Singapore American • May 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
The Badi Library Project By Angel Corrigan
W water week
hen I was raising my children we would daydream about what they wanted to be when they grew up. For the boys, depending on their age at the time, fireman or policeman were popular choices and my girl thought about being a teacher or lawyer. It was fun to think about what they were destined to be. Destiny is a word that carries possibility and hope, but what if you were born a Dalit? The lowest caste in the Hindu caste system, Dalit or “untouchable“ means subordinate to all. Even within this “untouchable” designator there is a hierarchy. In Nepal the Badi are the lowest tribe of the Dalit. They are the lowest because of their dependence on the sex trade for income. From an early age girls in the Badi tribe know that the sex trade is their destiny. Born into extreme poverty, without education and with the social stigma of being an “untouchable” a life of sexual exploitation for Badi girls seems inevitable. As many as 250,000 Nepali girls and women are slaves in the brothels of India with an estimated 10,000 more sold each year to feed this industry. Approximately 30-40 percent of the underage girls in the brothels in India come from Nepal. Girls as young as 10 are sold into fake marriages by their families. Sometimes their families sell them to brothels; sometimes their services are sold right from the home, as this may be the family’s only income. Some young women are lured with the promise of work. Others are drugged and kidnapped and brought to the brothels to be sold by their kidnappers. The average age of these girls is 13 years old. The stories from those fortunate enough to survive the inhuman, brutal treatment are simply unimaginable. Sex trafficking and sexual exploitation is the paramount human rights issue of our time. The tragedy of sexual slavery is being played out all over the world. We hear about it and think, “How terrible! I hope someone does something.” It seems too big a problem to tackle. But people are working to rescue and rehabilitate the less than one percent that actually escape and many are working toward preventing it from happening. Many organizations are coming at this problem from different angles and it will take them all working together to drive change.
Daniel Teo: A Passionate Patron philanthropy
CRCE & Business
Living in Singapore
Health & Wellness
Food & Dining
By Jim Tietjen
hilanthropy is defined as “an altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.” Enter Daniel Teo, a well-known Singapore property developer and investor. His family roots take him back to Fujian, China. According to Daniel, this is where and how he “inherited” his ardor for helping people, and other diverse interests, from his father and uncle. His architectural training at the University of Melbourne and his subsequent study of art sharpened his eye and passion for fine art and the universal well-being of people.
With this in mind, I want to share the vision of The Badi Library Project. You might be wondering how a library can be part of this equation. The recent documentary film, Girl Rising, notes that when you educate girls you break the cycle of poverty in one generation, and that “educating girls is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do.” In 2011, Nepali Pastor Raju Sundas, a member of the Dalit himself, started Christian Community School (CCS) in Kathmandu to educate Badi children. The school’s living and educational facilities are rescuing children from the very real prospect of being sold into the sex trade and equipping students with the skills that will help them break free of the cultural stigma of the caste system. With English as the global language of trade, CCS is preparing them for work in the global marketplace. The school has grown to more than 600 students, with many more waiting to enroll and is in need of a library. As Special Project Manager for the NGO, Out of Ashes, www. outofashes.org, I am spearheading The Badi Library Project from Singapore. Visit www.books4thebadi.blog for information on the project. New and used books are being collected and will be shipped to
continued on page 18
Though he would not personally characterize himself as a philanthropist or benefactor, Daniel is truly a passionate patron of human welfare and advancement. With his many and varied interests, mainly focused on people, art and architecture, Daniel is a new-age renaissance man with a passion for philanthropy. Over the years Daniel has endeavored to support the local community in many ways, directly and indirectly, monetarily and morally. He has served on boards, like the National Heritage Board and Preservation of Monuments Board. He is Honorary Chairman of the Singapore Thong Chai Medical Institution, which provides free medical consultation and Traditional Chinese Medicine to the public regardless of race, religion or nationality. He has participated in raising funds for charities and public institutions and has been a generous donor himself. He often rallies friends, colleagues and fellow businessmen to support good causes. For example, to raise funds for the Children’s Cancer Foundation Daniel will bring award-winning pianist Zhou Tian Yu to Singapore for a charity concert in mid-May. On the rare occasion ticket sales lag for his charity events he will bulk-buy them and give them to his friends. continued on page 18
American Association of Singapore • Strategic Partners
Singapore American • May 2014
a message from the president... Spring is always a busy time for AAS. Many of us are playing in the Shell Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament at Palm Resort Golf & Country Club on May 10. This great event has been played most years since 1935 and always leads to a lot of great photo-ops and memories. Others will head to the AAS Beer Tasting at Brewerkz on the 15th or one of many CRCE programs during this month. There are many other events listed in this issue (see facing page and calendar listing) and at www.aasingapore.com. The AAS team is busy with our membership survey; each of you should be receiving it soon. It won’t take long to fill out, but it’s very important to hear from you and to understand the kind of organization you’d like AAS to be. Please take a moment to let your thoughts be known. One thing we’re passionate about is giving back to our Singapore community. I recently had the pleasure of joining the George Washington Ball committee as AAS presented a check for $30,000 to Over-The-Rainbow (see page 11). As you may recall, they were our designated charity for the ball. It supports mental wellness for young people; a potentially life-saving resource for kids in Singapore. OTR Founders Mr. & Mrs. Yen-Lu and Yee Ling Chow were very appreciative to AAS and all those who made the donation possible. For more information or to further help them, go to their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ OverTheRainbow.sg. May also marks the launch of the 13th edition of our Living in Singapore Reference Guide. First started in 1976, LIS has become a staple for both new-comers and long-timers in the Lion City. We’re very excited that this year’s version has been completely updated with a fresh layout and design. We’re confident that you’ll enjoy both the print and e-book versions. With Independence Day just around the corner, our annual AAS celebration will take place on June 28 on the playing fields at the Singapore American School. If you haven’t attended before, admission is free, there are games, lots of space for the kids to run around, booths, live music, great food and adult beverages for those of us who want to chill on a Saturday afternoon/evening. The highlight is always fireworks – but let’s be honest – they cost a lot of money and AAS could use your help to defray the cost. For your fireworks donation of $100, we’ll recognize you, or honor a beloved family member. We also have corporate donations for $1,000, where your company will get a mention. Contact the AAS office to find out how you can play a part in celebrating the day with a bang! Finally, the Memorial Day holiday falls on May 26 (always the last Monday in May) and reminds us of the men and women who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no formal US Memorial Day ceremony in Singapore, but it’s a great opportunity to pause, remember and tell your kids what the day means. As always we value your opinion and ideas. If you have questions or suggestions, please reach out to me or Toni, email@example.com. Best,
EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Claire Slattery, firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Jordyn Arndt, Timothy Cameron, Angel Corrigan, Laura Coulter, Lucia Damacela, Melissa Diagana, Richard Hartung, Martine Hill, Andrea Naylor, Samantha Power, Ritika Ramprasad, Tonya Schwab, Laura Schwartz, Jim Tietjen, Jamie Uy, Tasmin Vosloo American Association: Alka Chandiramani
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 Keen, 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.
Glenn van Zutphen email@example.com • twitter: @glennvanzutphen
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. The Singapore American is printed by Procomp Printset Pte Ltd, 61 Tai Seng Avenue #03-03 UE Print Media Hub Singapore 534167
Become a Fireworks Sponsor Please Help Us Light Up The Sky With Fireworks!
For a $100 contribution, you can become a Fireworks Sponsor. We’ll run a prominent “thank you” in the Singapore American Newspaper’s August Edition and you’ll earn the appreciation and gratitude of the entire American community. For more information, log onto: www.aasingapore.com or call 6738.0371 for corporate sponsorship. The Department of the Navy does not endorse any company, sponsor, or their products or services
Singapore American • May 2014
AAS UPCOMING EVENTS
May/June saturday may
2014 Shell Ambassador's Cup Golf Tournament
Played since 1935, the 200-player golf tournament draws players of all abilities from around the region. The tournament is a scramble format, which means a relaxed and enjoyable day for everyone, no matter what your handicap. Get your foursome together, or enter as an individual and we will assign you a team. The day begins with a preround lunch, players then find their carts and tee off with a selection of beverages on offer. After the round, refreshments are served on the patio. The Ambassador’s Cup is being co-hosted with The American Club in 2014. 10am-10pm Palm Resort Golf & Country Club Jalan Persiaran Golf, oﬀ Jalan Jumbo, 81250 Senai Johor, Malaysia AAS and American Club Members: $295 • Non-Members: $365
Aperitivo and Tuscan Wine Tasting
Beer Tasting at Taphouse
Are you ready to test your taste buds? Challenge your friends to a night of beer tasting to see who knows their lagers and ales the best. Join AAS at Taphouse, the newest Brewerkz venue located in lush Dempsey Hill. A pro from Brewerkz will guide you through the tasting of six different beers to explore their flavor notes and profiles.
Dips, sauces, breads and wine flowed freely as guests gathered for the Aperitivo and Tuscan Wine Tasting on March 18. The event, sponsored by Italian fine food importer Clessidra, treated members to taste an array of authentic Italian nibbles. Alessandro Antonioli of I Vicini wines from Tuscany also guided guests through the different wines being sampled that evening.
7pm-9pm 18E Dempsey Road AAS Members: $35 • Non-Members: $55
Memorial Day with the Marines
Celebrate the beginning of summer! AAS is teaming up with the US Marines for a night of drinks and snacks in celebration of the US Memorial Day holiday. Come mingle with the Marines and relax with other AAS members. Whether you are spending the summer away or staying in Singapore, it’s a lovely chance to catch up with friends before everyone spreads around the globe. 6:30pm-8:30pm U.S. Embassy: Marine House 27 Napier Road AAS Members: $25 • Non-Members: $45 * Two beers and snacks included. Additional drinks available for purchase (proceeds from sales benefit the US Marine Birthday Ball).
Wine & Truffle Tasting
It’s time to kick off the start of black truﬄe season! Join AAS and Clessidra for a tasting of various delectable black truﬄe products. From creams and sauces to oils and more, don’t miss this opportunity to hear fun facts directly from the truﬄe product producer. While sampling the array of truﬄe products, also enjoy Italian fine wine. 7pm-9pm The Colonial Room (Level 3), The American Club 10 Claymore Hill AAS Members: $35 • Non-Members: $55
for more info and to register for an event:
Networking Night with Money Matters
On April 3 networkers joined AAS, Money Matters and guest speaker Nigel Smith, CEO of DIA Group, to examine the role branding plays in business and discover how businesses can leverage the branding process to enhance performance across the spectrum of metrics. This networking night presentation covered a variety of topics related to branding and featured intriguing case studies from leading global, regional and local brands.
Exclusive Pre-Screening “Disney’s Muppets: Most Wanted”
Nearly 100 AAS and American Club members gathered at Plaza Singapura on April 16 for an exclusive pre-screening of Disney’s Muppets: Most Wanted. With a hilarious cast including Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey and the lovable Muppets, the movie was a hit with guests of all ages. The preview was a full week before the movie started showing in theaters on April 24.
Singapore American • May 2014
Spotlight on Jobs
CRCE: Career Resource Center for Expats
Lead Teachers A recently opened international pre-
Making Your Mark in a New Country By Jacinta Noonan
school is looking for Lead Teachers who love nature and are driven to share their curiosity and amazement of the natural world with young children and have
or the third time in four years, I found myself uprooted from family and friends, yanked out of my comfort zone and plonked in an unfamiliar environment on the other side of the world. Only this time it was scarier. I had left behind a fulfilling career, one which defined me as a person and I had swapped it for a vast ocean of uncertainty, lacking definition and direction. On that first Monday morning my husband started his new job. It was the same company, the same norms and values, and many of the same faces. Even the routine was the same – Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm. No wonder he was humming contentedly as he strolled out the door. But for me, life had been turned upside down and inside out and on that lonely Monday in May, I was left feeling abandoned and aimless. Once I recovered from my self-induced pity, I realized this was the first time since university I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. Was I going to squander this gift or was I going to explore to the edge of possibility? I sat myself down at the kitchen table, wearing PJs instead of a business suit and started dusting off some old dreams of mine that had been lurking in the shadows. Since that day I have embraced my passions with gusto. I allowed music back into my life. I started taking piano lessons from an amazing teacher here in Singapore and although I will never be much good, the joy I get from playing is priceless. This inspired me to pick up my guitar again and I now practice daily. For years I dabbled with song writing, but now I devote time and effort to this passion. Then a friend’s husband let me sing in his band. After 40 years of longing, the child in me finally had her dream come true. She got to be rock star for a night.
I continue to meet amazing people here in Singapore who dare to try out new things, discover new passions and to delight their families and friends with newfound talents. What are YOU passionate about? What hidden talents do you have that you could give a free rein to? Use these questions to help you uncover your passions.
created developmentally appropriate lesson plans that are rooted in childdirected learning and curriculum goals. (#2765)
• What did you love doing when you were a child? • If money were no object, what would you be doing?
• What are you doing when your soul lights up and time seems to fly?
Executive - Marine & Offshore
• What grabs your attention online, in the street, in a bookstore?
the Business Development Executive is
• What is something you’d like to try at least once in your life? What do other people say you are passionate about? I feel fortunate that I have always been passionate about my work but I am glad that circumstances forced me to explore other passions. Have fun discovering and embracing your hidden passions now that there is space in your life to do so.
The primary duty and responsibility for
to effectively develop, define (regularly visit the shipyards to conduct survey of potential work), secure and execute all potential turnkey projects related to the Marine and Offshore business within the target geography and markets. (job #2759)
Jacinta Noonan is a Life Coach and has run a number of workshops with CRCE on Finding Your Passion.
Personal Assistant The managing director (MD) seeks a fulltime personal assistant to help manage
Your Career Path If you need some help finding your direction or want some support with your job search, keep your eye on the varied CRCE workshop program. In May you can learn about effective money management, successful blogging and if you are in not sure where to start you can mark your calendar for Jump Start Your Job Search on May 16. Remember, if you are a member of CRCE you have access to a job board. It changes frequently and you may find something you have not thought about doing before. CRCE also offers 1-1 career coaching sessions. Check the AAS calendar online for details and to register.
the day-to-day operations of a busy consulting firm. This is a challenging role whose responsibilities include: Overseeing daily running of our office and the MD’s itinerary; Answering incoming
enquiries; Scheduling appointments and
Did you know that employers can post jobs for FREE? Visit www.aasingapore.com/for-employers
receiving clients; Maintaining logs and databases and control sheets; Liaising
CRCE May Workshops register at: www.aasingapore.com (1-1) Career Solutions Coach: Miryame Krogmeier Monday, May 5, 2014 Various times
From Blogging to Business: The Basics Speaker: Hester Aba Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10am – 12pm
The Psychology of Long-Term Investing: The Power of Habit Speaker: Andrea Kennedy Wednesday, May 7, 2014 10am – 12pm
(1-1) Career Solutions Coach: Miryame Krogmeier Monday, May 26, 2014 Various times
Jump Start Your Job Search Speaker: Alka Chandiramani Friday, May 16, 2014 10:30am – 1pm
Join the Conversation Topic: Re-careering Wednesday, May 28, 2014 1:30pm – 3pm
with local suppliers/service provider (job #2758)
Sports Administrator The
be required to provide administrative, organizational, strategic in
Key responsibilities are:
Organising games competitions (event management); Liaise with Marketing in developing the brand (website, social media,
sports tours and camps. (job #2755)
for more information about CRCE www.aasingapore.com - click on the CRCE link
Singapore American • May 2014
CRCE & BUSINESS
Business Start-up Part 6: Financing the Business By Richard Hartung
critical issue when starting up a business is how to fund it. While setting up a small manufacturing facility or hiring a design team can take tens of thousands of dollars or more, even running a one-person consulting business from home requires money. Regardless of what you’re doing you’ll need some funds when you start out. Funds from personal savings, family, friends and credit cards are as common a source of funding for a new business here as anywhere. Access to these sources of funds depends on personal finances, the generosity of family and contacts in the community. If you’re looking to friends or relatives for funds, it’s worth having a short “elevator pitch” ready and letting them know that you’re seeking investments in your business. Beyond family and friends, there are a multitude of alternatives. Singapore is very friendly towards entrepreneurs and has a variety of schemes to support new businesses. One of the best places to find out about this support is Spring Singapore, at www.spring.gov.sg, where the section on “Entrepreneurship” provides a wealth of information about grants and loans. Another source is EnterpriseOne, at www.enterpriseone.gov.sg, where the sections on Find Government Assistance and Funding Options provide links to government as well as
private sector funding options. Spring isn’t the only government agency providing information so you can look at other agencies to find details about grants and other types of funding too. Grants range from the Productivity and Innovation Credit
(PIC) scheme that provides up to $15,000 for the purchase of PCs or other productivityenhancing devices for businesses in any sector to narrowly focused funding such as the Kickstart grant from the Singapore Tourism Board for tourism-related initiatives. One relatively new initiative to support new businesses is government-supported SME Centers, such as the ones run through the
SMF, www.smecentre-smf.sg, or the ASME, www.edc-asme.sg. As the ASME SME Center describes it, they provide a holistic advisory center with a wide range of expert business consultancy products and services along with information on government assistance schemes, grants and programs. Along with government resources, private organizations and individuals can also be a source of funding. Angel investor organizations such as the Business Angel Network at www.bansea.org and the Singapore Investment Network at www. investmentnetwork.sg link entrepreneurs with angel investors. Other angel, private equity and venture capital organizations such as Red Dot Ventures may provide funding at various stages during a business’s early life. Business accelerators such as Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI) or The Co-Foundry can provide advice and sometimes help with funding for new businesses. JDFI, for example, says it is a community of people who practice, finance and teach innovation. Bank loans are unfortunately often difficult for start-ups to obtain. One new business owner
asked a bank about loans and was told he could borrow $20,000 if he placed a $20,000 deposit at the bank. Once your company has been in business for a while, however, there can be more options. Banks such as Standard Chartered Bank and OCBC Bank are focusing more on SMEs, and their websites offer information on SME services and loans. One newer source of funds is crowdfunding. While crowd-funding organizations are not as well-developed in Singapore as Kickstarter or Indiegogo are in the US, and regulations are still a bit murky, organizations such as Crowdonomic are beginning to develop crowd-funding in Singapore and could be worth considering. Digging further, Internet searches and contacting chambers of commerce or government agencies can uncover other sources of funds as well. While it can take some effort to get the funding, and feedback about how easy it is to obtain funds varies, the good news is that there are a multitude of sources of funding as you start up your new business. This series is intended to be interactive, so if you have tips on setting up a business, ideas for future topics or other suggestions, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 • May 2014
CFC: Building Relationships Through Generosity and Understanding By Ritika Ramprasad, Grade 8
he sun beat down on our backs as we hunched over our shovels digging at the seemingly endless piles of dirt that lay in front of us. One look at the Cambodian children’s faces and we immediately knew it was worth it. There were more than 40 students from Singapore American School. Our goal for this service trip was to help Caring for Cambodia schools, which landed us with one of many jobs: to even out a soccer fieldto-be; build and paint garbage and recycling bins; finish creating sidewalks outside the schools and clean materials used for water filtration. I spent a lot of time finishing sidewalks. We first collected dirt and brought it to the pavement to level it out. Then, we proceeded to lay a layer of powdered clay on the ground. At this stage, I shoveled huge piles of clay and put them in small baskets that others distributed along the path. This was harder than it sounds. That’s when a few of us asked some Cambodian students if they wanted to help, and they agreed. It was amazing, as some of us had complained about the heat, how tired we were, and about our sore, blistered hands. But these kids jumped right in, fighting over the minimal amount of baskets available to carry clay. Even more important than the work was the opportunity to build relationships with the kids. We asked each other questions
and played games like volleyball and soccer. Once we got to know the kids, we stopped thinking of each other as strangers living completely different lifestyles, and started thinking of each other as friends. We continued to bond with the Cambodian kids when we met our pen pals who we contacted a few times from Singapore. They attend CFC schools and joined us for a Cambodian cooking class. My pen pal, Srey Mao, and I clicked instantly, and had a great time right from when I gave her a backpack until the very end. We had all brought along backpacks for each of our pen pals filled with such items as school supplies and water bottles. I had also brought her earrings, because I knew her ears were pierced, and a soccer ball, because she said she loved playing soccer. When she pulled them out of the bag, her face lit up and she repeatedly thanked me. The thing she did next was what touched me the most – she gave me her thin, golden ring. Not only did we learn about the people, but about the country of Cambodia as well. We learned the country’s history and what caused its poverty. We also visited beautiful temples such as Angkor Wat, wandered around colorful markets and biked through Cambodia’s countryside. Learning about the culture of Cambodia helped us understand how different other people’s lives are. Not everyone lives in a
Above: Eighth grader Ritika Ramprasad laying sidewalks at Caring for Cambodia school. Below: Science learning trips oﬀer students cultural connections as well as the opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause.
world of wealthy expats in a completely urbanized environment like Singapore. We had gone with the idea that we were going to Cambodia to help the CFC kids, but we came back with more than we could have ever asked for. Service isn’t a one-way street. It impacts people on both sides. I could tell that we changed the kids’ lives, just by the way they were eager to do everything with us and they were reluctant to let us go. I also know this trip made a difference in my understanding of the generosity and humanity that lies in people who live under difficult conditions. It taught me that being generous with your spirit is just as important as being generous with your resources.
Singapore American • May 2014
The Yellow Ribbon Project: Unlocking Potential and Supporting Second Chances By Samantha Power, Government Aﬀairs Executive, AmCham
mCham is pleased to announce The Yellow Ribbon Project as AmCham’s Adopted Charity for 2014! This marks AmCham’s second year in support of this charity and we welcome the opportunity to build on previous successes to have an even greater impact this year. The Yellow Ribbon Project maintains a holistic approach to rehabilitation and aftercare services for ex-offenders through “Hope, Confidence and Opportunities for Ex-offenders.” Embracing new opportunities to contribute to the Singapore community and to enrich the lives of ex-offenders and their families is at the heart of what Yellow Ribbon does. AmCham is proud to be a part of this good work. Last year, AmCham hosted 30 ex-offenders and their families at the Science Center Singapore for AmCham’s Corporate Community Day (CCD). Ten small businesses partnered with AmCham staff to contribute at the event. Volunteers and beneficiaries participated in a treasure hunt, carried out science experiments and enjoyed lunch together. Sharing this day of fun and learning with the ex-offenders and their families was not only beneficial to them but was also enriching for AmCham and member volunteers. AmCham is pleased to continue its support of The Yellow Ribbon Project this year and looks forward to planning our activity for Corporate Community Day 2014. AmCham Singapore continues to support the development and implementation of reintegration programs for The Yellow Ribbon Project through contributing to The Yellow Ribbon Fund. This fund provides financial support for rehabilitative services for ex-offenders during and after discharge from custody, reintegration support programs for family members of ex-offenders, and public awareness programs. These initiatives are carried out through the Case Management Framework, which involves assessing an inmate’s individual needs, identifying appropriate services that meet his or her needs, developing a comprehensive plan of service, advocating the client’s access to and use of services, and optimizing the delivery of services. By addressing each case on such a multilateral basis, Yellow Ribbon is able to maximize each ex-offender’s chances of having a successful transition into a new and better life. Launched in 2004 by the former President of the Republic of Singapore Mr. S.R. Nathan, The Yellow Ribbon Project is housed under the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network, a group of major community and government organizations focused on rehabilitation for ex-offenders. Providing ex-offenders with the best, most effective rehabilitation programs is key to maintaining Singapore’s status as one of the most peaceful places in the world, and directly impacts the quality of life of the Singapore community. The Yellow Ribbon Project gets its name from the popular song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree,” which describes an ex-offender’s journey to forgiveness from his family and community. The song rightly characterizes the social obstacles that face ex-offenders during reintegration as a second prison – an invisible cell with bars made of suspicion, doubt and a seemingly unescapable stigma. The yellow ribbon symbolizes forgiveness, acceptance and sustained support. Wearing a yellow ribbon pin in a show of solidarity has become a trademark of project, helping to provide a second chance for people to give back to their Singapore community through becoming responsible citizens. As more than 9,000 ex-offenders are released from prisons and drug rehabilitation centers each year, the need for rehabilitation to lead to employment in an accepting society is of vital importance. The community plays an important part in helping to create a stable social environment where amenable ex-offenders and their families can feel a sense of belonging and find the hope to start afresh. The Yellow Ribbon Project’s initiatives to foster public awareness seek to dissolve the social barriers that prevent ex-offenders from achieving this success for themselves, their families and the community at large. To find out more about The Yellow Ribbon Project, visit www.yellowribbon.org.sg. For more information on AmCham’s Corporate Community Day, visit www.amcham.org.sg/ corporate-community-day or contact Catherine Xiang at email@example.com.
7 COMMUNITY NEWS
Singapore American • May 2014
Troop 10: The X-Men
ver wonder what the Scouts in Boy Scouts of America do? Boy Scouts camp, cook, engage in community service, climb and capture moments digitally while having a blast! In January, the X-Men climbed Kota Kinabalu. In February, during MECO – Mostly Electronic Camp Out – we played every electronic game we could get our hands on while
camping at Stamford American International School. In March, we camped on the beach at Pasir Ris. All this, plus meetings, fund raising for the Philippines, cleaning parks and beaches, and learning leadership while having the time of our lives! For more information about Troop 10 please visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BSATroopX.
SCOUTING IN SINGAPORE
contact: Troop 07 www.bsatroop07.org
contact: Troop 10 www.facebook.com/BSATroopX
Singapore American • May 2014
Out, damned salt! By Melissa Diagana
orld Water Day. Singapore International Water Week. Water for Life. International Water Resources Association. Academic water institutes from sea to shining sea – such as the National University of Singapore’s Institute of Water Policy, Columbia University’s Water Center, and the UAE’s Masdar Institute Center for Water and Environment. It is clear that the entire planet is now undeniably aware of the importance and fragility of our life-sustaining water resources. Living on an island formerly covered by tropical rainforest, droughts are not often things we think of as affecting us. But at the start of 2014, we watched grass turn brown, ponds dry up and leaves fall. And although the lack of rainfall significantly decreased the freshwater reserves in the reservoirs, we consumers blithely continued to wash our cars and sing in the shower. That water certainly did not come from rainfall – only 0.2 mm fell in February, compared to the 161 mm February average since 1869. So where did it come from? Singapore’s characteristic strategic and long-term planning for water sources led it to develop its “Four National Taps,” which are (1) local catchment water, (2) water imported from Malaysia, (3) highly-purified reclaimed water (a.k.a. NEWater), and (4) desalinated water. During the drought, much of the new reservoir water came not from rainfall but from NEWater and desalination plants working at full capacity. So, you may say, where is the problem? We are not living in a land-locked desert but on an island surrounded by water. Let’s just desalinate more of it. Well, that’s not a bad solution but it is also not a trivial solution. As we all know, desalination removes the salts in
different process than reverse osmosis) systems. In Singapore, the Public Utilities Board and the Hyflux water solutions company have formed a publicprivate partnership to desalinate seawater. The first plant, SingSpring, opened in 2005 and can produce over 136,000 m3 [= 36 million gallons] of water per day. The second plant, Tuaspring, opened in 2013 and can produce over 318,000 m3 [= 84 million gallons] of water
“Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink,” complained Coleridge’s ancient mariner. seawater to transform it into potable water. That’s an active process, requiring an input of energy. As a matter of fact, the theme of this year’s World Water Day was “water and energy.” About 8 percent of the global energy generation is devoted to water – for pumping, treating and transporting it. The desalination of large amounts of water can lead to correspondingly large carbon emissions. The source of energy for desalination can thus have a significant impact on global warming; currently, only a very few desalination facilities are powered by solar energy. Near the Poles, the formation of sea ice is a form of desalination – the water freezes out, leaving a brinier sea behind. But here, on the equator, that process is not going to work. There are two principal technologies used to desalinate seawater industrially, thermal distillation and reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis systems use less energy than distillation systems, and therefore have been more frequently implemented, encouraging further research, leading to still further improvements. Distillation is essentially what you may have done as a scout, or during an environmental sciences class. You heat seawater, trap the stream and allow it to condense on a lid or a sheet of plastic, then harvest the precious drops of purified water. In reverse osmosis, pressure is used to force seawater through a membrane. The salts are too big to pass through the membrane, so only the water makes it through (reverse osmosis is also used in the production of NEWater). Around half of the seawater input can come out at the end as fresh water. Around the world, a great deal of research is being done to improve the desalination process. At Nanyang Technological University’s Membrane Technology Centre, for example, scientists are developing new membranes to reduce energy consumption, prevent biological fouling, or function in forward osmosis (a
Water ready for desalination - Berlayer Creek arriving at the sea. Photo by Melissa Diagana.
per day; it is Asia’s largest seawater desalination plant. As a comparison, the largest desalination plant in the USA, under construction near San Diego, will produce around 190,000 m3 [= 50 million gallons] of water per day. By 2030, Singapore plans to be able to meet 20 percent of its ever-growing water needs with desalinated water. You may pay a premium price for the sea salt gracing your dining table but when you don’t want salt around, now you know a little bit about how “they” remove it. So, during our next dry spell, take a moment to think about all that is going on behind the scenes to allow your taps to flow without interruption. And do try to interrupt that flowing. Melissa is a molecular biologist by training. She enjoys studying the broader picture of natural history as much as its reductionist details. Melissa regularly writes about medical and environmental topics, and has lived in Singapore for the past six years. She recently completed a coﬀee table book about Fort Canning Park with Jyoti Angresh.
Singapore American • May 2014
LIVING IN SINGAPORE
Memorial Day: A Time for Remembrance and Prayers for Peace By Richard Hartung
oon after the start of World War I, a young man headed from Pittsburgh to Europe to fight with the US army against the German military forces that threatened to take over many countries on the continent. After months of fighting, he returned home and went on with his life. When I was growing up we heard stories from this man, my grandfather, about his time in Europe and how he was able to visit Paris after the war ended. What we did not hear about was his fellow soldiers who did not make it back home. And it is those soldiers who did not return that we remember on Memorial Day. Several years after World War II started, it was my father’s turn to be drafted out of college and enlist in the military. He tells the story of how the sergeant in the enlistment office asked him what he wanted to do, and he said he wanted to head to Europe. “Fine,” the sergeant said. “You’ll be a radioman here in America.” My father ended up spending his time during the war in the Navy, in an uneventful and relatively safe assignment at a naval base in Georgia. When he returned
to college, a number of his classmates, who had perished during the war, were not there. And it is those soldiers who did not return that we also remember on Memorial Day. For more than a hundred years, the United States has set aside one day a year specifically to remember individuals like my grandfather’s army buddies and my father’s classmates who gave their lives in service to the United States. While there may be fewer and smaller commemorations or parades than in the past, the flags that decorate cemeteries all across America and the solemn ceremonies around the nation are still signs of widespread remembrance. Along with that remembrance, Memorial Day has also become a time to reflect on our desire for peace. More than a dozen years ago, the US Congress directed the President to issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe Memorial Day by also praying for permanent peace. Congress designated 3pm local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance and pray
for peace. Memorial Day is the last Monday in May, and this year it will be observed on 27 May. In the United States, Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of summer, a time for barbecues and family celebrations. It is far more than that, though, as many Americans take time to remember those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today. Even though Memorial Day is not a public holiday here in Singapore, we can take a moment out of our day to remember and show our gratitude to those who gave their lives to preserve a home country to which they never returned. And at 3pm on May 27, we can also stop to say a short prayer for permanent peace around the world.
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 • May 2014
School Holiday Fun Just for Kids
Masak Masak: My Childhood May 24 – Aug 3, 2014 | 10am to 6pm, daily National Museum of Singapore • Free Admission Children’s Season at the National Museum of Singapore is back! Titled Masak Masak, the special exhibition centres around the theme My Childhood and features familiar playgrounds and larger-than-life games of yesteryear, interactive installations, engaging performances, and a special film screening. Suitable for ages 3 to 7, let your young ones play around the museum and have lots of fun!
PLAY @ National Museum of Singapore Opens May 24, 2014 | 10am – 6pm, daily National Museum of Singapore • Free admission The National Museum of Singapore (NMS) kicks off the school holidays with the opening of PLAY@NMS, the first dedicated area for young children to take their first steps towards museum-going with interactive exhibits and special activities that encourage learning through play. Inspired by the museum’s collection, your young ones will have the opportunity to express themselves through the various curated programs that will stimulate their curious minds and tap into their creativity. For more information, call 6332 3659 or visit www.nationalmuseum.sg.
(L-R): Janet Maurillo, Betsy Zink, Haily Lai, Glenn van Zutphen, Yee Ling Chow, Toni Dudsak, Yen-Lu Chow, Chris Milliken, Tere Aloma, Janet Stride, Dana Cheong, Valerie Brandt.
AAS Presents $30,000 to Over-the-Rainbow
AS President Glenn van Zutphen and members of the George Washington Ball (GWB) Committee presented Over-the-Rainbow with a check for $30,000 on April 8. Funds were raised through silent auction and lucky draw at the 81st George Washington Ball, Moonlit Masquerade. The money will go towards Over-the-Rainbow, a non-profit initiative under the WholeTree Foundation, a family charity founded by Yen-Lu Chow and his wife Yee Ling Chow in loving memory of their son Lawrance who suffered from bipolar disorder and passed away at the youthful age of 26. The charity’s mission is to effect positive transformations in youth and human wellness on a global scale, with a focus on health and education. Yen-Lu said that the funds will go towards “Development of our Circle of Care system for youth and community; training of our volunteers to become youth mental health coach and buddy; operation of our new OTR Wellness Space; and more outreach programs to schools and the community via events and social media.” Thank you to everyone who worked so tirelessly for the GWB and to the community for showing their support of AAS and Over-the-Rainbow.
11 LIVING IN SINGAPORE
Singapore American • May 2014
LIVING IN SINGAPORE
CIS Bilingual Program:
Preparing Students for an Increasingly Globalized World By Andrea Naylor, Primary Years Program Coordinator, Lakeside Campus
he Canadian International School (CIS) in Singapore has been an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School since 2002. Over 65 different nationalities are represented within our school community, making us a wonderfully diverse and multicultural international school. Our focus is to provide a truly international curriculum, drawing from the best learning standards and research from around the world. With this in mind, we are excited to announce that CIS will be launching a new bilingual Mandarin-English program in August, 2014. Additional languages provide students with an opportunity for developing internationalmindedness, intercultural awareness and critical thinking skills. The world is now anticipating the emergence of Mandarin as a key language. It is quickly becoming apparent that children who are bilingual in English and Mandarin will have a competitive edge in tomorrow’s job market. In the IB program, the acquisition of language is valued as “central to critical thinking, which is essential for the cultivation of international-mindedness and global citizenship” (IBO, 2011). We have moved away from the view of acquiring separate additional languages to the new terms of “languaging” or “translanguaging.” This is the idea that learners
develop and integrate new language practice into a very complex dynamic multilingual repertoire. As a result of this, we now know that children who are fluent in more than one language enjoy many more benefits than simply being better communicators. Speaking more than one language can actually make you a more successful learner. Advantages to being bilingual include being able to learn new words easily, being more adept at solving mental puzzles, a heightened ability to monitor the environment and increased creativity in solving mathematical problems. Language researchers have found that a child learning two languages whose structures and rules are significantly different from each other (such as English and Mandarin), are required to think in more complicated ways. Needing to constantly switch between two languages leads to improved executive functioning of the brain and cognitive processes such as problem solving, mental flexibility, paying attention and task switching. Students who study additional languages tend to score better on standardized tests than their monolingual peers, particularly in the categories of math, reading and vocabulary. The new Mandarin-English bilingual program at the Canadian International School will be launched with classes for students aged
4 to 6, in Junior Kindergarten (JK), Senior Kindergarten (SK) and Grade 1 in August 2014. It will include two fully-qualified teachers in each classroom. One teacher will be a native English speaker, the other will be a native Mandarin speaker. Class sizes will be capped at 20 students in JK (1:10 student-teacher ratio), 22 students in SK (1:11 student-teacher ratio) and 24 in Grade 1 (1:12 student-teacher ratio). Learners will receive balanced exposure to both languages in a program that is fully aligned to the IB Primary Years Program, promoting intercultural understanding, inquiry based learning and key features based on current “best
practice” in teaching and learning. To find out more information on this pioneering bilingual educational opportunity for your child please visit us at www.cis.edu.sg/bilingual.
Lakeside Campus: 7 Jurong West Street 41, Singapore 649414 Tel: 6467 1732 Tanjong Katong Campus: 371 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437128 Tel: 6345 1573 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org l www.cis.edu.sg
Singapore American â€˘ May 2014
Singapore American • May 2014
The compound is often hailed as the cultural heart of the region. Music and dance performances are regularly held within the palace grounds and the buildings are a majestic display of Javanese architecture.
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Singapore American • May 2014
hen I was first invited to spend the weekend in Yogyakarta, I admit I had to Google where it was. Located in the southern part of Central Java in Indonesia, the district of Yogyakarta is famous for its proximity to two breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Buddhist temple of Borobudur and the Hindu temple compound of Prambanan. Regardless of my ignorance, Yogyakarta (occasionally spelled Jogjakarta) has become Indonesia’s second most popular tourist destination after Bali and it is widely regarded to be the center of Javanese culture. Best of all, it is small enough to make it an excellent weekend destination from Singapore.
A purple storm brewed in the sky as we made our way through the bustle of Yogyakarta’s small airport and the March rain came down hard during the hour-long drive to the Manohara Hotel. The hotel cuddles up to the Borobudur Temple compound and it is the only guesthouse within walking distance of the immense 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist structure. Not long after our arrival, we borrowed umbrellas from the front desk and set off into the wet afternoon. We scaled Borobudur’s six square levels and the top three circular platforms, simulating the path that Buddhist monks follow on pilgrimages to the temple site. The rain darkened the stone statues of headless Buddhas that guarded each tier and the entire temple had a hushed, peaceful atmosphere about it. Borobudur’s Javanese architecture perfectly accords with the conception of the Universe in Buddhist cosmology: the dense stone base of represents the sphere of desire; five square terraces represent the sphere of form; and the sphere of formlessness is represented by the three circular platforms as well as the large stupa topping the structure. The ascending stairways and paths are lined by over 2,000 carved stone panels in the walls, which depict these three realms in detailed relief.
We woke bleary-eyed before dawn and were led through the dark by a hotel staff member, who gifted us all with flashlights.
After gingerly climbing to the temple’s summit, we perched on the ledge of the top tier to await the sun amidst the Buddha statues encased in their perforated stone stupas. The countryside was quiet and the full moon shone like a spotlight over our heads. Pale blue mists swirled around the surrounding mountains and then glowed gold as the first rays of sunlight struck them. Birds sang overhead in the fresh morning air, which was warming up quickly. After breakfast, we relocated to the Phoenix Hotel, an elegant historic building from 1918 in Yogyakarta City, and spent the day leisurely weaving through the throngs of horse carts, cycle rickshaws, motorcycles, mopeds, cars, trucks and pedestrians. On the crowded streets of the popular Malioboro district, petite stores sold everything from cellphones to traditional Javanese clothing. Men caught naps in the shaded seats of their trishaws. By the park, women crouched over fiery barbecues grilling delicious-smelling satay skewers. Yogyakarta is a prosperous town that is growing – like a great many towns in Indonesia – but it is growing at a rate of its own choosing. Foreign investment is present but it doesn’t overpower the local culture, giving the city a distinct personality that is an inimitable blend of heritage and modernity. Yogyakarta retains strong communities that are focused on carrying on traditions in silver work, the creation of batik fabric, and gamelan music. But the most alluring of these artistries are the performances of wayang kulit or shadow puppets, which are fastidiously crafted masterpieces of leather, buffalo horn and bamboo. The ethereal movements of the shadowy figures draw you into their world and you find yourself transfixed on the story they tell. There are a number of puppet shows that take place on various days in Yogyakarta; the best way to find one is to ask a local (or the front desk at your hotel) where the best show near you is. There were two more stops on our list before dinner: the kraton and the bird market around the Taman Sari castle complex. ‘Bird Market’ turned out to be a misnomer; while there were cages upon cages of roosters and parakeets and budgies, you could also buy squirrels, puppies, bats, pythons, hedgehogs, iguanas, civets, and the list just kept going. While the market provides a fascinating insight into the lives of the local people, it’s not for the squeamish. Live ants and maggots are kept on hand as birdfeed, and plenty of the cuddly animals are purchased to be eaten. The Yogyakarta Kraton complex serves as the principal residence of the sultan and hosts a number of official ceremonies,
however the sultanate officially became part of the Republic of Indonesia in 1950. The compound is often hailed as the cultural heart of the region. Music and dance performances are regularly held within the palace grounds and the buildings are a majestic display of Javanese architecture. Most of the palace complex is a museum with numerous artifacts on display, including a variety of gifts presented to the sultanate from the kings of Europe and a complete gamelan set.
The Phoenix Hotel provided a good night’s sleep, breakfast and a convenient starting point for our final destination. Upon our arrival at the Prambanan Temple Compounds, the staff manning the entrance tied white and indigo batik around our waists, which provided much amusement to the groups of local schoolchildren also visiting the famous UNESCO site. The stunning shrine was built in the 9th or 10th century and consists of over 200 separate temples, which makes this compound the biggest temple complex in Java, the most expansive Hindu temple site in Indonesia, and one of the largest temple sites in Southeast Asia. Originally there were 240 temples but a number of those have unfortunately been reduced to piles of rubble on the grass. The compound is dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities – Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma – and is considered to be one of the world’s top three ancient masterpieces of Hindu architecture. The central building is devoted to Shiva and looms high at 47 meters (154 feet) tall. We spent hours exploring the otherworldly temple complex, and it was too soon that we were on our way back to the airport to catch our flight home. Though the region of Yogyakarta is small enough to see in a weekend, the city’s warm and unique character also makes a destination worth experiencing for a second time. There are far too many streets to discover, cheerful people to meet and tasty restaurants to try to only visit Yogyakarta once. Editor’s Note: As recently as late February parts of Borobudur were covered with plastic to protect it from Mt. Kelud volcanic ash. Check with your travel agent before going.
When Laura is not traveling around the region or devouring a new book, she juggles her 9-to-5 with freelance writing. You can read her articles, travel anecdotes and series of tips on how to be a better tourist at: www.thecircuition.com.
Singapore American • May 2014
Social Innovation Park: Educated, Empower, Enhance By Laura Schwartz
ight years ago, when Social Innovation Park (SIP) began, the term ‘social entrepreneurship’ was little heard of within Singapore’s non-profit scene. Hence SIP’s genesis lay in deep introspection – if we think deeper, we can all join hands, collaborate innovatively across the 3Ps – public, private and people sectors, to build a more inclusive, sustainable and better world, one where wealth enables societies to access its resources more equitably and prosper as a whole. One where there are jobs and opportunities for a better life and more integrated society. This idea has been the key driver behind all the works of SIP – to build an inclusive world where everyone can be a net contributor to society. SIP considers itself to be a movement, a movement to educate people to go beyond the self and connect for greater good. A movement to empower the do-gooders, regardless of what the good cause or field may be. A movement where do-gooders can be better recognised and their works enhanced so they can scale up. Hence SIP builds the platforms and a movement via the 3Es – educate, empower and enhance. All of its projects must be self-sustainable. SIP has a number of successful and wellrespected initiatives in the sector, such as the Pop and Talent Hub or PaTH, Singapore’s
first social enterprise and talent development platform, which started in 2006, at Vivo City and 313@Somerset and has to date empowered more than 150 social entrepreneurs and local talents, who have managed to sell over $2 million worth of unique products on their own through this platform. SIP’s flagship event is the Global Social Innovators Forum, an annual two-day event which serves as a platform to bring together regional and world leaders of the 3Ps. GSIF seeks to build a community of change-makers and further push the boundaries of social innovation for a more inclusive, sustainable and better world. In 2013, GSIF brought together over 300 participants from twenty countries and 75 speakers, session leads and facilitators from around the world came to Singapore. Inaugurated at the event last year was the Social Innovators Policy Shapers Network, an international platform which aims to connect policymakers with leaders in the people and private sectors to seek collaborative solutions to socio-economic-political challenges, and enhance the works of social entrepreneurs and innovators through the establishment of a positive policy framework. GSIF last year also witnessed the launch of the speciallyenhanced Social Innovators Accelerator (SIA) Track, which shall now provide corporate
mentorship to select social enterprises for the subsequent one year. SIP’s regular two-day SIA Track, in-built as a part of the Forum, has so far incubated close to 50 social enterprises. SIP has congratulated more than 30 SIP Distinguished Fellows and SIP Fellows, to recognize and enhance the work of outstanding and high achieving individuals who are creating systemic change in the community in which they live and work. SIP Fellows, Distinguished Fellows and GSIF luminaries include movers and shakers from Hollywood movie star Jet Li to Walmart honcho Rob Walton, futurist Alvin Toﬄer to Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat, and Eighteen Chefs founder Benny Seteo to the Inventor of Mind Mapping Tony Buzan. They are all linked by their passion and belief in a better world, and use their expertise and influence to effect the change that they want to see in the world, in systemic and scalable ways. Since SIP’s founding in 2006, Singapore’s landscape of social enterprise has filled-in and
flourished. Mentorship platforms for start-ups and programs in the style of SIP have sprung up across the island, a fact that gives SIP’s core team great pride. They believe that real change towards a better and more sustainable world is only possible if the public, private and people sectors collaborate. Just as individuals need to work together to transform a good idea into a successful start-up, so the various factions of society need to work together to transform the vision of a sustainable world into reality. More info: www.socialinnovationpark.org When Laura is not traveling around the region or devouring a new book, she juggles her 9-to-5 with freelance writing. You can read her articles, travel anecdotes and series of tips on how to be a better tourist at: www.thecircuition.com.
Singapore American â€˘ May 2014
Singapore American • May 2014
The Badi Library Project continued from front cover
Nepal once we reach our goal of 150 boxes of books. Any books that are in good condition, in English and are suitable for a Pre-K through 12th Grade school library are welcome. This project is one way that everyone can be involved in saving children from sexual slavery. I challenge you to give as many books as you possibly can. Visit www.fishpond. com.sg. At the bottom of the page find the category MY FISHPOND / wish list / type in “Badi Library.” Buy books from our list and challenge your friends to do the same
(shipping is free). Shipping address: Angel Corrigan 335 Bukit Timah Rd, WOLG #09-03, Singapore 259718 For info on how to make a donation, email Angel: firstname.lastname@example.org. Angel arrived in Singapore in 1999 with her family. She has lived around the world as a military spouse. She has written articles for the Singapore American newspaper for the past five years.
continued from front cover
Not afraid to pursue new and varied interests, many of Daniel’s diverse endeavors have benefited the public indirectly. He is perhaps best known for supporting the Singapore Dance Theatre, which his former ballerina wife, Goh Soo Khim, led as co-founder and artistic director for two decades. A consummate artist in her own right, she received the coveted Singapore Cultural Medallion award for dance. Mutually supportive and clearly devoted to one another, she says of Daniel, “My friends say he sets too high a standard for husbands.” Daniel thrives on supporting the arts and people. He truly believes “joy is multiplied when shared,” and share he does in a very big way. A recent social enterprise is Daniel’s veggie farm called Kranji Agrivista. He sees this as another way to give back to society, while also pursuing his own interest in sustainable agriculture and biodiversity. He’s invested more than half-a-million dollars in this project so far and hopes to sell healthy, organic vegetables. However, he laughs, “If it cannot make money, too bad.” His vision for this farm includes encouraging school children to “get their hands dirty and grow something.” He also wants people to come out, enjoy the scenery, rent a plot and do some hobby farming. Another angle is to cultivate herbs, both for cooking and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Using only organic fertilizer, Daniel’s four greenhouses will grow temperate climate fruits and vegetables, like melons and tomatoes, using energy and water-saving technologies that he hopes will be adopted by other growers in the region. Hailed as passionate about the “aesthetic environment,” Daniel is a top-notch art collector and investor, and advocate of art and artists, young and old, traditional and contemporary. His collection of more than 1,000 pieces includes local masters like Lim Tze Peng and Chua Ek Kay, well known Chinese masters, and 20th-century pop artists like Frank Stella and James Rosenquist. To bring art into the public domain in Singapore, Daniel and a friend invested $2.5 million to convert two buildings at 51 Queen Street into an art center known as The Private Museum. The goal of the non-profit TPM, as it is locally known, is two-fold: to provide a space for art collectors to share their largess with the public (in a spirit of generosity, Daniel hopes); and to encourage young artists to push boundaries in the expression of various art forms. TPM’s public outreach program aims to bring collectors, artists, and the general public closer together, as well as foster interest and support for art. Until May 2014, TPM features “her image,” a group exhibition of women in photography and video, in commemoration of International Women’s Day. Symposium’s and artist talks will also be featured. So, what is on the horizon for this passionate philanthropist? Probably too many things to mention, but here’s a few – Daniel’s “pet project” is developing a retirement village in Singapore, a dream he’s had since 1997. He feels Singapore’s aging population is being displaced as housing estates are redeveloped and families are forced to move. There is no easy solution to this complex challenge, but Daniel has some specific ideas. Along these lines he wants to be an advocate for active aging and healthy lifestyles. He has already facilitated some of these goals through his organic vegetable farm and promoting aesthetic environments – one such effort is more artwork in MRT stations. As an architect he is also dedicated to conserving old buildings and neighborhoods. He refers to this type of conservation as “adaptive re-use.” This is what he accomplished when he renovated a portion of his alma mater, Catholic High School, which now houses his art gallery, TPM, and other lifestyle venues. What you don’t know about Daniel yet is his bird sanctuary in Mandai, a fish farm and an aquarium he once owned, a vineyard in South Africa, and a racehorse, too. But, that’s another story. What you do know about Daniel is his passion for philanthropy, art, human welfare and advancement. He loves his family and he values his friends. He loves to share his passion for people, art, and architecture! He is willing to invest his time, money, and his moral support to give back to the community that has given him so much to be thankful for. 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.
Singapore American • May 2014
How Stella's Child Changed My Life By Timothy Cameron
inding myself at a personal and professional crossroad in late 2012, I accepted the offer from a long-time friend from America to come to Singapore and look for inspiration. I accepted but was hesitant in leaving the safety of the job I knew for over a decade and heading into the unknown. But it turned out to be a life changing experience. A Personal Challenge While on my journey, people said that I “took a big risk” in packing up and coming to Singapore to explore; I was then challenged to take a bigger risk – to build something great and to help others in need. This personal challenge became the catalyst for my inspiration. I spent the next few months thinking of what this would look like. I kept coming back to the same key components: travel and helping children through education. Perhaps it wasn’t so much a business that I needed to create but a charitable organization that could be positioned to bring humanitarian aid to the most impoverished children in the world? In this I had found my inspiration and I returned to the USA to form a charitable foundation, Stella’s Child. Five months later, I packed my bags and moved to Indonesia to begin volunteering. This story is about the challenges I faced and the rewards I reaped from working with the children residing in the orphanages of the Widhya Asih Foundation on Bali Island. Bali’s Grassroots On the surface, Bali is seen by many as a living paradise with its natural beauty and world-class hotels. But behind the lush landscape, there lies heartbreaking poverty, with the most vulnerable victims of this inequality being children. The Widhya Asih Foundation (literal meaning: “Knowledge with Love”) seeks to provide 400 children with hope for a life that promises some of the everyday luxuries that you and I take for granted: food, clothing, education and a safe place to live. My first volunteer project was to develop
Stella Results Now, four months later, the children are talking about the differences between fixed and discretionary expenses and are starting to understand the need to save money for future unplanned expenses. One child even went so far as to create a budget of her own after receiving a $15 gift. She showed me how she was going to use part of that money to save for a new pair of shoes and how she allocated for snacks for the upcoming months. Another child came up to me and said, “Thank you for teaching us this stuff. We don’t learn this in school and it will really help me.” The rewards that every educator wants to see and hear. In the last month, I spent several days touring Bali Island, the remote areas that don’t see tourist traffic, some of the neediest spots on the island. Some of the orphanages that I visited hardly see any volunteers and have very low staff-to-child ratios. Can you imagine being a single parent of 10 children? How can you manage your household and still give each child an adequate amount of love and attention? You can’t. There just aren’t enough hours in the day and these children are left with a big gap in their personal development. They need our help. I discovered inspiration to find a way to help these children and I hope that you can, too!
and implement a financial literacy program for a group of 27 high school-aged children. The goal was to teach them money management and budgeting skills that would help them in the real world after high school; skills that they could utilize to assist in breaking the cycle of poverty. It was with great trepidation that I entered the classroom to teach my first class. I thought, “I’ve never done this before!” As a corporate trainer and project manager for nearly 25 years, I have given plenty of speeches and presentations back in the USA, but this was new territory for me – teaching children living in a developing nation that have limited English language skills. How was I going to make this work? About 10 minutes into my lesson plan, I knew I was losing them. My materials were too focused on western culture and standards.
So, I decided to put the plan aside and shot from the hip. Rather than delving into life scenarios, I chose to first focus on vocabulary. I had prepared a vocabulary sheet for reference purposes in English and Indonesian, and it instead became the focus for the first lesson. We spent an hour reviewing the words and putting them into context of life in Indonesia. It worked! This shift also helped me, as the educator, because I then had a solid foundation to work from. For the next lesson, I was able to create work, income and expense scenarios that the children could relate to, all built out of the discussions we had from the vocabulary list lesson.
About the Organization Stella’s Child facilitates volunteerism at orphanages and schools on a local and global level. The organization provides free lectures and informational sessions to public and private organizations as well as utilization of social media channels and the corporation’s website to provide facts, statistics and other related data to build awareness about the plight of the children who are victims of disaster, conflict or poverty. It is the belief of the Stella’s Child that by providing children with engaging, educational and creative activities, we can help them to better cope with adversity. Stella’s Child intends to utilize physical and imaginative activities that require little to no resources or facilities. The activities performed by the organization’s volunteers will nurture and give children a sense of accomplishment, but will also encourage positive thinking. To find out more, visit www.stellaschild.org.
Singapore American • May 2014
Walking Against Trafficking and Exploitation By Lucia Damacela
hadn’t previously heard of any heartfelt commitment and devotion to a cause that started by eating a cricket delight. That is exactly what happened to Deana Kitajima last year. She attended an International Baptist Church conference on non-profits here in Singapore. The event had the purpose of generating awareness and interest about the many charities operating in this region. In a room full of organizations presenting their programs, Deana’s attention was singly drawn towards a woman whose table had no visitors. Perhaps the appetizer she was serving, deep fried crickets, conspired against the table’s popularity. Deana was brave enough to try a cricket, brave enough to listen to what Stefanie Teegs had to say about her organization’s work in Cambodia, and to start doing something to support that work. In retrospect, we could say that the cricket did the trick. Deana was so moved by the problems that the organization she was introduced to – The Hard Places Community – was addressing in Cambodia, that soon thereafter she consulted with her family and decided to visit the place. What she saw was heart-breaking: a beautiful country, with gentle and friendly people, but with a recent history of brutal repression. Men and women, with decimated social networks and precarious safety nets, were left to fend by themselves in
the harshest conditions. From these shadows, powerful children sex trafficking gangs that exploit boys and girls have emerged. Upon her return to Singapore, Deana invited co-walkers from the American Women’s Association Walkers Group, introduced The Hard Places Community to the group, and brainstormed about how to get involved and contribute to their cause. Within six weeks, the first local Walk Against Traffick event was under way and took place in January. This date was of special significance because President Obama had just proclaimed January 2014 as the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The group of volunteers invited friends, families and the community at large to walk, run, jog, scoot, skate, bike, stroll, etc., to be together in showing support to the cause and to increase their interest in helping The Hard Places Community. With Brussels Sprouts East Coast as the hub and gathering place, a total of 215 persons of all ages joined. Moreover, participants with links to other countries spun off similar events in places as far away as Venezuela. Also as a result of this initiative, a few participants became motivated enough to travel to Cambodia, visit the center, and start supporting the organization as well. Walk Against Traffick, or WAT, was devised by Hard Places Communities as a way of raising support for their work. They
understand walking more as a journey than as physical walk, as there are other ways to get involved in addition to walking. The acronym also makes reference to the culture and religion of Cambodia, since wat is the word for temples, particularly Buddhist, in the region. Additional information is available at www.walkagainsttraﬃck.org. During its three years of operation in Cambodia, The Hard Places Community (THPC) has developed programs to prevent vulnerable children’s sexual exploitation, and to rescue children who have been sold into sex traﬃcking. In 2011, THPC opened the first center for prevention and rehabilitation of boys in Phnom Penh, called Punlok Thmey, which means new growth. Nowadays, THPC has three more programs, one of them serving young girls. Initially, the center catered to about 35 children, providing them with free English classes and other activities such as arts and crafts. Currently, the number of children participating has risen to more than 200. The organization website is http://hardplacescommunity.org/what-we-do/cambodia/. Here is the twist to this story: Deana is leaving Singapore this summer, so for this effort to survive somebody else will have to take the baton and walk with it. If the strong support from fellow expats so far is any indication, that will be the case. Help, however,
is always welcome, and getting involved is one click away in Facebook (Walk Against Traffick, Singapore). Deana dreams of WAT being a yearly event here in Singapore, and to spread to the wider community. Ideally, a person or group would take the lead for a year and pass the baton to another group the following year; very fitting for this transient expatriate community. Please be assured that helping does not necessarily involve snacking on a cricket.
Lucia is a freelance researcher and writer, interested in exploring and writing about Singapore and the region. She moved here in 2013 and is enjoying the experience along with her family.
Singapore American • May 2014
Changing Lives in Santiago:
One Volunteer's Diary of a Habitat for Humanity build in Chile By Laura Coulter
Day One Hola! After an orientation on Sunday night, my ninth build with Habitat for Humanity (HFH) started with gusto! We split into two groups and my team headed into the suburban slums of Santiago. I am working on Sofia’s house. Sofia is a 4-year-old girl who suffers from short bowel syndrome. Due to inadequate housing, she is forced to spend each night at the hospital, hooked up to dialysis machines. Her mother comes each morning to get her and then returns her to the hospital at night; a two -hour journey each way. Through the “Return Our Children Home” program, my Habitat team is building a small house for Sofia and her family (mother, father and younger sister) with a proper bathroom in Sofia’s room. This will allow her to stay with her family and not spend every night in the hospital. A generator has been bought as an emergency back-up for Sofia’s dialysis machines as there are daily power outages in the neighborhood. The Habitat team is also putting in insulation and proper roofing – a rarity in this neighborhood. The slum was a bleak sight – yards covered in trash, roofs patched out of a scrap metal, dogs running loose and no heat inside the house. The first day saw us making cement and pouring the foundation. We also spent time unloading a truck piled high with supplies – a welcome sight. I shoveled gravel all day long! The build took place in July, which is Chile’s winter. So it was cold but working in the sun warmed me up. I met the great-grandmother, several family members and Sofia herself, in addition to the countless dogs roaming the streets, house and yard. Day Two The work continued with morning temps of 5 degrees Celsius and the constant background soundtrack of barking dogs. I’m wearing tights under my clothes; a cheap form of warm underwear. At the hostel this morning, one of the Americans announced, “It’s 20 degrees today!” and I had gleefully leapt from the bed only to realize my foolish Fahrenheit mistake! Today, there were two main jobs: continuing with pouring the foundation and starting the trusses for the roof. The foundation team had the same drill as yesterday: shoveling gravel and sand. I continued with the foundation team, preferring the basic shoveling of gravel all day to the measurement, wood cutting and nailing precision that is needed for the trusses. Trusses are pre-fabricated, triangulated wooden structures used to support the roof. We work penned in the ‘backyard’ by a mixture of scrap metal, junk, wood and buildings. In the morning, we moved a board to find a big, ferocious dog. We put the board
back and the entire team took a coffee (and cookie) break while someone figured out what to do. Day Three Two walls up, trusses done, trough dug for water run-off, more gravel moved here and there and everywhere! The food has been very salty and everyone is feeling the effects. Our zeal from the first day has faded a bit – now we are ‘watching’ each other work, instead of muscling in on all the action. In the afternoon, a carnival seller was wandering the streets, playing an organ-grinder and selling cheap toys and candy. We all ran out (with our two little girls) and spent the last 30 minutes of the day with them. We bought the girls a few treats, marveled at the seller’s wares and enjoyed watching the children play in the street. Despite her medical condition, Sophia is like any 4-year-old – full of energy, chatter and full of stories. Day Four I feel penned in and claustrophobic at this build site. My past HFH builds have been in the countryside or at new developments. This is my first time in a slum and I could quickly go mad here – graffiti, trash, wild dogs, house dogs, the neighbors’ dogs. Seventeen members of Sophia’s family live in the compound (ranging from her 80-year-old great-grandmother to cousins and siblings) and we are separated from the neighbors by rusted scrap metal sheeting. A tough place to raise two cute, curly-haired little girls. If it was a tropical country, some of the conditions would be livable but there is ice on the toilet each morning and I can’t imagine showering in a room where you can see outside through the cracks in the walls. The wants vs. needs are interesting to contemplate – the family has a flat screen TV and satellite dish but poor cooking facilities and milk is a novelty (but there’s a lot of Fanta). As a volunteer and outsider, it’s hard not to be judgmental and instead just be quiet and help out. Our team of volunteers is mainly Americans, with half of them speaking Spanish to varying degrees. This was helpful to build relationships with the family as well as communicate while building. Habitat provided a volunteer translator, a college student, who must have been exhausted at times keeping up with our questions, the building instructions and the general chatter that went on. The house we are building for Sophia isn’t grand at 3.6 meters by 8.5 meters. Some of us have bigger garden sheds and this home will house four people. One saving grace is that the hospital and Habitat will continue to monitor the situation: Sophie's room MUST be for her only. No other family can move in. It’s
rewarding to build side-byside with some of Sophia’s family members and to be reminded of Habitat’s motto, “A hand up, NOT a hand out.” After we leave the building site, our evenings are quiet. We return to the hostel to shower and enjoy a shared dinner. Some team members go out searching for ice cream and to do a bit of shopping, while others stay in, play Scrabble and taste the delicious Chilean wine, bought for only a few dollars at the convenience store. Day Five One element of the HFH builds that I enjoy is meeting the local staff and building relationships with them. I continue to admire their service as waves of teams come in and build. Our local coordinator and leader is Julien. He has a tough balance to strike: the enthusiasm of the volunteers goes up and down in the week; the interest in the various tasks can come and go. Julien (and his wife) weather the suggestions from us, “You should do it like this” and “There’s NO Diet Coke?!” while keeping a calm and smiling face. They also have the task of bridging ties with the local family; encouraging the parents to work, to make their mortgage payments, to believe that they can finish the house and to keep the momentum going. Hard hats off to them. It’s a cold and miserable day at the site with low temps, grey skies and a bit of rain. The grunt work has finished, so it’s more about skilled labor and there are a lot of people working in one spot. Habitat has hired two skilled construction guys and they are busy but don’t always delegate. I spent the morning painting and the afternoon standing around, holding boards, hammering and trying to keep warm and look busy. Sadly, it’s not always jampacked action. More walls went up. All of the exterior is up and a few interior walls are done. Getting there! Day Six On the final day energy soared up again and the sun came out. The number of “cookie breaks” dropped as we hurried to work on what we could. We finished building all the walls and got them up. We were short one professional builder, so we didn’t get the trusses up, unfortunately. We did finish the painting and put insulation into the rooms. One of the volunteers went to the local shop and bought some paint and so we freshened up the outside wall and fence as well as putting up new house numbers – that made it look like a home! Next
week will see the “tradies” coming in to finish the plumbing and electric work. The third week will have another HFH Global Village team and their goal will be to finish the house; hopefully, the family will be moved in shortly thereafter. We cleaned up the site as best we could and the other half of the team came to join us for a party. After showing Sophia the house, she broke into a dance in her new room. The grandfather manned the grill and there were speeches and small gifts, tears and hugs. A lovely moment came when the HFH coordinator presented the great-grandmother with a certificate, thanking her for donating the land towards the house and touring her around the inside. She was moved to tears that so many strangers had come from different countries to help her family. The team went back to the hostel for celebratory Pisco Sours and packing; everyone off onto their own adventures or back to their ordinary lives the next day. About Habitat for Humanity in Chile Habitat for Humanity began working in Chile in 2001 by building three homes in the port city of Caldera. Habitat for Humanity now works in all five regions of the country and has helped over 6,300 families to obtain adequate housing. To volunteer, more information can be found at www.habitat.org or through the HFH Santiago branch Facebook group, www. habitatforhumanity.org.uk/Chile. Laura is a well-known socialite. Her moniker of “Girl about Town” provides testament to her nous and insider knowledge with all things associated with fun and good times. Despite working full-time, she is currently compiling a book on marriage proposals.
Singapore American â€˘ May 2014
Singapore American • May 2014
Cambodia’s Future Foundation: Nurturing Leaders Through Education By Jamie Uy
okvy Ven’s mother is one of thousands who crams herself daily, like an upright sardine, onto an overloaded truck with cage-like encasings. It’s the only thing preventing workers from spilling out onto the road in their daily commute to Cambodian garment factories. When 16-year-old Sokvy realized she was being offered a chance for a free ride through university by Cambodia’s Future Foundation (CFF) she stared raptly, gripping the edge of her desk. The mentoring and funding available by CFF was her ticket to a better life. It was her ticket out of a garment factory future. And she knew it. “Her eyes glistened with an intensity I have never seen in anyone,” says Andrew Hallam, one of CFF’s founding board members. She was overcome with emotion about an opportunity that most expat children take for granted: attending good schools. Four million Cambodians live on less than US$1.25 daily. As a result, school-aged children often work to support their families. Cambodian teachers, as Hallam observed in March, often don’t even show up to class. Their salaries are little more than a garment factory worker’s – just $150 a month. Trapped by cramped, ill-equipped classrooms, farm girls like Ven are forced to abandon dreams of university degrees. Even if they’re smart, learning is a luxury they can’t afford. Robert Landau, deputy superintendent at Singapore American School, founded CFF
on the back of work he did with the Liger Foundation. “At Liger I was given the amazing opportunity to select 50 promising, yet economically disadvantaged kids, for a 21st-century boarding school. I knew there were still so many deserving young people who had the potential to thrive and prosper through education. Foundations and NGOs do not focus much on older students. So, I decided to start CFF.” Cambodia’s Future Foundation wants to empower students within Cambodia and Singapore. “We may be the only foundation in the world with a Grade 9 student on our founding board [Elena Morey] and another on our board [Kartikye Mittal],” says founding member Alison Cuthbert. She adds, “we’re equals within the foundation, regardless of age or experience.” Morey agrees. “CFF has told me, as a student, I don’t have to be limited by age to make an important difference in the world.” Selected Cambodian teens are mentored to capitalize on their high school learning first, by implementing, for at least two years, a sustainable project addressing a social, environmental, health, or other issue in the community. After high school, if their projects are well-developed, they can then study in a Phnom Penh university. Their living costs and tuitions are completely covered by CFF. “If successful, our university graduates
will find they can turn their projects into a profession or vocation. We hope they will become Cambodia’s future leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and responsible business owners,” Robert Landau added. The first official cohort of CFF students was chosen in March 2014 by volunteers from Singapore who traveled to the poorest areas of Kampong Speu. The selection process isn’t a straightforward IQ or SAT test. They have to be bright but they also need the ability to clearly express their ideas. Are they empathetic and patient? Could they lead and inspire fellow Cambodians in the future? To answer these questions, candidates went through several stages of peer and teacher recommendations based on character, humor, grit and empathy. Khmer reading and writing tests ensued, followed by pattern identification tests, group problem-solving tests and creative thinking exercises. “We capped it all off with an interview,” explains Pele Hallam-Young, “then
followed it up by interviewing their parents.” Eleven students were chosen – including Sokvy Ven and four of her schoolmates. The selected students are in for a lifechanging journey, and it’s just getting started. Although still fairly new, CFF has an Executive Director – women’s rights expert, educator and community leader Hem Nareth – along with board members on the ground to monitor and mentor students. The passion is palpable. If Sokvy and her fellow CFF students, the ‘underdogs’ in the world, can use their strengths to create sustainable change in their community, what's to stop them from improving the country? Cambodia’s future is looking good.
Jamie Uy is a ninth-grader at SAS and the Managing Editor of Parallel Ink literary e-zine.
Singapore American • May 2014
Community Cat Control: Doing Our Part By Jordan Arndt
ommunity cats are a commonplace feature of many neighborhoods in Singapore. Sometimes they are considered cute, like the litter of kittens playing in a park and other times they are considered a nuisance, such as when they rummage through trash bins and get into fights with one another. There are community cats throughout the island, which are abandoned animals or the offspring of abandoned animals. The population of cats in the streets of Singapore is too large; in an effort to control the situation, approximately 13,000 cats are killed each year. This equates to the death of 35 healthy cats each day. In order to reduce this number, the number of cats born needs to be reduced. When community cats are trapped, sterilized, and returned to their environment, the sterilized community of cats will stabilize and decrease over the years. However, it can increase if more cats and kittens are abandoned in the area. The sterilization of each cat matters considering that if a single female cat and her offspring are left to reproduce freely over the course of five years, they can increase the cat population by 20,000! Individual volunteers and members of organizations such as the Cat Welfare Society are working to control the cat population in Singapore. One volunteer, by the name of Sally
Doherty, is a dedicated volunteer on Sentosa. I spoke with Sally to get a sense of the issue, her work, and her thoughts on how concerned readers could help: Why did you become involved with trying to care for community cats on Sentosa? About a year ago, I noticed two community cats near Cold Storage in Sentosa Cove. One was a young male cat and the other was an older neutered community cat. I knew he was neutered because his left ear was clipped – a practice done by vets here to show that the community cat has been sterilized. Unfortunately, very quickly after that, two litters of kittens appeared which brought the total to 12 young cats. In areas of eating establishments, this becomes a problem very quickly. People don’t want to have cats lingering outside and begging for food. Why did you begin feeding the community cats? By feeding the community cats, you decrease the likelihood of them becoming a nuisance to businesses and private homes and instead they become part of your neighborhood. They also are easier to trap, sterilize and either rerelease into the wild or potentially rehome, particularly if they are socialized early. The trap, neuter and release approach is an important part of the Cat
Welfare Society’s agenda. What did you do when you saw the cat population growing? Firstly, I tried to work in partnership with Cove Management, who had been receiving a lot of complaints. Given that the cats were so young, I knew there was a chance that I could socialize and rehome or trap, neuter and release before the population got completely out of control. While their support was limited, they did allow me some time to socialize and rehome before taking less humane courses of action. Was anyone else trying to address the issue? I began working and coordinating with other volunteers on the island who were supporting the community cats in different areas of the cove. The biggest challenge continues to be educating people, particularly condo managers, in what we are trying to achieve. I live at the Marina Collection and they are supportive, which is great. How many cats have you and the other volunteers on Sentosa helped? I am not sure of the total number, however in the last 12 months I have trapped and sterilized 30 cats in the residential area of Sentosa. Of these, I have managed to rehome 14 of them by socializing them early. While there are still a
few more unsterilized cats in Sentosa Cove, the cat population is much more in control than where it was heading a year ago. Why are you so passionate about the work that you do? I am passionate about animal welfare in general. Homeless cats in Singapore (and Asia) are a reality that is not going to go away. However, if people are prepared to help keep the population down and be tolerant of people who feed them in a responsible manner, community cats are less likely to become a nuisance. In fact, the benefits of having cats in your neighborhood far outweigh the bad. If someone wants to trap, sterilize, and release a community cat, what should they do? First of all, check its left ear. If the tip has been clipped, then the cat has already been sterilized and is already living as a “community cat.” If the cat is friendly, you may be able to take it to the vet yourself and they will sterilize and clip the ear. Releasing it back to the territory it came from is important. If you release a cat to unfamiliar area it will become very stressed and disorientated. You will also create a vacuum for another cat to fill. If you need help, contact the Cat Welfare Society and they will put you in touch with a
Singapore American • May 2014
local cat trapper who will help you to establish a regular feeding place and time. Once a routine is established, a trap can be used in which the cat will be lured by food and the door will close behind it. The cat will be taken to a vet, sterilized and released a few days later. I use the services of Belle, who is great. She can be contacted directly on 9841-0307 or email@example.com. Note: It is the concerned individual’s responsibility to pay for the feeding, trapping and boarding of the community cat; however Cat Welfare will pay for the spaying or neutering. The cost per cat is approximately $100, depending upon the amount of time required to recuperate after the operation.
Why is sterilization important? According to Cat Welfare, sterilization is a humane and effective alternative to killing. When community cats are sterilized, individuals, the neighborhood and cats benefit. Cat lovers can take pleasure in knowing that the population is being controlled while those who are less fond of cats will be pleased to know that there will be fewer cats in public places. The neighborhood as a whole benefits as residents will encounter less disruptive behavior by sterilized cats, such as spraying urine, fighting, or calling out loudly while mating. Cats benefit from sterilization as the procedure prevents them from developing various reproductiverelated illnesses, and studies have shown that as cats do not mate for pleasure, they are not denied an innate need to create a family.
Anything else would you like to share with readers about this issue? A controlled community cat population is one which can live in harmony in the neighborhood. However, cats won’t neuter themselves. We have to be proactive about keeping the population healthy and under control. If you always see a particular cat in the same place, please support Cat Welfare and your neighborhood to get it sterilized. Please also be tolerant and kind to people who support and feed community cats. More often than not, we are helping both the cats and the community in general; however, we are often the target of verbal abuse. Rather than abuse us or complain to management behind our backs – ask us questions to understand what we are trying to achieve and even offer to help if you can.
Adoption Column Oscar (pictured left on oppostite page), is a 5-month-old gorgeous, socialized kitten recently rescued from the streets. He is a big flirt however still needs a lot of cuddles. He is currently living with a foster family and is urgently looking for a home. He is vaccinated, wormed and sterilized. Sisters Monkey and Nellie (pictured above) have been living at the Sentosa Cove boatyard for 12 months. They are sterilized and super friendly but were overlooked for adoption in favor of the younger kittens from subsequent litters. While they are happy and healthy, I would love
to find a safer more permanent home together for these two loving sisters. Minnie (pictured right on oppostite page) is a beautiful white 8-month-old pure bred/mixed breed and is the community cat who gave birth on Sentosa recently. She and her three kittens are currently with a fosterer. We have found future homes for the kittens – however we are looking for a home for this pretty, gentle cat who, once she gets to know you, loves cuddles more than food! If you are interested in adopting a cat, contact sallyd@outlook. com or call 9833-4445.
“We have to be proactive about keeping the population healthy and under control”
Singapore American • May 2014
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Creating Cheerful Children By Tonya Schwab, MA, LMFT Family Therapist with SACAC Counselling
Singapore’s Comprehensive Mental Health Practice, est. 1973
fter many years of working with families as a professional that specializes in child development, I am ready to embark on one of the most exhilarating, rewarding, and also terrifying journeys of my life; the birth of my first child. After many years of studying, analyzing, and assisting families in addressing struggles with their children, I am ready to put theory into personal practice with my own son. While I curiously wonder many things about my unborn son, such as what will make him laugh, what he will look like, and what his dreams in life will be, my thoughts continue to return to my most concerning question: Will he be happy in life, and how much, if any, control do I have over this? While genetics plays a role in an individual’s predisposition to happiness, are there safeguards that we parents can take to increase
the likelihood that our children will embrace a more optimistic view in life? In one of the most extensive research projects ever conducted, lasting almost 75 years, psychologist George Vallant set out to determine what makes individuals happy. At the end of his career he was quoted as saying, “the only thing that really matters in life are a person’s relationships to other people.” These relationships begin with one’s relationship to their caregivers and lay the foundation for all future relationships. Building this attachment with your child and understanding their emotional world is a huge determining factor in how happy your child will be later in life. Dr. John Medina, author of Brain Rules for Baby, says, “A parent’s ability to detect, react to, and provide instruction about emotional regulation has the greatest predictive power
over your child’s future happiness. This is because helping your child to form lasting relationships begins with their attachment to you and includes helping your child to regulate and manage their emotional lives.” So, what are the concrete things that we can do to promote happiness for our children?
their children to label theirs, produce children that are able to better regulate their emotions. Research has shown that labeling emotions has a neurologically calming effect on the nervous system. This is both, when someone else labels our emotions or when we learn to do so ourselves.
Comfort with Own Emotions – Some individuals are comfortable with emotions, viewing them as enriching experiences of life, while some suppress certain emotions and view them as unacceptable. How you feel about your own feelings can affect your child’s future happiness. You need to be comfortable with your own emotions in order for your child to be comfortable with theirs.
Moving Toward Emotions – Parents who are fearless in the face of floods of emotions and those who see a crisis as a teachable moment, raise children to be comfortable with their emotional experiences. These children tend to be more confident to deal with these feelings rather than avoid them.
Tracking Your Child’s Emotions – Parents with the happiest children are able to read and interpret their child’s verbal and nonverbal cues. These parents started this habit early on, keeping track of their child’s emotional states and respond accordingly in an unobtrusive and supportive way. Verbalizing Emotions – Parents that are skilled at labeling their feelings and helping
Express Empathy – Parents that can acknowledge their child’s feelings and empathize, help to defuse intense emotional situations over the short term and reduce their frequency over the long term. As parents, we cannot guarantee happiness for our children but we can certainly provide them with the foundation and skills that are needed. For any additional information in this area or support in creating cheerful children, contact the SACAC Counselling office at 6733-9249 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singapore American â€˘ May 2014
Singapore American • May 2014
An Insider’s Guide to Dining in Little India By Tasmin Vosloo
ne of the best parts of living in a new city is spending weekends exploring and finding hidden gems; places that seem imbued with
The fresh produce stall: As you turn into Dunlop Street from Serangoon Road, you can’t miss the seemingly endless rows of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s easy in Singapore to take for granted to the sheer variety of fresh produce on offer but on visits to this hawker stall I’m consistently impressed. In a fresh produce rainbow of color, you’ll find anything from enormous ripening tomatoes giving way to white carrots and great, green bunches of coriander. This is also where the best prices are to be found and in a city that’s just been named the “most expensive in the world” that’s nothing to scoff at. Bismallah’s Biryani: After the intersection on your left, you’ll see a big red and yellow sign reading “Best Biryani in Singapore” hanging above a standard-looking, hole-in-the-wall eatery. This is Bismillah’s Biryani, and the fare you’ll discover inside is not standard or average in any way. Restaurant owner, Arif, draws great amounts of pride from the biryani he makes, saying that he is determined to make sure Singapore knows exactly what “real” biryani tastes like. Baked in a pot for hours over a charcoal fire, the mutton biryani is undeniably one of the best you can find.
the spirit and personality of your new home, that are experiences in and of themselves. In Singapore, Little India is an area that has this in relative abundance. My favorite spot to soak up the atmosphere is Dunlop Street and while it may not be “hidden,” it certainly is a gem. With eateries offering the finest authentic Indian dishes to convenience stores with the best in bargain cellphones and cameras, to religious monuments, Dunlop Street displays so beautifully the range of things on offer in this ethnic quarter. If you’ve never visited this vibrant street before, I’d recommend checking out these:
Prince of Wales Pub and Backpacker: As you continue your stroll down Dunlop Street, passing convenience stores selling $10 irons, and barbershops offering the trendiest in haircuts, you’ll find the Prince of Wales Backpacker and Pub. This is the probably the bestknown of the Dunlop Street haunts and has been around for years. Serving up classic pub food and regular live music acts from a range of local artists, it makes for a great place to have a drink after dinner or to spend a relaxed Sunday afternoon.
Saying Goodbye to Life in Singapore By Martine Hill, Counsellor & Director at Alliance Professional Counselling
aying goodbye is inevitable if you are an expat. Although difficult, good-byes don’t have to be a negative aspect of expat living. Sometimes we try to minimize good-byes but the reality is that every goodbye is a loss. And, every loss causes grief. Sure, some losses are more painful than others, but all losses are felt at 100%. Given that this is the life we have chosen for now – how do we keep from shutting ourselves off to new places, opportunities or friendships that we know will inevitably lead to a new set of goodbyes? Life Skills In the book the Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken, the authors stress the importance of facing goodbyes. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye. Embrace it. Hug. Cry. Say the words, share your thoughts and your feelings. Don’t try to minimize them by saying, “See you later.” It may seem like it will hurt less but if you know the goodbye is for a significant period of time, you must say it. Teaching our children how to say goodbye is a gift and it’s a life skill. We hate to see them hurting as they say farewell to yet another friend. Perhaps our instinct is to protect and comfort them by telling them we can visit their friend next year, or maybe the friend will visit us again. However instead of offering such hope, which often proves false, grieve with your children. Support them by agreeing with them that saying goodbye is really hard, that the friend they just said goodbye to can’t be replaced. That’s it. If we acknowledge their pain and grief, they heal faster. We don’t need to make promises or try to make it hurt less. Let them grieve and help them to say goodbye well. A Full Farewell It’s important to expand your goodbyes to places, pets, possessions and special things. Although this may seems
odd saying goodbye to places it is as important. For example, your condo: you might, as a family, walk through each room of the condo and said goodbye to the rooms. Talk about what you enjoyed doing in those rooms or how you would miss them. It may seem trivial, but if you think about it, you can probably vividly picture some special places in the home where you grew up. Again, for your children, you may not know what their special memories are in that place. Do the same for any special place you have in Singapore. Whether you found Singapore a tough place to live or a great place, as you move onto your next assignment, or return home, you may do so with a sense of relief or sorrow. And yet, living here has changed you. The people you’ve met have affected you, for better or worse. Whether you joyfully skip through you apartment on moving day or cry throughout the whole day, it would still be good to close off those relationships and places completely. Looking Ahead Saying goodbye properly doesn’t mean you can’t look forward to your next destination. Where are we going? What are some positives and negatives that we can expect to find once we get there? What are our external support structures and our internal resources for coping with the problems we might find? Who can help us adjust? Life overseas is exciting: It is a chance to visit ancient sites, experience new culture and interact with people so different from yourselves. But it also has its challenges and the goodbyes are among the greatest. Learn to be complete in every relationship and say goodbye well, and this challenge will be just a little bit easier. www.alliancecounselling.com.sg
Singapore American • May 2014
Zsofi: A little further on from Prince of Wales Pub you’ll find Zsofi, a cosy, low-ceilinged Spanish Tapas Bar and Kitchen nestled between the shophouses. Surprising, perhaps, to find a tapas bar in the heart of Little India, but to me this illustrates so well the diversity of the area. Spending the day immersed in wonderfully chaotic Little India can be tiring and Zsofi, with its intimate interior and open rooftop terrace, is the perfect refuge to enjoy a drink – and complimentary tapas – and reboot. Countryside Café: Just opposite Zsofi you’ll find Countryside Café, a place as full of charm as its name suggests. The small 30-seater restaurant is run by Krishna and his wife, Shri, who work with obvious passion. Covering the walls are photographs of customers and old posters alongside bookshelves, stacks of Jenga and other games. Krishna’s welcoming and warm demeanor matches the décor, making customers feel at home, as he regales stories of people that have
FOOD & DINING
passed through Countryside’s doors. Countryside boasts an extensive food and drinks menu and, with over 70 beers on offer, Krishna proudly claims to have the most extensive beer selection in Singapore. The food, including Western, Thai and authentic Indian cuisine is unpretentious and delicious. A Countryside specialty is the Gobi Manchurian, with both Chinese and Indian influences. The dish consists of cauliflower florets fried in an incredible blend of herbs and spices, and a secret sauce that always leaves you wanting more. On weekends, you’ll find Countryside Café a hive of activity, filled with locals and travelers alike, eating and drinking until the early hours while anything from Johnny Cash to Bollywood hits plays quietly in the background. Masjid Abdul Gaﬀoor: As you near the end of Dunlop Street, you’ll notice the vivid green and yellow architectural beauty of the Masjid Abdul Gaffoor Mosque. A blend of South Indian and Moorish architectural, it’s a distinctive mosque and injects a sense of calm into an otherwise very lively street.
Tasmin is a South African freelance writer and video producer based in Singapore.
Singapore American • May 2014
FOOD & DINING
Adventure in a Cup! By Jim Tietjen
offee lovers of the world, hear ye, hear ye! If you revel in a vibrant cup of coffee – not run of the mill joe, but great high octane brew – it’s high time you try Yahava. Never heard of it? It’s time, follow me. In 2001 a group of enterprising Aussie’s opened a coffee house in Margaret River, Australia (five hours south of Singapore, as the crow flies), but not your auntie’s type of coffee house. The Koffee Baron, as he is known, decided to scour the coffee world and seek out the best Arabica beans available. He found them in places like Central and South America, East Africa, India, Bali, Sumatra, Papua New Guinea and at home in Australia. The beans however, are only part of the story – this is what makes Yahava coffee unique. There’s a whole lot more… The Fine Art of Roasting Roasting coffee beans is more art than science, like cooking. Like all art, you have to learn the basics well, and then practice, practice, practice. How many types of roasts are there? Basically three, but in reality there are too many to count. An American (light) roast is light-to-medium in color and flavor; an Espresso (medium) roast has more body, is darker in color and more flavorful; and, a French (bold) roast is very dark, full-bodied, and sometimes even bitter to the taste. Of course, there are numerous gradations of roasts and as you might guess, different beans react differently to various roasting methods. Ready to choose your roast? Back to Beans Some coffees, not unlike fine wines or malt whiskeys, are single bean (or single origin) brews. In this case the beans are from a single location, like the Limmu region of Ethiopia. Limmu highland forest Arabica beans produce a floral, bright, silkychocolate flavored single origin coffee known at Yahava as “Mokha,” which goes down smooth, with just a hint of acid. Likewise with a brew called “Black Gold,” whose beans hail from highland, old-growth forests of Papua New Guinea. Also silky smooth, with a hint of chocolate sweetness, this brew also
exhibits a touch of roasted nut essence. Blending Well In the coffee world, bean blends are most common. Blending good coffee takes time, and again, is more art than science. Consistency in blending is also important. Yahava’s “Romeo No. 5” is a good example – the beans travel from Colombia, Ethiopia, Sumatra and Rwanda to Australia. The roast is bold (dark, but not the darkest) and the flavor is full, round, slightly sweet, slightly floral, and very smooth. Contrast this blend with one they call “X-rated”– so named because it takes extra attention to detail when roasting since each of these four beans roast at different rates and cannot be “overdone.” Beans from Brazil, Ethiopia, India, and Papua New Guinea comprise this cup of java. X-rated’s medium roast reveals a rich but mellow brew with a floral and zesty smooth finish. Given that Yahava has more than a dozen types of coffee, not including special surprise brews offered from time to time, you can spend many a day at their shop learning the finer points of coffee magic. Some Perks Not surprisingly, there is even more to learn about coffee if you have the interest and time. Yahava Koffee Works makes it easy and fun to learn. One “perk” at Yahava is their free coffee tastings, offered daily between 9:00am and 4:30pm. Done in small groups of 1-4 people in about 30 minutes, their trained baristas can tell you everything you need to know and give you the confidence to make great coffee at home. If you need to learn more you can return for another tasting, or you can sign up for one of three courses they offer including “Barista Basics,” “Skill Booster,” or a “Koffee Appreciation Workshop.” You’ll have to lay down some dollars for this dose of coffee science, but you’ll walk away with more than just caffeine in your veins! Home Brew So, the coffee tastes great at the shop, but what about when you take it home and brew it yourself? When you choose the coffee
bean(s) you like and ask the barista to grind it for you they will ask you what sort of coffee maker you have. This is important as different grinds suit different types of makers. Maybe you use a French press, filter/drip coffee maker, an aeropress, a stovetop maker, an espresso machine, or maybe you drink it Turkish style, with grounds and all. The grind will make a big difference in how your home-brewed joe turns out. So, consider your brewing method before you buy. Where to Find Yahava in Singapore The Yahava Koffee experience is much more than just coffee. With the hardware comes the software, which will make your adventure in a cup all the more pleasant and memorable. Just off Upper Thompson Road, behind the Esso Station, near the Sembawang Hill Food Center and Jalan Leban, you’ll find Yahava Koffee Works, www.yahava.com.sg, tucked away across from a neighborhood park. The ambience is very calming. Soft music and light, cushy chairs and the occasional whir of the grinder and accompanying aroma of fresh coffee make you want to linger. It’s a great place to chill out, read your paper, sip your brew, munch a tasty cake, and chat with your koffee kakis. The name “Yahava” comes from Arabic, meaning a drink made from plants including wine. For many years coffee was described as “Arabic wine.” If you have not experienced coffee like Yahava before you are in for a real delight. Yahava Koffee Works allows you to step into another world where you can relax, indulge in a favored drink, learn all about it if you wish, or just savor the flavor, the atmosphere, and the company of friends … don’t wait too long for your adventure in a cup! Yahava nice day!
The author’s grandfather was a professional coﬀee taster in New York City. He worked for the Ausch Coﬀee Company on Wall Street, from 1920 to 1960. It has been written that he could taste a cup of coﬀee and instantly tell the various countries which produced the beans for the blend.
Singapore American • May 2014
Any responder should make any further enquiries with the organizer or should verify the information independently if necessary.
MUSEUMS 1 May – 30 June Horses for Courses Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street 9:30am – 7pm www.spm.org.sg 1 May – 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 24 May – 3 August Masak Masak: My Childhood – Children’s Season National Museum of Singapore Stamford Gallery, Level 1 93 Stamford Road www.nationalmuseum.sg 12-13 June Night At The Museum Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street 6am – 9am www.spm.org.sg
ENTERTAINMENT 1 May Da:ns Series KAGEMI: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors by Sankai Juku (Japan) Esplanade Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 1 – 11 May GREASE MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands www.MarinaBaySands.com/Ticketing 1 – 25 May Shakespeare in the Park - The Merchant of Venice Fort Canning Park www.sistic.com.sg
31 May Concerts for Children: Come Meet Mozart! (SSO) University Cultural Centre, NUS www.sistic.com.sg
LIFESTYLE 1 – 31 May Carpet Clearance Sale – up to 70% off Hedger’s Carpet Gallery 15 Dempsey Road #01-09 10:30am – 7pm www.hedgerscarpetgallery.com.sg 24 May Abacus Tax Limited The Boardroom @ The American Club 10 Claymore Hill 2pm – 4pm email@example.com
EDUCATION From 1 May UWCSEA Applications for Admission to UWCSEA in 2014/2015 open now Dover or East Campus www.uwcsea.edu.sg firstname.lastname@example.org 9 May & 6 June Open House Stamford American International School 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9am www.sais.edu.sg
SPORTS 11 May The Pinnacle @ Duxton Vertical Challenge 2014 Pinnacle @ Duxton, 8am regonline.activelife.com 18 May HomeTeam NS Real Run 2014 Sentosa Gateway, 7am www.realrun.sg
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.
Receive complimentary insurance consultations with an experienced insurance advisor. Visitors can choose to receive free, no-obligation quotes on Home, Medical, Life, Travel, Motor and Business Insurance.
Get a six-month free membership to Expat Living magazine. Redeem: www.expatliving.sg/aas
Receive a 10% discount on all purchases over $100 at both Marina Bay Link Mall and Rochester Park locations.
If you spend over $800 at their Dempsey Store, receive a hand-woven Indian Kelim flat-weave rug (5’6”x3’6”) worth $150 absolutely free (while stocks last). Call 6462 0028.
Up to 15% off Japan Airlines / American Airlines flights! Special offer for AAS members only – Depart by June 15, 2014.
Receive a 10% discount on a one-year membership.
Special benefits for AAS members. Located at the Novena Specialist Centre, email community@ tuckermedical.com for further details.
Singapore American â€˘ May 2014
The newspaper of the American Association of Singapore, published since 1958. Philanthropy issue - May 2014.