired dishes with a decidedly Japanese twist; new flavors and combinations are intriguing and the introduction of sake from executive chef Pepe Moncayo seems to be a popular move. No. 49: Jekyll & Hyde From the folks behind Manicurious comes this new multi-purpose space which is part nail boutique, part cocktail bar. Something for the ladies and something for the gents. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask head bartender Jeff (formally BarStories) to make you something
special. These guys thrive on the bespoke. No. 57: Kko Kko Nara Korean Restaurant A great late night eating option in the area serving up spicy-ass fried chicken and some other Korean yum yums. No. 64: Fleur De Sel One of the most recent additions to the French dining scene here opened up by Chef/Owner Alexandre Lozachmeur. We love the chance to watch Chef Alexandre’s culinary actions up-close and enjoy his extremely personable service. No. 66: Brasserie Gavroche This classic French brasserie from Chef Frédéric Colin may have been around for a while but foodies know it’s a great spot for authentic French fare in a beautiful, cosy set-up – not to mention a quintessential French brasserie experience. No. 69: Cafe & Bar Gavroche For something a little more casual, look to Chef Frédéric’s second spot along Tras Street… Cafe Gavroche. A great place for an after work aperitif, or a laid back weekend brunch. No. 60: Sushi Mitsuya Looking for some high quality sushi? Sushi
Mitsuya is the place to go to for the finest sushi and an exclusive, bespoke dining experience executed by Head Chef Ryosuke Harada. We hear he really knows how to take Omasake to new heights! No. 74: House of Dandy An upscale cocktail bar with a slick masculine interior, think old gentleman’s club but without the snootiness and an award-winning mixologist making visual feasts for the eyes as well as taste sensations. No. 100: Ramen Keisuke Tori King One of our favorite ramen restaurants in Singapore, if you’re craving a good bowl of ramen we promise you won’t be disappointed! Unlike its brother mentioned below, this outlet specializes in ramen made with chicken broth. No. 100: Sushi Burrito Sushi-on-the-go in a neat, chunky burritostyle roll. Quick, economical, perfect for the lunchtime working crowd and most importantly a sushi roll that is burrito sized – yippee! No. 100: Pita and Olives Pita and Olives is a very simple, small eatery but for those of you into your Mediterranean, vegetarian or just good ol’ healthy fresh salad,
this is an excellent place to stop off for a quick bite or takeaway. And using a little bit of artistic license here, I’m also including some restaurants at No. 1 Tras Link that I love: Teppei Incredible Japanese Omasake at incredible prices. Reservations are a must and expect to wait for your booking but trust us, it is very worth it! Platitos Tasty, value for money tapas and a hip, hang out spot is what this place is all about – that and a mean sangria! Keisuke Tonkotsu King The Ramen King is at it again! With no two concepts ever the same, this outlet specializes in ramen based on that insanely popular milky pork broth.
Talya is co-founder and editor in chief of City Nomads, the leading independent guide to what's on in Singapore. Visit www.citynomads.com.
Singapore American • March 2014
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Quitting Smoking By Dr. Kaye McMullen, International Medical Clinic
here are many different tactics for quitting smoking, but the one common ground is the desire and motivation to quit. Without this you will likely fail. To determine the best tactic for you, you need to be aware of your options for quitting and be prepared for the challenges of trying to quit. You will need to address the addiction, as well as the habits and routines that go with smoking. It is important to set a quit date and tell family and friends the date you plan to quit. The date should be within two to four weeks of making the decision. This allows time to prepare a plan but not so long that you lose motivation and change your mind. For most people smoking is ingrained as a daily ritual. One of the best things you can do while preparing a plan, is to identify the things that make you want to smoke, such as specific situations, activities, feelings and people. Avoiding these triggers is not always possible, however you can prepare a plan to help you cope with cravings when faced with these triggers. The psychological cravings are often
harder to deal with and last much longer then the physical cravings. Once you stop smoking you will experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. These usually begin quickly and peak about 2-3 days later. They can last from a few days to several weeks and differ from person to person. As unpleasant as these withdrawal symptoms may be it important to remember they are only temporary. Nicotine replacement therapy or non-nicotine medications can help you deal with these cravings. Talk to your doctor about these medications and whether they are right for you. Remember that most people try to quit smoking several times before they are successful, so don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first time. Learn from your failed attempts where you slipped up and factor this into the plan for the next attempt. It takes a strong commitment over a long time to be successful. You may wish there was a magic pill to make it easy and painless, but there is no such thing.
Dr. Kaye McMullan graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2007. Prior to moving to Singapore she spent two years working in Paediatrics and attained a Diploma of Child Health at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. She moved to Singapore in 2011 and has been working in general practice since. Her special interests include paediatrics, women's health and respiratory medicine. International Medical Clinic Camden Clinic 1 Orchard Boulevard, #14-06 Camden Medical Centre 6733 4440 Jelita Clinic 293 Holland Road, #02-04 Jelita Cold Storage 6465 4440 www.imc-healthcare.com
Honoring Feelings and Boundaries By Marisa Vidaurre, SACAC Counselor
eing in touch with our feelings and emotions and establishing boundaries in relationships are desirable goals in life. Feelings and emotions are energy, actual physical energy that is manifested in our bodies. Our mental attitudes, definitions and expectations can create emotional reactions but thoughts are not emotions. The intellectual and emotional are separate though interconnected parts of our beings. To be in touch with our feelings and to learn how to express and relate them in our relationships in the most effective way is what we strive to accomplish. It is helpful to recognize some ways that we might have learned to distance ourselves from our feelings. One of them is to speak in the third person. “You feel hurt when that happens” is not a personal statement and does not carry the power of speaking in the first person. “I felt hurt when that happened” is personal; it’s “owning” the feeling. Listen to yourself and others and become aware how often you hear yourself or others refer to themselves in the third person. Another distancing method is
to avoid using primary feeling words. Primary feeling words include: happy, angry, sad, hurt, afraid, lonely and ashamed. Awareness of the primary feeling allows us to own it. “I am anxious or apprehensive” is not the same as “I am afraid.” As we start being emotionally honest with ourselves, we are able to be truly honest with others regarding our feelings. If you learned to live in your head, it is helpful to become aware of your body and what happens to your body emotionally. Where is there tension or tightness? Where is the energy manifesting in my body (in my stomach or in my upper chest)? Awareness of this and the feeling that elicits it (happiness or fear, etc.) allows for choices of how to release the emotional energy in a healthy way. Healthy boundaries define who we are and our roles in different relationships. They can help us to have a better sense of our separateness from others, where we end and others begin. Knowing who we are, what we believe, what we think, feel, like and want means that we can be more honest with others. Healthy boundaries
are intended to help us have good relationships, free us to be who we are and enable us to be more accepting of others. They empower us to stand against manipulation and define what we are and are not responsible for and teach us responsibility. Healthy boundaries empower us to say “no” when we need to say “no” and say “yes” when we really want to say “yes.” The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and take care of ourselves. We have the right and can take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us. Steps to establish healthy personal boundaries include: being emotionally honest with yourself. Start owning your feelings and learn how to communicate in a direct and honest manner. It is very important to learn to communicate without blaming. Avoid saying things like “you make me angry” and consider saying “I feel angry when....” We violate our boundaries when we don’t take care of ourselves, when we set ourselves up as victims, when we have unrealistic expectations of others or when we put ourselves down. We violate others’ boundaries when we
take advantage of their goodness, when we fail to do what we said we would do, by the things we say to them and the way we say them (ridicule, sarcasm and/or putdowns), through rejection and abandonment, when we insist on unreasonable conformity to our self-centered agendas. Setting boundaries is important in all relationships, but in close ones it is easier to blur the lines. We often ignore them because we were taught to be nice to everyone, or our desire to be in a relationship outweighs how we can behave. It is very important to stop judging ourselves against someone else's standards and shaming ourselves due to a fantasy of where we should be. We are where we should be, experiencing our lives, remembering to stay in touch with our feelings and honoring our boundaries. A natural normal part of our human experience is feeling the feelings and accepting this.
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Singapore American • March 2014
ARTS & CULTURE
An All-Consuming Arts Festival NUS Arts Festival 2014 returns with insightful artist-student collaborations
ver three weekends (March 14 to 29), NUS Arts Festival 2014 (NAF 2014) will offer food for thought about what we consume and what consumes us. Expect a diverse spread of offerings exploring our favorite pre-occupations, from shopping and eating, to deeper searches into the nature of human motivation. Themed “Consumed,” the Fest devotes its ninth year to the question, “Can we consume without being consumed?” Everything we consume, from our choice of coffee in the morning, the clothes we wear or where we dine for lunch or dinner, to the face wash we use at night, in some way defines who we are. Through witty, candid and also insightful dramas, comedic films and playful music performances to emotionally demanding dance pieces, we look deep into our society’s deepest obsessions. Presented by NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA), the Fest’s 28 items feature works by Singaporean and international artists as well as student talents whose works are mentored by, or developed with, professional artists. Over half, including films and music, are free and offer new audiences the chance to sample new arts experiences. Tickets for the Fest are now on sale at SISTIC outlets island-wide. For more information: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.nusartsfestival.com • Facebook: www.facebook.com/nusartsfestival
KAGEMI: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors By Nithia Devan “Beneath a floating canopy of giant, alabaster white lotus leaves, seven spectral figures embark on a spellbinding odyssey of transformation and enlightenment to unravel human nature. Weaving in and out of light and shadow, time and consciousness, their pale bodies move hypnotically in unison and counterpoint to an eclectic soundtrack of soft meditative rhythms and pulsating ethno electro beats, as they celebrate the cycle of life.”
he above description of a haunting dreamscape is KAGEMI: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors, a stunning composition of seven tableaux linked by a progression of poetic and metaphoric references. As each scene morphs into the next, juxtaposing life and death, land and water, ash and blood, seven dancers enter different states of consciousness, evoking the human being as a mirror of nature. The world-renowned butoh dance company, Sankai Juku, whose name means “studio between mountain and sea,” performs this riveting masterpiece. Butoh is an avantgarde performance art that has its origins in Japan in the 1960s. More a philosophy of movement than a dance style, butoh grew from the experimental Japanese performances of the 1960s and was influenced by German expressionist dance and French surrealist theater as well as Japanese theater such as kabuki. Sankai Juku is one of the most soughtafter international butoh dance troupes in the world. To date, they have performed in over 700 cities and more than 40 countries and won several awards including the Laurence Olivier Award (2002), the Asahi Performing Arts Award (2007) and the Japan Foundation Award (2013). The company’s founder and artistic director, Ushio Amagatsu, will also perform as one of the seven dancers in this piece. Amagatsu was born in Yokosuka, Japan in 1949. He founded
Sankai Juku in 1975. He created several pieces: Amagatsu Sho (1977), Kinkan Shonen (1978), and Sholiba (1979) before the first world tour in 1980. Since 1981, France and Théâtre de la Ville, Paris have become his places for creation and work. Kagemi had its premiere in Paris in 2000. Celebrated for his powerful articulation of the body and penchant for creating viscerally striking stage imagery, the works of Ushio Amagatsu for Sankai Juku are known for their elegance, refinement, technical precision and emotional depth. Ushio Amagatsu was kind enough to answer a few questions: What was the inspiration behind Kagemi? It was inspired by an installation of lotus leaves by the late Ikebana master Mr. Riho Semba in the late 1970s. He dedicated it for a dance performance of my friend. The lotus leaves were patched at the ceiling of the lobby and the audiences were supposed to walk beneath them. When I stood still beneath this installation, I felt as if I were in the middle of two levels of water: the water surface and the bottom of the water. I mean that the ceiling became the surface of water and that the floor of the lobby turned into the bottom of water. Thirty years later, I created Kagemi with a willing consent by Mr. Semba. Therefore, I refer to the inspiration as “Lotus leaves – inspired by the encounter with Mr. Riho Semba” in a brochure.
Could you explain what you mean by the title? Although it is not officially admitted in the academic world yet, some dictionaries mention that the Kagemi is the possible etymological origin of “Kagami (mirror).” I found it very inspirational if “to see one’s shadow” came to mean “mirror (to see oneself ).” It’s very epistemological. In regards to the subtitle, “Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors,” when we look back into the history of the forms of mirrors, there first were “water mirrors” that people had to look down into, bringing their bodies to level positions. Then, when people started to craft mirrors themselves, they were able to reflect their images standing up in vertical positions. So, it encompasses the significant change for the human body (physicality) from its level/horizontal position, which is associated with relaxation and sleep to its upright/vertical position, which is for standing up and being active. Furthermore, I found it interesting to think about the changes in the concept and recognition of looking at oneself in reflection, from the water mirrors, which were very fragile and ambiguous, then, the bronze mirrors that still were not very accurate, and then to the glass mirrors which we “think” are reflecting the accurate images. It is full of metaphoric images if you think what is on the other side, or beyond the thin layers of the surface of the mirrors, or what I refer to as the “flip side of the membranes of the water, metal, and glass.”
What were the challenges for you, as the director, choreographer and designer of this production? And also for the dancers when preparing this performance? My way of creation is not so different in each piece. I create a piece almost every two years. A creation is a result of these two years in which I work carefully. So, I don’t find any big different challenges every time. Rather, I prefer working in the same rhythm, with the same attitude, always. I guess this is true to our dancers as well. What do you hope the audience will experience when watching a performance of Kagemi? I always say, the performance is created to be seen and when the audiences watch it, the performance comes to have a life in the minds of audiences. So, I believe the watching experience is very much affected by the personal, for example, mental situation or the experience of each audience. And I welcome it. KAGEMI: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors will be performed at the Esplanade Theater from Apr 30 - May 1, 2014 at 8pm. For more information, please visit www.sistic.com.sg and www.kansfestival.com/series. Nithia is a freelance marketing and communications consultant and is a passionate supporter of the performing arts, especially local theatre. Other interests include travel, cinema, cookery and arts and crafts.
Singapore American • March 2014
ARTS & CULTURE
World Press Photo Exhibition Coming To Singapore
1st Prize General News Stories Alessio Romenzi, Italy, Corbis for Time magazine 14 April 2012, Syria-Turkey border
he World Press Photo exhibition will be on show in Singapore from March 8 to 30. Displaying 154 stunning photos by the world’s top 54 photographers, the 2012 exhibition will be open to the public free of charge at Raffles Hotel. During the 56 years the annual contest has been held, the exhibition visited Singapore just twice, in 2002 and 2006. Often described as the “Oscars” of journalism, World Press Photo is one of the most prestigious annual contests to which thousands of press and documentary photographers submit their images. It is one of the initiatives of the World Press Photo Foundation which is committed to supporting and advancing high standards in photojournalism and documentary photography worldwide; and to generate wide public interest in appreciation for the work of photographers and for the free exchange of information. For more information visit www.worldpressphoto.asia.
1st Prize Nature Stories Paul Nicklen, Canada, National Geographic magazine 18 November 2011, Ross Sea, Antarctica
1st Prize Sports – Sports Action Single Wei Seng Chen, Malaysia 12 February 2012, West Sumatra, Indonesia
SAN IN HAND March Winner!
Owen Foster enjoys the holidays in Washington, D.C. photo submitted by Kathleen & Kevin Foster
Snap your family with SAN in Hand in a surprising place and send it into email@example.com and you could win a 5L mini-keg from Brewerkz.
Singapore American • March 2014
Any responder should make any further enquiries with the organizer or should verify the information independently if necessary.
1 – 16 March A Changed World: Singapore Art 1950s–1970s National Museum of Singapore Exhibition Gallery 2, Basement 93 Stamford Road www.nationalmuseum.sg
2 March Hedger’s Carpet Gallery Chinese New Year Auction Traders Hotel, 2nd Floor, Cuscaden Road Viewing: 10:30am – 12:30pm Auction: 1 – 4:30pm www.hedgerscarpetgallery.com.sg
1 March – 30 April In/sight: Abstract Art by Wu Guanzhong and Artists from Southeast Asia Singapore Art Museum www.singaporeartmuseum.sg
28 – 30 March Singapore International Coin Fair 2014 Sands Expo & Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands 10am – 6pm sgcoinfair.com
1 March – 4 May Secrets of the Fallen Pagoda: Treasures from Famen Temple and the Tang Court Asian Civilisations Museum ACM Empress Place www.acm.org.sg 1 March – 30 June Horses for Courses Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street 9:30am – 7pm www.spm.org.sg 1 March – 6 July Inherited & Salvaged: Family Portraits from the Straits Chinese Collection NUS Museum, University Cultural Centre 50 Kent Ridge Centre www.nus.edu.sg/museum 15 March Spicy Saturday Fort Canning Spice Garden 10am – 12pm Laura_Tan@nhb.gov.sg
ENTERTAINMENT 5 & 6 March Singapore Rock Festival featuring Korn, Rob Zombie, Alter Bridge, Newsted, FFDP, BVB, Alice in Chains Fort Canning Park www.sistic.com.sg 7 – 16 March Mosaic Music Festival 2014 Esplanade Concert Hall, Esplanade Recital Studio & Esplanade Theatre Studio www.sistic.com.sg 14 – 19 March CONSUMED: NUS Arts Festival 2014 UCC Hall www.nusartsfestival.com 20 March Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra World Tour 2014 Esplanade Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg 20 – 22 March Israeli Film Feast (with English subtitles) 7:30pm Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, Education Resource Centre, UTown Free Admission www.nusartsfestival.com
EDUCATION From 1 March UWCSEA Applications for Admission to UWCSEA in 2014/2015 open now Dover or East Campus www.uwcsea.edu.sg firstname.lastname@example.org
MEMBER DISCOUNTS AAS Member Discounts AAS members enjoy discounts at a range of local businesses. Present your AAS membership card at time of purchase. Please see a full list of discounts at www.aasingapore.com/member-discounts 2 hours free handyman service worth over $200 when you book your move with Allied Pickfords. Call 6862 4700. Receive a complimentary round trip transportation to and from Changi Airport when you book a package tour with Country Holidays. Call 6334 6120.
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15 & 16 March TechLIFE 2.0 Conference UWCSEA East, 1 Tampines Street 73 For 11-18 years, parents mini conference runs concurrently www.uwcsea.edu.sg/centre
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22 March Family Festival UWCSEA East, 1 Tampines Street 73 11am – 3pm www.uwcsea.edu.sg
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SPORTS 28 – 30 March OCBC Cycle Singapore 2014 F1 Pit Building www.cyclesingapore.com 29 – 30 March Twilight Ultra Challenge 2014 East Coast Park, Casuarina Grove, Area F 7pm to 11am www.twighlightultrachallenge.com 11 & 12 April SKECHERS Electric Run Marina Bay: Pit Building & F1 Track 8pm – 2am electricrun.sg 13 April NewMoon khcycle MetaSprint Series: Triathlon Changi Beach Park 7am www.metasprintseries.com 27 April RUN 350 – 21KM, 10KM, 350 Kids Dash 5:30am – 11am www.run350.com
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Singapore American â€˘ March 2014
The newspaper of the American Association of Singapore, published since 1958. Creative Writing issue - March 2014.